or maybe this is. . .
Thursday, January 31, 2008
"Joshua will you still love me when you are big like your Daddy?"
And, Joshua answered. . .
"Nana, I will love you when I am 5, and when I am 6 I will love you, and even when I am 7 I will love you! And, yes, Nana, even when I am as big as Daddy, I will still love you! I will always love you, Nana."
Monday, January 28, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
"Mommy, this is a picture of me at school missin' you. If you look close, you can see the tears in my eyes."
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I was just sitting back reflecting on all the sweet and encouraging comments that you all left on my blog yesterday. I appreciate every single one of them. Especially the ones coming from mothers of 4 or more children close together. And, I received a sweet comment from ck that said basically (my paraphrase), "I was one of 4 children all close together in age. I don't know how it was for my mom, but we, kids, had a great time growing up together." I LOVE to hear that! It makes my heart sing!
This morning Joshua left early for school. (Erik takes him.) JCT and I were enjoying a quiet morning together while Elijah slept in. I actually found myself thinking, "Wow, this is so nice and quiet, just me and JCT." But, it wasn't long before I heard some sweet baby chatter on the monitor, and I sighed a, it was nice while it lasted, kind of sigh. Upon entering the room, Elijah's eyes met mine and his face was aglow with a radiant happiness. The kind of happiness that is contagious to all who witness it, and I was instantly ashamed of my previous thoughts. I picked him up, and he nearly jumped out of my arms in excitement. He could hear his big brother playing in the next room, and he simply longed with all that was in him to see his big brother. He pulled outward until I turned him around so he could face out. Then, with his head and the kicking of his legs, he led me to the family room where JCT was making all sorts of loud dinosaur noises. And, when Elijah's eyes finally found JCT, he kicked and squealed and went crazy with excitement. I attempted to nurse Elijah, but between JCT grabbing his head and singing "Jesus luvs Elijah, this I know fo da Bible tells me so. . ." and Elijah's lack of interest in eating, I gave up and put them together in the superyard on the family room floor - where they laughed and played together for quite some time. It it times like these when ck's comment comes back to me, "I don't know how it was for my mom. But, we, kids, had a great time growing up together." I pray that their growing up years will be filled with laughter, fun, and wonderful memories. Memories of 2 on 2 basketball games in the driveway, football games in the front yard, volleyball games in the pool, kickball, make-believe track races, sleeping in tents in the backyard with Daddy (notice I opted out on that one), movie nights for the whole family, cook-outs, and cookie baking with Mama. And, if that is the case, if they do have a memory full of richness and love, then, it will be worth any stress or strain that 4 children 5 and under will be on me. I'm embracing it!
Yesterday, as I drove home from Super-Wal-mart, all three children snug in their carseats. Well, to be honest one was screaming, and my nerves were shot. It was a wild trip to the place my non-cursing, godly, deacon of a husband, refers to as "hell." And, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't think about that several times as I made my way around that over-crowded, unfriendly customer-filled, germ-ridden place. If you are ever feeling like you have it all together and you are a wonderful mom, take your kids to Wal-Mart in the middle of the afternoon. It is sure to humble you. . . quickly.
I digress. . . As I drove home, the boys asked to watch the new Veggie tales - Pirates Who Don't Do Anything Sing-a-long DVD. And, midway through the DVD I heard a song that really appealed to me where I am right now. It is by Mandisa, and it is called, "I can do the right thing." The reason it appeals to me is because I really struggle with believing that I can do it. "It" being - me truly being the mother God called me to be. Somedays it just seems like too much. When my nerves are shot by 10:00 a.m., I know the day is going to be long, and I simply cannot do it on my own strength. So, often I hear these words in my head, "I can't do this. I just cannot do this." I want to be someone my boys look up to, but somedays it is really easy to get frustrated and lose my temper. One day I will write a post about how much my boys have changed me. I am truly a different person because of the refining God has done on my soul through these precious little fellows. Just one more reason for me to love them to pieces! Back to the song by Mandisa, I am going to post the words because they really spoke to me. Not that I see myself as a hero, but that is what the pirate movie is about - stepping up and being the hero God called you to be.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
But, that is a good thing. It is always a good thing if you ask me. And, we are rejoicing over this little one - this little tiny 5 mm long one.
But, whoever said that breastfeeding is good birth control really didn't know what he was talking about - I am going to assume it was a he that said that, anyway. Elijah is still not taking solids, and I am feeding him like a newborn. It just doesn't make sense that I could get pregnant- except that this was absolutely, undoubtedly God's will for our family.
