Saturday, October 17, 2020


I feel like the fact that life is finite was never lost on me, even as a young child.  There are just natural limitations that we all encounter throughout life that remind us of this reality. I also understood all too early that life could be short - it can be robbed from us without our expectation or intention. The death of my dad when I was a child cemented this reality for me.

However, it wasn't until I had kids that I felt how short life really is. I only get 52 weeks with my 6 year old. With my 10 year old. With my 9 year old. With my 8 year old. Madigan had a "private conversation" with me last night expressing his frustration that Kelton copies everything he does and unintentionally mimics his actions throughout every day. I reminded him that this too shall pass - all too quickly - and that Kelton will very shortly want to do everything independently and annoyingly "his own way". If Kelton is to have a role model and hero, I think he has picked a great one and I wouldn't want it any other way. Madigan teared up and said, "Mom, thank you for helping me understand. I won't always be the 'hero' to Kelton, so now is my chance to guide him and help him become the best man he can become, while he looks up to me." How many of us miss this understanding and opportunity, with our own kids? 

We, as a society, as individuals have blithely given up our rights to live fully with the ones we love and (for some of us) with the youngsters who have been entrusted to our care to train and guide into their futures. We have given over those rights and opportunities, and we have given them to our devices - our smart phones, televisions and our computers. The most dedicated friends, best moms and dads I know give away hours of their day(s) to this fake world, forever robbing their children of themselves. Those are minutes that can never be restored to them, and are lost in the abyss of tragedy, because it is utterly tragic what we are losing as individuals, as a society, to the devices that now rule us. We willingly relinquish ourselves to our devices, because they "help us unwind", "help us stay connected with friends/family", "help us keep up with the news in the world", "help us relax", "help us do our jobs", but mostly because we have allowed ourselves to be stolen away. Shame. On. Us.

Madigan is 10.5 years old. If we have spent an average of 3 hours/day (and I'm being ridiculously generous to most of us, right???) of his lifetime on the cell phone, that is 11,498 hours. 11,498 hours that could have been spent listening to him, observing him to understand who he is and what makes him that (incredible) person, reading books to him, cuddling with him on the couch, biking with him, hiking with him, riding horses with him, teaching him how to play chess, baking goodies with him, talking with him about the ridiculous and the profound, completing science experiments with him, helping him grow his own garden, and giving him the opportunity to know that time with him is valued beyond measure and never taken for granted. Those hours are lost. Dead. 

If a marriage is 20 years old and shared 3 hours/day with a device(s), that is over 21,900 hours lost. LOST. 21,900 hours that could have changed that marriage: time spent working side by side to raise children, time spent cuddling on the couch, time shared over coffee talking about what really matters, time spent fostering love over resentment, time spent building great things together (both tangible, material things as well as relational/spiritual), time spent in the enjoyment of each other's presence, time spent suffering in all the horrible things that life throws their way, together hand-in-hand, time spent standing against the trials of this world together and building strength into one another and because of one another. 

Let's try to be honest with ourselves. We don't give 3 hours/day of our lives (hearts, minds, time) to our devices. If we did, it would be tragic and heartbreaking. We give far more. Our society has been completely altered and I think as a whole, history will be the one to reflect that. So, let's be the catalyst for change, and let's change the face of history, let's change what people will see when they look back upon this time period. Time is being stolen from us and we're willingly (happily) letting it happen.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

I just had to pee...

 I just had to pee. 5 visitors interrupted me. It's crazy, you see?! Oh, the irony! 

First, it was the white paw underneath the door - Aberdeen, you're so predictable. 

Second, Declan needed to tell me that Kelton had called him "poop". Nice. 

Third, Kelton needed to tell me that he had called Declan's bicycle "poop". Much better, obviously. 

Fourth, Winston scratched at the door, desperate because he was surely missing out on something. 

Fifth, Lochlan walked in to start a load of laundry (which is not allowed). :-) 

There are basically no moments of actual privacy in my life right now. But, you know what? I wouldn't trade this season for any other season that has been or is to come. I love (and hate, but mostly love) the constant noise. The unbelievable amount of laughter. The ridiculous requests. The insane amount of laundry.  The filthy floors in my house. The bicycles that litter my yard. The electric fence around the entire perimeter of the property. I love the Aberdeen paws climbing up the stairs to my bed to snuggle way too early in the morning. The gross bathroom (boys' bathrooms are nasty - that's all). the refrigerator that I can't keep food in. The 4-Runner that is never clean. The four bunk beds that fill our house. I love our tea time in the morning, when we talk about the mundane and the important. The tears over Math because it's HORRIBLE. Listening to the boys laugh at the Calvin and Hobbes books they read at night. Hearing Lochlan roar in happiness as his brothers chase him around the house with his new Jeep toy. I love the dirty, messy, noisy and (so much) unpleasant, because it means these boys (and great dogs) are here, filling my life with joy and hope.

