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From Kayaks to Clark Kent

It is most definitely time for a photo dump.  Halfway through June, and so much has happened!  We went to Marsh Creek during Memorial Day weekend and had a fabulous time!  The weather was gorgeous, and Betty was so cute in the canoe.  Elijah experienced solo kayaking for the first time.
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There have been moments of frustration and moments of sweetness.  We still have Toby, who loves to go on walks with his little vest and leash on his back.   Phone Photos9
The Weldons recently had a family reunion/anniversary party and there was a fabulous glam cam there.  We took full advantage of the fun:June 2014
And just because I love it:
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The kids and I recently went on a field trip to Harrisburg.  What a beautiful building and fascinating history!  The photo of the bookshelf is of a treat I found on it one day: superglue, super-glued to the wood.  On Father’s Day all Matthew wanted to do was have a workout in the park, so he and a friend met there and did just that.  Elsie and Betty continue to be “twins” every day, and it’s hard to keep their two “twin” outfits clean… but on the days they are dirty, they seem to figure out another way to manage the job of looking as much like the other as possible.Phone Photos6
The small photo of the girls sleeping is a tiny glimpse of what has been filling my weeks.  We have rearranged five rooms of the house to accommodate an office for Matthew.  As his business grows, so do the papers and the need for a spot to do his at-home work.  Happy Father’s Day to him!  I will post pictures o the finished product soon.  As an exclamation point to our week, Jack got glasses!  We are excited to see if they help with the challenge that school has been for him this year.  We may not have Mary Poppins living here, but Clark Kent is in the house.Phone Photos8

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In My Head

Yesterday, Elsie came down to the kitchen with a coonskin hat on her head, and a silky pink polka-dot cape around her neck.  In a very serious voice she asked me what I too have been wondering lately:  Mom, is it going to rain every day?  We’ve been caught in so many deluges the past two weeks!  I’ve hung up clothes, only for them to be washed a dozen times in the rain before finally bringing them inside to the spin cycle and clothes dryer, because I really needed that shirt.  I’ve gotten showered while running to move the car.  Finally, today I was able to bond with the dirt once again and discovered my first daisy!  Zucchini growing, flowers planted from seed, now blooming.  It does my soul good.

On Wednesday we made out with a huge bin of K’nex for $5 from a used sale.  Elijah has been skipping breakfast for the past two days in order to build this amazing contraption.

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He often leaves me notes on my phone, can fix bikes, and loves anything electronic.

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He also loves apricot jelly.  When he was making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for himself he saw me about to say something and interjected: I know, I know.  No more jelly.  That’s what you always say when there’s an inch of jelly on my bread.

I have a knack at going grocery shopping either dangerously close to lunch time, or at midnight.  This particular time it was right around noon.  Everyone was hungry.  As Elsie remarked, her tummy felt backwards. To make up for it, I let the kids pick out a few special items to eat, and we had a spontaneous picnic at the splash park.  As we sat on the grass, eating, Elijah looked at me with his orange fingers and said, The one thing that makes me think I’m dreaming is that you would never say yes to Doritos.  He grinned and licked his fingers.

Matthew’s youngest brother just graduated from highschool.  I’ve known him since he was three years old, which makes me feel very old.  What a wonderful young man Jacob has become.

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The other day Elsie asked me: Does God hear you when you talk in your head?  It’s a wonderful thing that He does, because most of my talking to Him is done that way!  While wrestling wet babies out of the kiddie pool.  While putting certain children on time-out steps and wondering what on earth to do next.  While wiping tables, bottoms, and countertops.  While slicing onions and running through a few recipes in my head.  While picking up again and again and again.  While driving with the background noise at a deafening level.  While running a few city blocks in silence.  While peeking in on sleeping cherubs in their beds.  While doubting, fearing, rejoicing, and giving thanks.  He hears our silent prayers.

The past week it seems like our kids have fallen asleep in the weirdest places.  While watching a movie, the boys fell asleep like this:

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The other night Elsie fell out of bed and kept right on sleeping.  I couldn’t lift her back onto her bed, and thought Matthew would before we went to bed.  He forgot, and the next morning Elsie informed me that she slept on the floor all night.  I felt bad, but it didn’t seem to bother her!  Then, one night Jack was determined to wait up until Matthew and I came in from the front porch where we were talking.  When I came inside to get something, I almost tripped over his sleeping body.
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Both Elijah and Jack had the privilege of going to work with their Daddy one day the past week.  Jack created a few things out of scrap wood.  Here he is, holding his “Goliath Sword”.DSC_1271-001
Besides all of the usual keep-the-house-clean-feed-the-bellies-do-laundry-pull-weeds-kind-of-days, I’ve been burning the midnight oil and writing papers to finish up my doula recertification.  I am one credit away from mailing in all my paperwork that I’ve been working on for the past three years.  I am so excited to check it off my list and delve into school planning for next year.  I sold all of my books which we used the past two years, and am excited for our new ones to arrive next week!  I am hoping to plan out the bulk of the year before truly relaxing for a couple of months.    Matthew has been an incredible support for me as I have pursued my dreams and goals.  We are enjoying doing cross-fit together and eating 100% paleo!  More on that another time!  I do just want to say how incredible Matthew’s health has been since zeroing in on his diet.  I have finally come alongside him in eating a disciplined diet and it’s such a blessing to be united in this area.  God is teaching us many things as we wait on Him and trust Him with our unknowns.  When He says, This is the way, walk in it… we have no choice but to obey.  It might just mean eating more vegetables.  It might mean how we do school.  It might mean staying put.  It might mean moving forward.
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Another Day in The Life

