Saturday, May 31, 2008
We moved to our home eight July's ago. But, every once in a while I smell the smell of summer in the country, and it takes me back to our first days here. I thought our home was heaven on earth. And, you know what is crazy, eight years later, I still do. I love this place, and I thank God for it daily.
So, what does summer smell like to me? Fresh green plants, dirt, and wet, thick, humid air. You gotta love the south!
This summer we have a new toy. It is all Erik's. I still don't claim it. In fact, when they were putting it in, the pool guy, the concrete guy, and the brick guys would ask me questions about how we wanted things done, and I would give them my standard reply. . . "You'll have to ask my husband. This is his baby. I really have nothing to do with it." Erik wanted a lap pool to swim in for exercise, and so that is what we have sitting behind our home! Here it is. . .
I was so hung up on the naturalness of our backyard that I didn't want the added concrete, etc. that a pool would require. I am still getting used to our new view. We had to take out a few big trees in order to do this. The very best part about the whole deal is that our pool has an automatic cover on it. With the flip of a switch the pool is covered and uncovered. This is great for two reasons. . . One is that it keeps our little boys safe. The only time the pool is open is when it is being used. And, two is that it keeps leaves from falling into the pool. We have trees surrounding the pool, so this was completely necessary because I was not about to give up anymore trees!!
The weather is just now getting warm enough to swim, so yesterday Erik opened up the pool to do some maintenance cleaning. After he finished, we sat together on the steps located on the back side of the pool looking out at the pond and talked. Joshua and JCT were upstairs playing in their room, and Elijah was taking his morning nap. As we looked out at the pond, we began making summer plans for our blossoming family. We decided to make Friday night our special family night. Erik gets off early on Fridays, so we decided that it could be an afternoon of family time - swimming. Then, in the evening Erik will grill out for us. So many fun new summer recipes to try!
So, we didn't waste any time at all. We started last night! And, as Erik grilled on the back porch, I stood in the kitchen making mashed potatoes and salad. The big boys ran in and out of the back porch door, and Elijah played with a big cooking spoon and bowl on the kitchen floor under my feet. As I buzzed around the kitchen, I listened to a CD I made for our family. It is made up of songs that we love as a family - songs like. . . Banana Pancakes and Upside Down by Jack Johnson, Elijah Rock by Harry Connick Jr., and This is the Stuff by Carolyn Arrends. It is a fun CD, and every song reminds me of my sweet boys, makes me feel so blessed. And, as I listened, cooked, talked to Elijah, smiled at the big juicy watermelon on my counter, and looked out the window at my big boys playing and my husband grilling, I had a revelation.
I am a mom.
I am the mom of this family.
These wild Indians running around are my sons.
Erik and I have a family.
We are making traditions, daily.
I have arrived. I have dreamed of this day all my life. I have never really wanted much more in life than to be a wife and a mother. I was never really interested in having a career. In fact, I remember when someone told me that my senior class voted me "most likely to succeed." A part of me laughed inside because I knew that if God's plans for me were the same as the desires that I felt so strongly stirring in my soul, I would be a stay at home mom, investing all of my time and energy in one focused area - the home. It is all I have ever wanted, and now I am here. And, I guess technically that is success. It is in my book, anyway.
It hit me again this morning as I made pancakes, eggs, and bacon for my sweet men. As I cooked, I could hear the sweet music playing, the hum of the dishwasher, and the laughter of three little boys playing with their Daddy. Music to my ears, the sounds of home, a happy home. I could ask for nothing more. Like Carolyn Arrends says, "This is the stuff life is made of!" The everyday blessings!! As we held hands and prayed before we ate, a small part of me wanted to cry, tears of contentment. Thank You, sweet Jesus, for this little family, for laughter, and for memories in the making. May we be good stewards of these sweet blessings You have given!
And, so I guess my summertime post got a little side-tracked, but these are the things weighing most heavy on my heart right now. Here we are in the midst of summer, and hey, though the view from my kitchen window has changed dramatically, I can't complain, it isn't such a bad view, after all. . .
Friday, May 23, 2008
We cannot wait!
We have big plans to. . .
* Sleep in!!
* Eat at a few "nice" restaurants!
* Sip coffee and take the morning slow.
* Go shopping!
* Go to a movie!
* Enjoy uninterrupted conversation!!!!!!!
