Blessed busyness

“Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime & too sleepy to worry at night.” ― Unknown

That pretty much sums up my life since the last post. Here are some of things that have been keeping the clan busily blessed lately.

An excited Houston poses with brothers in front Pilot Mountain, one of the grand views from Mountain Top Youth Camp, where Houston recently spent five days & four nights.

“Old age is no place for sissies.” ― Bette Davis

The brunt of our packed schedule has to do with my going to a chiropractor. This has been a treatment I’ve wanted to try ever since my attempts at physical therapy back in 2012 didn’t bring about the desired results. Sure, I’m not Methuselah old, but it does seem as though my body has aged well beyond its years.

If you recall, I have a bum left hip, a labor-and-delivery injury which has only become exacerbated since Houston’s birth way back in ’07. And because the left side of my body is now shorter than the right, the pain and lacking mobility has just spread in and around that area.

Then earlier this year, I experienced two short episodes of frozen shoulder in my right shoulder, so the manifestations of the original impairment even go beyond my left side, interestingly. This sudden pain was so intense the first time that I nearly fainted … totally freaked out Stephen.

With eye on the ball, & lucky socks & “sliding pants” on, Houston swings his heart out @ his final baseball game for the A’s!

Then a couple months ago, a new, not-so-fun pain seized both sides of my entire lower back. This wasn’t the normal tight, sore, rigid discomfort I was used to; rather, it felt more internal and much more disabling.

In fact, the pain kept me from sleeping in the near-comatose state to which I’m accustomed. I munched on ibuprofen and used a heat pad at night till the mystery pain abated a couple days later.

So, once CC wrapped up in April, I immediately began visiting a chiropractor twice a week for the first three weeks, currently once a week until late June, and then eventually once every 4-6 weeks. Needless to say, this can get fairly complicated when you stay home with three boys.

Luckily, Dr. Darcy doesn’t mind if clients bring their kids to her office. So I’ve been juggling my visits between this option and lunchtime appointments on the one day a week when Stephen works from home (so that I can arrive on time at the pregnancy care center for my volunteer work).

Zeke starts into his trademark home-plate dive. Go, Z!

Now that things are slowing down a bit with Darcy, I’m also going to a PT for dry needling. Sounds scary, I know, but it’s simply the insertion of a thin filament needle (the same kind used in acupuncture) into the “trigger point” of muscle to reduce tension and pain, as well as facilitate and accelerate rehabilitation.

Sure, my calendar is crazy, but the care I’m receiving is such a blessing. Plus, my diagnosis is that my varied physical problems are simply side effects of the original injury. So, treating the source will (eventually) aid in healing all the related maladies. Thank you, Lord!

“The education of a man is never completed until he dies.” ― Robert E. Lee

Just because CC’s done doesn’t mean that we’re still not schooling. In classic Dillingham style, we’re still playing catch up a bit. Only a few more lessons left to fully complete the twins’ kindergarten and Houston’s first-grade curriculums.

Good buddies Gabriel & Jackson chill beside Badin Lake during our camping adventure in the Uwharrie Mountains in late April. Such sweet, big-hearted boys!

But we’re also trying to get ahead, as well. In fact, Miss Christie and I are co-teaching a spelling program. We get together on Mondays for one of us to lead the new lesson, and then our kids do the twice-a-day daily practice at home over the course of the week.

This particular spelling method is pretty time consuming, so I’m pleased that we’ll be getting some of this under our belts this summer. As usual, my crew started out painfully slow (myself included) and a bit hesitantly, but we’ve now gotten into the swing of things.

But more importantly, it’s working. I even heard the 3 Amigos playing a spelling-bee game at bedtime the other night and nailing the words! Imagine the pride felt when a young child masters the spelling of Arkansas or Connecticut or Illinois. Very cool indeed.

Gabriel, Piper & Zeke take a break from pelting huge rocks into Badin Lake … must bust some funky Jagger moves!

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.” ― Louis L’Amour

The boys finished up baseball a couple weeks ago. The schedule was quite hectic, with two practices and two games every week, but it was well worth the effort.

The 3 Amigos’ skills improved drastically over the course of season. Daddy says Houston got better all-around, but especially at catching consistently. The twins progressed in their throwing abilities, and Zeke improved at stopping grounders and Gabriel at hitting. The season might be over, but the b-ball seed has been firmly planted.

So thanks, Daddy, for taking the boys to every practice and game; for coaching them at home; and for watching MLB games with them to impart knowledge about pop-fly balls, fouls, how to read a strike count, the myriad of ways to get out, and other “inside baseball” stuff!

Despite the chilly water & reported sightings of water moccasins, Daddy, Gabriel & Houston take advantage of Mr. Logan’s kickin’ kayak during our weekend in the Uwharrie Mountains.

The kids also recently finished up Awana, their weekly Bible study which began last August. Gabriel and Zeke memorized about 65 verses of Scripture over the course of the program, and Houston learned 75-plus!

