Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Kids

They're getting old.


Stuck between childhood and adulthood - wants to be a grown-up but, yeah, he's still a kid.  Almost as tall as me.  Looking and occasionally acting more and more like a teenager.  Longing for friends to hang with - which is a little more difficult when home schooling.  A great big brother.  Finally an independent learner.  A goofball.  A fun kid.  We like him.  A lot.  He's 10.


A sweet boy.  A pleaser.  A great friend and one that just wants to be part of the gang.  Easily discouraged.  Totally, ridiculously silly.  Loves to laugh.  Loves his siblings.  Loves his family and will work hard when it was his idea.  Schooling?  No thank you, he says.  But he's coming around.  He'll draw you a picture, do an errand for you, squeeze you around the neck, but don't make him practice reading.  Wouldn't trade him for anything.  He's almost 8.


Doesn't that grin say it all?  He's a conundrum... super lovey yet hot tempered, creative yet analytical, focused yet spacey, silly yet quiet, the center of attention yet a loner... he's somewhat a mystery - and a lot like his daddy.  Catches onto things rather quickly and then other times when you're talking to him he looks at you're not speaking English.  Loves to draw, overly obsessed with the computer (limited with it to avoid totally addictive tendancies!), hates being cold, and still clings to mommy at times.  Overall, a fun guy.  He's 6.


The princess of the family.  And she knows it.  Dresses girly, loves fingernail polish and baby dolls, watches John Wayne and plays in the mud.  She mothers her older brothers and can pout and act like the baby of the family to manipulate them in order to get her way.  She's doted upon yet she knows how to take care of herself too.  She still sucks her thumb.  Still likes to snuggle.  And can usually convince at least one of the brothers to play with her.  We love our Lillie Fraces.  And our baby is almost 4.

Just thought I would update the fact that we do still have 4 children... and they are growing like weeds.  Sometimes I'm ready... and other times, not so much.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Sky's the Limit... Sort Of

Don't fall over.  I'm actually writing a blog post.  Hope you can recover from the shock.

I've been reading the Little House series to the boys before bedtime.  I started the first book a couple of weeks ago and really thought the boys would lose interest in the storyline of a little girl and her family in the Big Woods - but there was enough hunting and butchering and storytelling to keep them focused. 

In that book, (Little House in the Big Woods), Laura and Mary live with their family in a little cabin deep in the Wisconsin woods.  One day their dad decides that it's time for his family to join him for his visit into town.  They had never gone before, and of course there was a lot of excitement about the many things they might see.

The town was near a lake and as they traveled they eventually came out of the woods - the only environment Laura had known - and entered into the wide open spaces near a lake that stretched for miles... and Laura was scared of how very big the sky was.  She had never realized the sky was so huge, because at home it was drowned out by the trees.  She felt small and swallowed up and she will never forget how different she felt when she saw the reality of the size of the sky above her.

Now, I've read this book before, but this portion had never struck me like it did this time around.  It made me wonder how very limited my perspective might be.  What am I missing out on because I'm so entrenched in what is around me - because the trees are crowding out the big, glorious sky?  Am I walking around oblivious to the opportunities around me or am I searching for them, hoping for that exciting and intimidating feeling that comes when you realize that you are a part of something much bigger than yourself? 

That little story just got me to thinking... so I thought I had better write it down (and am very glad Laura had wrote it down for me.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Open Your Eyes

Don't ya hate it when there is something right in front of a person's face and they don't even see it.  They're missing out and they don't even seem aware.  They could join the party, relax, relish the moment... but they are too preoccupied with either themselves or some pressing need that really isn't that pressing.

I know we all can fall into these tunnel-vision traps at some point.  But I also think that some of us are better able to snap out of them than others.

So what do you do when someone you care for insists on getting bogged down in the unimportant?  If I point it out, it just angers them.  And in my eyes, they are old enough to know better - so I must admit I have very little hope that they will just "grow out of it." 

On the surface, they seem to have it together.  But there is a huge piece missing.  They are preoccupied with the temporal and have totally lost sight of the eternal.

I believe only the Eternal One can help a cause like this one.  And really, with the way things are set up at this point, His hands are even tied to a degree... free will, ya know.  I know that God can move powerfully and at times and in ways that we can either anticipate or comprehend... but when that vision is soooo focused.... will they ever really step back to see what is missing?

Or is my vision just soooo focused on their focus that I'm missing something as well?

How's that for a rambley, unspecific, cryptic blog post?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Thing Leads to Another

I was just reading a book to the kids this evening.  It was a collection of quite a few old short stories in which one thing leads to another... like The Little Red Hen, Chicken Little, and a few other more obscure ones that few have ever heard of.  After I finished reading them, I got to thinkin'... my day was a bit like one of those stories today.