Oh, heavens! I get all giddy just thinking about it! Now, I know that I will miss my little men, but I also know that it is very good for Erik & I to have some time to ourselves. All that to say, I will be taking a bloggy break for a week or so! See you in a bit, my friends!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Steven has touched so many of our lives in so many ways for so many years, and now we have a chance to give back to him by lifting him and his family up big time during this difficult time.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Joshua was very excited about his first game! JCT cried because he couldn't "pway t-ball, too." I was excited but nervous about how I was going to balance a three year old, a one year old, watch Joshua play/Erik coach, and take pictures. But, I can honestly say that it went very well. There was an area of freshly mown grass beside the field, perfect for little ones to run, crawl, and play!
Joshua wouldn't let us fix his hat, so he wore it with his cute little ears bent over the whole game! He played very well and had a wonderful time!
Last week Joshua called Poppy, my Daddy, who loved baseball with all his heart and played from little league to college, and asked him what his number was. He wanted to wear Poppy's number! And, seven it was!
Here's the little man with his teamates!
This is how they play. . .
Two innings. Every child is up to bat once an inning. Every child plays in the outfield. If you have not watched a bunch of 5 year old boys and girls play t-ball, you are missing out! It was so cute! The batter bats and hits the ball, nearly missing the home plate coach with his swing. Then, he stands there until he realizes that everyone in the audience and all his coaches are yelling at him to run to first base. So, he begins to run. Then, the coach at home plate says, "Drop your bat!" The kid throws his bat - nearly missing the coach and the next player up to bat. You have to be a brave man to coach home plate in my estimation, anyway.
And, the outfield, it is just as humerous. You have 15 plus kids excited with gloves in hand "ready." The ball comes towards them, and they all run to it, gather around it, and stare at it. Finally, after the coaches yell, "Get the ball! Pick up the ball!" over and over. . . Finally, one of the kids will pick up the ball, put it in their glove, and then stand there looking proud of himself. After several seconds of some sort of a glory moment, the coaches' screams will break through and the child will hear his coaches saying, "Throw it to first!" or "Throw it home." And, he will throw it with all his little kid strength. Then, the whole process begins again with another batter. Quite fun to watch!
Here they are getting lined up to bat. . .
Joshua's first time up to bat. . .
Receiving instruction from Daddy. . .
As I watched Elijah hold on to the chain link fence, watching the game, and walking, I thought to myself, "This may be how Elijah learns to walk." After all, we will spend the next month or so at the ball field! Joshua has three games this week alone!!!
Shaking hands after the game!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
My big brother, Kelly, also participated in this triathlon making it a family affair! Kelly has been doing triathlons for years, so he helped prepare Erik for the event. He even organized and set up all of Erik's things in the transition area! So, sweet!
Here is Joshua watching and waiting for his Daddy to come in from the swim. . .
Here is Erik exiting the very chilly water! He said he swallowed more lake water than he ever cares to again! Yuck!
Here he is coming in after the biking portion. . .
Here he is beginning the run. . . He said he had cramps in his legs for the first 3 miles of the run. But, he never gave up! He kept going like a true champion!!
And, here he is running toward the finish line!!!! He did it!
Relaxing afterward. . .
My sister and her family were there to cheer Uncle Kelly and Uncle Erik on to victory!!!
And, this is what went on while we waited in between events. . .
Me & my Joshua. . . He wore his Born to Win t-shirt especially for Daddy!
Joshua and his sweet cousin Kyleigh! She is a doll!
Me & my JCT. . .
Playing with the cousins!!!
It was a long morning of good hard play for my guys! We weren't in the car long before I saw this in my rear view mirror!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
We know a couple fireman, and Erik knows most of them. So, it was a lot of fun to visit them!! I had a feeling that they might let my boys sit in a truck, so I brought my camera and left it in the car.
They went above and beyond my imagination!! Hands down, they were some of the nicest guys ever!! Not only did they give the boys fireman hats, but they gave them a seriously detailed tour of their firetruck and emergency response truck, too. They showed the boys nozzles and hoses, hammers and axes, ladders and lights. The boys had a blast!
A fireman they call "Frog" did most of the touring! He had an obvious love for children!
The boys learned a lot! They asked soooo many questions!!
