Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

turning 37

 the year i turned 27 was a tough one for me....
that was the year matt and i talked and prayed and decided to start having a family. 
i was feeling old. 27 seemed so close to 30. sigh. 
this year i turned 37 and i found myself having similar feelings. 
37 seems so close to 40. 
and right now i am in the throes of raising kids...kids who need something from me all. day. long. 
a baby who poops in the tub, a baby who screams at me when she wants something because she has no words, a son who is constantly wanting from me. more from me. always more. and a daughter who wants adventure and something to look forward to daily. i cook meals, i wash laundry, i read stories, i clean up, constantly bending over and picking up. i try to do these things with a smile but lately it has been getting to me. 
i was starting to feel lost. 
and there is always the feeling around the middle of may that july 7th is looming. 
finn's birthday is coming. my body remembers and a kind of slump starts to happen in my heart. 
so when matt asked me what i wanted for my birthday i knew right away what i wanted. something that had been brewing inside of me for over a year. i wanted to make sure i really wanted it though before i got it. 
and so when he asked me i said with confidence "i want a new tattoo." 
so we made the appointment and got a sitter for the kids one evening and we were able to go together. 
jay has done several of matt's best tattoos and i knew that i wanted him to do mine. 
it turned out just the way i had hoped. and i love it. 
i loved doing something for me. 
i felt clearer and more inspired and most importantly i love that my whole family is on my body. 
i love that. i really truly do. 
the first two birds are matt and i, the third one is finn, flying towards heaven with wings outstretched...perfect...the last three are my babies soaring after us. each unique in the way they are flying. 
it hurt. inside and out. 
it was a test of will sitting there letting someone scratch ink into your skin, but it's a strange kind of good pain. 
a pain that let's you think about what you are doing and why and what this all means. 
i liked sitting there thinking about the days in the future when the birds look like little brown blobs and my grandchildren climb up onto my lap as i am about to read them a story and they say to me, "nan, what are those?" 
and i can tell them..."baby, that is my family. your family. let me tell you our story." 

family time at the zoo

last week we had some fun family time at the zoo. what a blessing a zoo membership is!! thanks mom and dad ;) it is the perfect place to kill a few hours in the morning walking around looking at animals, packing some snacks and drinks and ending with a run in the water fountains. so that's what we did. micah brought his backpack with supplies so he could make observations about the animals and their habitats. {his words} this kid. it seems micah is the most himself when he is writing about animals. we had to stop at the otters because they are bea's absolute favorites and then micah needed a minute to write some things down so he wouldn't forget. the mosquitos were eating me alive though so he didn't get to write as much as he would have liked. 
 i only took my point and shoot camera on this day and i can really tell the difference in the picture quality. 
oh well, they may be blurry but they sure are cute!

 micah needed to write more observations while we looked at the macaws. 
  we rounded a corner and came upon this gorgeous peacock. they walk around the zoo wild! beatrix was enamored and so i asked her to stand next to it so i could get a picture. {notice her socks! haha}
 micah sneakily touching his feathers.
 got one of us. 
i love this man. 
blurry love.

  and i did something i want to do more of.
hand my camera to strangers and ask them to take our picture as a family. 
i want the kids to remember what i looked like with them. 
 it was a hot sticky fun morning. 
we love the zoo!

Monday, June 10, 2013

13 years

 micah woke up yesterday with the flu...he threw up all day long and into the night. as i lay in bed last night, matt reading a book, i couldn't believe that this is what life looks like right now. it's taking care of little kids who are sick. little kids that we have made together. 
you know, i really can believe that it's been 13 years...because a lot has happened in 13 years....3 degrees, an international move, 4 babies, multiple job changes, 11 moves total, a house bought, late nights laughing, and late nights fighting it out, sick kids, silly kids, quiet dinners and loud dinners, irritations, and wicked joy....the baby i was in these pictures had no idea what kind of a ride i was in for...but i'm so thankful she didn't walk away. i wouldn't be the person i am today if i would have. 
happy anniversary to us...13 years committed to one another. 
we are best friends, each others biggest fan, a reminder to never stand still. 
i am so thankful. so very thankful that i walked down that very long grassy isle into your loving hands. God sure knew what he was doing when he put this crazy pair together. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

a few funny family stories

May 17th - 
this morning micah's teacher texted me that micah wanted me to know that he had lost his tooth sometime between last night and when i dropped him off at school that morning. she wrote "he's worried he may have ate his tooth" haha we had a nice laugh. i came into the house after dropping him off and i believe God gave me the thought to check his balled up paper towel with the remains of his breakfast sandwich. i went out to the car (cause i don't throw garbage away often enough for moments such as these!) and i unwrapped the paper towel and there was his little tooth waiting for me. i texted micah's teacher to ask her if she would let micah know where i found his tooth. and then i said, "you couldn't make this stuff up!"

