Friday, December 31, 2010

This is EXACTLY what I needed to read this morning.

I found this quote this morning on a blog that I read. The woman who writes the blog touches my heart with her honesty about her life and the struggles that sometimes go with simply... living. As she writes about turning to the Lord with every bump (and boulder!) in the road, I'm finding myself really yearning for a raw hunger for Him and a need to let Him carry me through - especially as I am childishly realizing that I can't do it alone. I wasn't designed to. The following words put it into perspective perfectly.

"As this year draws to a close, receive My Peace. This is still your deepest need, and I, your Prince of Peace, long to pour Myself into your neediness. My abundance and your emptiness are a perfect match. I designed you to have no sufficiency of your own. I created you as a jar of cay, set apart for sacred use. I want you to be filled with My very Being, permeated through and through with Peace. Thank Me for My peaceful Presence, regardless of your feelings. Whisper My Name in loving tenderness. My Peace, which lives continually in your spirit, will gradually work its way through your entire being."

Sarah Young

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Word of advice?

Don't watch this movie when your husband is gone for 2 1/2 weeks, you're an emotional wreck and/or unbelievably worn out. Even if you've read the book and feel prepared. You aren't.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Carter Quote

While walking into Fred Meyer this afternoon, Carter grabs on to me and says, "Hold my hand so I know where to walk, Mom - I'm covering my eyes so I don't have to look at that darn GO DUCKS sign above the door!"

(Disclaimer: We *are* rooting for the Ducks next game - but that's the ONLY one. Ever.)

I try to sleep because when I'm awake, THIS stuff happens.

My week in bullet points:
(How do you do a bullet point!?)

My week in review:

- Christmas night we discover that the dog has fleas. No sleeping for me for days.

- Morning after Christmas, Jeff leaves for 2 1/2 weeks (hunting trip and then business trip all wrapped in one).

- All the while, the kids are on Christmas break and it's been pouring down rain. Every day. The pent up energy is going to be the death of me (if the stress of the fleas doesn't get to me first).

- Due to my flea paranoia, I vacuumed three times yesterday, did all the laundry, took all the bedding off the beds, bug bombed the whole house (after giving our 75 lb. dog a flea shampoo bath on our back deck in the freezing rain and giving him a dose of Fontline), and left the house for 5 hours with all three kids.

- I get home, vacuum (again), wash the floors, the counter tops and anything else I was concerned about (so, pretty much everything) and attempt to put the kids to bed on my bedroom floor in sleeping bags "as a treat" - they always ask to do this when Jeff's gone (which did not work well - at all).

- They finally fall asleep and I finally have a chance to relax after the long stressful day. I pour myself a bowl of frozen blueberries (with a tablespoon of vanilla coffee creamer mixed in - my favorite treat!), set it on an end table in the living room and proceed to put in a blue-ray movie to enjoy.

- Glass bowl (with the blueberries in it) makes a sound like a gun shot and EXPLODES all over my living room. Blueberries are everywhere. Shards of glass are everywhere. Tears? Everywhere.

- Kids wake up and come running to see what the commotion is all about.

- I do what I can only imagine any crazed, frustrated, stressed, emotional, and tired woman would do. I called my parents crying. Their advice? "Go to bed! There's no way tomorrow can be worse than today was!" So, I did.

PS. I just saw the "bullets" button to click on, so you have the real thing to look forward to next time. I'm sure you're beside yourself with excitement.

Monday, December 27, 2010

"I Might Have" Monday

I might have fed the kids cold pizza at 10:30am this morning and considered it both breakfast and lunch.

I might have walked past the picture frames hanging in our master bedroom and realized that we still don't have "real" pictures in them (they're still the pictures that come in the frames) - and I might have hung them up over a year ago.

I might have sat on the couch under my new electric blanket for three hours straight this afternoon with my daughter watching Anne of Green Gables. I might even do it again tomorrow later this week.

I might have discovered that our Labrador has fleas. I might have immediately wondered how my husband would react if he came home from his business trip to find a real nice goldfish instead of his dog...

I might have realized today that even though it's extra crazy around here (Jeff gone on a business trip, three energetic kids home all week for Christmas break, and trying to get rid of fleas!) that I am at peace in my heart.

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordess Wednesday (it is Wednesday still, right?)

Okay, I will admit it - I should never have a post titled "Wordless" anything because let's face it, I am not wordless. Ever. But it's catchy and I like it, so it stays even though it will never make sense... mmmkay?

These were taken today when I took the kids to my Grandma's house to learn how to make these little Danish bite sized cookies called... I have no idea what they are actually called. Grandma calls them "pepper-neuter." Grandpa used to call them, "pepper-neur," and all of us grandkids have always just call them "pet manure." Anyway, they are yummy. And a tradition. And I wanted so badly to learn how to make them!

Here are some precious pictures from our afternoon. I don't know who's sweeter - my amazing Grandma (whom I love and respect and hope with all my heart I grow up to be like someday) or my awesome kids who listened carefully, cut with real (sharp!) knives (carefully and under supervision!), and were so respectful the whole afternoon.

 Doesn't that picture (above) just melt your heart? Well maybe not, since it's not your Grandma or your kids - but can you see how it would melt mine!? Yeah, it's melted.

And if you've gotten this far, you have totally earned the privilege of knowing that Jack has gone potty in the potty for 3 days with no - I repeat, NO - accidents! He just decided on Sunday night that he was ready. And just like that, he was! Big boy underwear and all! My ugly cry did make an appearance the first time he did #2 in a toilet, I'm not gonna lie. This is the best Christmas EVER!

Actual conversation:

Me: I can NOT find my hand mixer attachments! Where could they be!?

Jeff: I have no idea... did you look in the "junk drawer?"

Me: I have looked everywhere! I guess the cookies I already made will have to do, I don't think I can make the last kind without the mixer things.

Jeff: You do realize that people have been mixing stuff with spoons for a whole lot longer than they've been using mixers, don't you?

Me: That's genius! I never even thought of just mixing it with a spoon!

Monday, December 13, 2010

"I Might Have" Monday

I might have put the kids to bed last night, sat down and watched a sad DVR'd Oprah show about a family tragedy, cried my eyes out, and then scooped up all three kids and brought them into bed with me.

I might have regretted it at 3am.

I might have regretted it even more at 5:30am when Natalie said, "Uh, what's wet?" and Jack says, "Sowwy, Mommy..."

I might not tell my husband I did all of that and it might be because Jack was sleeping on his side of the bed...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Really, lady? Really?

After church this afternoon I took all three of my little people grocery shopping. By myself. I was trying to keep track of all of them (they are prone to mindlessly wander) while at the same time trying to maneuver the over sized cart that a certain three year old promised he would ride in the whole time but didn't. While in the produce section, I caught a "glaring look" from a woman across the apple stand out of the corner of my eye. I tried to just shrug it off as I gave Carter the stink eye for rolling an orange across the floor to Natalie and then glanced at Jackson just in time to see him wipe a booger onto the underside of our huge cart. I looked back at the lady and nervously felt compelled to give some sort of explanation. Without thinking I just blurted out, "My husband is on a business trip."

While she's looking down her nose at my kids who are staring at her wide-eyed with their red juice mustaches and dried Sunday school glue still covering their chubby palms, she nods in their direction and straight faced promptly replied, "Well that explains a lot. I wouldn't think anyone would just volunteer for that."

Grocery store lady - wherever you are - I'm now feeling compelled to explain myself a little differently (now that I've got more of a clear mind). I feel blessed that I've got three amazing children to shop for and with. I'm blessed to have a husband with a job, even though it takes him away on these trips and it's hard when he's gone, I feel blessed that I can handle the home front calmly and completely collected survive solo when he's away. I'm happy that because he has a job, we have the funds to buy the groceries in that crazy cart. I'm especially blessed that today I was going shopping directly after church which means my heart and my mind were fresh with the reminder of the grace of my savior Jesus Christ - and it is only because of that fact that I didn't say the other first thing that came to my mind when a judgemental snarky lady ran into me and my crew at the grocery store and started staring us down. So, there's your "real" explanation.

You're welcome and have a nice day. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stuff I love... and not so much.

Love: That Jackson calls his elbow his "hippo."

Not so much: That sometimes I find myself unsuccessfully holding back frustration right before bedtime prayers as I beg through my teeth for my kids to "just be quiet because we are trying to TALK TO JESUS!" 

