Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm going to miss my hall

Well, I did it. I gave my notice to my director at church. The reasons are many, but mainly because I have put my family on the back burner for three years (as coordinator, years before that as a teacher) now so that I could serve. I have always served in some capacity - it's what our family believes to be the right thing to do when you join a church. However, especially since Will came along (yes I am naming names now) it has been a major production on Sundays. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Sundays are not particularly restful for us. Jeff has to go straight from his real job to church where he puts in another 4 hours in one of his side jobs. It's not terribly difficult work, but nevertheless, it means he doesn't get to bed until 1. He's pooped! At least we get to worship together:) Ultimately, it's my children, particularly Will who suffer. WE have to leave our house at 8:50 to be on time for the 9:30 service when we worship, then I serve at 11. Part of my duties include closing down the classrooms, so we don't leave church until 12:40. My kids often eat in the car, or we grab a bite on the way home. Either way, if Will had napped during church it's only been 30 min - not long enough, or he's not slept at all and will fall asleep on the way home having not eaten, thus waking up within an hour due to hunger. UGH!! Not a great way to start the week - which we then spend trying to get back into a routine. So, after serving through a period of time where my heart was SOOOOO not in a good place - I realized, this was not what God wanted of me. He desires my service to be joyful - which it is once I'm there surrounded by all of the sweet families and children - but as I kid my director, God must know how much it takes for me to get us all there, because no matter how ugly the schedule looks on paper, no matter how few teachers we have show up, it ALWAYS works out. I am not kidding. Either we have low numbers in the classes, or parents volunteer to stay - it always comes out in the wash. I'm not saying it's always smooth - we are often shuffling, juggling, etc. to make it all kosher, but ultimately, I have only once in 3 years had to turn away a child!!! Praise God! I need to end this post before I go off on my "how can a church this size not have enough volunteers" rant, but I just wanted to share how blessed I feel to have been a part of this ministry. There is nothing greater than a.) seeing a child finally be at peace with being dropped off in their class after struggling with fear/separation anxiety etc., b.) seeing an infant come in for the first time and being able to see that same sweet face for almost 2 years before they are promoted to the toddler side, and c.) this is the best part too, watching them come to know Jesus in those classrooms! I will dearly miss this, but know I am heading into a great season of focus on my family.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lil'man in the dog crate - a newly discovered "fun! He crawled in there the other day and voila! He was amused for, well I guess it was only about 15 minutes, but still

He has also discovered tackling! This of course is just one more reason for my white-knuckle parenting (that's where I am sucking in air at every near miss that my boys go through in day). He loves his bubba and J loves him. I know the new baby will too fall right in step with his big bros.
J is also very creative. Always making pictures/books/maps. This one was made before church last week - a multi-media venture - playdough, paper, crayons, matchbox boat. Very cool!
Lastly, EK helped me make a cake recipe that I snagged from a blogger in AL. As I was scrolling through her posts my mouse came to a dead stop when I saw the words "pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake while it's hot." Oh, she had me at sweetend condensed milk! Seriously. It' super easy too and after it cools you just throw on some cool-whip and then top with crushed oreos - totally fat-free of course:) A yummy treat for the Sgt after a hard day mowing - well, fixing the various mowing implements that broke down yesterday. Poor guy. Just trying to earn some side money, and that's what he gets for his troubles! I made a delish alfredo pasta, we ran off to see Team Impact, then hurried home to get everyone in bed! what a day - but fun for all:)
Love you EK! You are such an encourager and always willing to help mommy bake. You'll be a great wife and mom someday!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

lil'man isn't so little anymore. Well, he is. Not even 2 yet, so technically still a baby. But in so many ways he's becoming a little boy - playing cars on his own, making car noises on his little scooter outside. I know you will make a great big brother! Here are just a few fun shots of lil'man. He scoots on the big wheel's bike now and the other day I came into J's room to find him sitting in the car bucket! Sweetness:) and such flexibility! I can hardly sit criss-cross applesauce anymore:( More later...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's A Baby.....

