31 mar 2018 (part 2)

We made Resurrection Rolls again this year. Ruthie remembered it and said, “Is this when Jesus melts?”

But I do love hearing the story while we made them. How Joseph and Nicodemus covered Jesus’ dead body in oil and spices, usually reserved for kings. So we rolled the marshmallow in butter, then in sugar and cinnamon. How the tomb opened and He wasn’t there. And after baking the rolls, the marshmallow disappears.

But my favorite part of the story, mostly because it’s so human and endearing, is when Mary turned and saw Jesus. She didn’t recognize him and asked him if he was the gardener. (Thank you for this, Mary. Truly. This is all of us.) But then how Jesus asked her, “Who are you looking for?” which makes me smile because I can feel his excitement as it finally dawns on her face after he says, “Mary…”.

So we ate the rolls, took some cough medicine, fought off questions about who the Easter bunny is and are now watching the Final Four. It’s been a good day. And in the words of Annie who said our dinner prayer the other night, “Thank you Jesus for dying so we can go to heaven.” It’s as simple as that.

31 mar 2018

There were a million Easter activities going on around town, but I felt a need to instead spend time together in our backyard, working on projects and pretending to eat all the soups and mud pies being made for us.

I’m starting to feel a certain special time in the girls’ life start to slip away. The sweet spot where all you need is your backyard and some water and dirt. I want them to look back and see their home as the centerpiece in their memories.

So, I’ve deleted all my real estate apps, all of my “just keeping an eye out” saved homes for sale. Anything that could distract me from appreciating what I have. This, for me, is a big deal. I’m starting to really focus on making our little ranch house our forever home. And that has brought me peace. It’s easy to love our house and yard in the spring though. And when that old crab apple tree comes into its full pink glory, I will find every excuse to be near it.

Today, after everyone went in to watch an afternoon movie, I sat outside with my book for next week’s Book Club, and soaked up the contentedness.

28 mar 2018

I almost just wrote the year as 2006. I wonder what I was up to on March 28th of that year. Let’s see, I was 25 and a few months from marrying Ryan. Yeah, I got nothin’. Maybe I was stress eating.

Here’s a highlight from last week. When, during a March madness party, my mom almost got the kids to fall for the oldest trick in the book: everyone lay down and close your eyes and whoever lifts their head first loses. We actually thought it was gonna work. So maybe we’re the suckers.

But we also managed to spend time outside, bringing out every plastic object available to play with (Christmas Jesus, Mary, and Joseph didn’t make an appearance this time). This, all while their neighbors were showing their house for sale. We were sure we’d just brought the street market down a few hundred grand when, the next day, they changed the sign to Sale Pending. Maybe seeing kids sled down a hill on boogie boards is in fact a selling point?

And Gertie discovering the sunlight in the hallway.

26 mar 2018

I love our Bradford Pears in the spring. It’s like a constant snowfall. We spent the day planting so many flowers in our front garden. And in the back yard we propagated two elderberry bushes, planted two more blackberry bushes, some strawberries and asparagus. Our propagated raspberry bushes from the fall are looking healthy, as well as the lilac bushes. I’m not even attempting a veggie garden this year. Instead, I’m focusing on our little orchard that now has 3 apple trees, 2 peaches, 1 pear (the other died), 1 fig, 4 elderberries, 5 raspberries, 4 blackberries, 2 blueberries, and a grape vine. I’ve been diligent through the year taking care of the fruit trees so am hoping (gosh I’m hoping) for some sort of harvest.

24 mar 2018

Do you have a friend that’s absolutely down for anything? Not embarrassed or too cool? For me, that’s Jessica. She’s my go-to girl for making crazy day dreams an enthusiastic reality. She reminded me that in Kansas City, a group of friends and I started a “Try It” club where we each picked a new activity to try every month. I’d forgotten about that, but I do remember taking a tap dance class with her and the teacher asking us to stay afterwards to learn more advanced moves. We felt like we’d hit Broadway with those extra 15 minutes a week.

So while visiting my parents, we popped over to Topeka to visit her family and I spent the majority of that time gushing over her and us and memories. My mom couldn’t remember how we’d met, and I reminded her that she was originally Ryan’s friend. Roommates with his closest friends, actually. The first night we met, all of us dancing in Aggieville, turned into an early morning slumber party where just she and I left to eat breakfast together.

I always joke about how I have to sink claws into girls for them to be my friends. But she’s the type that turns around before you need to do that, with arms outstretched. ❤️

20 mar 2018

Every night for the past three weeks, Annie has come out of her bedroom saying she’s thinking of monsters. We’ve done and said everything to get her back in bed. Tonight was the first night we agreed to lay down the law and not coddle her.

And when we did, she said, “I just want someone to hug me while I fall asleep.”

Insert me balling. So of course I did.

This is the moment I told her I’d lay down with her.

Ryan joked and said, “Annie you’re going to stay four forever, I don’t have time for this.”

It’s all so fleeting.

5 mar 2018

That was the original date of the post. The original date of this photo was in February. If I had written on either of those two days, this post would’ve looked a lot different.

Gertie had her first heart appointment in our new local children’s hospital. And while I appreciate having a place dedicated to these sweet children nearby, walking into one, specifically for a heart appointment, gave me a little ptsd. I was full of anger. Ryan himself, who does not get riled up easily, even said he can see a dark pit of anger in front of him and it takes a lot of effort to not just jump right in.

