Friday, February 29, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Sometimes life just seems hard. And, I don't claim to be strong, optomistic, or layed back. I know that I tend more toward the weak, perfectionistic, melancholy type, and honestly, that isn't good when combined with a series of grey days at home with sick, whining children. I know that my life is not hard by definition. But, at times my life seems hard, at least to me. Life has been stressful lately - dinnertime, especially.
And, when it seems hard, there is this nagging voice in my head that says, "Guess what? You think this is hard! Just wait until August! It is going to get a lot harder before it gets any easier."
Somedays I just want to get away. I just want someone else to come in and take over for an hour or two. I just want a break to get away and think. I love my boys, but I love time alone, too. And, at this stage of life, there is no such thing as time alone. It just doesn't happen. I was laughing with a friend the other day over the fact that I used to be the "diva" type. I was not supposed to have 4 boys, 5 years old and under. That'll suck the "diva" out of any girl in a matter of minutes!
So, then yesterday morning I was complaining to my mom on the phone. I do that a lot, bless her heart. I was telling her how hard my life is. How everyone cries at dinner, and how we all spiral downward from that point on. And, a few hours later the florist brought flowers to my door from my sweet parents - the card encouraging me to breath. Then, later on yesterday evening I was talking to my mom on the phone over the Indiana/Ohio State basketball game, and she said the most amazing thing. . .
"Erin," she said, "Sarcrifice is giving up something you love for something you love more." She read it somewhere earlier that day, and it almost made me cry to hear her say it. It reminded me that though I do love, seriously love, time by myself, I love my boys more. And, so if during the next few years I have to sacrifice alone time for them, then it is a worthy sacrifice, and I am glad to do it. Well, I may not always feel glad to do it, but, really, I am. I am glad to do it. I would have it no other way. God is working on me tremendously during this stage of life, slowly chipping and chiseling away at the selfishness in my heart. He knows how very badly I need it!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Let me introduce you, this is my youngest, my darling little surprise from God. The sonographer gave us a glimpse into this little one's life inside of me yesterday.
Yes, I am pregnant. It is official. There is a small strawberry sized child swimming around (or doing Karate, as the sonographer said) in my belly. I have had a little trouble believing that this baby was real. Mostly, I think, because this baby wasn't planned like the others. I wasn't mentally prepared for it. God sorta thrust this one upon us, and we are most grateful!
In fact, Amy, the sonographer looked at me very confused when I walked into her room. She expected me to be large with child. She remembered doing an ultrasound on me not that long ago and thought this US was of Elijah still in my belly. Thankfully, that was not the case. We laughed and explained that we simply got pregnant again fairly quickly.
I am always a bit nervous before the first US. Will there really be a baby in there? Will the heart be beating? Will the baby be okay? I'm not a sick pregnant person, and I'm not showing yet, so I really have had no proof that this little one was real. But, now I have my proof! Erik and I both think we most likely saw boy parts on this little one, so we are convinced that we will be one boy short of a basketball team!!! I am 12 weeks and 2 days! Time is flying!!!!
After the US Erik and I hurried home, fed the kids, and took them to the church for a much beloved P.N.O. (Parent's Night Out). After dropping them off, Erik and I headed to a local restaurant for dinner. We ate and talked without interruption. We didn't have to cut up food, feed a baby, or say, "Sit on your bottom," fifty thousand times. We just talked. And, our conversation centered around the darling little one that we had seen a glimpse of earlier that day. For a few hours the new little one stole the show. . .
But, his moments of glory, as the focus of the family were not to last long. . . The tide turned dramatically moments after we returned home from picking up the boys at church. When we came in the door, I was proudly showing Joshua US pics of the new baby when JCT announced that his "tummy hwurts. . ." A few minutes later I looked down and found JCT standing at my feet with his arms wrapped around his tummy repeating over and over, "Mommy my tummy hwurts. My tummy hwurts, Mommy." I grabbed him and held him over the sink, and what happened next was volatile.
