Monthly Archives: April 2011

Easter girls – 2011

I made this post last year and just thought I would update it for this Easter. I think there is a big change between last year and this year! We had a really good Easter. We all got up really early and I sung four services and Luke and the girls went to the 7:00 service and also Luke helped with handicap assistance and so they went out to eat and came back to church to do that. I finally got home around 1:00 and we relaxed for a bit before joining friends for an Easter dinner.

Easter 2011
Easter 2010
Easter 2009
Easter 2008
Easter 2007
Easter 2006
Easter 2005
Easter 2000 – with Nathan in my tummy!

Dream – April 21

Luke started tossing and turning somewhere before 6:00 this morning.  I guess I should be grateful because it allowed me to wake up and then fall asleep again and have a really detailed dream about Nathan.    In the first part of the dream we were swimming.  He had floaties on his arms but they were small and he managed to swim under water with them.  At some point we were out of the water and he was standing right next to me and I asked him a question and he answered it, just exactly how he spoke, which I can’t explain, and ended with a little laugh.  I put my arm around him.  We went to figure out a prescription and it was taking a while and the pharmacist wanted to  substitute something else so I told Nathan “Go see your Daddy” and told her he was terminally ill but was doing really well and we didn’t want to change anything.    At this point in the dream in my mind it was 2010 and he had lived another 3 years.  He was about 6 in the dream though.  The next part of the dream was a big dinner at our house and a lot of our friends were there and Nathan had two of his friends there and it was nice seeing him interact with them.  I didn’t recognize them though.

There was more fuzzy stuff, but my favorite part was the conversation I had which was pure Nathan.  Of course seeing him smiling face was wonderful too.

Life right now

Part of the purpose of this blog is for me to record life.  I have not been very good about that lately.

What is life like right now?

It is pretty typical.  I have to remind myself that when Nathan was ill – typical is what I strived for.

Generally, life is mostly about the kids right now.

Warning – this ended up long and sounding like a Christmas letter, which I have never done and now know why!  Since you read my blog you know everything is not all roses so at least you can read this knowing that!

Julia is involved in dance, musical theater and kid’s choir at church.  She is in third grade but rarely has homework, lucky girl.  Most days she gets up at 6:30am and if it is “her” day on the computer plays some computer games until 7:30 when she gets ready for school.  She gets on the bus at 8:13 and returns home at 3:47.  We still walk out to the bus with her in the morning but she comes in on her own.  We can’t see the bus stop from the house even though it is very close so somehow I can’t bring myself to let her go out and not know if she got on.  Silly, I know.  I’d have to revisit the issue next year but conveniently, Lauren will be joining her so I have an excuse to still go (I say “I” but it is usually Luke).

Julia would like to play the cello and we have an interview tomorrow with a teacher.  She will have to give up one of her other activities and has also been warned that practice will often take place before school.  I am also expecting (hoping?) she will have more homework next year so she will be busy.

Julia spends a lot of her free time reading.  She is a voracious reader and we borrow many library books at a time.  When the weather is good and we are not busy she loves to play outside, riding her bike or scooter with neighborhood kids.

Julia loves to sing and will be singing a solo with the sanctuary choir on Mother’s Day.  This is a pretty big deal as our choir is very large and good.  I will be backing her that morning up in the choir loft.  I am nervous, but she is not!

Julia just got glasses and is enjoying being able to see better.  She has been told she looks like “Junie B Jones” and I told her if that is the worst they can come up with, she is lucky!  She is very tall for her age and still has beautiful strawberry blonde hair and many freckles.  She has the cutest laugh.

Lauren has preschool Monday through Thursday afternoons.  She LOVES preschool and is definitely ready for kindergarten next year.  I will be sending her to full-day kindergarten and she will ride the bus with Julia.

She has violin lessons Tuesday mornings and some Saturday mornings.  She is progressing so well and really enjoys playing.  She loves a good challenge and is willing to push herself.  She also has dance and kids choir at church.  We had been doing Monday and Wednesday morning swimming lessons but she got too advanced for the morning offerings.  I let her have Tues. and Thurs. after school lessons in March and all the running around almost killed me so this month I am trying to take her  myself and coach her.  She does a lot of lap kicking and I am so impressed at her perseverance.  She wants to continue with lessons so when summer comes I will do that for both girls.  

