Saturday, July 4, 2020

2020 week 27

June was a yucky month.

I thought May was such an awful month that June surely ought to be better. But instead the world caught on fire and I've been crying as it burns. Of course I'm being dramatic. It's not even as if this past month's cultural unrest is particularly worse than usual. I finally got (mostly) off Facebook and Instagram. I've never been so disgusted with the toxicity of my news feed as I am now. Probably the most revolting part to me is that most of my friends on both accounts are Christians, and I'd scroll through wondering how could someone, who says they love Jesus, say such nasty things?

Like take stupid masks. Do they actually slow the spread of the virus? I don't know. There are research studies showing that they do and others showing that they don't. Some people feel personally convicted to wear them. Others don't. Can we stop there? Why do we need to name call? Job's doctors have asked us to wear masks. So we are. Of course, we're hardly going anywhere, but still. I just can't believe the vitriol being spewed - by both sides! And that's just about stupid stupid masks - not even image bearers of God with various shades of skin.

I know I'm harshest when it comes to Christians and conservatives because I still kinda identify as a conservative... and because who should care about race relations MORE than Christians??? I've been crying about it almost every day. Seth and I aren't really on as opposite extremes as we pretend like we are when we try to talk about it. But we play devil's advocate and talk about the extremes and then just get annoyed with each other. I've been listening to a lot of books on the topic and he's been listening to a lot of lectures on YouTube but they're kinda from opposite viewpoints so now we're trying to both listen to each other's finds. I guess it's become my little project during lockdown? I used to love to study some of these issues but Job's diagnosis and kids in general stalled some of my reading, so there is part of me that's excited to return to a well-loved subject.

Church at home does feel like it's devolving a bit. We're still trying to be reverent but there is something about being in a hard pew that helps with that. For most of lockdown it's actually been really lovely to be at home, able to pause the sermon to answer Isaac's questions. He's really asking such deep questions and we're so excited to see him grow so much. It's an odd tension to practice thankfulness for the technology that allows us to worship at home and wish we were actually there in person.

We played Hearts and Job kept climbing up and playing his air-guitar-sword and making us laugh and delight in him. It's ridiculous that if anyone else ruined our game we'd be irritated, but if Job does it?

I've been getting in the pool a lot this week because Job is so excited about swimming these days. By which I mean, I hold him in the pool. But he's jumping off the deck or sliding in, into my arms and getting acclimated to water. We were all shocked (and a bit resentful, honestly) that when he asked Seth to get in Seth just said "ok!" and got his swimsuit on. Seth really really doesn't like cold water and avoids it as best he can. But Job asks? Of course, we all do that.

Our "trip Tuesday" was pretty boring. To Walmart for pickup groceries and the pharmacy! The boys got into my make up and since they'd already started we just sat in the car for 15 minutes while they decorated their faces to their hearts content.

We also all painted our nails. Job picked green for my fingers. I never paint my fingernails because it never lasts for long, but he thought it would be fun so of course I did it. Also, for the first time in a decade I've actually worn my rings for several days in a row. Actually, it's probably been three weeks now. It's so weird!! I don't really know why I'm doing it. I'm not pregnant so they fit? I got over the initial discomfort? Seth is wearing his ring? I'm just so excited to be married and I want the world to know it?

We pulled out beads Wednesday and made all sorts of creations. And a big mess. We swam a lot on Monday and didn't make something, so I guess we switched the days.

A few weeks ago we watched a Will Ferrel movie about a soccer team and there was a really tall boy and a really short boy on the team, and he made some quip about them combining to be a "megahuman" so Job and Isaac have been walking around like this ever since and Job shouts about being a megahuman.

We listened to two "What/Who Was" books about the Underground Railroad but now we're working through this audiobook together. We haven't listened to a novel together all month!