We're hosting Thanksgiving again this year.  Our house is a good size for so many folks (15 of us in all this time around) and we have entertainment for so many young kids (Steven's brother's family with their three under the age of three are coming this year).

Well, of course that got me in the mood to clean some stuff out.  Especially with young toddlers on their way - must make sure there aren't any blatant choking hazards lying around.  I started in our newly finished basement.  Filled trash bags worth of stuff out of areas and then got to thinkin.... it sure would be nice to move the computer downstairs, out of our kitchen.

Steven and I worked on that project last night.  Which caused us to clean out all the junk out of the drawers and cabinets within the computer desk... so we could move it.  And that stuff then needed sorted out and most of it needed to find a new home.  And the radio that shared housing within the computer desk needed a new place to sit... which led me to moving some furniture around.

So I found a piece of furniture that could now house the radio and the phone that got evicted from the computer table... and I swept away all the dust bunnies that took up residency and multiplied under those pieces of furniture.  And that led me to wanting to paint the walls of the island counter.  Cuz with the space freed up from where the computer used to be - the terrible, experimental paint job I had done this time LAST YEAR - looked well, terrible and experimental.

So I painted.  Then I noticed a few spots in the floor that needed repaird so I fixed them.

Add a little laundry, feeding of children, dishes and room straightening to that list and you've got yourself a great little story of how one thing leads to another... and all because of Thanksgiving.

And let me tell you, it's a lot more entertaining reading them than it is living them.  I'm ready for bed!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Been 4 Months...

...since my last confession... oh wait.  I mean blogpost.  I'm still trying to figure out what this creature is for anymore.  (hey, that rhymes)  Facebook has taken "keeping in touch" to a whole new handy level and I have found that I can only be somewhat witty in 200 characters or less (status update heaven!)...

Yet, here sits this blog... I can't seem to bring myself to throw it out completely.  The kids are growing, and are more aware of what I share and say to the general public (even if it is tens of people)... I'm not really a bragging type (I am proud of my kids, but don't like to go on and on about what they can do) and if I turn this into a frustration forum, I believe I would wear out my readership fairly quickly (ha! readership!  ummm, hello... you haven't posted anything for 4 months...)

Isaiah is 10 now.  10.  I just typed two digits in reference to his age.  10.  That's huge.  And a bit scary.

Huston is crazy.  He's a bundle of goofballiness.  (Yes, I'm sure that's a word).  He's 7.

Avery is 6 now.  Seriously?  I don't have but one child under the age of 5 now?  Impossible.

And Lillie is 3.  She still wants me to hold her and snuggle at times - so it's still ok.

There's your update for now.  We are alive.  I'm still a smart alec (or is it aleck?) and I will attempt to string more than one coherrent thought together more often to put a post up on this blog.  But I'm not promising.  My brain is toast most of the time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

God Can Use Anyone

So needless to say, if you've been following the last few posts on this blog you know we've been experiencing a high-maintenance parenting season.  A lot of uncertainty, a lot of prayer, a lot of frustration and spinning of wheels.  I feel the whole two steps forward, one step back thing is reversed in this situation - it seems we back peddle more than we move ahead.

But as God most usually does, right when you think you are doing everything wrong and only clouds are overhead, He reaches down and lifts you up in an unexpected way.

Isaiah has been a challenge:  he's getting a kind of pre-pubescent, eye-rolling attitude toward everything I say as well as all the other uncharted waters already mentioned, and all of that combined makes me seriously feel like I am sinking.  Nothing I say seems to sink in; nothing I do seems to help the situation.  I'm at a loss... to a degree.  But through this (as through most any trial) I crave my time in the Word and I cry out for help, a lot.  But recently, I've felt more uncertain than confident.

Then there came Huston.  Huston is a sweet and simple kind of guy.  He is seven and often a follower of whatever the friend or brother wants to do.  He's a laid back bundle of cuddly sweetness and wants to please those he's around (which can be good and bad, but that's another story).  Anyway, he doesn't usually draw.  He will sometimes create a picture when Avery decides to do so, but today he started drawing all his own.  And he very proudly showed up at the chair in which I was working, and presented me with a picture that he thought to make for me... and here is what he drew...