May 19th - 
micah came into where i was writing this morning with a sad look on his face. "what's the matter, buddy? did you have a good sleep?" micah-"she didn't come again." me-"what do you mean?" micah-"the tooth fairy didn't come again last night." my internal dialogue while i held micah...should i tell him the truth? should i tell him that daddy and i forgot the two nights in a row because of all that is going on right now? no, i'll find a way to put the money in there without him knowing. "i'm sorry love. would you like to play daddy's ipad in the living room?" micah sadly - "sigh...sure" i fast walked to our bedroom, taking the change jar into our bathroom so i wouldn't wake matt up and so micah couldn't hear me, i counted out three dollars. the tooth fairy leaves more when she has made you wait. as i was putting our change jar back onto matt's dresser, his eyes opened and he asked me what i was doing. all i had to say was, we forgot again! he quickly got out of bed, went into the office and proceeded to write micah a letter from the tooth fairy. i came back into the office to ask him what he wrote and he just waved me away. and quickly went into micah's room. minutes passed and i just walked by micah's room. the curtains are hanging haphazardly, the blinds are wide open, the windows are open as far as they can go and it looks like the tooth fairy came and went in a hurry! i love that husband of mine. he really knows how to bring a story to completion. later after micah had found the note i snuck back into his room to read it. the note from matt aka tooth fairy read in beautiful curly handwriting mind you...Dearest Sweetest Micah, Please forgive the tardiness of my delivery of your coins. i have been very busy and had to sneak in through your window while you played on your Father's ipad. Sincerely, The Tooth Fairy. --he just looked at us and was like what?!? and then he counted his three dollars worth of coins. matt commented on how it was very dangerous to leave the window wide open like that but that we would forgive her this time. then the two of us walked down the hall to our bedroom and silently high fived each other for an amazing recovery!

May 21st - 
me watching bea this morning playing with her luvy - "you sure are cute beebee."
beatrix not looking up from her play - "YEP! i cute sometimes."

May 29th - 
{an exasperated car conversations} me-"micah! for the last time sit back in your seat or if you don't and we are in a car accident your head will get cut off!!!" beatrix- "yeah. and then we would haf to go to hos-bital and ga-lue it back on."

thoughts on mr. harrison

 today marked the final full day of teaching english and philosophy at trinity for mr. harrison. next week is finals and next thursday is graduation. matt's seventh senior class will walk down the isle with robes and caps on ready to venture out into the world armed with the knowledge and wisdom my husband tried to push into their heads. matt will walk into that graduation as mr. harrison. teacher. and he will leave the ceremony mr. harrison. dean of students.
a whole new set of responsibilities and lessons are waiting around the bend for him. 
matt was content at his job. he loves teaching with a passion i've never witnessed before. the thing about it is, he is an amazing teacher. and i'm not just saying that because i'm his wife. his past and present students will nod their heads in agreement to this statement. he KNOWS, capital letters knows, his subject matter. he LOVES, capital letters loves, his subject matter. and he CARES, capital letters cares, for his students. he doesn't just stand up in front of them droning on about something. he presents his subject matter with flair and a zeal that ignites in them an enthusiasm for learning and for understanding what their purpose is while they are here, the purpose God has spoken into each of their hearts. 
i embarrased matt on his last full day of teaching by showing up with my camera. i walked into his homeroom and was greeted by all of the seniors. they are not normally all in his room for homeroom, usually it is just half of these faces. but on this day, this lucky last day, they were all in there. i announced much to the horror of matt, that i would like to get a group picture with all of them. they were more than excited. in fact they all raced to get around matt. he was holding penelope who when all the kids rushed him burst into sobs!  that is why this picture is a little on the blurry side. for that reason and the fact that matt wanted it over as fast as possible. after the picture was over they all went to lunch and matt held back. "thanks alot for that", he said to me sarcastically. to which i replied in a no nonsense kind of way. "you might not like it now, but someday you will be thankful i took that picture!" i think he agreed because as he was walking to lunch, he said to me, "i'm going out to play dominoes with the kids for the last time....you can come and take a picture of it if you want to." oh! i want to husband. i truly want to. the picture below is that picture. every friday matt would sit with students and play dominoes. the sound of the little white rectangles with different colored dots smacking on the tables echoed off the walls. 
he looks happy in this picture. truly happy. 
i pray this next chapter of matt's time at Trinity brings him happiness and contentment and growth. i pray it stretches his natural talents and that God continues to use him. i know that it will be a different kind of "teaching" and a different kind of loving these kids, but i am certain that he will do it with consideration and with flair. 
because that is just the kind of man this man of mine is. 
congratulations Dean Harrison! 
"It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey." - 
Wendell Berry an excerpt from his poem The Real Work 

