Of Mice and Bears?

Once upon a time, I lived for three months in Washington, DC as an intern for FRC. Thomas spent half of that time in Europe, and the other half in PA (his homestate) and NY (his parents’ homestate). Those three months was the starting point for this blog. I had finished my junior year of college, and had been dating this amazing, brilliant young man… but, we weren’t sure we were going to get married. So, we decided to take the summer, since we were going to be so far apart anyways, to step back and think through what we wanted with our lives.

Within days of moving out to DC, my two roommates asked me, “So, when are you going to marry Thomas?”

I was a bit floored, actually. I mean, we were taking some time away. Very MUCH away. He had left for Turkey three weeks earlier, and I hadn’t heard from him at all, and I knew I wouldn’t hear from him for another couple weeks. That’s not to say I didn’t want to marry him. I was pretty sure I did very much WANT to marry him. But I wasn’t sure we were right for each other. I mean, marriage is a huge decision. What if I was wrong?

“Well, we aren’t really sure we are going to get married, actually…”

“But he’s the one person that appears in almost every conversation you are part of. You obviously really enjoy each other’s company, you value his opinion, and you have a ton in common. What will you do if you don’t marry him?”

Well, that settled that. The next time I saw him, on July 4th weekend when he came down to visit me, I asked him, while sitting on the West Lawn of the Capital Building listening to the orchestra warm up for their Independence Day concert…

“So, are we getting married or aren’t we?”

His answer?

“Yep, I think so. Are you ok with that?”

“Yep!”

And, we moved on with our weekend.

So, about the title of this post. Soon after having this conversation, I went up to PA to visit him and his family for a long weekend. I titled my post about that weekend away, “A Town Mouse and a Country Mouse”. Thomas was raised in the country, and I was raised in suburbia, so the title was pretty appropriate.

Well, almost 6 years later, and that Country Mouse is now my Papa Bear. He is currently in Dallas, learning Greek. We will probably continue to talk every evening, as he tells me all about this gorgeous language that I have loved since high school, and that he is loving already (and FINALLY!). I know it isn’t Father’s Day yet, but after a few nights of him being gone, and knowing that we will see each other in shifts throughout the summer, really got me thinking. Especially after seeing the little Bears’ reaction to hearing his voice over the phone, or seeing his face on the computer as we facetime. I came so close to not having the past 6 years. I’m so glad God had a different plan.

So, to all my military friends, traveling spouse friends, missionary friends, etc., I don’t know how you do it. My hat’s off to you.

As for me, I’m looking forward to the day when Grad School in the summer is done and our Papa Bear comes home.

Soli Deo Gloria

 

Summer Projects

While Thomas learns another language (Greek) and takes two other grad school classes, I figure it’s only fair that I do some amazing things of my own.

Behold, my summer project list. And, yes, I will be enlisting help from local high-schoolers who need summer work, and from anyone else who is interested in helping out.

  • finish the last bits of mulching in my flower beds, and weed.
  • Tame the jungle that is our chicken coop.
  • scrub the wood floors of our house. This will take some research, because, apparently, not all wood-floor cleaners are created equally.
  • scrub down the inside and outside of our fridge
  • scrub down the bathrooms, top to bottom, and maybe replace the sinks.
  • update the journals for my little Bears.
  • Create individual binders for each child, and tackle the mass of paperwork that is foster-care
  • hang up our guitars where we can actually reach them!
  • re-string my guitar
  • get Dekker groomed
  • find an Ancient History Podcast that doesn’t take forever to move through…
  • since Thomas is gone, all of his tools and construction projects must find a new home in the garage, or else Baby Bear might find his own storage spaces for Papa Bear’s tools…
  • re-organize the cupboards so that storage makes sense.
  • get the mattresses switched
  • return new mattress (review to come later of Tuft and Needle – in short, we were not impressed)
  • clean up the master bedroom so it is ready for our newest Bear to sleep there
  • Get my Grandmother’s Hope Chest out of the garage, fixed, and in the master bedroom where it belongs
  • find paint swatches for second bathroom (fresh green), master bathroom (royal blue), library (reddish-brown), and kitchen (grey of some sort)
  • clean the window sills and the windows themselves, including the outside.
  • install locks on all of our kitchen and bathroom cabinets
  • find a good way of storing coffee stuff
  • organize the attic space
  • hang pictures
  • pick up baskets for organizing various things throughout the house
  • get all of the carseat stuff into proper storage somewhere (besides my kitchen table)
  • figure out how to block the hole underneath our kitchen sink.
  • paint the bathroom

Of course, all of this happens while little Bears are in bed, or while other people are willing to come out and occupy the Bears, or do the work themselves.

I’ve also made myself a promise that I cannot watch amazing new shows or movies, and I will not listen to astounding podcasts, unless I am tackling one of these projects.

Hopefully, this will keep me on task when I do have the free time to work, and still give me plenty of time to focus on the Bears while they are awake.

And, it will pass the time until we are a family again.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Comings and Goings

I am currently sitting in my pajamas, waiting for both Bears to decide that they really do wish to wake up. Behold (in the meantime, however that “meantime” occurs today), my list.