Love: That Carter has learned to read well enough to not answer me in words, but by verbally spelling out the words of his answer.

Not so much: That Carter has learned to read well enough to not answer me in words, but by verbally spelling out every. single. word. of his answer. Seriously.

Love: That I can be thankful for the fact that we (apparently) own enough clothing to put off doing laundry for two whole weeks and still be able to find something that doesn't even remotely "match" for the kids to wear to school. Please do not call the authorities if you see my kids today. They are well taken care of, I promise loved.

Not so much: The fact that it is now well into December and Jack is still claiming he can't sleep because the "faya-woks ah scawy" (as he has every. single. night. since the Fourth of July).

Love: That we don't have anything on the calendar in the evenings for the rest of the week, so we'll get family dinners at home four nights in a row!

Not so much: That our dog (who I often forget isn't even a year old because he's so flippin' huge!) has taken to pulling off Christmas tree ornaments and chewing them up when no one is looking. Hopefully Jeff's sweet Mother won't look too closely at the ornaments he "made" when he was little that are still barely hanging on our tree... oops.

Love: That (for the most part) Jack uses "nice words" (please, thank you, etc.).

Not so much: That when I tell Jack it's time to get dressed (or anything, really) he looks me in the eye and says, "No thank you, Mommy."

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 6, 2010

"I might have" Monday

might have turned 30 last week. (Still in shock.)

might have let the kids put all the ornaments on the tree last night and told them "great job!" only to take them all off and put them on in a more "balanced" fashion after they went to bed. Yeah, I might be that type-A.

I might have started Weight Watchers online this morning... Immediately after filling out all the "paperwork" etc. I might have fallen out of my chair when they calculated my "goal weight" at 129. I'm pretty sure I'd have a heart attack if I ever stepped on a scale and saw that number, which would sort of defeat the whole purpose, wouldn't it?

After I took the kids to the bus stop and came home to see that Jeff had already left for work, I might have  looked around at the aftermath of our fantastically fun weekend (aka: dirty-as-all-get-out house) and sat down at the computer to do anything but clean check my email and hop on Face Book for a hour and a half few minutes instead of cleaning... (That's why we have the 4:30 hustle, right? - Or am I the only one who does that?)

I might have worked out this morning for the first time in months - and even though it was "only" a half hour - it might have  felt like eternity HOURS to this out of shape Mama.

Happy "might have" Monday, everyone! Hope you had a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to.

My birthday was welcomed in this morning at approximately 2:30 am when I realized that my three year old's feet were wedged under my shoulder blades (when did he get in our bed!?) and that my eight year old daughter was standing next to the bed, mouth breathing over me trying to wake me up to tell me that her tummy hurt. Happy Birthday to me.

Once it was an appropriate time to actually be awake, I got up, made coffee, and decided that this was indeed going to be a great day. I have so many blessings I can't even count them all (although I should really try more often to actually count them) and dog-gonnit, it's my birthday!

Natalie came out of her room with a sly smile on her face. I asked her if she knew what today was. She stood there smiling and got really excited and finally exclaimed, "It's the first day of Hanukkah!" Not really what I was expecting, but honestly when you're a kid and it's not your birthday - you don't really care.

It will be a good day though. I'm determined to have this house spotless by noon (for my own peace of mind) and then go buy myself a non-fat mexican hot chocolate on my way to drop Jack off with my parents so that I can have a date with my amazing husband tonight.

Jeff will be watching the kids tomorrow night while I have a girl's night with his mom and sisters (YAY!) and then an Advent breakfast with my Grandma on Saturday followed by the civil war game in the afternoon (GO BEAVS!). Sunday we'll go to church and then pick up our Christmas tree, have lunch/dinner at my parents and then they will come to our house and we will all decorate our tree together and have cake and ice cream (because Natalie cried when she found out I didn't want a "party" for my birthday).

I got all of my I-will-never-have-another-day-in-my-twenties cry out this morning, and now I'm feeling ready to move on. So... Here's to thirty.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This picture just kills me. Zach took our Christmas picture (ugly Christmas sweater edition) and then the kids wanted a pic with him - what a good sport.

(Please disregard the previous two sentences so this can technically still be a "wordless" post.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Not Me" Monday

I did not tell my three year old that it's "against the law" to put milk in a water bottle simply because it completely grosses me out, because that would be mean.

I also didn't stay home on Black Friday and not spend a dime in attempt to rebel against the freakish amount of consumerism that goes on that day... and I  did not end up completely throwing that whole notion out the window the very next day by going out and hitting some of the not so great left-over sales...

After my "rebellion," I was not at all disappointed that I didn't get a Kitchen Aid mixer for $99 on Black Friday, because that would  be silly - especially since it would feel completely out of place in my "beginner's" kitchen.

I'm also not admitting that even though I want the Beavs to put up a good fight, I secretly do hope the Ducks win the civil war game this weekend (in college football - in case you're not a complete football freak like I am and don't know what I'm talking about) because I do think (even though it literally hurts to write this!) it would be good to see the Ducks go to the national championship game (no, it would be good to have the Beaver's beat them right when they THINK they have a chance. No, Ducks should win. No. - Oh, this is so hard!).

I totally can't believe I wrote that last one. Please disregard it. Wait, I didn't say it. Because I wouldn't! Not me!

And last, but not least, I am definitely not going to watch the DVD's I bought (to watch while I run on the treadmill) while I sit on the couch and do laundry today. Nope, I wouldn't do that.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I heard once that if your dreams are achievable without God's help then they aren't big enough. My dreams are not achievable without God. Not even close. So I have to wait on Him to move - and He's showing me that I'm not super great at being patient and waiting for His timing. When I pray and wait with no apparent, obvious or immediate answer I start to question myself. And Him. And I start to let fear and doubt creep into my heart instead of resting in Him and trusting that He did indeed bring us (Jeff and I - we're sort of pair, you know, "we are one" and all) to this place in our hearts and that He will see us through when it's the right time.

Man, that's a hard word, though. When. It leaves so much unknown. But it's not really unknown, it's just unknown to me. I need to be okay with that. I'm learning to be. But if there's one thing I've found out about myself lately it's that I'm not patient. Not that I haven't known that - not that I'm not reminded of that when I get my whine on every time I feel like nothing is going my way, but it's one area where I feel like God is really working on my heart (you know, in addition to the negativity - good thing He's God - it's a huge undertaking).

I do trust Him. I will wait on His direction. I will allow Him to soften my heart as I wait, even though it's painful, because even when it's painful for me HE is still worthy to be loved, worthy to be worshipped, worthy to be trusted and worthy to be waited on.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Not Me" Monday

When Jeff was cleaning out the garage this weekend it wasn't me who took a peek out there, mentally taking stock of all of his stuff and wondering how much it would sell for on Ebay (and obviously not wondering that about any of my stuff...). Not me!

I didn't hide any of the presents that Jackson got for his birthday while he was sleeping last night because they drove me crazy (making noises and lighting up). I wouldn't do that... And it definitely wasn't one of the presents that I bought him  - because buying that kind would be a total rookie mistake.

When my sweet husband was making the bed this morning (I know, right!? He's pretty amazing.) I wasn't secretly upset about it because I absolutely wasn't planning on getting back in it after the kids were on the bus and he was off to work.

I promise that when I saw the gift cards to Toys R Us that Natalie and Jack got for their birthdays just sitting on the counter this morning, the thought of using them to buy their Christmas gifts never even crossed my mind.

Jack most definitely did not have a cupcake today before he even got dressed and I am certainly not eating one right now (7:49 am)... Nope, not me!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It was an early morning this morning. Jack turns three today and Natalie turns eight tomorrow so they excitedly woke up before usual. I didn't mind, really. It was fun hearing them sing "Happy Birthday" to each other in Natalie's room and anyway - I was (am) determined to have a good attitude today (see post below) and simply count my blessings and press on with my heart full of thankfulness no matter how early I had to get up...

After getting out of bed, I started on my "list." I knew that Jeff was tired (he had an extra busy, stressful, emotional week) so I thought I'd try to keep the kids quiet quieter than usual and just let him sleep in a while. I jumped right into the things I had to get done. I fed the kids and the dog. I made coffee and did the dishes. I helped the kids pick out clothes for today (because I'm anal and controlling we're leaving the house) and then helped them make their beds (because I'm anal and controlling we're having people over later today). I finished decorating the living room and dining room for the kids' birthday party tomorrow and started another load of laundry. While I am doing all of this my husband is sweetly getting some much needed rest. Or so I thought...

