Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Little Sacrifice

I only have a minute, and I will tell you why. . .

Because I have done something reckless, something completely unlikely. . . at least for me. . .

I have taken naptime and layed it in on the altar. I have given naptime, a.k.a. "me time," to my Father for Him to use as He wishes. Now this may not sound like a big deal to some, but to me it is HUGE. You see, I love "me time." It usually takes place around 1:00 p.m. And, some days I begin looking forward to it and planning each minute of it as early as 6:00 a.m. (when I wake up). Now that is sad. And, if one of my babes decides not to sleep during naptime, I find myself extremely frustrated with them. It is as if they owe it to me to give me at least an hour. My attitude is a lot like this. . .

Now, come on, child. I give you my all every other hour of the day. Can't I have at least one hour to myself. Really. . .

Now in my heart of hearts I know that these thoughts are absurd. I gave those rights away when I gave birth. They owe me nothing, and I owe them everything.

I guess it hit me one day last week. Elijah went to sleep around 11:45. So, I hurried the boys through lunch. They got down from the table ready to play while I cleaned up because that is our usual routine. But, this day Mama had a different agenda. I wisked a very frustrated and confused JCT up to his bed. No stories. One quick song. Jesus Loves Me was the choice if I remember correctly because it is not a long song. I layed him in his crib. I left him looking up at me completely dumbfounded. Then, I raced downstairs. Joshua was hiding again. Ugghh. So, instead of playing his little game, I loudly said, "Come out Joshua. It is time for nappy-time." Nothing. "Come on. I mean it." He came out, and I quickly layed him down in my room. No book. One song.

Ahhhh. . . The house was quiet. I had hurried everyone to their respective places for naptime an hour early, and none of my sweet guys complained. They all trusted that the reason for my urgency was worth their full cooperation. None of them questioned me. And, so there I was. Alone. I got something to drink, a couple monitors, and a book. Then, I went outside and sat down in a rocker on the back porch. But, something was missing. I didn't feel relaxed or at peace. I still felt a bit hurried. What was wrong? I had exactly what I had been longing for all day. I was alone. It was quiet. But, it didn't feel right. I didn't feel right. I wasn't enjoying myself. Why not? And, then it hit me. Guilt.

Now you may read this and think that I did nothing wrong. But, that isn't what my heart and my spirit felt. We are all on unique journeys. God has really been speaking to me lately about a variety of things. My priorities and my selfishness have been at the top of the list. And, I heard God whispering in my ear that afternoon, asking me to give Him that which I hold so dear, my alone time. After several days of pondering it, I finally relinquished my rights to naptime.

Now what does it look like to give God naptime? I'm figuring that out. I am praying each day that He will show me what to do with the time. Somedays it may work out that they all go down at the same time. But, most days it doesn't. I am lucky if I get a 15 minute overlap. And, since the time isn't mine anymore, I am not so frustrated when JCT wakes up 30 minutes after I put him down (Tuesday). It also means that somedays God may whisper to me to let Joshua skip his nap or at least part of it in order to have some good, long one on one time with me.

Today's naptime has been well spent. I made hot chocolate and read to Joshua from The World of Pooh. And, as I read to him, he took a spoon and ate the whipped cream off the top of my hot chocolate (just another way I am attempting to be selfless - thinking of him better than myself and all :-). After we finished reading, I felt refreshed and peaceful. It felt good. Better, I must admit, than a naptime spent filling my needs. That is just so like Him. Whatever we lay at His feet, He takes and gives us so much more in return. One late night when I was in college, struggling because my love for a certain young man was becoming so consuming that I felt he was coming between me and my First Love. So, I sat on my dormroom bed with eyes full of tears, and I layed all 6 foot 7 inches of the man I loved down at His feet. And, a couple years later He gave that man to me to be my husband. He has more than proven Himself faithful.

Okay, I am getting a bit dramatic. This is just naptime. . . And, I do realize that I need some time, too. Don't worry. I get time alone. I make sure of that. It just may not come in the neat little 2 hour package it used to. . .

Dying to self. God has taught me more about dying to myself through parenting than any other way. Sometimes it is hard, but it is always good.

And, to steal one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite books - Passion and Purity. . .

I have layed naptime on the altar.

Now what will become of the ashes. . .

I can't wait to find out!! I suspect the ashes will include a lot of laughs, games, meaningful conversations, and hot chocolate - with or without whipped cream!

Monday, May 28, 2007

My Sister and the 10-K Family!

Jesus, my sister Kristin, Elijah, and I have something in common. All of us celebrate our birthdays on the 25th day of various months. And, Friday, May 25th, is the day we celebrate my sister's birth. Some of you have asked me to tell the story of my sister's amazing family of eight children. So, here it is. . .

My sister has always loved children. I credit myself for her love of little ones. She was 10 when I was born, and she loved to take care of me. I was her very own real live babydoll. To this very day, I often jokingly say that I have 2 mothers.
And, not only has my sister always had a love of children, but they, also, have always had a love for her. If there was a child present at a party we attended as a family, somehow or another the child would always find his or her way to Kristin and follow her around the entire evening. I see this with my own children. They love to visit their Aunt Kristin! She is crazy fun, and she always has something exciting to show them at her house - hermit crabs, fish, or a fun new toy. And, fussy babies just have a way of cuddling into her and falling asleep. She has a gift. She truly does. A gift I covet - especially right now!