Lauren is still a big cuddler and just wants to come sit on my lap and snuggle.  She is always so considerate of others.  Every night when I put her to bed she tells me to have a good evening.  She has a bedtime hug and kiss routine she developed where she gives a kiss and a hug three times followed by a big kiss and big hug.

While Lauren is at preschool I have a few things going on.  On Tuesday afternoons I go to Julia’s classroom and administer timed math-fact quizzes.  Most of the kids love doing them and often beg me to do it again but I have to get through the whole class.  I like getting to know Julia’s classmates.  She loves it when I come in and always gives me a big hug.  Most weeks I have a meeting for an organization that is trying to bring a ch*ldren’s museum to our town (yes I misspelled it on purpose to avoid search engines.  We don’t have one here and given the large population of kids and the big tourist industry here it is a no-brainer that we should!  So – we are making an effort.

I just finished a Thursday morning bible study and on Tuesday mornings Lauren has violin.  For her violin she is to practice every day.  As she learns more songs, practice can get longer and longer.  I am big part of her practice and so this is a daily activity for me too.  If/when Julia starts cello this will be doubled.  If I have time I like to play my cello or violin.  If I have time I will play harmony with Lauren’s violin.  It is good practice for her to keep to her melody.

Both Luke and I are involved in Wednesday night children’s choirs at church.  We are the kindergarten helpers.  We both are also on a committee to address plans for next year and I am also going to become a liaison for Wednesday nights in a committee for children’s ministry.  I am also in the sanctuary choir which meets Thursday nights and then we sing two services on Sunday.  This time of year there are lots of extras.  There are 7 commitments in the next 13 days.  So of course I have come down with a sore throat and cough.  I am not sure if I will be able to sing!  I love choir and it is a great “me” thing to have.

Luke and I recently joined a Sunday school class.  I have to miss half of it in order to sing second service but it is good to get to know some of our peers in our huge church.  On Sunday nights we have dinner with two families every week.  We have been doing that for two years or so (the other two have been doing it for many years – they asked us to join them a few years ago).  It is a wonderful blessing to have that fellowship and friendship.

I love to cook and sometimes our schedule messes that up but I really love the fact that most every night I cook a delicious nutritious meal for us and we sit down in the dining room together to eat it.  This is how I grew up and I love it.

Luke is very busy with work, and has been for the past year.  Currently he is traveling but for the first 4 months of this year he had impossible deadline followed by impossible deadline and so it was a bit stressful.  He still works out of our home (and has done so for almost 13 years now).  He has gotten to see his kids more than the average dad this way over the years.  There are a few drawbacks but the positives outweigh them for sure.  He is a deacon at our church and helps out with handicap assistance on Sundays.  He plays basketball at the church every other week and tries to make it to the gym during the week.  His main hobby is playing his guitar and one of the great perks of working from home is that when he takes a break he can just reach for the guitar for a few minutes.  He has been teaching himself guitar for about four years and has made a lot of strides.  Sometimes he pulls out the guitar and I pull out violin, cello, or mandolin and play along…it is fun!

I am looking forward to May and cessation of many of everyone’s activities for the school year.  School gets out somewhere around the first of June but we never know the exact date until the first or second week in May (which is very annoying because school may be out before OR after Memorial Day so plans could be made if we knew).

This summer, as we usually do, we will be traveling to my parent’s house in South Carolina and also to my in-laws’ house in Illinois.  Julia will be going to church camp for her first sleep-away came experience.  Music lessons will continue in the summer as will choir for me.  We plan to spend free days at the pool and playing outside.  We will probably throw in a vacation bible school week in there somewhere.  My parents may come visit in August.  They haven’t been here in the summer since Nathan’s funeral and so we really hope that happens so we can get out and do some fun things instead of hanging around inside the house.

