Airplanes and Doughnuts

We have had more sad news here today, but I figured we needed a bit of a break from the intensity and something to smile at. Both of our kids are great snugglers when they wake up. Today Joseph wanted to watch the airplanes - they fly about 1500 feet above our house all day. We're in the flight path, obviously, for incoming planes. But I took the picture so that 1. Amy and Mom might quit bugging me for house pictures (I'm not in order yet! Give me a minute!) and 2. Those shades are one of my favorite things about the house (and Amy and Mom would like those too). I don't know if my Granny had shades like that or not, but I am sure one of her neighbors did if she didn't. I raise and lower them every day, just so I can enjoy them. I took this because of what he said while he was having snack. He kept asking me for more doughtnut. Doughnut? I wasn't giving him doughnuts. I finally asked if he meant chocolate milk and he smiled real big and said "Yeeaah!" Apparently we don't give him enough doughnuts or chocolate milk - he can't tell the difference. But they are in the same category of yum I think.
Never mind the bunny ears and "pack pack" on the high chair. That is where Olivia is currently parking her "on the go bag".
Will update more tomorrow. Thank you for all of your prayers and emails. Mike is doing just fine...though we are pretty sure he broke his pinky toe on the kids' bed this morning. You just kind of have to laugh a little.

Lessons from the ant

It's not really the lesson from Proverbs, but they were ants and we learned a lot. Saturday night we were at the park for a concert and Mike got bit by some fire ants. It hurt, but it didn't seem to be a big deal - maybe 6-10 bites. I took Olivia over the swings and he went back with Joseph to chat with our friends. About 20-30 minutes passed from the time he was bit to when he came over to the swings. He said he thought he was having a reaction to the ants and we should go home and get some Benadryl. While he had been sitting with our friends his feet had started to tingle, then his hands and then he started to get really light headed. When I looked at him his whole body was red, his eyes were glassed over and blood shot. I ran to get the car and by the time I got back he could barely walk to the car. I carried both kids and Miked stumbled across the intersection to our car. I was so afraid he would fall in the street. Olivia buckled herself in and by the time I latched Joseph Mike had gotten himself in the car, but was almost unconscious. I ran back across the street to get directions to the hospital and when I got back his fingers, wrists and arms were all retracting like he was seizing and he was making a rhythmic moan - he was completely unconscious. I started driving and calling 911. Three things factored in at this point. #1 I have a HORRIBLE sense of direction. #2 It is illegal in CA to talk on your cell phone and drive. #3 The roads are weird here - lots of two way stops. I am constantly stopping when I shouldn't be and driving through stops signs when I shouldn't. I never made one wrong turn. No one arrested me (though I think they would have understood). And the only stops signs I blew through I did on purpose honking as I went. The hard part was keeping Mike from falling when I took corners...I can giggle about that now. It wasn't funny then.

Funny about 911 - I got an automated answer initially. Then, "Please wait for the next available operator." Then, "All available operators are busy at the moment." WHAT?! It was probably only about 30 seconds worth of all that, but really! The operator was great. She told me to pull over, which killed me. I thougth if I could keep moving I was doing something. To stop and wait was horrible. We had made it about 1/2 way to the hospital, but I learned later the the directions I had been given were wrong and if I had kept going I would have gotten lost. Mike's breathing was getting slower and his eyes were rolling back in his head. But I was convinced he could hear me because every time his arms started to come into his chest I would tell him to relax and they would go back down, but he says he doesn't remember anything. The operator kept giving me intersections that the EMT were coming through and I thought I would never hear those sirens. I will never wince my ears again at those sirens.

The EMT were incredible - though I do wish they had a little more pep in their step getting out of that fire engine. They were so kind and professional. They were great with the kids...who by the way never wigged out. Olivia, kid of a million questions, was calm and quiet the whole time. Within a couple of minutes of the epinephrene Mike's hands released. He never regained full consciousness until he was in the ambulance, but he did very purposely blink his eyes one good time as they were getting him out of the van. His eyes had been open the whole time but he never blinked - that was horrible.

We followed the fire truck to the hospital and got released about 2 a.m. He has some occassional itching at the bites, but is really fine. His reaction was so weird. Most people who go into anaphylactic shock have respiratory distress. I know Mike's breathing would have eventually stopped, it was slowing. But he was never in distress. He even swallowed a couple of times while he was unconscious - stuff like that and his constant pulse kept me encouraged.