We found out today that the newest addition to our family is a....BOY!!!! OH BOY!! That's how I feel:) It's no secret that I was hoping for a girl this time around. I don't really feel 'disappointed', I just feel like I have to get over myself. I mean good grief! I think I was just amped up about being able to get the girly clothes out etc. And of course lil'man has been a trial this past year. At the end of the day though I was relieved to see that all is well and he's growing fine. I am counting my blessings that he is a gift from God and I know that he and lil' man will be so close - like brothers, ha-ha! Thank you for all of your prayers - he is well and we are great and now on to the great name search...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

We woke up here to a torrential downpour that lasted all morning (it actually started in the middle of the night so we were thoroughly soaked!)! Wondered if God got the wrong bible story this morning - we could have ridden to church on our Ark:) We did enjoy a great family service with J (EK and lil' man went on to their classes) and then J stayed with me to serve at 11. We had our Easter dinner with the Sgt.'s family yesterday since both of the boys are on the midnight shift now. Our Easter dinner today was courtesy of Backyard Burger! Thanks for the Law Enforcement discount guys!
The kids looked great and loved their baskets - we got them each a DVD (thanks Target for putting so many kids movies on sale last week!) and then of course enough candy to guarantee some sort of coma and/or hyper-spastic whirling dervish festival for hours to come.
J was very sweet - this morning he said thank you for the basket but that he knew this day was "especially special because of Jesus" - I have been replaying this all day in an effort to not cream him for sitting on his sister and various other sibling infractions.

J also lost another tooth! It's been super loose for days now and actually he's been complaining about it but it just didn't seem ready to come out. Then today at lunch he was able to turn the stinkin' thing sideways in his mouth! GROSS! I do not like to see the whole tooth-coming-out thing. Luckily the Sgt. stepped up and said he would yank it out when we got home. And they did!

Hope it was a great day for you all too! At one point in the service we were asked to close our eyes and just sort of walk through those days leading up to the crucifixion, the crucifixion itself, putting Christ's body in the tomb, and then, and this part still gives me goosebumps, going to the tomb only to find it empty! What I have thought? Would I have believed it if I had been one of the fortunate ones to SEE Jesus walking around in the days that followed? I hope that I would, but more importantly, I KNOW that I believe it now! Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lil' man - you love to feed the dogs. You get super excited, say "unch" which means lunch which applies to any meal, and you run to the pantry to get the cup to scoop out their food. You go as quick as you can over to Chewie's bowl, carefully squat down and every so gently tip the cup so that you hardly spill a bit! You then go back and repeat the process for Hap, return the cup to the food bag and shut the pantry door. I am so proud of your accomplishment! You are also playing more independently now too - cars, choo-choos, etc. It's so fun to see you growing. You still love mommy, but are talking about daddy more and more (thankfully!) and you love to try and keep up with J and EK. You especially LOVE to be "side" - outside. If you could stay out all day you would be a happy boy:) Jumping on the bed is fun too as you say "duh, duh, duh" right before falling down. Peeking around the corner also makes you laugh. Actually you will repeat anything that brings a laugh from any of us. Our lil' hambone.
EK our fashionista. You love to wear "two,two t-shirts" and often they are not coordinated, but that's ok. You like how you look and that's all that matters. You coin your very own words like "Deee-licorish" and say the funniest things. When I was reading to you at bedtime, I said to Chewie, "you stink Chewie." You turned to me and said, "mom, sometimes you don't know. it' me. I toot." All righty then! Thanks for sharing. You are starting to show your bossy/sassy side, so we'll need to work on that, but you are a great helper for mommy, folding and putting away laundry, and dusting the furniture for me. I will miss you when you go to school next fall!
J -my BIG boy. I am so proud of your hard work at school. You have surpassed the goal set for you by your teachers and you are well on your way to 2nd grade. even though you still aren't crazy about school, your favorite part is recess, you are doing great! You love your friends and are super creative. You love to design waterfalls in the backyard (Bella Vista has perfect yards for this!) and you "write and illustrate" your own books. It has been awesome to see you growing in your relationship with God. You hear/read new things about Him and think on them for days before bringing them up in conversation with us. Sometimes it's months, and then bam, you come up with these thoughts that make me say "I'll have to get back to you on that one son."
Little peanut. We will find out "what" you are next week. In the meantime, I will continue to pray that you are growing big and strong, healthy and, in all honesty, that you are NOTHING like lil'man has been as a baby! Please be calm, cooperative, please, please, please, love sleep:)
That's all for now - I love you guys!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday: A Day of Rest???

