Thursday, September 27, 2007

Walking

I am proud to announce that Cora is a full-fledged walker. At the retreat over the weekend, with all the students and faculty paying her so much attention and coaxing her to toddle several steps back and forth between them, she gained her confidence (and her balance) and now walks everywhere instead of crawling. She's been doing a few steps here and there since her birthday of course, but always resorted to crawling when truly determined to get somewhere. She is still slow at it (fortunately), but it's so fun to see her, arms thrown out for balance, taking a tumble every now and then (on Sunday evening she took a bad one...after our long drive home, we took her and Cao for a walk down to the park to let them get some exercise. She took one long walk to Daddy and then fell against his shin and busted the inside of her lip. It bled and bled, and I had to hurry the several blocks home with blood pouring out of her mouth onto her and my clothes!)

I wanted to get a video of her walking around outside, but it's a rainy, rainy day today. So we are walking about indoors and thought we'd give you a little tour of our bedrooms while we're at it, since I described it a bit in a previous post.


video

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Night and Day

Last night, Cora was tired. She didn’t want to eat dinner. At least not what I fixed her. So she fussed. And so I put her to bed. And of course, she woke up hungry. At 1:30. For almost an hour, we suffered her intermittent cries, getting up to comfort her for a moment, only to hear her start up again 5 minutes later just as we were beginning to drift off once more. Finally, Dave made her a bottle which she guzzled and by 3:00 she was fast asleep. At 4:30, we were still staring at the clock. Such frustration. Dave finally moved into the guest room because I was evidently moving too much. When I woke up several hours later, I assumed Dave must be skipping his first class for which he leaves at 8:30 since I hadn’t heard him yet. But getting up, I discovered he was long gone…I had slept right through his moving about our room while getting ready.

My plans for the day were pretty much nil. It’s so dark and rainy outside, and I decided it would be an inside, do-nothing day, as the last three days have been spent out and about running errands, and doing church and Regent things. So, mid-morning I lazily let Cao out to do his thing. When it was time to come back in, he looked at me pitifully. Cora did worse. She screamed. Rain or shine, she always wants to be outside. They were too much for me, ganging up like that. They always take each other's side. So I fixed a second cup of coffee, and the three of us strolled out into the dreary and deserted neighborhood streets. It was silent except for the stroller wheels rolling along on the wet and gritty sidewalk. The air was chilly and tingly, the smell of rain melding with that of a fire somewhere nearby. We all three were very quiet, using our noses and ears and not our too-often exercised mouths. Gradually, my heart that started out tired and dull became enlivened and invigorated. At one point, we passed a tree that was thick with a congregation of loudly chattering birds. Just one tree; they all evidently had gotten the memo of where to be today. Then silence again as we walked out of earshot. When we came back home, my coffee cup drained and my nose cold, those two were still loathe to go inside—Cora cried and kicked all the more instead of being grateful for the outing. They have no concept of rainy days being indoor days. Well, I’m appreciative that they pulled me out, out into what I thought might be uncomfortable, but in truth was moving and vitalizing. Like so much of what God does in our lives. We fear risk and discomfort. Usually, it turns out to be transforming.

Tomorrow we leave for the annual Regent retreat, a weekend of socializing amongst students and faculty. The theme is "Surprised by God: From Fear to Longing". It is at Warm Beach in Washington, which evidently does not have a beach, nor is it warm. Many of the students are camping. We’ll stay in a dry cabin where Cora will sleep much better (what a good excuse so we don't look like wimps not camping in the rain.) Childcare is offered during the sessions, so I look forward to the break. I’m doing several loads of laundry today in preparation. Thankfully, we now have a dryer. For a few weeks last month it was broken, so we were using the line. It’s one thing to have to hang the clothes to dry in August. It’s another thing entirely in September. Just the few weeks without made me extraordinarily grateful for the convenience of a dryer. At first, I was enthusiastic about the line: I had an idealized view of hanging the laundry out, saving energy, the clothes soaking up the wind-born scents of the outdoors. In reality, it is simply annoying. My clothes were stiff and wrinkled, sometimes they wouldn’t get dry before the sun set, then I would find them lying in the dirt where they had fallen off. And hanging up 25 cloth diapers, only to take them down twice when it started to rain, and then when they finally did get dry, were so stiff there was no way I could put them on a bare bottom, was not fun. But for all the hassle, I must say...is there much sweeter than a line of baby girl clothes blowing in the wind? Simply adorable. So, big tangent, but I’m happy to say, the laundry is almost all dried and folded and put away.

