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April 23, 2012

The Wieder family Pawleys vacation

We were very fortunate this year to be able to go back to Pawleys and stay at the amazing Know Saints on the island.

It was a week of the kids seeing their friends, which I think, did so much for their souls to know they hadn't been forgotten.

The weather was a wee bit too cool to really enjoy the ocean water, but it certainly didn't keep us from enjoying family time and some much needed down time at the one place they call home.

We're going to really miss seeing this on a "regular, any time we want" basis, but we now have a place to call our vacation home.

March 31, 2012

One month.

So. It's official. We have lived here exactly one month.

One month ago today, we pulled into town with our packed out U-Haul, a mini van filled with tired, anxious, nervous, excited, thrilled children, and started our life here in the "big city" of Washington, DC. It's been a great month.

The kids have been in school and transferred in seamlessly. This was proven a fact when they had a school ice-skating social. We walked through the doors, and no sooner did we get their ice skates on when 5 kids ran over to Brendan and Cecelia and begged them to skate with them. (keep in mind that three of them were girls that ran up to BRENDAN and followed him around the whole time. Very cute). Teddy has been invited to two birthday parties, one of which is tomorrow. The one he went to last weekend was great. The mother and father of the 'birthday boy' were amazed that Teddy was the new kid. They both commented on how he and the other kids acted like he has been here the whole time, best buddies with everyone.

Gary will have officially worked his new job for one month tomorrow. It's been a busy month, meeting new people, students, figuring out where his office is, where the bathrooms are, where to go out for a good breakfast or lunch! He has met some amazing people already and is so excited to dig in and begin his new ministry here. There is so much potential and so many opportunities just waiting to be had. It will be amazing to see the fruits of this in six months, a year, and even 5 years from now.

If I had to be honest about me, I would say this is much harder than I was expecting. I think I knew it would be strange, trying to figure out new schedules, new routines, new grocery stores, new gas stations, traffic, housing, friends, etc... But I wasn't expecting the stress to build on me like it has. The fact that we haven't sold our house yet (and reality is it has only been on the market 3 months, which is really NOTHING in this climate), we are living in someone else's space, (but it is an AMAZING space!!! Truly!), I'm not working yet (and I don't see how I could add another stress to my life in working), we've all been ill at some point or another, (colds, strep throat, stomach bugs), and very little sleep to boot, well, is it any wonder I am not quite feeling myself?

I daydream of when we are in our permanent house. I daydream of when the kids all have a real routine to their days with school, homework, play, extra curricular, eating, and sleeping. I daydream of when Gary has a schedule that is pretty much routine and we know day to day, and week to week what to expect. I daydream of when I am working and making money. I daydream of when Ryan is a little bit older and calmer so I am not scrambling after him putting out fires (so to speak, no real fires, YET), and he is playing alongside the other kids. I daydream of a day I am not daydreaming of the day.

I realize I sound a little cranky and whiny and the moment. Maybe it's because I have had a total of 8 hours sleep in the past three days. Who can think clearly or positively on that? NOT ME (which if you have ever spent a night with me being woken up before I want to, you would know this in spades!).

I think most of all I am just so anxious to make this place permanent! I am not what they call a "patient person". I think it's fair to say I have acquired this genetically, I won't say from whom, but it definitely runs in the family. I want my here and now, well, here and now! Duh?! I know God sits up where ever it is he sits, (assuming he sits) and he probably continuously shakes his head at me wondering when I will get it. I am sure He is hoping soon, so He can finally move on to other issues with me, the list is probably VERY long.

However, I'll never forget the day I stumbled on the verse of Phillippians 4:6-7: 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. It hit me like a ton of bricks, light bulbs turned on, bells and whistles went off in my head, everything pointed to this verse and said PAY ATTENTION! Tattoo this on your heart and remember this, this applies to you! I think the part that hit me between the eyes the most was the "WITH THANKSGIVING" part.

