Monday, June 30, 2008

Watch Out Here He Comes!

Here you go, Mom, a picture of my little boy walking! And, let me just say that HE! IS! EVERYWHERE! And, HE! IS! IN! TO! EVERYTHING! ALL! THE! TIME!


Elijah reminds me of primary colors - mostly reds and oranges. He is bright and happy and full of life! He is a joy to raise, let me tell you! But, whew, he can wear this pregnant mama out!


I still can't believe that he is going to be a big brother sometime in the next two months! What a wild ride this parenting thing is!

Love you, sweet 'Lijah! Thanks for the joy you bring to me each day!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Saying Goodbye. . .


is never easy to do. . .


My Joshua has a heart of pure gold, and it is such a joy to watch it grow as he does. But, just as I get a huge high from watching his heart full of love overflow onto his little brothers and me, I get a colossal low from watching his heart hurt when he has to say goodbye to those that he loves.


This weekend Pop and Grandma came for a quick visit. And, we all had a wonderful time, but this morning, ready or not, it was time for them to leave us. Joshua always puts up a good front when he says goodbye, but once the leaving party is out of sight, the tears begin to fall. As we watched Pop and Grandma pull out of the driveway, I could hear JCT in the background saying, "Goodbye Pop and Grandma!!! Have a fun trip!!!! Come see us soon!!! Have fun at your house!!!!" as he walked in circles in the middle of the driveway.
But, my heart and attention were turned toward the little red-headed boy hugging the basketball goal. When they were out of sight, Erik and Elijah walked quickly back inside. I stood waiting and watching, and JCT ran to get his toy lawnmower. Joshua stood frozen hugging the basketball goal, and I watched as tears began to fill his big green eyes. I walked over to him and began tickling his back. He didn't say a word. He just continued to stare with tear-filled eyes at the road that led his grandparents away from him. It was almost as if he believed by staring at the road that he could bring them back. I stood with him for a while, and then I went to help JCT. When I came back, Joshua was sitting on the sidewalk in front of our garage, face downcast.


I knelt down on the ground beside him and looked him straight in his teary eyes. I said to my son, "You love with all your heart, sweet boy. Not everybody loves like that, and that is a good thing - even if it means you hurt a little more sometimes. . . It is a good thing, and I love that about you."
I left him alone to watch the road, and eventually he made his way to the breezeway. At this time, Erik went out to sit with him and talk to him. . .
And, eventually, he did come back inside. And, I am happy to report that within an hour he was fighting with his brother over a lone dollar bill found on the kitchen counter. And, now, a few hours later, they are singing and playing. So, things are looking up!
Pop and Grandma, I just wanted to let you know how loved and missed you are!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Scream for Ice Cream (& alone time with Joshua)!!


It hit me the other day that our school system begins school very early each year ~ early August. And, that means that Joshua will begin Kindergarten in a little over a month! Now that makes my heart a bit sad, a very big bit sad.


I love alone time with my children. I love to focus all my attention on them and watch the way their little faces light up when they realize that they have me all to themselves!! Today, I put JCT down, did a few chores, then slipped Elijah from the living room floor into his bed. After I put Elijah down, I asked Joshua what he wanted to do. He looked at me a bit puzzled. "Where's Elijah?" he asked. "I put him down for his afternoon nap. It is just you and me, kid!" As I said the last sentence I watched a huge grin form on the mouth of my oldest son. I love that he still loves to play with his mommy! I'm not sure how much longer it will last, so I am relishing it now! I am especially enjoying alone time with Joshua because I know that my time with him will be so limited this fall with the new baby and with his beginning school.
Today, Joshua and I did a little experiment! I found this recipe at familyfun.com. It is for making ice cream in a bag!! How fun! I don't have a homemade ice cream maker ~ though it is my dream to one day own one! So, this is the closest I have ever gotten to making home-made ice cream. We simply mixed 2 T sugar, 1 cup half and half, and 1/2 tsp of vanilla in a sandwich bag. Then, we filled a freezer bag up with ice and 1/2 cup of ice cream salt. Lastly, we put the sandwich bag into the freezer bag filled with ice and began shaking it! We took turns shaking it for, oh, say 10 minutes?? Maybe less, anyway. . . the end result was amazing and yummy!! It was just enough for the two of us to share! So, after several attempts at taking a picture of the two of us (much to Joshua's delight), we devoured our little experiment! I highly recommend this treat! We are going to do it again tomorrow so that JCT can enjoy the treat, too!
As much as I hate to let my Joshua go this fall, I do look forward to these kinds of quiet alone time with my JCT. So, many memories are made during the quiet afternoon hours in our home. As I write this Elijah is still sleeping, the big boys are coloroing, and Christy Nockels is singing peace into our home. Home is an amazingly powerful place when you think about it. A place where children are treasured and grown in love. It is the place where their most basic needs are met - they are fed, cared for, bathed, and clothed. But, also, they blossom here through a variety of experiences, laughter, games, focused attention, and honest adoration. They are first taught forgiveness and grace here at home. What a splendid little idea God had when he created homes, families, mommys, daddys, and babies (and ice cream, too!).
Here we are enjoying our treat!
The lighting is horrible in this picture, but I love the joy on my Joshua's face. . .
At one point, he looked up at me with his big green eyes and said, "Mommy, lets never ever buy ice cream again. Let's just make it like this every time!!!!!" Gotta love those freckles!