I had a funny suspicion starting about a week before I took the test that I might be pregnant, but I was in denial. I kept telling myself that there was NO WAY I could be pregnant!!! After all...
#1 I am breastfeeding Elijah ALL THE TIME. He still isn't doing well with solids, so I am having to nurse him every 2-3 hours all day long and two times at night.
#2 Erik and I have always TRIED to get pregnant. And, sometimes that trying has taken many months.
But, I was feeling a little queasy, and I felt a bit of round ligament pain upon standing up the other day, and coffee just wasn't tasting good to me! I tryed to ignore these symptoms, but they just weren't going away! This all began on Monday. By Thursday I was nearly convinced that I was pregnant, and I had a HARD day with the boys. And, I almost started crying because I just had a feeling another one was coming, and how would I manage when I'm not even doing well with 3 children? Add a baby, and I just might feel the need to run away from home!
And, if you are wondering why I didn't just run out and take a test in the middle of the week, just think about it. Imagine with me if you will. . .
Erin running into Wal-Mart, make-up worn off, baggy, tired eyes, and two very excited little ones running along side me, and a baby on my hip. Then, we would have to make our way to the aisle. Elijah would be fussing in the front of the buggy, JCT doing cartwheels in the back of the buggy and Joshua skipping alongside the buggy. I would then have to grab the test while women all around me whispered and stared. "Does she not know what causes that?" And, then I would have to brave the check-out line. The cashier would undoubtedly try to figure out how old Elijah was, obviously not old enough to walk, etc. And, as she handed me my receipt and my item-in-bag, she would look on me with great pity.
No, ma'am, not going to do it. I decided to wait until Erik got off work on Friday, and then I ran off by myself and bought the test. And, by this time, I wanted it to be positive.
I really wanted it to be positive.
Isn't that just like a woman?
So, I ran in my little small town Wal-Mart hoping that no one I knew would see me, bought the test, and drove home.
I opted for the long way home, the long way through town. And, as I drove toward the house, I drove into the most amazing sunset. The sky was all shades of red and orange, and I was overwhelmed. Playing on my CD player was a song that I have come to love so much - "What can I do?" by Paul Baloche. I turned up the volume and sang my heart out to the Lord. I told Him that positive or negative I was so incredibly blessed by Him, and I thanked Him. It was one of those times with the Lord that is so intimate that it is hard to come back to reality. It was hard to get out of the van and walk into my home. I felt so distant, so out of this world. But, with three wild and crazy boys and Elijah, too, it didn't take me long to get my feet planted firmly back on the sod of earth.
As Erik bathed the boys, I went downstairs to our bathroom to take the test, and of course, it was instantly positive!! I praised and thanked God for this little surprise. Trying to hide my silly little grin, I stuck that cute little stick in my purse and headed upstairs to help Erik. We had a babysitter coming in a few minutes, and then he and I were off to meet his brother and Jen in a town about an hour and a half away. We had so much time to talk on the way!!
I waited until we were on the road for a little bit to tell him. There were butterflies in my tummy. I didn't know if he would be excited or overwhelmed or what. So, I told him that I had something to say that would make for some interesting conversation on our drive. With his elbow resting on the door of the car and his hand propping up his head, he asked, "What is it?"
I said, "Well, I think we are going to have another baby."
He was stunned.
Completely. Wholeheartedly. Stunned.
Thankfully, he smiled, and said, "What did you just say?" I caught him completely, 100% off guard. He never dreamed this was coming. In fact, he said that in the last week he had told at least 6 people that we were going to wait at 2 years and then, maybe, we would have a fourth child - because that was our plan.
But, God had a different one.
And, that is what we talked about the whole drive there and the whole drive back. God chose to give us a child when we least expected it, and that is fun and exciting and special and neat! And, I feel certain that He will give us everything that we need to take care of 4 children - 5 years old and under!!!
And, so here are the details. The sweet little one is due August 28th. Elijah and the new little babe will be 16 months apart! And, I am 8 weeks pregnant right now.
So, there you have it - our little gift from the Giver of all good gifts and of all good surprises!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Then, today I had one of those moments. You know, one of those moments that makes it all worth it. Amidst the frustration of missing the hair appt., the busyness of getting lunches made, eaten, and dishes cleaned, 4 loads of laundry cleaned, dried and folded, several imminent phone calls made, sticky situations discussed, errands run, a dog taken out twice to do "his job," a book or two read, an email or two responded to, a baby nursed twice, solid foods attempted twice, discipline handed out - along with love, and two boys prepped for naps, amidst the blur that is my life at this particular stage, I had a moment. I was holding JCT, singing, rocking, and getting him ready to lay down for his nap when it hit me.
