Thursday, December 31, 2009

I can't believe it's 2010....I signed a check the other day "2002". I can remember when my parents used to do stuff like that and I would think 'they are so old', which, come to think of it, was exactly the look our babysitter gave me:). I can also remember celebrating (as opposed to watching football, which is what I'm doing now) New Years in my 'youth', as if it were some hallowed occasion, when in reality, my life was all about me, in that moment--what did I care what year it was, much less what I had 'accomplished' or 'survived' that year. Anyway, today I definitely feel a 'whew, we made it'.
Here are some year-end thoughts:

1. There is no freakin end to household chores....laundry, dishes, and mess wait for no one!

2. Everyone in this life has misery and sadness and crisis of some sort coming their's prudent to have your 'stuff' together to be able to deal with it.

3. There are people out there that enjoy the pain of running and there are people out there that enjoy the pain of a deep tissue massage. I am in group B. I run only for the mental health and jean size payoff.

4. Time does heal. Not completely, but it definitely dulls the sting and gives you time to learn how cope and prepare.

5. People do not intend to say incredibly hurtful, insensitive things...they just do, mostly without even knowing it. It makes me cringe to think of things that have probably come out of my mouth over the years that have had the same effect.

6. No mess on record holds a candle to 'snow globe from highchair' debacle. I thought 'vomit covering pile of 150 tiny animals' and then, 'playdough in dishwasher' were contenders. Oh no. We are talking water, glitter, and tiny shards of glass for days.

7. Everything in life is relative....everything. That's what makes human relationships so fun/confusing/difficult....every single person comes from a different reality. One person's good is another person's terrible. I'm going to do a documentary following several families and how their situations relate. I'm going to call it "Reality Check" and I can't tell you anymore because the producers are in negotiations. just kidding

8. God has a perfect plan for our lives....and the kicker to me's unchanging. He knows the plans he has for us and they are good plans. This might be total laziness on my part, but I'm clinging to that promise and trying to throw out any plans I might have had--ever. Because, this, this mothering of a child with so many challenges, is beyond any plans I had or could come up with. The comfort of knowing this is the plan of a sovereign, perfectly loving God allows me to lay my head down at night.

9. Apparently my life's calling is shuffling. Not cards. Things. Shuffling all the stuff that belongs to my family to it's appropriate place. You are what you do. I'm a shuffler.

10. 2009 has been a year of miracles, big and small. We are so thankful for sweet, steadfast friends and prayer warriors; for our families, who love and serve our children with such joy; and to our God, who continues to hold us tenderly in the palm of His hand and provide for our every need.

A new year is for taking stock, thinking of where you've been, and where you are going. But the honest truth is, right now I'm not ready to think about the hardness we've been through and fear keeps me from wanting to know where we are going. Today is good enough for me.

Happy 2010!!
We had a great Christmas...celebrated early with Paul's family and spend the week of Christmas in Indiana with my family. The kids, of course, were so fun...and even though we all tried to restrain our gift giving, it was still out of control!:) Here were some of the highlights--

Monday, December 28, 2009

you probably can't tell, but this is garrett "feeding" lilah. he was pretending, and i knew that...but i don't think she did:) look at those faces. the commentary was the best part...G saying 'hold still, sweet girl'

someone has a new trick....pacis, seatbelts, cups, and pirate hooks--all things that are fun to balance on your foot:)

just two babies enjoying some morning juice. except neither one looks much like a baby:( lilah's juice is thickened to the consistency of honey, fyi.

some of my very favorite moments as a mother (or "muda", says Garrett) are when my kids are enjoying each other. try to look past lilah's mullet....i took several well intentioned 'hints' from my "muda" and trimmed it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I will begin by apologizing if you happened to be shopping in the Newburgh, IN Schnucks grocery store last week. Garrett and I were 'loosely' shopping for somethings in the dairy case when I hear him pass a significant amount of gas and giggle.

I say: 'GARRETT, what was that?'
G: I was just gassin
**silence because i'm too shocked to know what to say and, clearly, a little slow to respond after looking away shocked because.......

when I turn back, precious boy has his pants and underwear down, and his neck craned down to look in said underwear. (remember we are in the middle of the dairy section 2 days before christmas, i.e. not alone).

