Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Beautifully Mundane

It's Sunday morning. Kids are still in pjs. Chloe's still asleep. I'm wearing a bathrobe over the top I had on yesterday and knee high warm socks with capri yoga pants, one sock still pulled up to the knee, the other not so much. Stylin' I'm tellin' ya. Real fashionista here.

I'm on my second cup of coffee.

Conversation an hour ago:
"I gotta go waters!!"--Child #2 yelling through the bathroom door in an urgent voice.
"Hang on, I'm almost done!"--the Mama
"But I weally gotta go!"
"Do the potty dance!"
"I am alweady!"
"Then run around."
"But I'm getting dizzy!"
"Are you running in a circle?!"
"Yes!! I gotta go!"

I didn't tell her to run in a circle. I just said run around. She added the vertigo challenge herself.

Here's a snapshop of life as we know it...

Everything neat and tidy and in its rightful place. Not a speck of dust.

We sipped hot cocoa near the frost covered windows and ate dry cereal from measuring cups because all the bowls, and most of the cups, are dirty. Emphasis on neat and tidy around here.

It's been a long week, with Chloe have an odd virus that made her erp and have a rash, late night phone chats with her doctors, and finally her starting to feel better but leaving us with lack of sleep or motivation, but lots of motivation to sleep.

Last year, while we huddled together under His feathery wing in the rafters of our temporary KC home, I longed for the mundane. I longed for normal. And at the same time I had conversations with other mamas who longed to break free of the mundane because it was, well,...mundane. My heart was perplexed because while they longed for a break from the norm, it was all I craved.

Jump back to the now and my mundane includes giving fifteen plus meds a day, drawing up each dose delicately into the plastic syringe and double//double checking each dose. Mundane means daily trach care and suctioning. Mundane means filling the vent humidifier for the umpteenth time and scheduling feed breaks.

It's certainly not what I pictured our mundane life to be when we started having kids. I thought mundane meant cleaning up poop off the floor and wiping snotty noses and the same routine day in and day out. And I was excited for that mundane with our first child, and I was comfortable with the mundane, though a bit stir crazy, come our second child. And with our third, it was all I could dream of. To not have nurses around the clock in our home. To stake claim on our third child and not stand by and watch nurses changing her every diaper.

We're slowly weaning ourselves back into normal lives now that we're home. We're balancing work and school and groceries and budgets and chocolate. We're sipping coffee from our own percolator in our own favorite mugs {minus the one my hubs cracked and broke this week. I'm not bitter anymore. Not in the slightest. He'll replace it if he knows what's best for him}. We still have nurses, but only four days a week for eight hours a day. The rest of the time is ours. We're on our own timetable without rounds and florescent lit hallways and corridors to twist and wind through daily. And our own cozy passageways feel so much more calm and less sterile.

Much, much less sterile. 

And we're ok with that. 

I'm seeing on Everythingram people {and by people I mean mostly women//mothers} carefully hand selecting their word or verse or motto for the new year. Last year ours was a verse that laid the groundwork for every conversation and relationship we encountered. We failed it often. But we also embraced it and grew from it. This year I see people choosing their word of the year to be gratitude  or expect or embrace. "All good things, all good things," -Olaf. But honestly, if I were to be blunt, ours will probably be the word MUNDANE. We don't seek anything huge or spectacular or shiny or new or deep even. We just crave the mundane. 

A beautiful mundane, though, where we embrace the moments of our children. Soak up the game nights. Steal a kiss. Surprise with a hug and morning snuggles. Learn from the arguments. Teach through the tantrums. Admit the wrongdoings and seek forgiveness. Model the unperfect. Humble ourselves before our children. Humble ourselves before each other. Attempt the daily schedule. Learn to be OK with changed schedules. Set aside the strive for perfection and just. be. us. 

One of my favorite sayings is GROW WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED. So much depth to such a simple sentence. We're learning to grow right where God has us. Because this isn't our story. Let's be honest, we would probably not have ever in our wildest dreams when we were a new couple freshly married, thought that somewhere down the road we'd listen to steady beeps from a ventilator at night. We also probably wouldn't have believed we'd have two red-heads. But God knew. He's the one that planted us here. It's our job to trust Him in it and accept it and embrace it, or to drop it and not claim it as our own and live a life of running and misery and every other frustrating emotion we can muster up. We didn't choose this life. But we love it. We've had seasons where accepting all of this and setting aside our own dreams of what we thought things should look like have been challenging and hard and bitter to the taste. But we're learning to trust what His beautifully wounded hand is penning for us, even if the next chapter is simply to embrace the mundane. 