How selfish am I that I would sit and complain about the blessings I have? God has blessed me beyond what I deserve, and I can't remember to THANK him for it? When I actually pause, am silent, pray this verse, I am humbled with thanks to and for God. This opportunity we have been given has caused me anxiety in just about every situation, BUT praying and being before God, giving up all that makes me sleepless at night, brings about the peace I am so longing for right now. It's remembering to do this on a consistent basis, I think, that will make the difference.

I really don't need to look too far to be thankful. Everything that is in this picture (minus the White House) is more than I could have ever hoped or dreamed for. And for those five faces I am beyond thankful to God. So I am going to commit this next month to doing just that. Praying with thanksgiving, putting my real worries on God, and let Him do the rest. The peace that transcends all understanding that can guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus is JUST what I have been really wanting. So, why not? Eh? I guess I'll just have to be patient. UGH!

March 22, 2012

Teddy turns 6 (not five like in the picture)

Ahhh, that's my Teddy... We still have this book. When all the kids were babies/toddlers, at some point I would read it to them, then put their little teddy bears next to them and snuggle it into them, making their bears hug and kiss them at the end when I read "THAT'S MY TEDDY!" Well, obviously it takes a little different meaning when I read it to MY Teddy. I'd snuggle HIM into ME and hug and kiss him. (He never had a bear, he had blankets, it was too confusing in my brain, let alone his little developing one to HAVE a teddy and BE a Teddy.) He turns the big S.I.X. today. I don't know why this number always feels so much older with the kids. I always get a little sad when they hit this milestone. If I could freeze Teddy forever at 5 I would. There is just "something" about my Teddy that I don't ever want to let go of. I am sure when the kids get older, (as if it isn't happening behind my back already) I will be accused of favoring Teddy above the others. Every parent, at some time or another, gets accused of this. (it's why we save for therapy, not college) But from day one when this child was born, he was just different. He snuggled me differently, he hugged me differently, he loved me differently than the other kids. Each child is irreplaceable, and I would die without them for different reasons. Brendan, he was SUPER aware of people and always social and on the go. He, like Ryan, had energy to spare and captivated people with his ability to observe and care for others. He is a very considerate special boy. Cecelia is my princess. She is my mini-me, so she naturally ranks. She has dimples like her father, is silly like her father, and is stubborn...like me. She is my only girl and I get to share in so many things that will be unique and ONLY shared with her. Ryan. Well, you just read about Ryan. He is currently playing Temple Run on my phone. Hopefully not deleting contacts....I should go check on that... Anyway. Teddy. I've become "Teddy's mom", not Julie. When people meet him, he just has a way with them. He gets to know THEM. He pinpoints the special thing about them and engages them in a way not many kids his age have the ability to do. He has no problem sitting in your lap, giving you hugs, telling you funny stories, telling you about his passion for ALL things cars, asking you 101 questions about every and any thing that is around you. He WILL engage you and win you over. It doesn't matter how old, what sex, color, species of animal, or other, you will walk away with a special memory of you and Teddy. And most likely a tender one at that. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times, "Can I take Teddy home with me? I just LOVE him!" Sorry. He's staying with me. Forever. He promised me last night. That along with a Porche. If you know my Teddy, then you understand why I think he is so special. If you don't know my Teddy, it's hard to put into words, other than to say, THAT'S MY TEDDY! Happy sixth birthday. I love you like only a mommy can love her Teddy.

March 20, 2012

Corporal Chaos....


