Thursday, August 25, 2005



I have been feeling slightly isolated this summer. It's a combination of various vacations- ours, friends, weekends away, and no regular schedule. It seems in the absence of external structure in my life I fail to make my own. And now I am at home all day with four little kids and the official fall schedule still hasn't begun. It's only been 3 1/2 days, and I find myself a bit depressed and lonely. I can't even get the motivation to call friends and schedule something. The thought of leaving the house with the 4 kids exhausts me, as well as cleaning it to have someone over.

I feel like I am drifting, drifting, out at sea...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Two Week Cycle

Once again we are caught up in the the two week cycle. Anyone who has had difficulty in conceiving knows all too well what this is. There are approximately 2 weeks from when a woman is fertile in which you hold your breath and wait... am I pregnant? Did it work this time?...until you realize that no, not yet. Then another 2 weeks passes from that date when you are fertile once more. And so it goes, the weeks stretch into months, the months pass- 3 months, 6 months, 9 months ("I should be having a baby right now"), one year, etc. For E it took us 1 1/2 years before we conceived. The waiting was agonizing, brutal. We had tests done, and took drugs, nothing was discovered-both good news and bad, nothing broken, nothing to fix, just the unknown "why?". Finally, joyfully, we had our baby, a beautiful girl. Then two years later, it started again. This time the wait wasn't as long (1 year), or as agonizing (we were busy keeping up with our toddler, and had the assurance of one healthy pregnancy). And so, in time, we were blessed with our N. Now it starts again. I almost feel guilty trying to have another child, we have been so blessed with our two-- is it selfish to want another? To ask God to bless our family once more. I know I don't deserve it. Yet here we are, at the start of our third journey into parenting. Our hands outstretched, asking God for another miracle.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Up He Goes!

As I said in an earlier post, N is working on standing. It's hard to believe-- it's taken so long for him to get to this point, but he has finally decided that being upright may have its advantages. In the beginning he would stand briefly, and then fall forward onto his hands. He seemed to think that we were cheering his fall back to the ground because his actual standing time was so brief that by the time we said "yay N!" he had fallen down. As a result he would purposely do a quick stand and fall, looking around for our approval. After playing this game for a few days, we were not so ready to cheer, and so his standing time has gotten longer. I was watching him from the kitchen yesterday. E was dancing around him, and he wanted to join in. So he stood for about 10 seconds, waving his arms like she was, trying to dance. Then he caught my eye and fell back down. But he is doing so well-- maybe he'll walk by 18 months!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Late Summer Garden

Late August is not a good time for the garden. It seems like it should be, all that hard work and money you put into it in the spring should be displayed in all of its beauty at the end of summer. I have not found it to be so. Yes, there are several plants that continue blooming and producing (like my zinnias), but my other annuals that I so carefully selected and planted in the spring are definitely looking overgrown and a bit tired, as if the summer has been too much for them. It seems like the only plants that actually thrive are the weeds. After a long summer of fighting them, there are still far too many in the yard. They are in the cracks of the pavement, throughout the flower bed, up the hill, and some that are even larger than E. It makes for a bit of a depressing picture as I look out the back door, and I sometimes have to wonder if it's worth it.

But then I cheer myself up by remembering that I can soon plant some chrysanthemums, and that cooler days are at hand. My Japanese Maple will soon be in it's glory, the scarlet leaves covering the tree and the ground beneath it. Bright blue skies contrasting with the reds, oranges and yellows of the trees. I am looking forward to the crisp apple-y days of fall.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

NH '05

Here's a sampling of pictures from NH, as you can see the quality is not that great-- disposable camera, and all.

Ellie fishing from the dock

Noah playing in the sand (happy until he decides to suck his thumb) / Me and Ellie

The Hodges' two week old kitten

So we are back...

Some highlights from the week:

1. Blueberry picking with E- It is very clear that E is my daughter, and this is further evidence. As long as I can remember, picking blueberries has been one of my favorite things to do on the island. Going to my favorite spots on the island, standing in the solitude of the woods with the sounds of the waves lapping on the rocks nearby. Picking clumps of ripe berries off the bushes and watching my bucket slowly fill as the berries go from making a "plink, plank, plunk" sound to a soft "plop". It's a nice activity to do alone, as you can really just slow down and think, but it's also nice to have company, someone to chat with and pass the time together. The first thing that E did when we arrived was to race off to find blueberry bushes and pick and eat to her heart's delight (much as I remember doing). Later, when I had unpacked and settled in, I grabbed a container, and E and I set off together to find berries for the next morning's breakfast. It was a bit reminiscent of Blueberries for Sal (minus the bear), I picked and E sometimes gave helpful handfuls, but more often just ate the berries she picked. A couple of times she wandered off by herself to sit and pick and eat in a "special" spot that she had found. Throughout the week we enjoyed several picking times together, and it gave me joy to share something that is so special to me with my daughter.

