Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Recovery

A few of you have asked about David's recovery so I thought I'd give a little update.

This weekend, we had the fall of the expectations.  Before surgery, we'd read that basically the recovery would take about a week.  We were really hopeful. After all, Grammar is here for another week for back up, right? What we didn't factor in was that we live in a city where we walk everywhere. On most days, we probably average over a mile and a half of walking, just to get the basics taken care of and do the school pick ups.

Let's just say that Spanish doctors aren't known for giving a wealth of information about recovery steps.  That lack of communication left a big gap and room for some consternation.

By the end of the weekend, hubs could hardly bend his knee.  We may or may not have had a conversation about how David would still be on crutches for another couple months. What if barely limping was the new normal?  It was distressing. We were being dramatic.

Thankfully, at this point a couple of kind friends stepped in to offer long-distance support.  Shout out to a very sweet sister-in-law who happens to be a PT! Louise Anne coached David through some exercises and answered his many questions. There was also a kind intervention with Derek E's PT and from Clay Jones over at 901 PT who went beyond the bonds of old friendship to help a brother out. Hometown help!

The progress since their help sessions has been significant.

He's walking much better, and not leaning on those crutches nearly as much as he has been.

Today he even went to the bike stand to see if he might be able to ride a bit.  Um. No. Not yet.

But maybe soon!? Hope.  Hope has returned, haha.

He's scheduled to start PT at a local clinic tomorrow and we're not completely overwhelmed at the thought of Grammar heading back to the USA on Monday.

(Ok.  Maybe we're a little overwhelmed, but not completely:)

That's the down low on the recovery so far.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Silas is 6!!!

It was a big day in our house.  We were up at the hospital by 8am and heading toward the surgery room with the birthday boy.  The tubes were in and we were back home by 3pm.  Apparently, the effect was immediate.  All afternoon he's been telling us that we sound like we're all talking on a microphone.

For quite a while now, I've wondered if Silas was just a really spaced out kid or if he honestly couldn't hear me. As it turns out, he really couldn't hear me. He hasn't said, "What, Mom?!" to me in at least 8 hours now...which is a family record.  Admittedly, a better mom might have put the pieces together sooner.  But I'm so glad it's fixed now!!! He was a champ.  Hardly uttered a complaint the whole day, and was ready to party almost immediately after the surgery.

His bestie from school, Marcel, dropped by for "meriendas" when school got out at 5pm.  We had a big playdate, complete with ninja wear.

After dinner, he opened his big and beloved present: a pair of Adidas futbol shoes, that bear the name Messi.  It was utter delight. He wanted to sleep in them. We settled for having them on the bed.  Before he went to sleep he said, "If I wake up in the night and my shoes are on the bed, then I'll know I didn't dream it, Mom."

From Grammar, the big gift was a set of Laser Tag Guns.  Everyone is in love with those! It's gonna be a never ending game in this house! This boy just loves gifts.  And he usually is adorably grateful for what he receives.  It's one of his most endearing qualities.

Silas has a lot of endearing qualities though. He is beloved at home and at school. He is caring, kind, mischievous and funny.  We hardly meet a new person who doesn't remark on how blue his eyes are. They aren't just blue though, they are unusually bright.  Here's to a lot of prayers that the "window to his soul" will grow brighter and more brilliant with each year that passes.

Happy Birthday, Silas. You are beloved.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Grammar the brave

Grammar's rolling with the punches in our busy, limping household.

This morning when the Barcelona Marathon unexpectedly cut our bus route off, she walked that 11 block route without hint of complain, stating plainly that she's just "glad she really can walk that much at her age!" Her coloring books, toys and tricks are an unending source of entertainment in our household.  It helps to have a former school teacher as a grandma.

This weekend, she had "dates" with two very excited little men, who got to choose the food, dessert, and take a shopping trip for a new toy.

On the home front, our expectations are falling into the realm of realism.  David still has a big limp. And we're starting to see that this recovery, in a city where all of our business is afoot, might be a little longer than we realized.  He's been an uncomplaining champ about it all.