His gaze caught mine that said "what the bleep are you doing????" and he very calmy replied:
"Checkin for poopy."

Friday, December 25, 2009

I love Christmas...who doesn't right? I love the music, the food, the parties, the cards, the cheer. Everything sparkly, fresh, I've thought this year alot about the "something new". It is my 3 year old's mantra--"I want something new". He says it often...rummaging around my purse or looking throughout my car for something else, something new, something different, something more.

The battlecry reached an apex this morning, as Garrett was in his element....riping through presents... "which ones are mine?", "do I have any more?", "I want something new!". Of course, I'm sure this is 'normal' child behavior, something all children do (don't tell me if yours don't)--but it makes my skin crawl! It sounds terrible to hear--makes my hair stand on end(not to mention embarasses me)---and confirms we are raising a spoiled brat.

In all my quiet time, siting in front of my tree, sipping cider with my feet up, and reading my devotional (this is a joke)....I have had a revelation: Garrett is no different than me, just more honest. Because that's why I love Christmas...the 'something new'. Not the new 'things', getting or giving presents. For me, it's the 'perfection'...the decorated houses, the shiny lights, the smiling faces. I know full well it's an illusion, but it draws in me every time. If I'm honest, it's not the celebration of the birth of Jesus (as I know it should be) that's gets me all warm and fuzzy--it's all the trappings. I get caught up in expectations of Christmas in my head. And, just like Garrett, it's never enough. I've recognized this flaw (and many others) within myself for years...trying to focus on what's real. The reason for the season and all that. But, at the end of the day, or the party, or the season, I still feel it. The "I want something new" void. It wasn't quite enough.
And, this is where the revelation part comes,.....that's okay. I think that's how God made us--to have a deep yearning for something more. To know and love the gift of Jesus, but also to thirst for not only 'something new', but for all things new. I recognize that the baby born to save me from my sins was the perfect gift, but it did not make things perfect. And I want perfect. I do, and it's okay. Jesus gives me peace, and joy, and freedom....but there is still a whole lot about this that is no where close to right, not to mention perfect.

And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."...
Revelation 21:5

So, this Christmas, I'm taking it easier on myself and my kids (yes, Lilah has a case of the 'something new's also). As great as this celebration is, and as sweet as my gifts, I know there is something more. Feeling like it's just human nature, trying to focus on that redeeming gift of a baby thousands of years ago, and looking forward to the day when Jesus comes again. To make things perfect and right and new...for eternity.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mr Garrett came through like a champ! It is over and he's doped up on a little thing called Lortab for 5 days...clearly I had underestimated the pain of removing a non-essential mass of tissue behind your nose. The surgery itself was barely long enough for me to go to the bathroom and as I rounded the corner to recovery I heard a scratchy, but very loud, voice yell "It's like a gun", excitedly! (obviously the pain meds were in full effect and G was feeling right at home, using his 'usually reserved for family-only' non-inside voice....can't imagine where he gets it:)?!). Anyway, the 'gun' was his IV, which quickly came out as a troup of nurses were scurrying around him like he was a diplomat. I am not joking, those women were swooning over those curly blonde locks!

