Thursday, December 18, 2014

my thursday.

A long time ago, Chris and I decided not to put any Christmas presents under our tree until the kids were asleep in bed on Christmas eve. Why? Not because we were trying to keep the story of Santa alive, or because we wanted to keep the number of presents a secret till Christmas morning, but because we’ve always had little children who liked to unwrap gifts. 
Imagine what would happen if some of the Littles were left alone in our front room with stacks of presents staring them in the face. To say they would be tempted is an understatement. If we wanted to keep our gifts wrapped and looking nice then it would have to wait till the kids got a little older. Until now... 
For the past two weeks, all our family’s gifts have been leaning in a giant tower of boxes in my room, and today, I got the urge. I guess it’s similar to that pregnancy nesting urge, and it just took over. 
When all was said and done and the dust cleared, surrounded by spent tape dispensers and empty cardboard wrapping tubes, I had wrapped over 120 presents. My back ached and my fingers were rubbed bare, but I was done. It was finished... 
Until Parker called and off I went to pick him up from basketball practice. I only made it a few blocks before I ran out of gas-- literally. Chris had warned me that it was low... what else is new? The guy has the car running on fumes most of the time... I called him up as I waddled home crying. He would’ve rescued me, but I had sent him to the vet with five of the kids and a new puppy. 
On his way back, I had him stop at Walmart to pick-up two family pictures that were ready for the grandmas. He was supposed to walk in and walk out. He spent an hour with those five kids and a puppy waiting in Walmart while the photo lady worked out the kinks in the printer. If I factor that into the equation, then I guess walking home a few blocks wasn’t that bad. 
I won’t mention that with all the glitches, my favorite baby back ribs got burnt or that when Tallulah and River got out of the shower tonight there was not one diaper in the house for them. Not one. 
Good thing I’ve been reading “Keep a Quiet Heart” by Elisabeth Elliot which says the following: “The secret is Christ in me. Not me in a different set of circumstances.” 
And I’m only on the first chapter. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

the full picture.

As I pulled into the church parking lot someone who used to come to our church was walking by. We said our ‘hellos’ and had a nice little conversation. When I told him that me and the kids were there to shampoo the carpets at the church, he began to tell me how difficult it is to have small children. He has two. I told him I understood. 

But then he said that if he had older kids, he would use them to help out. It kind of struck a chord with me since this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. Comments from young mothers about how their situation is much harder (than mine) with their small children since I have older kids to help out-- they seem to think I have it easy. 

I’ve made it clear it wasn’t always like this. Before I had a 14, 11, 10, 9 and 7 year old, I had very small children back to back while pregnant almost every year with not one older helper.
Perhaps they think my older kids just arrived at my house one day, already fully trained and wanting to serve God. Able to work and do things independently and be a blessing. Perhaps they’re unaware that at one time, my children’s ages were 6, 3, 2, 1 and me pregnant. 
I was the helper, and the mommy, and the only one to do it all while my husband worked his full-time teaching job and went to night school getting his teaching credential, not to mention his position as a Pastor and building a church replant from scratch. 
When people see me now, they see how helpful my older ones are, how much they enjoy lending a hand with the littles, and the efficient flow of a family functioning on all cylinders. 
It is a much easier place that we are in now that one of the older kids can watch the baby who is having the wiggles in service, or stay with them in children’s church, or make a bottle, or whatever the need is. And I totally get that they never saw the ‘before’. But they don’t get it. All they see is the finished product. 
It’s kind of like our church. It might not be busting at the seams in numbers and it might not be the most beautiful building, but the people that come in now, haven’t seen all that’s taken place and they take things for granted. With a wrong heart, they pick at little things completely unaware of how far we’ve come. But that’s ok... I guess. 
What works for my family right now is because of hard work, tears, laboring, laughter, being consistent, family being first, molding right hearts and an extremely large amount of prayers. Jesus! 
I am only reaping the blessing of all the work that I put into my children from the time when even the oldest were all very little and I had no help. 

I didn’t have babysitters. Wherever I went, all my littles came with me. If that was to doctor’s appointments, on errands, to church, on outreach, at meetings, out name it-- they all came with me. I took them along all by myself while hubby was off slaying dragons for us. 
So when you see me or read my blog please don’t for one second think how easy it must be for me now that my kids are older. Cause I will be the first to say it wasn’t always like this. And some days it still isn’t.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

cold rainy weather and a merry christmas.

After spending the morning shampooing
 the carpets at church, 
we decided to take the day off 
from school and spend the rest of our day 
having hot chocolate with marshmallows, 
reading books and drawing.

And here's our 2014 Christmas card-- Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

the weekend and today.