Anyway, we always knew that she would be a wife and a stay-at-home mom. It was the desire of her heart from a very early age. In 1988 she married and three years later Kayla Elizabeth was born. She loved being a mom so much that when Kayla was only 7 months old Kristin and her husband decided that it was time to have another baby. So, 9 months later Kohl Steven, their first son, was born 100% planned and desired by his parents. They waited a little longer the next time. . . When Kohl was 12 months old they decided that it was time to have another child, and 9 months later Kelly James, their second son, was born.

I am pausing the story now because I want to explain something. . .

Being observant as you are, you have noticed a trend in their children's names - all K's. Yes, it is true. And, to make it even that much more Krazy, I must add that Kristin is married to Kurt. They didn't start out intentionally using K names. Kayla was named Kayla simply because Kristin liked the name. Kohl was spelled with a K because Kurt saw the name in a newspaper and liked the spelling. Kelly was named with a K because they thought he would be their last child (Ha!), and they didn't want him to be the only one without a K name. Now to make this even sillier. Kurt's sister Kathy has 4 children - Logan, Luke, Landon, and Lexi. And, Kurt's other sister Terri has 2 children - Austin and Andrea. When we found out that Joshua was a boy, Kristin insisted that we name him Elijah and start an E theme in our family (Erik, Erin, and Elijah)!! We obviously liked the name Elijah, but we didn't want to paint ourselves into a corner.
Back to the story. . .
Nine months later God had a little surprise for them - Kristin was pregnant. They thought that their family was complete, and this was not in their plans. But, God's will overrides all that, and, 9 months later their second daughter, Kendyl Marie, was born. To say the very least, my sister is fertile, very fertile, so they opted for Kurt to get the "snip snip" to ensure no more surprise pregnancies! They felt that they were very blessed and that their family was complete.

Oh, but God had another surprise up His sleeve. . .

A couple years later a missionary came to their church and spoke about adoption. They sat in church and listened. Afterward, they loaded all 4 children in their mini-van and were about to head home. But, before the key went into the ignition, one of them looked at the other and said, "I think we are supposed to adopt." The other one agreed. And, they began praying and seeking God's face about it. They felt led toward domestic adoption rather than foreign. So, they took the steps needed, and, it wasn't long before God answered their prayers.

I debated including this part of the story, but I thought it might help someone, so I am going to write about it. Their first experience with adoption was a learning one and a hard lesson at that. Kristin met the young mom through the adoption agency sometime during her pregnancy. She walked with her throughout the rest of her pregnancy. She gave the young mother support and attempted to be Christ to her. Kristin's children even made gifts for her. Kristin met her at the hospital when she went into labor and was in the room when baby Kristopher was born. They had developed a trust with the young mother, and they took the baby into their home before all the rights were surrendered. Kayla, Kohl, Kelly, and Kendyl embraced the baby just as they had embraced the baby's mother. And, after having the baby in their home for nearly one week, the mother refused to terminate her rights. She changed her mind and wanted to keep baby Kristopher. Heartbreak. Kurt and Kristin had to drive to Arkansas to meet the young mother and hand this baby boy over to her. A baby that they had prayed for and opened wide their arms to. It was tragic for all of us. And, the story only gets worse. The adoption agency let us know that baby Kristopher died a month later in a car accident. Kristin and the young mother continued correspondence until the young mother eventually quit writing her back. I tell you this story only to say, that my sister highly advises adoptive parents to let the baby stay in a loving foster home until all parental rights have been terminated. This is just her opinion, and I think anyone could see why she feels that way.

This did not in anyway deter them from doing what they felt God called them to do. And, within 2 months Kase William, their third son, entered their family. About a year later, they began to feel that God was calling them once again to open their home to another child. They prayed about it and put their name back on the list. In the meantime Kurt quit his job and opened his own business. Money was tight at first, and it was at this time that the adoption agency called to tell Kristin that they had a little girl for her. Kristin was so torn. She wanted the baby and felt that they were to have this baby, but she knew that they didn't have the money to pay for the adoption at that time. So, they prayed about it. Kristin ended up calling the adoption agency and saying, "We really want this baby, and we feel we are supposed to adopt her. But, we just don't have the money right now." Get this. . . This is so God!! The adoption agency lady said, "She's free. We are waiving the fees." And, they gave her the name Klara Grace - grace being a free gift from God. A couple years later they felt the call again, and they welcomed Kloe Faith into their family. And, at this point they said that they were done. Actually, I think Kurt's exact words to me were, "The door is closed." Laughing I remember saying, "Are you sure that there is not a foot in the door?" He assured me there was not a foot, nor a toe, not a thing holding the door open. The door was closed. . .
But, God opened it. . .

:-) Don't you just love how He does that! The adoption agency called Kristin. It seems that Kloe's birth mom didn't show up for her tubal, and she got pregnant only 4 months after Kloe's birth. Kloe would have a sibling with the exact same mother and father. They prayed about it, and they felt that they were to adopt this child. The child was born only one month after Kloe's first birthday. And, they gave her the name Kyleigh Joy. And, what a joy she is, sweet girl! And, that is the story of my sister's family.