Of course, as soon as I got the little patient home, he promptly barfed all over me, my wool sweater, my hair, the carpet, and his beloved animals. The fun here never ends people!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sweet Garrett has two "moods"...the first, precious, obedient child keeps me from killing the one that screams "no one can look at me!" About a month ago, with my patience wafer thin, I called the pediatrician with very little history and I just wanted a doctor to see him. Of course when we get there, Garrett's gregarious as can be....sweetly chatting it up with all the nurses, who must be wondering why I have him in don't i have enough visits in there?. G couldn't have been any better of a patient, which again made me seem crazy that I had already told his nurse his only symptom was rottenness that we were there to rule out any illness that would prevent a total crackdown on behavior after Dr Peeden told us he was well, the beatings would begin.
It didn't quit work out that way....He had double, severe infections and one tube was out and the other was clogged (he had PE tubes in may). Dr. actually said that it was 'a wonder he's been sleeping or functioning at all."
The beatings were called off at that point and surgery set for new tubes, with the addition of adenoid removal. After 2 rounds of antibiotics and lots of crankyness, the saving surgery is upon us.
Garrett goes under the knife tomorrow at 9:45. I, ever the multitasker, am wondering if the nurses will let me in to clip his nails, cut his hair, and pop this huge blackhead, that I have been stalking, and bargaining for months, at the base of his nose. tmi, right?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My waves (some gentle, some tidal) of sadness and grief over the last year usually roll in without notice. The sadness, fear, or just dull ache is often over something specific concerning Lilah's disease (if I dealt with all of 'it' at one time, it would sink me). Right now it about missing the baby I never had. Longing for a chubby, curious baby to snuggle up next to me. Expecting to find evidence of my 'baby' getting into things. Wanting to look over and see her exploring something besides what I dropped in her lap. Listening for sounds like 'talking'...."momma". The closest way I can explain it is, like phantom limb syndrome. I know it's not like she's gone. Lilah's very much a beloved member of our family and we wouldn't ever trade her situation for different. But in my heart, something tangible feels missing. Even though I know and want Lilah here, I feel like there is a baby missing too.
It's not near the darkest of my grief, but I share it for healing and because it came up today in church.
Not my grief specifically, and thankfully....since I already had to excuse myself to the restroom once to dry my tears (i almost always cry at church, i did not bring tissues, and i was surrounded by tiny babies who were strong, and bright-eyed, and ....i was jealous). Our pastor was talking on this verse:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
I have to say, this is usually one of those verses where I think I'm just not spiritual enough to trust that to be true or even want it. Why can't we do away all together with the sufferings?
And, I probably missed the entire main point of his message (b/c I was too busy wiping snot on my sweater), but he said "Suffering, whatever it is, and we all have it, is not going anywhere. And if you try to endure it alone, it will sink you." This was my 'aha' moment (ode to Oprah). Our culture tries to 'fix it and forget about it' when problems arise, making it doubly hard to deal with suffering that seemingly has no endpoint.
Things in our life have gotten so much easier from a logistical standpoint (easier feedings, no O2, less medicines, sitting up, having help, etc.), but all the grief remains. Maybe not all, but the remainder, I am learning, we will carry with us through this lifetime. This suffering is not going anywhere. I don't have to work to 'get through it' or 'get over it'. Some of it will just always be hard, terrible, heart-breaking. But, it doesn't have to be crushing or isolating or devastating.
Our family has been through more in the last year than I thought we'd be capable of doing and I know the only way it hasn't sunk us is that Jesus bore the burden. He carried us through days so dark, that I have little memory. And there have been such riches and glory on the other side. As terrible and hard as times have been, we would not change them. God's plan is exactly where we want to be.
I know my life will encompass much suffering beyond what I already know and I have absolutely no plans of going it alone.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Christmas cards went out today...finally. And, no, they are not handmade or anything exciting--it just takes me forever to accomplish tasks like that. This friendly post is to say:
1. if you didn't get a card from our family, it means I lost your address in a freak computer incident (I am not kidding, I deleted 1/5 of my list). e-mail it to me and you, too, can have a picture of the burches laying around your house collecting dust.
2. if you receive 2 cards from me, i'm sorry....i'm just disorganized like that.
3. if you live in my neighborhood, hold your horses. i will be hand delivering to save postage. and since i already bought enough stamps for all my cards, i will be using the virgin mary & child for all other mailings until halloween.

now on to the baking.....a 'task' i enjoy so much more than the cards.:)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We had some family pictures taken this weekend and although I can't seem to get the header centered, I thought I'd share my joy because there is nothing better than having beautiful pictures of your children! She came to our house, was super sweet and patient, and didn't bat an eye at all my bribes (and subsequent threats) to behave and SMILE! Best of all, we didn't have to sell the farm to pay the sitting fee and I 'get the disk' (a.k.a. the usually outrageous record of every shot taken). Merry Christmas to me....and to you, if you call Olivia at Backseat Photos.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I love this season and have been busy decking the halls...for the last 2 weeks. My assistants have their own ideas regarding help, and it's slowing my process down a bit. :) The assistants are enjoying themselves immensely...and that's what it's all about.

G has taken the stockings off the mantle and onto his feet many times.
They are his PJs, he says.

