Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas 2005

This time last year I was bracing myself for a monumental shift as we were about to leave Buffalo for Chicago. I never would have dreamed I'd be having such a beautiful Christmas one year later.

A family of five with a very pleasant little baby boy.

A big house with individual bedrooms.

No tree (crushing hazzard), no lights (electrical hazzard), no bulbs (choking hazzard), but a lovely mantel with 5 stockings (on stocking hagers with the potential for laceration hazzard, but avoided!).

A little girl who likes to wear a tiara and make faces at herself in the mirror.

A boy who could play with his electric toothbrush all day.

A loving, gracious congregation.

A cool, fun, family-like staff.

An amazing husband.

And the chance to remember my Savior came to earth for me.

Merry, merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I Wanna Work! Part II

Re-read last week's post using a slightly higher-pitched voice, add a few tears of frustration, and you've got a pretty accurate picture of my day.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Little Hole

I saw something on the wall of Izak's bedroom, near the head of his bed. A dark spot. Not a spider. Not dirt. I started to scratch it off when I realized it was really stuck on there. So I picked a little more, applied a little more pressure, and then, oops! Took off the first layer of drywall. So now there's a little hole that will someday be painted over... the dark spot? A dried booger.

I Wanna Work!

Well, today was my greatly anticipated first-day-back to work. A new hospital (Loyola University Medical Center), a new state, a new situation (staffing agency - kinda like substitute teaching for nurses), a new computer charting system. I rose and shone (?) at 4:30 a.m., and just before I left the house ... 4:59... the phone rang. "Sorry, Heidi, but Loyola cancelled you today." Aahhh! What a major disappointment! Matt had slept on the couch to give me a sound night's rest since we're all fighting colds. He heard the phone ring and knew it was either a cancellation, or my Grandma (97) made her worldly departure. Choice number one.

I went back to bed and stewed. Man, was I mad! I needed this day out for more than simply money. My nurse's heart is aching for action. My sedentary brain is longing for complex conversation that doesn't involve noodles, pee-pee on the potty, or one-sided safety talks. I want to know if I know what I used to know: how to hang drips, how to start IV's, how to assist a physician during procedure, how to detect impending doom.

I keep calling the phase after baby number three "the beginning of the beginning - again." Everyone's born, everyone's growing. The only thing slowing me down is the limitations of the children, not my physical fatigue from pregnancy, so I shoulder alot more. I feel strong and sharp. I can see my way to organize, prioritize. I know that my primary job is being the SAHM, which I love, not because I've always dreamed of this, but because I'm fulfilling a calling and see God in it all around me. This is the most valuable of times. I treat my days with the seriouness that I would any other job. I don't take my time with the kids lightly. I don't look for distraction for myself (since I'm pretty introverted) or sit idly by; I focus on being present to the kids, teaching, playing, observing. Each night I think, Did I look each child directly in their eyes and communicate their value in a way they understood? Did I cuddle each one? Did I kiss each one without worrying about the time of day? Did I give my best? I think it takes deliberate choices to engage the kids and not focus on myself.

That being said, I also believe that I need to work a little bit outside the home. Matt is my greatest champion to that end. He doesn't try to harness my energy by re-directing my focus home, he synergizes my efforts in helping me seek the right kind of nursing job for this phase. Granted, there are only a few days a month that I can work that will not totally throw off the rythym of the household - a few Saturdays, maybe some Sunday evenings, but not Mondays. Mondays are about the only sacred space that we have. They're deemed "Family Days," and we protect them fiercely. However, working Saturdays impacts Matt because he generally works at the office for 6 hours, and then later after we (kids and I) go to bed in the evening. But he's willing to reallocate those hours elsewhere in the week to help me get the release that I need in my career. Honey, I love you, and am grateful for the way you're encouraging me.

So, for Pete's sake, don't call me off! The scheduler is looking to see if there's anything available this evening. I'm hopeful. Even if it's just for four hours (though the drive is an hour in itself), I'd like to get my foot in the door. This could be the start of my working pattern for years to come. I look forward to my orientation at Northwestern University Medical Center, too. The more orientations I've completed, the more facilities I can chose to work in. I'll begin to accumulate skills, experiences, information, and relationships that will solidify my nursing path. No more foreseeable long absences from ICU or oncology (I've been out for 9 months with the move and pregnancy). It's time to jump in and stay in the pool!

I feel like it's my first day of school, but the bus didn't pick me up. If not today, then hopefully next Saturday.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Herd of Cats

Levi at 8 weeks.

Liberty at 18 months.

Izak at 3 years.

Grateful Patriot

Since my husband's a night owl, he had a chance to steal my blog before I could get it typed out. Rather than repeat it, I copied his reflections and pasted them. They are well put, and definitely something I wanted to share with you.
Heidi and I went to Olive Garden for a date the other night. We were stuffed back in a corner, far from all the hubbub...perfect. As we were talking, I heard a little voice above the din. Glancing to my left, at the next table, I saw a little girl, probably about 7 years old, standing straight and looking directly into the eyes of the three Navy men who were all sitting quietly and looking back at her. She was singing to them in a soft and tender voice.

I couldn't make out all the words to the song, but above the noise of the room, I heard "You answered the call..." and "Thank you...Thank you...Thank you."

Her family was there to celebrate grandma's birthday. But this little girl had to sing a special song for these servicemen. Her mother explained to them that they have tried to teach her how special men and women have answered the call to serve their country in the military. She understood...and when she saw them, she just wanted to say, "Thank you..."

It's a moment that took be aback...difficult to put into words here. I was glad to have been invited into that moment by the tender voice of a little girl.

When she finished, the three of them all said, "You're welcome."

When Matt pointed out the little singer, I immediately teared up. For me, it was a holy moment. Yes, my heart agreed with the little girl, thank you, thank you, though I'm too old and proud to say it myself. I am so grateful for your service.

As I have mentioned before, I'm deeply grateful to our service men and women for their dedication to our country. Among many things, I pray to raise children who respect the armed services. And as they grow older, a part of that teaching will include understanding that, though they may not be asked to, our men and women in uniform may choose to lay down their lives to protect us here on earth. It's then, I believe, a quick transition to being humbled and grateful to the One who served us by laying down His life for our ultimate freedom here, and also in the life to come.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A new twist

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
And there's still another way
I know, though it seems strange to say.

With 3 under 3 I have found
That I'm house- and auto-bound.
To take the 3 into a store
Invites chaos, danger, maybe more.

So for fifteen minutes plus five
One-way, I'd load the kids and drive
To my favorite coffee shop.
They had drive-thru, no need to stop.

Don't unload the herd of cats
Who bolt and dart, imagine that!
And do not give them space to run...
I know, they never have any fun.

But, oh, God loves me, I'm glad to say
Because while driving the other day
I spied a sign both orange and pink.
I was so excited, I could hardly think

Of anything else! For you see,
It's a mere six miles down the road from me!
A Dunkin Dounts, open 24/7...
And the best part - a drive-up window! Ah, that's pure heaven!!!!!