Friday, October 26, 2007

O Lord, Our Lord, How majestic is thy name through all the earth...

(My parents' farm)

Glorious autumn in West Virginia! How I missed these colors and the cool autumn air and the bright, warm sunshine! I'm so glad Ingrid and Rowan get to include this in their childhood memories.

The family took a trip to Spruce Knob (the highest point in WV...) to catch the view of the spectacular flash of autumn. Here's what we brought back with us (along with a song in our hearts...):

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Praises for Finding Jacob!

We are so glad that Jacob Allen was found in Dolly Sods last week...right before the cold and rain came in. God hears our prayers, no matter what the outcome, but we want to thank God for bringing Jacob home to his family safely.
Andrew was out on the search that day (you can see him pass by the TV camera on a video clip of the Today Show at and click on the "launch" button at the can see him walk along a bridge at the 33 second mark...), but was a ways away from where they ultimately found him. The kids and I are proud that he would brave such rugged and dangerous (rattlesnake heaven!...) terrain to look for a kid he didn't even know. He says it's a privilege to witness such a miraculous recovery. It has really fed his (and my) faith in God and humankind.
Kudos to all who helped in the effort!!
Keep checking our blog for more pictures that will be coming in the next day or two...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Little Jerry Lewis...

Aunt B calls Rowan names...namely Jerry Lewis...because of his funny faces. His eyes go crossed and his mouth goes sideways sometimes. You can't look at him long before you start giggling. :) He's such a sweet thing. He's started to smile more than just when he gets gas. You have to catch him looking at you, but he'll smile. That's the best when you finally get to really interact with your baby. I know not every parent gets this privilege (I think this would be the hardest thing about having a child with autism or other special need that inhibits interaction...God bless these parents...), and I am treasuring this time with my little guy.

It's not the same as with a first, though. I am having a hard time feeling like I'm doing as good a job with him as I did with Ingrid. He doesn't get the hours of one on one or the immediate response to his cries (which he only seems to do when he's hungry, needs a diaper, or from about 10-12 every night...).

Today was one of those days when, at the end of the day, I don't feel like I did a great job dividing my time between them and me. There hasn't been one day since the baby was born that I've said to myself, "This isn't as hard as I thought it was going to be!" It's definitely as hard as I thought. Thank God the breastfeeding has gone well and I've recovered so much better this time, but other than that, it's as hard as I thought it would be. I'm not feeling sorry for myself, but rather I'm feeling surprised that my fears came true...Anyway, about today...

I'm starting Kindermusik classes soon, and I'm feeling anxious about that...and anxiety and a toddler and infant don't mix. Soon, the toddler starts spitting (a reaction to not enough attention or to being told no about something) and the baby starts crying and I end up with an ulcer and a migraine. I've been through enough to know that you have good days and bad days and that tomorrow is a new day, but it doesn't make the bad days any better, really, to know that. I just hope that I can sleep tonight.

What am I saying? I have a 5 1/2 week old! When do I ever sleep at night?! (or during the day, for that matter...with the first one, you can sleep when they sleep, but with the second one, when one sleeps, the other is awake and wants to eat or you have to use that time to do any kind of work you need to do that is impossible to do with a toddler who likes to knock down "towers" of clean clothes or get out everything you just put away...)
Come to think of it, maybe the lack of sleep has a lot to do with my bad day...along with my attempt to cut out caffeine...ugh...yeah, don't think I'll truly be cutting out caffeine any time soon...

Andrew has been volunteering in Dolly Sods (a West Virginia hiking/camping wilderness about an hour and a half away) trying to find a young 15 yr old boy with autism who disappeared on Sunday night while camping with his parents. The boy is essentially non-verbal, so they are asking for as many volunteers as possible to find him, so Andrew went yesterday and is going again tomorrow. It's been great that his work has told him that he doesn't need to use his comp time or vacation days and to cancel his appointments and volunteer to look for the boy. He's leaving in the morning by 5 am or so. Prayers for the family of the boy would be appreciated. His name is Jacob.
I can't imagine if that were Ingrid or Rowan. I think this is also weighing on my mind, making my day seem more melancholy...the impending rain doesn't help, either...