  • Thomas begins his last summer of graduate school at University of Dallas this weekend. We will drive up this Saturday, stay with my grandmother, get Thomas settled on Sunday and say our goodbye’s. Then, on Monday, I will drive back with my Bears, and we will be on our own until sometime next week.
  • Then, my mom will be flying in to town, to save the day/week! Until she arrives, a wonderful young lady from school is coming over next week to help out in the mornings, so I have time to run errands, finish Student Evaluations, go for a run, etc.
  • Dear friends from Phoenix are driving through San Antonio this evening, and we will be enjoying dinner together. Right now, we are thinking, “Pizza!”. But we will see if that changes.
  • Thomas took the car today, so he can get it inspected before he leaves. So, no car for us today. But, storms are rolling through all day, so we will spend our morning outside, and our afternoons indoors.
  • Baby Bear has found out the joy of imitating Mamma Bear on everything. He wants to open and close doors for me all day long, and insists on putting his forks and spoons in the dishwasher. Transferring laundry from the washer to the dryer fascinates him, and picking up toys is the second best-game in the world, second only to dumping them out.
  • Fuzzy Bear is trying desperately to crawl. Currently, army-crawling is his preferred and most effective mode of self-mobility, but he does the rocking-back-and-forth-on-the-knees thing with far greater regularity than I expected 2 months ago. By the way, he figured out the rolling over portion of life barely 4 weeks ago. Geesh, kid! Slow down, already!
  • I will be going back to school as a teacher next year, and I’m really looking forward to it. So, come August, you will find me somewhere in the Middle School, probably teaching History, or Literature, or Grammar, depending on where all the pieces fall for hiring. I’m kind of hoping for History, and I’ve been using this as my excuse to read lots of Ancient, Medieval, and Modern history books, and some old primary texts from college. It’s times like this that I am so thankful for my education at Hillsdale, if only because of the amazing texts that I got to keep from my classes.
  • Tomorrow is the last day of school, with locker-cleanup and award ceremony, and I plan on taking the Bears over to say last goodbyes for the summer.
  • We are thinking of getting a tablet or iPad of some sort to use as a scanner of sorts. It might also have to be the replacement for my laptop (trusty macbook pro, purchased in August 2011, whose hard drive and start-up disk are full, no matter how many files, photos, or documents I delete), so we are currently researching for how best to replace a laptop.

 

And, then, I guess the biggest “coming” still has yet to be announced.

It is possible that we will be getting a third Bear at the end of June, or beginning of July. I can’t put a lot of information here, except that it’s a little girl, born at the end of April, and related to Baby Bear. We have no idea if this placement will help us towards adoption. But this is our prayer, every meal and every evening:

“Lord, thank you for all that you have given us, especially for the death of your Son. Please help Papa Bear and Mama Bear in the weeks to come, to work hard and show your love to everyone around us. Please keep [newest Bear] safe, and bring her to her forever home soon. Thank you for keeping Baby Bear and Fuzzy Bear healthy and safe with us. Please help them to come to know you from an early age. Thank you for everything you do for us. Amen.”

God has been incredibly good to us, both in the hard and easy phases of the last few months. We continue to pray for peace with the Bears’ cases, and for strength, patience, and courage as we head into one more summer in two separate cities.

Soli Deo Gloria

New Game of Brotherly Love

Fuzzy Bear is currently having tummy time on our living room floor. Baby Bear is sitting in front of him… sticking his foot into Fuzzy Bear’s mouth… who is trying so hard to both bite down and smile and giggle at the same time.

This last bit is important. Fuzzy Bear has two sharp teeth. I’m waiting for Baby Bear to learn this the hard way…

 

Baby Bear’s Nightmare

Baby Bear must have had a nightmare, because he woke up extra early, screaming. So, we have enjoyed a quiet hour snuggling, playing peekaboo, and reading books together. Sure, naps schedules might be all out of wack as a result, but it was so worth it.

Now, both boys are awake, and we are going to try to hang out till the regular nap time rolls around. I think a zoo trip will be in order. 😀

Joy Comes With the Morning

A series of small victories this morning. But first, the difficulties…

Last night, we learned an incredibly valuable lesson in why all cupboard/cabinets must remained locked when a toddler is loose. For the past few months, we have always assumed it was to keep little hands from taking things OUT of the cabinet. No, folks. No. You lock up cabinets to keep other things from being placed INTO the cabinet. Like one single flip-flop. We spent about 2 hours yesterday scouring the house for Thomas’ flip-flop. Now we know. Little victories, folks.

Fuzzy Bear woke us up this morning around 5 AM. We have been working very hard to get this little guy to sleep later in the morning so that both babies wake up around the same time. He fell back asleep, but then woke up again around 7, began screaming immediately, which woke up Baby Bear. sigh.

So, we packed up the Bears and went to the zoo. This is where the victories began, folks. When we arrived, the front of the zoo was completely packed, and we were concerned that Baby Bear would have to stay in the stroller, instead of being allowed to run around and get his wiggles out. So, we decided to speed walk to the very back of the zoo where the petting zoo could be found and then work our way forward as the crowds moved towards us. Baby Bear was completely thrilled with the three pigs and the goats, and Fuzzy Bear squealed and kicked every time he saw an animal move (this is usually a sign of pleasure, so we took that as a win). We then walked by some of the large bird exhibits, because anything that looks like a duck, is large, and moves easily is always a hit with toddlers. I carried Fuzzy Bear in my arms the whole way back to the entrance, so he got to see everything with his typical enthusiasm.

We spent an hour at the zoo, and then came home to give the Bears a snack, a diaper change, and naps. Fuzzy Bear struggles with bowel movements, so we were thrilled to see that he had successfully filled a diaper. He then gulped down a bottle, fell asleep as he swallowed the last drop, and both Bears are now sleeping like champs.

Oh, and Thomas finished a huge chunk of his Evals before we left, and I now have a quiet chunk of time to work on my Evals while he helps a friend paint their new house.

Also, coffee. That is always a victory.

So, after a series of rough evenings, nap-less mornings, and wakeful nights, we are thankful that God gives us exactly what we need when we need it: including difficult days to help us appreciate the good ones.

Now, on to evals.