If you were to ask my sister about adoption, she would tell you that it is very spiritual. She would tell you that as Christians we are all adopted. And, she would quote Eph. 1:5. She would also admit that the road has not always been easy. Having 8 children is never easy! But, she says that when she hears her little daughters singing praise songs to Jesus, she knows that it is all worth it! Kristin's life is krazy to say the least. Her children's ages range from almost 4 years old to 16 years old. So, she is dealing with hormonal teenagers and active preschoolers at the same time. Some of her children are homeschooled, and some go to school. The kids are involved in a variety of sports and activities that keep Kristin on the go most of the afternoon - not to mention speech and occupational therapy for little Kyleigh. After 3:00 each afternoon, she has on average 5-10 places that she need to be at the same time. Hers is not a simple life. Once I asked her what she would do when she had an empty nest. Her answer was quick, "Well, by that time I'll have grandchildren!!!!" And, not long ago when I watched her holding my newborn son, I was reminded of her God-given gift and her sweet love for babies.
Quickly I would be amiss not mentioning a few things about this fun family! They know how to have a good time. You know, like diving into their pool at midnight on New Years Eve in Tennessee! Yes, they did! Kurt, the Daddy, is really just Kristin's biggest kid. He is the coach, the playmate, the best friend, and the Daddy all in one! Kayla is beautiful and sweet but yet very strong. Kohl loves to read and is very affectionate. Kelly is the guitar player and the witty one. Kendyl is funny, fun to be with and an incredible soccer player. Kase is good at building and making things with his hands. Klara is crazy happy and is built like an Olympic runner - muscle girl! Kloe gives the best kisses in the Southeastern US and makes me smile just thinking of her. Kyleigh is sweet and delicate and precious. And, that is that!



In Love He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.

Ephesians 1:5-6



Sunday, May 27, 2007

What to Do with Your Best Friend. . .

or what not to do. . . according to Joshua.

Joshua informed me of something quite disturbing this morning as we sat on the back porch. He said this. . .
"Mommy, do you know what you do when you have a best friend? Do you know what you do to them?"
Wanting to hear more, I said, "No, tell me. What do you do to your best friend?"
In all seriousness, this was his answer. . .

"You make them lay down in front of your car. Then, you run over them and squish them real good." Seeing a look of shock and horror come over my face, he added, "That's what Daddy told me."
A bit confused, I said, "Um, that's what Daddy told you? Daddy told you to lay your best friend in the road and run over him? Are you sure that is what he said?"
With all the confidence in the world, Joshua said, "Yes, that is what he told me. . . A long time ago, he told me that."

When Daddy and JCT got home from the grocery, we sat down to lunch. And, at this point I think it only wise to add this little tip that I learned today. Never, never send your husband to the grocery hungry. Feed him first. I thought he would never finish bringing in the grocery bags. The more bags he brought in - the bigger my eyes got. Full plastic Wal-Mart bags covered my kitchen floor. I literally had to reorganize my pantry, fridge, and freezer to fit all the new stuff, the stuff that was not on my very neat, organized, and easy to read grocery list. Donuts, Trix, Cheetos, on and on. . . I am still debating what to do about this. . . Do I let him go for me again and risk getting way more than I asked for? Or is this his way of trying to work himself out of a job? And, that would just be way too easy. . .

Back to the story, we are eating our lunch at the kitchen table. And, I say, "Joshua told me something really interesting today." Erik asked, "What?" I instructed Joshua, "Tell Daddy what he told you to do to your best friend." So, Joshua told Erik exactly what he told me. Put the friend in front of your car and run over him. And, don't forget, then, you squish him real good. Erik looked at me confused. Joshua assured Erik that he had told him this a long time ago. Then, Erik and I made eye contact, and it clicked!

Joshua had heard us tell the story of Erik and his best buddy Sean saying goodbye when we left Georgia. Erik and Sean were in the same residency program. Erik had been accepted into a Fellowship program in Florida, and Sean still had two more years of residency left in Georgia. We sold our home and moved in with Sean and Deana for the last month of Erik's residency. When we left their home for Florida, it was late one June evening. It was so hard to leave Sean and Deana because we are like family. We tearfully said our goodbye's, then Erik got in his Expedition, and I got in my car. And, right as Erik was about to pull out of Sean and Deana's driveway, Sean jumped in front of Erik's truck which was facing the road. He layed down in front of Erik's truck and refused to let him go saying that Erik would have to run over him first. It was a moment none of us will ever forget. I can still see Sean laying there smiling up at Erik. There we all were crying and laughing at the same time. It is a story we love to tell, perhaps because the moment was so like our friendship - completely endearing yet full of laughter and fun!

Now, obviously, Erik did not run over Sean and squish him. Joshua just added that part because he is a boy, and I am learning that boys like squishing things. And, squishing is okay when it is done to ants or beetles, but not to friends, my sweet Joshua, we don't squish our friends. . .

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Happy One Month, Elijah!


My beloved baby boy, it is hard to believe that you are one month old. We are enjoying you. You're little life has brought so much joy to our family already. We thank our God for you.

Fragile, yet full of life! You sleep a lot of the day and night right now. You consistently wake up twice at night - once around 1:00 a.m. and again around 4:00 a.m. Thankfully, this gives your Daddy and I just enough sleep to get through the next day. . .

I love to hold you, my little one. I love to hold you in front of the mirror so that I can look at your tiny body all curled up tightly clinging to me, your sweet head tucked under my chin. You are beautiful and sweet. Your Daddy loves to hold you in the evenings while he watches basketball on TV. He likes to hold you so that you can look out and watch the game, too!
Oh, and you are smiling, my sweetness, you are smiling at us! And, on occasion when I lay you on your back to let you get a little exercise - kicking and stretching, you will make little sounds that sound like you are trying to talk. And, bless your sweet heart, it takes everything you have to get those sounds out! You kick your arms and your legs with force, and then suddenly a little sound comes forth! And, we cheer you on!! Which brings me to one last thing. . . you have 2 big brothers who adore you. I daydream from time to time about what your relationship with the two of them will be as you all grow up together. I pray daily that God will bless you all with a selfless love for one another.
I love you, sweet little man, and I look forward to the months and years ahead.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Guess Where We Are?



Scroll down to the bottom to find out where we are. . .
Just for the record, there are a few things that I hope I don't soon forget. So, I am going to record them here. . .