As I'm trying to have a good attitude and be a servant to others so that I can be more appreciative of all the blessings in my life - I get interrupted by a vibrating cell phone text message - from my husband. He is in our bedroom. He wants coffee. (Insert negative sarcastic comment about pressing my buttons and his luck in one fell swoop here.)

Thank you Lord, for another opportunity to be a servant this morning. I am thankful that I have such a hard working, and sweet husband who can take a loving kidney punch like no other. Amen.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Speaking the truth in love...

I've heard that phrase a lot. I've never thought of speaking to myself that way, though - I've only considered it in some sort of confrontational situation (which I avoid like the plague naturally anyway), but it caught my attention as I've been working on claiming God's truth for myself lately and not accepting the lies the enemy would love for me to agree with him on.

For instance, I feel like I'm kind of a negative person - often I'm only able to see the cup as half empty and I hate that about myself. I also hate that I've allowed the lie to creep in that me being that way is "just the way I am" and then not do anything to change the attitude I have about it. Also? I can be sarcastic (something I don't want to change necessarily, but I do want to refine it) but I have allowed the lie to sit on my heart that to be funny and essentially heard I have to be completely negative. It's a lie though - and I won't have it anymore.

::Not saying here that I will never be negative again - hello, I'm HUMAN - but I am working on claiming what God promises me and what He has for me (which happens to be much more than a negative outlook on my life!).::

Here are some of the truth's I'm claiming for ME to change my attitude, perspective and ultimately - my life! (borrowed from Joyce Meyer's book "Me and My Big Mouth!") and where in the Bible the subject is discussed/referenced:

"I have been set free. I am free to love, to worship, to trust with no fear of rejection or of being hurt." (John 8:36; Romans 8:1)

"I humble myself and God exalts me." (1 Peter 5:6)

"I have a teachable spirit." (2 Timothy 2:24)

"The law of kindness is in my tongue. Gentleness is in my touch. Mercy and compassion are in my hearing." (Proverbs 31:26)

"I am always a positive encourager. I edify and build up; I never tear down or destroy." (Romans 15:2)

"As a man thinks in his heart, so he is. Therefore, all of my thoughts are positive. I do not allow the devil to use my spirit as a garbage dump by meditating on negative things that he offers me." (Prov. 23:7)

As I say these things (aloud) they begin to seep into my pores and I can feel God changing my attitude. Thank you Lord, for the promises you have made (all of us!) and for helping me to be open to becoming the woman you created me to be.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"NOT ME" Monday

I totally didn't buy ugly Christmas sweaters for the whole family to wear in our photos (in quasi-rebellion to the "family picture" we are required to send to all of our extended family for Christmas). Nope... not me!

I also didn't tell my son to "just go" in his pull up at the grocery store today because I just didn't want to walk (all the way) to the back of the store to the "family restroom."

Pretty sure it wasn't me who started the washing machine (again) this morning with a load from the day before yesterday (the third time this load has been washed)...

And I'm most certain that when my husband asked me this morning if we had a towel for his shower I didn't hand him a kitchen hand-towel because it was all we had clean.

I didn't laugh out loud when my youngest son said "poop" in his sleep the other night, because that would be immature.

I also didn't wash my car in the rain on Saturday, or finally be brave enough to try to set up my computer printer by myself after it being in the box for 13 months.

You know - just so we're clear.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lets go to the library!

I'm positive I'm the only one who has lived in a town for over a year before finally checking out the public library. Then, after randomly finding the time to spend a couple of hours there, I find myself leaving with six MOVIES (and no books)...

Oh, well.

[They had dress up stuff there! Hope no one has head lice because the Police Hat was a m.u.s.t. for this little guy.]

"Dith book ith HUGE Mommy!"

Monday, November 1, 2010

An angel, a queen, a fireman, and a monster-mouth... I mean, cowboy...

Last night was hilarious. We were laughing the whole night. Mostly after the appropriate allotted time following a time out (of having to "sit out" on a couple of houses) that our son had to go through. He was ON FIRE last night with his mouth - and we were... humbled by his behavior.

First house we went to (which happened to be our neighbors who we really like) Carter (along with his sister, brother, and cousin) gets his candy and before they had even shut the door we hear Carter yelling to us (on the sidewalk), "Hey! That guy lost his tooth! Can you believe it!? AN ADULT!!!" He is missing one of his front teeth. So very nice of Carter to point it out to anyone who might not have seen if for themselves.

We sulk away on our walk of shame to the next house as we are trying desperately to coach Carter (as usual) on not just saying the first thing that comes to his mind. Which, I might add is so very hard to do when both his Mom and his Dad are people who are generally putting their own feet in their mouths more often than not. This is also why our sister thought this whole episode was the funniest thing ever. Seeing her "little" brother get a taste of his own medicine. Let me tell ya, it doesn't taste too good.

Later we approached a house with a "support our schools!" sign in their yard. As the kids were walking up to the door, us adults were jokingly wondering (out loud) if kids would get more candy if they said their parents voted to support the schools.

Next house - Carter rings the door bell and, "Trick-Or-Treat! We vote to support local schools!!!" Apparently he heard us.

After a pep-talk about only saying "trick-or-treat" and "thank you!" Carter was thrown off by receiving a popsicle (really) instead of candy and shouts to us as he's walking away from the house, "What!?! This thing'll melt before we even get home!"

And then later as we were leaving a house that got bombarded with a bunch of kids all at once he says, "Wow! Bet we cleaned that guy out of candy!"

It will take a long year of recovery to be convinced that the whole trick-or-treating gig is a good enough idea to do again...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lately, when I drive the older kids to the bus stop in the morning it has been dark. This is puzzling to Jack who is a firm believer that when it's dark out, we are supposed to be sleeping [couldn't agree more, kid!]. Today when he and I got back, I got him out of the car and he immediately looks into the sky and exclaims, "MOON!"

"I see it, buddy! Good eye!"

"Wait, Mommy, I want to play with it!... Oh, no!! - God didn't make me wings! [pouty face] He gave Grandpa's pigeons wings, but not me! That's not fair! Oh, wait - I have teeth! Haha - pigeons don't have teeth! They don't get granola bars and I do! I don't need wings, Mommy - I have granola bars."

Thank you Lord, for the little things, like granola bars. And the big things, like falling in love all over again with cup-half-full kind of kids, even when it is dark out and we're all supposed to be sleeping...

::Don't pigeons have teeth? No? Either way, I guess I've never seen one eat a granola bar - so I'll just let that one go...::

Friday, October 15, 2010

Need Encouragement?

I sure do.

I'm fighting a battle against feeling down today. I have no particular reason, I just can't seem to shake this feeling. It is what it is though - and today, I just need some encouragement. So, I'm going to my Father who has given me more grace and mercy than I could ever deserve and I am looking to His word for the food my soul needs to be fed right now.

Maybe some of this goodness will touch your heart today as well.

Philippians 4:7 "The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

How amazing is that!?! The "peace of God" will guard MY heart! That's exactly what I need - God's peace. (Which, by the way, is a much more complex and perfect peace than quiet kids and a clean house can get me...)

2 Corinthians 4:16,18 "Therefore we do not lose heart... we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

It is so easy to get caught up in the moment. To live as if right now what is happening in my own little world is all that matters and to not be able to see past the heaviness in my heart now. God is complete. He is perfect. He will work around me if he needs to, through me if I would let him, but first I need to allow him to work in me... and to focus on His will and not just my will for the right now's in life.

Romans 8:26, 27 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

On days like this I literally don't know what to pray for. Knowing that he already knows where my heart is and how to heal it, makes me feel... humbled. And instantly better.

If you are having a day like mine - I hope this helps a little. You know - knowing that the creator of the universe searches your heart when you can't find words and that he will meet you right where you're at, because he's that amazing. My day totally just got better. Didn't yours?!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Being Born Female

Women are crazy, don't you think? I don't mean psycho-crazy, I mean comical-crazy. The second we were born female we were handed an imaginary free-pass to talk about anything having to do with our bodies and the ability to be presumptuous enough not feel awkward about it. Well, at least some of us were.

