Monday, July 29, 2013

sometimes there are not enough burritos

This morning we all slept in. And by all I mean the boys, me, and the dog because The Hubs was up early to run.  He is faithful to his new fitness regimen whereas I took advantage of a non-babysitting morning and sleeping dependents to snooze longer. I regretted that decision because I had to hit the grocery stores this morning. I hate grocery shopping if I don't do it early in the day. I threw clothes on the kids and piled them in the car. I fed them a breakfast burrito and tater tots on the way, and I ate a burrito, too. Clearly my clean-eating plan has gone out the window, as we all knew it would.

I managed to dump an entire carton of blueberries on the floor at the checkout of Aldi. I picked them up managing to get blueberry marks all over my comfy pants. The cashier graciously got me another carton without me asking, but all I really wanted to do was vacate the store.

Post-grocery shopping I managed to cry while folding laundry. I may have had a meltdown about my tiny portion of the closet and everyone's shoes invading my space. I wanted to take comfort in my vanilla Dr. Pepper, but alas the children and I had finished all 32 ounces. Sometimes there is not enough Dr. Pepper to console me. Sometimes there are not enough burritos either.

Somehow we made it through the day thanks to giftcards, a trip to buy local produce, and a trip to buy school supplies.  Seriously, it thrills me to buy markers and notebooks and colored pencils. As a kid we had a small hall closet containing an ironing board and school supplies. I loved the times when I was given permission to get out a brand new notebook to write down my stories and my thoughts. What is better than a brand new notebook? Not much I think.

(Unlike JoAnn, I am too lazy to put in a current picture -
these are Bubby's hands two school supply seasons ago)
Bubby takes after me, and he had some moments of moodiness  tonight before bed. He had helped me make a blueberry cake, but I did not have the wisdom to mention it would be for eating tomorrow.  The chin quivering was out in full force this evening about the travesty of going to bed without cake. I understand because a four year old me would have been upset, too. Okay, a thirty-two year old me would have been upset.

We had our family time on the couch for Bible and prayers, and we tucked the kids in.  When the cake was done about twenty or thirty minutes later, I suggested to The Hubs that we be the best parents ever and get the kids out of bed for cake. (They were still wide awake.)

All was going well until Bubby was denied a second piece of cake and milk instead of water.  Lesson learned - never try to be the best parents ever.  It's highly overrated.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

five minute friday - broken

Five Minute Friday's prompt - broken.

The rules are write for five minutes on the topic. No more. No editing. And link up at Lisa-Jo's and give encouragement on other people's posts.

I filled out questionnaires, inventories, and checklists about my son's development and family history.  It was there in black and white, not just his issues, but all of ours, which may or may not have a role.  Generations gone before with alcoholism and depression and miscarriage and disease.

I worry that somehow without knowing it, I broke him. I pray that I do not mess up somehow and break him more.

As I try to put the pieces together for my son's sake, I realize just how broken we all are. Just in different ways.

He may not be talking on time. He didn't walk on time. He reacts and melts down in atypical ways. But he is no more broken than the rest of us.

And while I fight for answers, solutions,clarity, and understanding, I pray that I do not lose sight of the wholeness that is him just because he is mine. Just because he is His.


teaching my kids to read

I was looking through pictures the other night for my other blog. Specifically I was looking for pictures of the boys reading.  We have read to them since day one, and we have been blessed that they both have an intrinsic love for books. Just look at some of these pictures from the last four years.  Makes me get a little teary-eyed at how big they each have gotten. 

I can't believe I'm done having babies.  Okay - I'm a little off topic now...

I'm over at my other blog talking about reading today. It's the how's and why's of why I'm teaching Bubby to read already. Come join the discussion - more words and less pictures. (But there are a few pictures)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

learning to run, learning to endure

I worked on endurance today rather than getting a better time on my run.


It was suggested by The Hubs, of course. I asked him for advice; he didn't just dish it out. And I predicted his recommendation. After eight and a half years of marriage, one can start knowing what advice the other will probably give.

Endurance. Ugh.

