Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sweet Home Alabama

Okay, y'all are really sweet for encouraging me to keep blogging. And Chey-Anne...checking here every week? Really? You're a sweetheart!

After camp, the next big thing on our calendar was a trip to Alabama. And when I say “our,” I mean Eli, Landon, Harper, and myself.

By ourselves.

The week leading up to this trip I vacillated between “this is crazy and I can definitely not do this by myself” and “I can do anything! And I can certainly go on a little trip by myself, with my children, to see my family.” It complicated things a little when Harper came down with a horrific cough a few days before we were supposed to leave. I was on the phone with her doctors several times that week and they assured me (after I made them sit on the phone and listen to her cough) that she was going to make it okay. I still hadn’t decided whether or not we were going all the way to Alabama, but I packed enough clothes for a year, loaded my car down, and headed to Dallas…still postponing the big decision until after the weekend. We spent the weekend with Mom and Mike.

Monday morning arrives and I drag my feet for several hours until I finally thought:

1. I’m not going to have this opportunity for very many more years. Once the kids get involved in school and activities, it’s a lot harder to just up and leave for 10 days.

2. I haven’t seen my grandparents in two years. They haven’t even met Harper and I know they are dying to!

3. All but one of my siblings are going to be there and you know how I can’t miss out on anything.

So I threw the kids in the car and headed for the state line, refusing to think about all of the bad things that could happen in the backwoods of Arkansas, the car trouble I could have, the screaming and crying that could take place over the next 12 hours, or the inevitable loss of sanity that was coming. And can we all take a moment to remember the last time I took the boys to Alabama by myself? I'm a glutton for punishment.

It took much longer than 12 hours. It took 19.

Katelyn (my saint of a little sister) was with me for the ride down. That day, we had several bouts of torrential rain, one instance of vomit, one total and utter blowout of a poopy diaper, 5 chipped teeth (Katelyn’s), and one hour spent lost. But we made it. 19 long and gory hours later, we pulled into my grandparent’s drive way and I’ve never been so happy to let my kids run wild (at 2:00 in the morning).

You know what else we had? Not.One.Single.Tear! I still to this day cannot believe it, but it’s true. No one cried (not even me). Thank you, Lord!

The trip was great. We hung out with grandparents, Dad, Anita, cousins, aunts, uncles, and siblings. We played Mexican Train every single night. We ate good food. And we even went to the Space Museum one day to see the rockets. It was a great visit!

And then we missed Dustin so terribly bad that we loaded up and drove home to see him (without Katelyn this time). I came dangerously close to running out of fuel somewhere in Arkansas in the middle of construction and I did get a speeding ticket on the way home (confession), but other than that, we had a very peaceful and easy ride home. Harper (who didn’t sleep much the whole time we were there. Ugh!) slept for most of the way home. I mean it. The drive to Dallas took about 13 hours and Harper slept the majority of it. Another blessing from above. We spent the night there before heading home the next day.

I can’t say it wasn’t hard. Some days it’s hard to just make it through the day until Dustin gets home from work, so it was definitely hard to be a single parent for 10 days.

But now that I’m several months removed from the trip, I can definitely say it was worth it :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gotta Start Somewhere.

So…It’s been a while. Yes, I know. And I hate that. Not because I think there is anyone out there (besides my mom) who even visits this little blog anymore, but because this is the place where I store our memories. The place I can record funny things my kids say because I forget them so very quickly. The place that I can come and reflect on the different joys and despairs we’ve faced and remind myself how faithful and merciful God is.

So I’m going to try again. Emphasis on try. Because I’m a busy person. It's not that I think I’m any busier than anyone else, but I may just be a little less equipped to handle it with the grace that others do. (cough, cough, Page). I happen to think my job is reallly important and I finally feel like I’ve got a handle on things for the first time since Harper arrived. (Can I just say that three kids in two and a half years very well could be too many, too quickly? Just maybe.)

So settle in because we have a LOT to catch up on. But because I know there are so many that have a special interest in my little Harper, let me start off by saying that she is doing really well right now. It could change any minute, but for the moment, we are basking in the sunlight – the wonderfulness that is a normal family not anticipating major surgery, or tube-feeding, or weekly doctor trips, or clouds of uncertainty. And this respite has been so terribly refreshing. And even though we have more to face, our hearts and souls needed this time to recharge and we're so thankful for it.

Shall we revisit summer? Because it went completely undocumented here. Let’s go all the way back to June. The month of June has always, and will always, be known for camp. June and Camp are about as inseparable as two things could possible get. Camp is 10 days long, in the middle of the West Texas dessert, with no cell phone signal, wi-fi, or hot water. Sounds fun, right? Well, it used to be. It was a ton of fun when Dustin and I were engaged/just married, we were both counselors, and only had ourselves to worry about. Now…not so much. I have high hopes that camp will be fun again one day, but at this particular stage of my life, camp and fun are mutually exclusive. This year was especially hard for some reason and I think it mostly had to do with Harper. Harper was just two months out from surgery, wasn’t growing, her doctors weren’t crazy about her being in the heat, she wouldn’t eat anything, and basically just cried a lot. So, we hung out by ourselves in the house we stayed at. In addition to that, we had seen the cardiologist the week before camp and hadn’t gotten a very good report. We all know how my emotional state is directly related to the words that come out of Dr. Robinson’s mouth. I was pretty much an emotional ticking time bomb. This one week of the year is the only time we see so many people and if you’ll remember, Harper had her first heart surgery the previous June, so of course almost everyone asked about her. I know people mean well and they have blessed us so much by praying for Harper, but having the same conversation over and over again about something I hadn’t quite come to terms with was really hard. By day three, I was completely emotionally overwhelmed, tired of talking about Harper’s heart, and miserable.

We ended up packing our kids up and enough clothes for a couple days and took off to San Antonio. It was exactly what we needed. We hadn’t had much fun the past year. Every day Dustin took off from work was spent at the hospital. We hadn’t done a single thing as a family. So we went to Sea World, watched movies, ate out, swam at the hotel, and just escaped reality for a few days. We came back to camp with a completely different attitude and we enjoyed the last few days of playing, singing, learning, and fellowship.

These are a few pictures from the workdays at camp the weekends leading up to camp.

The Atlantis ride at Sea World was my boys' first thrill ride. There weren't any lines, so they got to stay on and ride four times in a row. Those boys aren't scared of anything.

Enjoying the Sesame Street show.

Our one regret was not renting a double stroller for the boys. We had one for Harper, but Dustin ended up carrying the boys around most of the day. He was quite sore the day after!

I lost my camera right before camp, so these are just two pictures that a friend sent me. It's so special to see Eli and Landon want to lead singing and have the courage to go up there and try (together...ha!)

    And here's a picture of Harper from right around that time.

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