Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

September 30, 2010 by Rieshy
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So here's an odd thing to be thankful for, at least publicly; I'm seeing less and less of my older children.

It's not the reclamation of square footage provided by their absence that gives my happy feelings.  Well, perhaps that does count a bit.

What makes me happy is that they are out doing and learning and becoming. Becoming the people that God created them to be. 


It's even better when they eat before they come home.  More for us.


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 Piercing my heart with gladness, an illustration:

I was out walking, and holding hands with both my 2 and 4 year old the other day.  My 4 year old said, "Mom, this is great."  I responded in the affirmative and then my son added, "Do you know what would make this the greatest thing ever?"

"No Sweetie, what?"

With glowing eyes he answered, "If everyone in the whole family were with us and we were all holding hands, all the way across the street."





Marie est à la piscine ...

September 29, 2010 by Rieshy
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I always had excellent French language teachers in school.  The title of this post is from the first French dialogue I ever had to memorize.  Poor, wayward Marie, she always ran off to go swimming....

In high school I remember my father riding the subway to and from school with me so that he could help me with my French 1 homework; we were reading a history of the Napoleanic era, in French.  I remember one high school French teacher with especially nubby fingers.  The teacher would raise them in the air and wiggle them as the class conjugated verbs outloud.  The entire class would sit transfixed in awed concentration as his stubby little fingers flexed and straightened.

Not so with my German language teachers.  My main memory of German class is... um, nothing.  Though I do remember one teacher who spent the entire year sitting on top of some tables chatting with the cool kids about concerts while I and the rest of the uncool kids did Algebra homework.

Of course, my Dad choose Austria and not France for one of his Sabbaticals.  I was suddenly submerged in the German language without a stitch of grammar.  I had a headache for months straight and came out of the experience heroically still without a stitch of grammar but with a lot of vocabulary, an approximation of an Austrian accent, and some lifelong friends.

This summer I decided I would try to teach myself German grammar.  It's only been 30 years since I could completely mangle German with my Austrian friends.  Easy?

Right.

However, I've been having the time of my life.  I chose a heady, academic tome with which to learn: Bis(s) Zum Morgengrauen.  Which is simply the book, Twilight, translated into German.  It took me about 3 chapters before I realized the joke inherent in the title- bis being a preposition and biss meaning to bite...

Since almost nothing happens in Twilight, Bella spends a lot of time doing laundry and cooking dinner- which, regrettably enough,  is quite useful vocabulary for me.  I also now know about a million different ways to express teen-aged angst and being, rendered breathless by beauty.  The general silliness makes grammar study much more diverting. 

Recently, I discovered some German language movies to watch and some internet sources for German language news. Added to those sources we've been listening to Pimsleur cds in the van and I've been reading from my German language Bible.  I've been waking up with German words on my tongue.  Very cool. 

To what end?  No idea.  However, it has raised some interesting theological questions from my 4 year old. He asked me last night, "What language does God speak?"

Normal?

September 24, 2010 by Rieshy
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Normal is such a touchy word for parents.  All parents.  But especially for parents of children with "issues." 

The dystopian novel, 1984, made a big impression on me in high school.  Especially the concept of doublespeak. So (probably stepping on toes now- but hear me out) when I hear a parent of a child with a g-tube or a child that is in a wheel-chair, or a child with the same condition as my 4 year old defensively call their child normal or differently-abled I immediately think they are just playing games with language. 

Call it what you like, but the norm is for people to be able to walk, chew their food, go hours between meals. 

Webster defines normal :
2
a : according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle
b : conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern
3
: occurring naturally <normal immunity>


It's not normal to need medication because your body is missing an enzyme.  It's not normal for a four year old to have to drink cornstarch before bed and then be fed again in the middle of the night.  It is most definitely not normal to have seizures caused by severe hypoglycemia just because you slept a bit too long.

So, to the random adult who asked not me, but my 4 year old, "What is wrong with you?", when my 4 year old's medic-alert bracelet was in view.  "Shame on you!  Mind your own business and learn some social skills."

However, is something wrong with my 4 year old?  Yes, his medical condition is not normal.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact it is extremely rare.

So is my son normal?  No. Yes. It depends.

Does he think he is normal?  Yes. 

Will he always think he is normal?  I don't know- I bet he'll have to decide that on his own. 

The only thing I know with absolute surety is that even though I have to give him his meds. watch his energy levels, feed him constantly, I also have to treat him like a regular boy who is going to grow up to be a man. 

