Monday, February 28, 2005

Long Weekend

Well, the kids and I stayed home from church this weekend. We had booger extravaganza! They had temps, fever (Lib's was the highest at 101.9), and Libby puked once for good ole' times' sake. (I've managed to catch it too.) Sunday afternoon I was racing around trying to find an acute care center... the wait was 3.5 hours. I figured, Forget it and I'll take my chances. I came home crying, "I wanna go back to Hamburg!" I was able to call my NY physician and get some advice from the NP on call. They said they'd be there for me if I needed anything and they meant it. Thank God.

Colleen came over and gave me a much-needed hand with the kids from 4-7p. That time of night is brutal with the kids and Matt had to be back at church by 4p. So without her I would've been fried. Thanks again, Colleen.

I feel super homesick lately... wanna go home. Can't. And overall, it's okay. But this last week was a killer. I've been making good use of our free long-distance.

My mom, bless her heart, has become a secondary resident of the hospital in Bay City watching over my grandma. The week after we move here Grandma got pneumonia, they didn't think she would make it... but that 96 year-old is resilient! She was home after a week and then had to go BACK in for angina that nitro didn't help. My mom is a real inspiration to me. She has cared for her MIL like she was her own. I am pleased to be able to consult with Mom and Dad re: end of life stuff, DNR's, Hospice, etc.. They are doing right by Gram every step of the way.

I stayed up and watched 3/4 of the Oscar's, taped the end and watched it today. I was so moved by Jamie Foxx's acceptance speech, his tribute to his grandmother. I'm going to guess that she may have been his primary parent. He did right by her. And the glass ceiling for the African-American actor seems to be cracking... finally.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Izak 2.5 years Posted by Hello

Libby 9 months Posted by Hello

A Toddler's Critical Review of "Riverdance"

It is very fun. It makes the feet go very fast and teaches one how to put the arms out at the end of the piece. It has a variety of interesting background art - the moon (very important!), the sun, water, red backgrounds, circles, and stars. There is a solo piece by a Uilleann pipe that is a perfect chance to sing those toddler lyrics that you've always needed to express. (Note: the piece does not have lyrics of it's own.) It comes with a soundtrack that can be played with in one's room before bed, or in the car going to and from errands. It causes excessive running and shouting, which is very good before bed. The "Live from Radio City" version has a wonderful baritone solo that is easy to learn and sing. It does not have choreography, so you must stand very still, concentrate, and sing very loud during the loud parts. The main dancers seem very nice and happy about their dancing (in comparison to Mr. Flatley in "Lord of the Dance" who appears to be very upset most of the time... perhaps someone should check his diaper!).

Overall, I would highly recommend this movie for toddlers of all ages.

Izak (ZDog) Furr

Thursday, February 24, 2005

'Tis So Sweet

When Izak was born I received many beautiful gifts. The pastor's first child in a church of 2,000 warranted a lot of attention! One of my favorite things was, and still is, a CD that was made for the McCaughey Septuplets called Sweet Dreams. I have a distinct memory associated with it. It was an October night. I was curled up in front of our fireplace with my newborn son, trying to get my mind around the idea that my life had just been irrevocably changed, trying to reconcile the unknown future with the fact that I was now responsible for not only myself, but the little bundle of flesh. I had the CD playing softly. It is a compilation CD, so I recognized many of the artists' voices. But then came a male/female duet that I couldn't place. They were singing the old hymn "'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. Just to take Him at His word. Just to rest upon His promise. Just to know 'Thus saith the Lord.'" Only acoustic backup and two plain, understated voices. I searched around for the case, pulled out the insert. "Jesus, Jesus, how I trust you! How I've proved you over and over! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, O for grace to trust you more." I scanned the list... there was the song, who were the singers? And when I saw their names I burst into tears. Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey. Here were two parents of septuplets, humbly recording the words that their hearts and lives were exhibiting every day. Trust Jesus. No matter how big, no matter how small, no matter how many. It is so sweet to trust Him.

Parents have opportunities to spur one another on towards good deeds in their homes. Do we take the moments and encourage each other? Or do we sink to the lowest common denominator of grumbling and whining? The gift of the unknown, with the assurance that our Heavenly Father is already there, is a pivotal part of the faith we must remind one another about. He is good, he is faithful, and what a privilege to learn to trust Him more.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Sports Illustrated

I will be back into my Sunday routine when I have a chance to sit down and read my Sports Illustrated. Currently I am back-logged about three issues, so it's all old news. SI has my new address in IL but will take until mid-March to get it coming directly here. MY SI subscription from Matt was the grooviest Christmas gift this year. It also came with a free NE Patriots hoodie (which will be too big for me, BTW). I enjoy reading about the athletes, esp. football (college and pro), their stories, backgrounds, families. And the photography... ah! I used to look forward to going to my dentist's office because I could just sit, read, and study the pictures. I actually took the time to watch Smarty Jones race for the triple crown last year because the article was so endearing.