"endurance: the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially :the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity" endure: to undergo (as a hardship) especially without giving in; to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

I have not really had first-hand physical experience with endurance because a) I am not an athlete and b) I gave birth to preemies (two and three pushes, baby) AND had an epidural.  But I do know about it in other ways. Praying without ceasing. Reaching out time and time again for reconciliation. Standing my ground on truth and convictions. Advocating for my children. Working through the hard times in marriage when it would have been easier to ask for a do-over. Staying at a job for a year that I cried going to every day. It hasn't always been pretty, but I've endured.

The cliche' little phrase says, "Life is a marathon, not a sprint." As a non-runner trying to become a runner I know little about sprinting and even less about marathon-ing.  But I'm learning that building my endurance is not only going to enable me to go a longer distance, but it is also good for my heart and lungs.

There are things in my life I want to sprint through right now. There are other things I want to just sit and rest with awhile. And there is a time and place for either in some circumstances. But endurance - that really is the key in life. Keeping a steady pace, a focus, and pushing through another couple of minutes instead of giving up. It is possible. I'm learning just how possible it is.

"...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

"May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." (Col. 1:11-12)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

being vulnerable (when paperwork hurts)

Two hours.

That is the amount of time tonight I spent (with The Hubs) filling out paperwork on medical history, family hisotry, and a whole lot of questions/inventories on Bugaboo's behaviors and development.

My hand hurts. My mind hurts. My heart hurts.

We have been noticing more.  The Hubs has enough experience in his counseling field to notice some things. My years in the classroom have caused me to notice some things. At the advice of a good friend who has kept up with what Bugaboo news and has observed him in a natural and informal setting (and who also happens to be autism expert for a school district), I once again talked to our pediatrician.

A neurodevelopmental disorder and autism center sent us a bunch of paperwork to fill out to see if they will see us.

The inventories and checklists show that there is something going on with our little guy's development - which we have obviously known as we have been investigating possible causes for over a year now. As he grows in some ways, other things show up.

I don't need a label, but I do need to have access to getting the best help/support/research for my son as possible. I am hoping this center will be able to help us understand better what is going on with Bug.

Say a prayer for this continued process for our family. Maybe one day everything will just click. But that is not a guarantee. The not knowing is very hard, but I know that knowing will be hard, too.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

on Papa's 79th birthday

Today is my grandpa's birthday. He would have been seventy-nine today. It was way too humid to make his homemade noodles, but I hope I honored him in some small way today.

I learned much about standing up for myself and others from him.

I remember him coming with my mom and me to a meeting regarding a high school teacher that was out of control. I always knew he had my back.

I remember him coming to every piano recital, every choir concert.  He and Mimi would get there early. He would wave to me on the risers, even when I was in high school, which embarrassed me a bit back then. But oh, that the world was full of more men who would wave to their kids and grandkids.

I believe in heaven. I believe by his faith in Christ my grandfather is in heaven.

But I don't quite know how heaven works.

Can people there see us here?  Do they know what is going on? Do they see when the people they love the most are mocked, are hurt, are let down?  Because if they can, I don't think Papa is up there twiddling his thumbs. I think he would be talking to God, advocating for his loved ones. It makes me smile just a little to think of Papa giving his two-cents on the situation. He was always good at that.

Like I said, I don't know how it all works. But I can go to sleep tonight thankful for how this man influenced my life, thankful for how he always advocated for me. Happy birthday, Papa! I wish you were still here, but I am glad you are no longer in any pain.

Monday, July 15, 2013

just keep running, running, running

I have never been what one would call athletic. I held my own okay playing softball in the summers following third and fourth grade. Back then I wasn't afraid of the ball, and I knew I would have a lecture at home if I ever considered throwing like a girl. I played catcher because most girls didn't want to put on that gear, and it was good for me because there was not a lot of running.  I took tennis lessons through the park board one summer, and I think I played about two weeks of basketball in sixth grade. That sums up my athletic career. Not a dance class.Not a soccer team. Each week at the beginning and end of youth group, I avoided the volleyball games like the plague.