About Imagination. . . Joshua is naming everything right now, everything. And, while at first this seemed a bit strange to me, it later occured to me that when I was in 2nd grade I gave all of my facial features names. All that I can remember is the names of my eyes - "Pinky" and "Inky." So, maybe I passed this gene down to him? Who knows? But, he has been doing it for months. . . Our house is Frankie. The last curve in the highway before you get to the road that takes us to our house is Curvey. Our mini-van is Vannie. The tires are called Tire Bire. The pond is Water Pauter. The vent in his room is Barker, not to be confused with his bunk bed which is named Venti. The list goes on and on and it grows daily.


About Nursing. . . Joshua declared that I AM A SUPER-HERO because I FEED ELIJAH!!! He also declared when he accidently walked in on me pumping one morning that I am "a lot like a cow." Oh, me. JCT sits two inches from me at all times when I am holding Elijah. So, we are a threesome at feeding time. JCT kisses and talks to Elijah while I feed him. It usually goes something like this. . . "Hi Lijah! I love you. Mommy, I love da baby. Da baby loves me. Are you eating, Lijah? Lijah eats milk. God made Lijah, Mommy. God made Lijah for YOU and ME!!! I love my little Lijah. . ." JCT also informed me the other day during a feeding that one side was milk and the other side was juice. Funny, I never knew that! He keeps me smiling, that JCT, my sunshiny happy boy!

About Music. . . Our boys love the song, "Life is a Highway" from the movie Cars. They love it so much that they absolutely go nuts when it comes on! They run in circles and throw themselves on the couch and chair! They dance like crazy men!! And, it makes me laugh every time they do it!
Don't we all feel a little like this when we hear our favorite song?

And, notice that Rain, our dog, is not at all surprised by there behavior. He is quite used to it by now.

Okay, and now the answer to the original question. . .





If you guessed that we are in our driveway, then you are correct! Yes, the brick layers left a huge present for my boys this past January when they did their work on the back of our house. Most people might be a little irritated when they drive up and see a literal mountain of sand in the middle of their driveway after the brick layers were long gone - not even offering to move it, but, no, not us. We rejoiced!! It was quite possibly the largest domestic sandbox in the southeastern US, and my boys have loved it! Due to the spring rains, it is almost gone now, but there is still enough sand left to "play beach."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Meme

I've been tagged by Sarah to write 7 facts/habits about myself. So, here goes. . .

1.) I love a good night's sleep - something I haven't had in 3 weeks and 5 days. I love to wake up before the alarm clock goes off and lay peacefully dozing in and out of sleep until Fernando Ortega starts softly singing Grace and Peace to wake me up. And, then I just hit the snooze and do the same thing over again a few more times. . .

2.) There is nothing, in my opinion, nothing at all like the first cup of coffee in the morning. From the sound of the coffee maker to the sound of coffee being poured into an empty cup to the taste of the first warm sip, there is nothing like it. Mornings would not be the same without it. And caffeine has nothing to do with it. I drink decaf. It has more to do with how it soothes me into the day. . . I have to sit down, relax, and get focused before I start going each morning, and coffee is a vital part of that for me.

3.) Running is one of my favorite hobbies. I love a challenging run - either by pace or distance - I just like to end the run feeling like I gave all that I had. I really prefer to run in the evenings when I can run off all the stress of the day. It's a good thing, oh yes, it is.

4.) I am a bit neurotic about some things. I have master lists of everything stored on my computer, and I print them out and check them off. I have a list for the grocery store - organized by the route I shop, sectioned off by aisle with all our commonly purchased items listed and a space included in each section for me to add new or different items. I have a master travel list that I pull out to make sure I don't forget to pack anything. It is organized by family member and even has variations for baby and toddler, etc. This list also has a place to add items unique to each particular trip. I have a list of daily chores for myself, and a list for weekly chores, and one for monthly chores, and don't forget seasonal chores. I guess you could say I like lists, well, um, and control. And, don't believe for a second that I actually adhere to the chore lists. . . Honestly, it just makes me feel good to make the lists, print them out and look at them. I rarely follow them. And, to be totally honest, I haven't printed one out since before the renovation. . .

5.) In my opinion, sleeping children are quite possibly one of the sweetest things on earth. I love to peek into my boys' room and see my two rambunctious, wild monkeys sleeping peacefully. They look like little angels laying there. This has to be one of my favorite things to do. . .

6.) I love to be outdoors, and so do my boys. So, when the weather is nice, we virtually stay outside all day except for naptime! I love picnic lunches in the shade. I love our back porch. We spend a lot of time coloring in coloring books at the table on the back porch. I also love to sit and rock a baby on our front porch at sunset.

7.) I have never tasted guacamole. Never tasted it. Never really wanted to. I know that all my Texas friends love it. They talk about it all time. But, honestly, guys, it just really doesn't look that appetizing to me. I mean it is green and the consistency of, well, you know, the stuff you see in baby diapers. . . I'm not planning on trying it anytime soon. Maybe, one day when I visit Texas I will try it. Maybe.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Lessons from Flying Solo


When my mom and I first saw this picture, we laughed and decided that it should be labeled, "And, reality sets in." The reality that I am the mother of 3 boys! The reality that my house will be filled with cowboys running wild! No doubt, my journey will be one filled to the brim with constant motion, curiosity, noise, and general chaos. But, fear not, I am 100% on board and excited about the road ahead! Little cowboys, take me away!!!!!

