Friday, January 30, 2009

Aww, Wow!

Everyone is growing up all of a sudden. Hey moms out there, do your kids do this to you too? You know, you're a mom day in and day out and think that everything is pretty much the same as usual and then all of a sudden these little guys do stuff to make you aware of how much they are growing up. It's just an "aha" moment really.

Avery is so much better. His personality is mellowing a bit - fewer tantrums, more communication (which is huge - and a big factor in reducing the tantrums of course). He is beginning to think of other people - comforting them when they're sad, being helpful to his mom, etc. - and he even is allowing Lillie to touch him once in awhile - just quick gentle and light touches though, thank you very much.

Huston is turning the corner on the constant whiny voice, pouty thing. Luckily, for the most part, he saves it for his family only. When he is out and about in a class or at a play date he is very much more responsible and "big" acting. And he has voluntarily cleaned up his room the last few days. I truly thank God for this turn around.

Now Isaiah just totally melted my heart yesterday. We found out last week - when every sort of bad news seemed to be crashing in - that the father of a friend of his unexpectedly and surprisingly joined the army. (It was even unexpected and surprising to the wife and kids...) Isaiah came down from his room yesterday and he told me that he had written a letter to his friend....the letter said,

"Dear Friend,
I heard you're dad is in the army. I used to want to be in the army but I know it's a hard job. It sounds cool to have your dad in the army. -Isaiah

This is one of my army men (which he then taped an army man to the paper)

Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear for I am with you."

Now when I saw that he printed out a scripture verse to help his friend it almost did me in. Now I didn't cry or anything in front of the boy - but I was sure to tell him what a sweet thing that was for him to do. I shared this with a good home-schooler friend of mine and she called that our paycheck - and boy is she right.

Now on to some Lillie cuteness - cause you just can't have one without the other - she is the embodiment of cuteness (I know, I'm prejudice, bear with me.) She found an apple that a big brother had left behind, within her reach and so she started chewing on it. At first I went to take it away and she protested violently - she loves her food. So then I just let her have it to see what she would do with it....she knew what to do. Enjoy some apple eating pictures...

wow, this is a good apple!


Umm, Lillie, don't roll it on the floor....

Oh, mother!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lots of Fun, A Little Bit of Snow

We got a trace amount of snow the beginning of this week. They were teasing us with forecasts of inches and we receive maybe 2 inches at the most. It didn't even cover up the grass and leaves. But the kids had fun in it anyway - as much as you can when there isn't enough to build with! Isaiah was sad to see it melt away this afternoon when the beautiful sun made its appearance. Personally? I am ready for spring, but I do like a pretty snowfall.

Miss Lillie

Our little baby girl is 10 months now. Can't believe that in about 7 weeks we will be celebrating her 1st birthday (and it will be spring no less!).

She has been up to quite a few things. Lots of teeth as I showed you, kinda sorta, in a previous post. She is currently cutting a few more and one of them is another incisor - the pesky outside ones on the top. You know, the ones that are famous for causing grumpy behavior, sleepless nights, yucky diapers and runny noses. She has already broke one through and I had thought that she had both of them in - but I took a closer look today and this pesky one is right there - ready to break through but determined to cause more heartache before it comes. So she is a soggy, unhappy baby right now...see the worried look on her face?...

These days he is either sad because I am not holding her, begging to be held, or is being held...

...or sometimes she is giving up on being held and just plays with my toes.

But to be fair, she isn't a wet blanket the whole time. She is beginning to be a bit more adventurous in the walking department. Cruises around like a pro, so we brought out the baby walker toy and she does pretty good with it. She always sticks her tongue out when she's walking - like she's working really hard.

Here she is saying hey to her big brother, while he is eating his breakfast - this sometimes is a dangerous encounter...and yes she is pushing the toy backwards - she just holds on where she can and scoots it around.

She is talking and jabbering quite a bit - usually trying to tell me how bad off she is at this point in time...but she does like to jabber while she plays. And she likes to sing...karaoke anyone?