The other day I took the kids to the park after school. There were a couple of dads there with a few kids and one other mom with her toddler son. Her son was about Jack's age so they started playing together after a short time.

We started talking and soon found out that her son was a preemie and was almost the exact weight that Natalie was when she was born. We began comparing stories, and found that even though our babies were the same size, I was 35 weeks along when Natalie was born, she was only 28 weeks along when her son was born. I would have just chalked it up to different pregnancies, different circumstances, different things being wrong - whatever - and left it at that, but she didn't stop there.

In a loud voice (sort of across the whole playground) while she was helping her son down the slide at the top of the play structure, she announces to me (and everyone else, through default) that she thinks the doctor had her "period timing" off. She started in, "I told them from the very beginning that I didn't think it was right. They did that vaginal ultrasound, but I still think it was wrong. My periods have always been a bit weird, and the one before I got pregnant wasn't even a full on heavy bleeding period, like I usually have - it was more like spotting and it wasn't even bright red..." And on and on and on. It was hysterical. Those dads were trying so hard to act like they didn't - or couldn't - hear her. They were squirming around as they started talking in louder voices to their toddlers while they were helping them walk on the wood chips, "Good job, Toby! Atta boy!" - all the while not looking her direction, or mine, purposefully.

Women are so good at putting people in those awkward I-didn't-know-talking-about-that-would-make-you-uncomfortable type of situations. Sort of like anytime I say the word "uterus" around Jeff. I think he started throwing up in his mouth every time he heard that word when we were in the birthing classes before Natalie was born - and I've used it against him many times since then.

As women, we have the privilege of whipping out our "body-talk-badges" pretty much whenever we want, because we earned them... by being born female. So, here's to women everywhere who right now are conversing about labor, periods, hormones, forms of birth control, and best of all - uteruses.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sporting the Stretch Pants... Or not so much.

I wanted to whip out my camera so bad this morning when I was grocery shopping at Walmart ::gasp! Sometimes I go to Walmart!:: because I walked past what I would call one of my worst nightmares of the Jr. High years. The floral printed long-legged stretch pant.

I know that there are plenty of people who pull off this look (well - at least try and I'll give them an A for effort), but I am NOT one of them. And just for clarification, this picture is in no way a representation of what I would look like in these. Stretch pants do nothing for me. Nothing. Walking past that rack of hanging stretch jeans (and other atrocities) could very well have sent me into a full blown panic attack. Flash backs of high school kids teasing me because of my bold-colored matching zip up hoodie and stretch pants with the side pony tail and leg warmers about made me cry right then and there.

It brought back so many memories of the younger years (better memories than the teasing). Years of dying my hair with packs of powdered Kool Aid with my besties and dreaming of Bryan White and Jonathan Brandis (yes, I totally just admitted that). When my friends and I would have sleepovers that ended up lasting all weekend, every weekend. Then I started remembering things in high school, like basketball practice, and doing wall-sits until our quads were burning so bad it felt like they were going to start our shorts on fire. I remember not winning a single basketball game during all of junior high - probably because we were more focused on how good (or bad) we were going to look in our stretch pants at school the next day than the actual game we were attempting to play.

Anyway, crazy how one rack of clothes can bring such an array of mixed feelings and at the very least a million memories. What clothes link you instantly to a distinct memory from your childhood? Did it ever come back in style - and most importantly - did you wear it again the second time around? Dish!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This? This is what I wait all year for. It is called "perfect weather." Now, excuse me as I go heat up some apple cider and load Jack in the stroller for a brisk morning walk. Aaaahhh, bliss.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just another manic - I mean - AMAZING Monday!

Normally I'm not a fan of Mondays. Who is, right? But today - oh, friends - today was g.r.a.n.d. Seriously (and it's only 1:38 in the afternoon right now). Natalie and Carter had dentist appointments this morning to fill cavities (I know - sounds great, right?) and we were all a little bit worried as to how this would pan out but God is SO good!
Jeff, because he's so sweet, understanding, and dashingly handsome (okay, his handsome-ness didn't really have anything to do with it, but he still melts my heart. Often.) took the morning off of work to stay home with Jack so I could devote all of my attention at the dentist to Talie and Carter who were both freakishly nervous about the infamous "fillings." All the way to the dentist I was speaking courage into my children (as in: I didn't stop talking about how great they were going to do and how simple the procedure really was so that they didn't have a chance to talk and break down). To say they were concerned would be a major description fail for the mess that their lack of confidence was concerning the dentist's office, but somehow we all managed to slide by both tears and too many fears.
Then came the good part. Well, the first one. Carter's name gets called and he looked at me, gave me a thumbs up and confidently (not kidding. He strutted in there!) walked with the dental assistant to the back of the office and I didn't see him again until he came back out with his lips all botoxed up looking like an old man. He was smiling though (the best a small child can smile when they literally have no feeling in their face). It was so awesome - and adorable - and just... amazing! He did GREAT!
Next it was Natalie's turn. She was a mess. A total worry-wart, stress-case, couldn't-even-sit-in-the-chair-she-was-so-scared kind of kid. I thought Carter "setting a good example" might help, but "help" apparently was laughing at me in my face... Laughing hard. They finally decided to give Natalie some "happy air" (aka Laughing Gas) and lemme tell ya - that stuff works! Ten seconds breathing that stuff and Natalie was literally laughing so hard I was physically mad I didn't have my camera. Total rookie mistake. This is a little example of how it went (which was all Natalie talking as the poor dentist was attempting to work in her mouth):
"I'm SO not going to be a princess for Halloween. I mean, I know a lot of girls who still do it, but I'm not. No way! Nope. Not for me. I like being stuff that older girls would want to be, you know, because I'm older now (she's 7). Being a princess would be too babyish. Carter already suggested it, but I said no. Because I'm older. I'm not a little kid anymore. I'm way older than little kids are. So that's why I'm not going to be a princess for Halloween. Wanna know what I AM going to be!? A Qqqquuuueeeeeeeennnn!!!! Isn't that such a great idea!? Because I'm not a little kid! I'm going to be a queen! I know, it's great." ... and on and on and on. It was hysterical, and I felt like tipping the dentist because I was so impressed that he could actually work while she was non-stop-talking (and then I remember what they quoted me for the bill and all tip ideas were out the window).
All that made my morning. But it gets better.
I got home to grab Jack so Jeff could get to work and so that I could run the kids to their school (which is about a half hour away from where we live) and I walk in the house and it's spotless. Honestly - spotless. I was speechless (which doesn't happen that often). The whole time I was gone with the older kids, Jeff and Jack cleaned the house. Dishes, done. Laundry washed, dried and put away (all of it - and there was a lot of it!). Our master bedroom closet, organized, clothes folded and hung up. Kids' bedrooms all picked up. It was amazing. I am not kidding you guys. I am one BLESSED woman!
Oh! Oh! And a bonus (which I had been praying about for weeks!) - the bill for the dentist was cut in half (CUT IN HALF!) because the number they had quoted us was for an adult instead of a kid (and since the work was on baby teeth their number was completely off and they didn't catch it at first) so completely unexpectedly it was like a bonus 50% off your dental bill day!
YAY for Mondays! Yay for husbands doing thoughtful things to make their wives' day! And a huge, serious YAY for answered prayer!

Monday, September 27, 2010

PFPP Project

Jack is impossible. I love that kid so much - but really - he's impossible.

I can remember it like it was yesterday (even though it was 3 1/2 years ago), standing in the handicap stall of the Fred Meyer bathroom crying on my cell phone to my best friend as I was holding the positive pregnancy test, "This CAN NOT be right!?! I don't want to be pregnant!" And then slowly recovering from the shock over the next few months (especially when Jeff got tears in his eyes because he was so excited about the whole thing).

Then seeing Jack's beautiful little face when he was born and me crying over the thought that I ever cried over being pregnant with this perfect little boy.

And for the first two years, that's what he was. Perfect.

He slept through the night rather quickly, ate consistently (I finally had my first successful experience with nursing - YAY!) and he was just generally a happy, easy baby.

Then he grew an opinion. And it's vastly different from mine. For instance, I think that since he can communicate beyond the level he should be at for his age, he should be able to tell me when he has to go to the bathroom. And he does... when it fits into his schedule. When he doesn't feel like it he just doesn't do it - even if I take him and make him sit there for an hour - he still. won't. GO. He would pee outside on the grass all day long, but take him to a bathroom and he'll only go if he feels like putting forth the effort.