This was my first week alone with the boys. My mom stayed with me the week Elijah was born, Erik the week after, and his mother the week after that. And, though some (a.k.a. Joshua) doubted me, we have made it quite well. One day last week while Erik's mother was with us, I was tucking Joshua in bed, and he asked, "Mommy, how will you do it?" Confused, I asked, "What do you mean?" To which he answered, "What will you do when Grandma leaves? How will you do it all?" Beginning to feel a little insecure, I asked, "How will I do what all? What do you mean?" He answered, "Like washing the dryer and all that. How will you do it all?" I reminded him that I had a very special helper boy that would help me, and I assured him that we would make it just fine.

And, so we have. I have even "washed the dryer" - 8+ loads of laundry have been done this week alone! I have come to the realization that even my 2 year old can be a great little helper! And, they both love to be helpers, so I have allowed them the privilege. Who knows how long it will last, but I am enjoying the aid!

I tend to over do it the month or so before a baby comes. I work so hard to get our entire life in order so that when the baby comes I can simply rest and focus on our family alone. And, even though I drive myself and my husband crazy in the last months of each pregnancy, the reward is sweet. When the baby comes, a peace comes over our home, and I am feeling that peace right now. Like a soft sweet breath of fresh air blowing through the house, the baby brings in a time of tranquility. We lay low for 2 months after having a baby. Erik doesn't let me take the baby to public places, etc., so we are virtually homebound for 8 weeks. And, though that sounds boring to most, to someone who has been running nonstop for the past 10 months, it is heaven on earth.

And, since I have had some time to be still and listen, I have heard God whispering sweetness to my heart. And, there is nothing more wonderful than that! I have finally slowed down enough to see that in my busyness, I was missing so much. . .

I'm not sure whether it is because Elijah looks so much like Joshua or what it is, but I have been awestruck by how big Joshua is getting. It is as if I have completely missed the last 4 years. Where did they go? Just yesterday I was holding his little newborn body, and now he is 4 years old, long and lean and growing like a weed. There is nothing baby about him. He is all little boy now. Erik and I are praying about whether or not to homeschool our boys. If we do send them to school, then I only have one more year at home with my Joshua. One more year, to be with him during all those wonderful morning and afternoon hours. One more year, to make him PB&J's and to sit down and enjoy them with him. One more year to spend the afternoons blowing bubbles, drawing with sidewalk chalk, and reading books to him before naptime. Where, oh, where has the time gone?

So, slowing down has reminded me that I need to live each moment to fullest with my children because these moments will soon be memories. Just like all the older ladies at the grocery store stop and tell me when I am about to pull my hair out because my boys are being disobedient and hyper, and I just want to. be. done. shopping. . . "Enjoy these days, they don't last forever. . . They'll grow up before you know it. . . Enjoy them while you have them. . . You'll just turn around one day and they'll be all grown up. . . Enjoy them. . ." They are growing fast. . . And, the last thing I want to do is miss it, or should I say to miss enjoying it.

So, in this, my first week flying solo with 3 little ones, I have been challenged once again to "stop and smell the roses." For years, I have said with all confidence, "I can have a clean house later, I want to focus on my children now." But, just as soon as I said it, I would bury myself again in organizing, cleaning, and list making. Because I am type A, it is so incredibly hard for me to let go and play when there are clothes sitting in the dryer getting all wrinkly or when there are dishes sitting in the sink waiting to be washed. Not only that, but I tend to find myself sitting in one of our Adirondack chairs by the swing set making to do lists (one of my favorite past-times), instead of joining my sons in their games. And, I, also, tend to put a movie on in the car so that I can call my friends and talk while we run errands. You know it is bad when you hear your two year old say, "Get dat phone off yo ear, Mama." Conviction.

It is an honor and a privilege to be able to stay at home with my children, but if I am constantly trying to engage them in activities so that I can do what I want to do. . . What is the point of that? Now, I am not saying that I should drop everything and play with my children all day. That would not be right at all. There would be no dinner, no clean clothes, and scary things would be growing in our toilets and showers. And, to be quite honest, right or wrong, I am a better mother, wife, friend, and person when there is less clutter on my counters. That is just a fact. If there is a phobia of clutter, I have it. So, I guess what I am saying is that slowing down has made me realize the value of these days. It has made me realize that the balance between doing what I want to do and playing with my children has been off in my life. The scales were tipping toward my own selfishness, and I had not realized it. I have been a different mama this week, and I pray that this new mama remains.

Now, my house is cluttered. And, no doubt, there is little boy tinkle around the rim of the toilet seats that needs to be Clorox wiped (a daily chore for a mama with little boys). But, I am satisfied. I am satisfied with this week. It was truly a week well spent.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hide and Seek Gone All Wrong. . .

This may be humorous now, but I assure you it was not at the time!!

It was naptime in our household, and I went upstairs to put JCT down. Elijah was already asleep, and Joshua was playing quietly downstairs. I use this time each day for a little alone time with my middle child. We talk about the morning, read a book or two, and sing a song or two. I was probably upstairs 15-20 minutes.

When I came down, Joshua was no where to be found. Now, sometimes he likes to hide from me, so this wasn't such a surprise to me. I played along, "Where, Oh, Where is my Joshua? I can't find him!" I looked in the usual places - no Joshua. I looked in some new places - no Joshua. I scaled every square centimeter of the downstairs - no Joshua. I started to get a little nervous, but I held it together. "Joshua, Joshua come out. . ." Nothing. Silence. I listened for laughter, movement, anything - and heard nothing but my heart beating wildly. I checked the back door - locked - whew! I checked the back porch door because we ate lunch out on the back porch - unlocked - sheer panic! We have a pond in our backyard! The doors are always, always bolted! How could I leave the door unlocked??? I looked outside, scanned the backyard - no Joshua. You can imagine the thoughts going through my head at this moment. . . What do I do? Call Erik? Call 911? I envisioned having the pond drained. . . Or, what if he ran around to the front of the house? He could have gotten hit by a car. . . Or, he could be wondering through the woods. . . lost. . . There could be snakes, poison ivy, or worse. . . I couldn't even go there, so I went back inside. I walked into the kitchen and decided to give it one more try except this time the sound of a frightened mother bear was evident in my voice, "JOSHUA, JOSHUA, IF YOU ARE IN HERE COME OUT RIGHT NOW!!!"

