Tuesday, May 25, 2010

adam's belated update from ellen's abscence

Dear readers of Ellen's Blog,

Well, I must first apologize that I did not come through as promised with a daily play-by-play of all our mishaps and adventures. The truth is that by the time I got the kids down for bed in the evening I was so mentally and physically exhausted that all I could do was devote my last puff of energy to something mindless and entertaining; for me that was watching episodes of 24 on Netflix. To be honest I expected to post a bunch of light-hearted and humorous stories of all the mistakes I made trying to be a mommy-daddy for the first time ever. I kind of pictured it like one of those movies featuring Vin Diesel trying to babysit kids for a weekend. Well, by the end of the day I wasn't laughing anymore...the job was tough, much tougher than I expected. Not so much because of all the demands of being a parent (though those challenges were taxing) but even moreso because I realized that being a full-time parent carried the added responsibility of getting through to your child's heart, and that indeed is a weighty and difficult task.

Ellen left the house just before 6am two Saturdays ago; no more than 10 hours later we were already in the emergency room after Marit snuck out of her room during her nap and ingested a bunch of tooth paste and a small amount of plumbers putty and then puked all over the car on our way to my parent's house. I knew almost everyone in the MCG emergency room and I didn't have to wait even 30 seconds to get into a room. The attending physician was Dr. Kuhn whose son Josh is long time friend of mine and a previous college roomate. He has also led several mission trips that Ellen and I have gone on over the years. When he found out that this was the first of four days that Ellen would be gone he filled me in on which hours he would be working the rest of the week anticipating my need for his services in the near future. I can't say I blamed him. One of the nurses kindly gave each of my children a purple Popsicle and within fifteen minutes they both looked like walking purple crayons. Oh and did I mention that Marit wasn't wearing any pants and graham had no shoes. I think we looked like we had just fallen off the wagon. I guess I should have anticipated a tough day. After arriving home from dropping Ellen off at the airport I was toasting the kids waffles in our toaster oven and for no apparent reason the glass door shattered into a million pieces; I took that as a bad sign. Fortunately there were no other major catastrophes during Ellen's absence but rest assured that it did not get any easier. Taking care of kids, especially young kids is incredibly draining. I had no idea how much patience and self-control is required in order to lovingly shepherd two little tornadoes all day, every day. Toward the end as my patience was really waning I began to lose my composure. I resorted to solving problems by whatever way was easiest, not what was necessarily best for training my children's hearts. Feeling entititled to their obedience and a to a few moment's of peace I fell into the lowest forms of behavior modification; on occasion even yelling at Marit. I would feel terrible each time I yelled at her and tell myself I will never do this again but within minutes she was pushing me to my limit again and my anger and frustration would come out. This trial eventually drove me to repent of my self-confidence, self-confidence that I could shepherd my children without frequent and fervent prayer and without frequent repentance of my own sinful attitudes.

On Tuesday Marit and Graham and I went to pick Ellen up at the airport. I had bought Ellen a dozen roses and Marit ran up to her with them as Ellen came out of the terminal. She said, “here mommy (referring to the roses), can I have my present now?” Isn't that the life of a mother. A brief moment of kindness followed by a need, a want, a desire, sometimes selfish, sometimes not, but always disproportionately little thanks along the way. To all you mothers out there let me just say, how tough it is tough to raise children. It is much easier for me to go to work every day and work hard for many hours and then come home and be your children's greatest hero just simply for coming home. Dearest Ellen, I admire you more than ever and am grateful for your joyful service to our family. And you know what else? I am really glad you are home.

may 17th: final day in the big apple

these houses reminded me a little of our neighborhood and the south in general. it was only 3 days (if you ask adam, it was 4), but i was getting a little homesick for my man and my little people...i noticed all the playgrounds, moms with toddlers, ergos (the carrier of choice in nyc), and super fancy strollers.

we started out here at char's favorite little nearby cafe with coffee, steel-cut oats, and cheddar/scallion scone. oh my!

then we headed to our only shopping experience at pearl market (basically a consolidated little china) in soho. time and money were limited and that is probably a good thing or i could have had a little too much fun in soho!