I think she knows how to say "hi" - you could chalk it up to wishful thinking on mom's part, but she is pretty consistent with it and usually waits for someone to acknowledge it. That's my story anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shaken To Your Foundation

You know how somethings in life hit you, blind-side you, and it just totally makes your knees buckle...makes you fall flat on the floor and cry out to God, because really that is the only direction left to go - up to meet Him. I experienced that this week; I started this week off with a horrific phone call early Monday morning. A dear friend called to tell me that a family in our church unexpectedly lost their 4 week old baby. A 911 call, an ambulance ride, a few hours later and their family will never be the same again...none of us who know them will ever be the same again.

I can't shake this family out of my head...not that I want to...but all day, everyday since that terrible Monday phone call I have had a weight on my chest, a lump in my throat and I will be distracted for a time with day to day things that come with being a mom and then I will stop and think, "why am I so burdened? why is my heart so heavy?" and I remember and I pray.

This sweet family has asked me to help them answer some tough, tough questions that their 4-year old will be asking...I don't feel at all qualified to give them those answers. Today was the funeral and it was by far the hardest funeral I have ever witnessed. I helped them with their two preschooler children and looking into their eyes and experiencing what played out before me in that sanctuary today made me even more aware of how precious life really is.

This baby spent a very short time in her family's life but will greatly effect them for years to come. She was a gift to them and they count each moment they spent with her as a great blessing. Every life is valuable and every person is a gift from our Creator. Why did she have to die? There is no easy answer to that question, but I do have assurance and truth that will help to comfort me into trusting God and knowing that He has a plan. If you want to know about that truth, just email me I will be so glad to share. No I don't have all the answers, but it's ok to question and cry out to God. This baby's daddy reminded us of that message this afternoon.

Taking their pain and heartache and figuring out what I can learn from it is another way to honor the life of this sweet baby girl. What really matters most? That our kids are highly educated, talented in sports and the arts? That we climb the corporate ladder as high as it will take us and it doesn't matter who we step on along the way? That we get to our appointments on time and looking put together and that our children behave and not embarrass us? Really this week I have recoiled into my home for now, I have focused on loving my kids. I have given more hugs, told more people that I love them because we are not promised a long life of easy living. I feel like becoming more real to the people around me, making sure my focus is on God to get me through the hard times and that I am reading His Scriptures to find the answers to my tough questions - those are the most important things to me right now, and teaching my children to do the same by example, helping others to find that same road is just as important.

I have been shaken down to my very foundation, but this foundation is so strong and never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and I hope with all that is within me that you too have built upon that rock, that solid foundation because a day will come when something will blind-side you and I pray that you will find the strength to look up and see that He is right there, hurting because you hurt and waiting to help you rebuild.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's a Record...

in our family anyway - Lillie cut her first tooth on Dec. 16th - here today, a month later on Jan 16th, Lillie now has 6 teeth! SIX!

Here's a nice photo - she was mad anyway so I snapped a picture of her biggest two...

I Should Probably Put Something Really Worthwhile Here

And this will be an attempt to do just that. Really I have not been thinking to clearly lately...maybe its the cold in my head, maybe its the cold outside (I have not felt completely warm from head to toe in about 2 months now), maybe it's the being cooped up with four children, 2-3 of them under the weather, on call 24 hours a day for the past week, but for whatever reason, my brain and thought patterns have been a bit off.

I came home from my conference energized, ready for routine and new life disciplines. The theme for me was "refocus"...I was going to refocus my goals, refocus my priorities, refocus my day-to-day interactions and reactions to things that come my way. You know all that easy stuff, breaking old habits and replacing them for better, more effective ones - figured I would punch that out in no time flat.

Then ka-powey, everyone got sick, everyone got grumpy, everyone got sleep deprived and here I sit back where I started again.

The conference was so very interesting. It kept hitting me over the head with the same message within different packaging session after session. I couldn't wait to get it home and unwrap it from my brain and start using it. Then I got home and it sat in the packaging and I've kind of forgotten the instructions so to speak. So I need a good 2 weeks - one week to sit down and write out a plan for different areas (not a plan as in by this day I'll do this and by this date I will have accomplished this - that doesn't work for me) but just take the time to look at my work on the home front, my work on the work front, my work on the personal front and refocus it all. I need to pull a good friend or two aside and talk it all through cause that's the best way that I solidify it in my head.