Next up, Silas is scheduled for surgery this Tuesday to have tubes put in his left ear.  This came unexpectedly on top of a pile of health problems we're trying to clear up in his little body. Gratefully, the surgeon wanted to do it right away, which means we get a 2-for-1 with Grammar in town to help.  Unfortunately, it's on his birthday. And this boy loves to birthday.  But his teacher agreed to put the birthday crown on him a day late, and his little party isn't until this weekend.

Here's to another week of pressing on! 

Thursday, March 8, 2018


He made it in and out. And we are so grateful.

I asked him how he felt on the way home, and he said, "Ready to be able to exercise again." That's hubs.

Physical therapy, here we come.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Help is here

The relief team rolled into town yesterday, just in time to wrap up another round of stomach flu this weekend and to prep for tomorrow's surgery.  Hubs has had his leg up for most of the day, trying to get the swelling to a minimum for the big day.  Last night, we were done with dinner, dishes, sweeping, bedtime, stories and laundry hanging by 8:40pm. That's a household record. 

It is good to have some extra hands to help around here and Grammar is such a helper! 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Silas's Tooth

Silas has shark teeth.  His big teeth are coming in behind his baby teeth, so far behind that they're having a hard time pushing the other teeth out.  The dentist told us if he didn't lose one by the end of February, we'd need to come in and get it pulled.  He discovered his first wiggly tooth this past summer when we were hiking in Andorra.  He's been (im)patiently waiting for that tooth fairy visit ever since.  

Monday night when we were brushing teeth, he said, "Hey, Mom. Let's tie a string to my tooth and the other end to a door.  Then we can slam the door and it will come in that rocket video." (If you've never youtubed the video of the kid who pulls a tooth using a rocket, you're missing out:) I thought it was a great idea, and I jumped on the act-before-think momentum and tied dental floss around it right there.  

When we went to Asher's room and announced the plan to the rest of the family, they were a little doubtful.  Jude proclaimed, "This is a bad idea, guys." And promptly left.  Hubs looked concerned and started whispering doubts to me as I looped that floss around the door handle.  Before anyone had time to come to a reasonable conclusion, Silas started screaming at the top of his lungs.  He had slammed the door on his own, in haste. And the result was just a lot of pain, blood, and no call to the tooth fairy. He went to bed with a sore mouth, and a regretful heart.  

When I picked him up the next day at school however, it was all glee.  The door slam trick loosened it up enough that when he collided with an unsuspecting four-year-old at patio time, that tooth popped right out.  He skipped the whole way home. He picked out a toy from the newspaper stand pre-tooth-fairy-visit and went to bed with thoughts of the 'morrow.  

I suggested we might try it again with the other tooth that's loose.  And he looked gravely at me and said, "Mom.  I am never doing that again." 

Live and learn. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Happy 3rd Birthday, Asher!

Our baby is three.  He's actually not a baby, and he knows it.  Asher's world right now is full of playtime with friends in the morning.  He continues to hop right into his class on most days, and definitely prattles off a bit more Catalan than he did before.  His cutest "showcase" right now is when he sings "Bon Dia" at the dinner table.  His favorite color is pink.  Pink. He has been faithful to this choice for months now.  David once asked him why his favorite is pink and he replied, "Because it's momma's favorite."  Heartbreaker.  

He's the tallest of all the boys on our height chart. He loves to run, jump and spin.  He's a firecracker.  This kid has the strongest will I've yet seen.  He keeps me on my toes all day and I won't deny he's the one that drives me to my knees in prayer most at night! 

His favorite song, regrettably, is "Crazy Frog" on youtube. He asks to listen to it every day.  And he shakes his booty like he was born to dance.  Don't show it to your kids unless you're prepared to bear the mental consequences.  

He's definitely a people-person, and loves to be in the thick of the action.  He is loud.  His volume is always on high.  His favorite past time is playing "bumper cars" with his brothers using the throw cushions on the sofa.  His favorite foods are blueberries, sharp white cheddar, and strawberry yogurt.  

For his birthday, we had another family over for fajitas, a piƱata breaking, and a Crazy Frog dance party.  He loved it.  

Here are a few pictures of the fun.  