2. Seeing a bald eagle- We spent many mornings sitting in the boat, as it was still tied to the dock, reading our various books, soaking in the sun. One such day Ed happened to look up, and spied what he thought was a bald eagle. Sure enough, it circled around again, and it was an eagle! We saw it a couple of other times, and it was always a thrill!

3. Campfires- Days on the island are usually warm and breezy, while nights are cool. This makes it the perfect place for campfires. The heat of the fire was welcome in the cool of the night, and there was enough breeze to blow the smoke away. Ed and I built a couple after the kids had gone to bed and spent some nights sitting by the lake watching the stars, and some fireworks shows (almost every night at 9), and the mesmerizing flames of the fire as the wood was slowly reduced to glowing red embers.

4. Ed and E time- Ed and E were able to spend some precious father-daughter time together while N napped. One of their activities was fishing. E had been looking forward to fishing for almost a year now. She "gave" Ed a small child-sized rod for father's day, and we bought worms when we arrived. Ed rowed her out in a small aluminum boat, and the two of them sat there for about an hour. E caught a large bass right away, they lost a couple of worms to some smart fish, and Ed caught a couple of smaller fish. E loved it, and was reluctant to return to shore. A couple of days later they fished off the dock and caught some sunnies until the worms ran out. The other activity was kayaking. Ed took E on 3 separate expeditions, to see other islands in the lake. They both really enjoyed this time together, even though we had to force E to go the first time (she was nervous about going in the kayak). They even saw a loon and watched it fishing and swimming in a cove by Stampact (the largest island on the lake). Near the end of the week E went up to Ed, gave him a big hug, and took his face in her hands and said, "I like being together, just our family, and having you with us. It's more fun when you're with us."

5. N- I would be remiss if I didn't write something about N here. He was working on standing all week, briefly rising and then falling forward onto his hands as we applauded his efforts. He didn't like the fast part of the boat rides when we raced across the lake, but he loved the quiet parts in the river when he could wave at all the other boats and people that we passed. He loved eating at the table because he stood on the long bench to eat (instead of strapped into a high chair), free to roam back and forth from his plate to mine, picking off whatever looked good to him. He also enjoyed playing the piano, much to E's frustration, "He always plays when I am playing, and he messes my song up". Aaah, the life of a big sister.

We definitely missed having other people to share the time with. I thought of our friends and family often as we did various activities through the week--- riding in the boat (E and Allison would have liked sitting together up front), fishing (picturing the Landis boys in the boat with E), exploring in the woods (Grayson leading E in make-believe games), campfires (remembering fires in years past that Andrew made), quiet nights (loud, rowdy game nights with my family around the coleman lantern at the kitchen table). But each year is different, and special in its own way, making memories for years to come. I am thankful for the time we had together, before the rush of the new school year carries us away in activities and busyness.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Friday, 12 August 2005

Most of the day today was spent in preparation for our vacation. Vacations are hard work!! I am the one who is responsible for remembering everything and packing for everyone, and it is a lot to do. I remember when I was growing up all I had to do was pack my little duffle bag of clothes, and a backpack of activities for the car- I had no idea how much work my mom had to do to get us ready to go. It seems each year we have more stuff, thank goodness we have a mini-van!

Well, we will be off tomorrow morning, hopefully around 4am. To all those who know, the island is cut off from any kind of modern amenities (electricity, flush toilets, Internet), so I will give you the full scoop when we return. Pray for us- safety in the car and on the island, and that all runs smoothly (you don't know what stress is until you are stranded on an island with no way to get back to the mainland), and that we will enjoy our time together as a family.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


We joined Pennbryn pool this summer and we have been going several times a week, during the day and evening (when Ed can join us after work). There is a baby pool with a whale slide/fountain, a midsized pool that goes from 2 1/2- 3 1/2 feet, and then the large pool that has swimming lanes, slides, and a diving board. We spend most of our time in the middle and baby pools. And although E enjoys swimming, she still refuses to put her face or head under. It is really frustrating, and nothing seems to work- bribery, threats, goggles- it doesn't change her mind. N is also resistant to getting too wet. He will happily play in the baby pool where he can stand by the side and pour water into buckets, and he will crawl all around the edge of the middle pool where the water overruns in a puddle onto the pavement, but he doesn't like going in deep and being submerged up to his shoulders. I have come to the conclusion that it is in the genes. I was fearful of water as a young child, and I must have passed that on to my children. I have seen other children half E's age dunk their heads under again and again, jump off the side, and splash around. This may be one of those things that they will outgrow, as I did, but it is hard to be patient and understanding. I don't know why I even give it a second thought. The kids are happy playing, and enjoy themselves when I am not trying to force them beyond their comfort level. I should just let them be, and when they are ready to move onto the next level, they will. I guess it just comes down to a pride issue on my part. I want them to have impressive swimming skills, so that I will then look good (as if it has anything to do with me!). So I guess I will relax these last few weeks of summer, and let my kids have fun doing what they want, and then try again next summer, and see if they are ready for the next step.