The door to the powder bath flung open. . . I literally fell to the ground. Slowly, ever so slowly, my little red-headed darling crawled out of the doorway. I think I scared him as much as he scared me. I'm certain he has never heard that kind of panic in my voice. At this point I was sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor, and he crawled slowly toward me one baby step at a time. Like any scared half to death post-partally hormonal woman (don't you just love how I always have an excuse for my over-exaggerated emotions?), I had tears chasing each other down my cheeks. I grabbed Joshua and hugged him tightly. And, what proceeded could seriously have won an Oscar. If not an Oscar, it would have been the perfect ending to a Lifetime Original Drama or a Hallmark Special. It was high drama at its finest. I said something like this, "Do you see these tears? Look at me! Do you know why Mama is crying? Because I love you, Joshua. I. love. you. And, for a few minutes, I thought that I had lost you. I don't ever want to lose you, baby. Mama loves you! So much! So much! If I ever lost you, I would be sad forever. You could never be replaced. I love you, my Joshua, my baby!" As you can imagine, now he was in tears, too. The two most dramatic members of the family playing off one another. Mush.

Now, somehow I had forgotten during this whole ordeal that Joshua recently learned to switch hiding places when the seeker isn't looking. Sneaky little guy, scared his mama half to death!

But, the funny ending to this little tale happened about an hour later. . . Joshua comes running up to me. "Mommy, I gotta go to the bathroom." I said, "Okay, go ahead," wondering why in the world he was telling me this. He answered that question without my asking, "Now, if I go to the bathroom, promise you won't start crying again. Because I'll be right back. I'm just going to the bathroom. Don't be sad and cry."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Motherhood

I love my mom. Really, I love my mom. When I was young, she began traveling for a ministry teaching women to study the Bible inductively. Once a month my dad and I would take her to the airport and see her off on another week long trip. I hated it with a passion. I missed her terribly. We had a little routine we went through when we said goodbye. I am and always have been just a bit dramatic. I would grab her face - one hand on each cheek, stare deeply into her eyes, and say, "Promise me that you won't die. Promise me that you will come home safely to me." And, she would say, "I can't promise you that I won't die - that is in God's hands. But, I will do all that I can to return home to you safely." That answer never satisfied me because losing my mom was the worst thing imaginable to me - worse than nuclear war or an outbreak of smallpox.

My mom is an incredible woman, and I owe so much to her. She made growing up fun. She taught me that doing things for others is fulfilling. She taught me to enjoy homemaking. But, most importantly, she modeled daily for me selflessness and an unquenchable love for Jesus. And, for those two things I am so grateful to her. Thank you, mom.

When I was a senior in high school, we were asked to write a poem that would be entered in the state poetry contest. I decided to write a poem about my mom, and believe it or not, it won the state poetry contest. I'll never forget the day I had to accept my award. I was, you know, 18 years old and having a bad hair day. And, on top of that, I could not decide what to wear. To say the least, it was a stressful morning. My mom decided to throw in her two cents about what I should wear or do with my hair or something somewhat related, and I didn't appreciate the unasked for advice. So, I did something completely uncharacteristic of me, something my mother will never let me live down. . . I growled at her. Like a bear ready to attack, I growled at her and raised and my hand like a claw. I actually did this into the mirror in my bathroom, not to her face. But, when I heard her roar with laughter in the hallway, I realized that she had seen me.

I was not amused.

I can't remember if I stayed upset with her or not. But, the next thing that I remember from that day happened when I got on stage to accept my award. The announcer asked my mom to stand, handed me a copy of my poem, and asked me to read it aloud for the audience. But, to me it was an audience of one, and she was standing near the back of the room. I think we were both in tears by the time I finished reading my poem.

So, here's to the love between a mother and her children. Love that can withstand growling, whining, and outright disobedience. Fierce love, sweet love, secure love. . .

This is my little poem. I had to dig a bit to find it, but here it is. . .


I Call You Mother
I've felt your arms hold me up
when I was too weak to stand by myself,
I call you strength.
I've seen you're eyes shine
and your smile light up the dark,
I call you joy.
I've watched as Daddy looked at you
with eyes full of pride and affection,
I call you love.
I've heard your voice soothe my fears
and encourage me in love,
I call you hope.
I've felt your hand gently wipe away my tears
and calm my anxious body with a touch,
I call you precious.
I've confided in you knowing always
that your heart was open and listening,
I call you friend.
I've sat many a night in your lap
and cuddled my troubles away,
I call you security.
I've watched you smile lovingly
as your children grew up,
I call you proud.
I've watched you bow you're head in prayer
as walls fell all around you,
I call you faithful.
I've always loved you dearly
and am grateful to you for giving me life,
I call you Mother.
I love you, Mommy!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Ulterior Motives. . .

Quick Note to the Sarah who tagged me for a meme: Blogger won't let me access your site to see what the meme is. Please don't think I am ignoring you!! I just haven't been able to go to your blog. . .