Monday, May 13, 2013

butterfly world for my sister

it's been awhile again since i have posted. 
i talked to my sister on the phone last night (hi anna!) and she very calmly asked me when i was going to post on the blog again. the blog i have neglected for months. i told her that my brain space had felt used up the last 6 months and that i had neglected the blog because of that. she told me she missed seeing the pictures of the kids and then she suggested, "hey you could just start from today." to which i replied, "you know you are right!" sometimes it takes a sister to tell you that she misses you to get you back on track again. 
last week i went on micah's last second grade field trip with him. the girls got to come a long too. we went to butterfly world. it was a giant greenhouse full of thousands of butterflies. 
i can't even do it justice by trying to describe it, but it was amazing! 

 just a small example of the butterflies that you could see. 
can you count them? 
 as i was winding my way around with a stroller and a very fussy toddler i came up to beatrix. she was bent over looking closely at something on the ground. i got a little closer, bent down with her, and asked her what she was looking at. she looked up at me sadly and said, "mama it broke it's wing" i gently picked the butterfly up off the ground by it's legs and set it up right on my finger. she sighed and said, "it's going to die." i told her we didn't know that, it was still moving, it just couldn't fly because it was missing one of it's wings. so i set it on the flower in the above picture and beatrix stood there a long time watching it. she talked about that butterfly the rest of the day and even told matt about it later that night. she has incredible empathy for things that are hurt. she even does it when we are watching TV together. she will cover her face or hide behind the couch if someone is being mean to someone else or picking on another person because they are different. i told her that feeling she was experiencing is called compassion or empathy and it is a good feeling to remember. 
it is God inside of you tell you to keep caring. 

 afterwards the kids got to eat their lunches on picnic tables and 
then they were all able to play in the park for an hour. 

 beatrix was especially hard to get a photo of in the park. 
she was all red faced and racing around with some of the little girls in micah's class. 
she can't wait to go to kindergarten with micah and daddy. 

 pips thinking she's big stuff. 
 the girls and i left about an hour earlier than micah and his class. 
we were all tired and about 15 minutes out, with music calmly playing and the air conditioner on high, they were both asleep. 
it was a little under an hour drive and it was nice to have the quiet to just enjoy the ride. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

lots of words

it's been a long time. too long, really. i was behind to begin with last fall and it just kept spiraling until finally the first week of january our computer broke. this of course put me even further behind in my picture posting and then this space fell to neglect. but the thing that i am coming to realize, the advice that my mom gave me all the way back in november was to just start from here. that's really hard for me though. i don't want a huge chunk of our lives to be missing. but i miss writing here more and i miss having somewhere to go to sort my thoughts out.

i have been walking, and eating better and actually losing some weight. it's freeing. my morning walks with pips in the stroller gnawing on a frozen banana muffin have been good for my head as well. i pray. or just think. or sometimes i even just walk with no thoughts, which is nice too. penelope shrieks at the birds and ducks around the lake and i breathe. i try to take deep breaths in and deep breaths out.  it's been good.

the last 24 hours have been tough though. it's the reason why i decided to come back to this place. this little blog of mine. this record keeper of the harrison house. i have been weaning penelope for a few weeks now. we were down to two feedings and then she started to get her four molars and i just didn't have the heart to stop when i knew she needed the extra comfort. and i needed it too. so somedays the nursing rose to 4 or 5 times and sometimes it was just a couple of times. but i knew what was coming. i knew the end of my days nursing our babies was nearing the end. ...what i didn't know was how hard it was going to be on me.

i guess i shouldn't be surprised. i'm notorious for struggling when a new phase comes for each of the kids. i did it with micah and his pacifier, when he potty trained, when he left for school, when beatrix started school, when i weaned all of the kids and now weaning penelope. every time this happens i realize again how very much i resist change. i know in my head that good things are coming. with weaning penelope comes offers from friends to watch the kids so matt and i can get away over night. that hasn't happened in 3 years. with weaning penelope comes a trip to chicago to second shoot a wedding for a friend of mine, even though we both know it is more so we can hang out in chicago together for a weekend. with weaning penelope comes a new phase for her, more people food, funny times around the table, special night time routines for her and matt. these are all great things...but deep down, honestly it's probably more just below the surface, i'm sad. really sad. i mean the kind of sad where you aren't sobbing but huge tears are just streaming down your face.

