Month: April 2010

  • “But, You’re Very Going to Miss Me!”


    These were the words of my two year old daughter.

    It all began a week before, when Zoe, age two, and her Papa (my dad) were talking on the phone. My phone presently only works on speakerphone mode, so I could hear their entire conversation.

    I could scarcely believe my ears though, when I heard my dad say to her, “…And ask Mommy if you could come up to Papa’s house for a week…”

    In my head all I saw was this: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    A week! WHAT?!

    She’s only TWO. She’s still my baby. I’ve never been away from her for a week.

    The situation was this: my mom, sister, and brother were coming to help us paint our little cottage in a couple of days. After they returned home, it would be a week exactly until we saw the rest of my sisters at a wedding out of state. So transportation for Zoe to visit my old home would be perfect, albeit there would be 18 hours of driving for her until we’d see her again.

    I mentioned the idea to Ben. Surely he wouldn’t agree to something so outrageous.

    We talked about it. Actually, it became a possibility.

    Zoe tends to be very cautious. Even as a baby, she would hardly ever have bumps or bruises on her body from falling. She was just that careful. She didn’t walk until 14 months because she wanted to be absolutely sure she could do it perfectly. Her little sister is the opposite – she’s had black and blue marks all over her almost from the start, and she keeps right on tumbling!

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    So we’ve talked about it before that we need to watch for opportunities to push Zoe a bit. Present her with ways to develop confidence and courage.

    But when it came down to a perfect opportunity like this, I felt like I, the mother, was being pushed far more than my child! Could I really let her go that far away, for so long?

    So my mother, sister, and brother came. And I didn’t talk much about her going back with them. Rather hoping the idea would go away.

    It didn’t.

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    The night before they left to return home, I mentioned the idea to Zoe. She was excited about it, but I told her that Daddy and I still need to talk about it. We’re still not sure what’s going to happen.

    Meanwhile, we talked. Yes, she can go, we decided. This is a great opportunity for her to spend time with my family whom she rarely sees, we said. And this will push her out of her comfort zone a bit, we kept saying, trying to convince ourselves that we could do this!

    So the next morning I called her into her bedroom, where I was gathering some pieces of clothing together.

    “Sweetie, do you still want to go to Pennsylvania with Nana?” I asked.

    “But, you’re very going to miss me!

    You’re very going to cry!”

    Zoe said to me, with a greatly concerned look on her face.

    ‘Very’ is her favorite word these days.

    And she wrapped her soft little arms around my neck and hugged me tight. I choked back the lump in my throat. She’s concerned about me?? More worried about me than about being gone that long??

    Then she suddenly released her tight hold and leaned back to look me in the eye.

    “I want to go!” she said, nodding her curly head.

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    Then I explained to her how she would be gone for seven days – 7 naps and 7 nights, and how she would see all the aunties and uncles and Papa and Nana, and have a lot of fun, and how she needs to tell them when she needs to go potty  [and other motherly instructions], and then after that we would see her!

    She understood, and was very aware of all that was happening.

    And I strapped her in the carseat in the back of Nana’s car, kissed her lots of times, told her “I love you! I’m going to miss you!” a hundred times.

    I tried hard to be brave, but I couldn’t help the couple of tears that squeezed out of my eyes. My little girl is growing up too fast!

    And I waved goodbye until I couldn’t see the car anymore…

    I called Ben and cried some more.

    Then I sat down in a little quiet house, with the remaining baby sleeping, and really cried.

    You’d think it’s the two year old that is crying as she says goodbye.
    But oh no, it’s her mother that’s a weeping, teary mess!

    Letting go.

    Already. I thought that would be when she’s eighteen or something. Not two. Gracious, not two.

    How my heart struggles against that. I want her to stay close to Ben and me so we can always know where she is, and so we can protect her, and keep her safe.

    I KNEW my family would do their best to take care of her. And that she would have a wonderful time there. It’s just that I can’t be right there with her too.

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    Husband and I were talking later… How we feel like we can care for her when we’re right there. And when we’re not right there, I can get so freaked out…

    The road.

    The pond.

    The many cars.

    So many potential dangers for a curious two year old!

    Learning to trust God in a brand new way as I said goodbye to my daughter.
    Asking God to watch and keep her with the many hours on the road.
    Asking Him to protect her precious, beautiful life.
    Realizing He is a far better Guardian and Protector than Ben or I could ever be.

    It’s been a long week without my little Zoe-girl.

    I miss our little naptime cuddles and sweet-talks.
    I miss her chatter and funny sayings that keep me laughing all throughout the day.
    So many little things that only she can bring to our lives.

    It’s made me realize, BIG-TIME realize, how much I LOVE being a mother.

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    Sometimes, in the everyday-ness of life, things seem rather mundane, uneventful, unexciting.