Then I need to take that second week and lay the groundwork - clean and organize my house, look at Isaiah's lesson plans, look at my goals for work and pull the resources I need to get the jobs done that much easier. Now doesn't that sound like a great idea? Starting everything off fresh with a new focus.

So here is the overall focus...long range planning. I heard this illustration made at the conference that really helped to put things in perspective for me - in the olden times, before the high tech farm machinery, a farmer would keep his rows of crops straight by looking in the horizon and fixing his eyes on a permanent object. Once that object was in his vision, as long as he kept his eyes fixed upon the unmovable as he plowed, the rows would be straight in the field. Reminds me of the often read verses, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6) Let me share something with you dear reader (even if it be only myself) I am so attention deficit in almost every area of my life. Something shiny flickers and my eyes widen and I take my focus off of the unmovable. Then I think I am working out just fine and I look behind me at a sloppy zig-zaggy row that isn't fit for anything.

This I am sure is a message I have heard for many years, but it really fell upon me like a fresh spring rain last week. I have felt like I have just been spinning my wheels for so long and I have four little bodies that take me in so many different directions every. stinkin'. day. I want to be the leader - as long as I have my eyes fixed on that Rock.

And just as a side note - while I was trying to get these thoughts of mine laid out there my older boys decided to go into the laundry room (a no-no) and climb up to get the cleaners off the high shelf (no-no No. 2) and use them as guns to shoot at each other (a no-no-no-no-no)....and I didn't react - I kept my focus and then I let them have it :o)

I'll be sharing a little bit more about this refocus in some future posts - hopefully I will get that 2 weeks of work under my belt in record time so that I can feel a little more ready for action.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Major Award

My web friend across the pond, Mrs. Wibbz selected me for "a major award" - which is very sweet of her.

The award is called the Premio Dardos - huh, that "must be Italian" (I'm sorry, I'm sorry I just can't resist people! I'm trying to restrain myself really - if you have no idea what I am talking about get thee self out there and watch "A Christmas Story" - a fine American classic...)

Now that Mrs. Wibbz probably is ready to withdraw the award, I will tell you that it is in fact Italian for "prize darts" - and according to her blog "This award acknowledges the values that EVERY blogger displays in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values with each message they write."

So I am to:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his/her blog link.

2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen as recipients.

Now here's the rub - because I don't really know 15 blogs! - but I will take this opportunity to highlight one very sweet one I follow though...

This 'n That is a blog written by a dear friend living in the town in which I grew up - heck, she was one of many who helped grow me within that community. Vicki is fighting one of the toughest battles of cancer I know personally and boy is she doing more than just holding her ground with the help of God. So go check her blog out - she is just getting started and she is currently worn down from the side effects of this current round of chemo so be patient for her return, say a prayer for her and grow through her experiences. Love you Vicki!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Aaaahhhh...Fricka, Fracka, Filth and Foul!

So very frustrating. By yesterday afternoon Avery seemed to be taking a turn for the worse instead of better. His chest seemed heavy and his cough deep. He added a fever to his ailments and it was pretty high and he was so very restless all. night. long. I had an appointment with the kids' dr. for Lillie this morning already scheduled - it was her 9 mo. check-up. So I called the office to see if they would be able to squeeze Avery in there as well so that we could nip this thing in the bud - as Barney Fife would say.

Oh yeah, did I tell you that Avery has a terrible fear of the dr's office? Well, ever since his bought with RSV/ear infections/blocked ear canals from last year (yes I said last year!) he does not like to hear the name of his dr. even mentioned. I can't say that I blame him - the poor little guy got poked and proded and even got a bloody ear out of the whole deal last year. It was quite traumatic for both of us. Last night I told Avery that we were going to see the dr. and he kept telling me in a very calm yet matter-of-fact manner, "no. I not go there."

