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In The Trenches?

Today is Kobe's birthday party. Five years old! This is the life. Somedays feel long, they feel like I argue, prod, clean up, fix, get frustrated...all day long. It feels like I'm in the trenches. And then I stop and think. I think of these four little boys who need me and who love me and who are not 'getting in the way' of what I need to get done. They ARE what I need to get done. Even as I am going through this time period, I know, I just know that I will look back someday and long for these days. I will long for the days of my boys being litte, being boisterous, of crying for a kiss on their owie, of hearing the words 'Mom, _____ just hit me!' I KNOW I will miss this. So why do I complain about it? Why do I feel like some days will never end? Why do I get so frustrated? Why can't I just relax and ENJOY it?

Lord, please help me to live life now. Please help me to be content and to be thankful in every circumstance. Not a guilty I-need-to-be-thankful thankful, but a truly heartfelt thankful. Lord, please change my heart, please help me parent in view of your eternity. Help me to savour every minute of what you've given me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

My Little Zane is Finally Talking!

I had two active, active boys before I had Zane. At least I thought they were active. Now I realize the word 'active' is a relative term.

Zane entered our world like a tornado.

My pregnancy with Zane was placenta previa. That means that the doctors needed to take him early by c-section. It was a difficult delivery. Zane was wedged sideways and they had a hard time getting him out. I vomited throughout the entire procedure and I lost a third of my blood. Zane came out not breathing. When they tried to start his breathing, they were too aggressive and collapsed a lung. I saw him as they whisked him past my face - between heaves - and then didn't see him again for about 5 hours. For the next couple of days, he was in ICU and I wasn't able to hold him because any handling made him cry and slowed the healing of his lung.

The whole situation was horrible. I was used to long labours and deliveries and then holding and nursing my babies right away. This time, I still felt like I was pregnant after I had him. I didn't have any attachment as I was looking at this baby that could have been anybody's.

I didn't feel the attachment until one night I went into his private ICU room, held him to my naked chest, pulled a blanket over us and fell asleep...for hours. All of a sudden, it all felt right. He was mine.

As a young baby, he wasn't exactly fussy, he just wasn't very happy either. This continued into his toddler years. Never completely happy. Around the time I expected him to start talking, he was just cooing. As he was getting older, he would hum everything. Same tone, same inflections that we used, but no words.

A speech therapist (Zoe) starting coming to our home about once a month and an infant development specialist (Lotte) came once a week. It was clear that Zane understood absolutely everything and was very bright, but still no words. Zoe was increasingly thinking that Zane was struggling with the fine motor skills in his mouth area and just couldn't seem to get that area to work the way he wanted it to. When he would try to copy things that I was saying, his face and mouth would look awkward. Some words seemed to come from his nose, rather than his mouth. We played games like blowing bubbles and sticking his tongue out to lick something from my finger to sharpen his fine motor skills.

During this time, Zane was developing some amazing skills in expression. His face can tell a story. His eyes and face seem to light up when he's on a roll. His eyebrows do great things. He will look at you out of the corner of his eye in a way that makes you just wanna grab him, squeeze him and cuddle him for all his cuteness.

But, the older Zane was getting, the more frustrated he was and the more behaviour issues he had. Imagine - having things to say, things to ask for and not being able to get people to understand. I'd be melting down, too!

Seemingly overnight, things began to change. Within a month's time, Zane went from saying a handful of words to speaking full sentences. Full, complete sentences. Truly.

It has been a privilege to see Zane blossom during this time. He is expressive. He is talkative. He is happier. He is fun. He's also an almost 3-year-old who knows exactly what he wants - or doesn't want - and now has the vocal skills to let you know. Ha!

During his frustrating time of no speech, I kept saying, "Zane...when you learn to talk, we are going to have a PARTY! I will be so excited for you! Things will be so much easier for you."