In one way he is completely and absolutely normal.  He, like everyone else on the planet, was created for one purpose- God's.

"For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?" 
"Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?"
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.


-Romans 11:34-36

To The Parents Of...

September 23, 2010 by Rieshy
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Evidently my husband is also my parent. 

I was so excited to be invited to spend the summer touring England, Ireland, and Wales with other high school students "my" age...


I was especially excited about the chance to Develop new skills through activites designed to stretch me.  

I have to admit that as I read this letter, part of my body whisked away to some wind-swept heath where I wandered, without a care in the world, holding a composition notebook and sketching different varieties of native heathers.

No mortgage, no 2 a.m. feedings, no drama but that of my own making.  

Then someone grabbed my arm asking, "What's for lunch?"  

Swoosh, I landed back in reality faster than any jet can travel.
Then someone noticed the letter I was holding and I suddenly had a crowd of children laughing with me.  

Sometimes landings are a good thing...







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The Bad, The Good, The Unbelievably Good

September 22, 2010 by Rieshy
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The Bad:
I picked up some knitting that I haven't worked on all Summer.  Granted it is black sock weight yarn on size 1 needles, but I dropped a stitch and couldn't see the individual stitches well enough to pick the stitch back up.  In June I could see the stitches.  Unbelievable. 

My oldest daughter joined our son in the ranks of licensed drivers.  Her insurance is TWICE that of our son.  Why? Because for some mysterious reason ($$$) State Farm will not allow me to put her as mainly driving our oldest car because our son is already listed as its primary driver.  You can't have two teens listed on the same car?!?  She has to be listed on my car ($$$) the one with more insurance.  It makes me mad; our oldest car is the one she drives the most.

The Good:
So what if I can't see black stitches?  I can go pick up some reading glasses at the drug store and then amuse myself by pretending to be my mom.  She had the most amazing ability to freeze me and my siblings in our tracks with one look over the top of her glasses.  If Mom snapped her fingers at the same time.... watch out!  I wish I could just go visit my sisters and try my abilities on them.  The fear of glasses and snapping fingers is deeply ingrained in all of us.  It would be a hoot to make them jump.

And The...
Back to my oldest daughter and her insurance rates.  Our oldest son has always been required to pay for his own insurance.  My daughter can't afford to.  So instead she's been given the job of planning the weekly menu and doing the weekly grocery shopping. Oh, and best of all, cleaning the fridge before doing the big shopping trip.   It "pays" for her portion of the insurance.

Just imagine me doing a jig on top of my dining room table.  Not only have I not had to shop for the last month but I don't have to meal plan!!! Wahooo!  Not to mention that in the month since she's been doing the groceries I've saved an average of $25 a week. 

From their sense of humor to their mad grocery shopping skills, teenagers can be Unbelievably Good to have about.

Cosmic Questions Answered

September 20, 2010 by Rieshy
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Why, oh why, are my 2 year old and 4 year old playing so quietly and so cooperatively?  Why, oh why, have they not come to drag me from my bed?


Ah, I see. 
Early morning Operation Mentos Liberation.


Yes,  it is Monday.  Best begun with a boatload of sugar and dye.  Too bad they didn't leave me any.

Keystone Cops Take a Family Portrait

September 16, 2010 by Rieshy
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If you've ever wondered what's it's like trying to get a photo with 7 children, just press play.  

video

We took these a year and a half ago, too bad I never managed to send the photos out...


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Postponed On Account of Bling

September 14, 2010 by Rieshy
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I've found something I cannot do while blogging.

Sewing.  Specifically hand-stitching sort of sewing.  Irish Dance- hand-stitching sort of sewing. 

Great fun, no sarcasm intended.  My daughters do not do Irish dance but a lovely friend of mine does.  I'd happily claim her as a daughter, but alas, her mother is stingy.

This lovely young lady is going to a competition this weekend.  As in 5 days from now.  I'm sewing feverishly alongside her mother to prevent her from having to dance naked. 

Did you know that you can get sore from sewing feverishly?  I choose not to think about how out-of-shape a person has to be in order to get sore from embroidering.  La, la, lala la...  -that's me not thinking about it.

At any rate, by this weekend not only will I be back to blogging, but a wonderful girl will be dancing in a glorious dress that was designed and sewed by her mother- and I will have had the privilege of being able to help with the bling factor.

