Friday, April 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Easter Surprises, Appalachian Winters, Old Friends, Double Trouble, and Witnessing Faith

So happy Easter everyone!   I am still reeling from this Easter surprise.   I think I have heard the phrase "God is good" at least three times this week and it is true.   He never abandons us. His timing may not be ours but when the time does comes for Him to reveal Himself to us, by golly, He makes sure we know its Him.   I am rejoicing in the birth of this little baby who arrived in their arms during the Triduum.   God bless her.  God bless her birthparents for choosing life and adoption.   God bless her adoptive parents who carried their cross with such grace.  It bears repeating:  God is good!   Alleluia!

I am enjoying getting familiar with mountain life in Kentucky.  We had a cold snap a couple of weeks ago and woke up to this.
The day before this was 75 degrees.  Honest.
In the mountains, this is known as Dogwood Winter, because when the dogwoods bloom, sure as shootin', we'll get a cold snap.  And just in case you may not be familiar with Appalachian colloquialisms used to describe winter, let me just bring you up to speed.

First, you have Sarvus Winter which is when the "sarvusberry" trees bloom (which are actually "serviceberry" trees but if you call them "serviceberry" and not "sarvus berry" around here, you'll immediately identify yourself as a "furriner", which may not be a bad thing, unless you are trying to fit in, although if you are a "furriner", trust me, you'll never fit in anyway, so go ahead and call them whatever you want...the non-furriners are very accommodating).  Okay, so after Sarvus Winter, we have Redbud Winter.  Then comes Dogwood Winter.   Now don't ask me which winter it is if the Redbuds and Dogwoods are blooming at the same time, as they were this year. My husband asked me that, but since he is one of them "furriners" I just described, I tried to be accommodating and just pitied his ignorance because everyone in the mountains who ain't a "furriner" knows that Dogwoods trump Redbuds every time.

So, after Redbud Winter comes Dogwood Winter, if they aren't simultaneous as they were this year.   But we aren't done with winter yet, because we still have Blackberry Winter coming about 3 weeks after Dogwood Winter.   So, expect that in a future Quick Take.   Or you can be like my husband and just call them all Winter.   But that would be way to simple for us mountain folk.
Dogwoods + Snow?   Definitely Dogwood Winter.

Being back home in my mountains also has meant getting re-acquainted with some old friends.   Feathered friends, that is.   Some people speak Spanish, some French, some German.   Not me.  My second language is Bird.   And when you live in a forest like we do, it is a whole lot more useful than speaking Spanish, French, or German.

Timing our arrival back to eastern Kentucky with the arrival of the spring migrants was a stroke of totally unplanned brilliance on our part.   Each day of this month has brought the arrival of new friends starting with the black-and-white warbler pushing his squeaky wheelbarrow through the woods, followed by the yellow-throated warbler telling me to "cheer, cheer, cheer, cheer up" and just a few days ago, I heard the flute-like harmonics of the elusive wood thrush as he sang  "ee-o-lay" , which meant not only that most of the migrants have returned home, but also that it is time now to plant corn (another mountain thang).

Considering that most of these neotropical migrants are in serious decline, I feel very privileged to have them taking up residence all around me.   Hopefully, they'll be around long enough for me to teach my boys how to speak Bird, too.   But first they have to master which end of the binocs to look through.  Baby steps.


So back to Easter.
The boys got to participate in a little Easter egg hunt held after Mass at our very small church (there are no large Catholic churches in rural Appalachia) and it took John about 0.2 seconds to find the one and only plastic egg in the grass that had been adorned with a very fresh and odoriferous feature compliments of the free-ranging dog living next door.   Score one for John.   Tom was the lucky parent to find John first, just as John proudly exclaimed "what's this?" and wiped said feature all over his best Sunday pants and then all over Tom's best Sunday pants.   No sweat for this Mama, though because Thank Goodness For Polyester (John) and Dry Cleaners (Tom).   Tom got John cleaned up and was able to resume the egg hunt just in time for there to be no more eggs left to find.   But that was okay, too, because the boys were already well-stocked with chocolate for the next three months thanks to the five-pound Easter baskets they'd received that morning, compliments of the grandparents.   I'm still trying to decide if candy-related holidays are something that this mother likes or strongly dislikes.   I'm leaning toward the latter.   It wouldn't be so bad if we could maybe space Valentine's Day and Easter a little farther apart???   At least now we should be good until Halloween.

If you want to know what kind of week I've had, let me just say that frequently this week, I have ended my days by Googling phrases such as "twin 3 year olds discipline" and "twin 3 year olds behavior" and "parenting twin 3-year olds", etc etc.     And each time, all I could find was a whole lot of other desperate mothers (and fathers) who had apparently Googled the same and gotten nothing more than sympathy from other parents with twin 3-year-olds but no meaningful advice as to how to tame such 3-year-olds.   The best I could come up with was "keep them separated" and "it'll get better in 2 to 5 years".   Granted, my boys aren't real twins, but at 6.5 months apart, I think I am having a lot of the same discipline issues that parents of twins may have.   When they are together, which is most of the time, they are like wild little animals constantly antagonizing and instigating and looking over their shoulders to see if anyone (Mama) is watching.  
When they are apart, they are delightful little boys who like to be read to, cuddle, and will play quietly with toys or entertain themselves in other non-destructive manners.    
Nap times are especially challenging because one will always try to provoke the other to the point that neither one ends up napping.   Frequently, we must put them in separate rooms to get them to sleep.  During Mass, Tom and I have started sitting on opposite sides of the church to keep the boys apart (and that actually works well).    Anyone with experience in this arena willing to offer advice?  I'm all ears.

Slowly we are starting to get adjusted to our "new normal" and I am making progress unpacking room by room.   We now have all boxes sequestered to the basement, which makes me very happy, but is not very pleasing to Tom considering basement = man cave.   But we are getting there.   Finding the time to do fun stuff in the midst of trying to get a house put right-side up has been a challenge but with the lovely spring weather we're enjoying, we have been making a point to take the boys out.   This week, we found a paved trail that the boys enjoyed riding their trikes on.    The trail was built to be handicap-accessible, but for this mom, handicap-accessible also means trike accessible.   We took Pawpaw with us too, and he seemed to appreciate the fact that the trail had no inclines greater than 5 %.   Win Win.
"C'mon Pawpaw, faster!"

Lastly, there have been a lot of blog posts this week about infertility given that it is National Infertility Awareness Week.   I am so grateful to all the Infertility Bloggers out there, many of whom inspired others like myself to start blogging and sharing our story.   If you missed Rebecca's series of posts, I encourage you to check them out.   Thank you to her and all the Catholic IF bloggers who posted about their journey with infertility this week.   As someone once said "it is a club nobody wants to join" but once in it, it is encouraging to be surrounded by such courageous witnesses of faith and it just may be the antidote to our self-absorbed world.  My prayers are with you all.

Have a great weekend!   Happy Mercy Sunday!  and thanks to Jen for hosting.

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