I thought I might write Friday, but decided I wouldn't, lest I alarm anyone. So on the other side of it, I can say that the grief I felt falling on Thursday, washed me down stream and left me barely able to catch my breath. The levee broke. I was useless, no homeschool, no planned well-balanced meals (uhhhh, yea,) no trips outside on another gorgeous day...I left a box of Cheez-Its and water bottles out for the babes and went to bed. My poor kids. They climbed in bed with me and I tried to continue our read-aloud and couldn't get through a paragraph. I finally just turned on the TV for them and cried myself to sleep. It was such a lonely feeling.
But I have surfaced and perhaps I won't fight so hard next time and just be swept along the current. There's nothing anyone can do anyway, but pray. And now I can pray more effectively for others surviving grief...that'd be all of us, folks.
His mercies are new every morning. I got my act together Saturday, so we gathered food and delivered a box for Turkeyfest. That was cool as we got to meet a sweet lady and her son.
We "parked" with Sweet Daddy, but had to deliver him back to work. Fun was not done, though, so back we went to Sharon Woods and played some more. And then we watched the Grinch and The Cat in the Hat on TV while eating Momma's fried rice for supper.
A few nights ago, Sweet Daddy and I caught a PBS show on the history of Cincinnati parks and were so intrigued. I have already become a big fan of Hamilton County Parks, but had not visited any City of Cincinnati parks. Today, we went to three. Check out the pics, especially this one of the concrete slide built in 1929.
Tomorrow, we're going to the museum to see the Lost Egypt and Mummies exhibit. Yahoo...you know me, I love field trips!
Travel update: The kids and I will be traveling back home on Tuesday to celebrate my absolute favorite holiday with our families. Sweet Daddy is going to be able to join us (wasn't settled until a couple of days ago) and is taking his provisional break until next Tuesday. Don't know what we'll do with those days off and not sure how long Bug, Bean and I will stay home beyond that. I may have mentioned how I love living in this hotel. So, there...you know what I know. Can't wait to see you all.
I'm good at going on, but next week I can see an obstacle. I can't keep putting my head down and plugging away at this life. There looms an empty chair that stops my momentum. It is so imposing, I can't even take my eyes off it.
Grief falls down on me today. My chest twists anticipating my most cherished holiday.
I will look for her, her back to the others in the kitchen, impatient with my dad's lack of immediate response to "It's time to carve the bird." Never sitting down for more than 2.5 minutes, I will see her poised with hands, pinkies slightly raised, on the back of that chair. She'll sigh and smile, seeing her beloved family is seated and ready to pass the dishes.
I will stand in the kitchen listening. I will be thankful. But the table is waiting and my eyes still search for her.
We went here today. Whoa, Nelly...that's a fun place. Things got a little hairy keeping track of both babes in a big, busy, vast, water wonderland. But we did it.
We stayed about 3 hours...which was well worth it, because it was FREE! I knew that our local one at home had special free hours right now...arrive before 5, Mon. through Thurs., admission is free. I thought it would be a long shot that the one a mere 5 minutes from Sweet Man's office would have the same deal going...but they did. Rainy day = indoor play!
And my lands, right around 5, the place was c.r.a.z.y. So we beat it on out of there, after spending 10 minutes sitting in the rain in the HUGE outdoor hot tub. May sound miserable, but ohhh, it wasn't. I almost fell asleep.
No pictures...didn't want to chance take my precious camera into a place with a million gallons of water spraying every which way. You just need to go and experience it for yourselves!
Lest anyone think I am not crazy about this boy...I will write about him today.
He is so like Sweet Daddy. The other day he was opening and closing the hotel room door, over and over.... Here's a sampling of my pet peeves: 1.windshield wipers set on an inappropriately fast setting (aaaaack!) and 2. unnecessary noise.
So, I snapped..."What are you doing? Come in here and stop messing with the door!"
Sweet Daddy needed no explanation from his son. He looked at me and gently explained that Bug was just trying to figure out how the latch and lock operate. Ohhhh...okay...in that context, I'm all for it. We'll add slamming doors to our homeschooling portfolio and claim credit for it. Unnecessary becomes a little more necessary.
