Thursday, October 23, 2014

hazel is 6


dear hazel,
you turned six last week and in some ways the time between the day you breathed your first breath and that 6th birthday is only a blur. but in other ways, i remember with such clarity the day by day way you have been becoming.
you are adventurous, but with a wise caution beyond your years.  you are creative and imaginative, but you don't give that away too often, reserving it for specific times to let your true colors burst forth.  you are thoughtful because well, you are always thinking.  you love to give gifts and cards and creations away and even though you are great with words, you'd rather give the tangible to show love rather than give the words away.  you are doing so great in kindergarten.  you seem to really love it but you also are really great to let me know in your own way that you miss me too.  you still take gymnastics and still like it a lot.  you also started play practice at a kids theater and you are all about it.  you have loved annie for well over a year and when you went to kindergarten this year i had to tell you to leave ms hannigan at home...she is your favorite character to act like and sing like, which is so risque.
so approaching your 6th birthday you said the only thing you wanted was for your friends to come over and watch annie.  and that is just what we did.  and you were on top of the world about it.
















hazel, you also have been saving your own money for a ridiculously huge giraffe.  so, we surprised you with it on the morning of your actual birthday.  you named it GG and i don't know if you've ever loved anything more.  you carry it around and sleep with it, bring it to the table to eat with us, put it on your back for walks around the yard. so funny.
happy birthday, sweet daughter.










Wednesday, October 1, 2014

stay for rest

so, 10 days ago i had back surgery. 
a lumbar microdiscectomy to be exact.
good times.
i guess i had my tonsils and adenoids removed when i was 7 but i don't really remember that so my only association with hospitals has been involving my children, the birth of them or procedures for lena.

prior to the date and time of the surgery, i tried to come to grips with the reality of my situation but i actually lived in an acute state of denial up until the exact moment my birthday suit was covered by a hospital gown in a pre-op room with a nurse named nicki that laughed awkwardly to fill silence. nicki put in my IV & i thought, "well, i guess i'm having surgery now" and grabbed the weird remote thing attached to hospital bed by a cord that allowed me to turn on the small tv too far away for me to actually see in my glasses since you can't have surgery in contact lenses. 
queen latifah had snoop dog on her talk show... did you even know that queen latifah has her own talk show?! and it is just me or has snoop dog been around forever? oh the things back surgery can teach you. 

surgery went well, doc was happy with everything and i had little to no nerve pain almost immediately and just occasional nerve stuff now. this is pretty remarkable because even on lots of nerve pain meds, my foot has been numb since july. 
thankful. 
all the denial, but i did the surgery and it went so well.

now i "recover"...which in my world translates to watching gazillions people take care of my family, my household. the whole 6 weeks is supposed to be spent walking or laying down, with an emphasis on no BENDING, LIFTING or TWISTING...sounds simple enough right? 
try it. 
just do something basic like go to the sink and brush your teeth. 
it's been so funny to me how much we bend, twist and lift. especially the mothers of little kiddos.

first week was a lot of trying to manage pain and figure out the best way to move and get in and out of bed. the second week has felt much better but requires a lot of discipline because feeling good does not mean i can do anything more than the laying down and walking.
but i can walk as much as i can handle and only 10 days in, i was able to do 3 30-minute walks.

so thankful to be walking more and more as autumn makes it's way to fayetteville.
so thankful for incredible people, being the body of Christ in beautiful and basic ways like jumping to do laundry and meals and playing with kiddos and even just an encouraging text or call.
so thankful for kids climbing stairs to bring me their latest artwork or pipe cleaner bracelet and kids going on walks with me.
so thankful for season 7 of the voice. (liking Gwen & Pharrell so far)
so thankful for a deck renovation. (more on that later)
and...
trying to be thankful for being pushed to rest. not the laying down kind but the soul kind of rest. which for me, has followed the back stuff, the laying down, the total change of rhythm of every single aspect of my day to day.
only 5 days after surgery, when I was already feeling sorta sick of the lying around so much, i came across this ...
yes, come for rest. but stay for rest, too. stop all feverish haste and be calm and untroubled. come unto Me, not only for petitions to be granted but for nearness to Me. be sure of My Help, be conscious of My Prescence, and wait until My Rest fills your soul. Rest knows no fear. Rest is strong, sure. the rest of soft glades and peacefully flowing rivers, of strong, immovable hills. Rest, and all you need to gain this rest is to come to Me. so come. 