me in sixth grade -
when I realized how un-athletic I am
I had the misfortune of being born in Illinois. Therefore from grade seven till high school graduation I had to take P.E. every. single. day. (Except the 10th grade semester in which we took health, and the few weeks I got a doctor's note because of my ongoing leg/testing issues.) I signed up for a lot of early bird PE in high school which enabled me to take more classes during the day, and to avoid most of the jocks during gym class. This also allowed me to skip out on P.E. because early bird was before school hours. I have many horrible PE memories. One involves a vault in the gymnastics unit. There was also the swimming unit every year where I feared drowning - and therefore skipped out on as much as possible. And last but not least were the mandatory Presidential Fitness testing - which involved running and V-sits. I have nightmares of each.

Read the bottom in Ben Stiller's voice from Dodgeball...DIED  This is my fave grumpy cat

I also had the misfortune of choosing to go to a college that believed that "our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit," and we were required to take two semesters of PE. There was a sport focused class (I chose tennis) and Lifetime Fitness (aka running). I earned a B in both of these classes, and swore I would never run again after I passed these classes.

Fast forward to present day.

I am more than halfway through my summer of teaching myself to run.  It isn't pretty, but it definitely isn't as miserable as high school or college. I am getting over my issues of caring what I look like in the gym because I am not being graded or compared to the people around me. I have not cried. I have not felt like a complete loser.

Each week I am running/jogging more and walking less. My breathing isn't scaring me any more. The thing that is holding me back these days is the pain in my legs. I am not sure if it is related to the funky way I walk or not.  If you would have told me this spring that I would feel good after working out like this, I would have laughed in your face.

Today was an exciting day for me. I had my best mile and a half time ever. I will not post it here because I am still a little afraid of being laughed at (a lifetime of feeling like an idiot in tennis shoes will do that to a girl). BUT I know what I ran the mile and a half in college, and I was about a minute under that.

To celebrate, we had ice cream after dinner tonight. The good stuff.

Sidenote: I agree with my college that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. I just believe that running a mile and a half at 7:30 am on Mon/Wed/Fri about caused me to lose my salvation that semester.

Sidenote to my sidenote: I actually don't theologically believe you can "lose" your salvation.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

ode to this summer (and a few other links)

I love the rhythm and newness I feel at the beginning of a school year - even though I am not a traditional teacher any more. August is a much more natural time for me to make plans and goals. It's much better than January 1st.
August comes after a summer of sleeping in and staying up late. After grilling out and the smell of fresh cut grass. After hiding out in the air conditioned house. After trying to get to the pool a few times. It is after all of this type of living that I am able to appreciate a new start.

So dear July, stretch out a little longer this year. Even though you are hot and humid, you and your friend June have been good to me this year. One year of nursing school down and one just ahead for this wife of a nursing student. I am thankful for you, sweet summer.

In honor of a lovely summer week, here are a few posts I found encouraging or interesting:

And please pray that sweet baby Caleb would be given a miracle heart this weekend.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A, B, C, Do, Re, Mi

In recent weeks we discovered Bugaboo knows most of his capital letters. I have never sat down with him and had formal letter lessons. We read ABC books from time to time. There are magnet letters that both boys play with. The LeapFrog DVD has played every now and then.  Yet my sweet 2 1/2 year old who has trouble communicating, who is developmentally delayed not only in speech but also in fine and gross motor skills, can name letters.  We are baffled, but in a good way.

I don't know how to get what is going on in his head to come out of his mouth or through manipulating things with his hands. He has meltdowns about random things, some of which we can figure out, and some of which we cannot. Bugaboo loves music. When we catch him singing, we can recognize the tune but often not the words. He loves swinging and spinning, but he hates being upside down. I know there is an incredible journey ahead with him, and even though I don't know what it will look like, I will take it one step at a time.

(I'm going to be blogging just about our home learning journey over at Life: Ungraded. Like most things, it will be an experiment with much trial and error.  This blog, Wandering on Purpose, will still be my main blog. I will keep writing about everything under the sun.)