And we're working hard to do read alouds. I'm reading Sign of the Beaver and Pirate Pig to Isaac and the second of the Wingfeather Saga to Ezra. And picture books to Job. It definitely does take a lot of time but I tell myself it's worth the investment.

I've been having issues with Job's meds. So lots of back and forth with the pharmacy and insurance and the transplant team. So fun. I hardly have to do that any more. Used to be once a week I was doing that song and dance. And going to multiple therapies and appointments. It's so weird that I don't do that nowadays. And it's even weirder to count up all the hours that I used to do it.

Isaac isn't very self-motivated or maybe it's more fair to say he's not one for self-entertaining. Ezra and Job can find things to do all day long, but poor Isaac can't seem to. So we made a schedule. I think it's been working really well, actually. We're only in three weeks, but I'm really seeing the benefits. We've needed routine for so many years. Even before Job was born and life got really chaotic, Seth had such a random job we didn't have much of a schedule. So this has been really nice. I'm trying to hold it loosely because a perfect schedule can be such an idol for me and can tempt me to sin against my family when they mess it up. I'll have to type it up.

Part of our schedule is more crafting and projects. The stuff my kids always want to do but I don't really want to do. They're loving it. I'm loving that they're so excited. But, as I just said. Bead mess. Paper mess. Paint mess. Embroidery floss mess.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

2020 week 26

We're trying to be intentional about how we're spending our time and it feels like something is finally clicking. Being home is giving more time to get chores done and play together and just breathe a bit. It's hard but good.

On Tuesday we rather suddenly drove down to see Seth's cousin in Vancouver, as they were there visiting other family. To be honest, it was hard to make the decision to go because we've stayed so locked down since the pandemic hit Washington. But we don't get to see him and his family very often because he lives relatively far south in California so it would take us twenty hours to get there if we drove, so to only drive two hours south to see him made it worth the potential germ exposure. We love him and his family and we wanted to see him as he fights brain cancer, even as we are trying still to avoid interacting with people because of this virus.

Job was, as usual, the star of the show. There's something about his small little two year old sized body, his raspy voice that never stops talking now, his scars, his story, his weird name, his magnetism, that just attracts people to him.

We ended up seeing a lot of people and found it difficult to socially distance, so now we're kinda feeling like we should socially distance longer. And Pierce County cases keep going up, sooo, here we are. Still at home and it's almost July! Seth still wishes everyone would just go out and get each other sick so then our family could eventually go out.

It all seems so silly but every time I want to just go do whatever I want then I think about the long term effects of every hospitalization. Who would watch the kids so Seth can work? Could Ezra recover from the trauma of being afraid for Job's life? What would they eat? What about the financial costs of driving up and down and ordering room service? What about the weeks of recovery at home from being apart and being scared while apart? None of those things by themselves is insurmountable. We could figure out a solution to each concern. But it's that they all pile on top of each other, one after another.

And I'm not even going to a place where I wonder if Job could survive this virus. I refuse to think about that. A regular ole cold has been so dangerous to him, so I'm sure COVID19 would send him to the ICU, but I just can't think about it. The research coming out about the long term effects of the virus also have me concerned because we're still dealing with the long term lung damage from other viruses. Like just this morning Job couldn't finish the silly kids exercise video I had them doing because he still doesn't have the lung capacity he should by this age. I know he's improving even daily and it's a process but I don't want to pause the progress, let alone go backwards.

It'd be easy to stay in a place of fear and just wallow there. I don't want to do that. I really don't. I want to just think about how every day of Job's life is already determined and how God's plan for him is a good plan. I believe that! But I forget that I do sometimes.