I had a really smart idea Saturday night. Instead of driving myself nuts trying to have my Children’s church class all make their costumes for this Sunday’s program during class, I had the Littles (who are in my class) make their Christmas tree costumes at home on Saturday night. We had such fun! And so did Chris-- in fact, he even mentioned showing the church the surprise costumes on Sunday morning during the announcements. Over my dead body!
We had our last practice on Sunday morning and you bet I did--- I gave my class their chocolate donuts as promised.
We started a new Sunday school series that I’m really excited about: Robert Morris’ “Dream to Destiny”. The first one was so good! Can’t wait to watch the next one, “The Pit Test”.
I must confess... I’m addicted to Swiss cheese. I mean, I have always liked Swiss cheese, but with this pregnancy, it is a daily requirement. Seriously-- on Triscuits.
My boys are getting some serious band practice in. We started a Spanish service on Sunday afternoon following our service and my boys now play for worship. They are really getting a kick out of how worship songs go in Spanish. And did I mention that they play on Sunday morning and on Sunday evening as well? Only in a pioneer church can an eleven year old and a fourteen year old do so much.
My girls really wanted American Dolls and were even saving birthday money to buy themselves one. Until we discovered that Madame Alexander had the same dolls, but way better and prettier (in our opinion!). Well-- Tallulah is constantly taking her sisters dolls so I decided to buy her one for Christmas. It arrived about a month ago and somehow, Tallulah discovered hers hiding in the stack of Christmas presents in my room. Now, whenever Tallulah disappears in our house, I know where to find her-- standing in my room holding the box containing her Madame Alexander doll. That little stinker.
Good news--River finally said on  Sunday morning that he likes Buster.
I can’t wait for this week’s date night. Chinese or fried shrimp. Love salt and love fried food right now.
Parker has a football banquet at the end of this week. I cannot wait. Nobody warned me that I would end up loving this whole high school football team thing. I promise, I am convinced that I should be the team’s ‘team mom’. Do they even have such a thing in high school varsity football? Did I mention that Parker was already told he’d be moving up to varsity next year for his sophomore year?
By the way Chris told Sophia that she had beaten the boys at something-- that she was the first of all the kids to get a real job. Sophia actually gets paid in studio credits as a teacher’s assistant with the younger kids. She’s such a good dancer that she’s the only ‘non-team’ girl allowed to do it. 
And the most exciting news---it’s a boy. And there is no denying it.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

what a beautiful day.

I’m really excited for Christmas break. I’m encouraged by a couple neat things that are happening. One of which is getting my 3 to 5 year old children’s church class ready for our Christmas service presentation. In the past, I’ve had some trouble getting them to sing with any kind of energy [I think it's because there’s not a lot of kids in the class so they end up being a little self-conscious]. But I did find out that they will gladly sing and sing loudly-- for donuts. Like so loud that their faces start contorting. All because I bring donuts to practice now. Ha! 
This morning the family went on outreach to invite our city to our special Christmas service. My kids love outreach. Just the mention of it and they all want to know if we’re all going. Serving Jesus as a family is such a blessing! I can’t even imagine what it will be like when they’re older. Parker the youth leader, my kids in the youth worship team, one of them leading worship, the people they will reach..... it’s amazing already how easily and willingly they evangelize to just about anyone now. Over time, we’ve really begun to see how blessed our kids are growing up in the church and through the opportunities that arise by being faithful to serve.
The other day, Pearl told me that she was going to get a job at Hobby Lobby and that when she’s married she wants her job to be working in the 3 to 5 year old Children’s Church class while her husband preaches. And that teaching kids that age is her favorite because of the crafts she’ll be able to do with them. Bless her heart. It’s the same class I teach. 

On a side note, in regards to home schooling-- Ethan just announced yesterday that we are half way through the school year. Praise God! I guess that’s one of the benefits of starting the 3rd week in August. I have to admit that being this far along in my pregnancy, I’m really beginning to feel it, so when Chris even mentioned that maybe I should take a three week Christmas break instead of just two weeks. I felt a little lift in my heart. Sounds really nice to me! I’m sure my wonderful little students wouldn’t complain if I asked them what they think. Ha! 

Oh! And as far as my pregnancy goes: I am S-L-O-W-I-N-G down and seem to be fighting a little cold. But that hasn’t stopped me from nesting. Which really means organizing my attic. I’m 29 weeks today! Can’t wait for Monday’s ultrasound. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

our puppy story.

Just the other day I mentioned to Sophia that I thought our family was ready for a dog. My mind started considering a rabbit, a bird..... I was trying to avoid bringing a new puppy into the home since I have really enjoyed not having all the responsibilities that come along with a dog. Like sending kids into the back yard without worrying about dog mess. Not having a dog pee all over the grass where my kids roll around and lay. And all the other little things.