So I dropped it - fast forward to this morning. Avery slept in much later than he ever has as a result from his fitful night of sleep. By the time I got him dressed it was pretty much time to head out the door. As we were heading down the stairs toward the garage Avery asks, "Where we going?" I told him. He hesitated in his next step and said, "oh.....ok." Whew. Maybe this wouldn't be as bad as I had anticipated. heh, heh...not so fast mom.

We open the van door and my oldest offers this most helpful comment, "Oh yeah, remember? Avery hates the doctor." I bet you can imagine the dirty look that I shot him, pretty much made him close his mouth instantly and follow it up with glorifying the doctor's office and the stickers and then there are the stickers and did you know you get a sticker when your done Avery? Yeah, he really could offer much to him that would intice him into it.

So I drop off the older two with my grandma and then head down the street to the office. Once we pull into the parking lot Avery starts to withdrawl similar to how an animal reacts as you pull into the vet. I am holding Lillie and at this point Avery is taking my hand and walking into the doctors but he is already wimpering.

I may need to just sum it up at this point and skip all the gorey details mostly because I am trying to block them from my own memory. I do know that Avery covered his ears the whole time he was in the presence of a medical professional. I also know that he climbed me like a monkey in a tree and wound himself around me in the tightest death grip known to a 3 year old. He screamed, he cried and he did it some more just to be sure we all knew his position. Lillie was demoted to the floor for a good majority of the time and she ended up having to do her examination on the table without me because of her monkey brother....which made her not the least bit happy - to further compound the "irrational" fears of her older brother that there was nothing to look forward to at the doctor! I had two children in tears and the doctor and his resident trying to help me get the two crying kids examined. Between the three of us - we barely made it.

And we went through all of this to hear that Avery has a cold.............can I begin to tell you how frustrating this is. Not that I had hoped that Avery had some terrible disease, but really we went through all of this just to hear that there is nothing you can do to help? Really, if I would have just waited a day or so we probably could have kicked it at home? We ruined Lillie's check-up experience for nothing, much less put Avery through all this drama - I mean trauma? Ok, in the future, Avery isn't going back to the doctor until he is on death's door, because really I don't think the process could be handled by either him or me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh Yes, I'm Still Here

I came home on Thursday night to a clingy baby - I attributed the clingy-ness to me be away for those 4 days, but then the runny nose and the rattly chest came and Lillie has her first full blown cold....I think it's her first anyway...I can't remember her being sick before.

So she has been very needy and I have been enjoying the cuddles, but now the youngest boy has joined the club - and they have given it to their mother (I'm going to blame them anyway, really who knows where my stuff came from!)

Last night Avery spent a very fitful night in sick bay - the floppy chair in the living room. It's this old feather-stuffed lounge chair that I got at an antique store when Steven and I were first married. I scoot it up to the couch and sit them up to sleep in it while I doze on the sofa. It's a pretty good system. Lillie's sleep hasn't seemed to be effected too badly - thankfully I didn't need to try to deal with both kids last night.

And I caved, I pulled out the children's mucinex last night - we have had it in our cabinet for quite awhile - some lady gave a whole plethera of children's medicine samples to the church office and I stole a few for those days when sickness creeps up on you. I say that I caved in to this because I have totally been repulsed by the mucinex ads for a good long time. I mean really who wants to see those little green globs of you know what running around the screen - makes me want to wretch just thinking about it. But Avery was totally constricted in the chest last night and could not stop coughing so I caved and I must admit I think it is helping.

I also gave him a humidifier, a cup of water to sip on, and little bits of candy cane to suck on (a child's dream cough drop). And he finally settled down for a couple of hours and slept.

I started coughing at one point last night, just a slight cough - nothing in comparison to Avery's - and Avery said, "Oh, you ok mama?" I told him I was and he said, "good. I ok now too." I thought that was really sweet.

So today I've been getting cuddles from Avery as well as Lillie and there was only one time when they both wanted mommy at the same time and we managed. For those of you who don't know, Avery does not like Lillie touching him. He's getting better about it and he is softening to her presence but he has not been a fan of her curious fingers. It's not a totally malicious attitude toward her - just a very guarded one...and just so you know when he bows his head to pray the first thing out of his mouth is "Thank you God for Lillie" (or wiwie, that is).

