Friday, April 30, 2010

My Cookie

During a recent trip into the city, the girls and I had time to kill. They were hungry, I knew they needed a snack, and the whining commenced until Elspeth came up with "MOMMY, I told you 100 TIMES, I'm hungry!"

I was tired. I was frustrated. And I didn't care for her attitude so I quietly said "Elspeth, if you would learn some patience you would give me a chance to plan something special, something good, for you."

To my amazement, it got quiet in the back seat, and then I spotted a bakery. We parked and went in, the girls ran from display case to display case with squeals. Mommy generally doesn't allow much sugar, and at 10 in the morning?!?! The woman behind the counter laughed and said she had something special to show the girls. She brought out a tray of iced smiley face cookies, bigger than each girls hand span, they were in love.

Addie happily licked the chocolate smiley face off, Ella ate almost all of hers before she gave up. It was the most peaceful 15 minutes of the day, while I let them tackle their cookies on their own terms.

So much has changed in the last couple weeks. Ella has been so much more peaceful since the day I told her she did not have to go back to school. I don't believe in magic bullets, and we will probably still see some issues, but we have had two really good weeks so I wanted to celebrate.

As the girls savored their treats, I thought about Jeremy and I. We are now less than 2 weeks from his defense. I never thought we would be here, but it happened. He interviewed at San Antonio last week. Next week he will interview with Memphis on Monday (by phone), Salem, VA on Tuesday (in Salem), defend on Thursday (in Illinois) and be home on Saturday. I have been frustrated. I have been impatient. I have wanted to KNOW where we are going. I have been angry that I don't know the plan.

And then it occurred to me how much like a 5 year old I have been acting. I have not had the patience to wait on God so He can plan something good for me, for us. I have not given Him the chance to surprise and delight me. I have been sitting in the back seat yelling "I have TOLD you 100 TIMES God, I want to KNOW NOW!"

Now I am waiting for my big iced smiley faced cookie. I know it will be the BEST cookie I have ever had, and I know it will come at the right time. I don't know where we are going, but I know I am going to love it.

Psalm 46:10 . . . Be still and know that I am God . .

1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


This week I remembered to check the toilet to see if it was flushed BEFORE our guests arrived. I nearly celebrated when they each took a turn in the restroom, because I had saved myself from significant embarrassment.

That made me feel like a great Mom.

I had to call Jeremy to come one of my children because I could not drive them home together. My older child is going through issues that I have not been able to blog about, things I don't want to admit to.

That made me feel like a failure as a Mom.

We made the tough decision to pull Elspeth from school effective immediately. The director of the school confessed that they had a bully in her room and that they had not been as effective at controlling the situation as they had hoped. The information I received made me feel quite ill.

That made me hurt as a Mother.

I have finally admitted that the trouble I have in telling people about Elspeth is due to the fact that I am afraid they will stop seeing the amazing child I see.

That is just Motherhood.

We are healing. We are hoping for a better tomorrow. We are praying for peace.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cousins - Day 1

We decided to stay home on Kev, Michele, and Keely's first day in Arizona. A good idea because we were all tired . . . (I did not take any of these pictures, Kevin and Michele took them all).

All my beautiful nieces have some diva in them. Keely is just letting her inner diva out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Crazy Eyes

Lets just move in on that case you missed it . . .

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Prepare to Defend Yourself

We have been waiting, praying and longing for Jeremy's defense. At last it is booked for May 12th at 2:00 pm. In 2 months Jeremy will convince 4 faculty members that his research is valid and valuable. Quite frankly, if he can get FOUR faculty members in the same room at the same time with no real leverage, he must be ready to defend. Booking this gig has been an event in and of itself.

So what is it like to defend a dissertation. I don't know, but I have theories.

Did you ever take a LONG car ride and decide to not stop on the way, and thought you might explode by the time you reached your destination and its bathroom. I think that this must feel like that last five miles when you are still not sure you will make it (although, my surgically enhanced bladder makes this analogy some what mute for me, but that is a post for a different day).

Have you ever passed a due date for your child's birth with no birth? Yeah, I think this is like that.

When I hit the 13 mile point, and I am running 13.1 miles (half marathon length), that last .1 miles is VERY long.

Then I remember that Jeremy once ran a whole marathon. And I wonder if this is like running 13.1 miles more after you thought you were nearly done with the race. And I think that probably is the best analogy that I can come up with. It makes me proud of my husband.

If we had known what this path would really look like, well, probably we wouldn't have started down this road. But we did. And Jeremy always finishes what he starts. We have a number of unknowns still in our lives. Where will we live next year topping the list. But I know Jeremy will have met this milestone with grace and strength, as he tackles all the things in life. So on May 12th you will probably hear more on this topic, but for now, know that Jeremy is at last preparing to defend himself.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dangerous Game

A typical family dessert time . . .

