So I've had a lot of people wondering where I have been. I guess I can say "hibernating" and that just about covers it. Hibernating ... a time for being inside, ignoring the snow, layering as many layers of layers as you can on top of your body hoping that your extremities will make it till spring. Hibernating, pondering about life and how to improve "it." When I say "it" I really mean "me." That's where I've been for the most part - in my home, in my thoughts, in my kids, wrestling, struggling, loving - just being human. The end of winter always brings a lot of self reflection - spring brings new hopes and dreams and plans. The snow begins to melt and I start dreaming of trips to the garden center and blooming flowers, I dream of camping trips and long warm evenings - I dream of mornings OUTSIDE with my coffee, watching the birds ... instead of inside trying to shut out the winter.
This past week has brought relief for me. Sunny days so sunny that I was able to hang out laundry (my preferred method.) We were able to take the kids for a walk and picnic, play outside in short sleeved shirts and bare feet - we filled up our bird feeder and watched the little brown sparrows stuff their faces until they had eaten every last seed. It took their small flock 2 days to empty the feeder - I'm not sure if we will be able to keep up with their high demand. They sure were precious though and I loved sitting on the porch swing, watching them fly back and forth to some unknown place, always bringing back a beak full of small tidbits, branches and ribbons and bit of shredded plastic. I watched a pair of robins have had it and after I realized they weren't killing each other but instead making babies, I smiled. Love can be ferocious but nature always astounds me at it's beauty and God's gorgeous creativity. I can't wait to hear the sound of little baby birds.
The warm weather has brought new projects - Zac made me a bench and we are painting old filing cabinets to use for flower boxes - wait for it. :)
The warm weather has brought good news for us - the bank says we should be able to buy a home next summer so now we are in the process of needing to save and save in order to have a down payment. We have been driving around and looking at neighborhoods and having long conversations about what would be best for our kids and their needs - lots of privacy but not really any social outlets or nearby churches, or a good neighborhood close to rec centers but a big enough home for us to spread out? New dreams and many unanswered questions - fun yet a little terrifying.
Warm weather and frozen bananas, cashew butter and almond milk with a drizzle of honey - perfect "ice cream."
Warm weather and painted little toenails. This red is called "hot tamale" - Trinity and I picked it out. Tristan prefers the blacks and blues and greens - I enjoy the fact my little boy has good taste and likes to have color on his nails. Makes him look like even more of a superhero then he always is.
Warm weather and getting to dress themselves - just when we stay at home. :) It's been so nice.
Yesterday it snowed - but today I have been just fine indoors because I think I was able to soak up enough vitamin D to satisfy my soul for at least a few days.
The sun doesn't take away all of our challenges however. This month is autism awareness month and I took it upon myself to go ahead with the assessment process for our littlest little. Finn is so amazing in every way - awesome at communicating and funny funny funny - but Zac and I both feel that all is not well. So, this week I will take him for a two hour session on Wednesday and Thursday and a team of professionals will evaluate him and then we will get his diagnosis at the end of the month a couple days before his third birthday. We decided just to go ahead with the process now instead of wondering and waiting and then having to go through this next year when we are wanting to buy a home. To be honest, as I usually am, I was not okay with this for almost all of March. I was in the "depths of despair" as Anne would say. Most people do not get it and I often hear "but he is such a great little boy who cares if he is on the spectrum." Well, I care frankly. He is awesome and amazing and should function just fine in society, but it's still me and Zac putting on another hat that we weren't prepared to wear, it's still an added pressure - it's still a worry for our child and it's loss no matter how high functioning your child is. It's still hard.
It's hard when for all of your baby's short life you and your husband have watching him, and have said to eachother "oh, he's definitely totally fine, he's developing great." And then one day, subtly you notice little signs, the same signs you noticed the other two times before - and you push away the nagging fear and tell yourself that you are seeing things, that's you're being hypersensitive. One day, you wake up and rub your eyes and you know that what you saw was true, there's no more hiding or trying to believe it isn't true - then you have to work through accepting it and making the choice to actually voice "I think we may have a problem and we need to seek help."
Our kids amaze us. They are smart and funny and have made so much progress - everyday is still pretty rough for us. Okay, everyday is rough. Every single day also holds beauty and holds lessons and makes us pretty caring individuals - some days make us feel strong and some days makes our weaknesses pretty apparent.
For all of March when I would jog I was angry - I'm so glad I could run and listen to music and just be angry during that run. I would cry while I ran and I would be sad - and I would run more and cry more and just feel so bothered and spinning and I knew it was going to be okay - even though at that moment ... it wasn't.
Yesterday I ran, and I didn't cry ...and I was thankful and felt peace. In fact, I felt so much peace that at first I wasn't sure what the feeling was. But it was well - and I knew it was going to be okay. Zac and I are going to be awesome parents to intellectual Brady, to our beautiful Trinity, to our "heart on his sleeve" Tristan, and to our goofball Finn. We are going to be good partners to one another, we are going to have a strong marriage and we are going to serve others and we are going to be exactly who God created us to be. Right now, He wants us to be really awesome parents to four amazing kiddos. So, we take a deep breath, put on our hats - and we try.
The warm weather helps.