Archive for category Notes From Home Plate

Summer Hits

It takes me several days to realize that June has arrived.  Once that realization hits, summer hits, and then, seemingly, out of nowhere, I hear grocery store shoppers comment as they slowly push their carts in sadness, “Can you believe how fast the summer is going?  It’s almost the fourth of July.”

Those are moments I’d love to ask strangers, “Summer officially began June 21.  It’s June 28.  It’s only been a week.  What are we being so dramatic about?”

Summer hits and just as it does, people are already sad that it’s coming to a close.

I don’t get it.

These days of dawg heavy humidity have Nick, Isaiah, and I on the go.  We just returned from good ol’ Russia after a lovely wedding on Nick’s side of the family for which I photographed the reception.  It was Isaiah’s first wedding and he was a pretty good guest at the table.  He didn’t eat any food.  He didn’t hassle the bartender for stronger drinks.  He didn’t complain to the DJ, asking, “Why aren’t you playing my song?”  No inappropriate moves on the dance floor.  He was a perfect gentleman, except for the fact he didn’t wear shoes.  Most gentlemen wore shoes to formal events.  Isaiah needs to see his toes, feel the air on those little piggies.  So he dressed up for the occasion, sans footwear.

This week we are heading to New Jersey to spend time with some close friends of ours and relax on the Atlantic coast.  This will be Isaiah’s first real roadtrip.  (I consider anything over 4 hours a roadtrip.  Anything under is a just a mere car ride.)  We have no idea how he will be, but this will be the first time he will be upgraded to first class seating with his new convertible car seat.

I tell you.  Life is all about the little things.

Gerber Head is just too adorable these days.  Sometimes I just want to roll him in sugar and take a bite out of him, he looks so scrumptiously sweet.  This weekend he enjoyed Borchers family worship in Russia.  His grandparents, uncles, and aunt were there to provide an abundant supply of affection and stares into his big brown eye wells of love and innocence.

Latest developments in babyland: he is scooting!  Backward!  I think he learned that from Tita (“aunt”) Carmen, fitness extraordinaire, who taught him leg lifts.  She did reps with him in sets of four.  Aigh nako.  (Tagalog expression for, basically, Oh my LORD!/OMG/Good heavens)

Latest developments in adultland: packing, shopping, planning for our big trip to the Atlantic coast.  First family roadtrip.

Random piece of news update:  We’re having a landscaper come out and tame our jungle look at our property.  Have I mentioned how Shaker Heights is the queen of celebrating landscapes?  There would be no surprises in this family if our block threw us an appreciation party for even having someone take a look at our pachysandra disaster.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Dusting Off an Old Clip and Some Photos…

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A Note from Isaiah

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Nick’s Reflection

Though I am a main subject of this blog, I have never written a post. However, on the occasion of my Grandpa’s death, I wanted to write something in his honor.
I love you Grandpa Borchers.
Nick

Reflections on the death of my Grandpa

At times of death we are always advised to trust God.
What does this mean?
If trusting in God means things will happen as we want,
then my trust is shattered.

I want to hear another story from Grandpa about working at Stolle’s;
I want to ask my Uncle Bob if the Reds can turn it around this year; and
I want to laugh with my cousin Nathan about random college stories.

Obviously, trusting God is not getting what we want.
So, what is it?

Ultimately, trusting in God is believing that life is bigger than what we see,
that our lives do not end.

I believe all three of these family members live on in me.
Grandpa lives on as I laugh at a corny joke.
Bob lives on as I squeeze every bit of excitement out of a normal day.
Nathan lives on as I experience the sheer joy of being with others.

Our loved ones don’t just live on in metaphorical ways.
They see what we do not, they see the big picture of our lives.
They understand the sadness we are experiencing now is just a phase,
a small blip in what will ultimately be unending joy and peace with God.

And when I pay close enough attention,
for a brief instant, I can feel their presence still with me.
They are not with me in the same way, but they are still with me.
The veil between me and them is thin and even transparent at times.

So, I know this summer on a hot afternoon
as I sit down with Isaiah to watch a Reds-Pirates game,
we will be surrounded by three other big baseball fans.
This belief in life allows me to truly trust in God during this difficult week.

