Saturday, November 27, 2010

Between My Fingers

Is there not something in us that wants to grab life, literally, and rub it between our fingers?  To know that it's real and tangible.  When love passes from one person to another, we look around for someone else to nod there heads in agreement.  No, you are not mistaken.  That did just happen.  You witnessed love.  In this crazy life we lead right now, it is too easy to miss those times.  Between the siblings bickering over whose air was being touched (no I'm not kidding, they really did fight about air,) and the rushing around to feed 6 people and 4 pets (no I didn't miscount, there is a new stray that decided that we looked like ginormous suckers, and we are) it is far too easy to blink.  And miss it.  Or more likely, to be distracted and miss it.  I have been making a concerted effort to spend a bit of time each day with each child.  This seemed like such a novel idea at first.  We're home most days, all day long, so it shouldn't be too hard, right?  Well, again between meal-making, home-schooling, and life-sharing it is a bit challenging.  But oh so rewarding.  Jack responds immediately to a small kindness in words and hugs.  Ella-Kathryn wants to share her giggles about the newest book she's reading, or hatch a plan for some fun day together.  Will, oh Will, is about the most complex little 3 year old I've ever met.  So silly in one minute and spewing hateful words in the next.  Every morning I find a new wrinkle around my eyes and new grays in my hair.  Because of that boy, I'm sure.  And Ryan.  Oh my.  If we meet somewhere and you call my name and I don't respond, please know it's not because I'm ignoring you.  I've merely gone deaf.  In both ears.  Because there is a small boy in my life right now whose lungs were apparently not at all damaged or weakened by his stay in the NICU (and we are truly grateful for that although some minor damage might not have been frowned upon.)  Whew that one has a temper too.  Have not one iota of a clue as to which parent passed on the angry gene. 
To recap:
I am trying.
They have noticed and responded kindly.
With His grace we will keep on keepin' on.

Some turkey day shots.
Not sure what this face is.  This was Thanksgiving morning.  He got himself dressed, Mr. Preppy:)  He's helping me make puppy chow.  That stuff is manna from heaven thank you very much.

On the way to Thanksgiving dinner. 2 out of 4 napping.

This picture just makes me laugh.  Jack looks particularly thrilled to be there.  I will say that he was enjoying himself up until the moment I said "everyone look at mommy!"  To which he responded, "
a picture at Lowes?????"   Will was making another odd face.  Ryan is doing "cheese" and Ella-Kathryn makes me think that perhaps 1 out of my 4 children might turn out normal.

Ah, the annual placing of the star on the Christmas tree tradition.  Will's turn this year and I cropped my double chin right on out of this shot:)

Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I missed my dad, sis, and extended family dearly!  But I ate myself into a starch-induced coma and then after shopping from 12:30 AM til 2 AM Fri morning, I went to bed last night at 9 and because I married the dearest man ever, slept til 9 this morning.  Yes you read that right - I slept for 12 hours people!  Sadly other than some random tidying around the house, I  have nothing to show for that amazing amount of sleep.  Perhaps I'll be able to regale you with a tale of horrific insomnia tonight though...
PS**** A funny to end on.  We have never said that Mr. Claus was real.  We would always just ask our kids what they thought and then reiterate how the tradition started.  We figured no harm done in letting them figure it out themselves etc.  So, at Thanksgiving dinner, I guess Santa became the topic of conversation at the kids' table.  Not sure of the details, but we heard Jack say something about it and thought it wise to call him into the dining room to remind him that not all of the children there were aware of the 'truth' of Santa.  Thank goodness we did, because we were told then that our oldest nephew may still believe it and definitely the younger nieces did.  Whew.  Close call.  So Jack was cool with keeping it under wraps and promised to scurry in and tell Ella-Kathryn (who decided for sure this year that is was a nice "story, but not real") to keep it on the DL about St. Nick.  But before he turned to relay the message to his sis, in a moment of preciousness that we will never forget, Jack glanced over at Jeff, then looked at his Grandma and said with a toss of his head in her direction, "Do they know?" 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2 Parter