    I remember my adventurous days of singleness, and while I’ve never regretted for one moment the decision to have children, I loved my life back then. Life now can sometimes seem far less than glamorous.

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    I feel like I get lost sometimes inbetween dirty diapers, taking a two-year old potty, and dirty laundry.

    But in a week like this, I’m reminded of this:


    No, life may not be that “glamorous” and “exciting” and “adventurous” as it once was, but it is BEAUTIFUL.

    These days of dirty diapers and dirty laundry are also days of

                         baby kisses,
                               purity and innocence,
                                    enjoying little gifts and simple pleasures,
                                          teaching precious children about Jesus,
                                               swing rides,
                                                     visits to the park,
                                                           cuddling sleepy babies,
                                                                  fulfilling a dream.

    Really, what’s not to love?



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    Thank you, Jesus, for my beautiful life


    And, I am ever so excited.
    Because, tomorrow, I get to have Zoe back again!

    Cheers to a happy weekend!











  • Yesterday. A Semi-Normal Day.



    A bit busy.

    Okay, a LOT busy.

    But it’s been a rather typical day around here the past couple of weeks, especially since I’ve started with painting the house.

    This was

    This post is dedicated to my mother, who asks me daily, “So, what did you get done today?” :)

    [and this is long. my family is probably the only ones who will read it!]

    - Day begins at 6:30. Got up with Olivia, fed her a bottle, put her back to bed

    - stayed up. My day started with hot coffee and biscotti along with some quiet time

    - checked my email and a few other internet sites

    -chatted with a sister on facebook for about 2 minutes

    -did 2 loads of laundry

    -hung laundry out to dry on the washline

    - Zoe woke up; fed her breakfast

    -packed lunch to take to the Park House (what we call the new house because it’s across from a park, and that way Zoe knows which house we’re talking about)

    -called Sonya to ask if she had a baby walker, since Olivia gets so bored in her playpen

    -fed the cats

    -Olivia woke up; fed her breakfast

    -made a final grocery list (somehow thought I was going to go shopping for that yesterday but it never happened. Today we were down to using Zoe’s candy-flavored toothpaste for everyone, and down to the last roll of toilet paper.)

    -loaded up the car, buckled 3 of us in

    -stopped at a kid’s consignment shop on the way into town, bought a very dated walker thinking Olivia may be better entertained

    -buckled the 3 of us back in the car

    -stopped at Sugar & Spice Bake Shop and picked up donuts for the guys working at the house

    -Zoe promptly eats 4 donut holes and is too full for any lunch

    -Got to the Park House and unloaded diaper bag, lunch, Zoe’-s toys, Olivia’s walker, and both girls

    -changed into paint clothes

    -measured all the windows in the house so Mom can check @ the Habitat ReStore in Pennsylvania for plantation shutters.

    -Ben mixed a 5-gallon bucket of trim paint for me. I organized my paint supplies.

    -Talked with a sister for a few minutes.

    -I forgot my paint flip-flops. Go barefoot in a FILTHY house rather than risk dripping paint on my pink flips.

    -Zoe had to go potty. No toilets in the house, so we go behind a tree in the backyard. :/

    -Lunchtime! Zoe is still full from 4 donut holes.

    -introduce Olivia to the walker. There is no connection, no chemistry. Bummer.

    -begin painting one of the four old beadboard ceilings by hand – again. Neck-breaking work. I need a chiropractor.

    -move to bathroom #2 because a worker cleaning a brick fireplace in the room adjoining bathroom #1 is making too much dust.

    -2nd coat of paint in bathroom #2. 2nd color too. So hard to get the “vintage aqua” look that I want. Still not settled on the color…

    -begin caulking beadboard ceiling in bathroom #2.

    -Olivia is grouchy. Try to settle her down. Carry playpen across the house so she can see me caulk. Exciting.

    -Zoe needs to go potty again. Not the “squat by the tree” kind. The “Dairy Queen” kind. Both girls and I buckle up in the car and go 1/2 mile to DQ.

    -Zoe heads straight for the restroom. She knows this place. Mission accomplished. Should be okay until it’s time to go home now.

    -bought a dish of chocolate ice cream. After being in DQ daily for the past 1.5 weeks, I was feeling guilty for not being a customer and so bought something to compensate.

    -buckled up in the car for the 4th time. Olivia is tired, so I explore little neighborhoods with the car until Zoe told me that Baby was sleeping. Zoe drips ice cream all over her.

    -we go back to the Park House. Zoe plays outside in the dirt piles and with the water hose.

    -Olivia wakes up. Zoe feeds her crackers outside the bathoom door to keep her happy. Carseat is covered in cracker-goo.

    -Zoe pours shovel-fulls of sand over my toes as I caulk. Wearing my pink flip-flops now rather than get such dirty feet. Now have dirty flip-flops.

