Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Digs

 






















In his drug induced stupor my sweet husband built a new website for our new family. Yay, for the hernia. Well, sort of. :)

He named the new site: Us Plus Four.

So come on over and visit us there. All you followers, don't forget to switch over for updates in the new digs.

~Cheers!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Hernia





"Daddy," Jack eyes a watermelon-sized rock by the old strawberry bed and a dozen more odd shaped boulders, "I don't want you to lift any of the heavy ones because I don't want you to have hernia surgery." Little boy leans down and tries to move them for his Daddy. Together they clear the lawn. Too bad the hernia already happened when Daddy cleared the first dozen bigger ones.

So tomorrow, 8:00 am, Daddy heads in for hernia surgery. How is that for good timing? Now we can recover together. :) Guess you can't plan getting a hernia!

We'd love your prayers.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dedication





Today, among family and friends we dedicated Myra Rose to the Lord. Our children smiled and waved to the crowded pews. Lulie chattered on in girlish delight and milled from hand to hand. Finally, Daddy tethered her grinning self to our side for the prayer. Jane, Jack, Lulie, grandparents and Great-Grammie, aunts and uncles, cousins, a baby in our arms -- such blessing near and far. As we stand before God and all, I smile wide. And, even with my eyes closed I feel Craig at my elbow, the best part. I know every step will be blessed. Lord, our daughter is yours.

Who knew on the one year anniversary of my half-marathon we'd dedicate our fourth child to the Lord? And to think in three short days my brother now leaves for Africa. Has it really been a year since Craig was there? I wonder what the next one-year-stride will bring.



Gratitude:

22. The bleating cry of my baby.

23. Dirt under two-year-old fingernails.

24. My belly sinking back to normal size.

25. Going barefoot.

26. Painting fingernails with daughters.

27. Tall glasses of water.

28. Stretchy swaddling blankies, bright colors.

29. The guileless blue of my husband's eyes.

30. Little boy who holds my hand so cars won't hit me.





holy  experience

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Myra, Meet the Family




Fresh out into the great big wide world.





Wrinkled toes,





a screamin' bath,





and meet your brother.





His name is Jack.





This is Jane.





She loves your toes.





And Lulie, she loves your tiny hands.





Home.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Myra Rose





Please welcome MYRA ROSE.

8 lbs., 1.5 oz. Soft, sweet, and still smelling of heaven. Myra Rose.


(Pronounced: MI-rah)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Singing





"Shhh Jack, Momma's singing."

My fingers feel stiff, but the old piano keys still find their place under each fingertip. An old melody threads me through quarter notes and crescendos, metered time and counterpoint.

"HOW are you DOING that?" Jack furrows his brow, his mouth agape.

Jane balances with Lulie in a tiny rocking chair, "I LOVE that singing," she whispers.

I smile. I can't even sing one note on tune. It's all in my fingers.

They call it singing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

40 Weeks




"Momma," Jane's still barefoot while we wait, "I have a feeling the baby's gonna pop out on her due date." Auntie Cerissa and I smile. Guess we're all a little distracted these days.

40 weeks. TODAY. Still no popping.

***


Another week of gratitude.

11. Shattered oatmeal bowl, no glass embedded in small bare feet.

12. Husband-hands that sweep up glass shards and sticky oats.

13. 40 weeks of baby curled in my womb.

14. Hospital bags packed.

15. Stacks of clean laundry.

16. Red geraniums like Gramma used to plant.

17. Awaiting arms to gather my children and their suitcases.

18. Strawberries and whip cream.

19. Cucumbers and olive oil.

20. A quiet nest of waiting before the whole world changes.

21. Another baby.



holy experience

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Man





First, they pull the grass. Daddy chops off long sideways roots of quack grass that reach into the garden. The children trail behind and gather armloads of clumpy sod, pile it in the wheelbarrow.

Jane pokes a fresh clump with her toe, "I think I need a MAN'S help." She looks around, and then gives the clod a little kick.

Daddy hacks another clean swipe at the garden's edge. He pauses, "Hey Jack, anytime someone says they need a MAN'S help, you should help them right away."

"Oh. Okay." He grabs Janie's clod and tosses it into the wheelbarrow. Jane grins.

Off to the left, another clump of grass, "I think I need a MAN," she looks around for Jack, "because I don't want to bend down and pick that up." She tries not to smile and raises her eyebrows. He slogs it into the wheelbarrow.