We had a busy day yesterday.  Nothing in particular, just busy.  Good busy.  Then after naps, I loaded up the kids and we went over to K's house to visit with her and M came too with her daughter.  The kids acted like kids, meaning we had to stop talking every 3.4 minutes to redirect.  Even the big kids:)  But I so enjoyed that time.  Right before the craziness of the "holiday" season.  Just a couple of hours to check in with each other and be reminded that these women love God, their families, and miracle of all miracles, me! 
A bit after 5 we were getting our stuff together to head home.  K's parents were stopping by to drop a few things off and it happened that they arrived as we were leaving.  We all hugged and visited for a minute.  Then we got in the car and decided to run into Allen's to grab a few things for an easy dinner.  We got a spot right in front - the store is in a strip mall so there are some spots that face the front of the building and aren't really out in the parking lot.  We were on the very end, but there were cars parked the rest of the way down to the store.  We got our stuff, the kids were great, Max gave them lollipops, and then a young man pushed the cart out for us.  Ryan was in the cart, the other 3 were walking a bit ahead of me.  A bit.  We passed the first 5 or 6 cars parked before ours.  I noticed that the car that was parked next to us was gone.  I saw Will start to run towards our car.  I saw him run in between the parked car and the cement parking stop.  I saw him illuminated by headlights.  I screamed.  I ran.  I grabbed him up and hugged him.  Hard.  I said thank you Jesus over and over.
The man driving the car said he saw him.  His wife did too.  They were very kind.  Thank God they were driving slowly. 
Later, after dinner and after Jeff had gotten up, I was in my closet getting changed for bed.  It was if I had been punched in the stomach.  It all just hit me.  K's mom.  Alive.  Delivering homemade cinnamon rolls.  K and I talking about her parent's anniversary.  M's parents coming for Thanksgiving.  Hugging K's mom.  K getting to talk to her mom on the phone.  Will almost getting hit by a car.  I stood there and sobbed.  The can't catch your breath kind of cry.  Doubled over, but trying to be quiet cry.  There was no one moment of conscious thought: "I miss my mom."  Rather, it was like swimming the wrong way all day in a Rip current only to finally succumb out of sheer exhaustion, to be pulled under completely.  And it feels kinda good.   The letting go.  Just to not have to fight it anymore.  The good news is that it passes.  The bad news is that I know it will come again. 
This is not meant to be a post of sadness.  Instead, it's a reminder that losing someone we love will bring about an entire spectrum of emotion for which we don't have words.  It's joy in the life that we got to live with them.  It's disbelief that they're gone.  It's an aching for the years that stretch ahead without them.  It's hope that we'll see them again. 

Monday, November 22, 2010


*******Pause the music at the bottom first...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not Forgetting

I was going to label this post "Remembering" but really is much more appropriate to say that I just don't want to forget!  Here are some of those things:
  • While playing with his buddy J, Jack had a chance to witness to him. J's questions involved not being sure if he believed in God since he couldn't see him, and not understanding how Christ really could have risen after 3 days.  Wow!  Great questions and while Jack admitted he struggled to convey what he thought were the answers, I couldn't have been prouder that he stepped up and tried to help walk his friend through those difficult areas of faith.  This prompted some good discussion with Jack and has put me on a path to find some material on apologetics for kids.  (Any help would be greatly appreciated!)
  • Will & I were in the restroom at church this morning, and after I helped him go, it was my turn.  Normally I make the boys turn around if we have to share a stall or whatever, but we were running late and I just forgot.  So as I stand up to get myself put back together he asks me "mom, do you have a penis?"  Ha!  I explained that only boys have penises, to which he replied "so just me, daddy, and Jack?"  I added "and Ryan" and he parried "not you and sissy!"  Smart kid, no?
  • Ryan said "La La" for the first time tonight while skyping Aunt La La!
  • Ella-Kathryn said she was scared and concerned that when she turned 7 people (by which I'm sure she meant her brothers) would come into her room and make it messy and that at that time she would always want it to be neat.  What in the world???
  • At one point this afternoon Will called me into his room in a voice that kind of worried me.  I ran in and found him standing in his underpants (shocker I know) with a pair of children's scissors in his hand.  Now we have little kid scissors and big kid scissors and these were not the little kid ones.  I was about to reprimand him when I really looked at his face.  He was scared.  I asked him what was wrong and he said he had cut his bear (stuffed animal.)  I started giving the bear the once over and asked Will where he cut him.  He so timidly pointed out the very end of the ribbon that is tied around the bear's neck!  Poor boy thought he was in for it!  Thankfully that's all that was cut and he was not injured in the process.  I did have to remind Jack that he cannot leave the big kid stuff out when we have so many little hands around the house:)
  • Ryan is doing such a great job of falling asleep on his own!  For those of you who know us well, you know this has only happened with one of our other kiddos.  We are loving it!
  • Will wakes up almost every night and wants to get in bed with us.  I am usually too tired to fight it, and quite frankly as I look at my sweet Jack who's about to turn 9, I am only too glad to let this little one to climb on in.  He does, however, talk and often yell in his sleep which can make for an interesting wake up call.  Sadly he has called out "no mommy no" more than once:)
  • If I could find a Lightening McQueen pocketknife for my 3 year old, I would be his hero forever.
  • EK and I got to do a bit of shopping on our own last week.  She needed some shoes and tights and we really had a good time just the 2 girls.  It reminded me of how much more intentional we need to be with a bit of one-on-one time with the kids.  She is such a grateful little girl, always thanking us for things/food/clothes/etc. 
  • Oddly, Will is the most thankful child.  He is always the first to pipe up and say thank you.  So sweet coming from that little person!
  • The kids have not been in public school in 5 months and even though there are some excruciatingly challenging days, I cannot imagine them being gone for 8+hours a day any time in the near future. 
  • Jack was helping Will get dressed the other day and he was frustrated with Will's unwillingness to put his legs in the right leg holes.  Jack hollered, "Use the brains God gave you man!"  I have no idea where he may have heard that little gem...
Ok, so those are just  few.  As I read Building a Foundation for Your Child's Faith, but Dr. Larry Stephens, I have been so convicted in the area of my own lack of self-control.  I fly off the handle far too quickly.   I am too quick to anger over the silliest of things.  This book has helped point me back to the truth that I cannot do this in my own strength and only if I am modeling the Fruits of the Spirit can I ever hope to draw my children close to God.  And only in this way can I hope to show them how God loves them with an ever-forgiving, always-loving Father.  I'm only half way through, but so far it's been a good read.  Off to be now to read another good book, Bloodroot, by Amy Greene.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Escape Artist