That moment when you go to smell the lotion... at high altitude. :-)

This life is lacking in perfection and we are all epic failures and brilliant successes in our own right, yet each day continues to be full of wonder and promise. We find encouragement in the most unexpected places and I am reminded each day that there is so much more than I can imagine. 

Friday, October 09, 2020

Family Vacation - ADAPT

 Colorado... it calls to us. :-) We very nearly canceled this trip because we weren't sure how Lochlan was going to be, as he had started his treatment for the negative bacteria in his body. At the last minute, we decided to brave it, pack a lot of extras for Lochlan as well as a plethora of sanitation wipes. 

We left without much of a concrete plan and each morning we took a carefree approach to the remainder of the day. We spent a lot of time in Telluride, exploring the trails around the town, riding the Gondola (amazing and FREE for everyone), eating donuts, shopping at the thrift store, and drinking coffee.  

Max and Kaysee joined us and it was such a delight to have them along. We're already planning the adventure for next year! :-) 

Our nights were cold, but by night 3 we had nailed it (everyone stayed warm)! The forests were glimmering with golden leaves and the chill in the air brought fall into full focus. When we planned this family vacation, we had really not considered the turning of the leaves, so when we entered the golden forests, my heart nearly exploded for joy. 

Wilderness camping is definitely a "go" for this family... Lochlan can't wander into fellow campers' tents, our very loud children are unlikely to have a negative impact on anything more than the chipmunks, and I finally feel like I can relax and just be. Lochlan had multiple accidents, and though I had prepared in advance, I had not accounted for just HOW MANY he would have. So, I washed laundry in the river, we invested in some large diapers, and we purchased a couple back-up pants at the obliging thrift store. Disaster was (mostly) averted. I felt like this whole family (including Max and Kaysee) really showed their strength of character in being willing to ADAPT to the challenges (mostly with Lochlan, but also with the cold nights, cold mornings, fire ban, etc.) and find abundant joy and fulfillment.  

And, as always, it was an absolute delight to come home to this magical place. 

Blast-ed bugs...

 Several weeks ago, during one of the worst episodes of sickness, we had Lochlan tested. A couple weeks later, those results revealed a high count of negative bacteria in his gut, as well as blastocystis protozoa. He's very sick. It was a strange relief to finally have concrete results that reflected what I have suspected for years. We've had prior testing, but the results have previously availed nothing. 

We started him on the treatment to eradicate the negative bacteria almost 2 weeks ago. Uncontrollable diarrhea immediately ensued, as well as a rather aggressive UTI. He's had to skip over 2 weeks of school, all told, as he is unable to control most of his bodily functions, though he tries. He has had some bad days and some good. Some days he screams - SO. MUCH. SCREAMING. Some days he laughs and canters around as if all is well. Some days he's a tyrant. Other days he's an angel. 

I found him an adult-sized trike which has been revolutionary. He mastered that thing in minutes and couldn't wipe the smile off his face. Now, he can keep up with his brothers on their bikes, which had become a huge frustration for him via his pedal car. 

His diarrhea and UTI has slowly improved, but yesterday morning he started the medication for the protozoa. The doctor had warned me to prepare myself and I took her warning to heart, so nothing has been particularly surprising or alarming. It was constant diarrhea and we finally ditched the underwear and pants, and just opted for a kilt, only (his preference, anyway). Typical Scotsman. :-) We ambled through an uncharted forest path, avoiding all other possible encounters with our fellow mankind and cleaned as we went. He really is happiest in the woods (that might be genetic, on the maternal side) and our day was full of beauty. Today, it was less diarrhea, but he was in so much pain this morning, it was dreadful. We'll see what the next few days hold for us, but I am full of hope that we are on the right track, and that we have isolated and attacked the true enemy of his gut. The coming days/weeks may be rough, but we can do this! 

We had our beloved friends, Kathy and Lionel, visit us during this time, and it revived us all. There is so much strength to be found in the love shared among true friends. 

We will have months of rebuilding to do, once we have eliminated the "bad guys", but this boy seems almost starving right now, so we'll fill that voracious appetite with all things wholesome and life-giving. If you have suggestions, throw them my way! We'll try anything and everything in the rebuilding (the gut health) process.