Thursday, December 30, 2010

Parade of Poop.......

....has arrived at our house! My first clue was when I found Heidi with poop that had run down her legs into her socks and shoes. Of course this landed her in the tub which was fine with her. Shortly after the other two younger munchkins started with frequent trips to the bathroom. The only child in the home yet unscathed is Judah. Here is hoping his immune system stays strong! I found myself wanting to complain earlier and then I thought of Bethany spending weeks on end dealing with her cholera patients! I feel almost pathetic in mentioning the diarrhea at our house when it will not reach life threatening levels. It will just be a mild inconvenience to me and make really sore bottoms on my little treasures! But I don't have to rush to a clinic in hopes that I return home with my loved one. Lets not forget to continue praying for those in Haiti who are fighting for their lives on a daily basis due to the cholera outbreak. It is no longer making main line news but it is very real! And I will continue to clean up little children and scrub my hands! I thought I would upload a few of my favorites photos from the past week as a precursor to the Christmas pictures. Today was the first day in over a week that I felt like the kids were at odds and feeling restless. And some of that may be due to the fact that they have irritate bellies. We have had a really wonderful week!! Shane continues to support his Eagles even though they had a really shabby performance this week. He is a loyal fan!
Judah has of course spent lots of time drawing. Hard to believe we are on the brink of having a 10 year old in the house!
Over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we go!!! All loaded up and ready to head to Uncle Mike and Aunt Donna's for the festivities on my side of the family. They had a ball with their cousins and all fell asleep on the way home (except for Judah).
Eden wanted her own picture. I kindly obliged!
Heidi looking all sweet and festive even though she is wearing shoes that do not match! She refuses to wear any other shoes than those. I am not sure what we will do when they no longer fit. She seems a little young to be so particular about shoes but she is. The only other shoes she will wear are ones that are 2-3 sizes too big. That is fine as long as we stay home but that isn't always practical.
Stay tuned for more Christmas fun! After the parade moves on.....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Long Overdue

So.....the holidays are over and things are starting to resemble something similar to normal again. We have been having great fun without the extra demands of school! Although I got hit with some sort of bug for the few days following Christmas. Still not feeling swell but much better. I was so thankful Mark was around so that I could get some much needed extra rest.

Before I share all the fun pictures from Christmas I will give you a glimpse of how our Christmas day played out. Thanks to our very own in-house planner we had a detailed description of how the day was going to unfold. This hand written list will go down in the history of our family and will be saved in the archives. Just need to get the archives started. I will type it out exactly as it was written - spelling errors and all. The spelling errors almost make me twitch but it adds to the fun!

Christmas day.

set out cookies and milk. (for the Santa that no one really believes in)
one. every body wak up.
two. Judah holds the christmas day ring, once taired, everybody run's to there preasents.
(we made a construction paper chain to count down the days until Christmas)
three. get all your peasant's next to you, and your stoking, and get ready to look through your stoking.
four. once done with stokings, move on to preasent's once everyone is done with there stokings.
five. once done with preasent's, group hug and kisse's to mom and dad and thank you's for the preasants.
six. play game's.
seven. tell christmas story's.
eight. go to grandma and grandpa.
nine. whatch the grinch.
ten. snugel and tell if we had a good christmas and think if we are going to have a good christmas in 2011.

plan's :Judah
writing: Judah

And that my friends is how our day went down! We had lots of fun and our children surprised us with their gratefulness! Pictures to follow......Oh....and my spell checker wondered what just happened here!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Through the Eyes of a Child

If you are my friend on facebook you got the shortened version of this story last week. It tickled my heart and caused me to think. I was sitting with Eden and Tristan and we were checking the Reece's Rainbow websit to see how many children have found families since their Christmas sponsorship's started. Twenty-two children last I checked. So exciting for these children who truly are the least of these in the world's eyes to find love in the arms of a family!