There is a little person in our house who desperately wants to join his siblings outside.  When he hears the garage door open, he comes crawling or scooting as fast as he can in an attempt to make it to the door before it's slammed in his face.  Bless his heart.  He tries!  Today, as I was on the phone and the older 3 were outside, I looked over and noticed that Ryan had pulled himself up to standing at the front door.  I ran over and took one picture, which led to the others.  As I took the first he made his "cheese" face and said "cheee," but i missed it.  So of course I had to stay and take the others!  It was really cute as he then stayed there knocking on the door, waving, yelling "Jack" and "Hi" and made it perfectly clear that he was not happy to be on this side of that door!
Yes, I did roll up the bottom of his pants after this.

That face!

Cheeeeeeeee!  I guess he closes his eyes in anticipation of the flash?

Yeah, these two are just waiting for him to figure out that door!

Thank goodness this particular door is really tight and hard to open.  Unfortunately the others are not, so it's only a matter of time...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall Blessings

1. Little one's who eat.  A lot.  This was a bowl of that homemade minestrone-style soup.  He ate 2 full bowls!

2.  A little fall banner I picked up on clearance some time back.  For a couple of bucks it makes me smile and serves as a reminder to do just what it says!

3.  Little boys who have learned how to throw fits.  I know I shouldn't classify this as a "blessing" but really it's so cute and we're truly grateful that this little guy is even around to throw fits!  During this particular one, Jeff had set him down to go grab something out of another room.  Ryan apparently did not approve and crawled over to this rug in front of the kitchen sink, laid his head down, and screamed while alternately yelling da da:)

3. Siblings who really like each other.  For the most part these kiddos enjoy life together.  Here's Ryan getting a ride in the wagon - I did have to remind Jack to slow down about 50,000 times:)

4.  A new deer blind - here's to hoping it's a bountiful season!

5.  Kids who enjoy music - in their underpants!  I tell you what - this guy seems to be in his skivvies quite a bit.  Looking back at pics, we've got several of him in his unmentionables!  He was rockin' out to Rock Band.  Just wish I had thought to capture it on video too. 

Today my friend H is having her 4th so we're praying for her family!  She is an amazing mom to 3 already, so I know she's going to rock as a momma of 4:) 
Jeff is sleeping now but has to rise earlier than usual to head out for night qualifying (shooting at night.)  Praying for a sure and steady hand for him!
Homeschool work is done for the day.  Getting ready to put Will down for his nap.  Ryan's asleep already, and if I can convince the 2 biggers to head out for a bit, I might get a few minutes to myself:)  That would definitely be a blessing to be counted!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Moment of Silence

A moment of silence, if you will, for Jeff has sold his beloved Bronco.  As his wife I am literally crying over this.  He's fine.  Sad to have had to make that decision to sell it, but he's not upset like me!  I just hate that he's had to give up something he wanted since boyhood.  But the key here is that it is just a thing.  I am so proud of this man.  I am so proud of his example to our children.  As we work our way of the debt we've incurred for various reasons, he has chosen to rise above his wants, to put aside what the world says he should rightly have "because he deserves it!" and has chosen to put our family and our future first.  But for now, if you will, bow your heads...
Note:  I know how ridiculous this sounds in light of Veteran's Day:)  To my dad and Jeff's dad, and to our grandfathers before who served with honor and bravery, we thank you!

Blustery Day

Dear cloudy, windy, November day,
     You are too warm for my liking, although I prefer not having to run the heater, so I will take the milder temps for now.  Your mostly cloudy day has stirred deep within my soul a desire to eat baked goods.  Many, many baked goods.  I made a pie to celebrate November's coming - that's how desperate I am for sweets.  That and we've been watching Little House on the Prairie, and by golly that Ma makes a mean apple fritter, or so says Pa, which means I really needed to see if I too could make a tasty fritter.  According to my children I can:)  OK, so back to this Nov. day.  You are so windy that it makes my baby boy catch his breath when he's on the swing that he loves so.  Will looks ten times more adorable running across the leaf covered yard, his hair swooshed to one side, then swooshed back into his eyes.  That reminds me, he needs a haircut. Oops, stay on track.  Did I mention that this weather also makes me want to curl up on the couch with and read?  Yeah, that doesn't really mesh with 4 children under foot.  I made a big pot of soup the other night. It was delicious and you should all try it!  I omitted the meat, just used the beans and pasta and it was still very filling.  Pasta e Fagioli from  Go.  Cook.  Eat.  Then make dessert and eat that too so I don't feel like I'm all alone in my journey towards a diabetic coma.