Today I ran out to the grocery store while Matt crashed and the kids napped. It was surprising how much time I could spend at the store and just drive home in two minutes, literally two minutes. It was nice to price shop and not tear through at 100 mph with two kids crying or begging for balloons. I prefer to not go ANYWHERE Sundays after church. Just stay home, rest, regroup, and savor time with Matt and the kids... did I mention rest??

I'm tired, so there's not much to say. I'm gonna turn in.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Early mornings

Izak has generally been a great sleeper all his life, but he has these blips every now and then where he awakens early in the morning (5:30), and struggles going to sleep at night. He will be in bed at 7p, clearly tired when he goes down, but may goof around for over an hour and a half. Happy, just busy. And then up at 5:30a again the next day. Thursday morning was worse, it was 4:45a for some bizarre reason. He will probably do this for a week more and then stop, but what brings it on I'm not sure. Now he sings so loudly that he usually wakes his sister by 6:15a. Needless to say this week I've become familiar with the PBS shows that come on before 7a.

(Warning: Forthright opinions ahead. Do not read on if you are paranoid or overly self-conscious.) Worry and fret used to be a big part of my life. I used to love to pretend like I needed to know the future. If I may be so blunt, it was a really annoying trait that I knew I had but couldn't figure out how to manage. It felt like God didn't provide me with the resources I needed to overcome it. Perhaps. What I actually think He did was allow me to grow and see the incredible immaturity in it, and then He gave me two great distractions, a boy and a girl. The kids are the tools He uses to keep me in today. He says in Matthew, "Don't worry about tomorrow, it's got plenty of issues already. Be in today where I am caring for you and meeting your every need." (paraphrase mine) I remember saying (whining) to my friend, Kathy (a young widow back in New England), "I need to know the future!!!" I swear it was probably all she could do to not slap me. She replied very firmly, "You DO NOT NEED to know a thing. If you did, how do you think you could go on?!? If I had known that I would be alone and Martin would have suffered a terrible death, how could I have lived at all?" So there. Kathy, I'm starting to get it now. It also helped to have a real friend who got in my face about worry, too, and didn't just sit by while I continued to wallow in it.

It also doesn't mean that I don't fear; fear is a feeling that taps on my shoulder occasionally. But God also instructed us not to fear anything except Him. I find great hope and comfort in knowing that God is in total control. I heard it said recently in an article, "God is not surprised. He doesn't pace back and forth up in Heaven, wringing His hands, wondering what to do with me." What a fantastic image. I'll look for the poem and post it if I find it.

So I'm going to take a nap in the peace that God has given me, during these quiet moments as my two babies sleep in their cribs.

And you, my friend... God has not forgotten nor forsaken you either.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Alone tonight

Matthew is at church for the monthly elders' party. He left at 5p, so the kids and I were on our own for the first time in a long time. I managed baths and bedtime pretty well. Mini Paul Hamm (Izak) didn't do too many vault exercises before quieting down, and the girl was in bed at 6:30p. Seven o'clock and I got to curl up to watch NCIS (an advantage to being in a different time zone... my favorite shows are all earlier!). Right now I'm about two feet from the fireplace, enjoying my fake crackling log. I'm remembering the fantastic cherry wood that we left back in Hamburg. What a beautiful scent it had. Still, this is mighty cozy. Just missing my man... and a good foot massage.

Slowly things are beginning to find a home. The toaster, towels, blankets. Our bedroom looks like a tornado hit it. I laugh with Matt.. we need things to pack things in that we just unpacked, a.k.a. dressers and whatnot. I'm so thankful for the gorgeous furniture that my in-laws sent. We'd really be rambling around here without their donation.

Sunday afternoon the ladies of the church had a welcome luncheon for me. (Hamburg friends, stop your laughing right now.) I tried to ease my own self-consciousness at the onset of the sharing time by saying that I had been waiting and watching for the "real" pastor's wife to come in. Someone else joked, "So are we." The ladies were great talkers, sharing information based on a list of questions that I presented. Name, place of birth, family, husband's occupation, your occupation, hobbies. It was great. They listened well and stayed engaged, and joked with one another. Some really, really funny stuff. Other things were shared with a great sense of deliberateness, vulnerability. Thank you for giving me a small snapshot into your lives. I will treasure that very special time... and Su-Jin, I ate all my noodles in one day! LOL You all would love my senior's wife from Hamburg, very funny, very outgoing, and very seasoned. Very articulate. Very bright.