A close up of the yummy stuff!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Weekend



We had a wonderful weekend!! I must admit, though, it took a few minutes! I cried for about the first 30 minutes of my drive, then Deana B and Sara called which cheered me up a bit! As I drove to the airport to pick up Jen, it was just like old times. I used to drop her off and pick her up at the Nashville airport when we were in college. It was almost surreal. We quickly headed off on our first adventure - lunch. And, I still felt a bit like I was in a dream. I was walking around with a purse over my shoulder (as opposed to a diaper bag) and there was no entourage following behind me. I was simply one person, and Jen was one person, and we were eating and talking. And, aside from an occasional text message or cell phone call our lunchtime conversation was completely uninterrupted!!! By dinner I had completely adjusted to being just one person, and I was thoroughly enjoying myself!!

The rest of the weekend was simply perfect! We went to two great church services! One on Saturday night and one on Sunday morning. We couldn't decide where to go, so we just went to both. Our goal at one church was to hear Christy Nockels (our favorite) lead worship, but she lead worship the week before, so we missed her! But, in her place, was Jeremy Deibler from FFH, so that was a fun treat! Our goal at the other church was to hear Scotty Smith preach and to catch a glimpse of Stephen Curtis Chapman and his family! We did get to hear an incredible sermon by Scotty, but we didn't get to see the sweet Chapman family!

Spending time with Jen was wonderfully fun! We drank lots of coffee, ate lots of sweets, shopped at lots of stores, and talked about lots of heart stirring topics!! I could not have asked for a better getaway!

Here are a few pics from our weekend!
Our B&B. . .


The B & B's beautiful driveway. . .

The barn out back. . .
(We saw several deer leap across the hills in the backyard as we sipped ice water and talked one evening!)



This is a picture of us after breakfast one morning! Jen is 15 weeks pregnant with her fourth, and I am 30 weeks pregnant with my fourth, as well! I had to include this picture which features our blossoming bellies - mine a bit more ripe than hers!




Our fun little room!


We took a picture of the potty for our husbands' sake. We knew that they would not approve of the lack of leg room!


One of our favorite places to eat!!



One of the reasons that this is one of our favorite places to eat. . .

Note the desserts on the table! The strawberry cake was amazing!!!

We stopped by a friend's house to meet her baby for the first time! Oh. my. goodness. She was soooooo cute!!! I fell in love! An absolute dollbaby!! She did the cutest thing with her lips! Here is a pic. . .

How cute is that!! Is there anything cuter than 6 months old, I ask you? I think not. . .

Except for maybe 14 months old - because that is how old my darling baby is!! And, I still cannot get over how much all of my boys grew while I was away for four days!!! Seriously, they all like shot up 3 inches or something!

It was a great trip, but it is good, really good to be home!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why Is It?

Why is it that when I am in the trenches of motherhood, I long for a break, for a weekend away, for some time alone or with a good friend? Why is it that now that I am about to embark on a fun weekend away from my sweet boys, that suddenly they look so amazingly cute to me? Why am I suddenly noticing every detail of each little profile, the softness of their cheeks, their hair, the gentle tones of their voices, the perfection of their little fingers and toes. . . Why is it, I ask you? Why do I just want to hold them and hug them and stare at them?

Ohhh. . .Me. . . As I drove to Joshua's t-ball game, all I could think about was how adorable Elijah looked in the rear view mirror - how cute it is that he reaches behind his head to play with the curls on the back of his neck. And, then he caught me noticing his preciousness, and a huge gap teethed grin crossed his face, and I lost myself in him! I thought to myself as I watched him several things. . .