and then a few days later, i came across this...and you'd think I googled rest for the soul or something but I didn't...He's just good like that and He has me here to rest. 
to stay for rest.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

michigan 2014


so every summer we pack up, load the van and drive to northern michigan.  it's visiting family and cooler temps, it's a road trip and vacation, but it's really just a circus transport.  i love every part of this…even the long drive.  i set up activities for the kids and we play games along the way and find interesting places to stop along the way.  i used to make this trip as a kid and i love that my own little crew gets to have the same experience up north at a magical little place called bay view, michigan.  my dad did this as a kid and my grandparents.  my kids are making similar memories to the ones i made and  that ones have made for generations past.   
i skipped some years going after matt and i were married and before kiddos.  we've been going back up there since hazel was born and now, this summer…it was gonna be the best summer.  we set up a sitter from home to meet us  there to help, so that matt could just work from up there.  hazel and anders are both old enough to do more of the activities offered up there.  lena loves riding in the trailer behind the bike and walking in the cool breeze.  i pictured running with my sister and sister-in-law along the trail that kisses little traverse bay and spending some mornings in a coffee shop all by myself.  
nope.  
i re-injured my back on the way up.  this happened 2 years ago, before lena was walking.  and now, after she's struggled more in the last few months, i have scooped her 7 year-old self up a lot.  it's just what mom's do…when your kid is crying or needs you, you scoop them up.  i could've been smarter  with the scooping of a 50lb kid and that is easy to say now, i guess. 
and well, on the way to 4 weeks with family in a magical place...it was a bummer.  and saying something seemingly real laid-back-no-big-deal like "bummer" and laughing awkwardly is just all i can do these days.  now that we are home, surgery is likely and likely soon.  and when we wonder how we'll do all this, He will be near.  and that's how summer up north went as well.  i was hurting and we wondered how we were gonna make it but God didn't just show up, He was there all along.  lena did amazing, she was happy and content, even with my parenting from the sidelines and our sitter who came up was remarkable with her and everyone there.  my family helped a ton with kids and groceries and laundry.  hazel and anders did great and made great memories with their cousins.  
this is all so much grace, i can't even describe it.


i packed and was so proud and matt mooney still thinks this is too much for 16 hour road trip, 5 humans and 4 weeks away.  

they do so great on long trips.

i plan all these organized crafty-activities and anders doesn't do them…he rigs his drink and bulldozer on a string somehow.  such a little dude.

lena discovered pringles.

we stopped at a hotel/resort place outside of chicago with an indoor arcade, watermark and amusement park.  everyone was a fan.

 
some serious focus at the arcade game

hiking at starved rock state park in illinois…ya know, back when i could do things like hike (insert awkward laugh here)

finding pretty things along the way

after a day of driving, a day of adventures and another day of driving…we made it!

and cousins are awesome


sunsets

lena loves sweeping and my dad is showing her how to actually sweep and not just bang the broom on the floor…he was a patient, kind teacher…and lena still prefers to bang the broom on the floor

papa tom's sail boat

bookshop fun at one of the best independent book stores, mclean and eakin

fun treats from the candy shop

this is our fearless and joyful sitter, michaela…i can not describe what a champ she was

cousins and aunts and duck duck goose

sometimes you go play in the park and your 4 year old boy finds a zumba class and joins in from a distance and then joins in close up for 3 songs.  maybe the most i've ever laughed in my life.

i loved how all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, adults around would think that kids weren't listening to adult conversations…this is never the case with hazel. 

sunday night vespers concert…not pictured: an attempt to bring lena because she loves music, but the first few songs were guest acapela singers instead of the orchestra and so she didn't last long

beautiful bay view

when the mom has a bad back and the dad and the sitter are doing everything, there has to be yoga, aka comic relief, when the kids go to bed

pirate day and she lost her first tooth!!!!

cousins and pj day at tot lot


lena louise, so loved and so hip

 
our friend josh came to visit and hazel jumped on asking him to swim with her all the way out to the buoy because he can't say no to our kiddos and no one else will stay in the freezing cold water that long…haaa!!

still managed to get some good time with ms lena even though i couldn't physically help her and be with her like we are used to

so crazy thankful for this place…no back injury makes this less beautiful.