And the poop. Oh, the poop. He REALLY won't do that. We've started a new "project" with the kids (all of them). We set goals with each child (Natalie's is going to bed without whining, and making good choices at school that will keep her from talking during quiet times, getting off task, etc. at school - and Carter's is staying dry all night, and not arguing or throwing fits) and if/when they accomplish these goals they get to put a penny in their jar. When they get 14 pennies, we will take them to the movies, which to them is a huge treat (they get a penny - or not - at the end of each day).

Jack's goal is to go poop in the potty. He will get a penny every time he does it. He needs 14 pennies to go to the movies, and he really wants to go to the movies but apparently not bad enough. It's literally a no-go.

It's been 4 days since we started the Pennies for Poop in the Potty Project and he's the only one with an empty jar. He stands there every day while Natalie and Carter pick out their pennies for their jars and watches them sadly, but he just won't do what he needs to!

Seriously, you guys, what do I do!?! I could really use some input here. If you have any other suggestions for us, please dish. I'm at my wits end with this kid.

Oh, other things we've tried is a sticker chart, M&M rewards, taking him shopping for "big boy undies," setting the timer and having him try every 20 minutes, and he has a "little potty" and a seat that can go on the "big potty" so he has options. I've even tried putting him on the little potty in front of the TV with cartoons on and having him sit there practically all morning waiting for him to go, but he just held it in until I finally had to have him get up (because we had to leave the house). UGH!

Please give me some much needed advice all of you experienced Moms (and Dads!). If your suggestion works, I'll... send you a jar full of pennies.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Keeping It Real

"Soccer Mom"

The title holds different meaning to me now than it used to. Probably because I officially am one now. Before I had kids, I always wanted to be one. You know, the mom who brings all the healthy snacks to the games, gives other kids rides home, takes pictures of every event, is always on the go heading to one activity or another - always with a big I've-got-it-all-together smile on her face as her perfectly groomed kids run smiling into her arms right after making the winning goal for the game.

I'm not that Mom. Not even close.

You know the Mom who runs in late with 4 bags over her shoulder, a kid falling off her hip, and two more trailing behind still trying to get their shoes on? That's me. The one who's literally sweaty after rushing around just trying to get her kids to practice only to find that her son brought one soccer cleat and no shin guards. I'm the Mom who forgot the water bottles and her kids had to run in the school to use the drinking fountains for their water break (which apparently isn't cool). I'm the Mom who forgets the snack altogether and has to quickly drive to the market during the game to pick up some Nutter Butters and juice boxes. I sometimes forget sweatshirts for the kids when it's raining at practice and when we get home, instead of pulling a casserole out of the freezer for dinner (because there aren't any in there), I rely on scrambled eggs and peanut butter toast so we can do homework and hurry to bed.

I am realizing that my pre-kid vision of what being a "Soccer Mom" meant was a vision not yet covered by the veil of reality. I don't do it all. I can't. In fact most of the things I do I don't necessarily do a great job with. But I'm figuring it out, finding my balance, and trying, failing, and then trying again.

I don't have to be perfect. Trying to be perfect is not only impossible, it makes me not much fun to be around - at all. What is important is laughing, having meaningful conversation with my kids, knowing that I have a God who is the perfect parent - who is never late, scatter brained, or forgetful and who will help me simply do my best for my kids... because my kids are pretty forgiving even if I'm late, sweaty, and forgot the snacks.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Laugh It Off.

Boy, parenting is not easy. Ever. But, if nothing else, it's comical. Most of the time. In a lot of parenting situations I've found myself in I really could cry, but eventually (emphasis on the eventually) I just laugh instead. Take yesterday, for instance, when we learned that our 6 year old son told his whole class (plus his teacher and the aide in the room) that Jeff and I are "splitting up" because we "fight all the time" and that Carter (and everyone but Jeff) is moving in with Grandpa and Grandma. I know, right - wow.

Lucky for us (for some reason that just doesn't seem like the right wording for this story) they now go to the small school we went to as children (so most of the faculty and staff know Jeff and me) and his teacher went immediately to the school secretary to confirm or exterminate the "news." The secretary had no idea (but doubted it was true). Still, they prayed all morning - just in case. We do have actual family members who work at the school who could exterminate the rumors -but not before word had already spread across the campus.

What a headache. Oh, well. I'm finding out (especially as a parent) that life is one big learning curve. I'll probably perfect parenting right when my last child moves out, and all I will be able to do then (with my parenting expertise) is aid my kids with fantastic advice when they start having their own kids - whether they ask for it or not. After all, it's stories like this one today that the kids inflicted on me that eventually will make me a better parent and it gives me the right to hand out my opinion to them as often as I feel like it, so - children of mine - whether you take it or leave it, the parenting advice will be doled out. You can count on it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Well, would you look at that? The cup is half FULL!

Whew - what a week! First day of school for the kids, first day of "freedom" (with Jack attached to my hip) for Mommy, and then, two days later, first day of staying home from school sick.

We are all under the weather, so today we are "resting." I guess resting is a relative term when you've got three kids and a huge puppy in the house. No one slept last night and we are all on the grouchy side - but I'm determined to make the most of it. We're going to watch Sesame Street and have hot oatmeal for breakfast. We'll take naps and eat homemade chicken noodle soup and snuggle on the couch with warm fuzzy blankets. Doesn't this sound wonderful? Do you actually think it will happen euphorically? I know, right? I just laughed, too.

So maybe it won't be the perfect day. Maybe we'll all suffer from sleep deprivation and be on each other's nerves. Maybe we'll have a hard time getting anything productive done today - but I'm fine with it. You want to know why? Do you want to know the real reason I'm not in self-pity mode? It's because I had a dream last night (nightmare) that all of my kids had head lice. I woke up sweating! So, today will be a great day, colds and all included, because if nothing else - at least we don't have head lice.

Don't you feel just a little bit itchy now?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Unofficially Fall

Today was also our last "official" get together for the summer in the backyard. After everyone left we took down the tent over the makeshift picnic table, we put the bikes in the garage (school starts tomorrow plus it's supposed to rain), and picked up all of the "outdoor toys" and our backyard is now a sad, sad sight. I folded (squashed) the camp chairs and got out the stored bags they go in for the winter. Let me tell ya, putting those bad-boys into those bags is like trying to put a baby back in right after it was born. I almost had to give my chair's bag an episiotomy it was so difficult. Good thing it's a job that only gets done once a year - yeesh!

So, the kids go back to school tomorrow, which means I consider tomorrow the first unofficial day of fall. Fall is my f.a.v.o.r.i.t.e. FAVORITE! Yes, I'm that slayed by it. Really, really. I told Jeff that I could almost see the leaves turning colors and he instantly burst my bubble by telling me to take off my sunglasses and it would be summer again. Such a downer.

Either way, tomorrow - in my mind anyway - is fall. FINALLY!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Football Season! (I think I'm coming down with something...)

It could be an illness. In fact, I'm pretty sure it is. Today is the first day of college football season and I honestly could just sit on the couch all day and watch game after game. Jeff didn't go hunting this weekend (maybe he's the one who is sick) and I'm hoping that he doesn't expect me to do anything productive today - because I'm so not into it. Oregon plays at noon and Oregon State (who's better) plays at 4:45 (ESPN, baby!) so that takes up pretty much my whole afternoon.

Here is a list of things that won't get done today because of my love for college football:

- Laundry (although, that's pretty much most days...)

- Jack going to the bathroom in the "big boy potty." Getting him to do it is like pulling teeth already, and I don't feel like wasting football time getting frustrated trying to get him to do something that I have no doubt he will do on his own... eventually. (And by "eventually" I mean - "hopefully before kindergarten.") Maybe during half time or a pre-game show I'll have him try, but it's doubtful. In fact I stocked up on Huggies just yesterday so that him being in pull-ups wouldn't make me feel guilty. Yes, I'm that kind of crazy.

- Dishes. Doing dishes is a waste of time during football season. I might just break out the paper-ware. In fact, consider it done.

- Showering. If I don't shower before noon (as it goes most days) I will forgo the shower altogether. The family will suffer, the dog will suffer, but hey - it's a sacrifice I'm willing for them to make on game day.