It’s pretty awesome when it’s been a few months since something like this has happened, and then it happens when I least expect it.  Let’s just say I love surprises.  Matthew called me to say that I had to be ready to go out with him at 5:30 tonight.  “Wear work-out clothes, but bring something to change into as well.”  Oh boy.  That is what happens when you go on dates with a personal trainer.  SO, thanks to our amazing friend and pastor, Jon, who watched our kids, Matthew and I took off for an evening of fun.  I fought the urge to get grumpy about part A of our date.  We went to the cross-fit gym and my nerves stopped fidgeting once I got moving.  It was hard not to think about anything other than my shaking legs and the uncomfortably close feeling of about to puke.  But, like everyone said, after finishing I felt great.  It was also pretty cute seeing Matthew’s beaming face when I was all done.  Afterwards we grabbed something to eat and enjoyed some uninterrupted conversation.

That, coupled with another sweet friend bringing us dinner, made up for the especially tiring morning  I had.  After we finished school, I  finally caved and went to the grocery store.  It is pretty bad when the kids are eating graham crackers for breakfast… and lunch.  Despite low blood-sugar levels, everyone was especially energetic it seemed.   We were one of those families today at the store.  The boys were ninjas who were hungry for everything they saw and pretended to consume each item on every shelf.  Then somewhere between when I was paying attention and when I was reading labels on shampoo bottles, Nadine had been chasing Betty down the aisle and fell and skinned her knee on the linoleum floor.  It’s pretty hard to skin your knee on linoleum.  She started crying and saying she broke her knee, and the next thing I knew, there were people around us and someone fetched us bandaids.   She hobbled her way around the rest of the way, but it just seemed to fit the category of crazy-things-that-rarely-happen-while-you’re-shopping.

We also had to go to the dentist to get some cavities filled, (thank you, Grandma for your help!) which added another dose of real-life excitement to our day.  Tucked in there were our everyday messes and tears,

 

along with sweet moments and smiles.

Tomorrow we head to the shore.  Hopefully this time we won’t be plagued with the throw-up bug!  I am really looking forward to no agenda but family.  I was planning on packing tonight, but since I got whisked away by my lover-boy, it can all wait until tomorrow.  Good night.


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The Quality of Endurance

Twenty-three minutes later, I’m drenched in sweat.  My second cross-fit workout is in the books.  My new coach, long-time friend, and husband of ten years, is planning out daily workouts for me to do.  I was terrified of the burpees, but did all 45 of them, in addition to the other things on my list.  I was afraid of what people would think when they saw a crazed mother in a bright orange shirt, running around the block yet again.  But I did it anyway, and it feels good… now.

That wasn’t the only tough thing to swallow today.  This morning Matthew went to his ENT doctor to see what’s going on inside his ears and nose.  He’s been having a wicked ear infection, related to the other issues in his sinuses, brought about by Wegener’s disease.  The news wasn’t exactly good.  For a few years he’s had a hole in his septum, which has stayed the same, never getting worse.  Today, however, the doc said it is considerably bigger, and Matthew will be needing reconstructive surgery within the year to repair the damage.  What this looks like, exactly, we don’t know yet.  He said they will probably use a part of his rib!  It is all a lot of new stuff to take in and think about.  We have had our tears.  Not necessarily tears of discouragement, as much as feeling worn out with it all.  It’s like a race that you know isn’t over, but this particular loop is just super tiring.  More medicine.  More surgery.  No improvement.  It’s a vicious cycle.  It’s amazing how such a tiny part of his body can literally be eating away at itself, even though the rest of his body is in excellent physical shape.

When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  These muscles in my body don’t have a chance at growing unless they are put under some serious pain and suffering.  I will never endure more than a walk around the block unless I subject myself to two blocks, and then more.  In the same way, when our faith is tested, our endurance to hold on, grows.  Our Heavenly Father is not just concerned with the end result.  He’s very in tune with the process of getting there.  A process which doesn’t always make sense to us.  But we trust Him and do another set of burpees, so to speak.  Because we want to be like Jesus.  He set the example very high, of what true endurance through trial is like.  He trusted His Father, and so must we.  As we relax into His strong arms, there is little room for anger.

As Matthew prayed today, “We are not children of a poor man.”  No, our God is very rich.  Tonight we choose to believe His promises, and we choose to sing:

…Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship Your holy name

You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
10,000 reasons for my heart to find

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship his holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name

(-Matt Redman, 10,000 Reasons)