Friday, April 12, 2019

The training continues

As previously mentioned, Madigan, Declan and I are training for a hike in Colorado that we are planning for early June. On most days, Gumbum, Kelton and Lochlan also accompany us on our strolls and we've seen so many beautiful places. It is utterly inspirational to see how this place has infused life and stamina into my mom. She can tackle hikes now that did not seem possible 6 months ago, and each hike she pushes herself a little farther, past the aches and pains into further success and accomplishment. 

As we've been tackling different hikes, I have been drawn back to a book I have that outlines the hikes throughout Arizona, and my goal is to tackle as many of these as possible, as each one seems to offer it's own unique wonder to be found. 

On days when fatigue clouds my perspective, I sometimes find it less obvious to treasure the smiles, the joy of throwing rocks into the water, the breathless excitement of splashing into the ice cold creeks, the exuberant pride of a boy with his (very own - oh so loved!) dog, the devoted attention and painstaking care that my own beloved dog gives to me. 

Looks like a baptism in progress - it wasn't. :-) 

Humans, look at the camera, please. Aussies, butts please. 

Extraordinary littlest men.

Mt. Elden here we come... 

... but not without you, faithful friend.

Paugie, the strong. Paugie, the gentle. 

And then, the Creation again takes our breath away, in every way possible. Worth it! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

If we but realize...

After spending our morning taking care of the daily drudge (chores, etc.) we headed down to West Fork in late afternoon to clear our heads and play in the water. I've been doing the single mom thing for 10ish days and yesterday I felt a little thinner around the edges (not the right edges - only the mental edges) so getting out was so beneficial. 

These little men are so in love with the trails we follow. Tonight, as we went to bed, Paugie said, "Mama, I love spending time exploring the Creation. There are always new things to see and understand and it brings out the best in each of us. I think God made it to show us how much He loves us" 

 Mom had had a rough day, independently of us, so the breath of fresh air was healthy for her, as well. 

That lil McScot was awesome and showed us all what she's made of: something hilarious.

At one point on the trail, we were passed by a Mom and two kids. The Mom and daughter were relatively friendly, but the boy (probably 10) was rude and looked very unhappy. When Paugie said, "Hello!" the boy just looked at him with a scowl and walked on by, as if he hoped none of us would continue engaging him in additional conversation. I reminded the boys that possibly the young man had autism or something similar. About 1/4 mile down the trail we caught up to the same family, as they were crossing the creek over the stepping stones. Lochlan let go of my hand, took off at a run and galloped through the creek. He ran directly to the miserable boy and wrapped his arms around him in the tightest, most sincere hug, laying his head against his chest and smiling with his whole face. We all stood utterly dumbfounded on the opposite shore and the boy's mom had tiny tears in her face and was smiling from ear to ear. The boy stood completely still and did not seem to know what to do, but he didn't pull away. I do not have any idea what happened... I just know it changed us all. The love in Lochlan's heart in that moment for that person was the most beautiful expression of love I have ever encountered. Last night, I overheard Madigan say to Lochlan, "You are such a loving and kind man. I didn't know you could love that much." While all the rest of us wrestled our judgment, Lochlan ran right past judgement and into the heart of that very-possibly-hurting human.

We returned home after dark and as I was pulling into the driveway, I felt a little overwhelmed that I really had no idea what to feed everyone for dinner (#poorplanning #strungout). Right then, my phone messages started coming in, as I'd had it on airplane mode all afternoon. Dearest Kathy said she had bought us dinner from Schwan's - pot roast, mashed potatoes, corn, and brownies - and it was waiting for us at her house. I, again, teared up (seem to be doing a lot of that these days) and thought to myself how insanely beautiful so much of life is, if we but realize it amidst the chaos. I know that I am deeply blessed. 

Sunday, April 07, 2019

The Revolutionary War has come to us

Whilst traipsing along a trail at the base of the Peaks today, we dodged enemy bullets and cannon fire from the British and Hessians. We, initially, evaded their notice by sneaking up a hillside covered in shadow, but it became quickly apparent that our presence was known as the flintlock fire increased toward our general vicinity. Fortunately, we were prepared with a well-trained/armed (with a walking stick) soldier (Madigan), A drummer (Kelton) with his reliable rhythm and trusty drum (coffee cup lid and stick acquired from the obliging meadow), a fifer (Paugie) and his melodic fife (another stick from the obliging meadow), a scout (Lochlan) and his trusty canine detectives (Aberdeen, Aberfeldy and Paisley), and finally our faithful (if perhaps oblivious - I had to be coached through every maneuver and military strategy) Captain, Mama. The battle was officially dubbed "Good Guys vs. Bad Guys". Unforgettable and poignant. Obviously. It was unclear how our enemy had discovered us, and, though we searched with some great effort, we were unable to locate the sea by whence they surely must have come.

Drummer, Fifer, Soldier and Scout (attempting to go AWOL)

Detective Aberdeen

Detective-in-training (DIT) Aberfeldy

Detective Paisley

The battlefield

We located a naturally barricaded fort at the top of one of the nearby hills, made out of lava rock. It gave us the clear advantage over our enemy, as we had a view of every surrounding area and our position was of course impenetrable. 