So – what is missing?  We are quite busy, but what I would like to do better on is:

the gym for me!!! –  I think this will happen will Lauren goes to school full-time next year

seeing friends – I have had almost zero time to spend time with the friends I do not have joint activities scheduled with.  There are about 7 friends I would love to get together with.  Some I haven’t seen in many months and I really miss them!  This will also get better in the fall, I hope.  I also see I just need to schedule these things, even in a few weeks in advance!

Time for Luke and I – we are due for another trip by ourselves.  We rarely even get out together because of our busy schedules and lack of easy babysitting.   We are always looking for time and will grab when we can!  We did get to go an a marriage retreat this winter – so that was great!

Keeping the house cleaner – also hoping I do better on this next year!  I do not come by it naturally!

So – that is the state of things, for now.  Kudus to you if you had the patience to read this.

Encounters

Since December I have had several run-ins with the staff of Nathan’s oncology clinic. He spent 4 1/2 years under their care and that means I spent a whole lot of time with these doctors and nurses. I love to see them, but it is always emotional and I am left shaken a bit. It is hard to explain.

On Thursday afternoon I ran into one of Nathan’s oncologists, but not the main one. We would see this one when the other one wasn’t available. He said some very nice things about how everyone still remembers us and about missing seeing me at the clinic. Still, I left the encounter feeling shook up and a bit uneasy. Over these 3 1/2 years I have seen all the staff, except one, Nathan’s primary doctor. He has since retired due to Parkinson’s** and the last time I saw him was at Nathan’s funeral. He means so much to Luke and I. We feel so very blessed to have had him for Nathan’s doctor. The care he gave Nathan, and the way he dealt with Luke and I was superb. He made a terrible situation the best it could have been.

Friday, I ran out to Sam’s club at the last minute and guess who I saw? This wonderful doctor! Just one day after seeing the other one. He reached for a hug immediately and we talked for several minutes catching up. He told me that he had been hoping to run into me and that he thinks of us often. We talked about how crazy it was to both of us that it we just passed the 8 year mark of diagnosis. He had just started here in town a few days before Nathan was diagnosed and I think Nathan was his first diagnosis in his new city. We had a great talk and I didn’t even tear up once (which I always do) and I left the encounter, not shaken, but very happy. I did tear up afterwards, because I felt so thankful I saw him, and the timing of seeing him was just right.

** a note on the Parkinson’s. I wrote here about learning of his retirement and how sick it made me feel. On Friday, we talked about how he is doing and about how, at the time of his retirement, it was not what he wanted but looking back at many things which have happened since, the timing was right and he mentioned the mysterious ways God works.  I was so glad to hear and see that he is doing so well.  The disease is progressing quickly, but he seemed to be in as good a place as he could with it.

Brother and Sister

I love it when Lauren has a “shared experience” with Nathan.  Since she was only 20 months old when he died, she didn’t get to actually have very many.  Preschool has been one of them, in the same classroom with the same teachers as Nathan.

Here are some pictures I took recently, and some old ones of the same park.

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As for the other brother and sister – here is a picture I recently put in a photobook of Julia and Nathan….so sweet.

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Lame

I mentioned a few posts ago I need to show you why Luke and I were the lamest couple at the marriage retreat.

We were lucky and got up there early, dealing with some crummy traffic in Denver, but not nearly as bad as those who came after us.  We check in at the desk and proceeded over the the picture station.  At first I thought they were doing some construction over by the stairs but quickly realized it was all part of the weekend theme, “Marriage, Extreme Heart Makeover Edition” or something like that.  There was tape and cones and vests so I asked the picture taker if we had to dress up for the pictures and I was told no.  So, we didn’t.

Later as they began taping the pictures up I saw that EVERYONE else had used the props.

On Saturday night, we had a “contest” that involved competing as small groups, some involving silly things.  Luke and I then just declared that we were lame and our picture was proof.  We just aren’t into play-acting, being goofy, pretending AT ALL.  Not one bit.  We could have done the picture, but being that it was a marriage weekend and we concluded that we are very happy together, why not just be lame together?