2012: The Summer of UP

I was texting a dear friend yesterday and was talking about how I will forever remember Summer 2012 as "The Summer of Up." Where to even begin!?

Perhaps with an apology as this is one of the corniest things I've ever written--even though I speak in truth and from the heart!

I certainly had my own expectations of what camp would be like this year and the Lord continually surprised me--and it all begins with up.

For starters, I was pretty "Knocked Up" this summer, going into camp around 31 weeks along. I realize that "knocked up" can be slang for unintended pregnancy with a boyfriend, etc (and given my Iphone's auto-correct tendencies, you've all been wondering about Ryan-lol). However, bear with me. Pregnancy and camp is quite challenging and interesting--from hormones to aches and the limitations, to the fun of having 75 staff following your progress and even placing bets on the arrival date. : )

That alone was interesting, but out of the blue and in the middle of camp, we found ourselves: "Throwing Up", "Laid Up", "Drugged Up",  and "Cooped Up" thanks to everything from stomach bugs, pink eye, fever viruses and a back that went out. It has been wild. I cannot begin to describe how crazy life has been with camp+sickness and injury. What would normally be a mildly inconvenient time of quarantine and recovery is multiplied when the whole family would much rather be at camp with the staff and campers.

At this point there were times when I bordered on being rather "Fed Up" as I struggled with contentment in times of Providentially ordained interference with my plans and sin struggles. God didn't just send frustrating circumstances, he also kept me struggling with sin this summer. Caedmon's Call had some lyrics about, "I had to laugh, because the same old struggles that plagued me then are plaguing me still." Yes and no. I discovered this summer there were victories over old sins and a multitude of new struggles and battles to be fought--all beginning in my own heart and stemming from my own sinful nature. While they were only amplified by crazy pregnancy hormones, the showers of grace God also gave give me such encouragement that He has not failed me and is continuing to do the good work he promised to do!

The Lord gave such contentment with each obstacle--even in moments of tears and "how can we deal with this now!?", contentment would gently wash over me. Psalm 121, which I've been meditating on in preparation for the baby's birth has also been useful in daily life this summer:

 lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

We've also been "Lifted Up" this summer--time and time again. The delight of having a prayer partner who I can call or text at any time of need has been sweet (Thank you, friend!). God has blessed me with a sister in Christ who knows very particularly the challenges and joys of camp life and is willing to listen and pray for me. Not only that, the body of Christ in general has lifted up prayer after prayer for us and also practically served us again and again. The camp staff have been the hands and feet of Jesus to us as they've spoken kind words, loved on our kids, chased our wayward toddler, returned our wayward toddler and chased him again. We've been encouraged and built up by the very people we are called to serve. It's humbling and so encouraging!

So this summer we've been knocked up, throwing up, laid up, drugged up, cooped up, borderline fed up, but always lifted up and by the grace of God never did we ever give up.

And fortunately we weren't held up either.


Slow Progress

Have you ever started a status on Facebook and realized how it was so trivial that you should instead insert it into a blog post? Ahem, well, I've never . . . .

We are 38 weeks, 1 day. My Doc is going to Haiti next week for a mission trip and last week offered the option of induction this week. T immediately said no and I felt the same way, but prayed about it and was worried there would be a good bit of pressure from him today to consider it. I'm grateful he accepted my refusal so kindly. There were a LOT of reasons why we said no: my mom is having a cochlear implant surgery on Friday (!), we weren't sure if J's fever virus was done with, we are training O to stay in his bed right now . . . . but the bottom line is we want the best scenario for our sweet girl.

Miss A was induced around 38 weeks and had the easiest, breeziest, most painless of all our deliveries (went in at 5:30, delivered at 9:30)--THEN she went into the NICU and spent five days there because she wasn't ready to be born.

I'm willing to wait and take the chance of greater personal discomfort or having a baby "too big" or my doctor in the country for the sake of giving our girl the best possible scenario for delivery--I am so, so grateful for medical interventions and care, but I want to avoid the slippery slope that can occur when you begin intervening here, then there, then there.

Come 40 weeks, I am open and willing to induce. God knows if we will make it that far and if he sees fit to bring her on, so be it. Every week brings a waxing and waning of different symptoms, amusements and discomforts.

This particular week I cannot get full. It's crazy. I am also having such weird issues with the lower ligaments that I can no longer carry laundry up and down the stairs or vacuum. Giving up vacuuming is hard. I tried today and my right ligament would not cooperate with my right ligament, whilst my left arm had NO strength to push and pull the vacuum that seems to have doubled in weight. I LOVE to vacuum, so this is no copout. We are going to require domestic vacuum intervention as my kiddos seem to multiply tiny pieces of paper all over the house.


Coming Attractions

As crazy as camp life can be, I am honestly enjoying this time of relative peace and quiet, because the more I think about what is ahead in the next weeks and months, the more I begin to quiver in my Chacos.