Sundays are not particularly relaxing for me. The Sgt. goes straight from his shift to the church where he works until 12:30 and then comes home and goes to sleep so as to get up and go back on duty at 11PM Sun.night. What that means for me is that I have to get the 3 kiddos up, fed, dressed and out the door for worship by 8:50. Really I do this every day of the week (although Thur/Fri the Sgt does help somewhat) so it's not too big of a deal, except that after worship, I serve and we don't get home until 1 or so. Lunch is late, naps are always a question mark, and in general I am exhausted by 2 PM! I know that this schedule is primarily the result of choices that we have made, and I don't say this to complain. I have just had to make some other decisions to "make" the rest of the day a Sabbath. I have chosen to ignore the giant dog-hair tumbleweeds rolling by. I look the other way at the mountain of laundry that has some how accumulated since yesterday when I so totally washed every article of clothing in the whole house. I leave dirty dishes in the sink and I will often go grab a sandwich for dinner instead of cooking a meal. I'm not sure that this constitutes honoring the Sabbath, but it works for us for now. Hopefully when circumstances change we can rethink this day. As for our Palm Sunday, it started out with a miracle: lil'man slept until almost 7!!!!! I seriously was beginning to wonder if he was alive - I mean not enough to drag my behind out of bed to check, but I thought about it. EK slept til 7:20 and overall it wasn't too crazy of a morning. Both of the biguns wanted to go to worship with us which we occasionally let them do; however, this morning we walked into a dark, quiet worship center. Apparently, to prepare our hearts for Easter, they wanted to symbolically represent the light/darkness of Christ's life and impending death. Good to know as I try to stake out 4 seats for me, the two kids and the Sgt. Good grief. The scripture readings were meaningful, the music heart stirring, and communion always gets me. BUT, my dear children thought it appropriate to play air guitar and drums with the more upbeat songs and J found inspiration in the quieter music which he interpreted via opera like lip sync. Seriously. the Sgt and I spent the better half of worship firmly squeezing their legs/arms/feet in attempts to keep them still. They really weren't that bad, but I just wasn't in the mood. Fast forward 1 hour. Both kids are over in my hall as the 11 service wraps up. They are in the kitchen area, door closed, playing with J's resurrection eggs - or so I thought. J opens the door and shows me the TOP HALF of my cell phone. The BOTTOM HALF is in my precious daughter's hand - both looking as guilty as Judas. I knew immediately what had happened - she had the phone opened and was pretending to talk to who knows, he wanted it so grabbed for it, each pulled their respective ends and voila! I couldn't talk. I called the Sgt and said he'd better come up with a suitable discipline or else he would have locate his two eldest's grave sites in the backyard. Honestly I hardly care about the phone itself - it was the blatant disrespect for something that didn't even belong to them. UGH - can we say feeling like a failure as a parent. I know they just messed up - but seriously. So they have spent the entire afternoon in bed. They will come out for dinner, and then get right back in bed. They are miserable and I am smiling! Sick? Yes. But too often I feel like their disciplines aren't making an impact. So to know that they are getting this means alot. So I will take that sick satisfactory smile of mine, load them up and drive to get something to eat, cause it's the Sabbath and I'm not cookin':)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Can you hear me?

As I have embarked on the daily bible reading journey, one thing continues to come up in my prayer, blogging, friendships, marriage, parenting....the list goes on. I pray. I wait. I listen. And seemingly, nothing. No thunder claps. No signs from above. I just don't know. God's word tells me that he responds to our prayers. Notice I didn't say "answers" because I think that implies granting our requests. And I know that is not always the case. In the midst of this, I have come to weep daily for babies that I don't even know. This blogging world has brought me in "contact" with families from all across the US who are in the throws of illness/death/grief involving their precious children. It is sometimes too much to bear to read these stories. Then I stop and think - really? Too much to bear, for you? You who are NOT living through these things? Get over yourself and get down on your knees and do the only thing you can. Pray for these children and their families. In the same manner in which you pray for your own family and friends. In a conversation I had with some girlfriends last night, we discussed the notion of just how small blogging makes our world seem. It's like six degrees of separation, except on the Internet. One friend commented on how that makes her a tad uncomfortable -a bit too claustrophobic to know that only 2 people are between you and some random person in Arizona who blogs about her life as a STAHM. But this is where I find comfort. We are all so similar in our desire to connect and be heard. We want our stories to matter - to someone. we want to know that our lives, no matter how mundane or normal, mean something. In faith, we trust that God's plan for us intrinsically holds meaning, even if it requires a lifetime of quiet, unnoticed service. God notices and that's all that counts. But in our humanness, we so long for our thoughts to somehow be acknowledged. It's like when you meet someone and you just "click." You think, "wow, this person gets me!" We all want someone to "get us." And while in faith we know that Christ always got us and will always get us, it is clear biblicly that God designed us to seek relationship with others, and in doing so we have that deep desire to be known, here and now. I am blessed to have people in my life (yes real people) who get me, and love me in spite of that, it is also a blessing to know that I am connected to these families who are reaching out in faith, asking for prayers for miracles, prayers for healing, prayers for God to deal with them kindly in the grief of losing a baby...I thank God that He allows me to feel connected to His family and to be privileged to come before Him on their behalf.