- Cooking. Today, it's pizza, cold cereal, maybe - maybe - quesadillas, or if I'm feeling super sorry for my children I might pull out a frozen lasagna, but again - doubtful. Good thing they like goldfish crackers and granola bars... and even better that they can reach that shelf in the pantry by themselves.

- Lawn care. I think this can go unsaid, because it's pretty obvious, but yeah, I will not be mowing the lawn, watering flowers or cleaning up outside at all today.

Yes, we have a bunch of company coming over on Monday and yes, tomorrow's schedule is packed and we really have no other time than today to get all of this done - but seriously - if our company can't understand that my love of football comes before their comfort in our home then maybe they just don't know us that well. Maybe, they don't need to be coming over at all. Maybe, just maybe, we don't really need to be friends anymore...

(To my whole family who really is coming over on Monday: Just kidding! Well, mostly kidding.... please still come over.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's September - School's Starting!

Six days. I have a lot to do in order to prepare for the first day of school, but I just don't feel like starting. The biggest thing is to have the kids practice getting up at the time they will for school - and waking kids up when they would be perfectly content to sleep another hour and a half (at least) is just plain wrong.

This year, since they will be going to a different school, I will be driving about 2 miles down the road to meet the bus (last year the bus picked them up outside of our house - blissful!) so I have to have all of us at least bundled up with shoes on to meet the bus. Most days I'm hoping Jeff can drop them off on his way to work - but that sort of thinking might just be a coping mechanism to get through right now.

After going school supply shopping I realized that an hour of my life just disappeared and I'll never get it back - what a headache! Mostly because I didn't know there was a difference between a composition notebook and a spiral notebook. I also didn't know what protractors were... or where to find them because they weren't anywhere even close to the "elementary school supplies" isle. I majored in Sociology - yes, that's the best defense I have for not knowing what a protractor was and come on - they're going into the first and second grade, not high school! After I got all of the supplies I called my sister (in law - but saying that makes her sound less like my sister and we're about as "sisterly" as you can get) who laughed at me (like I said - we're sisters) and then said they probably will use the protractor - that took me 35 minutes to find - for maybe one "small section" of the whole year. Nice.

I'm not ready for school to start and I'm realizing that it really has nothing to do with what's left on my "get ready" list and everything to do with not wanting my kids away from me all day. They are so great - really - and I'm going to miss them! I'm so thankful that they will be going to a four-day schedule and I will get 3 full days with them every week - plus, well, they're just super stoked to go back to school so that makes it easier to let them. I just love those little monsters so much and I really don't know what Jack's going to do without them (seriously - what are we going to do!?!) but it will all work out. Somehow (thank you, Lord!) it always does.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yeesh. Really, really.

My day started well. Scratch that, actually really great - Jeff brought me coffee in bed and the news said it would only get up to 75 degrees today - tops! This, however, was fairly short lived. Jeff left for work, my coffee got cold, the local news ran out and turned to some morning show that claims to be "news" but is more of a mix of reality t.v. and some version of semi-warranted-but-mostly-useless-information, and then all the kids woke up. It was bound to happen - but you know how it's always too soon...

The next couple of hours went fairly uneventfully - I guess the "events" felt the need to cram themselves all in a small terrifyingly unsalvagable (is that even a word?) half hour right before we had to be out of the house - which they did.

I was in the shower and Jack barges in - I will never get used to not having privacy even though it's been m.a.n.y. years since I've had even a resemblance of what privacy should be - with a bunch of broken glass cupped in his little chubby hands. I try my best not to freak out, although my very best, when it comes to situations like this, does not turn out very impressive at all. I turn off the water (hair still soapy and completely sopping wet), then rush to get the shards of glass out of my toddler's hands. I follow him into Natalie's room and find that he's broken her "snow" globe (that has no snow but tons of glitter in it) and there is glass - let me rephrase - slivers of glass, everywhere. The kind of slivers that you can feel when they are stuck in your foot but cannot see the exact location of until the skin on the bottom of your foot grows over the injury, gets infected and then has to be "surgically" removed (yes, personal experience talking - a post for another day - plus I would have to allow Jeff his take on the story as his take on it is painfully different from mine).

So there is glass everywhere, a glittery water substance everywhere, and just as I usher the kids away from the entertainment that is the huge mess on Natalie's floor, grab some towels, a plastic bag and the vacuum cleaner and get to work, I hear the dog start throwing up in another part of the house. REALLY?!? This is about the time my wet, soapy haired head begins to feel like it's going to explode. And we have to be out of the house in 13 minutes or less. **Que the dun-dun-dun-DUN sound effect.**

I finally take a second (literally - only a second - as I have no more time to allot to thinking in this situation) and remember what my husband always says to me - despite the fact that it physically hurts my brain when he says it not to mention the pain it causes to recall it on my own - the whole, "Keep your problems small" bit and his, "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it" stuff. When all is going well, I couldn't agree more. This morning did not go well. This advice was not fun "food for thought," but it's what came to my head so I went with it. I put a smile on my face, thanked God for the blessing that no one was hurt and super thankful that where I had to be in 13 minutes wasn't to meet with the Pope, but was to be at swimming lessons - a little late wouldn't hurt (although I'm confident that given the chance to explain myself, the Pope would have been understanding).

In the end, we made it. Not on time (or even all that close - to be perfectly honest), but we made it and amazingly enough we all lived to tell about it. Even the dog.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

One Liners (part 2)

So, I just thought I'd share a few more one-liners because if I don't I will forget them - and really - who wants to forget these grand examples of model parenting?

- Yes, you have to use toilet paper!

- Sprinklers are different from showers. Please go put some clothes on.

- You're right, that doesn't work as a parachute, now go get some band aids.

- You can't find your gum!? Well, where do you remember chewing it last?

- The choke-chain-collar is a tool used only for the dog. Please go take it off your brother.

- No, playing games on the computer does not count as "exercise for your eyes."

- You can put your mouth on the vacuum attachment, but just know that if you do it's like putting your mouth on everything you've ever seen on this floor.

- "Gots" will never be a word. Ever. (Apparently I gots to have more impromptu vocabulary lessons during the summer...)

AND I have a "bonus" story (just because it's so darn cute!) that my Mom told me happened this weekend when the kids were at their house:

Over the years my Dad has passed on his love for the Native American culture to my children. They are fascinated by the culture and love learning everything there is to know about it. Well, I guess my Mom french braided Natalie's hair before church on Sunday and Natalie loved it (I don't know how to do it, so it was new to her). My Mom told Natalie that Indians used to wear their hair like that and apparently the look on Natalie's face was priceless (and now I have to learn how to french braid!). She then told her that Zach (my brother - side note: we were all adopted as infants) is part Native American. Natalie literally lit up and exclaimed, "Does that mean Mina's Indian too!?!" (Mina is his dog.)

I was going to say that I will be sad the day they grow up and stop saying stuff like that - but then I remembered that I'm a "grown up" *insert short joke here* and I still say stuff like that all the time. Pretty sure we're good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Dear Jeff,

Remember that one time when we were 12 and you broke up with me because I was too scared to kiss you? Yes you do. Uh, YES... YOU DO. Well, anyway, that was a long time ago. 18 years ago, to be exact. Now, exactly half of those 18 years I have had the privilege of being your wife (although, I'm pretty sure you only asked me after I assured you I'd gotten over the kissing stuff).

When I married you I had no idea (really) what kind of husband you would be (or what kind of wife I would be for that matter). We were young (only a few months past our teens!). We were in the middle of college. We were living with 6 other people. We didn't know what to expect - at all. But I didn't care. I knew that I would rather have a million unknowns with you, than have any other life without you. I remember being in premarital counseling with our pastor and him chuckling as he said, "I know you guys think you love each other now - and I don't doubt that you do - but you just wait. As time goes on you'll really come to understand what loving each other looks like." I think we're there (although I also think it's safe to say we both hope not all the way). I agree that when we got married we loved each other (duh), but really it looked very little like the way we love each other now. We have grown. We have ebbed and flowed into a fun, trusting, loving, respectful, God-centered marriage - and I am so proud of us (and thankful to Him) for that.

I am beyond thankful to have a husband who seeks the Lord. Diligently. I am thankful that you treat me lovingly, even when we are in disagreement over something. You are kind. Not just "nice," but really kind - like to your core. I appreciate that in all of the time I have known you, you have never called me a harsh name, not even once (well - at least not loud enough that I heard it) .

