July 29, 2011

Two Weeks at Home

As of today, I have been home with Levi for two weeks. Many people have asked me, "So how is it going being home full time?"

The short answer is, "Fine."

The longer answer is, "Pretty good."

Really, there doesn't seem to be much of particular importance to report on the first two weeks of this new phase of life. There have been good times, exhausting times, aggravating times, and times when Levi's sweetness makes my heart want to explode. 

Our daily adventures have been hampered by the fact that it has been witheringly hot here in St. Louis (complaining about seasonally-appropriate weather is insufferable in my book, but when the thermostat hits 85 before 8:15 a.m., it is indeed going to be a very hot day). Outdoor excursions must end before 10 a.m., unless said excursions include a pool. My strategy has generally been to give Levi a chance to run around for a while every morning. Then, once he has that out of his system, we can get do the really fun things like grocery shopping and cleaning the house. During his nap, I work on freelance projects, send emails, blog, and nap. 

Items of note over the past two weeks include the discovery of Shaw Park, with its delightful playgrounds (shaded before 9 am) and Sprayground. Levi and I usually arrive at Shaw Park in Clayton just after dropping off Lindon at work. After Levi plays on a playground for a little while, I load him in the stroller and walk the park a few times. At this point we are both hot and sweaty, so we end at the big playground and play in the fountains that come on at 9. It has been such a fun treat for both of us.

Also, I got another bike this week. Yeah, I know. Another one. But that's ok. I will explain more later.

While I do wish the heat would relent a bit, given the weather that we've had, the past two weeks have gone well. And that is about all there is to report.

If you'll excuse me, someone has just woken up from the afternoon nap, and there are a few more things I need to accomplish before getting him out of the crib.

July 21, 2011

The Photo Post

It hardly seems believable in this day and age, but it's true. We don't have fabulous internet reception at our house. The sunroom often cannot pick up a wireless signal at all, which means that trying to post photos on this blog from my desktop computer can be a headache or completely futile. But yesterday, for reasons that aren't important, the desktop was able to pick up a super signal. So I loaded some photos that should have been up a long time ago. If you are my Facebook friend, you might have seen most of these, but they need to be reposted as a courtesy to la familia. And because so many of them include Levi, they are worth a second look. 

First up, here is a photo of our sunroom with the new curtains we got in the spring. I know. This is not news since they went up four months ago, but I just wanted to document this. The room just feels so much more polished now with some decent window treatments. And we typically keep the curtains open all the time, except for the ones which get the morning sun. Those stay closed to keep the room from becoming an oven right away. 

Second, Levi's hair was once again getting out of control. It grows so fast and so thick that we have trouble keeping up with it. He got a decent trim on June 23, but by July 9, his hair was back in his eyes. This remedy, while amusing, did not last. Turns out Levi does not like having his hair in a ponytail. So...

We got out the clippers again, put it on the longest setting, and buzzed his little head. Levi is getting better with the haircut, and this one saw the least crying to date. It helps that we tell him he will get a bath when he is finished. 

Levi's new favorite toy is the laundry basket. Carrots are still not a favorite food, but he will eat them. 

These photos are also a bit dated, but they need to be posted. On July 2 we headed to downtown St. Louis to let Levi see his first parade. We also hoped to get a few glimpses of the first Fair St. Louis air show and maybe play in the City Garden fountains. We succeeded on all three fronts. 

If you had asked me last week, I would have told you that it was an inferno that day. Now that we have temps pushing 100, I would reflect back on that Saturday morning when it was 87 or so and say it was a bit warm. Levi seemed interested in the floats, marching bands, trains, and fire trucks, but he also seemed a little dazed by the sun. Until...

...we added water! Every 10 minutes or so one of us would walk with Levi over to City Garden to let him play in the fountains.  Initially he was unsure of how to handle the sporadic sprays of water, but eventually he got the idea and found the water smacking his face quite refreshing. Then he really came alive and sped away from us as quickly as his little legs could carry him. And since Levi never succeeded in actually getting away, the morning was a huge success.

July 20, 2011


Some things never go out of style. Like stripes. 

June 2009 - 20 weeks with BF (now known as Levi)

And babies.

July 2011 - 20 weeks with BF2, due Dec. 3.

July 18, 2011

The Boys

Speaking of God's kindness to me, recently I have been reminded of another demonstration of God's kindness in my life.

In the fall 2007, I was working two awful jobs. One was simply a bad fit for me, but the other was unequivocally terrible. Between the two jobs I was working 50 hours a week, no benefits, no vacation days. Also, I spent hours each week communiting. It was a hard situation for me, and Lindon certainly felt the effects of my stress. So did Nash, who during this time developed a fear of me raising my voice, coughing, or sneezing. It's not that I ever yelled at him, but I think he saw me stressed out so often that he just got scared. Poor dog.

Naturally, I was applying like crazy for new jobs. One Monday evening in October I returned from a good interview for an administrative position with a PR firm in downtown St. Louis. It would have been a well-paying job, and the commute downtown didn't seem as bad as my then-daily commute to of 40+ minutes.  Plus, it would have been a better use of my skills in an interesting industry. It would have been a stressful job, that's for sure. You know a job will be demanding when the interviewer doesn't even both to pretend it won't be too demanding. But stress from job responsibilities seemed so much better than stress from a fundamentally dysfunctional office.

But though the interview went well, it was merely the first of what would have been several interviews over who knows how long. I had been through this pattern with other offices, only to have funding for the position cut. So I was cautious. When Lindon returned home from class that evening, I told him how well I thought the interview went. Half-way through my recap he said, "There's was a posting at the seminary about a law firm in Clayton looking for a legal secretary." Seriously? I'm in. He received strict instructions to get the contact information first thing in the morning and send it to me.