Now, this was a first for me. Somehow over the past 5 years, we have avoided the stomach virus. I have never had to hold, love, and clean up a vomity little boy. And, I'll say it is something I hope I never have to do again, but, unfortunately, I know that I will.
So, after JCT finished at the sink, I put him down, and he said, "Hmm. My tummy don't hwurt anymo'ore, Mommy. My tummy feels all better now!" And, off he went to play completely unphased by the entire thing. Of course, Joshua was phased by it, and whenever JCT got within 2 feet of him, he would yell, "Stay away from me!!!!!! YOU ARE SICK!!!! Get away!!!!!!! I DON'T WANNA GET SICK" And, then Joshua would run and hide from JCT. It is that selfless love we preach at our house coming out in trying times, you know?
Erik left for a high school basketball game, and I put Elijah to bed. I was actually hoping that this might be just a fluke emesis, a lone vomiting. I got the big boys upstairs and in bed. I left a bowl beside JCT's trundle bed, and told him to throw up in it if he felt sick again. After prayers and songs, I headed downstairs to relax and sterilize myself. But, a few minutes later, I heard Joshua crying on the monitior. "Not him, too, " I thought, and as fast as lightening I ran up the stairs.
What did I find?
I found Joshua sitting up in bed crying, and JCT curled up on his bed trying to sleep.
"Joshua, what is it?" I asked.
"JCT threw up!" Joshua cried to me.
Then, JCT sat up, perky I might add, and said with great pride, "Yeah, Mommy, I throwed up in dat bowl jus' like you tole me to!"
Oh, good. I checked the bowl, and sure enough a deposit had been made. At this point I thought JCT could not possibly be flesh of my flesh because he was handling this throwing up thing WAY too well. He didn't even need me.
So, I picked him up, took him to the bathroom and cleaned him off. Joshua followed us. After I finished cleaning JCT up, I noticed that he was unusually quiet. I asked him if he felt sick again, and he said yes. And, before I could get him to the toliet, he began again. As I told Erik, the poor child vomited like a grown man, huge amounts and with great force. All the while, Joshua is standing in the hall, crying. Except to say, crying, wouldn't do his response justice. He was wailing. You know when the Bible talks about, "and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth," yeah, that is more like what I heard as I held my little bear over the toliet. But, JCT, amazingly, remained completely unphased by it all - even with all his big brother's drama. Once again afterward he remarked that his tummy felt better, and this time he added that he wanted to go to sleep. So, after a little cleaning, I put them both back to bed.
Erik came home, and we went to bed. After a couple of false alarms and one more large deposit in the bedside bowl, I decided that I better sleep upstairs. I made a bed beside JCT's trundle, and the little guy has been fine ever since. I woke up to a home filled with the lovely aroma of Lysol and a little boy whispering, "Mommy, I'm tirsty. Can I have sometin' to dwink?"
His big brother still won't come within 2 feet of him, but other than that JCT's little life seems to be back to normal. Oh, and there is the fact that I won't let him kiss Elijah. And, this has been more tramatic to JCT than the projectile vomiting episodes of last night. Go figure?
Now that things have calmed down, and everyone is well, at least for the time being, my thoughts are beginning to float back to the little one inside of my belly. The little one who became real to us yesterday! We are so busy with the big boys that it was fun to focus on the new one for a little bit. I'll never forget the smile on Erik's face and the joy in his voice when he looked at the US screen and then at me and said with astonishment, "There is a little baby moving around inside of you!"
Thank You, Jesus.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
For some strange reason this picture of JCT reminds me so much of his Daddy! Maybe it is because I have seen this exact same expression on Erik's face a time or two. . .
Happy Valentines Day, little men! I hope you had fun!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
So, I got Joshua out the door with his Daddy, and then turned around and hurried my other two little men through eating breakfast, getting dressed, and the in general getting ready. to. go. Most likely if a little birdie had been spying on me, he would have heard me say my two most commonly used hurried expressions, "Come on let's GO, GO, GO!" and "Chop Chop!" 50+ times in thirty minutes. I finally got everything together, sippy cups, cheerios, grocery list, Wal-Mart list, and a miniscule amount of sanity that I still had at this point in the day. So, we headed out the door.