See these moments of peace, tranquility, and calm? Me too. I look back at these to remind me that at one time, Ryan was actually still and not dodging danger at every corner or in to EVERY THING.
I have to laugh at times when people tell me, "Oh, you are SO going to miss these moments. They are the best times with him. It goes so quickly...." And then they walk away with a knowing smile of fondness.
I'd give these people one morning with Ryan. ONE morning. Fairly certain that smile would fade, they would be waiting at the door, checking their watches to see when exactly it is I said I would return to relieve them of their duty.
When he was born and I said he was the exclamation point to our family, little did I know how those words would come back to haunt me. Funny how even then I had those words without true knowledge.
Under the "umbrella of understanding" or the "duh?" of understanding, I am so happy to be Ryan's mommy. The love he gives is the sweetest, most genuine, and most rewarding, because they come from him when HE wants to give it.
I spend most of my mornings with him following him from room to room making sure he is not doing something he shouldn't. The few times I have assumed he is alright (granted, I am FEET away from him most  times), I have regretted it beyond words.
Today's easy example.
This morning Gary left for work early, leaving me to see the kids off to school. No biggie. I do it all the time. The kids get dressed, eat their breakfast, shoes on, out the door. Now, breakfast consists of cereal or granola bars at our house. It's easy, one handed, we can carry it around while we are working our way out the door or doing other tasks. This is no different for Ryan. He is more than capable of eating a cereal bar. Well.
Today he was playing with Brendan in the bathroom while Brendan was getting ready. He had his breakfast, I checked, he was eating it. 5 minutes later, it's time to go to the bus stop. I get Ryan, take him to the car, we see the kids off. All is good.
We come home.
I get a cup of coffee, Ryan goes to the bedroom to, what I assume, is watch tv.
He comes out of the bedroom.
His mouth is black and moving, and his arm is strangely black as well.
He is shaking and then lets out a terrified scream.
My brain does not quite make a quick enough connection to realize the boy has his cereal bar in his little hand, he had taken a bite, HOWEVER.
It was covered in black ants, as is his forearm and mouth.
I run the three feet to rescue and swat all of the ants away, shove my fingers in his mouth to sweep out the swarming ants, reach for a wet wipe and begin killing them as they scurry away on the floor. Ryan is still screaming and crying in terror and I am furiously taking off his clothes trying to make sure I got them all.
This is just one minute in my day with him.
He also has a thing with vacuuming. And plugging in a vacuum. I thought he would have been deterred from plugs since he mildly electricuted himself at Christmas while plugging in the tree when I looked away for a second.
He also likes to "get out". And by this I mean he likes to go through doors, gates, windows,...you get the idea. At a friend's house, she was acute enough to hear the tell-tale "click" of her front gate. We turn the corner and sure enough, Ryan is on the OTHER side saying "Woohoo! Woo! Hoo!" jumping up and down at the fact he got out.
The crazy thing is he is so strong and tough! He can fall, draw blood, and just wipe at it as if nothing happened. He takes a knock in the head, all he says is "Ow! I bonka da head" while rubbing the spot he hit. No tears.
But then heaven help you if I turn on the blender! He runs in terror, tears streaming down his face, screaming as if it were coming after him to blend him to pieces.
When we put him to bed at night, the entire house sighs a breath of relief that we made it one more day without massive injury or loss. Well, I should say physical injury or loss. My mental capacity is diminishing daily.
I love Ryan. Please don't hear any of this as anything else but me trying to get out some of the crazy that is my daily life. He is a perfectly active, normal little boy....who has energy that won't quit until he is forced to stop moving in his crib. But have I mentioned he has also figured out how to climb out of his crib....
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February 17, 2012

Another one we'll miss...


Ever since Brendan was old enough to trick or treat, we have gone with our good friends the Phillips in Rice Field. Now, since I live on a road that isn't the most condusive for going door to door, we were lucky enough to be invited over to this neighborhood. (Along with 2/3 of Pawleys).
Walking the neighborhood, running into just about everyone we know, and knowing the kids were with their little buddies haivng the time of their life was something we looked forward to every year. Growing up, I lived in a neighborhood that people from TOWNS over would be driven to for the scoring of candy. THIS is that neighborhood.
Also, I don't think I ever knew people decorated their houses to the extreme of a "christmas decorating" until I walked this neighborhood. It is truly an experience to go door to door, have bats, ghosts, and broom sticks fly through the air over head when you walk up to the door to collect the goodies. And then when you get to the door, if they are a TRULY committed family, the "person" handing out the candy is in character as well.
There were a few houses Teddy wasn't so sure of and chose to skip when he was 3 due to their complete makeover for Halloween, but he still managed to come home with a full bag.
With only ten days left in our little paradise by the sea, I am becoming more and more nostalgic. The relationships and friendships we have formed will be forever ones, I am sure of it. I can't wait to come back and vacation here! (yes, we will be back 6 weeks after we move! ah the irony.)
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January 29, 2012

