Monday, April 11, 2011

Hitting the Highlights

I realize it's been a long time since I've updated my blog with family happenings...but there's just been so much going on that I've either been trying to keep up with life or trying to recover from keeping up with life!  So it goes...some seasons are busier than others.  But, tonight I thought it would be better to say something rather than continue saying nothing, so here's some highlights!

**We recently experienced the "stay-cation that wasn't."  I think this is probably always the danger with a "staycation" as opposed to a "vacation."  We tried, we honestly tried, to take a vacation, but life interfered!  Almost comically, issues kept cropping up that needed immediate attention and created a domino effect of new issues.  On the first day of our three day staycation, a friend called.  He will be renting our office space when we leave for the States, and wanted to move his stuff in that day.  So, John went to clean out the office so that our friend could move his stuff in.  Cleaning out the office meant cleaning out our basement storage unit so that we had space for office stuff.  Cleaning out the storage unit meant sorting, organizing, and then repacking so that there was room for everything as well as freeing up some space within our apartment.  Cleaning out within the apartment meant sorting through clothes, switching from winter to spring, getting rid of things too small for Christin, and dealing with various items we don't need anymore, so that we could then put BACK all the trunks and luggage and have room to walk through our house again! 

As well during the midst of this, our internet was giving us troubles--working occasionally, then stopping for no apparent reason.  We called the internet company and had DRAMA dealing with their repairmen, and finally they told us we needed a new password and so we needed the ID card number of the person who originally set up our account.  That person happens to be our landlord.  We were hesitant to call him, because we hadn't officially told him about our planned move, but we did call in order to get the info, in order to get the internet fixed.  Unfortunately the landlord was not too happy with us.  He had heard through the grapevine that we were moving and was upset that we hadn't talked with him yet (though our contract only says we need to give 2 weeks notice).  He wanted to know what we were taking with us when we left.  Apparently in this country, it's customary for the landlord to pay for repairs/improvements to the apartment.  He seemed concerned that we wanted a whole bunch of money for the improvements we had made when we first moved in three years ago.  After lots of tallying of receipts (by then it was day 3 of "staycation"), discussion, and negotiations, the landlord concluded that he didn't want any of the items we installed--kitchen cabinets and countertops, a bathtub, cupboards in the bathrooms, even the ceiling fans.  He said we could leave them in, take them out and sell them, throw them away, whatever, he didn't care, he just didn't want to pay any money.  Isn't that surprising?  But, it's all in Father's hands...we hope there will be a way to pass on some of these items to others who can benefit from them so that their value won't be lost.

So, after that, we had not had a vacation, but we got a lot done!  I did sort and organize a TON of stuff, including all five persons' clothes and books, and got a good start on items in my cupboards.  It's so funny, when I was growing up, on Memorial Day or Labor Day I can always remember my mom wanting to use those days to do a major cleaning project--clean the garage, clean out the attics, or organize the basement.  I always thought that sounded like no fun at all, but now I realize the helpfulness of getting things accomplished when you have days off!  So, I am thankful for all that we accomplished and feel like I have a great start on our packing in a few months.

Other highlights:
**I've been reading a great book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called "Choosing Gratitude."  It's been wonderful!  I feel that the sin of ingratitude is so easy for me to slip into, and truly, I have so much to be grateful for.  This book is helping me to change some of my thinking and be more intentional about being grateful for all that I have.  The spiritual blessings alone that I possess in Christ--that have been graciously and generously given to me when I deserved none of it--are enough to spend the rest of my life being grateful for.  Oh Lord, though you have already given me all things, give me one thing more: a grateful heart!

 **Last week Monday Clara Anne slept until 9:45 before we finally woke her up.  She is our Sleeping Beauty!  But she also has trouble going to sleep at night sometimes.  I know she lies there awake, sometimes for an hour or two, before falling asleep.  So, we've determined to change that.  If she gets up earlier she should get tired earlier too, right?  This whole past week I've woken her at 6:30 and she HAS been more tired at night.  It's helping!  More on that in another post...