I honestly love being married to you. I laugh hard and I laugh often. I love that you are the spiritual leader of our family and you lead well. You are an amazing Dad to our children and I love raising our kids with you.

Over the years we have learned to laugh when we could cry, pray when we could panic, praise because we are thankful and love all the time. Thank you, babe. Thank you for growing up with me and for the promise of growing old with me. I have never, even for a second, regretted my yes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 like a child...

Natalie and Jack woke up before Carter did this morning. They ate breakfast and then started coloring a Bible story coloring book together. Their conversation made me feel like the proudest Mommy ever. This is what it was:

Jack: "I miss Jesus."

Natalie: "Yeah, He lived on earth a long time ago. God sent him so he could die on the cross. If he didn't do that we couldn't go to heaven because we do sins - that means we're naughty - but since he died for us, God doesn't stay mad at the bad things we do and now when we die we get to live in heaven with God! That was nice of him, huh!?"

Jack: "Yeah. I love Jesus."

Natalie: "Me too. A lot."

Oh my melt-my-heart goodness!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Just One" for the Week...

Natalie and Carter have been gone all week so it's just been Jack and I and let me tell ya - one-on-one-time is WORK (good/fun yet time consuming work)! I've been "playing" cards, reading books, pushing swings, helping with trikes, pushing the stroller, playing rock-paper-scissors, building with blocks, shaping with play-doh, hunting for worms, playing hide and seek, playing "puppy," and sometimes if I'm lucky, playing Mommy-needs-a-nap (and if I'm really lucky - a drink!).

Let me back up a bit (a lot). By the time I even realized that I had my first kid I was already pregnant with my second. Not really, Natalie was 10 months when we found out about Carter, but seriously - we blinked and we were headed to family of four (maybe it wasn't the blinking that got us headed there, but you get what I'm sayin'). They have always had each other - and they are the best of buddies. I don't know what one would even do without the other. They do everything together. Two peas in a pod. It's w.o.n.d.e.r.f.u.l.

When Jack came to be (which took us by complete and total surprise - I guess we were blinking too much) he just slid right into their group. To this day he denies that he's any younger than Carter. He knows he's two - but doesn't accept the fact that he's not as big as his brother. Natalie has been his little "other-mother" and loves to be the one he wants when he's sad. Carter helps Jack do all the "boy" stuff and they are really the best big-siblings that any kid could ask for...

...but right now they're gone. And this has been the longest week for us! I've had to fill Natalie and Carter's roles and I don't know what I'm going to do when school starts and it's just Jack and I all the time. I'm going to have to like - budget my time, and actually - dare I say - parent! Don't get me wrong, I "parent" but Natalie and Carter do all the grunt work. They are the ones that play with Jack.
I suppose we'll figure it all out within the next couple of months (and what I mean by that is that come September, I'll really start freaking out) and in the mean time I'm going to enjoy this week with Jack and spend as much time as I can just feeling lucky to hang with this awesome little guy of mine - and when Natalie and Carter come back I'm going to hug them like crazy and make them promise to never leave me again! Or something like that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

One Liners

Here are a few examples of my mad parenting skills via brain-candy-one-liners for your Monday morning reading pleasure. Don't judge.

"Seriously - you did not just eat that! That came out of the dog's mouth!"

"Do you see what parts of your body are completely under? Yeah, that's why we don't drink bath water."

"What exactly did you think would happen if you licked the floor when it had dog hair on it?"

"Nail polish is never an acceptable substitute for lip stuff. Ever."

"The grout between the tiles is not a maze for your markers."

"I know it smells funny, but standing in front of the muffler when the car is running is not a good idea."

"Just because you have the ability to fit that into your nose doesn't mean you should."

"Because there's no nutritional value in Play-Doh - that's why."

"Please don't use your brother as a jump for your bike. He said yes because he doesn't know what it means."

"The dog's water dish is not an acceptable place to wash your hands."

"This, THIS!, is why we can't own nice things!"

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's a conspiracy. I'm sure of it.

Sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep. I lay my head on the pillow and instantly usleless information starts flooding my head taking me on a thought-cruise that I can't get off of. So I usually end up turning on the t.v. to something pre-recorded, and it's usually TLC.

The show I've been hooked on lately is called "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant." Really. That's the title. It reenacts true stories of women who were pregnant and didn't know until it came time to deliver. I'm not kidding. After three pregnancies I find this hard to believe (given that I gained a monstrous amount of weight and had a 3 lb. 5 oz fun-sized bundle of joy) but it's real stuff - and apparently it happens more often than I would have ever thought. And there lies the problem. The thinking. After the show I can't stop thinking about all of the pregnancy symptoms I might be having right at that very moment and just not realize it. Could I be!? Maybe! Oh crap, what if I am!?! I proceed in the not sleeping and the thinking pretty much until morning when I get busy enough to forget about the possibility (always looming in my head) of being pregnant. I go about my day and inevitably end up at Target where I buy the basics + a pregnancy test. You know, because I have been feeling a little more tired lately...

I go home, (or if I'm honest about that one time - go into the handicap stall of Target) and take the test. Negative. Whew!

This leads me to the conspiracy theory. I can NOT be the only one who has watched that show and become convinced by the end that I'm pregnant. I'm sure there are countless women who have rushed to the drug store for immediate testing. I'll bet the producers of "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" are also somehow linked to the pregnancy test industry. They've got to be making bank off that show! It's genius, really.

So, for now I'm hanging up my midnight t.v. watching - or at the least I'm sticking to HGTV. The worst that has come from watching that was an incessant and immediate need to paint the door red. Pretty much, if you want to save yourself $9 don't watch TLC in the middle of the night, they're just out to get your money.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Paint, Pee and Post-Dramatic-Stress

I swear there are parenting classes that someone who has it out for me hid the information to. Classes that are meant to help helpless parents prepare for, prevent, and post-drama deal with afternoons like the one I had today. It wasn't even an afternoon per se - more like... 2 1/2 minutes. How could I go so very wrong in just 2 1/2 minutes?

I'll start here.

About 3 months ago I bought paint. Red paint. I want a red front door because our house is barely off-white with stark white trim and a white door. I needed something that would pop (HGTV lingo) without putting a huge dent in the pocket-book or require too much work. Anyway, I've been waiting - like forever - for 3 nice days in a row because apparently you aren't supposed to paint an exterior door when it rains because the humidity will damage the paint job - I try to learn something new every few weeks or so. When the nice days started (finally!) I was out of town and this week was really the first streak of nice days I've seen since purchasing my red paint. So, yesterday Jeff and I sanded the door (and by "Jeff and I" I mean Jeff) and prepped the area for paint and I decided today was the day my door would be red! He went off to work and I began to set up shop. It all started uneventfully enough. The first coat made me cry (as usual) and wonder why I'd even ventured a curious thought towards such a drastic change - just like the first coat always does. I let it be for a while to dry (and pray) while I got lunch ready for the kids (who were happily playing in the backyard).

While I'm slapping some peanut butter on some bread and slicing cheese and broccoli onto plates Natalie comes running in the house screeching, "He PEED on me!!!"

I look down and her shoes and shins are all wet (note: she's standing in the middle of my kitchen). "Get in here, Carter!"

While I am interrogating, uh - I mean, talking to Carter I find out that he was peeing in the backyard behind a tree and Natalie was riding her bike past and pretty much he just aimed at her to get her away - what do you do in an instance like this? I mean, really? Time out? Go to your room? Just say you're sorry and don't pee on your sister anymore?

Before I can even process a thought as to what to do with these two, Natalie comes running in the kitchen (again - and yes, still peed on) shouting, "Mom! He tried to help you paint the door!!"

While I was breaking up pee-fights Jack slipped out of the room and went to the open front door (which was drying) and decided to try a hand at slapping some paint around.

I now mostly despise red.

I'm not kidding guys - someone is seriously holding out on me here. There has to be a way to prepare people for days (or as in my case, 2 1/2 minutes) like this. So, here's my disclaimer: When you have a bunch of kids, stuff like this happens. (And yet, still it's all worth it... and I'm talking about the kids - not the red door. Although I do love my red door.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, big guy!