Baby #4 due July 21st, possibly arriving anytime

J begins soccer in August--two practices and one game a week (we've NEVER committed to anything like this before)

Ramping up our homeschoool curriculum with the addition of history and science

Starting back our Friday homeschoool program in September

T's brother will be getting married in Japan late September--we are hoping that T and I (plus a newborn) can go, or at the very least, T will get to go.

T has ACL surgery scheduled the first week of October which means six weeks minimum recovery and twice weekly physical therapy (since this is the right ACL, he won't be able to drive for about six weeks--mercy)

We don't do busy and this is going to be CRAZY! I may be a nutcase by Christmas. Thankfully it our tenth anniversary is December 28th and since T is not going to Peru this year, we might get to have what will then be a much-needed vacation!

I'm going to savor these last two and a quarter weeks of camp and hang on for dear life in weeks to follow! You can pray for us. : )


37 Weeks--3 weeks of camp to go, too!

Oh, my this summer has been crazy. I keep waiting for us to slip into the sweet rhythm of camp like we did last summer and it is just.not.happening!

Our summer camp season is about nine weeks total--
1.pre-training week, when all the ropes and wrangler staff and early staff arrive
2. Staff training
3. Overnight 1
4. Overnight 2
5. Day 1
6. Day 2.
and 7.8.9. Overnights 3,4,5 respectively

We are entering week seven and I'm still learning names and getting the hang of things!
Staff training is always crazy and fun, then I strategically signed us up for VBS (I said, YES to the VBS) because O-1 is so stinking crazy and busy for T that we might as well be out of the way. We had a blast at VBS--what a fun, wild week!

Then, O-2 hit and we were all ready to get our camp groove on (and go on a much-anticipated date!), when all of a sudden early Thursday morning we all came down with the stomach flu. I'm talking sleeping on the floor 'cause you can't muster the energy to get off of it stomach flu.

Finally, D-1 came--and my sweet nieces who along with J and A were all Day campers. We had a blast having them stay with us, but the mornings were much earlier than normal and the week FLEW by. I barely remember it!

This week was D-2 and I was all geared up to get into a rhythm, have some fun with the staff and BOOM! Sunday night T and I headed to the hospital to find out if the pain in my back and cramping in the abdomen I was experiencing was labor or something else. No baby arrived and we were sent home, but my back was messed up. The next day I saw my doctor and begged for pain relief, which he graciously prescribed and thus began the week of nearly non-stop sleeping on the couch, interspersed with pill-taking, water drinking and going straight back to sleep. Thankfully, my sweet mom came to help and took O home, J went to Day camp and Miss A played with our camp Mary Poppins most of the week.

Now we are thirty-seven weeks and while I'm a bit weary of being pregnant, I'm also trying to savor camp, get ready (because that hasn't been happening these last weeks!) and just focus on parenting our three children who have been living the wild and crazy life of camp and grandparents. : )

Oh, and I need to clean the house. I feel like we are on a rotating cleanliness carousel where one area will be nice and calm while everything else is in disarray. It's like a juggling act around here, really.

This is such a random post (hello, it's not even technically morning, yet), but here are some more random things:

1. Chik-fil-A sauce and fries must have some sort of legally addictive ingredient. I cannot get enough.

2. Cookies and Cream Ice cream is a good consolation for the ridiculous distance that Chik-fil-A is from our house.

3. I get ravenously hungry between 3:30 and 6 am--nearly every morning.

4. The blessing of being in the body of Christ has been so felt by the kind care shown to us by the staff during all the illness and injury we've dealt with. I'll never forget how three of the female staff took (unsick) O to camp the day the bug hit and just took care of him. We didn't have to ask, nor did we have to worry about his safety or what he was doing. What a blessing! My goal this summer was to more intentionally serve the girls and it has ended up that we have been the recipients of service from them ten-fold. More examples come to mind--the guys who will take O from me to run around and wear him out (and give me a break), the kind words, the sweet attention given to our children.

5. I love my husband. Wouldn't trade him for the world. He is such a servant and so kind and gracious. He's also kind of cute. : )

6. This summer, as I've struggled with sin, it's been encouraging to look back and see that there has been victory over previous "major struggles' and that the Holy Spirit really is working in me--even as I grapple with new and fresh temptations. One of my greatest fears is becoming stagnant and looking back on a time of life where no growth happened.

7. After four pregnancies in six years, I am totally okay with never wearing maternity clothes again. I don't take lightly the blessing of fertility and good pregnancies we've enjoyed, but I am very excited to put away the maternity clothes and even wear the transitional things I keep hanging onto for the post-partum time. I cannot wait to be able to walk (not waddle) and sleep on my back and belly and eat raw fish again. Also margaritas and mojitos.

That, too.