I opened Elijah's side van door, and all seemed to be working fine, so I put the cute little mister in his carseat. But, when I went to shut the door it wouldn't shut on its own. I had to manually shut it. Oh, yes. I atttempted JCT's side van door, and it wouldn't open for me. I tried cranking the van. Dead. Silence. Nothing. I sat there for a minute my brain reeling. I had way too much to do today for this to happen. So, I did what I always do when I am in a bind.
I called my calm, reassuring, always has an answer for everything, and never gets his feather's ruffled husband, and I did what I do best - gave him an earful. The poor man has an office full of patients, office staff standing in line with questions regarding the health and well being of real people with real life and death situations, and his wife is on the other end of his cell phone nagging him about a dead battery and how am I going to pick up Joshua, and Deana B isn't here, and I need help, and I gotta get to Wal-Mart, and Sean's lasagna is going to have to wait, and this is too much I can't handle it, help me, pray for my nerves today, this is over the top, and now my cell phone battery is dying too, and I've already called AAA like 3 times in the past 6 months for tire related problems, and do they handle batteries in cars, and I can't put 3 carseats in your Expedition, and how in the world will I get this battery replaced with all the other bazillion things that I have to do, and with three children hanging all over me, tell me, Erik how, how, how. . .
If you know my husband, he very calmly reassured me that all would be fine, and he sent one of the girls from his office with his Expedition. She helped me get the little boy's carseats in his truck, and off I went to Wal-Mart and the grocery. Our Wal-Mart shopping trip was rather uneventful, reminiscent of the days when Joshua was 2 and JCT was a baby. My main objective at Wal-Mart was finding a heart-shaped muffin tin for making the heart-shaped multi-colored crayons that go along with the valentine I wanted to make for Joshua's classmates. Found it! Got it! After a bit more shopping, I made my way to the check out counter only to find that JCT had added an additional item to my shopping cart, white decorator icing. Not a problem. In fact, I had been planning to make cookies for valentines day, so I let the cashier ring up JCT's bonus item. But, I neglected to notice that the heart-shaped muffin tin, mysteriously, was not among the items being rung up. Several hours later when the rain was pouring, Joshua was home, Elijah was ready for a nap, and the boys needed to eat lunch, I noticed that the heart-shaped muffin tin was not only not in any of my bags from Wal-Mart, but also it was not on my reciept. And, that meant one thing and one thing only. . . JCT had disposed of it somewhere in that large store we like to refer to as the place of eternal destruction. So, what did I do?
Why, I called Erik, of course.
And, I assure you that he was very glad to hear from me because I was a regular ray of sunshine on this rainy day. And, it was one something, and he still was seeing his morning patients because it is "sick" season, and knowing that he was busy and had much better things to do, still I called and still he listened, calmly.
And, that ladies and gentlemen is why I married him.
He sat very quietly, peacefully actually, once again while I explained how I really wanted to get these valentines made with Joshua during JCT's naptime today, and I have to have the heart-shaped muffin tin in order to make the valentines, and it's raining cats and dogs, and tomorrow is our out of town day so I can't make the valentines tomorrow, so I have to do it today, and it is already one o' clock, and if I don't make these valentines then I will have to search the internet for another kind to make and that could take hours, and I don't have time for that, and yeah, I guess I could have just used store bought valentines, but really I love crafts and I want Joshua to be part of this, besides I looked at Wal-Mart and all they had were silly cartoon characters, and I love paper crafts, and so does Joshua, but what do I do because I don't want to take Joshua to Wal-Mart without a carseat, but there is no other way to get there, and I really need to get there, and it is raining, and I'll have to get everyone out, and we'll all get soaked, and I know Wal-Mart is super close to our house, but what if we got in an accident, and what if the seatbelt wasn't enough to save Joshua, and I could never, ever forgive myself, even though we do live in a state that says it is okay for Joshua to be out of a carseat, still, I can't do it, Erik, but I really want that heart shaped muffin tin right now so I can make the valentines during naptime, and it is naptime now, so what do I do, what, what, what???