The boys couldn't wait to get home and play fireman!!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Mrs. Jenny, your teacher, gave you a sweet hug good-bye. I think she grew especially fond of you this year. As she hugged you, she told you that she was certain she would hear lots about you in the years to come. Then, your Daddy came over and put his hand on her back and thanked her for all she has done for you this year. Daddy said that when she looked up at him there were tears in her eyes. You are so loved little one. You may have a small body, but you have a huge heart. And, your sweet heart impacts those around you. Never forget that.
Deana B snapped this picture of us walking to the car, and I really like it!!
Our family ~ right now anyway!
And, last but most certainly not least, is a picture of your Daddy holding sweet Afton.
After the ceremony all of the graduates walked out of the gym in a single file line. Afton was standing along the way, and she reached out her hand and gave you five!!! It was a precious moment! If only I had known it was coming, I wish that I could have captured it with my camera!!
If I am this emotional about your preschool graduation, how in the world will I make through your kindergarten and high school graduations, not to mention college. . .
I love you, my Joshua.
Monday, May 12, 2008
* Did my Beth Moore - Jesus the One and Only Devotional and prayed for my family & friends while sipping Bifferdoodle coffee and eating a Snickers Protein Bar.
* Received good morning cuddles from 3 little boys.
* Showered and got myself ready.
* Got 3 little boys dressed, fed, and ready for the day.
* Kissed my husband and oldest son good-bye.
* Started a load of laundry.
* Made a few phone calls.
* Put 2 baskets of folded, clean laundry away.
* Rocked Elijah to sleep for his morning nap.
* Changed laundry and took JCT outside to play a bit.
* Came inside, made JCT a snack & read the Squire and the Scroll to him. He loves that book!
* Made boys' lunches and packed them in baggies.
* Went in to get Elijah and fed him some yogurt, bananas, and applesauce.
* Took Rain out with boys.
* Let boys play outside for a few minutes.
* Took boys on a walk to see the horses - 6 horses were standing at the front corner! The boys were so happy to see so many all together! And, a beautiful white one came to the fence beckoning us to pet her. And, so I obliged.
* Walked home & loaded boys in the van to go get Joshua from preschool.
* Read an animal book to Elijah while waiting for Joshua in the pick-up line.
* Gave big boys their Pb&js & fruit for lunch to eat in the car on the way home.
* Drove home & let boys play outside for a few minutes.
* Corralled everyone back inside, folded clean clothes, and changed laundry.
* Took a tired JCT upstairs for a nap. 3 songs later, he was sound asleep in my arms.
* Put dinner in the oven - a sirloin roast with potatoes.
* Fed Rain.
* Ate some scraps from the boys sandwiches and some fruit for lunch. Then, I pigged out on chocolate peanut butter cookies.
* Rocked Elijah to sleep for his afternoon nap.
* Biked on the stationary bike for 30 minutes & read "That's My Son" by Rick Johnson while Joshua unbeknownst to me made some sort of "dinner" in the kitchen using a large tupperware bowl, goldfish crackers, a slice of American cheese, soap, and water. Then, he proceeded to pour this "soup" into several other tupperware containers. Needless to say, I had a bit of a surprise to clean up when I got off the bike.
* Payed bills and balanced the checkbook.
* Sat outside in the breezeway and read 2 chapters of Stuart Little to Joshua.
* Cleaned up Joshua's "dinner" mess while he played in breezeway with cars.
* Started Dishwasher.
* Gave JCT a big welcome to our world hug when he woke up from his nap!
* Washed the van with the help of my big boys! They loved it! Joshua asked if we could do it again tomorrow! No doubt, I'll have a clean van this summer!
* Went inside to grab my sweet 'Lijah and welcome him back to our world after his nap!
* Pulled his superyard outside and set it up.
* Looked over my calendar while boys played. Well, I looked over it for a second before about six gazillion requests came my way. "Mommy could you get the. . .", "I hurt my toe. . .", "Can we have juice?", "Let's go to the swingset!", etc.
* Pushed 3 boys on swings.
* Stopped playing to say a prayer for Bubba (Erik's brother) who has been at the hospital all day having tests run to figure out why he is in so much pain. Ended up being his gallbladder and surgery followed.
* Kissed a few boo boos.
* Walked up the street and back, pushing Elijah in the stroller while Joshua and JCT alternated between riding bikes and walking.
* Took Rain out.
* Corralled boys and superyard back inside.
* Fed Elijah some yogurt and cheerios to tide him over until dinner.
* Folded laundry and started last load for the day!