Because the mundane can be just as beautiful as any life we might have imagined. 

My Sunday morning gift from my daughter. An original hand-sketched drawing of lead on print paper. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Hopeful new year?

Better new year?

Good riddance, 2015?

I find it interesting to see what people post or comment about the new many say how blessed they were in 2015 vs. how many people say things like, "Well, 2015 was certainly not our year," kind of thing.

Well...if you think quickly on the G family's last year, we could easily say that. But each year has brought blessings alongside the hardship and trials. Although we've walked a hard road these last two years, there have been a scattered multitude of blessings and ways the Lord has been right beside us through it all. To write off 2015 as a bad year is to tell the Lord it wasn't worth it. And that's just not our style.

So here's our 2015 list of blessings & bests... {click on links to read original blog posts}

  • God's provisions and protection.
  • Chloe stayed home from the NICU for over 8 months!
  • Blessings in ABUNDANCE from Chloe's Benefit!!!
  • Chloe earned frequent flyer miles last summer and all trips were made safely.
  • Safe travels back and forth a thousand times between our home sweet home and KC.
  • Chloe survived her second heart surgery
  • Chloe got to go to church with us twice, one of those being our family dedication for her and her sister.
  • The kids LOVED the Ronald McDonald houses and considered it an adventure, not a bump in the road. We called it our summer vacation
  • We didn't get lost in the woods
  • We kept the momentum up through the unknown weeks of being away from home. 
  • We watched from home plate seats as the Royals launched themselves into the world series, as a gift from the Ronald McDonald House. 
  • Jodie discovered Instagram. She's pretty much in love with it. 
  • Alan started seminary working on his masters and is loving it and doing great, and even took exams from Chloe's hospital room during his shifts as parent on duty. 
  • Chloe didn't get any clots from this year's PICC during her stay!!
  • Abi got to see Frozen on Ice.
  • Our family got to see Cinderella live at the Star Light Theatre, outdoors, under the stars on a beautiful early fall night. The kids thought it was just a jumbo movie screen. 
  • Isaac learned he loves math.
  • Isaac learned to read.
  • Abi started ballet classes online with her homeschool. She's perfecting her twirl. 
  • Chloe has learned to chew on things.
  • Chloe can sit up (assisted) without throwing up every time. 
  • Chloe can hold her head up and reach for toys now. 
  • Chloe has started losing her aversion to things in her mouth these last few days. Downside is she's trying to chew on her cords. 
  • The kids got blessed by friends with a new swingset in our backyard this summer as their own private playground. 
  • Visits from family.
  • Extended family health prayers answered.
  • Unexpected trip to Iowa to see family for the first time in over a year. 
  • We learned how to off-road in a mini-van
  • Chloe was OFF her ventilator for over 8 months during day and 4 months completely off 24/7! Huge praise as we know she's strong enough to do it again soon. 
  • Chloe made the Wall Street Journal as well as Time Magazine Online via a post I wrote for a special needs blog. 
  • Chloe came home for Christmas!!!
Yes, 2015 was a hard year (and the year before that as well), but from that small list, which left out a ton of other blessings, you can see how each year is important. The good and the bad. The good times and the trials. I think we're learning that blessings and trials go hand in hand. And that's a good lesson in and of itself. 

So here's to 2016. A new year. A fresh start. A new season for Chloe. I must admit, I cried the other day watching a 7 month old bear weight on her legs as she played in her mama's lap and I burst into tears because Chloe is almost 2 and not there yet. But immediately the Lord brought to mind this verse, "...they shall soar high on wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint..." from Isaiah and I was immediately reminded that in her time, by His will, she'll get there. I've set this goal for her that I want her to bear weight or start to crawl by the end of the year, but my husband lovingly reminded me that we're to simply be thankful she's even here right now and to wait patiently for those things to come. So that's our approach for this year for Chloe and our family. To soak it up, one day at a time. One dance party on the living room floor at a time. One car ride for appointments at a time. One homeschool day around the family table at a time. 

Whatever it is that you've walked through last year, know that this year is a new year, a fresh start, and that although there might be trials along the way, there will be blessings as well. Just wait and see.