It is quiet, but I know the quiet is temporary. Elijah will wake up to eat at any moment. My other two are tucked sweetly in for a good afternoon nap. And, I am soaking in the peace of the moment. I thought that I'd post a pic or two of Elijah. My motive in doing so is that my mother might see my sweet baby and when she sees him, maybe, just maybe, she will miss him soooo much that she will just have to come and see him again. And, when visiting him, she will see me, too, and that will make me very happy, very, very happy. (Now, I know my mom. And, as she read the last few sentences, she was overwhelmed with guilt that she should come. Let it go. No guilt, please. I'm just playing. I love you, and I know how busy you are!! I also realize that my mom has 13, yes 13, grandchildren, so I have to share her.) Here you go, mom. . .



And, there he is, my new little man, two weeks old and weighing in at 10 pounds. Note that the hair is definitely showing its true colors these days - another darling red head! He continues to look so much like Joshua to us. Gotta love those sweet cheeks. I can't help but kiss them over and over!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Anyone care to guess. . .

what my Joshua is up to?

Monday, May 07, 2007

More Blogging Goodness. . .

Just in case you are looking for a few new reads, I thought that I would let you know about some of my friends who have recently started their own blogs.

Sara, I wrote a post about Sara a few months ago, and I shared a testimony that she had written. If I knew how to link to a post, I would do that for you. But, unfortunately, I do not. So, forgive me, please. Sara is super fun, very deep, and she has a great dog! We were inseparable during junior high and high school, and soon she is moving within 30 miles of me. God is so good!

Jen, my sister-in-love, you know, the one who was my best friend in nursing school and then we ended up marrying brothers. . . What can I say about my Jen? She is beautiful inside and out. She is an awesome Mommy. One day I will write an entire post about how we met, got all goose-bumpy knowing instantly that God had something special in store for our friendship, spent the last two years of college joined at the hip (and heart), and then ended up marrying brothers. the story of our friendship is an unimaginably wonderful story, and it just keeps getting better year after year. . .

Ali is one of Jen's best friends, and they decided to embark on this blogging journey together. So, I had to mention her, too!! She is pure sunshine, and you will feel her joy when you read her posts! Everytime I visit Jen, I get to spend a little time with Ali. And, I can honestly say that she is one of the brightest and most joy-filled people I have ever met! I am excited to be able to keep up with her sweet family through her blog!

So, if you get a minute drop by and welcome them to the wonderful world of blog! I know that you will love them!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Elijah's Biggest Fans








So, after the "event" of labor is over, there is one more thing that I look forward to greatly, greatly. And, that is introducing my children to their new sibling! Introducing Joshua to JCT was one of my favorite moments of my life. There was instant love, and it made this mommy's heart overflow!!!

As per usual, I was ready! I had special t-shirts made with our last name across the back and 01 on Joshua's, 02 on JCT's, and 03 on Elijah's. We also had a cookie cake ordered to celebrate the day! My boys LOVE cookies from the Cookie Co. with lots of icing!! So, we got a huge cookie cake and asked the Cookie Co. employee to cover. it. with. icing!! When the boys got to the hospital, Elijah was in the nursery for shift change. We gave the boys some cookie cake to celebrate their new little brother's birthday!! They were so excited to meet him, asking every other second when he would be there. They stood at the door and yelled, "Elijah come!!!"


I remember Beth Moore in one of her Bible Studies talking about watching her daughters, Amanda and Melissa, say good-bye to one another when Amanda went overseas to do missions. Beth talked about how it warmed her heart to see her daughters love eachother so much. She compared it to how God must feel when he sees us (the body of Christ) love on our brothers and sisters in Christ. And, I couldn't help but think of that as I watched my boys love on their new little brother. It warmed this little heart to the core.

Here they are checking out his little feet!! They couldn't get over how small they are!!


And, so, now we are home, and the newness is starting to wear off. But, I must say Elijah gets at the very least somewhere around 700 kisses a day from his big brothers. Joshua is gentle and sweet and loving with him. JCT, well lets just say that he loves hard, real hard. He gives probably 675 of the 700 kisses each day, but often they come with a head butt. He loves his little brother, but he has no concept of gentle, none, nada, not one single bit. So, I must keep a close eye on that little rascle! JCT calls Elijah by one of two names, either it is, "My baby" or "My Lijah." I never dreamed that he would be such a sweet big brother! And, Joshua, he is just plain old sweet, like sugar, or sweet tea, or cookie cake with way too much icing!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Let Me Let You in on a Little Secret. . .

I sat down a few minutes ago and read through the comments some of you left on my last post, and I had a bit of a guilty conscience. I need to let you all in on a little secret. . . Some of you commented on the way that I looked after giving birth. Let me be quick to say that this did take a bit of effort on my part. You see, I have a theory. And, the theory goes something like this:


Suddenlys are going to happen suddenly, but just because they happen suddenly doesn't mean that you have to look like they did.


Even if your suddenly wakes you up in the middle of the night, you must be prepared. And, I was prepared for just such an event. My make-up bag was waiting on the counter in my bathroom just in case we had to make a flight at night. I even had my "Lord Deliver Me. . ." t-shirt waiting out on my dresser to wear to the hospital with my new never before worn black and white polka dot Yellow Box sandels and a pair of black slacks. Not to mention the pearl earings and the pearl and baby boy blue beaded bracelet that were sitting out for me to quickly put on if need be. . . Oh, yes, I was prepared. My mom laughed at me saying that labor to most people is "work," but to me labor is, as she put it, "an event." And, she is right. They are some of my favorite days of my life. Besides, suddenlys usually involve lots of pictures and often video footage as well. So, in accordance with my theory, I was prepared to make myself look at the very least presentable.