Very inquisitive...and a perfectionist...has us both tearing our hairs out about handwriting time. His standards are so high...don't know where he got that...neither one of us big people in his life expects perfection. I definitely lean to the get-r-done-good-enough school of thought. And his daddy, while detail-oriented to the extreme also settles for less than perfect in the practical.
I consider him an expert sound-effect maker...how do boys just know how to recreate gunfire, robot sounds, and explosions with vocal chords and lips...astonishing. And an expert storyteller...he can narrate a movie scene, fairytale, video game battle, or real life event...with excrutiating detail. And run-on sentences...whoa....
He's becoming a fantastic swimmer...we're working on strokes these days, but he is definitely a swimmer at this point....pretty much just fine in the water. (Update: just got back from the hotel pool, and uhhh, I may have spoken too soon...he could be a swimmer if he was interested...but today, he was not) And a reader...I've always thought if my kids learn to 1. love Christ, 2. read, 3. swim, and 4. read music, they'll be in pretty good shape for life. So, we're getting there and soon my job will be done...right
He's cautious like me. When approaching a new experience, he wants to know what to expect, and unlike me as a child, is fairly adaptable socially. He likes one of us with him to see a new environment ie:Sunday School class, but quickly feels confident enough to stay independently without a look back in our direction. But I do adore the way he plays in a crowd and emerges looking for me...just to make eye contact before going back to play.
(Digression: That is the best feeling...I get it with his dad, too, when we've been separated in a crowd and we find each other eyes. Like at an airport, a party...or Sam's Club on a Saturday before Christmas. Always thrills my soul. cue swelling violin music)
Bug is so lovey...sneeking into bed in the wee hours and attaching himself to one of us big people. Today during couch time, we were reading and I could not turn the page or lift my coffee mug because he was right up against me. I moved down...once, twice...even taking pillows of the couch so that I could get into the corner...I finally had to ask for some space...I know I won't always have to ask...he'll just drift farther away.
I can't resist this boy. I touch his hair, I smooch his cheek, I squeeze his buns...maybe I should stop doing that....
More and more, I am realizing that God gave me the perfect children for me...and the perfect siblings for each other. I am a proud momma and gladly fade into the background behind these mostly-charming-and-oozing-with-fun-and-promise babes. I continue to try to be thankful for the challenges they bring...in the ways we are different or the same...He uses them to sand off my edges...that's what that irritation is about, right?
I know Bean has spent a mere 3.5 years with us, but she speaks and acts beyond her days.
A few days ago, she said to me, "I don't like what you're sayin'. And I want you to listen to what I have to say."
She sometimes joins me as I indulge in watching "bride shows" on TLC. And more than once she has struck the seat on which she's perched with her fist saying, "When is it gonna be my weddin'?" Sweet Daddy has asked me to not let her watch...he thinks it will fan the flames of entitlement...for a $7,000 weddin' dress.
She wants to be a mommy and a grandmommy.
My girl has taken to calling me "Doctor" because she is "having" 3 or 4 babies a day and staying in character even when not "in labor." There is often a stuffed animal or baby under her shirt, waiting for its arrival. She calls the doctor (again, me or in a pinch, the policeman aka:brother Bug) and lays down on the bed, breathing Lamaze-style. She pushes, lifts up her shirt, and presents the baby. I instantly become "Grandmomma" and ooh and ahh over the baby and she beams with pride...and then nurses. I actually love that, but not in the lobby of our hotel....
Honestly, I don't know where she's getting all this information...but the little of it she has is accurate.
She has little real world experience with wee ones...and it hasn't been in our house. Sweet Man and I talk often about the days the babes were born, but don't go into details about the mechanics of it all.
Sweet Man has fessed up to teaching her how to pant in labor...thankyousomuch.But someone else must be feeding her information...'fess up out there, if it's one of you, dear readers.
Grandma J and I have compared notes a couple of times about the depth of understanding Bean has about death and heaven. She speaks of Mimi more often then I do and asks if her friend's grandpa, who just passed, will get to see Mimi.