I thought about how we thought Joshua was heaven come down to earth when he was little. We thought him to be perfect. When we were pregnant with JCT, we wondered if we could ever love another like we did Joshua. And, then, he entered our world, and we never asked that question again. He was unique and precious, and he had our hearts, as well. Then, we became pregnant with Elijah and found out that we were going to have another boy! I doubted God's creativity. How could there be another boy combination of Erik and I! For the first several months, I continued to doubt God's creativity by attempting to place Elijah in a box. This characteristic of his was like Joshua, and that characteristic of his was like JCT. . . But, it didn't take long for me to realize that our God is a hugely creative God, and he had created a completely new and unique individual in our darling Elijah! And, so as I drove to t-ball, I pondered all these things, the things that make each child unique and precious to me. They have each stolen my heart in their own special way. I am completely taken with them.

On the way home from the t-ball game, my thoughts shifted to leaving them. And, I felt the weight of sadness begin to fall heavy on my shoulders. Why is it? I long for a break, then I get one, and I can hardly bring myself to leave! I started thinking irrational thoughts like, "What if I don't return? What if I have a wreck?" I'm thankful that God gave me a very rational husband who assures me that I will come home on Monday, and the boys will get their Mama back.

I couldn't hold sweet Lijah long enough before I layed him down to sleep tonight. Then, I went upstairs to kiss my big boys. I layed down next to Joshua in his bed, and we began talking. Out of the blue, he looked at me and said, "Mommy, why do you have to go? Why do you have to go away for four days?" That was all he had to say, and I could hold my emotions back no longer. I began to cry. Erik walked in with JCT, and I looked back at them saying, "Joshua is making me cry!" Erik didn't have to ask why - he knows me too well. He said, "Joshua sing Mama that song you wrote for her earlier tonight." After much coercion and with the help of his father, Joshua finally began to sing his song and the words went something like this, "It's a sad sad day when Mama goes away. And, I don't even get to see Caleb (cousin). And, I'll miss her so very much because Dad can't sing as pretty as my mom." By the end of the song, I was laughing so hard that I couldn't tell whether my tears were of joy or sadness!

My heart is full of love, and that is a good thing. It is good to feel this way, good to be so connected, good to be so loved, and good to love so much. And, as soon as I see Jen, I'll be fine and happy and good. But, until then, I may be a little teary. But, you know what, that is okay. It is a good thing really. And, I wouldn't have it any other way.

And, Now I'm Off!

I will leave tomorrow morning for a long weekend with a very good friend/sister-in-love, my Jen. I will wake up early and kiss my darling boys and wonderful man goodbye. Then, I will drive several hours and pick Jen up at the Nashville airport. She has already made reservations for us to stay at a quaint little B & B in the area! Our room is complete with two twin beds!! How fun and like college is that!!!

I just finished packing my bags, and I laughed as I did it. There was a time when we traveled to see each other and our bags held very different items. In college our bags may have held nursing school books, a bag of jelly beans, diet coke, Extra Sugar-free gum peppermint flavor, Bride magazines, a disposable camera for fun road-trip pics, a picture or two of the precious brothers that we were in love with, our calendars, and our Bibles.

Today, my packed bags hold some different items. . . A sound machine (I simply can't sleep w/o the sound I hear every night on the monitor that sits by my bed. And, Jen uses the same sound machine with her children, so I know that the noise will make her feel right at home, too. :-)), Bifferdoodle coffee, a cookbook, my control journal, a book about home scheduling and routines, a couple parenting books, a real camera, a picture of my boys (Erik included), my calendar, and my Bible.

So, if we step back and analyze these two lists, we will find that three things haven't changed - our love for Erik & Jason, our love of all things order (calendars), and our love of the Word of God! Our love for Jesus is by far the the chain that binds our hearts. It is what initially drew us to each other when we met in college, it is what has kept us united though miles separate us, and it is why we come away from time together feeling refreshed, revived, and ready to go back to our families with a renewed sense of purpose and a renewed passion for the calling God has placed on our hearts!!

Now, after all those blissful thoughts, let me be real with you.

Yesterday was terrible. Oh, yes, yesterday my life was a miserable tragedy, or at least, it felt that way. Let's see if I can recap. . .

My garage door broke and locked my van in the garage. I was stuck at home all day. Good, we'll make it a swim day - life gives you lemons - make lemonade, right? So, we swam, and I had to jump in the pool and literally save JCT's life when he came out of his floaty by accident. The funny part is that Joshua had been begging me to jump in the pool, but I kept refusing! When I saw JCT start to flail, I jumped in without a second thought! So, the first thing Joshua said after I had JCT safely in my arms was, "Hey! You jumped in!!!" And, the second thing Joshua said was, "Next time, wait and let me save him, okay?" Yes, okay, I'll just sit back and watch. . . Umm. . . No.