Happy Birthday, Ashy.  We love you so! 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Wave

This month has felt like a wave rocking our little house.  There have been a lot of days when our goal was, very simply, to make it to bedtime and start again.  We have dealt with more sickness since January than I recall in the entirety of last year.  

Hopefully, we're on the mend.  

Jude left the house this afternoon for the first time in three days.  He's eating again, so I'm feeling optimistic. 

Silas just returned from an epic appointment with a gastric specialist.  After spending the past few months sans gluten, we've been at a loss to know what to do next to straighten out some post-South-Asia stomach issues. The result was new meds, a stricter diet and a six month trial, in hopes that we can get his ongoing reflux problem under control. 

Hubs got his diagnosis this week.  His meniscus is done.  There's no option but surgery.  He'll be hobbling around until he could get the surgeon on March 8. 

I read about a book that Dave Furman's releasing entitled Kiss the Wave.  Undoubtedly, dealing with suffering much deeper than these "various trials" we've been experiencing. Nonetheless, the title is from an old C.H. Spurgeon quote, and the phrase has been echoing in my mind all week, reminding me of truth. 

"I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages." 
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday Tidbits

The golden mimosa is in bloom.  Apparently, it's a big deal in Spain.  The flower shops are full of buckets with yellow blooms, and in lieu of roses, most of the men are carrying bouquets of gold these days. It's like spring is peeking under the curtain of winter to remind us that there's life in all those latent branches.

My neighbor brought me a bunch and my table has been my favorite spot all week.

Here are a few tidbits from our world:

1. The mimosa bouquet.  This was actually part of an odd cultural exchange that I am still processing.  My elderly neighbor has been ill.  So, after two weeks of trying to make it up a flight of stairs, I finally took a little rose bloom to her, along with cards from the kids.  Within 24 hours, her nursing assistant brought a bouquet to us. This has happened before in our building.  We give a box of Christmas cookies, and within 24 hours, we get a box of chocolates at our door. I asked my friend about it, and he said that it's not really an obligation for them to do this...just a way to say, "Wow, thanks! That was really kind." Culture, friends. It's steeped.  We have a lot of learning to do.

2. Ya'll.  We've just had it.  David's still on crutches.  He should find out this afternoon if he needs knee surgery. I've been on the mend for 2 weeks from a head cold that I just can't shake.  Silas has had a ridiculously potent surge of reflux from his gluten intolerance.  We meet with a doctor tomorrow to try to get that more under control. Asher is still waking up with a cough at night and the kid is having some serious adjustment-to-preschool emotions.

And then there's Jude.

He was the healthy one.

But on Sunday night, just as I drifted off, I heard a loud splattering sound that I couldn't quite figure out.  When I turned the corner to the boys room, Jude was throwing up off the top of his bunk bed.

Friends.  In almost 8 years of parenting, I have rarely seen anything so utterly disgusting. It was like a movie clip. Like a joke someone plays.

But it was real.

And it was really everywhere.

For the next 12-14 hours, he threw up pretty much once an hour. It was awful. Awful. 

We are to waiting, and praying that God will spare the rest of us.  I prayed, and then I bleached.  And sprayed disinfectant. And bleached some more.

I despise stomach bugs.

3. Let's not end on that note, shall we? Silas is studying the solar system at school.  So we did a little project together to display in his classroom. The rocket moves on a string of fishing line.

Basically, it was a 5-year-old boy's dream project.

This kid loves a little crafting.

Happy Tuesday to you! 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

My Valentine

It's been a week around here. Asher's been coughing since Saturday night.  A bad head cold's had me drinking hot tea by the gallon since Sunday.  And then there's David.

Hubs injured his knee a few months ago and has been in the pool for his workouts for a couple weeks now.  This week, he and the boys were "working out" together in the living room and he jumped.  It would appear, he put the nail in the coffin for his knee. He's been on crutches all week, and couldn't walk on it at all for the first two days.  We're waiting for the results of the CT scan to know if he'll need surgery.  

I would like to write that his loving wife just jumped right in and gave him all the sympathy that sweet man deserves.  But I can't write that.  