In my executive report, which you are now reading, I am happy to state that no casualties were sustained on the good guy side and that no bad guys lived to tell the tale. 

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Sanity is definitely overrated in parents

Last night was arduous. It never really began and it never seemed to end, simultaneously. Lochlan went to sleep at 8:30, which is super rare for him, as he's typically the last to go to sleep once we've all gone to bed. I was hopeful that he just needed the extra snooze time, but this nagging feeling of trepidation hovered as I went to bed. After an excruciatingly long day, and fatigue beyond measure (we seeded the field, and spread several pickup loads of manure - back breaking), it seemed somehow inevitable that it would be a long night. At midnight, Lochlan was bright eyed and cantering around the house, putting on his shoes, coat and preparing to head outside for a moonlit pedal car ride. I fed him some more dinner and a hot cup of sleepy time tea, along with some Tryptophan in hopes that it would wind down his internal clock. Then, we snuggled for an hour or so in his bed, but the ol' clock just kept ticking and his eyelids were not even slightly heavy. To add injury to insult, as I exited his bunk bed, I slammed my face against the corner of a 2x4 used as a ladder, giving myself a black eye. So, around 4:00 the tears started. My tears. His tears. We were both angry and frustrated. I started praying out loud for him - I'm definitely not beyond begging God, asking for anything to overcome the feeling of silence I feel from God with regard to this beautiful human. I do believe in my head that all our prayers are heard and not forgotten and that they do not fall on deaf ears. But, as we are all familiar, ongoing heartache, pain, suffering, discouragement and/or loss can leave our hearts raw and our hope shaken. I heard Madigan and Paugie both stifling tears as I prayed. It is the cry of all our hearts. Around 4:30, Madigan told me to go to bed and he wrapped his arms around Lochlan and said, "I love you so much". Lochlan finally started to settle and was asleep at 5. Again, I'm reminded that I know nothing about what to do or how to do it with regard to this boy. And, not being alone in this process is comforting.

Sometimes, what is difficult seems truly impossible. Yet, morning always comes, even if it is partially unwelcome. :-) It (usually) brings fresh perspective and the almost constant stream of beautiful, hilarious, and inspiring.

Lauren and I were engrossed in conversation about something serious in nature when suddenly she doubled over and burst out laughing. After recovering from my initial surprise at her reaction, I turned around to discover a very naked boy (who had been previously rumored to be asleep) standing behind me, unashamed and unassuming. To say our conversation was fragmented by the interruption is an understatement. :-) Welcome to every day minute in the family circus.

Before we went to bed for the night, Daddy peeled Madigan off the sheets to take him to one last potty run before bed and sent him into the bathroom so he could pull Paugie out of bed as well. He walked in to find Madigan peeing in the laundry basket of clothes. When he confronted Madigan, Madigan stated in his defense, "Daddy, I'm getting it in the basket! I didn't pee on the floor." The next morning, he had no recall on the matter. #sleepwalking

Paugie is equally comatose once asleep for the night. After managing a successful pee run, I sent him to bed while I went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Upon my return, I went back in the bathroom, turned on the lights and found Paugie sitting, head bowed, hands folded in his lap, sleeping upright on the counter top next to the sink. He was completely OUT!

I changed out the boy's pillows (because pillows can get super nasty super surprisingly fast). Kelton burst into tears and held his new pillow tightly. When I inquired about his apparent heartache, he said, "Mama, I just don't want to have to say goodbye to this beautiful and most wonderful pillow that you just gave me." I wish I could assure that you'll never have to, but alas...

This tiny human breaks into dance every time he hears a favorite song (Owl City, for example) - it's almost involuntary. His body just starts moving to the music and even though he's shy about it, he simply cannot help himself. :-)

The boys are insistent that all the pups are buckled in when in the truck and Aberdeen is always willing to comply. 

Brothers who hike together stay together. 

The four humans on the path ahead of me remind me that life marches ever onward, giving us boundless joy and profound challenges, simultaneously. They are my inspiration and I never want to lose sight of these moments. 

That, my friends, is the picture of happiness and contentment. So, smile! 

The Great Painter at it again. 

A great friend and a great bunny wabbit. Note the foot... too much! 

A boy loves his dog and a dog loves his boy. 

Escapades in the woods have resumed for the spring!!! Happiness abounds! 

Mama horse hovering for a lil' morsel of cereal bar. Super subtle. 

Field planting has begun again. Argh. 

What a great team! 

Gumbum was out there with the rest of us putting in hours of hard, manual labor. Amazing!

Beloved Kathy, and (part of) her canine fan club. She is, also, a godsend to this family.

Rest time after a hard day's work. Note the bunny in the middle of the boy pile. Melt my heart!

Kathy's tractor and Lauren's expert tractor driving made our field management plausible! We got an entire field planted, and fertilized in hours! 

And finally, on a serious note...