this is the last time...and since it's been 24 hours, i guess february 18th was the last time i will ever nurse a baby for the rest of my life. and that just cements the fact that i won't ever have another baby either. matt and i are 100 percent content with the size of our family, but still.
never ever again? whew...deep breath...

this makes me think of a funny story. on sunday i took micah to pizza hut to redeem his book-it certificate for reading every night for the month of january. we were talking about our family and he was telling me how when he is a dad he wants to have a son and name him john. and then the conversation went to why i couldn't have another baby so he could have a brother. then he said, never mind it would not be good if i had another girl. but then he asked me why i couldn't have any more babies. which basically led to an intro to sex conversation, where the word sperm and eggs were uttered. gasp! i was not prepared for that. but it was good and i just answered his questions as simply as possible and then waited to see if he would ask any more. he asked a few follow up questions. but the conversation ended with him saying "never? i don't believe that. it could happen mommy." i replied with a sigh and "if it happened micah it would be a miracle". he seemed to be content with that.

but for now, the thought is never. and i am mourning, yes mourning as if it will be never ever....

we had a gentleman and his daughter for dinner last friday night. he has become a mentor for matt. he is tender and kind and loves on matt. he listens to him and gives him sound advice and the best thing...he prays with matt. we've been meaning to for awhile and it finally happened last friday. we were all sitting around after dinner having some tea  and that man looked at me and said, "i have something to say to lydia" and he spoke a word to me from the Lord. it's the second time it has happened to me. the first time was a lady in the boynton beach mall when micah was about the size of penelope. i came straight home and wrote it all out. most of it has happened. even down to owning our own house with a green truck in the driveway. but this man just spoke truth to me, encouraging words. he told me how valuable my role is to matt and to our children. he reminded me that God gave me talents and that i can't even comprehend what God has for me in the future. he told me to write, to journal, to get it out. he said all of this with out even knowing that i have been really struggling lately with feeling less of a person compared to matt, and that i have been wondering what is next for me, that i used to love writing and journalling and that i haven't in a really long time. like i said, God gave him a word to speak to me...and i heard it. i was listening.

it is hard for me to start from here. it is hard for me to not want to go back and make sure i document ever picture that i took of the kids in the last 4 months. and if i'm being honest, i will probably post pictures here and there from the last few months, especially of penelope's first birthday and of christmas. but i need to move on. i need to cut myself a break and move on from here.

today i needed to just sit down and write out lots of words.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

miss manke

 november was also micah's beloved teacher, miss manke's birthday. it was a much anticipated birthday by my son. one that was planned for and thought about for quite some time. he made her a card and we talked about how to make her feel special on her day. the room moms for micah's class are amazing and very thoughtful and they threw her a wonderful party. one parent even donated pizza for the whole class. 
we went along to help out and also to get in on singing to miss manke. 
seriously though, she really is amazing and we are extremely thankful for the year micah has had. he loves second grade and is so happy with all of the science experiments they do. she is very good at making each one of the kids feel so special and loved. it was nice to be able to do that very thing for her on her birthday. 

voting day

i have a brilliant idea. people would make a fortune if on voting day you offered an area to watch kids for parents who are going in to vote. it would work much the same as church nursery. you leave your information or take a pager (if you happen to be old school) and you go in and vote in peace and then come back out and claim your children with a nice tip for the person watching them. brilliant, right? 

well, until something like that happens, matt and i woke up at 6:15 and got the kids ready, except for penelope and then we drove to our voting area and waited in line for it to open for 20 minutes. we talked to many nice people in line. we even met a few from michigan. but by the time we actually got inside, our window for keeping the peace had vanished. thankfully we had filled out our practice ballots so the actual voting took us each 5 minutes tops. 
 matt told bea she had to keep her hand in his pocket. ha! 

 i love that the kids got to watch an amazing freedom taking place and we were able to answer many of their questions as they were observing what was taking place. we talked about options, and differences and being informed and above all voting because it is important to never take that gift for granted. 
plus they got cool stickers out of it too. 
overall a pretty great morning. 
{yes, i changed her clothes mid wait in line. :) }