    -I caulk some more. Ceiling is 2/3 completed and my neck feels terrible. Caulk gun messes up before I can finish the ceiling. Man. I so badly want to finish SOMETHING!

    -Started painting ceiling in bathroom #2, but stopped because I forgot it first needs to be sanded. Start cleaning up paint supplies.

    -Olivia is hungry. I feed her a bowl of yogurt.

    -Zoe is playing outside with the water hose, taking off her shirt because she needs to “wash my tummy.” I check on her, then turn and run, shrieking as she turns the hose full-blast on me. Zoe soaks her remaining clothes on the bottom half.

    -load everyone up in the car. Zoe is stripped down to her birthday suit. I hoped desperately I wouldn’t be stopped on the way home by a policeman and have to explain… Talk to mom on the way home. No luck with the plantation shutters.

    -arrive at home. Unload the car and kids. Change the kids. Shower. Microwave leftovers for supper. Ben comes home and cleans up.

    - we all load up in the truck this time. Is this the 6th time to buckle us all in? 6 times X 3 people each time = 18 buckles up and 18 buckled out. Whew. We take Zoe over to Aunt Sonya’s house  – thank you Sonya! – then the three remaining of us head an hour away to B. to pick out tile. Tile man starts Wednesday and we need supplies.

    -hit Home Depot first, check out their tile selection, then go to Lowe’s (1/2 mile away) and inspect their tile department; return to Home Depot. Give Olivia a bottle.

    -walk around Home Depot for 2.5 hours, carrying Olivia the whole time (why didn’t I get a cart??). 2 construction carts and a whopping bill later, we check out at 9:30 pm.

    -load up once more. Ben takes me by the Starbucks drive-through. Awwwwwww. Drive a hour home. Pick up Zoe after 11pm. Arrive at home about 11:30……………

    And we call it a DAY!

    Other than the evening trip out of town, that pretty much comprises my days right now…

    Except TODAY it went like this:

    -a morning that consisted of sleeping in, quiet time, feeding the girls breakfast, teaching a piano lesson.

    -an afternoon that consisted of a very sweet friend who came to my house for the afternoon and watched my girls so I could go work at the house for a few hours.

    -an evening where my husband was involved in a church event, and I went back out to the house and tried yet another  trial color on the exterior of the house so we can give a final answer to the painter. Is this the 4th color? Hmmm, I think so. Poor painter. I went grocery shopping with the girls.

    THAT is the kind of day I prefer. :)

    Meanwhile, in the midst of the busy lives we have at the moment, I take a few moments now and then to daydream about what it will be like to live in the new house, and stay at home ALL DAY for days on end, just puttering around with my little projects and gardens and children…





  • Thoughts about Remodeling.


    In the midst of this busy life, I’m not sure writing is even a good idea. My brain feels frazzled, and I don’t know if my thoughts can even come out straight. But this is what’s been going on…

    1.    Sick children.
    First the flu, then a nasty cough. We’ve been quarantined the last little while – not with adults as much, but with little babies and children.

    Along with that comes lots of up and down times at night. I think their sleeping patterns are getting better, but for the last little while I’ve been getting up 5+ times at night. That may not sound like much, but having sleep interrupted like that for many, many nights in a row takes a toll on a normal woman. It sure does on me.

    Feeling a little tired because of that, and a little lonely because of being quarantined, but it’s not anybody’s fault. In time, we’ll be up and about again.

    2.    A crashed computer. We knew our ten-year old laptop had seen better days, but over a week ago it suddenly died without warning. For a couple of days I lived in great paranoia that some of my pictures were forever gone. I had backed some up, or rather, BEN had backed them up for me, but not since about 6 months ago. I was getting devastated feelings already. I MUST learn to back up regularly!!

    Well, $230 dollars poorer, we have our pictures retrieved. One day after painting, I walked into Smiley Technology (seriously, who would call their computer shop by that name??),  and tried not to choke on the wave of cigarette smoke that hit me. I explained the crashed computer situation, and asked if they could look at the computer and try to retrieve any pictures and documents for me.

    “You mean you want data recovery?” asked the secretary.

    Um, yeah, THAT. Data recovery. Sounds much better. Much “techy-er” – something I’m not.

    But we understood each other. And now I really love Smiley Technology, because I got a phone call two days later that my pictures and documents data has been successfully recovered. I still have to pick it up, but hey, they can name themselves anything they like, if they are able to save my pictures!

    Just a day before the computer crashed, we had ordered a new computer via amazon. It took a bit for the computer to arrive, and then to install all the necessary programs. All said, we were computer-less and internet-less for over a week. After the initial thing of holding my breath, waiting on the data retrieval, the technology-gone week was actually kind of nice for a change. :) But only for a week!!