Monday, July 8, 2013

a tribe of Mary Poppins on the 4th of July

Fourth of July weekend has caught up to my children, and they are both still napping which is actually like Christmas in July for this mama.  

It is really feeling like summer now, and our low-key but fun weekend helped me remember why I like summer (even though my sister-in-law's announcement today about school supplies had me giddy about buying notebooks, watercolors, and markers.)  On the actual holiday, we went to a cute little parade midtown that made me feel like we live in a small town even though we don't.  It was small and featured old cars, ladies dressed up like Mary Poppins, and tall bicycles.  There were flags of course, and candy, which Bubby and his little friend that I baby-sit (Miss C) enjoyed collecting. The Hubs made a mad dash pre-parade for fru-fru coffee for me, and both of my children were fussy at the parade until they got a drink.

We've been grilling a lot this summer, and Bubby likes to "help."  On the 4th we had red meat, but yesterday, thanks to my healthier meal plan that I somewhat hate and somewhat appreciate, we had fish. Gag. But the kids liked it and so did The Hubs, so we'll grill it again and keep that stink out of my house.

Bubby enjoyed getting to do sparklers this year, while Bugaboo watched and I became my usual paranoid self that I have always been around fireworks - only with more intensity now that I am a mother of boys.  The Hubs bought a couple of other harmless attractions, but unbeknownst to us, one was the type that shoots up in the air.  When that happened I may or may not have let out a word that I do not want my four-year-old repeating. I may have also called The Hubs by his full first name.

The kids are still sleeping right now, and I know I will regret this extended nap time when eight o'clock rolls around. But it's summer, so I'm trying not to stress out about it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


After Bugaboo's meltdown at lunch, I had the boys resting (but of course not napping) in their room. The Hubs had just left for his long day of work, and Scout, our new dog, was playing happily outside. It was a beautiful day. The breeze was coming in the back, and I could hear birds chirping outside. The chirping was quite loud, and I happened to look out the door just moments before the birds decided to fly out of their tree.
Scout was ready for them. Three birds flew down, and somehow she caught one of them. I started yelling, "No! Drop it! No! Come, Scout!"

The dog started running to the back door with the bird in her mouth. I did not want a bird in my house.

"Stop! Stop! Drop it! Stop!"

Right by the red wagon (aka the place a snake decided to hide this spring) Scout dropped the bird and began to play with him. The bird was still alive.  His two friends were flying around, chirping to let us know how ticked off they were.  Despite my continued yelling, Scout would not come to the door.  I tried to go out and get her, but the other birds were still flying around. I did not want to be pecked or pooped on.

Somehow I got Scout into the house and reported my dilemma on Facebook.  When I went back to the door to figure out what to do with the bird, he was gone.  I feared he was hiding from me underneath or in the red wagon.  I went back out and saw the bird had made his way across the yard to our privacy fence. He did not move when I came near him. He did not tweet. But he was alive and seemed content enough for a bird that had just been attacked by a large dog.

happy dog with bird-breath

So I did what any thirty-two year old woman would do in this situation. I called my mom. She convinced me that I would need to take care of the bird before naptime was over and before I had to put Scout out again.  I did not think I could hit the bird with a shovel and kill it like The Hubs may have done.  Mom suggested scooping the bird up in the shovel and dropping it on the other side of the fence. Luckily the bird hopped to the fence near the street and not the side by our neighbor's yard.

I went out to get the bird, but he was no longer there. I walked around the yard. No bird to be found. Hallelujah. He flew away, Oh Glory!

Later in the afternoon I checked for the bird again. He was not there. So I sent Scout out to potty, but she did not. Instead she found the bird right away in a bunch of dead plant life that has been piled by a tree in the back of our yard for longer than I care to admit. So now I was not only dealing with her attacking a bird, I was going to have to deal with the dog, the bird and potentially spiders and snakes. Awesome.

Once again Scout just wanted to play with her victim for awhile. Meanwhile birdie's friends had returned and were squawking like crazy. I pulled the dog into the house, and quickly and timidly scooped the bird out of the brush and over the fence. I'm hoping one of the stray cats that roam our streets will find it.