So I am still kind of out of routine, and that just stinks - I am ready for normalcy again!

Friday, January 9, 2009

What Day Is It Again?

I'm home. I got home last night and I am sooo glad to be back. The conference was good but so much information bombarding you at one time. It's hard to soak it all in - it's like a last minute cramming session on speed. So I am tired and so very glad to see my family.

I walked in the door last night and Isaiah ran to give me a hug - everyone else was like, "oh, hi mom." :o) Lillie stared at me like she had thought I was never returning and didn't let me leave her sight much the rest of the evening - which was fine with me cause I needed her just as much as she needed me.

One bit of news that came while I was away is that Steven and I are going to now be aunt and uncle to two babies - Steven's brother is expecting twins! A family first - no one on our side of the family has had twins before...and that is pretty exciting - but I think a tad bit overwhelming too - especially since this is their first pregnancy.

I feel so out of it - all around - the holidays followed by this conference has made me long for routine like never before. I think I need a nap first and to not think about anything for a bit. Once my brain stops hurting from all the info thrown at me these last few days I may throw together a more worthwhile post.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Heading Out

I am sitting in my office at the church on this Sunday morning and listening to the chatter and busyness in the classrooms down this hall. In a few hours I will be leaving for Nashville to attend a children's ministers conference with my co-worker Katelyn. I have mixed feelings. I always have fun and gain new perspectives and new ideas at these conferences, but I will miss my kids.

For the most part when I first became a stay-at-home mom I was bored....looking for something to occupy my time besides wiping noses, bottoms, counter tops and floors. But now, I like where I'm at - the kids keep me busy and they are getting to an age where we can go and do and interact that much more. That is fun and I am going to miss 4 days of it.

I will be keeping myself busy while I am there so I doubt that I will have too much time to think and get homesick...but I will miss the smiles and hugs and craziness that usually fills up my day. I won't have Huston's predictable bedtime conversation. I won't have Avery's total goofiness, Lillie's smiles and laughter or have Isaiah amaze me with yet something else that he can now do. Good thing I have my blog. I can jump on Katelyn's computer and watch a movie clip or two....and praise God for cell phones too - so maybe things won't be so bad afterall and before I know it I will be in the mix of childish behavior again and longing for a break - I sure can be fickle.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Another Year

Just in case you haven't heard, 2008 is over. Yeah, that's right, a new year has come around that corner and everything is fresh and new even though everything outside is dead (ok hibernating) and brown and ugly. It's usually hard for me to get excited about a new start when everything outside looks kind of sleepy and depressing. And even though I haven't had the need to write the date out and really let it sink in - I'm ready to take this on.

And this time around I am a little more excited than usual, and I can't really put my finger on why. It seems like something more than the calendar has taken a turn. A lot of things that I have been waiting on are starting to tremble and stumble and well, come alive. It's not anything I can point to and say, "hey did you see that, do you see how this is different?" Right now its more of a feeling and a mood - like some fun adventure is about to happen - at least I hope the adventure is fun.

So while 2008 was somewhat eventful - I mean, come on, we welcomed a girl into this family - it was a rather sleepy year for my little clan - the people that live under this roof. That is nice, but I don't think we are called to live sleepy years every year. I think maybe this is the year of change (and I'm not talking politics)...and good or bad I feel prepared to deal with it. The ground has been cleared the foundation has been poured and I'm ready to build! Build what? I'm not quite certain but maybe the murkiness will become clear soon.

This year Isaiah will be 8, Huston will start Kindergarten in the fall and will turn 5 in April. Lillie will celebrate her 1st birthday, will start walking and talking and maybe grow enough hair to make girly. Avery will hopefully move closer and closer to big boy status and chill out when he turns 4. This year Steven's brother and sister-in-law will have their first baby in the summer - huge transition. Steven's mom Gloria will retire from teaching and will have 5 grandchildren to keep up with. That is some exciting stuff and that's with out the unknown.

Enjoy this new year everyone and what it holds - good or bad it will shape you, change you and it will be an exciting adventure I am sure.