As we were looking at the website Eden started asking if they all needed mommie's and daddy's. I told her that every child we were looking at needed a family. We then were looking at the children with an hiv diagnosis and she wondered again if they needed families. I assured her that yes....they were waiting for a mommy and a daddy. She started pointing at every single child and saying, "We can have her. And him. And him. And I want him. And I want her." You get the idea. The following conversation is what followed:

Tristan: "Eden.....we can't have that many kids!"

Eden: "Yes we can. They need a mommy and a daddy."

Tristan: "Eeeeeeyah!! We can't have like 500!!"

Eden: "Tristan! They need a mommy!"

Tristan: "They will break our house and step on us!"

I sat in between them with a smile on my face. Eden.....the one who acts spontaneously and Tristan.....the voice of reason! It was like listening to a married couple argue!

Yet....I had to wonder. What if more of us had child-like faith and just went for it! What if we responded to the need without thinking about all the what-if's? I am not saying be foolish but I think the whole concept of "using wisdom" can become an escape goat.

So how about it? Anyone want to adopt a sweet child this next year so I can tell Eden another one has a family? She has been telling us lately that when she didn't have a mommy and daddy she wished for one and prayed for one! I think she is just saying this since she surely was too small to even process these thoughts. But I smile and hug here anyway and affirm that God answered her prayers!!

Looking Deeper

It has been a few weeks since I wrote my post about weariness and I would like to say I have done better at letting go of things and rolling with the punches! But.....wait for it......I am still having to learn everyday! I am still finding my stress levels high, my frustration levels higher and continuing to wonder where the joy is hiding amidst the added activities of the Christmas season. A few things happened this week to help get my focus back in the proper direction. The main one being numerous talks with my man. He knows me better than anyone and he is able to listen to my ramblings and decipher the underlying issues pretty well. And were right on when you said in the moments you feel like you need alone time that what you really need is alone time with Him!

Bottom line for me: I place a lot of expectations on myself and I have too high of expectations in general. Can anyone else relate? I somehow think that since I have so much extra to do that my kids will automatically put the fighting on hold. I assume that I will be able to accomplish all the normal demands as well as all the extras on my "to-do" list in the same amount of time. And when the normal interruptions that come with having small children happen I find myself aggravated!

I am purposing to write some things down this Christmas season to revisit next fall so I can hopefully ward off the downward spiral. make things clear I haven't been a scrooge and I haven't had a bah-humbug kind of attitude about Christmas. I really like everything about Christmas. I just have been too worried about what I am forgetting and what isn't getting done to completely bask in the wonder in my children's eyes! This next week until Christmas day I am going to really try and pull back, take my cues from my children and spend extra time down on the floor doing whatever it is my kids do all day! And right now that means snuggling with my Heidi girl who suddenly thinks she is too big to be held much. Except when it is time for me to make dinner. Then I am the best thing that has happened to her all day!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Everyday Life