The kids are beautiful, my joys. Libby has cut her two lower teeth. She's quite proud of the fact, and demands any table food she sees. Izak is figuring out how to undress himself. He began singing this morning at 6:21a. He became rather raucous after about twenty minutes, so I went in to pull him. I found him standing totally naked, his footie jammies in the crib next to him, zipped up, with his night diaper still inside. And a little pee stream over the rail onto the carpet. Sure hope it's a Stainmaster.

P.S. Can anyone help me remove these ANNOYING smart tags from my blog. I've run Ad-Aware and Spybot... can't seem to shake them!!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Another Sunday

I think one of the hardest things about Sundays is putting Izak in the nursery. I was moving right along this morning, feeling a vague sense of routine, feeling a wee bit settled... and then came the meltdown. Izak used to sooo look forward to his Sunday School class. He regularly asked during the week, "I go cwass?" ("class" for gliders, lol) He had a wonderful teacher, Mr Elvin, who would sit every week in front of this gang of two year olds, blow up balloons with a bicycle pump while counting to three, and then let them go, sending the missiles flying all over the room. He used it as a distraction to get kids into their seats and recite their memory verse. Izak would book into cwass, sit in the minichair and stare lustfully at those balloons. He would do anything to watch them being blown up, bigger, bigger, and then fly away! And after that, Elvin would pull out his Casio keyboard for beautiful, loud, happy songs. The B-I-B-L-E, Bible! Jesus loves me. Jesus loves the little children...

Today Izzy dug in again, melting, refusing to go in, clinging to me, sobbing. The real deal. Izak isn't a crier. He's generally very easy in new situations, cheerful, talkative, but this is not cwass. I am referring to it as playtime, still, no go. And today I couldn't help but sit there, holding him, crying myself. It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with this class. I think it goes to show the enormity of the change, upheaval that we're all going through. It also serves to remind me how wonderful Hamburg was.

Obedience is better than sacrifice, said King David in the Psalms. It doesn't matter what you bring to burn, how expensive, how fancy, how lavish. What God really desires is a heart that is soft to His bidding and will pursue Him with every fiber of it's being. I am so thankful that we are in IL, but today I walk in the obedience of the flesh. My heart lags behind. This is hard in many ways, and while I don't shy away from hard work, I am rubbed a bit sore by the reminder that in Matthew's obedience, in my obedience, there remains the figure of a little boy who wishes he were back home with Mr. Elvin and Mrs. Wendy, Miss Tricia and Mrs. Tammy... and balloons.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Living with a Glider

Our friends, Rick and Carrie, are both speech pathologists. I learned a lot about speech difficulties from knowing them. One style of dysfunction is called "gliding". It's when you replace the "r" sound with a "w", as in Elmer Fudd and the "wascaly wabbit." I think the Musielaks would agree with that illustration. Izak does both good and bad "r" and "w" sounds from time to time.

Another thing about Izak (if you've known him longer than five minutes) is that he loves, loves music and singing. One of his favorite CDs is Lady Blacksmith Mambazo, a Zulu group who worked with Paul Simon on the Graceland tour. One of his favorite songs is called "Beautiful Rain." The songs begins, "Rain, rain, rain, rain... beautiful rain. Rain, rain, rain, rain... beautiful rain." We sing it a lot together, it's so melodic and easy.

As I mentioned, the trains run all day a short distance form our house. Izak and I talk a lot about the trains, how big and strong they are, how they come and go, "Bye-bye, train!" Yesterday we also talked about how we have train engineers in our family, Great-great Grandpa Bennett and Great-great Uncle Wayne...

After a few quiet seconds Izak looked up at me with a huge smile and began singing at the top of his lungs, "Wayne, wayne, wayne, wayne... beautiful Wayne!"

Monday, February 07, 2005


Had a great family day with the husband and children. Quiet, productive, together. Perfect. The "productive" thing will be less important as we move out of boxes and figure out how to organize this mess.