I love that I have my Wednesday evenings back … that is, for a while. Awana was (and is) such an incredible blessing that I will be certain to carve out time on my calendar for the next round. Nothing is more important than the boys continuing to build a solid foundation for knowing Christ.

“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy & a whole heart & a free mind.” ― Pearl S. Buck

Another thing that is easy to commit to, but sometimes difficult to execute, is my volunteerism at the pregnancy care center. It’s truly a hassle for Stephen to work remotely once a week, so that I can be on-time for the abortion-recovery Bible study. But he does it willingly and lovingly, and I am grateful for that.

Houston proudly displays his hard-earned Awana ribbon w/ his leader, Mr. Jeff, & best friend, Asher. Way to go, big bro!

Twice now I was supposed to be the lead facilitator of the class, and the client was a no-show. I know the study is about her growth, her relationship with God, and her ultimate forgiveness and peace. But honestly, that does bum me out a little.

That’s life, though. I know it will all play out in God’s good time. And when I am fortunate enough to eventually be the facilitator of this incredible Bible study, I know, too, that He will equip me for the task. Jesus keeps me strong and focused, and for that I am so thankful.

“Fun is good.” ― Dr. Seuss

Of course, loving and learning isn’t all about practices, classes, and school. We’ve also had a healthy dose of get-dirty, skinned-knee, gapped-tooth fun lately.

  • Mountain Top Youth Camp: Houston just returned from his first-ever camp experience. The first thing he said when I picked him up was, “I want to live here, Mommy.” ‘Nuff said.
  • Biking with the big boys: Back in mid-April, Houston finally mastered the art of biking sans training wheels. And surprise, surprise, Gabriel quickly followed suit by riding without his training wheels, in the grass last weekend and then on pavement yesterday!
  • Just a swangin’: Zeke, who is always more cautious than his twin, just decided to embrace swinging by himself. And until Zeke decides he is good and darn ready to take the next step with his biking skills, he’ll be content as can be with training wheels. Easy does it, Z.

Zeke’s newfound love of independent swinging also includes jaw-dropping dismounts. Way to go, 3 Amigos, w/ all your new physical skills!

  • Badin Lake: We camped with the J-Crew the last weekend of April. Other than a brief rain during tent set-up, the weather was perfect, there were no bugs, the kids were well-behaved and made lots of campground friends, and the adults got to enjoy some kid-free chill time around the fire.
  • Nearby outings: We’ve recently been to the park with Miss Jessie; to the Science Center with the boys’ CC pals, Grey and John Hunter; to the park with Houston’s CC class and their siblings; and to the home of Alex and Olivia, who are neighbors and CC friends, so that I could make an appointment. Thanks, Rissa!
  • More time with the J-Crew: To pay Miss Christie back for our kid-less trek to see Tom Woods, Stephen and I hosted Asher, Jackson, and Piper for a sleepover last weekend. It actually went amazingly well … other than the boys waking up at 4:30 a.m. Uggh.
  • Lost teeth: Gabriel lost his first tooth on 4/19, and has since lost another. Zeke has a few loose ones, but no visit from the tooth fairy yet.
  • Mother’s Day: Stephen and the kids treated me to a homemade breakfast and subsequent kitchen cleaned-up. Then they took me out to dinner for a feast of Korean cuisine.

Houston & a few dudes from his cabin crew (Parker, Isaiah & Schaffer) devour the last of the pop tarts before leaving MTYC.

Funny Mother’s Day story … I sent Zeke to the bathroom at the restaurant all by himself. First time ever, but I figured it was a small establishment, and we were virtually the only patrons there.

Turns out, the restaurant shares a far-away bathroom with many other businesses in the shopping center. Luckily, Zeke had the smarts to turn around at some point on his journey of long hallways, confusing intersections, and dead-ends, and come back to ask for help. Poor baby.

Funny related story … a couple weeks ago, I was dreaming that somebody was beating a drum. Or knocking on a door. “Hey, maybe I’m not dreaming and there’s someone at my front door,” I thought sleepily.

Turns out, that Zeke, who is always the first to rise, locked himself out of the house in the early morning. It was a nice day, so he said he just quietly sat out front for a few minutes.

Zeke & Gabriel don their achievement ribbons at Awana awards night. Great job, boys!

But once he realized no one was coming to open the door, he didn’t cry or scream or freak out. He just steadily rapped on the door till I awoke. That child might not be a dare devil, but thank God he has some common sense!

Random funny conversation … “When I get to heaven, I want to play chess with Jesus,” Zeke announced. “I bet Jesus will win,” Gabriel quickly responded. “No doubt,” Houston said.

Stephen asked the dudes, how do you say “hello” in Spanish? “Hoo-day!” Zeke answered confidently. Hmmm, we might need to work on the Español a bit more, ya think?! In the meantime, hoo-day is now working well as our replacement for butt and all of its derivatives, as they have been banned due to obnoxious excess and pointless overuse.