**Our sweet Christin has been struggling a bit with stuttering in recent weeks.  It began suddenly, and at first she was having trouble with certain consonants--"w", "y" and sometimes "m".  She would repeat the initial consonant sound again and again, sometimes up to 15 times, before she could get the word out.  And then other times, she wouldn't have any troubles at all.  Slowly it seemed to get worse, and she became self conscious about it and even upset about it, several times crying to me, "mama, my mouth won't work!" or "Mommy, I can't talk!"  One night it took her almost five full minutes to say "Can."  She kept trying, couldn't get past the /k/ and would start crying.  That was probably the worst moment of the last few weeks, she was crying and my heart just wrenched in pity, I cried too!  After that night, we made it a matter of more earnest prayer and it seems like the Lord is helping her.  From what I have read, stuttering seems to be a neurological difficulty--in Christin's case, since she was so very verbal so early, she knows exactly what she wants to say but lacks the motor coordination to get it out.  There is a chance it will never go away, but there's a good chance, because of her age, her gender, and other signs, that she will gradually get over it.  I was most sad to see her withdrawing some, being more reluctant to speak because she was afraid.  We have still encouraged her to speak, and I'm glad to say that at the end of this week she seems a bit better.  Whenever she is playing, reciting books or poems or Scripture that she knows, or interacting naturally with us or her sisters she does fine.  But when she wants to ask a question or is put on the spot she has a harder time getting going.  She's not stuttering over initial consonants, just sometimes can't quite get the phrase going that she wants to say.  Generally, I'd say it's improving.  We're praying for her.  I keep thinking of what the LORD said to Moses at the burning bush:  "Who made man's mouth?"  He is in control!

**And by the way, we DID get our internet fixed!  (Obviously, since you're reading this!)  It turned out we needed a new router, we didn't actually need to contact our landlord, but thankfully now it's all working (and we got those landlord issues settled too).  Whew, glad to have that taken care of!  We depend upon it a lot in our context!

**I made some fabulous cappucino muffins last week with a coffee icing that were just delicious.  After years of despising coffee, John says he's open to changing his mind and appreciating it instead, maybe my dreams of sipping coffee with my sweetie may finally come true!

**The girls have now done the dishes successfully three different nights!  Clara Anne washes, Chloe rinses, and Christin dries and stacks them on the dishrack.  They're doing a great job!  Last night John had a meeting so the girls and I were about to watch a movie (they had requested Ben-Hur) and so I got into my jammies and got the movie set up while they were finishing up in the kitchen!  I must say, I never thought this day would come!

**We've been looking online for rental housing in Louisville and actually have a couple of possibilities.  We're praying for the place Father has for us; it's been fun to look!  Homes in America look so pretty!  (It's all the green grass--might totally be weeds, but looks great to us!)

**We attended a friend's wedding on April 2 and had a wonderful time despite the cold front that moved in the night before; pictures to follow in another post!

**I had a date with Christin last week to spend 20 of her points for excellent behavior.  We went to Mickey D's for ice cream, then to Starbucks for a sucker for her while I read her a stack of books--Going on a Bear Hunt, The Owl and the Pussycat, and Goodnight Moon are still her faves--and then I bought her a helium balloon on the way home.  She was so proud to sit by herself in my bike seat, a big step up from being strapped to me in the Ergo.  I did use a belt around the seat and her waist to help her feel secure, but she did great!  She'll be three soon!

**And all around us, spring is springing in the most lovely way.  The weeping willows are putting out their leaves, the flowering peach blossoms and redbuds and tulip trees are in bloom, and bits of grass are popping up here and there.  Unfortunately the grassy area behind our apartment area has been overrun with dogs (and their poo) but we've enjoyed being outside when we can.  Last week I told the girls we would go outside and play every day if the weather was nice (a real committment for me, since that always means washing all their clothes when we get in from the dusty, dirty pavement, and giving them baths as well), and we did make it outside most days.  Sidewalk chalk, riding their bikes, and playing hide-and-seek and ring around the rosie were all fun activities.

Well, if you've made it to the end of this long post, kudos to you!  Now you know some of what's been going on at the Winds' house!


Anonymous said...

We've had two that struggled with stuttering. One was much worse and lasted much longer than the other. We knew it was most likely temporary and that they would grow out of it, which they did. I know it's frustrating for them and difficult for us to watch them struggle with it. We just tried to encourage them to slow down, and also made a very pointed effort to slow down our selves and really made the time to listen to them when they were speaking, getting down on their level and making eye contact. Our medical doctor also said that sometimes they just have so much to say that it gets jumbled coming. It doesn't help matters that there are usually lots of us here with lots to say as well :). It can be difficult for the little people sometimes. We also tried to not draw too much attention to it and encouraged our other children to do the same, especially emphasizing that it was certainly not something to imitate or make fun of. Glad to hear that you staycation was at least productive. Our Father knows best, he'll give you the rest when he sees fit.
Rebecca VE

sandra said...

My heart breaks for Cristin. I'm praying for her! So thankful you were able to take her out on a special date.
PS - so sorry about your landlord.

Gretchen said...

Rachel -- interesting about the stuttering with poor Christin. I have noticed Susie starting to stutter a little bit lately -- and considering what you said about being verbal early, it makes sense. I am thankful that she is TOTALLY unaware of it, though, and that since she's the first child, there is no real rush, no one else talking over her. My heart broke for Christin when I read about her crying. My brother stuttered badly as a child and I have painful memories of hearing him teased by other boys. I will pray for Christin as I hear Susie stutter.