Thursday, July 30, 2009

Don't be Lazy

That's my motivational speech to myself this morning. "Don't be lazy." Its cloudy and dark outside with a thunder storm brewing. I've got a nice hot cup of coffee at my side, and two kids who are entertained watching Sesame Street. Its hard to feel even remotely interested in all the things I need to do today. I just want to sit, sip, and be lazy. But... "don't be lazy" is my phrase for the day. Don't put off till tomorrow what can be done today. Don't avoid. Don't neglect. Don't be idle. It's not that I'm saying one shouldn't relax, or that I've bought into the crazy "American" way of being busy, busy, busy all the time. But I do think that it is the tendency of our fallen human nature to be lazy and to procrastinate. It seems that we confuse resting from our labor (a Biblical concept, for sure) and avoiding our labor. Today I want to avoid. I want to avoid disciplining the boys (that's is probably my FAVORITE thing to avoid!! but the one with the worst repercussions), exercising in the humid weather, and unpacking boxes. But I am accountable to God for my time, and how I spend it. One of Isaiah's favorite Judy Roger's songs is "Go to the Ant" which happens to be a very suitable reminder for children... and adults... especially adults named Kathryn who don't feel like doing anything today. :)

Proverbs 6:6-11
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
7 Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
8 Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.
9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep—
11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Before and After

Before the deployment
After the deployment

Before the deployment (Isaiah 22 months, Joshua 5 months)

After the deployment (Isaiah 2 1/2 years, Joshua 16 months)

Someone mentioned that it would be fun to see before and after deployment pictures, so I've been hunting through the archives and found a bunch to compare. Wow! I think Nick and I both lost weight. The boys both got bigger and taller (and thinned out a little too).

One hungry kid

I was busy setting the table, putting out dinner, and quickly washing the dishes in the sink before we sat down to eat dinner one night (back in June). I turned around from the sink and saw my 1 year old, on the table, helping himself to a nice pre-dinner snack. For one I didn't know he could climb so quickly, and for two I didn't realize he was so hungry. Maybe he was just curious, I don't know. But before he got his scolding I had to hide a smile and dash for my camera. Ahh! So cute!!

Washing his car

After washing my own car that afternoon, I found Isaiah playing in the backyard. He said, "Mommy, I need to wash my car," in a very emphatic voice (for those of you who know the sound of his voice, can't you just imagine how he sounded? :). He found a rag in the kitchen drawer, and off to work he goes.

Wow, look at it sparkle!!

Playing the piano with Mom

I just plugged my camera into the computer (now that it's unpacked up and running) and found a whole bunch of pictures, I just had to share. I love playing the piano. Especially my beautiful new piano. I love to touch the keys and play from the depths of my soul. It is stress relief, and pleasure all tied into one.
My boys like playing the piano too. I really can't blame them, but I do sometimes feel selfish about sharing the ivories. Can a girl have 10 minutes to herself?? It seems that its not until I start playing that the boys remember that they like playing the piano, and well... thats the way it goes... now I envision a family orchestra... or maybe just a few piano duets. :)

(yes, the couch cushions are all on the floor behind me. I was definitely in need of stress relief)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The boys have always seemed very resilient--able to bounce back and easily come through different circumstance's. But lately I've been wondering how they are really doing with all the transitions in the last few weeks.

When the movers came to pack up our house, we heard a lot of "where did my toys go?!?!?" "Where did my BED go?!?!?!" and so forth. They quickly accepted it as normal to live in a house with no furniture.

Then we drove in the car for hours which would seem to be difficult for a 1 and 2 year old to understand. The notorious "Are we there yet??" makes sense, doesn't it? For little ones, who's concept of space and time is so limited, a 16 hour drive being strapped into a crumb filled car seat is almost unbearable. ARE WE THERE YET? But even still, the boys bounced back. They accepted a long trek in the car, rest areas, and the McDonald's Play Place all to be part of life. I love them for that!