Yesterday was very special; Matt was installed as the new lead pastor at NWCC. It was a formal, thoughtful thing... a proclamation, a charge, a declaration. The only time anyone has treated Matt so officially was for his ordination 5 years ago, and that was a bit diffused because of the presence of several others. Thank you for being so thoughtful, elders. After service there was a killer potluck dinner, of which I didn't get to participate in until much later, due to melting children. Everyone was great, but I feel like I was struggling just to keep up with my toddler. One of my daymares has been that, unbeknownst to me, Izak would wander out the door of the church and no one would stop him because they weren't sure whose kid it was, weren't paying attention, etc... and he would be lost. I tried to keep one eye on him, but he did get past me; I couldn't see him, and, sure enough, I caught him exiting the church doors alone. That was it. I packed up the little ones and took them home with a babysitter for naps. Then I returned, able to concentrate on food and talking. Imagine that? Katie, you were great, thank you so much. And a sincere thanks to everyone at NWCC for such a generous welcome. The whipped cream on the cake is that we came home to messages on our answering machine from the Gobles and Musielaks... and THE PATS WON!!! My boys strung me along until the end, but (whew) they did it again. And let me say that all of the thoughtful references to our troops and veterans were so amazing. I spent the pregame bawling. Matt said to the kids, "Thankfully Mommy has asthma, and that the only reason that she's stayed home with us and hasn't joined the armed services." I tried to enlist (twice) in high school. The commercial of the troops coming home... again, sobbing. God bless our men and women in the military.

I'm brain dead today. Tired. A bit sad. Feel like I'm making headway on the boxes. Thankfully, the kids took a good nap and I worked for three hours straight. How in the world did we do this in our little house? Agh! I could work for days on end. I like working in peace and quiet. My mind is always doing a task different than my hands, working out some problem, thinking through options, reasons, rational. I have such honest moments while I work. God uses the distraction of my kinetic energy to get to my heart.

Think I'm going to turn in. All the kinetic energy expenditure is catching up with me...

Thursday, February 03, 2005


Sitting here, just loving my new home. In the distance I hear a train going by. There are active tracks with big long trains that run by throughout the day. It is a comfort to me. First of all, I grew up a few block from the river in Bay City, so there were large shipping docks, and trains to transport the goods. It wouldn't be uncommon for me to listen to trains and freighters blowing their horns in the night. I remember coming home from Boston once and laying awake in my bed, waiting for the whistles and sounds that I missed living on the ocean. Secondly, trains run in my family. My great-grandfather Bennett was an engineer. He was scalded to death in a head-on train collision as a young man. My great-grandmother went back to her parents' farm with her two little boys. The farm was near the tracks, so their home doubled as a boarding house for the men who worked on the RR. In not too long, she met and married Great-grandpa Tufford and had two more sons. Out of the four, one went into construction (my grandpa Merlwyn, he was certain there was no future in the RR, lol), one into music (an artist in every group), and the others into the RR. My Great-uncle Wayne retired from engineering... well, sort of. Aunt Maxine tells me that a RR runs right through their backyard, and Unc makes a point to go out and wave his buddies as they drive on through. He will be 80 years old this year. The RR runs pretty deep.

So, the train tooting in the distance brings about a gentle reminder that this area too shall become like home. Familiar sounds help quiet the uneasiness of everything else being foreign. I'll admit that today was a bit more sad than usual. So I wrapped myself up in the "hug" scarf that Aud and Carrie gave me, put on a pot for tea, and strained to hear the RR's hum. The Doppler effect of the engine's passing reminds me that the intensity, the clang of this move will fade... soon.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Hello, all. It's been awhile. I've been in my new home now about 72 hours. I'm getting out of boxes, trying to find my way around, get the kids into their routines... it's really, really hard. I don't really feel like I'm ever going to catch up. Since when did life go so fast?

The best word for my emotional state is numb. I can't feel alot right now. Somewhere amidst the grief of leaving my dearest friends, the fatigue of moving plus babies, and the anticipation of a new start my feelings shut down, probably as a type of defense mechanism. It was funny, I got a pedicure in Bay City while Mom watched the kids one afternoon. The minute the massage began I burst into tears. So weird! But I can understand it. I've seen it happen before in the ICU.

Speaking of which, finding a job may be a little more challenging than I originally thought. Called lake Forest Hospital Monday (like they asked) and she nurse recruiter gave me real attitude regarding my inability to work on Sundays... now this wasn't new information to her, we had discussed it a month ago, but she was kinda nasty about it. "If you cant work Saturdays and Sundays then I can't see that we'll be able to use that kind of help." Whatever. Just God gently closing a door for me. Gotta keep calm about it.

The kids seem to be quieting for their naps. I need to close my eyes for a few minutes...