So the lessons...if you are even still reading this. This was definitely the worst experience of my life. So scarey. Courtney O. if you are reading this - I know a LITTLE of what you felt with Bruce. Two things have stood out to me as I have replayed this over and over in my head. We went to church the following morning (because really what better place to be than in the house of the Lord who orders our days) and during the time of confession I started thinking about my reaction in the car in front of the children. I wondered what they saw and heard. I began to feel condemned in my heart (not by God, but I really think by our enemy who works to discourage) that I did not show a good enough example of our trust in God. I knew I had said "oh shit" a bunch of times, but I also knew I prayed a lot too. But I couldn't remember anything else and it was killing me. (I know you are probably saying to yourself - give yourself a break, it was a crisis. I know. I'm not trying to expect perfection...that isn't what this is about.) What I realized during that time of confession is that God knows it all. AND he forgives IT ALL. I am not Catholic. I do not fear that if I die failing to have remembered and confessed a particular sin I will go to hell. I have put my trust in Christ and ALL of my sins past, present and future are forgiven. I continue to confess because it is good for me - to call sin what it is and to receive afresh each time the reminders and blessings of his eternal forgiveness. But I don't have to live in fear of forgetting something. I don't have to live in fear at all. There is a reason why David asks God to "search me and know me...know my anxious thoughts...see if there is any offensive way in me..." We just can't do it on our own. We even need God's help with confession. I am not trying to make any sort of commentary on whether or not I sinned in our whole little crisis. Honestly, I don't think God cares too much about the shits or anything else I said. Like in most every other circumstance in our lives he was just wanted to show himself to us and remind us who he is and what he is like - and oddly enough from a little anaphylactic shock I was reminded that he is the God who forgives.

I learned something else if you want to know it. When I was on the phone with that operator (whose voice I don't think I will ever forget), she said a phrase that brought me great comfort. After she convinced me to pull over, she asked me a couple of questions about Mike's condition and then I pleaded with her to have them hurry. I wanted to know if they were already coming and how long it would take. And she said very confidently that they were on there way since the moment we got on the phone and "they were coming lights and sirens." I am a sensory gal and that helped me so much. I was going to see them and hear them...and it was going to be loud and bright. Sunday morning we were reading to the kids from the Jesus Storybook Bible and it was the story of Mary going to the tomb after Jesus had been buried and finding it empty. Remember, the angel had told the women that Jesus had risen and they all went running to tell the others. But Mary, who often lingered whenever Jesus was around, stayed - probably trying to make sense of it and push past the unbelief. She heard something in the garden and thinking it was the gardner the storybook says,

"I don't know where Jesus is!" Mary said urgently. "I can't find him."
But it was all right. Jesus knew where she was. And he had found her.

I couldn't do anything for Mike and it was killing me. And what was worse is that I had no control over the help that was coming. But they knew where we were. They were coming and they would find us. Lights and sirens.

God came lights and sirens too, as Jesus. It was a humble beginning and a lonely death, but you can't say that the resurrection wasn't bright and I am relatively confident that the second coming will be loud...with the rejoicing and whatnot. But I find as much comfort in knowing that God knows where I am right now and he finds me day after day as I wander away in sin or pride or distraction or boredom or disbelief. And he calls my name like he did Mary's. And I recognize it because I recognize his voice and I return, not in fear or shame, but with confidence that he loves me...enough to come after me. Lights and sirens.

Growing up

Apparently he likes to sleep under and on his pillow.


Their tree My elbow grease
Great Great Granny Olive's glasses

What's buzzin' around here

Olivia came out from her nap yesterday with this lady bug costume on. Instead of napping she was unpacking boxes I suppose. She was pretty proud of herself - said she had looked at the picture and figured out how to put it on. So this is a little peak at the front of our house. We have already put that bench on the front porch to good use. Olivia and I vote that eating ice cream on it is the best use. Those are the living room windows to the left and teh dining room on the right. I promise to get more up soon. We are mostly unpacked - now it is just a matter of figuring out where everything needs to go.

On the road

Oh dear, my pictures are posting oddly again. Well, here we are on the road. We visited Mike's brother Jeff and his wife Pam first. They are expecting their first baby soon. I think this is only the 3rd time we have all been together since we got married. We all look a little rough because we had been swimming. Well, I'll admit it - I've been looking rough for about 2 weeks. But things are improving, you'll see.

Hello from the Tebbano's in New Mexico. We pretty much invited ourselves to their home and they were more than gracious. We even got to attend worship with them on Sunday morning. I was really encouraged by the gospel message in Hosea from Patrick's Sunday school class.
Karen these are those mountains I was telling you about. This is what they look like up close.

But this is how huge they are. I don't see how this happened. Enormous mountains of boulders. I don't see how they just don't all tumble off. There aren't even an "watch for falling rock" signs."

We also stayed with John and Allyn Tock and didn't get a single picture. John took the day off and we, almost literally, sat on the couch all day and visited. We got up for meals and to swim in the evening. It was so relaxing. It was also 100+ degrees - so doing too much more than that you would break a sweat anyway.
Thank you all for all your hospitality along the way. You made a very long trip enjoyable.