Hugging a cactus
Family: Oh, that's dangerous
Addie: I eat pizza and burn my mouth!
Family: Oh, that's dangerous
Mommy: Crossing a parking lot without holding Mommy's hand
Family: Oh that's dangerous
Daddy: Opening the door without Mommy or Daddy
Family: very very dangerous
Elspeth: Jumping off a cliff
Family: Oh, very dangerous
Addie: (she is distracted by ice cream that has somehow fallen in her sleeve and is chasing it up her arm)

Oh yeah, this is thrill seeking Henn family style.

Some other favorite "games?" What will you find in an Easter Egg (chocolate and bouncy balls tops that list) and "What are some nice things to say to friends." are some other frequent games the kids like to play. . .

Monday, February 22, 2010

Roller Girls

Elspeth has requested "bottom pads" to go with her knee and elbow pads for her new skates.
Try try again. . .
While Elspeth leaves the room . . .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Anatomy of a Henn Family Birthday

5:00 - snooze button
5:03 - give in, because it only gets harder to catch up if you snooze too long.
5:30 - hit the gym for a run
6:20 - Confess to Amanda that I have to bail early so I can go home and make bacon. Promise to do some ab work later.
7:00 - gather everyone at table for rare family breakfast. Be thankful that no one seems to mind I haven't showered since my five mile run
7:25 - Kiss birthday boy goodbye, head for shower, smile because Ella is running for underwear and has announced that 5 year olds wear underwear (at last we may have won the underwear wars).
8:00 - Emerge from bathroom and realize I seem to be missing some pillows. Go looking for my kids. To my surprise I find my daughter has gone potty AND is wearing her ballet clothes. I forgive her for playing parachute with my pillows and her bed. Convene the surprise birthday committee (if I plan things sooner there is no surprise, because they leak like sieve when excited about something)
8:10 - Brush girls teeth and hair
8:24 - head to store where Ella selects a bouncy ball for gift (blue) and Addie selects a train (red). My children are now calling the dollar store the present store, we are big spenders.
8:57 - Realize I have just enough time to drop off Jeremy's overdue library books on our way to dance class
9:15 - entrust Elspeth to the dance teacher at the clubhouse, and apologize to Lara and Dawn because I have forgotten our stroller. Addie will have to walk around the lake, which means Kiran will have to walk around the lake, which means we will be lucky if we make it the mile around the lake in 45 minutes.
9:50 - Arrive back at clubhouse, wrestle older child into skirt and t-shirt, and hit playground
11:00 - collect Baby Firetruck and Little Rocket from playground and head to car to hit one more store before heading home.
11:02 - What is that smell? Oh, that smells REALLY bad. I will deal with it at home, we can skip the store.
11:06 - Oh dear. Addie must have a virus, or someone was feeding her juice. Silent prayer of thanks that I caved and let her wear a pull-up this morning. If THAT had no barrier, we would have lost the car seat for sure.
11:10 - send message to friends that A - Addie may have been contagious at the playground this morning, and B - we will have to skip the playdate this afternoon (Addie must go into quarantine until diarrhea is over).
11:15 - Pull out every art supply we own to make Daddy's birthday cards
12:00 - Set the first wave of cards aside to dry and start lunch. Addie doesn't seem to feel sick, I wonder if she got her hands on juice somewhere?
1:14 - Put Addie down for nap
1:30 - wonder how kitchen gets into this state so quickly
1:45 - finally unearth counter and start making cupcakes with Elspeth
2:08 - Cupcakes are baking, would like to send Ella in for quiet time but Addie is fighting nap for second day in row. Wonder if my 2 year old is on a nap strike.
2:58 - Tell Elspeth she will have quiet time in my room. Leave her with a room full of books, tell her she can not get up at 3.
2:59 - Can I clean up after our card making party, fold all the laundry, dust and vacuum in the half hour I agreed to hold Ella's quiet time to?
3:40 - No I can't do all those things in a half hour. Let Elspeth get up. Realize that Addie gave in. Feel happy about that.
4:00 - Addie wakes up cranky. Time to get serious about our surprise party, Elspeth and I enter into disagreement as to whether toys on living room floor constitute "decorations." I pull the Mommy trump card, she is too excited to care.
4:01 - Time to wrap Daddy's Birthday presents
4:15 - Time to frost the cupcakes
4:20 - The BIRTHDAY CARDS!!! Grab them and convince the kids to complete their projects. Sigh with relief that nothing needs to dry, we can be ready on time.
4:35 - Give up the "perfect home" idea and stow the clean laundry in the bedroom to fold later
4:45 - Call Daddy to establish ETA, realize he will be home soon
5:00 - hide
5:01 - Get out of hiding spots
5:01:30 - Hide again
5:02:00 - Get out of hiding spots and look out window
5:02:20 - Hide in all new spots
5:03:05 - Everyone switch spots
5:03:20 - Get out of hiding spots and look out window again
5:03:45 - Hide in all new spots
5:04 - Daddy walks in and we all yell "SURPRISE"
5:15 - Daddy opens presents
5:30 - Late for soccer
6:15 - Arrive Home
6:30 - The Key to world peace? Act like a short order cook and make custom dinners for kids
6:45 - Mmmmm, Skyline (I love being married to a Cincy boy, and I love his parents for sending us a supply for Valentine's Day)
7:00 - Are you still with me? This is the one moment of peace in the day. I hope you are enjoying it, Jeremy and I did.
7:15 - Sing happy birthday and dig into cupcakes (Great Value vanilla ice cream is one step away from cool whip).
7:25 - The phone is ringing, I start to rise but realize it must be for Jeremy
7:35 - Blog while Jeremy talks to his parents (I could have some time here folks)
7:40 - Bath time
7:52 - Diagnose the strange brown hand print on the toilet as Addie's chocolate ice cream artwork. Jeremy is much relieved.
Can I clean off the table, load the dishwasher, take out the recycling and get jammies for the kids and remove Ella's "library" from my bed in 20 minutes? No.
8:18- Bedtime 1 for Child number 2 (Make Way for Ducklings)
8:30 - Bedtime 2 for Child number 1 (Cookie Monster has a Bad Dream)
8:35 - Wonder if "sucking it in" counts as ab work?
8:40 - Give up ambitions of laundry (despite Karin's warning that it has the reproductive capabilities of bunnies) and decide to go to bed.