Real life sometimes throws unexpected events at you. And of course events that are perceived as exciting to children are seen as a complete inconvenience to the parents! Like waking up to find your house is on the verge of being an island! We went to bed on the last day of November after a long rainy day not even thinking about the fact we might wake to find a flood outside our door. But.....morning rolled around and this is what greeted us. Along with a small amount of water in our basement that was no match to my husbands mad shop vac skills!! I had to drive Judah to the end of the driveway since walking through the water would have been quite cold and messy. Turns out he would not be able to get to school since a mile down the road this was what would have greeted the bus!
Mark drove down to see why the road was closed and this is what he found. Notice the poor vehicle stranded in the middle of the water!
So what do boys do when they get an unexpected day off? Roll up their pant legs and ride through the water of course!
Keep in mind it was barely above freezing and Shane was out riding around in shorts, t-shirt and bare feet! With his feet in the frigid water! They came in and soaked their feet in the tub for a while after their bike riding shenanigans!
And just because she wears cute so well! I really wish I could convey how sweet she is! I sat with her this evening and listened as Shane told her a few times how much he loved her while kissing her cheeks! She is a blessed little girl with all the doting from her older siblings! Although she is learning very rapidly that Tristan protests very loudly any bullying on her part! So guess what she does? Takes whatever he is playing with and runs down the hall giggling with him running after her wailing!
I love little feet! Not quite sure I am done having little feet running through my house and soft cheeks to kiss! I am not making any big statements here. Just saying I am loving this stage with Heidi and wouldn't mind having to go through this stage again.
And the little miss with the gross nose! Sorry but it is hard to get a picture minus the snot these days! I am grateful for days like today when she lays aside her demands and embraces kindness! What a gift! The glimpses that all the days of training that feel like they may never end will pay off. We had some precious times of our hearts being knitted even deeper which is a continued prayer of mine. We have gone almost a week now without any potty issues which may require a celebration!
And then there is the young chap! And chapped he is! Check out his chin. Is that his chin? I am not sure what that is classified since it is between his lip and his chin. Maybe a chip? Whatever it is it needs cream everyday! Little habits are hard to break.
I have a few posts brewing in my head. One about expectations setting us up for disappointment as mothers. Another about giving with purpose. And an update on things with Eden. I am writing this down more for my benefit than yours. So I can look back to remind myself what is swirling in my head because it may get lost!

Monday, December 6, 2010


So this evening I had a small revelation of sorts. Nothing too major. Very simple really. I have been kind of moody lately and just couldn't figure out what is wrong with me. Lack of patience with the kids, wishing for some solitude, feeling like I am failing miserably as I attempt to navigate the intricacies of the many dynamics involving relationships in our get the picture. I have been feeling almost melancholy and wondering where my joy has gone?

Tonight I was walking back the hallway and pondering yet again why I was feeling slightly sour. Mark had the two older boys out at a gun shop (yikes) and I had the younger three. We were doing the whole bedtime routine and once again I was meeting some resistance. They rarely want to go potty since they are sure they do not have to go. I kid you not...every night Tristan exclaims from the bathroom, "Yup! You were right mom. I had to pee." And I want to say, "Big surprise" but I bite my tongue.

Back to feeling grumpy. As I walked back the hallway to help with jammies I quietly said in my spirit, "Why Lord do I feel so weary?" You can look at the day to day demands and see why I might be weary and tired. But even though I often feel physically tired this is a different weariness. It is the kind that settles into your bones. The kind that robs your joy. The kind that makes you begin to look at yourself more than others. It is a weariness of spirit. I realized in that moment that amidst all the demands of the day I have become too busy to seek out the source of my strength. I have been trying to accomplish everything in my own strength. A sure set-up for fatigue and a recipe for discontent.

In the same moment I remembered a promise that is given to me in Matthew 11. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for our souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I don't know about you but I find this promise to be incredibly life giving!! I have been trying to sort through daily challenges that seem plentiful in our home right now in my own strength. With what little wisdom I have gleaned. Apparently I am not very wise based on the progress we are making. Wow! I am convinced that having a "larger" family forces everyone to face their selfish carnal nature. Including the mother much to her dismay!

So I find myself this evening also banking on the promise found in Acts 3 which says, "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord." I am choosing to lay my sin of self-reliance down so that I may have it wiped clean and I can walk in the refreshing of the Lord."

This isn't an easy fix. Just like so much of life we need to walk things out and allow God to bring them to completion. I need to draw near to the Father, the source of my strength, the source of my life and rest in Him. This doesn't mean I sit idle and do nothing. It means I walk out the life set before me while relying on Him to sustain me.

Long story short....I feel renewed and hopeful tonight. I am grateful that when I seek answers He is faithful to meet me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World Aids Day

Truth Pandemic

Take a few minutes and watch this video! Spread the Truth!!

And watch the Nightly News with Katie Couric tonight to see Carolyn's family! God is doing amazing things through this family. Truth is being spread and it is in fact contagious!