* Put dishes in dishwasher away.
* Put clean clothes and towels away.
* Bathed 3 little dirty boys in one big tub! Fun!
* Got everyone out and dressed in PJs. Got hugs and kisses from clean, happy boys!
* Took roast out of oven. Pulled some potatoes off to cool for Elijah to eat with his leftover green beans.
* Made Salads and put french bread in the oven.
* Freshened myself up a bit for Erik - a splash of perfume on my wrist and a dusting of powder on my face.
* Got a call from Erik - on his way!!!!! Yay!!
* Had boys set table while I prepared everyone's plates.
* Received a sweet kiss from Erik.
* Dinner is served!
* Clean up dinner dishes, wipe down table, stick sugar cookies in oven, and sweep kitchen floor.
* Feed boys their well-deserved dessert of sugar cookies.
* Kiss Erik goodbye, so he can do a little training for his triathlon.
* Lay out clothes for me and boys to wear tomorrow.
* Rock Elijah to sleep. One down, two to go. . .
* Make a few phone calls and wash my face while big boys wind down and play cars in sunroom.
* Take big boys upstairs for bedtime routine - beginning with brushing teeth and going to the bathroom.
* Snuggle on JCT's trundle bed and read the story of Samson. Joshua talks me into reading 3 stories, and I am a sucker. So, we read about Ruth and Naomi and then last but not least about Hannah praying for God to give her a son - Samuel!
* Sing songs and scratch backs.
* Say goodnight and go downstairs.
* Text Jen - to make sure she is hanging in there with her husband having a surprise surgery and all!
* Pulled van into garage and stood outside for a few minutes to listen to the prettiest, clearest whippoorwill sing his song from a tree near our home.
* Get out laptop and sit down on couch with a glass of ice water with lemon. Ahhhh. . .
* Joshua comes down, sits next to me, gives me a hug and a kiss and a really cute smile, and tells me that JCT needs to "poo poo." He asks if he can sit downstairs with me until JCT is done. I tell him of course he can.
* We look at pictures of him on my blog until we hear JCT moving around upstairs. This means one thing and one thing only. He has gotten off the potty with a dirty bottom and is doing heaven only knows what with his pj pants down around his ankles.
* I take off like lightening, pushing Joshua to the side, and run upstairs. JCT is standing by the bathtub looking at his bath toys with his pj pants down around his ankles as I expected. I pull him back over to the toilet and wipe his bottom. He flushes, and we wash our hands.
* I say good night for the last time (I pray) and go back downstairs.
* Sit back down on the couch and write this post. Boys actually quit talking and went to sleep! Enjoy feeling my youngest son wiggle around in my belly!
* Now Erik has called and is on his way home! Yay!
Just another typical day for us, but I thought this might be fun to read in 10 or so years.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
As I watched Erik and Joshua walk up the hill carrying the Big Wheel, all I could think was how tiny my little boy looked in comparison to that huge hill!!
The descent. . .
The thrill of the ride. . .
The wind in his hair, the joy in his laugh, the roar of those plastic tires. . .
Pure little boy FUN!!
Lovin' his Big Wheel!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
This was not the day that I planned. And, I like to plan my days. . . to the most minutest of details.
I woke up ready to conquer the world ~ so to speak, anyway. But, it was quite short lived, I assure you. By 8:30 I had three boys dressed and ready to go run a few errands in the lovely town 30 minutes from our home. We piled in our van and headed that way. . .
The plan for my day was this. . .
8:30 - 9:00 - DRIVE
9:00 - 9:15 - Exchange the cute Keen sandels that Erik got JCT in a size too small at a little outdoors store that supposedly opens at 9:00.
9:15- 9:30 - Run in Lowes to get one quick item.
9:30 - 10: 30 - Do weekly Super Wal-mart trip.
10:30-11:00 - Drive home; Elijah take quick morning nap while we drive.
11:00-11:30 - Unload groceries, put away, change clothes, and get ready to go to baby shower at Erik & Sean's office (for their sweet little x-ray girl, B.).
11:30 - 1:00 - Load boys in van and head to Erik's office for shower.
1:00 - 3:00 - Go home, boys down for good long afternoon naps.
3:00 - 6:00 - Boys play with Daddy, Mommy loves life, and dinner for boys.