I have to say, though, that my children are amazing. Ingrid was so sweet tonight. I was sitting on the couch with Rowan talking to him asking him what he was seeing off to the left side of me where he kept looking. Ingrid came over and I asked her what she thought he was seeing. She said, "Angels."
It surprised me a little, so I asked her if she could see angels. She said yes. I asked her what color they were. She said they were orange--and purple sometimes. She said that she saw one over by the front door. It was a boy and he had yellow hair and when we asked her what he said she said that he was quiet. Pretty cool.
She also made me cry last night when we were saying our prayers. We were praying for the lost boy, and when I said that his mommy was sad because he was lost she said that God was with him. God would open the door and He'd hug him and he'd be happy.
Most of the time, I don't feel like I deserve this life, but I am so grateful for it that I can hardly bear it. It's a tough job, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I have to share some lyrics to a song by Sara Groves called "Prayers for This Child". It's on her "Station Wagon" CD. I think it's the best prayer I've come across that applies to a mother and her children.
"I only have two eyes, Be All-Seeing.
I only have two hands, Be everywhere.
I do not know enough, Be All-Knowing.
I give this baby up into Your care.
I do not know how, how to pray for this child..."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Puppy Church and Visiting Baby Isaac...

This week was St. Francis of Assissi Sunday in the Episcopal church when animals of any kind are brought to be blessed by the priest and the liturgy celebrates God's creation, which means that it was basically puppy church this Sunday. Even though our dog, Bella, can't live with us in our new apartment, she keeps my parents company at the farm. Since we were at the farm late on Saturday night, we stayed there and took Bella to church on Sunday morning.
Now, this 2 child thing is still new for us, and adding a dog to the outing I knew might be a little much, but St. Francis Sunday comes only once a year, and we wanted Bella to get blessed! So, things went well while we were in the car -- containment is good when the adults are outnumbered -- but it all started to go a little awry when we decided to get out of the car to go into the church...
We tried to plan before we got out...Andrew would get out of his side of the car and leave his door cracked open, come around to the passenger side and get Ingrid out of the back while I waited with Bella. When Ingrid was out of the car, Andrew would take her and Bella up to the nursery and I would go to the other side of the car and get into the cracked door and take the baby and the diaper bag into church and save a seat for us.
It was all going so well until Andrew left and went inside with the dog and Ingrid and I went to the other side of the car to get the baby out. Andrew's car doors lock manually, so I locked my door before I shut it...and apparently Andrew did too. When I got to the other side, the "cracked" door was not cracked. It was locked. When he "cracked" it, it went shut just enough to lock.

I kind of panicked. I mean, it's Oakland, MD, not New York City or even Minneapolis, but as I tried to open the locked door, I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach, and I wasn't sure what to do next. It was pretty warm that day, so I didn't want him in the car long, but knew Andrew wouldn't come back outside before going to church. So I went after him. I missed him in the nursery so I made the circle and went to the sanctuary only to find that he had gone the other direction. I finally met him in our usual pew. Our friends who usually sit in front of us were there with their 2 year old and 7 month old. When they saw Ingrid (all the kids stayed in puppy church that morning -- as if dogs weren't enough chaos...) and Andrew and me with the diaper bag, they asked where the baby was. I truthfully told them that he was locked in the car as I looked at Andrew with sweat on my forehead and wide eyes. Andrew left the dog and Ingrid with me and went to get the baby. Our friends said that it was nice to know that someone else does stuff like that, too. I hope it doesn't happen again. :)
Monday, we went to Andrew's work with him and met one of his co-workers (Nada -- she was sooooooo sweet!) and then, since the Autism Training Center North is in Fairmont, we spent the rest of the day with Aunt B and Baby Isaac. He's growing! And Aunt B is really doing well. Thanks for all your prayers. Here are some pictures from that night!

Doesn't Aunt B look great?! Motherhood becomes her...

Ingrid spied a tomato on Aunt B's porch and decided to give it a try... She loved it and ate most of it like an apple! Homegrown and organic... :)

I keep saying that we could make some good money selling some pictures of Rowan's funny faces to Hallmark. He's so comical! I have yet to get some of his really funny faces on camera. More will come soon...
Here's my babies' daddy's picture. Isn't he handsome? :)