A Child's Vision

September 7, 2010 by Rieshy
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My vase.  Through the eyes of my 4 year old.


A reminder of how fantastical everyday life really is, if you take the time to look.


tuesdays unwrapped at cats

September 7th Daybook

by Rieshy
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As part of The Simple Woman's Daybook:


FOR TODAY
Outside my window...
My windows are open this morning.  Autumn is on the breeze.

I am thinking... That I am too tired for the beginning of the day.

I am thankful for... My teenage daughters went wading in a neighborhood creek on Saturday-  along with water moccasins.  We've never seen snakes at this creek before.  I'm so thankful that the girls were paying attention and got out ahead of the snakes.

From the learning rooms... so many subjects, so little time.

From the kitchen... I'm roasting some butternut squash to use as a soup base.

I am creating...
I've been too busy studying ahead in my children's school subjects to do any artwork or crafts.

I am going... to the park today.

I am reading... Bis(s) Zum Morgengrauen
, and Crazy Love.

I am hoping... that the flu season this year is gentle and doesn't pay my home a visit.

I am hearing...
a daughter doodling on her guitar, a son laughing about something he is reading, and suspicious silence from the youngest set of children.  I need to stop typing and take a moment to investigate...

Around the house...
I have so many things half-done.  I'm starting to feel the urge to sort and purge belongings and projects before winter.  I need to start on fall-yard-work as well.

One of my favorite things...
anything that blooms.  Right now I'm blessed to have Kerria, Crepe Myrtal, Smoke bush, Zinnia, Moon Flowers, Nasturtium, Sunflowers, Morningglories, Sedum, Roses, Geraniums, Althea, Cannas, Daisies, Coreopsis, and Pumpkins blooming.  However, they all have that slightly tired, sparse and parched look of August.  Some rain and some cooler days is all it will take to make everything pop again for the last hurrah before winter.



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Super Powers

September 6, 2010 by Rieshy
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Proof my 2 year old has superpowers.

This bowl is in the center of the room where my entire family spent the morning. 


Evidently my 2 year old can phase in and out of the visible spectrum... at least when he's snacky.

Anyone want an apple?


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Pondering The Grooves

September 3, 2010 by Rieshy
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Does anyone remember the following poem from their childhood?

Now I lay me down to sleep, 
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  
If I should die before I wake, 
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

This verse definitely doesn't dovetail with current sensibilities.  Try to imagine it hanging on a nursery wall next to a bookshelf holding attachment parenting books. 

Sunday evening my 4 year old fell asleep next to me in church.  I got to hear the entire sermon.  It was wonderful!  Until I realized my 4 year old wasn't peacefully sleeping but, in fact, couldn't wake up because his blood sugars had plummeted. 

Crowds of people swirling around my pew.  Chatting, visiting.  There I sit trying to force a lollipop in my 4 year old's mouth while simultaneously trying to get the lid off his emergency glucose gel.  A good friend sat to help me.

"Jack can you hear me?" 

Some of my older children swirl by.  They know what's going on.  How many times have they seen this?  Too many.  
"Is Jack going to have to go to the hospital?  Can we go play dodgeball with everyone else?"

Routine.  Grooves.

How does a heart cope with that?  How do my children's hearts cope?

I'm beginning to see that the routine, the groove of my son's illness, cuts each time- with each crisis.  I've developed calluses.  I don't feel it as deeply each time.  
But the damage is the same.  Routine pain is merely pain-deferred. 

How do you cope?  How do you continue to love a child when their illness constantly leaps upon you without warning and attempts to rip your heart out?

I don't know- but I do know that the callouses of the routine help.  They absorb the shock, help me to cope, they give me time.  Later? Later I can stay up too late and sit on the sofa with my husband.  Later I can go to God and cry, "Why?" 

I suspect that the grooves only really damage a heart if they are ignored.  

So, I'm pondering those grooves.

I have a "modern" version of the bedtime prayer that a sister gave to me when my oldest was born.

Now I lay me down to sleep, 
I pray the Lord my soul to keep. 
Watch over me through all the night 
and wake me safe by morning's light.

Now that's a prayer that a parent of a child with FOD can definitely get behind. 


















Who Needs A Junglegym?

September 2, 2010 by Rieshy
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Waiting at the Pharmacy.


Excitement is not 


something they find...


It's something they create.


Throw in some dirt and the possibility of bodily harm and errand running is transformed.