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It’s Not Just My Imagination

There are days where I wonder if there are some unexplained things about the relationship between mother and child. I mean, think about it, a growing human being forms his bones, blood, and organs INSIDE a woman’s body. Everything the mother is, quite literally, is given to her child. It’s quite extraordinary.

There are days when I just look at the little Meatball and wonder, how did this kid ever fit inside me? How did he come from me?

Well, I soon found the explanation.

While Nick was in El Salvador, I was busy trying to clean our office. The one room that is consistently neglected because, since no one else but Nick or I ever go in there, it never meets the “we should pick up the living room before so and so come over,” or “we’re having company over so make sure you scrub the toilet and vaccuum,” requirements.

So, while I was hauling boxes of recycled paper out of the house and pouring through old papers, I came across one of my baby pictures. I saw it and I just stared. It was almost eerie.

It was the same feeling when Nick took this picture of me and Isaiah in the hospital. It was a feeling like, “I’ve seen this picture before somewhere, but I can’t think of what picture it is.”

I found the picture.

You tell me.

Is there some unexplained force that binds me with Isaiah?

I don’t know.

But since we look like almost identical twins from birth, I’m open to anything.

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In Memory

There was no way to describe how nervous I was when I first met Nick’s Grandpa Borchers back in 2004. I’ve never met anyone’s grandparents before and the idea of meeting them was so nerve-wracking, I even called my mom beforehand to talk out my jitters.

She didn’t help much. “Oh, this is a very big occassion. Make sure you wear a very nice outfit. Address them properly. Be yourself, but don’t talk too much….” The suggestions went on and on.

That only added to the anxiety. Even my Dad made a follow-up call when I got home. “Well,” he sounded like one of my grad school buds after I went out on a date, “what did you end up wearing?”

Dick was sitting in his recliner when I timidly walked over to be introduced. My parents advice was ringing in my head. His smile and handshake put me at ease and I let out a quick breath of relief that I got through the first five minutes. I doubt he ever knew how nervous I was to meet him, so I doubt he knew how much I appreciated that big, sincere smile that he gave me. I’m already a fan of electric smiles and infectious laughs, and I honestly don’t think there are many better than Dick’s. I can see his smile in his children, especially Rog and Linda, and it always makes me smile in recognition of its origin.

But my favorite memory of him had to have been when Nick and I came back from Nicaragua in 2007 after doing a mission trip together. Nick and I were separated into different groups and I was sent to dig ditches, deep into the earth, to help in the process of making latrines.

I could barely pick up the equipment, it was so heavy, and when I lowered myself into the ditch, I was, literally, in a hole so deep I couldn’t feel the wind at all. And then I started to feel like I was baking in the soil. The sun was beating on me and no wind could reach me. I tried to think positive thoughts, but the labor was just too intense for me. After a few hapless attempts, I started coughing and got dizzy and climbed out. I returned to my ditch several times, but it was as obvious as a cloud on a perfect blue sky that I was not making much progress. I defended myself to Nick, “I was BAKING, baking I tell you, in that ditch. I felt like I was going to pass out!”

On our first trip to Russia after Nicaragua, Nick promptly told his grandparents of my suffering and how I was clearly not cut out for manual labor in the sun.

I didn’t know how Dick would react to that story of my wimpy-ness, given that he was a hard-working farmer who could have at one time probably dug ten ditches in a day.

He loved it.

Over the years, every holiday or visit when I leaned over to greet him and shake his hand, he’d hold on to my hand for an extra second and ask, “Have you dug any ditches lately?” His hearty laugh followed when I smiled and emphatically shook my head NO and retold the details of my failure as a dirt digger. He really got a kick out of that. And Nick always got a kick out of his Grandpa getting a kick out of it.

I only knew Dick for the past six years, the last years of his life. Oftentimes, I marvel at how we can meet people in the last turn of their life, just as we are in the main throttle of our own. What a gift it is.

In a loving and resting peace, I imagine him now. And it’s because of that mega-watt smile he shared with me that first day back in 2004 that I often try to smile at newcomers and make others comfortable in my home. It’s always the small things in life that make a difference and leave an impact on others.

I’m just one of the many, I’m sure, who were touched by his life, family, and kindness.

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Tears Behind the Wheel

Have you ever cried while driving?