    Also on the blink has been my cell phone. I can’t talk to anyone except on speakerphone. And the speakerphone has only one volume – LOUD. So loud that the whole phone vibrates when someone is talking to me, and it literally makes my ears hurt. So, hardly any phone conversations these days. I think I need to check into a new cell phone as well…

    3.      Most time-consuming thing now has been the new old house.

    Ben has been working on it almost full-time since the middle of February, and we’ve still got a month of work before we move in.

    I SO READY to move there.

    Well, maybe not quite yet.

    “There aren’t any beds there.” as Zoe says.
    Nope, there aren’t.

    And there are lots of other things that aren’t there either.

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    What IS there right now is lots of

    It’ll be a sweet house when it’s completed.

    It’s just getting to the completed part.

    [dreaming about front porches...]

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    And it’s coming.


    But it’s coming.

    This past week I started with the painting. That was SO EXCITING for me. As exciting as it could get with two kids two and under there in the dirt and mess with me. :) But this is the first that I feel like I can really help and be involved.

    [first strokes of paint! I'm excited! And looking as winter-white as the drywall behind me]

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    We thought we were going to hire out the painting. I just didn’t know how I was going to do it with two little kids. But I LOVE to paint, and I told Ben that I would like to attempt the job. Even if I’m not able to do the entire project, and just do 2/3 of the house, that’s still going to be saving big-time for us on the money end of things.

    So, I started.

    Playpen in one hand, paint brush in the other, and walked in the door. Zoe had a little bucket and shovel that she brought to play in a dirt pile outside. The kids really did amazingly well. Some days we only stay a little bit. Other days we stay longer. I try to be sensitive to them, because this is a long process for them too, and a wise friend said to really listen to my kids as far as how much I can do each day. So I’ve been trying to do that. And trying not to get frustrated when I SO BADLY want to keep

    filling nail holes,

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    I can be so project-oriented that I can miss people. And I so badly don’t want to miss my kids through all this. They are far more important than banging stuff out at the house, and I want to remember that. Remember that in my heart, to where I don’t get frustrated when they’re done after only 2 hours of working at the house. To where I kiss them anyway and still laugh with them, instead of becoming impatient and frustrated that my goals aren’t being accomplished at the house.

    [A little Leah that's at the end of her day]

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    Saturday, my mother in law gave me a very happy surprise by dropping by the house, picking up the girls, and taking them home with her for the afternoon and evening. Did Ben and I ever tear around that day. So fun. More filling nail holes, sanding, priming, and – yay- first REAL coat of paint on two bathroom walls! Exciting!


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    And Monday, a VERY sweet lady surprised the socks of me by coming in to the mess and dirt with a vente Starbucks white mocha with caramel in her hand for me! For those of you that don’t know this area, the closest Starbucks is an HOUR away. Yes, that lady is VERY sweet. That cup of coffee was oh-so-treasured!

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    And old house just has so. much. work. I used to think that old construction was easier than new, but now I’m not so sure. There is an unending amount of sanding to do. And scraping. I detest scraping.

    But the end result will be so fun. I know it. And that keeps me going.

    [THIS is what one of the fireplace mantels looks like.]

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    [THIS is sort of what I'm wanting it to look like. But it will literally take me a whole day to sand it like that]

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    Even if I fall into bed each night completely exhausted.
    Even if I feel like I hardly have a life because my cell phone hardly works and I can’t talk to my friends right now.
    Even if it feels like we hardly have a life besides working on the house (I don’t like that part).

    [kitchen. this is probably what needs the most amount of work yet]

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    I’m glad for a Sunday. Where we can rest before plunging into another busy week…

    [the old-fashioned door bell ringer thing that you turn]

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    This is exhausting work. Sheer exhaustion. And somehow exhilarating. Strange how it can be both.

    [Beams Ben installed in the living room and dining room.]

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    [one of the cool old doors]

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    [fireplace in the living room dilemna: do we cover up the asymmetrical brick? Is it going to drive me crazy if we leave it?]

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    [the bottom of the same fireplace: WHAT TO DO with the blue brick against the gorgeous antique brick in the back? It's not the same kind of brick. Paint it? Different mantel?]

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    Meanwhile, I score hundreds of magazines to try to pull together all my favorites…

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    And then try to arrange them into about 20 different files to keep them organized. I feel like I’m bursting with ideas at this point. The only difficulty will be implementing them in a two-bedroom cottage!

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    Sometime I’ll have time to explain a bit more about the house that we are now calling ours, with its high ceiling and hundred years of history.

    And about how this is the 3rd house that we’re going to live in since we’re married, and how I didn’t see any of the 3 before we bought/rented them…

    That’ll be another time. This will give you a little glimpse until then!

    Wish me lots of energy, please!!! :)