"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

October: The Good, The Bad, and The Painful

It is 7:30 AM at the time of this writing. Mike has left for work, and all four kids are still sleeping. I think this is the stillest the house - and by extension, myself - has been in weeks.

Everett is on his fifth day of antibiotics for walking pneumonia. He was diagnosed after an early morning urgent care visit last weekend. He'd woken up in the middle of the night, crying that his back and chest hurt when he breathed. It was the first full day of Mike's 3 day business trip to Boston, so I was solo with the kids. Thankfully he's feeling like himself again, but has now developed a related rash. It's not bothering him at the moment, so I'm taking the wait-and-see approach, to decide whether or not I want him to be seen before his follow-up on Monday. I just had to get him a new pediatritian, since their old one is not covered under the new insurance.

Monday night Paxton had a baseball game. Tuesday night was a scouting event: trick-or-treating and halloween activities at a local nursing home. Yesterday we shopped for the perfect pumpkins and the boys spent the afternoon gutting and decorating them. Last night was baseball again. Tomorrow, God-willing, we're off to the State Fair, followed by trick-or-treating in our neighborhood at night.

And so has gone October. For better and worse we haven't stopped moving. Today, today if it's possible (is it ever really possible?) I'd like to rest. But before I do...

On October 9th, we made the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to our Ally. She was 14 years old and severely crippled by arthritis. In her final few days she was unable to stand, and we knew that prolonging the inevitable was purely selfish on our part. The most humane and loving thing we could do was to put her down. The vet who did the euthanasia was wonderful and kind, and even had us laughing through our tears at times.

In my mind, and in a perfect world, I would write an eloquent memorial to Ally. Something that would put into words what I've been feeling the past few weeks. Somehow though, I still can't. Simply put, I just miss her, as acutely as I did the day we left the vet's office without her.

Because this is not a perfect world, and because we're not the ones in charge of timing, the very next day after losing Ally, we dried our eyes and turned our focus to a happy distraction: good friends visiting from New York for the first time. The best way to describe the visit, aside from saying we had a wonderful time, is through pictures! A few things you won't see in the pictures - their introduction to the wonder that is Wii Fit, the talking chihuahua movie, the mountain road we led them up that threatened to demolish the rental car, their first visit to our huge church, our end of the day run to Cold Stone. And of course, the laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.

They stayed for five days, after which we returned to life and reality. We mourned Ally. We took the kids to the butterfly exhibit at the Botanical Gardens..

We watched Paxton get his first (and second and third) base hits during a game...

We celebrated with Tegan as she learned to crawl and pull herself up unassisted...

And so it goes...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Church and Baseball

Paxton has been playing baseball for a month now, and I don't think I've ever seen him more excited about something. He loves everything about it - loves the game, loves the practices, loves getting into his gear. He's happy. They've had one game so far, and he played both second and third base. He was proud of his successes, undeterred by his mistakes, and can't wait for the next game. It was a big adjustment for the family for him to start the sport, since it meant saying goodbye to family dinners three nights a week, more juggling with Spencer and scouts, and an overall busier week. But I think we'd all have to admit it's been well worth it.

In other news...

We've been going to a new church for a month now. I realize that going to church for four Sundays in a row is not remarkable, but it's remarkable for *us*. I honestly can't remember the last time we were going to church regularly as a family. I know it wasn't in Everett's lifetime, possibly not in Paxton's either. Yeah, it's been a long time. It's always difficult to make a long story short - or at least readable - because it is a long story. We left the church we'd been attending because we were burnt out with intolerance, judgement, and hypocrisy. A lot of people view leaving a church as "falling away', and I'm sure at times it is. But we left church to FIND God, not walk away from Him. Our faith was strengthened over the last several years. It was a process, and like everything else in life, a journey. That journey eventually led us to Phoenix. While we tried various churches over the last few years, we never found the "one", and the timing was never right. So we waited. And then a month ago, we tried Christ's Church of the Valley.

Mike and I loved it from the first day we visited. But since this was to be a family decision, our feelings were just a small part of the equation. The kids had to love it too. And love it they did! They can't wait to go back every week. *I* can't wait to go back either, and despite having grown up going to church (or maybe because of it), I don't think I've felt that way about a church ever. I think people should be excited to go to church. I think they should go because they want to, not because it's what they think they're supposed to do. After our last negative experiences with church, I always said I'd only go back when 1) it was the right church and 2) it was for the right reasons. It only took 34 years.


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