So............we had a party. Complete with carrot cake and cream cheese icing, a present and a family game of limbo. He was the star of the party! He ate up all that attention and went to bed beaming. When you ask him why we had a party, his eyes get big, his face lights up and he says, "Cuz I'm talkin'!"

Thank you, Lord, for Zane and for the blessings he brings to our family. You sure knew what you were doing when you gave him to us. I am forever thankful!

I have been thinking about my grandparents. I have all of my grandparents and was able to know 3 of my great-grandmas, as well.

You know, when I was a child, I loved spending time with my grandparents. I feel like we nearly grew up at Grandpa Norman's and Grandma Lee's house. We were there all the time and I feel like some of my most treasured memories were there.

I remember going straight to the cupboard where Grandpa kept my scribbler. I would bring it to him and he would write out math problems for me - I know...nerdy! I would disappear up to the landing of the stairs, finish the problems as fast as I could and bring them back to him for marking. He would write out another set and off I'd disappear again.

I remember Grandpa's favourite chair. It was an armchair and everybody knew that it was Grandpa's spot. He would sit in it and smoke his pipe while visiting with my parents. I remember us children teasing him by running to that chair, laughing and giggling and holding on tightly with both hands on the armrests. He would pretend that he was going to sit on us or pry us off and we just giggled away.

I also remember Grandpa's spot at the dining room table. He always had the chair on the end with the armrests. Grandma always sat on his left and the grandchildren always fought over who got to sit on his right. Grandma would put plastic place mats at each spot and she always had a smaller plate than everyone else.

I remember Grandma used to sit on the couch - it was brown - on the left-hand side. She would have her ashtray on the table beside her and on the edge of her ashtray she always had a Beachnut cough drop balancing. You know, the ones that come in the green package. That is where she would visit and crotchet while talking. In my mind's eye, I can see her sitting there under that big long mirror.

(That is the very living room where Dwayne and I shared our first kiss.)

I have fond memories of Grandpa Mick's house too. For many years, I would spend part of the summer out on his and Uncle Don's ranch. We would start our morning with a coffee - yes, even as a child! Grandpa liked his coffee with cream and sugar...enough sugar to nearly make a syrup. ::gag::

Some part of every day would be spent on "Buddy" the horse. He was grey and had to be nearly beaten to get to move anywhere. Grandpa cut me a switch and told me to give him a little flick with it if he wouldn't move. I'm not sure children should be given switches. I'm surprised that poor horse never threw me off!

I remember one cattle drive that I was all excited to partake in. We all started out with our horses, leading those cattle along the road. I fought with Buddy and I never did figure out where they all took the cattle to. I was still within sight of the house when they were coming home a couple of hours later. As soon as I turned that horse around, he jumped into gear and we made it home in no time. Stubborn ol' mule!

As far back as I can remember, Grandpa was always ready to pull somebody's leg. Every Christmas, he would phone and tell of how he'd sicked the dog on Santa and his reindeer. Every Easter, he would say the same for the Easter Bunny. And I distinctly remember an old baseball cap that he had that said 'Having sex after 60 is like trying to play pool with a rope.' I remember just how funny he thought that had was. ::roll eyes & grin::

Grandpa has always been feisty and has had awesome reflexes. Even now, at almost 80, he is the only Grandpa I know that goes to the bar, stays out later than my friends and I, and gets in a bar brawl every now and then.

With all these treasured memories floating around in my mind, I have been curious about all of them when they were little, while they were growing up, how they fell in love and all those things that a child is too self-centred to think to ask. I have phoned all of my grandparents and have asked them to either write or record 'their story'. I am thankful to have the opportunity to ask them for this while they are still with us because some of my friends can only wish that they still had that chance. It is my hope that they do give me their stories and that my children, my grandchildren and myself will have a treasure to cherish forever.

It's Friday! This week has been a whirlwind.

Esther left on Tuesday night. She spent the night at Amanda's and then the two of them drove. Her flight was to leave at 7am yesterday. She took too long getting ready in the morning and missed her flight. It cost her 50 bucks and 3 hours to get a new one. What a nut!