I was so mad that I told him he better just sit on the couch for a while.  While he was in his little time-out, I muttered things like, "What were you doing jumping on a hurt knee?" It took me a good while to cool down. It hasn't exactly been one of my wife-of-the-year weeks.  

Of course, he shouldn't have been jumping.  But if you've ever met my husband, you'll understand that when he's having fun with the boys that's the equivalent of telling my five-year-old that he needs to sit still on the sidelines at recess. 

This was probably inevitable.  That we've made it this far without more injuries in our household is more surprising than our current status.  

Watching this man hobble around intent on serving us, even in the midst of pain, has reminded me why I fell in love with this guy in the first place.

So we celebrated Valentine's Day with pancakes and gave thanks for real love. The kind of love that's enduring.  A love that chooses kindness and practices patience.  Love that bears the flowers of forgiveness and joyful commitment.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

new jersey and such

This is Asher, after he wailed the entire way to the bakery to pick up a baguette.  Then he wailed the entire walk home.  Then I took him out of the stroller, and he laid down light a dead weight on the sidewalk. This is my post of the sake of posterity to note that while Asher has made significant progress in the past few months, he's still a handful.  I think he's the hardest two year old I've parented.  He has a lot of emotion and volume. He also has a lot of tenderness and sweetness. 

Also, for the sake of posterity, I'll record a hilarious little conversation from our story time.

Jude:  "Guys, I want to go to New Jersey.  Did you know that there are 25 nests of Peregrine Falcons in New Jersey?!" (In case you're wondering, my boys are obsessed with Peregrine Falcons because of their unbelievable speed.) 

Asher: "Jude.  I have a new jersey. I can show you my new jersey." Referring, of course, to his Messi futbol jersey.

Monday, February 12, 2018

the depths of despair

One of the reasons, besides learning another language and these wild, growing boys, that has slowed down my more reflective writing this year is that I haven't quite known what to say.  Or at least, I haven't particularly wanted to spend my time dwelling on what there is to say about it.

I have, for well over a year now, been in a sort seasonal depths.  Anne, of the beloved Green Gables, might refer to it rather dramatically as the "depths of despair." I haven't been despairing, but it has been undeniably more difficult to plod through the days. The changes required by an international move seem have to thrown my soul into a sort of muddiness.

The older I get, the more I realize that I despise change.  And I'm rather more inflexible than I'd like to admit also.  My boots have just felt a bit caked with mud and it's taken me more effort to move down the path.   Circumstantially it's actually been one of our milder seasons. But, in my mind particularly, it's just been a season with some dark clouds overhead.  Reminding me keenly that we are indeed in a very real battle.

On this occasion, my mind being the primary field where the battle plays out.  Choosing joy and praise and gratitude isn't just a simplistic pollyanna way of living, it's a battle plan against a real enemy who loves darkness and hates light. It's a way to fight. And fight, we must.

It's an odd thing to me that the longer I follow Christ, the more I realize how very small and cracked my love for Him truly is.  How terribly prone I am to give up. And gratefully, the more I realize how very great and sturdy His love for us truly is.  How unstoppable the gospel really is.  My weaknesses are glaring.  His strength is unshakeable.

Bless the Lord, Of my soul, 
and all that is within me, 
bless his holy name! 
Bless the Lord, of my soul, 
and forget not all his benefits, 
who forgives all your iniquity, 
who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the pit, 
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 
who satisfies you with good 
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. 

Psalm 103

Science Museum Saturday

To beat the cold, we hit the Cosmo Caixa Science Museum this Saturday morning while David was at a meeting.  It never fails to keep our curiosity for a few indoor hours.  We'd probably frequent it quite a bit more if it weren't such a trek up the hill.  There's just no good bus route up the mountain, so we have to hike around a bit to make it there.  It was worth it though! 

My personal favorite is the photo exhibition they have from the first Spanish science center in Antartica.  The photos are stunning, and it always makes me want to spend my latter years working on a base in the Arctic.  

We brought home a little kit to make a digital clock, powered through a lemon.  It was a  big hit with the little scientists in my world.  