L doing some 'help' during some holiday cooking:)
sweet girl marvels at the lights...she is so excited!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why is it that things never really turn out quite like you expect? Our church had a Lessons and Carols Christmas service tonight. And although we have still not perfected our 'Sunday morning plan' (i.e. the 4 of us never show up together), we went for broke tonight (in the name of Christmas) and took both kids to a 6PM worship service. And we ended up...well...broke. Emotionally, that is. I had visions of basking in the love, singing hymns, loving on my children in the glow of the giant Christmas tree.
I know how ya'll love the comedy of errors that is the Burch family and church so here ya go:
We arrived late, of course. Because, in the first time since I can remember G slept until after 5pm and then insisted on a full course meal--both of which are independently extremely rare. So, we are late, park in 'special needs' parking, and sit wedged in the back corner in 2 folding chairs. Let me give you a heads up, that 2 folding chairs are not enough to accommodate 2 adults, 2 children, 4 coats, and a purse/diaper bag/magic sack the size of Texas.
I kid you not, in the first 30 secs Lilah had already dropped 2 pacis on the floor and G insisted he needed a drink. Paul took pass #1 by the men to our right with G and I started the dig in the magic sack for 'something new' for L. Pass #2 back to our seats brings an already whiny Garrett asking if I had Cheese-Its, because everyone knows you can't worship without a snack, especially one artificially cheese flavored. I did not have the requested snack, but he finally decided a candy cane and some Teddy Grahams would suffice. Between the rustling of the sacks, the chomping of the candy, and Lilah sucking on her teething ring, we were starting to draw some looks. I can't remember the offense, but Paul had to take G outside for 'a talk' (pass #3 & 4). At this point L is lunging for some unknown destination and G declares he's ready for Sunday School. I ask him if he's sure, he says 'yes', and feeling like I cannot pass thru our row again, we walk in front of the whole church to the exit. We are not 2 feet from the nursery door when he drops to the floor crying, like I'm about to send him off to Boy's School (which, by the way, I am now thinking about). He makes a huge scene, I receive several "I'm sorry" looks from passerby-ers, and we head back to the lobby. Which was convenient, b/c Paul had already bailed from the service with L (pass #5 & 6). We commiserated for a few minutes before deciding I should retrieve our things (pass #7 & 8, I can not even make eye contact with the poor men in my row by this time).
I get coats, purse, and scattered snacks/toys and we decide to cut our losses and go. Just go. Better luck next time. At least no one is crying. Good try. Yada yada. We are suited up and out the door and we notice the unthinkable--we have been blocked in. Seriously, you park in front of someone who is parked in 'special needs'? What if our special need had been a medical emergency instead of just parenting fatigue? Not that I'm bitter:)
Anyway, it was more of the same for the next hour, at which point we were all hungry and super tired. But, we did get to visit with some friends at the end of the service so there was some redemption. Also, I'm counting it a personal victory b/c I didn't go crazy and scream at anyone. Parenting keeps you humble, no?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Growing up, my family religiously hunted our Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving. We did not go without any member (and usually my grandma), dressed festively, and drove down the road from our cabin (where we had stayed for Thanksgiving). There was a small sign on white poster board alerting the public "Trees for Sale" and after you cut down your tree, you drove back up to the house, pointed to the area of the field the tree was found, and then payed a very fair price.
My family hit the field, spreading out different directions to find the "perfect" tree. The criteria for each of us was different. I wanted 'big'. My mom wanted one with 'holes' to put her big ornaments in the tree. My dad wanted a 'great shape'. And my brother could never remember where the one he picked was located, so his choices were out of the running. We would finally agree after each contestant had been argued and dad would lay down on the ground and cut down the chosen one with a hand saw. Then, we would pose around our tree and snap our family Christmas card picture. The ride home was filled with "I'm really glad we got that tree" "it's going to look great", "what a great tree". Very Clark Griswold.
In sharp contrast, this is how my family's tree selection went: On my way home from the doctor with Lilah today (why do I always seem to start sentences this way?), I pulled through Mayo Garden center, and had them tie a tree I had not even seen unfolded on the top of my van, while it was still running. Since they charged what it must cost to replant 100 trees, I figured it must be decent. And then, being the loving, patient mother that I am, and wanting them to really 'soak in' the festivities of Christmas....I decorated it by myself after the kids were asleep.:)