After the long trip, we arrive at a hotel. Again, a family of 4 crams into a small hotel room, and calls it "home" for a week. The kids quickly accepted eating at the continental breakfast every morning and sleeping on a hide-a-bed. They seemed to think it was normal for their mom to tell them to "Run up and down the length of the hotel hallway and get your energy out!" Yes, this happened quite a bit. :)

Now here we are, in our new house (town home) living for a week without furniture. More adjustments, more challenges... but I have to wonder, while the boys have accepted it as normal to sleep on the floor, or eat dinner on cardboard boxes in the living room, they have also required more discipline and more guidance this last week then the whole last year. Or so it seems. :) So are they really as resilient as they seem, or is the unsettling nature of the moving process showing itself after all? Its hard to see it from their perspective. Mostly it just seems like plain disobedience. But I guess I should step back from the parental irritation of correcting- them-for-the-same-fault-the-10th-time-in-a-row that I feel, and instead recognize that it is probably a simple case of boundary testing. Being off kilter and off schedule for so long, they are not sure what the boundaries are anymore!! Tied in with this, I'm sure, is tired and overworked parents who let some of the little things sliiiiiiide at the beginning, and now its all catching up with frequent tests of authority.

In order to prepare better for the next move, I've been making a list of things that we'll do differently; things we'll bring with us (like camping chairs and plastic wrap) and so forth. But one thing I hope that I can also figure out, is how to parent more effectively during a stressful and unsettling time. It'd be nice for the boys to pull through without so much willful disobedience, and instead transition with immaculate behavior and a keen respect for authority. Maybe its wishful thinking...but only time will tell. In a way, its really a test for the parents, can we be resilient? Can we stand firm, juggle all the pieces, wear all the hats, keep everything going in the right direction? Can we pack a house, leave our friends, our home and everything that is familiar-- while also managing the logistics of renting the house, finding a new one, repairing cars, selling cars, transferring medical records, quitting jobs, paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, on top of saying goodbyes? And still through it all manage to maintain steady parenting; disciplining our children in a consistent way so that they know which end is up despite the chaos???

It's an easy answer. No. No, of course not. No, we cannot do all those things. Not on our own, not by our own strength or will -power or desire. But God is steadfast and his promises are sure. While all our world is changing, He is changeless. While our lives are unsettling, He is our Rock. And in his love and compassion towards us, He has promised that "we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us" (Phil 4:13) Nothing is impossible with God. Now if only I could remember this and trust the One who is our shelter in the time of the storm.

Lord, help me to trust in you. Help me to serve you with my whole heart, to be faithful to you and to your word. Help me to be the woman, wife, parent, you have called me to be. Help me to rely on you and on your promises. Help me to remember that I do not fight this battle, I do not wage this war, on my own. Thank you for your grace and unfailing love.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Things I like about Missouri

We've been here less than a week, and I'm already accumulating a list of things I love about this place!

1) Gasoline costs $2.27 a gallon

2) It is so humid I may never need moisturizer again

3) The plant life is GREEN-- The hills are ALIVE-- no brown, tan, or yellow grass! The trees, the grass, the plants, the weeds, everything is so lush and green. Its stunning.

4) Milk costs $1.61 a gallon

5) We're together as a family again!! This is of course the best part. Starting out, setting out, together again, a family again... its so wonderful to be on this journey with the people I love the most. Nick and I are thriving under pressure and bonding in a incredible way. I'm so thankful for my husband! He is my true companion and the best traveling/PCSing partner a gal could ask for.

6) Our rental house has a huge kitchen-- lots of counter and cabinet space!

7) We have cable for the first time (I'm trying not to seem too excited about this, lest Nick cancel the service, but the thought of being able to watch the Food Network or HGTV on whim is quite exciting!!)

8) There are soldiers everywhere, and soldiers make me feel patriotic and proud to be an American-- God bless the USA!!