I was originally going to write about everything that happened at the hospital when Gertie was born. I spent many showers spewing it all out to a white tiled wall, excited to unleash. But it only left me more sad. So I’m not ready to write in detail about our takeaways or how we were treated as parents who chose a home birth (despite being complimented by nurses on how much I knew about the details of my delivery. All thanks to a midwife who gives her patients as much knowledge as possible). However, I will share that we gave up a room across the street in the Ronald McDonald house, where I could pump and rest comfortably. We instead slept in the lobby chairs that turned into little beds and I went to a closet every two hours throughout the night to pump, then took that milk downstairs to the milk bank. For three weeks we did that. We did it so we weren’t restricted by visitors hours and could see Gertie whenever we wanted. So we could attend every shift change meeting between the doctors and nurses, and ask them questions as a group to make sure we were all in agreement. So we could stay as long as we wanted asking the nurse as many questions as we wanted and be part of every decision made day and night. All this so we didn’t wake up across the street and walk in to something changed without our consent.

But that level of involvement also brings about knowledge. Not ten years of medical schooling, of course not. But when you have a level-headed, brilliant husband who retains information and who cross referenced various specialists so that he could understand how decisions to help one part of the body could play out from a holistic perspective (not just focusing on one organ – and in this scenario, they were focused on her heart), it’s hard to not question some decisions that were made.

So, I let that picture linger on my phone, then uploaded it to this blog and waited. Then I read about a family at our church who’s grown 20-something son was in a bike riding accident and they were left as caretakers of him. Is this how they saw their golden years once all the kids left the house? Exhausted and, yes I’ll say it, trapped? Yet all of their blog posts give thanks to God.

We don’t know why things happen or if Gertie would’ve still had many difficulties without her stay at the hospital. But I do know that I need to watch out for that dark pit in front of me. And ironically, the only way to avoid falling in is by looking up. Take my eyes off it and focus on thanking God for this life he’s created for me.

13 mar 2018

So since I teach English to kids in China, I get a discount with their sister company Lingo Bus, where they teach Chinese to American kids. We did one trial class last fall and Ruthie sounded like a sweet little mouse, so shy.

She was still nervous for this second go around, but we reviewed more ahead of time and she was much more confident.

Yes, that’s all my junk for teaching classes, including my bright red lipstick smack dab next to the computer. 😂

But Ruthie! She did so good.

The teacher, who was freaking fantastic and made me step up my game the next morning for my own classes, had this to say about her:

“Ruthie was so amazing. She could say all the new words and sentences with me, like “jia””ai””wo ai wo jia”, and then she could say all of them correctly by herself. She’s truly the best demo students of what I’ve taught at this age. Very good girl, super cute and cooperative, well done! Hope she could join Lingo Bus and learn with me very soon!”

What’s funny is I’m sure that was a copy/paste generic feedback and he just changed the name, but am hoping it wasn’t. I’m also sure he was hoping we’d be a No Show because I hope that every morning with mine too.

Little does he know that we just bought a bundle package of classes and will be showing up EVERY time.

12 mar 2018

It’s hard to intentionally come here and write. I have a lot of feelings in my head and I just can’t sit still long enough and spill them out. That will be my goal this week.

As we were driving to swim therapy on Friday, Ruthie rolled down the window at a stoplight and we stared at the birds in a field. A bright yellow one caught our eye and I said we need to find out what kind that was. We didn’t think of it again until this morning and my mom will be proud that we didn’t google it. We used some books from our library and after a big debate, decided it was a Warbler. We all hoped it was a Chickadee because we love the name. They looked through these books for a good hour during and after breakfast. A nice way to ease into Daylight Savings. It’s been a very relaxing day for us.

3 mar 2018

One of my favorite Saturday mornings yet this year. Crisp and sunny. We made it to a breakfast joint by 7:30am, got home by 8:30. I cleaned the van and the outdoor toy storage while Ryan tackled boxes of stuff to purge. Ruthie roller skated (she’s SO fast) and Annie rode her big girl bike that she’s avoided riding for six months. She’s not scared anymore. Gertie walked around and around in circles. All by 11am. We ate lunch and immediately went back outside under the peach tree where a little speck of pink, Ruthie, picked the first spring flowers until she filled up a glass jar. That took an hour. Rusty that cat follows us everywhere. Ryan and Annie played both regular and Chinese checkers and Gertie rolled around in leaves. A well deserved nap or movie is currently in play. I wish we had this weather every day, but then I guess we wouldn’t appreciate it as much.

1 mar 2018

This is Ryan, in our messy evening living room, taking a half hour to explain the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. What caught my attention was not his expressive hand gestures, or Ruthie’s thousand questions and comments, but how Annie sat quietly listening to him speak. He talked about how the generals in the movie, pow’s, made their own guys build a bridge for their enemies and made them do a good job on it. Not because they wanted to, but because they knew that if the soldiers were focused on work, and not on their surroundings, they’d be happier. As I left the room I heard him say, Isn’t is interesting? That work can bring us happiness? That being a hard worker, even if it’s something we don’t want to do, can make us content?

All of this because of a blowup over their nightly chores: clearing and wiping down the table and sweeping.

I’m just glad he’s their dad.