On Tuesday of that week I submitted my resume,  hoping the office just 10 minutes from home might be interested in someone with previous experience. On Thursday, I came in to interview and pretty much had the job before I opened my mouth. The interview was alarmingly unpretentious (one of the attorneys had his sleeves rollled up and no tie), and the two attorneys I talked with were incredibly likeable. I knew it would be a good fit.

For over three-and-a-half years, I have (wo)manned the front desk of this firm through its various iterations. It has been the best job I have ever had. Working for/with people who are respectful, gracious, kind, and appreciative is amazing. It has not been perfect, of course, but having a secure, enjoyable job to support our family while Lindon was in seminary was such a blessing. I thank the Lord for His kindness in giving me this job.

The men of the office have made cameo appearances on this blog before, and it hasn't exactly been a secret how much I enjoy this job. One of the men in the office was known to come in and say, "Well, Megan, where are our boys this morning?" It seemed funny to refer to two grown men as "our boys," but I liked that term. In some way, they were our boys. I tried to make sure their heads were on straight and that their plates did not get too full. I offered counsel on tie/shirt/jacket coordination, and on rare occasion I would say things like, "Your hair is sticking up, and you are not allowed to go to court like that." I was also the grammar and spelling master who sometimes grumbled about feeling like a maid. But I tried to offer them the respect they showed me. While I have been the only employee in the office, there has still been tremendous camaraderie here.

I say all of this because Thursday afternoon I said goodbye to my office and my office boys. I washed dishes for the last time, turned off the lights, took one last look around, and shut the door. With Lindon by my side and Levi in my arms, I walked down the hall toward a new phase of life as a stay-at-home mom and writer. Our family is finally in a place where I can devote more of my life to my other boys, those two blonds who have both stolen my heart. And Nash, too. We can't forget him.

The office farewells were not as dramatic as the last scene from Mary Tyler Moore, one of my favorite shows of all time. There was no group hugging, maneuvering as a mass toward the tissues, singing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," or crying. Really, there was little emoting at all. That's not how our office worked most of the time. And definitely no hugging, which goes against what one attorney calls "the office code." But they did have kind words for me, in their own ways.

The new reality may take a few days to settle in for everyone, especially me. It is really strange to not be at the office now, and it will take me a whle to figure out exactly how to spend this time (Fold laundry or clean up the kitchen? Walk or playtime at the park? Grocery shopping or ironing?). But though it will be different, it will be a good different. Challenging. But good.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there is some laundry that needs to be put away, and there is a little boy having a rather good time trapping things in an empty laundry basket. He might want some help.

July 8, 2011

On Control...

Earlier today I had a phone conversation with a pastor who does not know me. He does not know that my family has been in a life holding pattern for 14 months. He doesn't know that we have sometimes felt angry, frustrated, and discouraged by the uncertainty, the fruitless searching, and the waiting. He does not know how many search committees have been the subject of my internal tirades because they are too stupid to see how amazing my husband is. He does not know that dear friends have had to remind me time and again over the past 14 months that this period of life is a trial, one that will refine us, strengthen us, and produce in us perseverence.

The fact that he did not know any of these things made his side comment all the more powerful. 

His church and community have experienced some tremendous difficulties recently, so he plans to spend the rest of the summer preaching through Job. While the book of Job is commonly seen as a book on suffering, this pastor had a different take. 

"The book is not about suffering as much as fallout from suffering," he said. "Really, it's about wanting control over circumstances that arise from suffering. We just want to know when it's going to be over, but what we are really saying is we want to be God."


It's hard to count how many times over the past 14 months I have said (out loud or just to myself), "If I knew the if of Lindon getting a job, I would be more comfortable waiting on the when." But that's really just another way of saying, "I want this to be over. Tell me when this will be over."

It is a way for me to try exerting some control over a patently uncontrollable sitation. It is a way for me to try running my own life on my own terms. It is a way for me to try my hand at being God.

The waiting is really hard, and the uncertainty and discouragement are heavy burdens. But it is also hard to see that the waiting is exposing ugly things in my heart, like my desire to be in control. Of course, now that I see it, I can deal with it. But it is all very painful, and sometimes I just want to flex my arm and make something happen.

And this is also where murkey spirituality beckons. A well-intentioned woman recently told me that she believes God gives us bad circumstances just so that we give up control and that maybe if Lindon and I really gave control to God, He would provide a position for Lindon. It's tempting to believe this. But if I give control to God so that He will give me what I want, have I really given up control of anything? As my dad used to say, "You still have your hands at the ten and two on the steering wheel of your life." That kind of thinking if spiritual bargaining, and it's garbage.

Real spirituality is harder. It involves embracing the uncertainty, rejecting the urge to frenetically search for a concrete if or when, and just trusting. Sometimes it sucks. Ok, a lot of times it sucks. It is painful and humbling and does not even begin to give you an answer to "why?". Some days I am better at taking the hard road than other days. Some minutes I am better at this than others.

But on days like today, I can see that God at work. Of course, I must also say that Lindon's searching is gaining a little traction, and I do see a pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel. That fact has everything to do with why I now have the strength to write this post that has been brewing in my head for a year.

But between now and the official end of the search (whenever that might be) there will still be countless opportunities for me to surrender control and admit my position as not-God. And most likely I will fail miserably many of those times. But God is kind to me. His showing me my sin is a kindness. His allowing a pastor to inexplicably share with me his sermon trajectory for the summer is a kindness.

And his trustworthiness if a kindness.