But in all of this continues to be the transplant team's recommendations. They want us to stay 3 weeks behind whatever phase we're in and wear masks. There could be a point where someday they'll say Job is ineligible for a second or third transplant because we haven't followed their rules. If we don't wear masks one time will it make a difference for his transplant eligibility? No, even if he got COVID19 from it. They're really gracious and understanding and I don't feel like they're holding a second and third transplant above us. But patterns of disregarding their recommendations? Why would they "waste" an organ on someone like that? So it does feel like we're always thinking about staying in compliance, which is usually perfectly easy to do. Sometimes it's hard, of course, like when the team said we shouldn't go to Florida this last Christmas. We didn't go even though we'd been looking forward to going back to Florida ever since our first trip in October 2017, even though the hope of going sometimes seemed all that kept us going through such an awful post-transplant journey.

We ended up seeing my BFF and her two kids as well, since what is a trip to Vancouver without seeing my favorite greater-Vancouver-area residents? Seth took Wednesday off, besides a phone meeting that he did in the car while the boys were soooo quiet, so after we played at the creek for a couple hours we got Dairy Queen. Our first fast food/take out since March. Driving home we did a "worst songs draft" and played each song as it was selected. Of course everyone had their grumpy moment in the car! But I also just love car rides with all five of us and sitting there, talking about bad songs was just one of those perfect moments that I want to remember forever.

We definitely took a couple days to recover from such a whirlwind trip. Since we'd slept in a tent in a back yard, we set it up in our backyard too and Job enjoyed the novelty.

I stayed up later than I have in ten years talking on the phone for longer than I maybe ever have, so I was especially thankful that my sisters came over to swim and the boys got a bit of energy out in the pool with them. We got to see tiny little Mila too, which is always our favorite.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

2020 week 14

Here we go with an extension on lockdown!

I always think we had a boring week until I look at photos.

We're working really hard at school, but also constructive activities while we're here at home with more time. And we're trying to get outside more now that the weather is so much better!

I took this photo to commemorate how sad Job gets when he's told he does not, in fact, get to watch another episode of Paw Patrol. His black eye looks worse than it is - it was just a little bump from Ezra, but just at the right spot. Job talks about it very dramatically, as if he's trying to guilt trip Ezra.

Ramona Quimby is one of the most important literary characters to our family. I think we've listened to all eight of the audiobooks at least three times each, not to mention the many listens to random selections of the books that one of us turns on to fall asleep to, or do a project to. Once Ramona starts walking to school on her own she bravely and a bit rebelliously decides to walk a different route and gets scared by a barking dog, so she throws her shoe at it... but is then forced to walk to school the rest of the way in only one shoe. Hijinks ensue and she ends up making herself a a paper shoe replacement. And several times now Ezra and Isaac have made their own paper shoes.

We went on a Sunday drive in the sunshine. We called it a "Seth Life History Tour" and drove by his childhood home and elementary school.

But also where Isaac was born.

Job does this cutest thing where he wraps his arms around his "brudders". He has them wrapped around his finger! My goodness he is bossy! I'm trying to assign them each time to play with Job. Isaac and Job play together easily and naturally but Ezra and Job struggle more. They don't have as many common interests and Ezra is bossy as well, so they clash more. Ezra also teases Job quite a bit and then Job holds grudges. So we're working on all these fun aspects of their relationships. It also helps me, though, have one-on-one time with the other brother who isn't playing with Job. We're trying to alternate days so one day Isaac plays with Job first and the next day Ezra does.

Isaac isn't as self-directed as the other boys when it comes to thinking of things he wants to do. He gets lonely playing by himself as well. Sooo I'm trying to come up with directed activities for him in particular, but all three of them.

Even though we now officially don't get a baseball season (cue all the tears... I'm devastated about this most of all) Seth has been working on some skillz with the boys.

And JOB LEARNED TO RIDE HIS TRIKE!!??!! Wow! All of the sudden he just is pedaling!!

We've been trying to write a bunch of snail mail and have gotten the sweetest cards in return. The boys get sooo excited to get mail with their names on it!

We found some digital escape rooms as well.

And Job has his own little escape room. He wants so badly to do whatever his brothers are doing but he also loves Paw Patrol so we can often distract him with that. We're still waiting on the living room floor install so a bunch of the furniture and furnishings from the living room are crowded the family room. But a big ole empty cabinet has made for a bunch of hiding fun!