That’s probably not the safest thing to do.

I mean, it’s not as dangerous as drinking and driving or texting while driving, but CRYING has its own level of wrong, too.

I realized this as I was wiping away tears this morning after I took Isaiah to the doctor. The little Meatball is having a terrible week. Probably the worst in his four moths of existence.

Isaiah’s been struggling with moderate eczema for quite some time and Nick and I have been playing detective, trying to figure out what triggers it or how we can relieve it. Last month we figured out that the space heater in his room is the culprit.

So we unplugged the darn thing and layered him in extra shirts and socks when he went to bed.

And then spring came.

His eczema flared last week and I wondered if maybe it’s something in his milk. So I took out 99% of dairy in my diet.

No change.

This week, I gave up eggs. No change.

Poor little guy looked miserable. And I was having a breakdown watching his splotches begin to spread over his head, face, torso and arms. His little uncoordinated hands were scratching his head and belly while he cried and I would try to comfort him while I bawled myself.

What a mess.

So I took him to the doctor for three things: eczema, possible teething, and a bad cough.

Isaiah laughed and wiggled as the doctor examined him and thought the tongue stick to examine his mouth was the greatest thing ever and laughed in the doctor’s face.

Despite the laughs, he had a low grade fever and his eczema needs some serious attention. I fired away with questions and more questions. Without Nick there to calmly interject something very Borchers-esque, my motor mouth went nuts. Luckily, the doctor didn’t mind my fretting. (I assume fretting mothers are quite common in a pediatric setting.)

So, I hauled my 17.5lb elephant back to the car and got in the driver’s seat to head to Rite Aid to pick up his prescriptions.

I kept glancing in my rear view mirror to see his baby mirror. He looked so much like Nick, but covered in red patches of itch, and handled everything so well. His skin, fever, and cough coupled with Nick’s departure got the best of me and my tear ducts. And that’s when the bawling happened and my vision blurred from crying.

And that’s why I am writing to caution all who cry while driving – it’s just as hazardous as texting.

You can’t see ANYTHING.

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Growth off the Charts

Bleh. I hate when Nick is gone.

He left this morning at 3:45am to catch his 6am flight to El Salvador. Meanwhile, my mom has arrived to help take care of Isaiah and my sister is moving in to the third floor upstairs. All the Factora women in one household – it’s like a huge slumber party for Isaiah.

Speaking of our favorite meatball, yesterday he officially turned 4 months old and looks every bit of it as well. According to my mom who saw him last 3 weeks ago, when she feasted her eyes on him again, she couldn’t believe the length of his legs. I didn’t know what else to say except, “I know. I know. I know.”

When I hold Isaiah, I feel like I’m holding onto a very soft baby elephant. There are days when I just can’t friggin believe how strong he is. My sister-in-law and mother were gazing at him yesterday in his car seat and Suzi commented,”You might want to start thinking about upgrading your car seat. Uh, his feet are starting to dangle over the edge.” I glanced down. She was right.

Guess what else Isaiah is up to? TEETHING.

Yes, TEETHING.

I was wondering what’s been up with the buckets of drool flapping out of his mouth the past two weeks and his munching on his hand immediately after he’s eaten and him barreling down on his bottom lip like he needs his gums to be in contact with something. Suzi said, “They may not be popping out, but that doesn’t mean he’s already teething.”

And then my mom asked, “Are you sure he’s not yet ready for solids?”

And that’s when my head exploded.

NEW CAR SEATS. TEETHING. SOLIDS.

I complained like a little girl to my mom, “What the hell are all those books good for if they’re not preparing me in time for Isaiah’s development? He’s not supposed to be teething or eating solids yet, say the books I’m reading.”

And the common sense advice reply, “Well, those book are written for the average timeline of a baby. Isaiah may not be average.”

When I consider how his onesies are 12-18 months and starting to get tight in length, that might make sense.

Meanwhile, Nick takes off to El Salvador for five days and I’m left with an elephant of a son and a stomach full of battery acid because of Nick’s international travels.

Screw the books. I’m listening to my mother.

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Sunday Weigh-In: Round 6

The intensity. THE INTENSITY.

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Isaiah 4 months

Pictures, pictures, pictures…

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