Friday, July 3, 2015

Summertime Ramblings


Summer is flying along.Last week we went on vacation with JT's family to the west coast of FL. It was hot, and beautiful. The beaches were quiet and peaceful.
We had a great time. It was the first time we've had a week off together since Greystoke was born, and it went very fast.
JT and I got to sneak off and go for a swim on several different occasions. We discovered a sunken pier that had turned into a mini reef right off the coast. The fish were colorful and gorgeous. The water was clear and warm. It felt good to stretch my arms and swim, and spend some time with JT without being interrupted every 3 seconds.
We found beautiful sand dollars and loads of conch. When we came home, our neighbor informed us that the conch are protected, so I felt pretty guilty about that, but I just looked it up and the particular kind of conch we were "harvesting" are actually not protected. So now I can go back to enjoying those memories again. Though I would have been just as happy to throw them back.

Greystoke turned into a "walker" while we were gone. He bumped his head in the rental house exactly 3 times in the first 10 minutes after we arrived. He wore me out climbing the steep wooden stairs, and dragging me by the hand around the house saying "uh, uh, uh" at everything he wanted to touch, and trying to escape out the door to the pool every time it opened.

But most of the time, he was his normal agreeable self. Most of the time. 

The Dude had fun too. He hit balls with rackets on the beach, became quite a proficient swimmer in the pool, rocked out to the band at a restaurant, and had night terrors from all the late nights and overstimulation. Classic Dude.
Aquaman was a great sport. His cast got damp 2-3 times despite our best attempts at wrapping it. It smells like a mixture between a stinky sock and sour milk now. I try to smile and hug him when he is near, but I have to overcome the scent first.
He gets it off in 3 days and we can go back to having a normal summer, thank goodness.
And this week, the big boys are at Play Plus summer camp, which has turned out to be great. The first day, they did a little too much sitting and crafts, but the teacher has learned that half of the class of 4 children (the red headed half) do not like to sit still and do much crafts, so she is giving them more playtime now.
Each day they learn about one country and make crafts about it, and so far it has been Egypt, India, Japan and China.
Yesterday, Japan, they made an adorable zen garden. They have had a lot of fun, and I have been able to catch my breath. I worked Mon-Thurs while they were at camp, but today Greystoke and I hit the store for a couple items and then came right home.
He is taking a nap now.
After I put him to bed I went and sat in the courtyard with a notebook and pen because that is how I pray. Due in part to the nature of how my brain works, and in large part to the sleep deprivation I am experiencing, I have a hard time praying without either doing it out loud, or writing it down. I prefer to write.
I have been wanting and needing to pray more, but struggling to find the time and ability to focus. It just seems like someone is always needing me, or something is always needing attention.
As it is, with all of my outpouring of energy, it is never enough.
The Dude still didn't get all the hugs he wanted, and I did not acknowledge enough of Aquaman's words, and Greystoke needed to nurse more, and the house...well don't even get me started. It's impossible.
But today, I made time to pray. I went outside so I wouldn't have to look at all the things I need to be doing when I would not be lugging a 22 pound weight around.
I listened to the crickets, and the whir of the always going dryer, and felt the humidity seep into my bones.
I tried to write, and my hands hurt. Because they got totally better, and then started hurting again a couple days ago. But I kept going anyway, even though it was sloppy. Because, the whole reason I needed to pray was to remember that Jesus doesn't hate my sloppy. Jesus loves my sloppy.
I've been feeling a little down this week. I am so tired. The kids have been sick again. The Dude wheezed multiple nights in a row and refused to sleep. Greystoke has it now and his sleep is even worse than usual. He didn't end up in his crib at all last night, I lay curled around him nursing him.
And it hurts to curl, so I couldn't really sleep. And it's hard to know what is the chicken or the egg? I haven't slept well in months and months. When the older 2 are sick they are up and I get really sleep deprived. When the youngest is sick he doesn't sleep at all. And even on a good night, he is up 3-4 times.I know better than to try to night wean at this point...in the history of my children, night weaning makes things even worse.
So it's hard to know whether my body hurts because I am not sleeping, or in cases like last night, whether I can't sleep because....my body hurts.
I remember last year at this time, when Greystoke was sleeping in his rock n play like some sort of baby sleeping champion, how I marveled at how I used to struggle to keep my patience with the older 2. It was easy to be patient when I wasn't completely worn out.
It's harder now.

I try so hard to be kind and gentle and loving with my boys.  Sometimes I am not consistent enough. And Aquaman is a master manipulator. He needs my consistency, and I struggle to find it sometimes, especially because most of the time, I feel like I barely have time to plan for each day before I am just grabbing my hat and holding on.
I worry about screwing them up, about not being what they need. I worry about not correcting them enough, or, in moments of impatience, making them feel condemned.
Which is why I needed to pray today, because whenever things get really out of whack like this, I realize that the reason I am not accurately portraying the Father's love to them is because I am not accurately accepting and perceiving His love.
There is NO condemnation. He is a loving and patient Father. Not the kind of Father who I know is loving and kind but who is also too busy and important for me to bother with. But the kind of Father who comes in close, who holds me in His arms. "You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness there on your shoulders." -For King and Country
I needed that reminder today.
I heard Charles Stanley say something life changing the other day on the radio.
It went something like this: "Some of you worry that you can't give your kids a lot of things that other kids have. Well let me tell you something, you can give them something worth more than all the new technology and things. You can pray for them, every night by their beds. It will change their lives."
That helped me. Because the thing is, every night when I stop to watch them sleep for a moment, I think to myself how I could have done better. How I wish I had been better for them today. But now I don't do that. Now I do what I can do. I pray.
For my older boy, it's been for kindness and courage in his walk.
For The Dude, it has been for faith.
For Greystoke, I have prayed for his sunshine to warm up the coldest places,
For all 3 of them I pray that they experience God for themselves. The way I have. That God would reach into their lives in the life altering,breath taking, totally exciting yet so amazingly calming way that He has reached into mine.
Things are changing in our country, but in some ways they are the ways that they have always been. There has always been sin. Sin has always been glorified. Satan is the father of lies, because he doesn't want us to experience the abundance of the Father of life.
But I think we are all just as much at risk from what is inside of us than what is outside, and so that is the focus of my prayers for my boys. For God's truth in their hearts.
 I have felt that pang sometimes, of not being able to give my kids things that other kids have, or things I think they should have.
I can't give them Ipads or a bigger house or a car where they aren't all squished against each other. I can't feed them out of the health food store, or home school them or even be home every day when they come home from school.
But I can pray for them. We can all do that.
Greystoke is up. He is walking around the room with his trademark grin on his face eating blueberries  and saying "wow" about nothing. I haven't gotten anything done. My fingers hurt a little less than they did when I started typing this. There's 2 more hours before we go to pick up the big boys and find out what country they visited today.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, and JT actually has the day off. For the first time ever, we are planning to take the kids to the fireworks tomorrow, and I am excited about that, but also a little more tired just thinking about it.

Happy Independence Day!

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