I like to think of the whole rocking thing as a subtle form of hypnosis. There is a certain way to hold him and sing to him. And, if you do it just right, he will slowly begin to blink his eyes, long sleepy blinks. Then, sweetly, softly, he will drift away to sleepyland in my arms. And, I will begin to lower him down to his trundle bed on the floor, but just before I put him down, he will open his eyes, look up at me, and say in a quiet sleepy voice, "Sing me one more song, Mommy, one more song, please. Love you up to the moon song." And, I always oblige him this simple request because I love him, and I love the "love you up the moon" song. As soon as I begin singing, his eyes will once again close - this time not to be opened again until he has had an hour or two of rest filled sleep. It is a process that we do twice daily, once before nap and once before bedtime. It is a precious process and one that I take for granted far too often. But, today I didn't. Today I had a moment.
It was as I was singing to him that the thought occurred to me. I looked down at his pillow, with his silky placed just so over his pillowcase - just the way I always do it. And, the sweetness of these days hit me smack in the face.
And, I wondered, one day will I be willing to give almost anything to go back and live one day of my life right now again? To be young and healthy, to have the great privilege of holding a little hand as I cross a parking lot, to feed tiny pieces of bread to a growing baby, to kiss a boo boo, or to rock a little boy to sleep in my arms. To be completely, wholeheartedly irreplaceable to three little boys who call me mom. Three little boys who love me, trust me, and miss me when we are apart. These are the things that define this stage of my life, simple, wonderful things. They are the little everyday things that I take for granted so often.
These are long days. I spend a lot of time watching the clock, counting down until the reinforcements come in to take over, or Erik gets home, anyway. But, these are also very sweet days. I just need to remember that. . .
Lord, make me ever mindful of the blessing that is my life today. I spend much too much time thinking about and planning for tomorrow. I spend much too much time worrying about trivial things. Teach me to live in the moment, living each moment to fullest, being all there, all in the moment, not in my thoughts, worries, or plans. I want to parent like You, Father. I love You. Amen
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
And, what an amazing homemaker she was. And, it had nothing to do with how well she kept house. She was a home-maker. To put it simply, she made our home. She was home. The two were so intertwined I couldn't tell you where one ended and the other began. Home was mommy. Mommy was home. And, I loved Mommy, and I loved home. I loved being at home more than I liked being anywhere else. I liked being with Mommy more than I liked being with anyone else. And, I don't just mean when I was 4. I mean when I was 14, 18, and 22!
Mommy was comfort, encouragement, a warm welcome after a long day, a fresh, hot batch of cookies, a warm bath after a long gymnastics practice, bedtime prayers, long talks at night, lots of laughter, cold ice cream for my aching throat, and bright, happy praise music. She was the one that I could call on when I was afraid at night (because I was afraid a lot as a child), and she would come and lay down with me. Always involved in the minute details of our lives, bringing cupcakes to my classes, the faithful chaperone, the volunteer of volunteers, and she was our nurse (our very own personal RN.) She helped with research, with projects, and with papers. If I had something due the next day, and I had procrastinated, I didn't have to stay up alone. She kept the lamp burning and sat beside me, helping me. Is there any question why growing up I considered her my best friend? When I was in high school, my favorite ritual was cheese dip and quesadillas at Chili's with my mom. We would go alone, after shopping for hours, and talk and laugh. My goodness, I love you, Mom.
She didn't think about herself, getting "her time," or if she did, I never knew about it. We were her life. Some would say that was wrong. That she did too much for us. That she should have taken more time away from us, more time for herself. That she needed to be her own person, not just our mother and Daddy's wife. But, I feel certain that she would disagree. I don't think she feels that she gave up anything. She is now in her 60s, and if you asked her, she would tell you that hers has been a blessed life. She literally gave her life for Daddy and us, and we were so much better for it.
Our home, made by mom, was a place we all loved to be. It wasn't immaculate. It wasn't decorated perfectly, but it was cozy. And, it was warm. And, it was inviting. And, I couldn't wait to get there. After a long day at school or after a long semester at college. . . I just couldn't wait to be home. It always felt so good to walk in the door. Home. I want that for my boys. I really want that for my boys.
So, lately I have been thinking. How do I do that? What is the key?
This is what I am thinking. . . .