Dear Carter,

I woke up this morning to find that you are suddenly six. Just like that. It seems like it was just yesterday that we saw your little (squished - kind of old man-ish) face for the first time (it stretched out in no time and you were such a cute baby) - how did this happen!? My sweet, hilarious, passionate, feisty, curious little boy is six. Did you know that it takes two hands to hold up six fingers? That's a lot - at least it is to your Momma who doesn't want her babies to grow up this fast. We put your bunk beds together last night and you said you officially felt "grown up" now that you are sleeping on the top bunk instead of just on a regular bed. I know you were referring to the top bunk of the bed, but hearing my little boy say he feels "grown up" is not good when I wish with all my might that you would just stay small and young forever. You are such a blessing to us - really, really. You keeps us on our toes and you always have something you think is funny to comment back to any given sentence (I have no idea where you would get that from) and I love how when you have something important to say you'll put your hands on my face to make sure I'm looking you in the eyes and taking what you say seriously.
You're all boy, too. You love fishing and shooting your bow at targets. You love hammering nails, shooting your sling-shot and climbing trees. You find a way to turn anything into a gun (seriously - taking careful bites of your toast until it's in the shape of a hand gun) and most of the time you've got some sort of "cowboy" apparel on (leather vest, chaps, boots, hat, or holster). You love Bonanza and John Wayne westerns. You have the best imagination and seriously - you can't beat a good imagination these days, buddy.

Happy Birthday, big guy. Thank you for being the amazing boy that God created you to be. You're pretty awesome. We love you more than words can say and are so unbelievably proud of you!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I love me some pizza.

GREAT. Just great.

I can see that in the near future I'm going to have to throw a "Welcome Back!" party for the 50 pounds I have managed to lose in the last 2 years. Tonight I was introduced to the best pizza ever (and I love me some pizza) from a local market in the tiny town I live in. It honestly tastes like goodness in my mouth. I limited myself to a piece and a half, but it could have easily been a pizza and a half. I'm going to have to find a different way home so I don't drive right by it practically every day. Why, oh why does my close-to-number-one-on-my-top-ten-favorite-food-list have to be so quick to bake, so inexpensive to buy, and yet so amazingly high in calories?! WHY?!

I know that I should try to find a "reasonable alternative" that is healthier and yet still de-lish, but lets be serious people, are they ever really that good? And even if they taste alright, are they really a suitable substitute for something that tastes the same as what I imagine gold tasting like? It's like substituting ice cream with a slightly frozen 6 oz non-fat yogurt. Or substituting a Snickers candy bar with a Kashi bar. I can feel my taste buds all but laughing at me right now while I am typing this. (And Jeanna, I can hear you saying, "Oh, I love Kashi bars!" Stop it. They're not that good.)

So, here I go. Continuing on the journey of simply "making better choices." I've tried the pizza and now I'm moving on. And anyway, I heard once that "what you do most of the time counts for more than what you do occasionally." I'm going to bank on that and next time I will try my darnedest to drive on past the wonder-world pizza inside the mini-market down the street. I will be proud that I didn't even step on the brake (much) or embarrass my children by waving at the pizza (to recklessly) as I drove by. Progress? Yes. Give a girl a break, I'm doing my best.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Remember When...

- the kids' dressers were more than just an empty piece of furniture that the laundry basket full of unfolded clothes sits on?

- I showered before noon, daily?

- my son didn't get on all fours and drink water straight out of the dog's water bowl because he was trying to convince me that he was a dog so he wouldn't have to pick up the toys in the living room?

- I didn't wake up in the middle of the night to realize that my heart physically hurt because I missed my kids (who were sleeping right down the hall)?

- I didn't think about things like cloth vs. disposable diapers, life insurance, or bacteria on bathtub toys?

- my biggest worry was what grade I was going to get on an exam and not how well I'm doing at demonstrating the love of Jesus to my children on a minute-by-minute basis?

- it would take three days to fill the dishwasher up enough to run a full load?

- I didn't have a daughter who was old enough to ask about "how babies are born?"

- the books on the bookshelves in our home were stacked vertically and not horizontally?

- the thought of buying new furniture wasn't such a joke?

- I couldn't make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with my eyes closed?

- my purse was filled with lip gloss, breath mints and bronzer instead of Desitin, sunscreen and bandaids?

- the thought of driving a car with more than two doors made me feel old?

I can remember when my house wasn't as messy, my hands weren't as full, and my heart wasn't as breakable, but I still wouldn't trade now for anything.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Deer babies and DHS (Sometimes I come a bit too close to crazy)

This weekend was wonderful. Jeff was back in town and we got to enjoy the sunshine and spend some time outside - and besides Carter stepping on a nail that punctured the bottom of his foot and Jack getting a tick embedded in his skull - it was mostly uneventful.

Not much out of the ordinary happened (besides said injuries), but the following paragraphs will explain why my husband will never let me forget what, in his opinion, was one of the "highlights" of the weekend.

We live about 20 minutes outside of town so it's a nice drive and sometimes (actually pretty often) we get to see some wild life in the fields on our way. Jeff spotted a doe (a deer. A female deer) on the side of the road and I gasped as I saw her along with her two spotted babies. "TWINS! She has twins!" Anyone who has known me for long knows that I've prayed for twins every time I found out I was pregnant. Admittedly there are times when I get overwhelmed with the three kids I have, but if I knew I could have twins I'd be all for getting preggo again. Right now. Anyway, back to the story. The kids and I are super excited to see the deer and as we get even closer Jeff says, "Wait, look! She's got three babies!"

This is where I sort of lost it. I admit now that I was being a little (a lot) dramatic and it's ridiculous, but pretty much - embarrassing as it is - this is the tangent I went off on:

"WHAT!? She's got THREE babies!?! Why does she get triplets when I didn't even get twins? Look at her all smug-like just walking around with them, showing them off to everyone who wanted but never got multiples - Who does she think she is?" And possibly some other stuff about calling DHS because she was walking all of her babies on the railroad tracks (hello! Safety violation!), but you already get how unreasonable I was from the little bit I shared.

In my defense.... okay. I've got nothing. I was in a jealous rage over a deer-mom who had what I thought I always wanted (wait - three deer babies?? - mass confusion). I'm over it. Really. But I'd still have twins if I could. People-twins, not deer-twins, just to be clear.

Oh, and Jeff canceled my pre-scheduled DVR recordings of "Make Room for Multiples" on TLC just to help tone down the crazy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting emotional over grapes. (Yes, you read that right. Grapes.)

It is possible that I'm being slightly emotional. It's been known to happen. But this morning I woke up and was just sort of having a hard time. Jeff left at 3:45am to catch a plane for a business trip until Friday and the kids came storming in my room fairly early ready to start the day, so I did what any (admittedly) "normal" stay at home mom would do during the first "official" week of summer (and will probably do every week of summer that her husband is gone on trips). I gathered the kids and lined them up snuggly in my (now mostly empty) king sized bed and I turned on PBS kids cartoons so that I could sleep another hour. Pure bliss.

Sounds like a good start, right? Well, that start was pretty great but it doesn't count because I barely remember any of it. The part I do remember is Jack walking up to me when I was attempting to make a pot of coffee, which was a rookie mistake on his part; you don't whine to mommy until after she can smell coffee brewing (he knows that too, it's the part we stress the most in orientation). He was practically falling on the floor in frustration. I mean this kid was frustrated. Mad like I had never seen him mad before (and he is perfectly capable of getting mad). He kept saying, "Help me, Mommy! HELP!" I was looking down at him trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with him, but I could see nothing. I finally got him calmed down enought to get him to talk to me. He shrugs his little shoulders as a surrender and opens his hands.

In one hand he has a little vine of grapes with exactly seven grapes still attached to it. "Do you want Mommy to help you take those off so you can eat them?" Met with, "Nooooooo!" I finally pry the other hand open to find one single small lonely grape all but mashed in his chubby little palm. "This, Mommy! Help with this!" He was trying to put the grape that apparently fell off the vine back on. "Mommy, pplleeaassee!" The pathetic little look on his face showed how very badly he wanted this grape back on and I have never felt more useless. There was literally nothing I could do. I couldn't put the grape back on. I couldn't "fix" it. I am not super-mommy today.

Like I said before, probably (obviously) an over emotional morning. Seriously, am I really going to be mad at myself that I can't magically put a grape back on it's vine? This was the first of many times that I won't be able to fix it for him and the first of many that I will watch him slowly and simply "get over it." Maybe I should take note from him, and start doing exactly that.