Hope you had a good weekend! 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Carnival Craze

This weekend is Carnival, and the boys were supposed to have a school parade this afternoon. But when I went to pick them up for lunch, it started hailing.

Ya'll. It does not hail in Barcelona.

Up in our neighborhood, the hail just bounced around and melted on the pavement.  Down nearer the ocean, where the traffic is lighter and the breeze keeps things cooler, it stuck around for a bit.  A friend sent me a picture from the beach.  Definitely not a typical day in these parts!

 The parade was cancelled, but the boys had an in-school parade with their classmates. When I picked them up, they showed off the costumes they've been working on for weeks.  There was a circus theme for the parade this year.  Silas was the Circus Master and Jude was an acrobat (hence the extra legs:). One of the things we love about their school is that when they have events like this, we're hardly ever asked to contribute much to the costumes.  For this event, the kids made them out of plastic bags and cardboard.  It's always such a fun surprise to see what they'll come up with!

And as if it wasn't exciting enough this afternoon, I decided to finally try my hand at that paella recipe I got a few months ago.  I was a little nervous that it would turn into a pizza night, but it was actually a big success. I'm definitely adding it to my recipe rotation now that I've braved the unknown! 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Currently I'm slightly obsessed with corner architecture.  This has been going on for a few weeks now, and my zeal hasn't waned.  Everywhere I look, there are absolutely fascinating buildings on the corners of blocks.  I probably notice them more because I'm standing on the street corner waiting to cross, and I have more time to reflect.  When they built the buildings, they could have just let it be a corner.  Sharp and pointy.  A normal street corner with that hard angle.  But they turned a necessary edge into works of art.  It really is stunning.

I feel like I'm kind of standing on a bit of a corner right now as well.  Life is edging me to turn corners.  My instinct is to just make the hard edge, the sharp and pointy one.  But I'm asking that it would rather become a place to stop and build a little beauty, a place that might make someone pause for a moment and remember how startlingly good truth, beauty, and real growth are.  

I'm glad those architects didn't choose the easier way.  A century later, people are still noticing.  

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

1. Asher fell in the little pond at the park today.  In front of the super cool teenagers that hang out there every afternoon.  I sprinted across the park, stripped him naked and wrapped him in my sweater and scarf to make it home. If I didn't give up cool in high school, I've relinquished it in totality in motherhood.  This guys just likes to keep me on my toes!

2. Tomorrow will register as Day # 12 out of the past 14 school days when one of the three boys has remained home.  Silas is on Round Two, having recovered completely somewhere around Day #4, only to come down with it again around Day #10. It appears to be nothing more than a viral fever, that gives way to a cough.  It's sweeping through the city like wildfire. The school is, undoubtedly, incubating the germs.   One of my friends told me that half of her child's class was down. Thankfully, a little Dalsy syrup (i.e. Spanish tylenol:) and some R & R on the couch seem to be sufficient.

3. Because we've been fairly home bound, we crafted. Asher and I made homemade play dough.  And the boys finished their birthday pinatas.  Yes, we're still months away from those birthdays...but I bought candy with a 2 year expiry date and just let them have fun.  This was the first time we've used cardboard to make pinatas and I admit it was much easier and cleaner.  They were able to work on them a lot more independently than back in the days of the gunky paper mache. The theme selection of birthday celebrations is somewhat grandiose in our little house.  This year, after much discussion and pondering, the themes are as follows: Paw Patrol (Asher), Barca Futbol (Silas) and Narnia (Jude).

4. We bought tickets for our return to America this summer.  We'll be back in the hometown for a few months beginning in July.  I am excited. It will be such a gift to have a little time close to family. I am also, admittedly, a tad overwhelmed that I have a mere 5 months to get all these nooks and crannies in order.  We'll be keeping our same apartment here, but there's always a chance that someone will need to stay in it while we're gone.  So all the drawers that are stuffed with old erasers and random objects are beginning to glare at me.  This is like a purging ritual that I go through before we make a big transition.  I wish I could skip it.  But I can't.  It's part of my process, haha.

So now, excuse me while I go throw away some erasers.