It may be kinda hard to see, but it's multiple pictures of me.  I'm laying down in bed, standing up, sitting at the dinner table and walking on the street (top part)... and in each picture, I have a thought bubble of a cross.  I asked him what this was and he told me that he made this picture because "no matter what you do, you think about God."  Now, not only was that totally sweet of him to say, but his picture blew my mind and I immediately had to read to him Deuteronomy 6:4-7:

"Hear, O Israel:  The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them upon your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

When I read those word to Huston and pointed to each picture he drew as I read that last verse, his eyes became like saucers.  Yep, He ended up blessing both of us this morning through the simple drawing of a cute little seven year old. 

So yeah, I feel like everything is going to be ok - maybe not easy, maybe not simple - but I feel like God took a moment to tell me that I'm on the right track.  And boy did I need that!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When Life Gives Ya Lemons...

What are you supposed to do with them again?  I've seemed to have lost my lemonade recipe, I guess.

Isaiah seems to be getting better at times.  But just today he was invited to a friend's house, a very good friend that he has visited many times before in the "I can't get away from mom fast enough" fashion and he is currently a puddle of anxious tears in his room because he "just can't do it."

Seriously?  You can't go 3 miles away to your good friends house (who loves you and encourages you) and eat ice cream and have a water/nerf gun fight for a few hours and then return home?  This is just wrong.  And today I'm having very little patience in dealing with it.  I'm pretty much at the "just shake the boy by the shoulders and make him snap out of it" stage.

And this event came after a full morning of just trying to get him to see how negative and defeatist he is with every attitude toward work and attempting new things.  Hearing "I can't, I need help, I give up and you won't help me" come from his pouty mouth is all wearing very, very thin.  I totally spent over two hours in what feels like hand to hand combat, finally getting him to see a glimpse of the proper perspective and then the friend's invite becomes known and he quickly melts into a puddle of tears again.  And all I want to do is scream.

How do you make lemonade out of this mess?  I'm trying and I have rather good and well-tested strategies, but I am still failing for now.  And yes, I realize that I'm probably growing within him fruit that will produce later... but I'm just tired of lemons.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Goodbye to GG

but just for awhile.

GG went home on Monday morning.  And when I say home, I mean the true eternal home prepared by Christ himself.  She left us peacefully and she will not be suffering anymore - that darn ol' temporal body just wasn't very nice to her in the end.

We now must go about trying to figure out life without her, and our hope is knowing that there will be one day when that won't be an issue any longer.

But until then we'll be muddling our way through.  Today was the funeral; we laid her to rest, and now I hope to help my oldest boy lay his worries to rest as well.  It will be a process and prayers would be appreciated.  It's a process for all of us.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Need Some Encouragement

Yeah I know.  I promised you another installment of my baseball summer.  But things took a little turn and baseball once again doesn't seem as important anymore.

Lots of personal uncharted parenting waters have been occurring around these parts.  And the title of this blog post could either be read as a question or a statement.  Do you need encouragement?  And yes, as a matter of fact I do.

On the way into work today I listened to two preaching radio shows talking about sitting and listening.  I often ask my kids to sit down and listen, but how often do I do that?  Usually that requires quiet and it feels like I just don't have the luxury of quiet anymore.  Parenthood will do that to ya.  But the overall theme of the messages were to stop talking, sit down before the Lord and just listen.  I needed to hear that.

You see, here is a small part of what has been happening lately. (and I say "small" as in, one of many parts, not as in scale)  My grandmother is dying.  This is GG (her self-chosen moniker - short for Great-Grandma)... she's the only grandmother I've really known and the one that has lived here in town with us for almost 8 years - and the past 5-6 of those 8 years she's lived with my parents.  She's watched my kids, taught them to play cards (Skip-Bo people, not Poker :) and all-in-all just has been a consistent part of my kids' lives.  That's such a blessing.  But watching her slip away from us has really taken a toll and I've never had to manage my own grief while also helping my youngins manage theirs.  One of those hard parenting roads you don't think about when you sign up for the job.  She has lots of complicated health issues that is weakening her 82 year old body - but the lung cancer that she's chosen not to treat will take her from us soon.  Hard stuff.

And Isaiah is showing the most wear through all of this.  He's having anxiety attacks.  About pretty much everything.  Sunday school, going to friends houses, church camp, birthday parties.  The stuff he used to look forward to - get excited about - now ties him up in knots and troubles his mind.  A friend of mine said today, "His body just can't stop hurting."  And that pretty much sums it up.  He knows what he's feeling is irrational, but he just can't tell that body of his to knock it off.  He hovers around me, constantly asks for reassurance through tears and apologizes for something he can't seem to control.  And all I can think is, "my poor baby."