The Obvious....







As I scan through the few images that are on this particular computer, the thing I think I will truly have a hard time letting go...the beach. It's the world's GREATEST natural playground. Hours upon hours have been spent here with my kiddos. Every summer, at least 4 times a week, these guys would spend their mornings playing away the hours.

We really had it down to a science after all these years. We'd pack snacks, drinks, and a change of clothes, along with gallon jugs of warm-ish water. After we'd had our fill of the beach for the day, we'd trek back to the car, rinse off with the water, shove the naked kids in the car to dress, they'd eat their snacks on the way home, then we'd have lunch at home. Most times they'd hit the pool in the afternoon, but it's the beach that was always the most fun. I guess for me, knowing that I NEVER had this option growing up, I would marvel each time we'd cross the causeway. Needless to say, the Ohio River did not hold the allure that the ocean does. Go figure. Gary and I would look at each other, and say (almost every time we got there) "People save ALL year to come do what we can ANY DAY OF THE WEEK for free."

Yep, this will be a tough one to say goodbye to.
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A little walk down memory lane..


Well, now that we ARE leaving, I have decided that I am going to blog over the next few weeks some of what I love, will miss, has meant so much, and really has just been our lives here in Pawleys.

This one probably best represents all that I thought of when we FIRST had the notion of moving here! Life at the beach. My surfer dude husband... WITH hair even!

My grandmother lived in Delray, Florida for part of her year when I was growing up. She truly lived the best of both world's in Sewickley and in Florida. She'd head on down to her intercoastal front home in October, stay until about April/May, live the summer in Sewickley, and enjoy the most wonderful of climates.

We would often visit her in Florida and I would DAY DREAM about living a life at the beach. On my first wedding anniversary, Gary and I rented a beach house in Folly Island, SC. We would watch the family next door (not in a creepy way) as their kids would get off the bus, then about 30 minutes later they would dash out the door, boogie boards and surf boards in hand, and spend about an hour or two before dinner just enjoying their lives on the ocean. We spent a lot of our time talking about how COOL it would be if that was our life.

Fast forward a year, and we had that life. Amazing.

Mr. Wieder Goes to Washington


Well, it's official, our reign of terror in Pawleys Island is coming to an end in 5 short weeks. We have started packing up our home and are excited for our new adventure in our Nation's Capitol. It's still sinking in that we will be leaving all the kids have ever known, a lazy beach life, to the big city. And not just any city either! One that is rich in history, culture, people, and restaurants! ha!

It's pretty amazing how it all came together, and I know it is totally of God, so any fear, worry, or hesitation about it was never really there. Now, the kids, yes. It would keep me up at night thinking that I was tearing them away from the wonderful life we had created here: school, friends, swimming, surfing, soccer, dance, sandcastles, our home...
They resisted for the first 48 hours, pretty adamantly, but now, it's again the work of God, they keep asking "why can't we move to Washington today?" (although Cecelia still gets a little teary thinking about the move, but she just looks to Brendan for the example and quickly sweeps it aside and gets excited too! especially when I remind her that we can take a quick train to NYC to go the American Girl Doll store!)

Gary's new job awaits us, along with a whole congregation of people that we are anxious to meet and dive into the lives of, but it is still very hard to digest that I won't be seeing the people who have been part of my life these past ELEVEN years. They weren't just any eleven either, they were probably the most significant in my life: the birth of ALL FOUR of my children.