At the end of the garden they race back to Daddy. He saws open bags of coffee grounds and scatters long black stripes over the dirt. They wriggle their toes in it.

As daylight wanes we gather garden trowels and buckets, a pair of old blue gloves, and go inside. Jane pauses at the door, "Jack, I think I need a MAN. Will you close the door after Lulie comes in?"

"Yeah, I will." With a sideways grin he turns to wait for little sis, that same long-suffering streak of his father a badge of honor.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Real Gentle





Jack finds me out on the couch. I squeeze my eyes shut and sigh. Nap's over.

"Momma." I sit up and wedge a pillow in my back. He sidles up next to me.

"Hi, bud." We sit and stare into space, snuggle. I check my watch. We stare some more.

He nuzzles his face to me and squeezes my arm, "I'll hold you really gentle," he says, "because I know you have a baby in your tummy." He looks up, "I won't forget."

"I know," we smile and then sit some more.





Five more days. Wonder if she'll come on time.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Secrets




"Sweetheart come here, what did He tell you today?"

In the morning my children trundle breakfast bowls into the dishwasher and race to the black couch. They pass Bibles from lap to lap until everyone has the one with their favorite pictures. When they read it's a jumble. Jack sings Zachaeus, Lulie shouts, "Dat bad," and pounds her favorite picture of Goliath. Jane shushes them both between stories. Sometimes they lull into quiet whispers.

Then they find secret places to pray.

Jack crawls under the wardrobe. Janie squeezes into a small shelf on a nightstand. Lulie toddles down the hallway.




Later they tell me about prayer.

"He told me when I think about something I wanna do that's bad not to do it," Jane says. "I said, 'Will you help me?' and He said, 'YES.'"

Jack squeezes my hand. "I said, 'Thank-you for dying for me SO MUCH,'" he whispers, "and He said, 'I love to die for you SO MUCH.'"

I find Lulie down the hall calling, "I love you, God. I love you, GOD."




And we call in the day with secrets of love.

I love you, God.


***


Thankfulness:

4. baby rolling in my belly

5. ribs numb, spread wide to encircle the child

6. husband who makes breakfast oatmeal

7. twenty minutes of bare feet before I pull on maternity support hose, again

8. maternity support hose

9. my doctor, the who came middle of the night to deliver Lulu

10. a still moment before children pad down the hallway into the morning



holy experience

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sorrrryyyy, Momma




Anyone else had a few days like this?


"You can't hide from God things," Jack negotiates a mouthful of oatmeal, "Yeah, because He knows what you have done." With a pause and a swallow, "He sees it INSIDE you."

Morning light shines across our table as the boy shovels in more gruel. Inside of me. I probably look all scribbled green. Green and no guile. I suppose like Lulie I'm pigtails and green tummy to God. And sorrrryyyy. Most days I still can't believe he forgives me over and over and OVER for all my faults. For not being perfect. I'm not perfect. I sigh.

The morning settles around us in breakfast bowls and puddles of milk. And as grace swoops down, I breathe in the slow moments. Children chatter, one helps Lulie scoop bites. Even as I sigh, I long to obey this God. He forgives me.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Manure.




Manure. Our children can hardly believe their ears, "Cow POOP?!" Jack squints one eye. Janie laughs, "In the GARDEN?"

Daddy distributes 20 bags across our back vegetable garden. He empties them in big black strokes.

"Hey Daddy," Jane eyes the remaining sacks, "how do you think they get the cows to poop in the bags?"

A miracle, I suppose. Any takers?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Follow Me




"Momma, you can say, 'Follow me,'" Jack says, "because I will follow you all the days of your life." He tilts his head, grins. Follow me. My boy leans on one elbow and crunches another bite of cereal. I swallow more coffee.




Later, I watch them trounce through damp morning grass and clamor up rocks. They pull dandelions, squish spiders, trowel their fingers in the stream. They follow each other. One plops a pine cone in the water, and all three lay tummy down on the bridge, watch it float by. Another finds a dead bee, all fuzz and wings, well, one wing anyway. We save it to show Daddy.

Without meaning to they step into the day, all wet grass and muddy trails, tilting their heads like their mother and grinning like their father.

"Everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher."
~Luke 6:40


Follow me. Sort of takes my breath away.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Jane





"Hey Momma, I don't really know what God thinks of you talking that way."

Oh yeah.