Now I labeled this post with the word encouragement.  I should at least offer some, right?  Well, I did get encouraged today by a couple of friends at lunch.  Sometimes encouragement comes from rather surprising sources.  And even after admitting that my parenting attempts at getting my family through this are feeble at best, and that I have no clue what I'm doing, and that I have no straight-forward answers - to hear a couple of folks that I know won't lie to me, a couple of folks that aren't ones to give hollow praise - to have them sit beside me and tell me that I'm doing a good job... well, that meant a lot.

And tonight when Isaiah once again came to me in tears, worrying about something some unidentifiable thing that he knew not what.  We sat down and prayed together and read Scriptures about what the Bible says about anxiety and I told him of our new commitment to pray and read these Scriptures out loud together every night until he knows them and recites them and lives them and breathes them.  To see his countenance change just a little bit and hear him take a deep sigh of relief like he could feel that there will be a time that this won't rule over him any longer... well that was just plain encouraging to both of us.

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your heart and mind as you live in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Year of the Cardinal

I've always loved baseball.  I remember getting baseball cards from the grocery store as a kid and "talking ball" with the guys.  In hindsight, I don't believe I really had that much knowledge under my cap, but I had plenty of guys in the neighborhood, so I pretended.

Later on, when I entered into high school and college years my love for the game increased to the point of obsession.  You know college kids can have a lot of spare time on their hands, and my time was tethered to watching every televised game I could find.  I fell asleep to ESPN's Wednesday night double headers and caught nearly every Braves game on TBS.  I then would take my few extra dollars and spend a few afternoons in Busch stadium cheering for the Cardinals.  I knew every line-up, every stat, every amazing and ridiculous play that occurred each evening in the ballparks.  I was kinda pathetic.

Then I got married... then I started having kids... and baseball slowly kept being squeezed out of my life, because really, who had time to obsess over stats and plays when you barely had enough time to sleep?

This year has been different though.  I always thought if I had boys, they would be just as interested in baseball as I am - and I would enjoy teaching them to talk ball and taking them to beloved Busch Stadium.  But it just didn't really pan out that way.  Until now.

Isaiah is finally convinced that the Cardinals are the team to watch and love.  My father-in-law is a *gasp* Royals fan.  And let me tell you, when getting involved with a significant other 1. you check your compatibility in regards to your faith and worldview and then 2. you check your baseball compatibility.  Cuz otherwise you have quite a battle on your hands, let me tell you.

The past few years have been spent "fighting" for allegiance.  And I possibly have won this current battle anyway and maybe the war - we'll see.  Anyway, Isaiah is interested.  And when Isaiah is interested, the other boys are interested as well.

Also some friends of ours bought up a huge block of Cardinal tickets for this season and had a few games that they couldn't use.  I bought 3 games, 2 tickets per game - and I'm taking each of the boys on a mother-son baseball date.  A dream come true.

But before I get to that.  This baseball season has also treated me greatly already due to the kindness of an organization that my hubby volunteers with.  The founder of this organization is himself a great Cardinals fan and let's just say, has some great financial opportunities and personal connections.  And we were blessed greatly one evening a few weeks ago to the night at the ballpark with 4 Cardinal hall of famers... Here are the picks.
Steven and I with Bob Gibson!  (If you're not a Cardinal fan, trust me, he's a biggie)

Me with Lou Brock and his wife Jackie.  (I sat 4 vacant seats away from them while watching the game.  Amazing.)

And here I am with Whitey Herzog.  I grew up watching this guy coach my favorite ball team.  Couldn't believe I got to meet him in person.

The other hall of famer I got to meet was Red Schoendienst.  I didn't get my picture with him, but he did call me "honey" and he signed my record... see...

This my copy of play-by-play highlights of the 1964 World Series Championship (remember, baseball nerd!) and my husband urged me to take this to the game to have it signed.  I was reluctant, because I was also skeptical that I would actually meet this men.  Boy am I glad I listened to his urgings.  Bob Gibson and Lou Brock were both players on the team that year, and Red was one of the managers.  I had them all sign the record and they were very happy to.

Each person that went to the game that night also received an official major league ball signed by all these gentlemen.  So we got 2 of them.  We gave one to my dad and the other will go to my brother.  Don't worry, I got Whitey to sign my score card.

And I can't figure out how to rotate the photo.... I tell ya, get out of blogging for a month or two and you can't figure out how to do anything anymore!

Anyway.  It was an unbelievable evening.  One that I never thought I would ever get to enjoy in a million years.  Totally put the baseball spirit back into me...

But the rest of the Cardinal stories will have to wait.  I've rambled on long enough.  So stay tuned for I will soon upload the pics I took of Avery's mom-son baseball date - his first ballgame.  I love being a mom. :)