Pawleys will always be "home" for my kids, I think. This is where life began for them, but I couldn't be more excited to show them the world, and vacation in Pawleys. Duh?
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September 26, 2011

My daughter the model???????




Ugh. So, Cecelia has started mentioning that she wants to break into modeling and acting. This is something that has sent a cold chill down my spine. On one hand I think, YES! College fund! On the other hand I think, CRAP! Creepy and scummy people littered industry!!!

I have gone down this road with Brendan and Cecelia one other time and was taken for a schmuck and a couple hundred bucks. Sucker and uneducated. Well, this time I am not going to let that happen. FIRST! Before I even think about it, I wanted her to have a taste of what a day would like look like. A friend of ours has the CUTEST women and little girl's boutique, The Joggling Board ( www.thejogglingboard.com )

So, I thought, Well, maybe she'll let Cecelia try on the clothes, I WILL take the pictures, and then I can post them on their store's facebook page for her customers. We can do it for free, Cecelia doesn't have to worry about the pressure of performing for anyone, but she can see what it's like to do this. AND I thought, if she hated it, the pictures turn out AWFUL, no harm, no foul. It's not like she was getting paid, right? And secretly I kind of hoped she would think it was boring and hate it.

Nope. She loved it and keeps asking when we can do it again.

So. Now I sit here, and wonder, do I really want this for my daughter. Again, part of me, the "I'm a poor minister's wife who works in a soup kitchen and has pennies for a savings account" says GO FOR IT! She could quite possibly put some good money away for her college years. (and maybe some for her brother's as well!!) But the other side, the reality side, says NO WAY.

This is a just for fun, for now thing. She did get to pick out a small stuffed animal for her time, which was worth more to her than the college fund! And I got some REALLY cute pictures of her in some AMAZING clothes. We'll see. We are exploring. I know better this time where to go, what to ask, and what to do. Who knows, right? If it works, it works, if it doesn't, no biggie! She has her brains to fall back on!
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As much fun as summer was, it came to an end and we are right back to where I was the last time I blogged!

Brendan is my big 4th grader and at the Intermediate School. It's an AWESOME school and he is doing so well. He has an excellent teacher and as of his interim report, he is on the honor roll! I am hoping he can continue this for the rest of the quarter and pull off being on the official honor roll! He has a great group of friends, is playing soccer, is still into Harry Potter, started selling his Pokeman cards (he made $26 at school!!), continues to grow like a weed (he's up to my nose!), and is an amazingly sweet and wonderful big brother. He has made Gary and I so proud so far this year. I can't say enough great things about him (as of this moment, give it some time and a fight with his sister and I may change! HA!).

Cecelia is now in 2nd grade, has an AWESOME teacher and is breezing through school. She really is such a good student. If only I could interest her in the Accelerated Reader program! She reads all the time, but has no interest in the school's little award program. Ah well. She is taking Hip Hop again this year and is LOVING it. I got to watch her at the end of her practice and she did really well! She loves taking dance! She has also voiced an interest in modeling. We are currently exploring things for her and taking some BABY steps in that direction. I am VERY leary towards that whole industry, but if it can pay for college... I'll post some pics here in a minute.

Teddy LOVE LOVE LOVES Kindergarten, and also has an AMAZING teacher. He left All Saints and is at the Big Elementary school this year. He misses his little girl friends like CRAZY, but appears to be making new friends with ease. He is VERY school minded. He literally wakes up every day asking when Wednesday is, this is homework day. On Wednesdays, he rips open his bookbag, grabs his homework, runs to his desk, and gets it done in lightening speed. He can't WAIT to have homework. I am going to RIDE THIS TRAIN as long as it lasts. Lord knows, in about 9 years, he will be singing a different tune. Hopefully not, but probably.