Yesterday, I went searching for a puppy on Craigslist not really with the intention of buying one, but just to see what I can’t have. We really love pit bulls! And for the time being, a medium to large dog is completely out of the question. Not to mention that most puppies for sale seem to be a little far away. Far enough to know that Chris wouldn’t travel to take a look at one since he isn’t particularly wanting a dog. In fact, he has been the one to just plainly say ‘no’. And that is always the final answer. I have learned that in situations involving soft, fuzzy things that may instantly sway one’s heart, he does know best! But then it happened-- a picture of a little puppy only twenty minutes away. Seems like almost everything is twenty minutes away from us so that got my attention.

Of course, I showed the kids and they all went berserk. We immediately started calling Chris in class and sent him a picture of the puppy. I jumped ahead and texted the owner and asked if she still had any puppies since there were only two little boys left. She replied that there was only one. And it turned out to be the same one we wanted from the picture.

We were excited, so me and the kids got together and prayed about it. When we were finally able to talk to Chris, he asked me if this was what I really wanted. That got me a little nervous because I knew that he was giving me the final decision. My littles haven’t really had a dog before since they were either too little or not even born yet when we had our last two pits. Our cat is pretty much a friendly, outdoor garden cat who lives on our front porch so she isn’t the same thing... My answer was ‘yes’. ‘Yes’ for the younger kids. And the best part was that they put together their saved up birthday money to buy him themselves. They were overly excited to do this.

We all piled in the van and went to bring him home. As soon as Chris and I saw him we knew he was the perfect addition for our family. So tiny. Healthy. Very friendly. Outgoing. And of course, cute!

Ruby has been begging us for a puppy for a very long time. She is our puppy fanatic and still wants a puppy she can have all to herself. River, on the other hand, just doesn’t like him and thinks we should take him back. The kid is not impressed with the puppy. Ugh! Tallulah screams when we won’t let her hold him.

Since the oldest three have already had pets they’ve named or been responsible for, I decided to let Charlie be this little pup’s main boss. After many many votes and revotes Charlie named him Buster. And Patriot for his middle name. Ha!

He had a great night and only woke up at 5am to cry. He loves our home and the constant attention he’s been receiving. Today Ethan built him a nice sized wooden puppy pen for him to be trained to use for the bathroom. So far so good.

Update: Buster is half Shih tzu (mom) & half Chihuahua (dad)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

just tonight.

Meet the newest member of our family.
More on him tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

another ultrasound.

Sophia and I went on Monday to my baby appointment. My awesome Doctor scheduled a second ultrasound for me this coming Monday (Dec 15th) to confirm the gender. I think I will eat a Snickers and drink some Strawberry lemonade to guarantee some activity in there-- the last time we went, the baby stayed still with his/her legs closed tight. I’ve been having such a hard time with boy’s names. We had one that we really liked in the very beginning of my pregnancy along with a girl’s name, but as time has gone I’m just not feeling like the boy’s name I have is THE name. So instead of racking my brain, running through a million names throughout my pregnancy, I just want to wait till Monday’s appointment. And if it is confirmed that I’m having a boy, I’m really going to start praying for God to reveal to either Chris or me this little baby’s name.

I’m also dying to buy a new car seat... but I decided to wait till February in case Graco comes out with some new colors. Since this baby will be born around Valentine’s Day, I’m going for reds and blacks. I love red! Love the month of February. And right now, it’s looking like my Doctor is going to induce me a little early-- so I’m thinking February 20th will be the baby’s birth day. I think. I’m hoping? I told him that he’d better not go on vacation or he’ll be taking me and hubby with him. Ha!

On a side note: The kids were getting so crazy about taking out our collection nutcrackers. They just could not wait. One afternoon, when the babies were napping, the middles, led by Sophia, choreographed a "show" with them. It was terrific.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ethan: Steadfast Heart

"Steadfast Heart"
Psalm 108:1
My heart is steadfast, O God;
I will sing and make music 
with all my soul.

What is your favorite color? Royal blue
 What sport do you like best? Football
What is your favorite song? Andy Mineo Wild Things
What do you want to be when you grow up? A worker at Home Depot
What is your favorite book? Any mystery books
What are you really good at? Creating and Designing
Where do you wish you could go and visit? Tennessee
What is your very best memory? Moving into the Man Cave
What would you buy if you had $1,000? Lumbar and tools
What vegetable do you hate the most? Asparagus
If you could have a wish, what would it be? Build a bigger house for my family
What is your favorite flavor ice cream? Cookies and Cream

The day Ethan turned 11....