then we headed to the west-end of manhatten (read: lots of families, nannies, professionals, more swanky living situations if you will) and it is very lovely and close to central park. char nannies gabe and noah, who are absolutely adorable and full of life and excitement. she picks them up from school every day and is with them until their lovely parents return from work. they have a really cool condo. i took the bathroom photo for you nicole:)

we got gabe from school and he had lots of "surprises" for me. for example, sliding down banister, break-dancing performance, his and noah's self-created website), getting his yellow belt in karate etc.

their groceries are delivered. isn't that cool? that would be a really useful service as i think about how in the world i will be able to fit groceries in a cart with THREE children come fall!

i saw lots and lots of dogs in the city...this one made me miss pax (who got very little attention while i was gone).

we picked up noah a little later (wish i had more pictures of him!) and he could not stop looking back and forth at me and char with this incredulous look on his face because he thought we looked basically exactly the same. these boys are fun and char is a fantastic nanny...fun to see her in momish mode.

for dinner we went to astoria queens to meet laura for dinner. i've known her since i was 3 or 4, but haven't seen her in years. we had the most amazing burgers (with avacado-brilliant!) and caught up. why oh why did i get no pictures of her? this little front garden inspired me.

as char says, queens is known for its wrought iron, painted or otherwise.

closing thoughts:
*i missed, missed, missed these folks and was SO happy to see them

*i don't deserve the generosity of sweet adam to allow me to visit, but we don't ever deserve grace now, do we?
*it was absolutely wonderful to have so much conversation time with charbar-the most we've had in years and to see her lovely life.
*however, i hope she moves back down south before too long
*real life has been oh so very really filled with parental challenges, marriage tension and reconciliation, renovation project headache, and just general business...thus the 10 day turn-around on these posts...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

may 16, church: moma: church

we walked through the art school campus next door to char's building to get everywhere:

the trains were all messed up due to weekend rail construction, but char is a master subway map reader. it still took us 1.5 hrs to get to Tim Keller's church in Manhatten Sunday morning. it was a wonderful, culturally diverse church...such a blessing to the city. i felt so refreshed just being among other believers

belonging to donald trump:
we then walked through central park, got a vender hot-dog to share and it was tasty!

we met a friend of char's at the museum of modern art and saw two exhibits: one beautiful, the other rather disturbing (is that par for the modern art course perhaps?). performance art is just weird and self-absorbed and all the nakedness unnecessary.

after the museum, we grabbed the most amazing pizza, calzone, diet pepsi (hardly any diet coke in nyc!) and we ate it so quickly that i didn't get a picture, but it involved roasted peppers, zucchini, goat cheese, watercress, and hazelnut gelato. we finished the evening with char's church resurrection pres in Williamsburg-the part of nyc where most the hipsters live and char says "everyone walks around looking sullen." res pres is a redeemer plant that is a little closer to brooklyn and a good bit smaller and artsier. it was a wonderfully warm church with stunning music. char seems to fit in well there.

we took the bus home just in time for char to interview two possible subletters for one of her roommates. apparently getting an apt in nyc is akin to applying for a job. then to bed we went for another 8hr stretch...ahhh....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

may 15, nyc!

may 15 was our 6th anniversary and my sweet and wonderfully generous husband sent me off to visit my lovely sister (see above) who has been living in nyc for the last year. there are a lot of reasons why that weekend was the only one that would work (mostly because of adam's crazy work schedule), but don't worry...that just means that our anniversary celebration has been spread over a couple weeks, so that is kind of fun too. anyway, i will attempt to document each of the the 3 days i was with charlotte so i don't forget as a trip like that will most likely not happen again for many years.

i arrived to jfk airport around 11am and char was late (i know, shocking:) )and my phone was dying so i sat on the floor and charged my phone while trying to figure out how to get to the subway from the airport...
char arrived and pulled me on to the airtrain and deftly showed me how to connect to the subway, read the map, get a metro card and she also promptly dropped her glass jar of coffee (not sure why she was carrying it around that way anyway) and it shattered all over the cement floor of the subway. we joked about how in the south, someone would have said "bless your heart" and helped her pick up the glass while in nyc, people just look on with disdain. very different culture for sure!