And our sweet Ryan is at a preschool and is loving his time with Miss Crissy and Miss Karen. He's considered "the big boy" in the class. We are having a blast getting to see his little personality come out more and more. It's so fun to see different likenesses between him and the others. He has Brendan's energy, Cecelia's homebody-ness, Teddy's love of cars and all of their silliness. He also loves his momma like Teddy!

I am knocking on wood, but so far we are off to an SUPER school year and I couldn't be more proud of each of my kids. They are doing GREAT!
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Summer camps





Brendan and Cecelia got to go to three camps this summer, one at our old church, and one at their friend's church. They had a blast. This was the last camp they did. It was the Nick at Night. Needless to say, it was MESSY. You would think that the kids would LOVE the idea of rolling around and being messy in food and other exciting foods. I was under the WRONG impression that they would get to eat some of the yummy foods they slung at one another. NOPE. They came home SO mad at me, saying "We didn't get to eat ANY of the food!!" The worst part was one of the foods they sloshed around in was instant potatoes. Good to eat, TERRIBLE to wear. Cecelia even said, "Mom, the smell of it made me throw up a little in my mouth!"

But after day one, they went back and had a BLAST!!! Good times had by all.
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Just another day...






Of course, it wouldn't be summer vacation without a little time spent at the beach doing what we do! This year was a taste of what will come as the kids get older and easier to manage at the water. Brendan, Cecelia, and Teddy all LOVE to boogy board and surf. Gary took Brendan out with his big board to do some "real" surfing, and it was Brendan's favorite date night with Gary. Brendan is such a great boogy boarder, that surfing was a natural progression for him, AND he took to it like a fish to water. Unfortunately, he didn't get to do it many times, but he savors and talks about the time he did get out. In a year or two, we'll be dragging the board with us every time we go and he'll be off and surfing!

Cecelia loves to boogy board as well, but loves to just swim and explore even more. She spent HOURS out there with her goggles swimming and body surfing the days away. She wants to go surfing, but didn't get to this year. Maybe next.

Teddy took matters into his own hands and made his boogy board his surf board. He made it happen and surfed a bunch of waves in LOVING it! Not a single wave deterred him, it didn't matter HOW tall those waves were or how hard they hit him. He always came back up (thank GOD!) sputtering, laughing, and eager to do it again. That boy is ALL boy!

Ryan LOVED the beach. He was timid at first, not really wanting to go into the water. Then an hour after our first time this year, he too had no fear. He loves the water, loves to run around, dig, and swim in the waves. A few times, he would look out in the water, see his siblings and dad, and just start running into the water, not realizing it does in fact, get deeper and he can't swim. It's the small things he tends to over look!

It was just nice to be able to have the whole family go and have ALL of us really enjoy living here. It was ALMOST relaxing when we went!
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The WHOLE family vacation








We were able to go up to my parents this year! I won't say it was our best Wieder vacation (mostly due to all four kids throwing up at some point during the trip, a three hour traffic jam in Virginia, Gary had a piece of BARK stuck in his eye and didn't get it removed until the LAST day we were there, the ridiculous parking situation at Heinz field for the day game of the Pirates, and coming and going speeding tickets that I got courtesy of the fine men and women in blue in Bennetsville), but we DID manage to have some great fun.

We were blessed to get to pet a penguin at the Pittsburgh Zoo. The kids were so excited and all reported this as their most exciting thing they did this summer. It was, of course, the hottest summer I can remember up there, so we spent LOTS of days at the Edgeworth club pool swimming away the heat. (we managed to shut down the baby pool because Ryan "leaked" through his diaper. Can you say Bio-hazard?) And most of all, we got to enjoy some great Nana and Pampaw time. The kids always love going up there and running around the yard, playing at the playground, and just having good old fashioned fun. I got to see some great friends I hadn't seen in a while, and am looking forward to seeing them again soon.

I hope we continue to do this trip each year, minus all the extra "fun" we had this past year. Ryan was a trooped being tied down for 15 hours. He wins the "best car rider" award.
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