9) Air conditioning is standard in homes. Yes!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Getting settled

Well, we did it. Our first military move as a family. It all happened very quickly, Nick came home from Iraq and 4 days later the packers arrived to box up all our worldly goods. Then just a few days after that, we jumped into a fully loaded SUV (with all our household belongings that we didn't want the movers to pack) and drove. And drove. And drove. It was a long trip, but we made it! We're here! And now we're trying to get settled in a new place.
Moving to a new home in an unfamiliar place can sometimes feel overwhelming. There have been lots of little stressors already: a VERY competitive rental market, two boys with the stomach flu, sharing one vehicle, and living in the tight quarters of a hotel room for an extended period of time. But all in all, its quite exciting. Its an adventure and a challenge. Its fun to see another part of the country, a part that is green and lush, with lots water (rivers, lakes, creeks etc) and that moves at a slower pace. The town that we're in is quite small, and most definitely a military town (there are soldiers EVERYWHERE!!) There are military discounts everywhere as well, and lots of friendly faces. It'll be fun to explore the area and meet new people.
Since arriving Monday night, Nick has spent most of his time on post. So far its mostly inprocessing, but he's also getting into the swing of things with his new job. His new job entails all sorts of things that we haven't encountered in a long time (including homework, classwork, and a regimented schedule-- when's the last time Nick worked 8-5pm??????). My main project has been keeping the boys out of trouble and finding housing. And what a chore that has been, the latter part I mean. :) I spent almost all day Tuesday calling different property management companies, landlords, and realtors. I think I made close to 50 phone calls, but was only able to schedule 2 showings for rental homes. Yes, only TWO!! And both those showings were for homes that had lots of other people scheduled to see the homes as well. Most of the places I called had just rented their last unit, or had 6 showings lined up in front of me. I left my name and number with everyone, and didn't receive a single call back. Many people were very rude, and expressed resentment over the volume of calls they received about their rental. As a property manager myself, I can't imagine being upset with lots of calls!!! So... after that rather daunting experience, I moved to plan B, and called our bank to see if they'd finance another home loan.
Although we got the pre-approval on a home loan, the whole housing situation was a bit discouraging... It seemed that there was a big rental market, with lots of homes available, and lots of eager landlords. So renting seemed like a no brainer. Also, we'll only be here a year, so spending the time and money on another home isn't that appealing. I feel really anxious and doubtful about the whole thing! Ach!! Our plan to rent seems very unhopeful, and the back-up plan of buying makes me a little uneasy as well. To increase the pressure to figure something out quickly, the hotel that we are staying in is also unable to extend our stay, and every other hotel in the area (including Army Lodging) is booked!! Can you believe it?? Also, we can't get our household goods delivered until we have an address, so we're living out of suitcases, and eating out every night while we find housing. So yeah, everything is up in the air, and not looking so good. I'm so glad that it hit me that I was not bringing this issue before the Lord in prayer, and even worse, was relying on my own strength and business savvy to make things work. It was such a relief to give this to our heavenly father and to remember that he knows our every need!!
The Lord, in his mercy, answered our prayers right away. Today I got calls from both landlords who showed us their homes yesterday and they wanted US to rent their homes!! I guess having kids made us seem like more reliable and steady tenants. How amazing is that?? To be singled out of the huge group of tenants, and selected to rent their homes??? Wow!! And this even after Isaiah had thrown up on the front door step of the second house we looked at!! (thats another story for you...) Maybe they felt sorry for us, or sorry for me!! But either way, the Lord answered prayer in an incredible and speedy way.
So now we just need to decide. Or rather, I need Nick to get a cell phone so that I can talk to him during the day so that he knows that the Lord answered our prayers and that we have to CHOOSE between two great homes. Yes, Nick doesn't know that both homes are giving us green lights!
The boys are sleeping and hopefully recovering from the stomach bug. Thanks for all your prayers!!


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