The only problem was that I forgot to grab my make-up bag. . .


So, after I got to the hospital and the on-call MD came in, checked me, and left, I immediately got down to business. "Mom, could you get my make-up bag out of our brown bag?" I said tied down to my hospital bed by monitors and gadgets. She looked and looked, but she couldn't find it. I felt a bit of panic slowly setting in. So, I borrowed make-up from the bottom of my mom's purse. And, if you know my mom, then you know that we don't exactly have the same coloring. She has beautiful olive skin tones, and I am quite fair. But, drastic circumstances call for drastic measures, so I dawned her olive make-up. When you know that one of your very best friends in the world is going to be standing on a chair taking pictures of you pushing (not always the cutest facial expressions) you know you need all the help you can get - even if it is in the wrong color. Suddenly is no excuse.


So, now you know the truth. I'm all about being real. So, in between enduring those awful transitional contractions, what was I doing? I was putting on make-up. . . much to my husband's chagrin. Because even though I have given birth to 3 boys, I am still very, very much a girl. Some things will never change. And now you know the truth!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Suddenly. . .


My husband and I have often discussed how the "big" things in life happen suddenly. After much waiting and preparing, suddenly with the words "I now pronounce you man and wife," you are married. In an instant your life is changed forever. After my husband studied for years and years, a hood was placed over his head and suddenly he was called "Doctor" and lives were entrusted to his care. And, after nine months of anticipation, suddenly a baby comes forth and changes a mother's world forever. And, for me suddenly happened early one morning less than one week ago.

Elijah had us waiting to say the very least. Friday at my doctor's appointment I was 3 cm, so we figured it would not be long. Then, Saturday night I felt a little crampy, so Erik checked me - 4 cm. Sunday morning I decided to go ahead and call my mom. I wanted her to be here for the birth. She has a 4 hour drive, so playing it safe, we decided to go ahead and ask her to come. So, on Sunday she and my dad drove over. . . only to wait. On Monday Erik checked me again - 5 cm. Surely, we thought, he would come soon. Let's just say that by Tuesday evening, with only 1 or 2 contractions felt each day, I was a bit frustrated, just a bit. I went to bed feeling certain that he was going to remain inside of me for an eternity. Then, suddenly, early Wednesday morning, around 3 a.m.,I woke up and felt a little something. . . I thought. . . But, I wasn't sure. So, I lay there a few minutes, but I just couldn't tell. . .

Slowly, I crept out of my bed and tip-toed into the living room. I didn't want to wake Erik for a false alarm. I grabbed a random slip of paper off the counter (which has now become sacred to me) and began recording the times of each little twinge. I recorded about 4 times each getting a little closer together. Around 3:35 I decided to wake Erik up. I still wasn't certain it was labor, but the pains were about 3 minutes apart, and I knew he would want to know. So, I snuck in and woke him up. He checked me and said, "You are 6-7 cm. We need to go." We woke up my mom, called the babysitter, called Deana (my sweet friend who took pics and operated the video camera for us), and gathered our bags. We left the house around 4:30 and arrived at the hospital around 5:00.

We were met in the observation area by a strong, solid looking African American nurse named Bernice. We walked in and Erik told her I was 6-7 cm, and she took his word for it! She took us back to labor and delivery where the doctor on call came to see me. He told me that I was 7 cm., and then he proceeded to come at me with that little sewing needle looking thing to break my water. He said that he would call Dr. Y. after he broke my water. I asked him to please let me wait until Dr. Y got to the hospital to break my water. I am kind of partial to my doctor, and I didn't want to take any chances that he would not be there for the delivery. (Dr. Y delivers all his own patients. I hate it for his family, but I love it for me!) So, we waited, and at 5:40 Dr. Y. came in the door with his usual big grin. And, I felt myself relax when I knew that he was there. He broke my water and after just a few contractions I was complete and ready to push.

Bernice was there the whole time. And, she was perfect. She alternated between yelling orders at me - "Push that baby! Push! him! up! to! the! light! PUSH that baby, come on now!" to singing "These are the days of Elijah. . ." She was a blessing to say the very least! She had a great smile with one little golden tooth, and I thanked God for giving her to me for this special time. She told me that I was going to have this baby on her shift. And, I doubted her. I kept saying, "I hope I don't disappoint you, Bernice." And, she would say, "Don't worry, baby, you aren't gonna disappoint me. No, no. You gonna have this baby. This your third baby. I've done this long enough to know. No, you're not gonna disappoint me. You gonna have this baby 'fore I go home. I know. . ."




And, suddenly, much quicker than I had expected, at 6:14 a.m., my life changed forever. My third son was born. And, in an instant when I saw my sweet Erik, glassy eyed, holding my wet, crying baby, that instant made April 25, 2007 one of the best days of my life.












I woke up this morning and stared at Elijah laying beside me. Erik got up with the boys, and I lay in bed feeding Elijah. And, I just stared at him. Overwhelmed with love for this tiny little wrinkley, tree frog legged, precious newborn. His little eyes were open and he was looking around at me, at the wall, at the window, searching. . . His expression was a bit confused, brow furrowed. Searching, taking it all in. . . And, oh, the love I feel for him! The excitement to do it all over again with him. I have 2 other boys, and I have done the newborn stage, baby stage, and toddler stage with them, but not with Elijah. And, I look so forward to doing it all with him! And, as I contemplated all of this, I thought about the fact that one week ago today I was still waiting. He was in my belly, and I was waiting for him. There was so much that I didn't know, but now I do. And, I thought about how I love the suddenlys of life. They are sweet, sweet gifts from God given in His perfect timing and in His perfect way.
My photo
Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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