She sings songs about when she does something bad, that she can talk to God and He uses His paintbrush to erase her mistakes. We can love Him and go to heaven. She asked Jesus into her heart, because she wants to go to heaven and see Mimi again.
And declares that she wants to be a grandma and doesn't want to die before she is.
Her surprising words take our breath away. That's our girl.
Here's our home for right now...we've been in this hotel off and on since the beginning of August. Come visit, but in the meantime you can see what our space looks like.
Somehow I missed the desk and the table. You wouldn't be able to see them anyway...they'e always covered with books, food and such. The kids sleep on the sofa bed. We have the king size bed....space. And the only thing I don't have but would like to is an oven...I've had to adjust my meal plans. I've thought of bringing a toaster oven on the road...yea...but for now I'm experimenting with baking in the crock pot. We'll see.
The staff takes great care of our family here.
So, the room's comfortable and plenty big, but small enough to motivate us to get out on these spectacular sunny days.
Oh, there have been a few bumps in the road...and an Open House at the house today...that throws me into a tizzy. But I need to remember to stop and be grateful.
In the past week, I have:
* been present as a sweet friend gave birth at home to a beautiful baby girl (with an adorable name)
* gone to an inspirational Recovery meeting...hearing what I needed to hear this week...still chewing on the message that God will never prosper the parts of me that are not real.. ie: not reflecting Him...may take me a while to digest that one...and what does prospering look like?
* caught up with the other men in my life, Opa and Uncle Nack
* had another late night coffee date with my late night amiga
* played with some of our favorite people
* hiked with some long and new-to-me friends in amazing November weather...while my babes were safe, sound, and happy at Grandma & Grandpa J's...also got to see my crazy, cool sister-in-law
* snuggled and tickled a lot...funny how when I am a single parent, I wake in the morning with two small people in my bed
* traveled back to my sweet man's arms to live in a lovely hotel (we'll be in Cincinnati with him for the foreseeable future)
God surely is giving me more than I could have ever imagined.
It's been a while since we've had one of these on site, with Sweet Daddy. We stayed in Cincinnati instead winging back home for our church.
Right around the corner from Sweet Man's office is a Vineyard Church and we attended this morning....ooooo, it was a good one. Fantastic music, great words from the pastor about the radical 1st century Christians and how we, and not the government, are responsible for upholding our communities.
Deuteronomy 15:4 (New International Version) 4 However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you
He then put that passage into New Testament perspective according to the Acts stories. Oooo, makes me tingle and want to do something radical...what would that be? I'll have to keep asking the Lord to clearly show me those opportunities. I know there are many poor among us, poor in so many ways....
After church, we puttered a bit and went to the Newport Aquarium...it seems to be a hot destination and several people have suggested that we visit. Sweet Daddy wanted us to reserve this trip so that he could join us.
I'm starting to consider myself an amateur judge of the value of the entertainment dollar...I guess anyone who spends money is a judge of value...anyway, this, my friends, did not live up to my standards...don't want to gripe too much.
The exhibits were very impressive...but the corresponding information was so disorganized. Many tanks had species that were not labeled or tanks were labeled and there were no animals to match to be found. Bug kept asking the names of things and I couldn't find out for him. I gave up about half way through. Some tanks had no information at all. Maybe I'm just one of those annoying people who wants to read everything.
Then they had several rubbing kiosks at child level where a visitor could place a piece of paper on a brass relief and rub the image with a crayon...but there was no paper at any of them....
In general, I just didn't get the layout, how the exhibits were organized...they seemed random...river systems and then a reptile tank, then sharks, and at the end penguins. Water, I guess, was the only commonality. Okay, aquarium...I get it...I guess I was expecting more theme-i-ness...
There were fun areas. We really enjoyed the shark petting tank and the jellyfish exhibit. And the pirates and pumpkins in the shark tanks and an interactive frog area...complete with a lifesize Froggergame.
Bottom line: this place was expensive even with a coupon. And it was not worth the 3 hour tour in my book...there...in case anyone cares....
Here are some pics and they...are worth any every penny you paid for them.