Wednesday, September 28, 2011


"hands are for touching"
  It is 11:45 on a Wednesday, and I am standing at the front door.  A school bus pulls up slowly and let's out its air brakes.  The sound is like a gunshot triggering a race, and after carefully...methodically going down the steps, Isaac's shoes hit the pavement. He's like a racehorse out of the derby gates, and my arms are the finish line. 

We head inside, and as usual, Isaac heads straight for his cars.  I open his backpack, asking him about his day.  "Who did you play with at school?"  "What did you have for snack today?"  As I try and pry answers from him, I pull a few papers from his bag.  Exaggerating my excitement (which, honestly, isn't exaggerating at all) I open a page of a little book he's made.  "Oh my!  This is AMAZING! Whose hand is THIS?"  Isaac smiles and takes the book from me; "Mom, that's MY hand!" 

It's a little booklet he's made about the 5 senses.  The first page is a painted imprint of his hand.  "Hands are for touching" is written below.  We flip through the rough construction paper pages together.  Eyes are for seeing, ears are for listening...

After we browse his creation, he goes back to playing with his cars.  I am left to look at the hand print on the first page once again. 

Hands aren't the only thing made for touching.  In a way, Isaac possesses a 6th sense, one that cannot be colored, or rudimentarily placed with construction paper cut outs in a booklet.  It is in the way he looks me in the eye, because I know it was an impossibility.  It is the way he picks up his toys, because the task seemed out of reach.  It is the way he gives a hug--with his whole being.  It is the way he says "I love you, Mommy," like he's been saying it his whole life...even though I would cry and pray days on end to simply hear those words.  It is the sense that goes beyond description and into the miraculous. 

Hands are for touching, yes, and Isaac has done just that.  He's touched me straight to the heart.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

9 minutes of chaos and catharsis...

It's another dark morning.  I'm woken to small warm hands on my face and hot breath in my ear:  "Mommy, is it morning, or night?"  My 4 3/4 year old alarm clock.  I can't help but smirk, even if every ounce of energy that wasn't replenished from my lack of sleep is telling me it's 6:30 and I shouldn't be smiling about getting up so early. 

But, I do.  And I'm glad. 

I'm running the Hladky fun-factory while Dan's away in Asia on business (visiting not-so-fun factories...I know he misses ours as much as we miss him.)  Originally, this was a 2 week trip...which has now turned into 3 weeks...Needless to say, I'm missing my right-hand-man.  Lots.

I'm still in my cozy bed, covered by my quilt, and now, one little arm and one little leg belonging to my alarm clock--draped over my side and wiggling.  "Isaac, can you just be still for a little bit?"  Silence, and stillness, then, movement again.  "But, but...but, Mom...I like to move." 

In the midst of chaos are moments like these with my sons.  Isaac just happened to be my reminder...the one who pulled the plug to my emotional drain.  I have to let it out.  I have to express need, express frustration, express impossibilities to myself, and even to (gulp) my children. 

"Isaac, honey," I move his legs off of me, "Mommy misses Daddy very much, and she didn't sleep well."  I try and look into his eyes in the moonlit room, and he gets so close we're nose-to-nose.  "I just need some rest." 

Serious and snuggling into the covers with me:  "Mommy, I'll just rest with you." 

Sometimes the rest we think we need in the middle of chaos isn't what we need at all. 

In those 9 minutes from when I hit the snooze bar to when the radio came on again, I found a small piece of heaven.  Isaac lay as still as is possible for his busy, lanky frame...and I closed my eyes and thanked God for a boy who could remind me to be still and know who's in charge yet again. 

I feel better now. 
My little alarm clock, 2 1/2 years old

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I don't like the unknown. 

There are those who enjoy risk: leaps-of-faith, whitewater rafting (that's another blog entirely...)  Not I.  I am a familiar, routine, welcome-home sort of gal.  So, when I met, fell in love with, and joined hearts with a man who was not only my polar opposite on this personality spectrum, but whose picture was found next to the definition of "adventure," I figured a bit would rub off on me.  Thus, I have learned how to take last minute change of plans in stride; anticipate the unanticipated.  And when my risk-taking husband and I had children (an adventure in and of itself), I resigned myself to the fact that unknowns are simply a part of existence. 

Isaac came home with a fever last week after preschool.  I didn't think anything of it, since there was a cold virus going around.  We spent the day drinking apple juice out of blue crazy straws, and cuddling on the couch.  When the weekend arrived, the promise of a busy and bouncy Isaac once again came into view.  A low grade fever wasn't stopping him from playing and giggling as usual. 

Then Sunday came.  Enter the unknown...

I was awoken to a crying child crawling on my bedroom floor (usually, Isaac crawls into bed with me and cuddles for a few minutes--it's so much better than an alarm.)  Instead of cuddling, there was confusion.  "What's wrong honey?"  I asked in a sleepy stupor.  "My legs hurt" was Isaac's response between bouts of tears.  For my tough little boy to cry and say something hurts means it really REALLY must hurt.  I tried to help him stand up.  He couldn't.  It was like I was trying to help a baby fawn walk for the first time.  Wobbly and weak, Isaac moved with me to the bathroom as I carried him under his arms. 

I thought he slept funny.  Thought he might have a cramp.  Thought he might have pinched a nerve.  But I couldn't determine for sure...and then panic set in.  Why couldn't he walk on his own? 