What did he say? He offered to borrow Sean's car, get the muffin tin, and bring it to me during his lunch break - which was already almost over. And, of course, I wouldn't let him do that. So, I loaded the kids up and drove the Expedition no faster than 25 mph all the way to Wal-Mart. We got the muffin tin, the only one left, and were home all in less than 20 minutes - one of the few perks of living in a small town!
I got the little boys down for naps, let the dog tinkle, and then tackled the valentine craft with Joshua! I highly recommend this craft! Watching the crayons melt was very fun, and you really cannot mess this craft up! Very fun and pretty!
I have no idea why I am writing all of this. Maybe it is therapy for me now that the stress of the day is over. What happened this evening is another post for another time, another day. I am too tired to tackle it tonight. At present, Vannie still sits stone cold in the garage. But, after Erik finishes coaching his Upwards Basketball team, he is hopefully going to bring home a new battery for our sweet Van that I love and miss. One day without her, reminded me of how thankful I am for her. I will never again take for granted wide opening, automatic doors, and DVD players.
And, here is a picture of what success looks like, resilience, not giving up nor backing down in the face of adversity. . .
I know that the day would have been a lot easier had I just made a simple paper valentine. But, hey, Joshua's classmates will get a cool multi-colored heart-shaped crayon with their valentine, and that makes the whole day worth it. . .
Oh, well, so I blew today out of proportion. That happens occasionally in my world. Tomorrow is a new day, and His mercies are new each morning! I am claiming that as I put an end to this whirlwind of a day!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Getting closer. . .
It was an afternoon of basketball for all!
We missed you, sweet Daddy, and we are so glad to have you home!!!
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
First we sent out these fun invitations that I printed on cardstock and then soaked in stale coffee to give them an aged effect.
Here is a picture of me and my sweet pirates on the day of the party!
The first thing we did was give the guests a pirate name. Your first name is the name of your pet and your second name is the name of the street your family lived on when you were born. So, at our party we had Pirate Clifford Sunflower and Pirate Emma Greenleaf, etc. Then, we had optional face painting for the pirates who wanted to look most authentic. A sweet youth from our church came and set up a little area to paint mustaches and whatever else the kids wanted painted on their face or hands, etc.
Erik, who was the ship's captain, used a treasure map that we made to keep the kids moving from station to station with a little free play mixed in for good measure!
First, the kids went into our dining room to design and color their very own pirate flag. And, next the little buccaneers played pin the pirate on the treasure chest.
And, after that it was time for lunch. Lunch was a hodge podge of things. We had everything from chicken legs to cannon balls (grapes) and peg legs (carrots). The adults drank root beer from bottles and the children drank sprite with red ice (frozen fruit punch).
After lunch, we headed outside to finish the treasure hunt of activities. The next item on the agenda was for the children to take turns walking the plank! Erik created this make-believe plank, and the children loved it!
This is a picture of the hungry alligators in the waters below. . .
Next, the little guys and girls went digging for gold. We hid a good number of gold coins in our sandbox, and the kids loved competing to see who could find the most coins!!
JCT checking out the treasure map!
Erik is going over the treasure map with the pirates, and they suddenly realize that the only thing left to do is find the treasure!! After Erik gave a clue, they took off running to find the hidden treasure chest!
And, watch out! When they found the treasure, they squealed and screamed and tore into it attempting to carry off as much loot as their little hands could hold!
Next, it was back inside for some Larry cake!!!
Singing Happy Birthday to the sweet birthday boys!
Bags of Loot for the pirates. . .
This little note was in each bag of loot. . .
And, now for some party shots of sweet friends!
Deana B and sweet Afton. . .
Elijah had several babysitters during the party. A big thanks goes out to them!
Was the party a success?