Anyone else have to reign in their tongue lately?




holy experience


Thankfulness:

1. Little one holding littler one's hand across the street.

2. Half cup of coffee.

3. Mussy curls, pigtails, smudgy feet.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tokens of Love





"You're looking so grown up, Momma." Jane scoots over between our breakfast bowls and pats my shoulder.

Jack nods, "You're lookin' just so grown up."



"Your eyes are green." Jack stares at my face when I tuck him into bed. "I love them," he says. Before I can smile, he pulls my face down, kisses the tip my nose.

Green eyes and all grown up.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Break out the GOGGLES!




That's RIGHT!




It's SWIM weather!




Or rather sprinkler weather.




You know, since the thermometer hit almost 70 today.

***
Also, news flash: Jack is totally set on naming the baby OLIVE. Lucy goes back and forth on the name. Jane is against it. And Craig says the only way he will name a child OLIVE is if she is born with a pimiento in her lips. Plus, it's not 4 letters.

Soooo any more name ideas? :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Poor Baby





Poor baby. Croup blossomed into a drippy soggy wheezing cold. Cough. Fever. Lethargic eyes half open. She laid on the couch for four days until we hauled in to the doctor. Something just didn't seem right.

As it turns out, the human ear can hold an ENORMOUS amount of wax. After a five minute excavation per ear we uncovered double ear infections. (And I mean EXCAVATION. I was seriously FLOORED. One piece was a half inch long!)

In any case, praise the LORD for Motrin and antibiotics. Lulie's like a brand-new girl.


*** Oh, and THANK-YOU for all your name suggestions! I have a feeling we will be taking our list to the hospital, so seriously, keep 'em coming. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Good NEWS!




No more breech baby! Our darlin' is HEAD DOWN.

Thank-you for your prayers and suggestions. {HUG}




Now, one other small problem...

She has no name. Help!

The only rule: 4 letters. You know, like Jane, Jack, and Lucy!

Names, anyone?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Croup




Croup stinks. After two LONG nights I think we're finally over the worst of it.

And just to make my sweet mother smile, you'll be glad to know that Lulu successfully used and flushed all the rest of our Kleenex. To her credit she is now holding the box saying, "Bad, bad, BAD. Dat naughty." This is after wetting down her head with the cold air humidifier. Think she's feeling better?

Ok. Another day.
:)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Jack





"Hey Daddy," Jack looks up from his paper, marker still bleeding into the masterpiece, "when I go up to heaven, I will show my picture to Jesus and explain it to him." Jack furrows his brow and continues coloring. It's a picture of the cross. "This will be my card for God," his voice quiet, it sounds like he's forgotten Daddy and me. "This will be my card for the one who died for me."

The one who died for me. Sort of makes everything else seem peripheral.



holy experience

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bigger





"Well Momma, at least we didn't lose Lulie's contact." Jane looks over to me and raises both arms, "What could be worse than that?!"

I sigh.

She walks across the room and leans down on the couch arm. "Momma?"

"I know, honey." She wriggles under my arm and leans in. I kiss her hair.

"Momma, you're bigger than what I did." She kisses my arm.

And as we sit cuddled together I understand why Jesus always forgives me. He's bigger than what I do.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gravy




"Hey Momma, gravy's really easy." She crunches a mouthful of cucumber. "Maybe Gramma can give you the recipe."





"And you can make mashed potatoes." She pauses mid-crunch, "Gramma's mashed potatoes are gooder than good."

That's for SURE.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Beginning





Jane slides over next to me. I wrap my arm around her shoulders, and we settle into the black couch. More and more we just sit. Gathered together, hands on my belly, we wait for the baby. Go ahead nudge our hands. And today, her mess of curls on my shoulder, Jane and I listen. Daddy bought us a theatrical reading of Genesis. The beginning. One precious child tucked under my ribs, another under my arm, still another sucking her thumb, and another shooting darts at a spider on the ceiling, the beginning.

Then, her voice soft like wind, "You're my best friend." Janie's blue eyes capture my face.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Resurrection Day





Breakfast and he's directing the play. "I'll be Jesus," Jack says, "and you can be an angel," he points at Jane and waves his arms, "that flies down from heaven, and sits on the tomb and says, 'HE IS RISEN!'" Jack uses his man-voice.

"And Lucy can be the women that come," Janie says, "and you," she points to me, "you can be the disciples." She turns to the living room, "I'll say, 'Why are you looking for the living among the dead?!" She turns a circle in her Easter dress, "Quick go tell the disciples and Peter!"

And so the morning begins. HE IS RISEN!

HE IS RISEN INDEED.