After an hour or so...after praying, researching, and prodding my little boys flimsy legs, he started walking again.  The best way to describe his stiff movements would be to imagine what Pinocchio would look like as a wooden puppet.  At church, I questioned friends and family about it:  Have him checked as soon as possible, they said.  So I did. 

Monday morning, in the doctor's office, Isaac sat happily on the exam table.  He had woken up with stiff joints again...which reminded me of a 90 year old man with arthritis...but he was able to walk a little better than the day before.  This gave me hope that the sleepless night before had been in vain, and my Booder boy would be better sooner than later. 

The prognosis was Toxic Synovitis.  I had never heard of such a thing before, but I was glad we had some answers.  There would be no long term danger, and Isaac would be up and around as normal in a couple of days. 

As I watched my once-hobbling boy ride his scooter again, I had to be thankful for the unknown.  The unknown pushes us deeper in finding answers.  It gives us the fuel to continue believing in something bigger than ourselves--for with the unknown comes a need to trust...a need for faith.  In my life, that faith is in God.  A God who knows what I don't, and a God who challenges me to believe in Him daily, and to lean not on my own understanding. I am confident that as Isaac and I grow, our faith and trust in our Heavenly Father and "things unseen" will only give our adventure in this life that much more meaning. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Like a rock

A small boy.  A big rock.  Obstacles.

This weekend as we explored the hills of Ohio as a family, I explored more than just nature.

As we climbed hundreds of rocks steps and paths deep into the gorges of Hocking Hills State Park, our eyes absorbed amazing creation;  natural formations out of rock, amphitheater style caves with sandstone beaches as floors.  There were trickling waterfalls, giant rock formations that looked like the Sphinx, and hills that seemed impossible to pass.  It was all a little surreal and truthfully...sweaty.

It was a balmy 90 degrees during most of our hilly hikes.  The weather was just another discomfort to our journey.  We knew we wanted to see more, explore more, and climb to the top...then back down to the riverbed.  Isaac was a trooper.  Most small children we passed were moving slowly, dragging their feet, asking for water...Isaac led the way, looking back hardly ever.  He kept us busy rushing to grab him by the back of the shirt at a steep edge.  But, I was more proud at his fearless tenacity.  He kept us pressing on.  Despite the obstacles.

To top off our adventure, we took a family zipline course.  Strapping in our harnasses, we set out to battle with a literal obstacle course of wires, ropes, carabiners, bridges and swings, all suspended in the air.

I have never ever seen a more focused Isaac as when he faced those challenges.  Never have I been more self-conscious of my own inability to freely give all to my task.  And never have I been more amazed too watch.

I have said it once, and I will say it again.  My son is a miracle.

Maybe it was because we were in nature--awesome creation upon awesome creation--that is why this all stood out like it had been highlighted in neon yellow.  Isaac was the awesome cherry creation on the very top of a glorious sundae of inspiration. 

I watched my son climb across those tightropes, never taking his eyes off of the next goal--the platform at the end.  I watched as he scaled 100's of stone steps, uneven, and wide even for adult sized legs, not looking back.  I listened, after having conquered the obstacles, as he freely shouted as he and our guide zipped down a final 500 feet of line over a lake and a field:  "THIIIIIISSS    ISSSSS   AWESOMMMMEEE!!!!!"

Yes, Isaac, it was.  And so are you.

Isaac and I at Old Man's Cave

Ready for action!  Show me those ziplining muscles!

Exploring with big bro Ethan

Friday, September 2, 2011


There are approximately 42 Matchbox and/or Hot Wheels vehicles scattered on my kitchen table.  A small firehouse from a village play set sits in the midst of them.  These little cars look like they have made a holy journey to a mecca of sorts...they circle the firehouse awaiting a command from Isaac.  He sits above them, perched and ready to begin...

"Welcome."  I hear Isaac say in a calm, steady voice.  I turn my head to see what he's up to. He continues..."Welcome.  TO THE PARTY!!!!"  His little legs begin to swing with excitement as he lifts each car and makes them do a little dance of joy, accompanied with a different voice.  A silver 4x4 has a deep timbre and says, "YAHOO!"  A tiny yellow hatchback says with a high pitched squeal, "Yippee!!!"  I watch in awe, smiling, as each car or vehicle expresses their happiness at this Firehouse Party Isaac is throwing. 

After his celebration, Isaac turns around on the kitchen bench and asks me.  "Can I bring the party to Hocking Hills?"  I almost spit out my coffee with a laugh.  He has no idea how hilarious that sounds. 

This is our first time to Hocking Hills.  It's going to be a laid back, explorational, and hopefully relaxing weekend with my husband's side of the family.  It's also going to be a weekend away with my hubby before he heads out the day after we get back, for Hong Kong and China once again.  I'm picturing a weekend full of shorts and t-shirts, no make-up, bonfires at a state park, and maybe some shopping or hiking. picturing a party.  A BIG one.

I hug him and tell him how much he makes me happy.  "Mommy, can I bring my cars?"  I tell him yes.  He decides to take them all, and proceeds to pour them into his suitcase.  "Let's pick a few to take, okay?"  I assure him the party will be just as fun with a few as it will with a bazillion. 

This weekend is about quality, not quantity.  I know once we get there, Isaac will appreciate that kind of a party.  I will too.