6:00 - 9:00 - Parent's Night Out at church; drop boys off and ENJOY AN EVENING ALONE WITH MY DARLING HUSBAND WHO I LOVE!!! Eat a meal and relax ~ no one to take care of but myself - no bottoms to wipe, diapers to change, food to cut up, etc.
Reality Check ~ here goes. . .
9:00 - store not open. I waited a few minutes and no one came, so I opted to return after the Wal-mart trip rather than waste anymore time waiting.
I headed to Lowe's. The Lowe's trip went well complete with doting older people to occupy my sons while I checked out.
Then, we went to hades, I mean, Super Wal-Mart where all that can go wrong ~ will go wrong.
The trip began with a bad cart. Why do I always get the most difficult carts to manuever? It never fails, and I don't realize it until I turn my first corner and by that time I am way too far gone to turn back.
So, I continued with my difficult cart. . . There were the usual inconveniences ~ people moving much too slowly, carts abandoned in the middle of aisles, etc. But, my head was up and my game face was on ~ I was ready and smiling. I was chattering on to JCT, patting Joshua on the head, and kissing Elijah's sweet forehead as we shopped. The day was bright and full of promise. . .
But, somewhere in the dairy section things went awry. JCT coughed. I asked him if he was okay, and when he didn't answer, I went to the back of the cart to put my hands on him. He continued coughing, and coughing, and before I knew it I was looking at everything that he ate for dinner last night and breakfast this morning in a puddle on the floor. All I could think is, "This is not happening. Lord, tell me this is not happening. Not in Wal-Mart. Not today. Not the stomach virus."
Oh, but it was happening. The odor coming from the puddle more than confirmed it. Reality. I don't want to do the stomach virus again. I don't.
And so, I stood there in the dairy section with a dazed and confused look on my face (complete with jaw dropped), not having a clue what to do next. Thankfully, JCT woke me from my stupor by saying, "Will somebody please wipe this stuff off of me!!"
And, I assumed that somebody should probably be me. I'm not sure the Wal-Mart employees would volunteer to go above and beyond and clean up my son, too. So, I got out my lifesavers, a.k.a. baby wipes, and began cleaning him up, along with a box of diapers and a few other groceries that he christened. And, as I was cleaning up my son's emesis with the few baby wipes I possessed, the other happy Wal-Mart shoppers were glancing at me, my son, his puddle, and holding their breath, crinkling their nose, and reaching with long Stretch Armstrong like arms for the items near us that they needed. I swear, they looked at us like we were the filth of the earth. And, honestly, standing in Wal-Mart with vomit on my shoe, groceries, and son, I pretty much felt like the filth of the earth. It was lovely. Truly lovely.
I alerted the Wal-Mart officials, and headed for the nearest and shortest check out line. I wanted OUT and NOW! And, as I pushed my stuborn cart to the front of the store, I was being lectured by my 5 year old son. "This is all because you made him eat all his dinner last night. That is why he threw up. If you wouldn't make us eat all our food this wouldn't happen. I know that is why he threw up. I saw the green beans you made him eat. Remember he didn't want to, but you made him eat them and now look, he threw them up!"
But, I had tunnel vision and half ignored my darling son as he scolded me. We checked out, got in the van, and headed home. It wasn't until I got behind the wheel that I looked down at my shirt and noticed that somehow in the midst of all the craziness two extra buttons had unbuttoned themselves. . . Oh, me. Oh, well.
As I drove home, in between asking JCT every 35.5 seconds if he felt okay, I thought about how suddenly my plan for the day had been turned upside down with the most disheartening part being that I would not get to eat dinner alone with my husband.
And, so my perfectly planned day landed in a puddle, splat, on the floor of Super Wal-Mart.
Why, I ask, why do I even try to make plans?
Thursday, May 08, 2008
He refused my help and advice even though it meant he had to constantly pull at his backwards, unbuttoned shorts all afternoon long. . . Oh, well! Perhaps, he will live and learn and eventually trust me!
A Portrait of pure sweetness. . .
How many mothers, when their child comes running to them with a freshly and lovingly picked bouquet of wildflowers says not, "Thank you!" or "Oh, how sweet of you to pick flowers for me," but rather yells, "Hold it right there! I've got to run inside and get my camera! Don't move a muscle! You look soooo cute!" while scurrying her way into the house!
I know one! :-)
And, last but certainly not least, a portrait of a swinging cutie who has stolen my heart in the same sweet way that his two older brothers before him did!