This memory from 8 years ago popped up. I remember this vividly. I was teaching piano lessons with Job in tow and had these organic, no sugar lollipops to give him while he sat next to me and read or played with toys. But I was between lessons and he needed attention and he was sooo cute.

And now he's almost 9. Which is half of 18. Which I can't even think about.

Good thing the little boys literally squish me under all their attention. All the time.

I'm trying for bike rides every day, which actually works well to go get the school lunch from the elementary school across the street. Of course, if Job is "riding" his trike it takes... a long time.

Even better than cards are packages! Aunt Kathy sent fun sticker books that kept the little boys enthralled for almost two whole hours. It was such a blessing that particular day too because I was sad and crampy and feeling too worn out to actively engage with them... but also just so guilty that I just wanted to turn on another show. But ta da! I sat with them and so they felt like I was engaging but it didn't take much energy at all!

And every day for all of March Seth has bounced with them on the trampoline when he's done working. He often holds Job as he bounces, but sometimes all four of them bounce. Sometimes they lay there and roll around together. It might be my very favorite thing ever. I looovvveeee how much they LOOOVVVVVVVEEEEEEE it.

Seth and I, like everyone else?, are binge watching Tiger King. The memes are fantastic, but the show is just so compelling.

Sometimes Job gets his brudders to watch his shows with him.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Routine-ish 2020 week 2

Well, what a week.

Co-op actually went wonderfully well, especially compared against my low expectations. Isaac gave his report (with only a few tears at lunch time, beforehand, because he really doesn't understand the American Revolutionary War well) and Ezra exhibited so much self-control.

Of course, come time to do school on Tuesday he absolutely melted down and actually packed his pillowcase with every clothing item and said he was going to run away. He was only hiding behind the garage but still. It was a very rude awakening into this new-again routine. We all shed a lot of tears and prayed some desperate prayers and had some intense discussions. Nothing in my life has ever stretched me as much as this kid.

We're needing to relearn how to do school together and how to allllll our routines. We didn't review our history timeline often enough last quarter, so we're trying to do so more often this quarter.

Wenesday Ezra had his therapy appointment and the little boys and I hung out in the car, which was actually quite pleasant. Then I rushed off to do a new piano lesson and fill in for Seth at BEN while he coached Isaac's very first basketball game!! They won and Isaac told me he had the assist on Davin's two baskets. Whether or not that's really true I'm not sure.

It was also the tenth anniversary of Seth's marriage proposal, which is amazing if I stop and think about how quickly a decade flew by... which I just don't have the mental space to do yet.

We sent Job off to school Thursday morning and got a great deal of school done. Ezra did his math and grammar so cheerfully! And then the walk home from picking Job up from the bus took at least four times as long because we had to enjoy the freshly fallen snow!

There wasn't really enough snow but Isaac literally scraped up every bit he could to make Job this snowman:

My favorite part of the day, however, was that Ezra did two grammar worksheets on his own, apparently cheerfully, and absolutely correctly while I was teaching piano lessons!!! Plus I got to hang out with Moriah in her room (which was silent because her siblings were all gone) and catch up.
I've been working to teach the boys to help make and clean up breakfast and lunch. Isaac did such an amazing job on this omlet for Seth!!

Then Aunt Kathy came down for the day and brought her 50+ year old favorite board games. The boys love spending time with her. And we went out to dinner with my parents, so yet another night of skipping dinner.

After Seth and Isaac had their team pictures, he took Ezra ice skating (in reward for his cheerfulness at co-op) and then to the Proctor's to watch football while the little boys hung out with me while I cleaned and caught up on admin stuff. We're slowly rolling out the Playmobile stuff from my childhood and they're enthralled. And they're so so good at playing with each other. I can't imagine a more relaxing Saturday.