Tuesday is our busiest days of the week right now. Kobe and I go to a Ready, Set, Learn program at the elementary school. It is a pre-literacy program and I enjoy the one-on-one time with him. After lunch, Barb has a childrens' crafts program at O 'n E. What a great program! They do many different crafts and artsy things. It is well organized and absolutely free. Barb is one of the most community-minded and generous people I know. This week, they were sewing buttons, sketching with chalk, and making a swirly ribbon thing to use in the Fall Fair parade. Soccer started this Tuesday, right after crafts. The children had a great time last year, so I thought we'd give it a go again. Kobe especially likes it and is very coordinated. He was showing me how he could use his foot to make the ball 'jump' when he kicked it.

Wednesday brought our first 'scrub baseball' day. This winter Dylan asked me if I would organize a baseball time for children. I thought about helping with the childrens' ball league, but things seem to be so political and nit-picky. In talking to other parents, I found that they were feeling the same way. There are also children who didn't start in the childrens' ball league when they were little, so felt as if they don't know how to play well enough to start now. They didn't want to feel stupid or be made fun of. The solution? I started a 'scrub' day where children (of all ages) and their parents can play together. We are casual enough to not be competitive, but serious enough to learn some baseball rules. We pull out the T for the smallest children and there are no strikeouts for anybody. This children had a blast on Wednesday and one little girl said, "I really like this. It's better than the league because it feels like a family thing." Amen.

Yesterday was soccer again.

During this whole week, we did a small amount of school in the morning - usually Bible - and some playtime/outside time together. When Zane went for his nap in the afternoon, we finished off school and got ready for our outings. I still have a scheduling struggle, but that is for writing about on another day.

Yesterday was Dylan's first day working with horses at Tom's house. He has talked about horses here and there and gets excited about the colts - who doesn't think they're too sweet? - when we drive by. We were at Bud and Irene's the other day and Irene mentioned that maybe Dylan would like to work with horses with her. It planted a seed in my mind.

As I was pondering, I thought...Tom. Of course! In the past, I have been careful about my children's exposure to Tom. Mostly it's the bad language and the drinking that I haven't liked. This is no secret to Tom and he has often offered to take Dylan for short periods, only to receive a flat-out 'No way!' from me.

Something about him and the horses clicked in my mind, though. Dylan is growing into this superb little boy. He knows right from wrong. He knows how I feel about Tom. He is wise beyond his years. Tom knows how I feel, as well, and because of that, I expect that this time with Dylan will be cherished and respected. They both keep telling me how excited they are.

Dylan started at 7:30 am yesterday. They work for about an hour and a half. He's back there today - right now, in fact. He will mostly go Monday, Wednesday and Friday. When Dylan came back from there yesterday, he was pumped! He worked with Blue and did some leading with a halter. He told me excitedly that he left slack in the rope and Blue still just did whatever he wanted. He rode Blue and Tom had him not hold on and close his eyes. This is going to be a real growing experience for Dylan.

I have thought about pursuing guitar or piano lessons or, or, or. Nothing really seemed to fit. I'm glad that Irene planted the seed. The lessons that Dylan will learn with Tom will be top-notch, are usually incredibly expensive and quite hard to come by. I'm thankful to have such a great opportunity and an uncle that is most excited about it too!

More Than Necessary

We had some friends over for lunch today. One of our guests was 'Pizza Bob'. Bob is openly thankful to the Lord for whatever is coming across his mind at any particular moment.

While we were eating lunch, Bob mentioned how thankful he is that God gave food taste. He could have made food simply for nutrition, but He didn't. He put extra effort into making food enjoyable for us.

That comment kept coming back to me throughout the remainder of the day. It made me think of the times that I get lazy and only do what is absolutely necessary. Imagine how different the world would be if we were to follow the Lord's example and put in the extra effort - not to simply settle for the bare minimum.