"All the days ordained for me
were written in Your book
before one of them came to be."
(Psalm 139:16b, NIV)

Happy Birthday Jeremy. We love you

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Signs of Life

We've been here 6 months and still haven't seen as much rain in that entire time as a good summer rain in Ohio. Yet the cacti keep growing, and we are learning to appreciate their more extreme beauty.
2010 has been interesting to say the least. Elspeth is growing so fast now that I find myself grabbing her for hugs with the knowledge that soon her innocence will change and there will be a restraint in her hugs that is not there now.

Addie begged me to take her picture on a turtle, about 500 0f them. It was totally random, and reminded me that both my girls are characters.

Elspeth turned 5 last week. We delivered Valentine's cards to several local nursing homes on Sunday. The people I visit enjoy my visits, but it quickly became clear that my gift to them was bringing Elspeth. She doled out the huggs and kisses freely, and stopped to talk to anyone who wanted to engage her. She used her most polite voice and words. I thought my gift to them was bringing her, but I so enjoyed her being a wonderful human being, that I realized it was a great big gift to myself. It is a truly gratifying moment to realize you are raising a nice individual. Of course we came home and she pushed her sister, but you can't have it all.

Addie is finally willing to conceed that potty use might be OK. She earned a Blue Lightening McQueen (in photo with her) by filling a potty chart. Today she went potty by herself for the first time. I had no idea what was going on until she ran out with no pants on, ahh, I was proud.

Last fall Elspeth received a packet of sunflower seeds. The woman at the booth warned that these would be difficult to grow. Ella "planted" them under the rocks in our yard and watered them one time last August. I did not tell her they would never grow, but she mourned them for several days when they didn't immediately sprout up. Our rainy season is now upon us so Ella and I were weeding the backyard. I nearly pulled these two up, until I noticed they are still wearing their seed pods, two of her seeds have actually germinated. She has named them Sunny and Rock.

Proof that life happens, even when you least expect it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Old Friends

Shortly before we were married, Jeremy and I leased our first apartment in anticipation of our wedding day. We each dumped our stuff in the apartment before our wedding and sorted it out when the honey moon was over (a way to shorten any honeymoon). Soon after taking possession, when we were still pie eyed and would stop by just to dream about the day we would live there together, we realized we had been placed in a dog building.

Like any normal people, our parents assumed this would be annoying and suggested we see if we could be moved to another building. We were both quiet on the subject, and at one point my fiance looked at me and quietly mentioned that he liked the idea of a dog. The very thought I had been having. Several months later, we took his first bonus and adopted Miss Holly Golightly.

Holly has not been the perfect dog, she would not give Lassie a run for her money, but then we have not been the perfect pet owners. Shortly after we got her, we found out she was allergic to humans, then we found out I was allergic to dogs, we decided to keep each other. We have drug her through 4 states now, and she has loved each one. In a way, her joy came first from food, then from being with her family (but be clear on this, food was first).

So it has been hard to watch her struggle as cancer has taken over her body. She slowed down, she struggled more to get up. Sometimes she would fall, and then just stay put as though she were stuck. The calcium leaching cancer started to act on her teeth and eating became difficult. Slowly this disease, loved by none, visited indignity after indignity on our faithful dog.

Today we said goodbye to Miss Holly GoLightly.

There are things we can not change. There are facts that are cold and hard and unmovable forces, and death is one of them. I do not honestly know how I feel about the loss of my old friend. I have joked as she snored in the corner over the last few months that she gave "work like a dog" new meaning. I have also felt her nuzzle me when I was ill, or just sad. I wouldn't have traded her annoying or wonderful habits for life without her. and now our home is colder and more empty. And I miss the snores already and the gentle love that only a dog can provide.