A birthday diddy

We interupt these five day behind move updates to send out a little burfday love to Scrapaw.

Tidy bowl tears

I never imagined that I would purge the majority of my tears over this move while hanging over this tub and toilet with a sponge in my hand. I had had my moments over the past few months, but by and large I had not been too weepy. I have moved about every 2-3 years since I graduated from high school. Even before that we moved about as much while I was growing up. I didn’t anticipate this being any different. But seeing the house empty was hard. All of a sudden I could hear all the sounds – from the beating and banging of the early construction that I always prayed wouldn’t wake Olivia up to O. and J.’s screams as they ran naked down the hallway to the bathtub that I was cleaning the last night we were there. There were so many things I would never hear and see again – the creaks that certain boards in the floor made, Olivia sitting in her big girl bed for the first time in the corner of her little room, both kids sleeping at one time or another in every single room in that house. I knew we had experienced a lot in this house, but I still couldn’t figure out why my emotions were suddenly so strong. My friend, Amy described it well I think. She said that once you have children the memories are unrepeatable. Up until this time in my life I had done lots of things I could do again (for the most part). But my children would never take their first steps again or potty train again (hopefully) or stay up until 10:30 laughing and throwing things at each other from their beds in that room again. As I walked through those empty rooms I cried my eyes out. I was so proud of Mike and everything the Lord strengthened him to accomplish there. I was so thankful for my children who endured so much. I was so thankful that the Lord preserved us through all of this. There were many points where we could have been derailed – our marriage could have tanked, Mike’s studies could have failed, we could have continued the way we started – in our own prideful strength. The Lord is so gentle. He was so kind to us. For a long time I thought I would be relieved to leave this house and its trials behind. Now I am so thankful that we are taking it with us – in our memories, in the changes God has wrought in our hearts and character, in who we are as a family – always desperately in need of more grace. “Unless the Lords builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”

On the way out

In case you haven't figured it out, we have left St. Louis. I just want to get all these posts in order and only have limited time on the road. We had intended to load the truck Monday and Tuesday and leave early Wednesday morning - we didn't get out of town until 5 p.m. There is always still so much to do even after you have moved all your stuff out. Unfortunately, I had expended every bit of energy I had and Mike had to do it all. I pretty much layed on the Tucker's couch. Our last stop on the way out of town was the Pollack's. These babies are going to look a lot different next time we are all together.Six plus one on the way. There were just two in the beginning - granted the Pollack's have them two at a time...
R.U.F.F. I finally did get a shower...and little bit of sleep.

Book ends

When we moved to St. Louis three and a half years ago we were pretty much homeless. We had hired a contractor to gut the back three rooms of the house so we would have a place to live only he was not finished. Actually, he never did finish...or get the rest of his money. It was...the beginning of a long sanctifying experience for the McBrides. So we moved in to the bottom floor of the Tuckers house for a couple of weeks. Alice and I were college roommates. Then we were post college roommates. Now we have been neighbors and had babies together...Joseph and Abel were supposed to be only 2 days apart, but Joseph came three weeks early. It seemed appropriate to find ourselves living at the Tuckers again our last couple of days in St. Louis.
Take a good look at this kid - his name will be on some invention one day. Levi Tucker.
He still doesn't quite get the binoculars.
Well, it is now pictorally documented - I did look as rough as I felt. I think I had some kind of supernatural energy for the two days we loaded that truck. I didn't feel pregnant or sick to my stomach or hardly tired. I mean I wasn't superwoman, but it was definitely interesting. Day three I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. This was day three.

Moving Day(s)

There was some serious conversation going on between these two -that's O and Grandpa Pollack. Olivia "helped" for two days - in and out of that truck the whole time. She did great. I think she really needed to be a part of things - that seems to be how she has been processing all the change. About 8:45 she said she was ready to go down to the Tuckers. Alice called me about 10 minutes later and said Olivia knocked on her door and said she was ready for bed.
Jonathan worked double duty - maybe since Sage couldn't be there - he showed up two days in a row!

The master packer.

We made it in 18 feet - he was shooting for 16. Oh well, we had already sold and given away as much as we could. Honk if you see an ABF truck.

Line ups

One thing I will miss about St. Louis is the fact that almost any night of the week during the summer you can find a music concert in a park somewhere in the city. This was Oak Noll with the Ottos.

This is the Kingdom Group line up - minus Hannah and Ian. Three years ago it was only Olivia and Annika.

The Tucker boys - Able was asleep.


It's here. Come on over if you want to help load it. Karen and Olivia supervised the parking from the window.

Happy Fourth of July


"Do not leave children unattended with sparklers."


And, clearly, by unsupervised I do not mean that we all went inside and left them out there with the sparklers. Annika pushing through her fears. Doing it but not enjoying it so much.

Joseph was a bit concerned as well.