Simply it is to be like Christ. My mom's goal each day was to be like Christ, to act like Him and walk like Him, and talk like Him.
Jesus loves children. As a child, He loved me through my mom, and He wants to love my boys through me. When they are sick, He wants to use my hands to comfort them. When they are hurting, He wants to use my voice to soothe them. When their hearts are broken, He wants to use me to help mend them. He wants to love them through me. He wants to use me to teach them about Himself, about His faithfulness, His character, and His love.
Home is the place where children should feel Christ's love most purely. The place where they are loved as close to unconditionally as is possible on this side of heaven. A place where they are loved, cared for, treasured, adored, smiled at, encouraged, lifted up, disciplined, and shown grace. In many ways this is very easy for me, but in many ways this can be very hard for me, too.
But, I can honestly say that I love home. I love my husband and children so much. Home is my boys (big and small), and my boys are home. The two are so intertwined that I can't tell where one ends and the other begins. I'd rather be home than anywhere, and I'd rather be with my boys than with anyone. And, that is a start.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
I like to refer to the picture above as "sick eyes." This Christmas was not only your first Christmas holiday but also your first time to be really sick. Bless your sweet heart you felt so bad, and sadly enough, you still do. But, Daddy started you on antibiotics last night, and we are hoping you will feel better soon. But, amidst the illness and your feeling so puny, you have remained such a joy, still smiling your sweet little smile.
You are precious. You always pat my back when I hold you, sweet little love pats. I guess it is because I pat your back to burp you, and you think you should do it to me, too? Boy, do I love those pats! And, you are clapping now, and even waving some. You say "Ma Ma" and "Da Da," and "Ba Ba" (whatever that means??). And, when you get fussy, one of the things that you love for me to do is softly tickle your ears, cheek, and neck. It almost always calms you down.
When we drove to visit family over Christmas, you fell asleep in your car seat with your little red tabogon on, and it fell down over your eyes. You slept for 3+ hours with your tabogon over your eyes. You looked so cute!!!
You still are not taking solids. We keep trying, but you just aren't sure what to do with the food when we put it in your mouth. Usually, you end up spitting it out. I feel certain you will catch on soon! We'll keep trying. . .
What a joy you are, little man. You are unique and precious. And, you have two big brothers who adore you! We are rapidly approaching your first birthday! How exciting, my love! Keep growing, and, as my mama used to whisper over me when I lay in bed sick, Jesus make you well, my baby, Jesus make you well.
I love you!
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Can you imagine the joy that filled my heart when I walked in the bathroom and saw this for the first time?
Usually Erik bathes Elijah first and then the big boys, but a few weeks ago he began putting them all in the tub together!! I can't tell you how it makes me feel to see all three of them splashing and playing together!!
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Then JCT repeated happily, "I'm the 'looker outer'!!! Arrrrghhhhh!"
"Yeah! Arrrghhhh!" Joshua said again and putting his left foot up on Elijah's walker and squinting one eye, he asked me in his best big mean pirate voice, "Do I look scary, Mommy?"
"Terrifyingly scary!!!" I assured him.
Daddy went for a jog, and I drew my first map! Then, I hid the treasure chest with a few little fun treasures in it. All the while my little piratey friends waited in the utility room until I told them that they could come out and seek their treasure!!! They followed the map and ultimately, after a bit of help, found the long lost treasure chest. They were satisfied and happy!
But, I, I had just gotten started!! My mind was spinning with possibilities!!! So, I invited them to partake in an outdoor treasure hunt after naptime today!!! They were thrilled! Joshua asked if I could really bury it in the ground and let them dig with real shovels!! Now, I'm into it and all, but not enough to dig a large hole in my backyard! Umm. No. I love you, but no.
So, when JCT arose from naptime I had everything ready! The map was rolled up and tied with twine, and the treasure was securely hidden.
What better way to begin a treasure hunt than with a big burly loud ARRRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!
Next we read the map!! Notice JCT's scary piratey frog boots!!
Now we're ready to go find that treasure!! I can just hear the Backyardigans singing, "Treasure! Treasure! Where's that Treasure???"
Wait! There's the spikey bush, but they don't see the treasure chest!! Look harder little matees!! Your Mama is a clever lady, and she hid the treasure chest under a heap of fallen leaves!!!!
She did this just so that her piratey precious ones could dig with a shovel to uncover buried treasure like they wanted!!!
And, here they are back on the pirate ship sharing the loot!!!
Arrrrgghhhh!! What alot of fun we had!!! And, I do mean we!!!