Tonight, a neighbor couple that we met while out for a walk one evening a couple weeks ago is stopping by for a glass of wine. They have a blonde dog almost exactly like Cao. So while the dogs run and play in the backyard, we plan to get to know each other a bit more. So much of our community is either Regent or church, so we are excited about extending it to include some neighbors.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Autumn Musings

The Autumn chill is in the air. Somehow, in what only seems a few days, we have lost an hour of daylight, and they continue to shorten by several minutes each day. On this bleak and windy day, Dave and I, taking a Sabbath break from our studies, curled up in bed as Cora napped to read aloud the Wind in the Willows. We're at the chapter where Mole rediscovers his forgotten home, a story that infuses warmth for one's own home. We talked at length afterwards about old homes and this our new home. We contentedly looked about us at the glow of lamplight on the rich wooden walls and floors of our bedroom, the deep reds and browns of the oriental rug and throw pillows and furniture, our books spilling off of bookshelves and nightstands and tables, the fireplace ready for the coming freeze and the mantle covered with pictures and candles, our two cozy reading chairs on either side of a little tea table. It is by far the most cozy bedroom we've ever had. Perhaps we should christen it Mole End. With Cora's awakening, we took a long walk in the drizzle for some fresh sourdough bread to go with my homemade chicken noodle soup. It just simply had to be a soup day. There was no question.

My sweet mom was here for the past week, a blur of coffee chats, sunsets on the beach while watching Cao swim lap after lap after his ball, walking and bike riding around town, and laughing over Cora's antics. The weather was just gorgeous every day: bright blue skies, crisp air. Each day was a special treat totally devoted to enjoying each other. The house feels empty without her now. (Although we do have 3 missionaries in need of housing for a few days filling up the space). This morning when I awoke to the dreariness, I thought, "How appropriate." Then I pulled on the velvety-soft grey cashmere sweater she had bought for me on a Costco run, and pretended it was a hug.

This past week has seen us throwing ouselves heart and soul into a new semester of books and courses. David, to the disbelief of all of our friends who we struggled side by side with last semester, is revving up the course load to 13 hours from the 11 before (which was still 2 more than most others who take only 9). He is taking Old Testament, Church History, Intermediate Greek, Christian Thought and Culture, and Soul of Ministry. They each involve not only lecture time, but mandatory tutorials, in addition obviously to the multitude of papers and reading work. The most crazy of his days, Tuesdays, after 9 hours at Regent (6.5 of class time, 1 of chapel, 1.5 of lunch and recoup time), we meet up to trade off Cora so that I can attend an evening course: Intro to Counseling. After much prayer and deliberation this summer, we have decided that I will pursue a degree here as well...slowly, but surely. Some of the requirement can be fulfilled by audio courses, even after we leave Regent. For a Masters in Christian Studies, I will have to fulfill 60 hours of coursework; quite a load for only part time. But since I can benefit from a spousal 50% credit, we decided we should take full advantage of our being here so we are ready for whatever God might bring our way. So, I'm taking this counseling course which is going to be demanding, thought-provoking, and even a bit disturbing as it attempts to better understand this broken world full of broken people. Mom came along with me to the first lecture last week, and it gave us a lot of fuel for conversation.

Well, with this long post about our goings on, I will leave you now. David just appeared with tea, so it's time for our nightly cuppa as we quietly wind down in our reading corner, each independently absorbed with a book, yet bonding just the same through a communion of mutual understanding, appreciation, and familiarity. I bet we're still doing this when we're 80.