i was starving...kind of how i always am lately in this second trimester so we stopped at the block party at the neighborhood cuban restaurant on our way to her apartment. the music was loud, the people dancing like crazy, and the food delicious (though rather greasy)! according to char this is the first restaurant in brooklyn to run completely on solar energy. as she said "that is so brooklyn."

solar panels:

we then booked it to her apartment and changed clothes, dropped my bags off, and prepared for our afternoon.

outside of her building:

her bedroom (we shared that single bed for the weekend)that was surprisingly quiet with a playground in front and a school behind, she wakes up to birds singing and church bells playing beautiful and obscure hymns:

bathroom window:

we were a little late for our story corps interview because of the switched around weekend trains, but we still had a great time...it was an interview to honor adam so char asked me all about how we met, our love story with a few rabbit trails here and there and now we have a 40 minute recording to pass on to our kids about how their parents fell in love. i was surprised at how nervous i was about it...the ultra-cool sound guy made me feel like there was an audience, but it turned out pretty well and adam was surprised and touched by it. char just finished her internship with storycorps and that is why she went to nyc in the first place.

lower manhatten

we then headed for times square where pretty much only tourists go to see mary poppins. we almost didn't get in because our tix were accidentally purchased for may 1st instead of the 15th, but they squeezed us in. we thought we would get some good salads to balance out all the grease we had for lunch, but...

we settled on fries and shakes

times square

the show was amazing even though the story corps people laughed at us for going to a kids show and i think char picked up some nannying tips from mary poppins. my only regret is that i was so tired from the long day that i kept nodding off during the dialogue of the second act. my oh my, though, probably the best musical i have ever seen!

we took the subway home and slept for 8 consecutive hours...amazing!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Here we go...

May 15th 2004...yes that was the day we got married, Ellen and me. May 15th 2010...2 children, one on the way, a house, a dog, a real job, responsibilities galore, hobbies include going to Lowes followed by Chic-fil-a, yes this is our life and it is more full of joy and laughter than the glorious day we were married six years ago. I love my wife more dearly than I ever thought possible...she is indeed more inspiring, loving, patient, kind, funny and diligent than I ever thought possible. And that is why this day is such a celebration for us...well me. I say "me" because Ellen is gone, in case you didn't know she is on her way to New York City (imagine it being said like that commercial for barbecue sauce) and by nightfall she will be out on the town living it up with her sister, Charlotte, yeah the girl who spread her wings to go and live in the big apple for a while. So, for all you mommy-friend-readers of Ellen's blog and for all other casual readers Ellen's blog has now been taken over by Adam and I will be documenting just how hard it is to be a mommy/mommy-daddy. I have never taken care of the kids for a full 24 hours, much less 80 hours, which is about how long Ellen will be gone. It should be interesting. Stay tuned for all the latest disasters. First on my agenda is to go buy a new camera (b/c ours is on the fritz) to document this occasion and then to go to the grocery store to enlist the aid of Little Debbie in ensuring that our kids eat at least something. Wish me luck and check back often to monitor my progress. Well, check back every evening around ten b/c that is probably the only time i will have to update this thing. Sincerely, Adam. PS...I love you Ellen

Monday, May 10, 2010

holy experience

"nothing is more unnatural than thankfulness"-robertson
and so i go back to my list making to train my heart:

*husband-turned remodeler
*nearly six years of marriage (on saturday!)
*anniversary date-beautiful dancers those ballerinas
*grandparents of my children
*and how much love is between them all
*mothers day blossoms
*mothers day nap
*washer and drier on order
*generous, generous mother-in-law not letting me get buried in laundry-can't thank you enough!
*community development with the Gospel at its center
*theological challenges
*snuggly children
*husband discussions
*anticipated sister-visit
*husband willingness to be "mom" so i can go
*God's faithfulness to the next generation
*home-renovation project that keeps me on my toes
*mommy friends who encourage my heart
*perfect, breezy spring weather
*all those birds on the bird-feeder and the entertainment they provide