Anyway, we recouped and kept on going. . . Then, after dinner JCT began throwing up, and throwing up, and throwing up - that's 3 times. Makes me nauseated just thinking about it. Erik and I just looked at each other like - "You're kidding, right? He didn't just throw up, did he?" So, now there is the possibility that Erik will be left at home with 3 sick children while I am in Nashville, and there is the possibility that I will be as sick as a dog on my highly anticipated getaway! Ugggh.

So, yesterday was terrible, but tomorrow will be wonderful. I am counting on it, claiming it! And, hey, even if I am running to the bathroom every five minutes, I'll have a fun friend to hang out with in between trips!

Today, I am simply enjoying my boys. I am kissing foreheads and cheeks and thinking about how I won't be able to do this again for a few days. I better go! Gotta get some more sugar from the baby cheeks that just waddled over to see me! That reminds me, grandparents, Elijah has officially joined the ranks of the walking! He is officially on two legs now!!! Yay, for him! And, he is doing the cutest thing! We sing the song "Elijah Rock" to him, and he says the "Shout! Shout! Shout!" part!!!!! Too cute! Can't wait for you to see and hear him! He is a handful of joy, that little man! I'm going to miss him, his big brothers, and his Daddy, too!!!!

Later, sweet friends!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

So, Who Are You For?


And so, Joshua, JCT, and I were swimming during Elijah's nap time yesterday. I was treading water for exercise while they played. Out of the blue Joshua swims over to me, looks me straight in the eyes, and with the all seriousness of a seasoned sport's expert, he asks me. . .
"So, who are you for?"
"What do you mean, 'who am I for?'" I ask.
After giving me a "Duh. . . Mommy" sort of look, he clarified. . .
"I mean, are you for the Lakers or the Philistines?"
I laughed so hard that I could hardly breathe!!
"Umm. . . Do you mean the Celtics?" I asked him.
"Yeah, yeah. . . the Celtics." he said in a teenagery whatever sort of way. . .

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mmm Mmm Good!

While we were eating lunch today, I had cookies baking in the oven. Elijah finished first, so I cleaned him up and let him play on the floor around us. After the cookies cooled, I passed them out - one to Joshua, one to JCT, two to Mama. . .

Then, I got some milk and sat down to enjoy some freshly baked, warm cookies. Elijah, who up until this point had been playing quietly on the floor, began to cry. I put my cookie down and began talking to him. I gave him a different toy. . . still crying. . . I gave him juice. . . still crying. . . I picked him up assuming that he was just tired and wanted to be held. . .


Still crying he pointed straight at the baking sheet of cookies sitting on top of the counter. And, then it hit me. . .


He is old enough to know a good thing when he sees one!!!


So, I handed him a cookie and sat him in his high chair. He devoured the cookie in no more than 3 bites. He took the cookie in his hand and smashed it. Then, he surveyed the mushy broken cookie on his tray, grabbed a handful of mangled pieces and forced them into his mouth. And, nothing could have made him more happy! Here he is in all his cookie loving happiness. . .

Yum! Yum! I like this!!!

Give me another.

Now.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Faith of a Child

I wasn't expecting the evening to be anything more than it usually is. VBS family night is what it is, and I have been to it year after year after year. And, I have watched Joshua sing praise songs to Jesus in front of the church from time to time since he was in 3 year old choir. But, last night was the first time he was old enough to be a part of the VBS Family Night Musical. And, I was completely caught off guard. My emotions surprised me.

I heard Joshua singing the songs all week, and I thought they were sweet. I even commented to Lu Anne, our music director, how much I liked the words to the songs. But, when I actually watched Joshua sing in front of the church, I was completely taken aback.

There he stood on the front row, focused. Erik talks a lot to the boys about focus, and I saw the fruit of his lectures last night. Joshua kept his eyes on Lu Anne the entire time - no matter what the kids around him were doing. He was focused, his eyes fixed on the director. He sang and did incredibly well keeping up with all the hand motions.

There was one particular song that moved me intensely. The song talked about the unshakable, unbreakable Word of God. And, during the chorus I heard my sweet son sing these words to a slow, soft rhythm, "I love the Word of God." The look on his sweet face, the focus and intensity in his eyes, it was more than my heart could bear, and I lost it. I cried, really to be quite honest, I wept. There standing before me was my oldest son singing about loving the Word of God. I could ask for nothing more. It is my greatest desire that he would love God and His word with all his sweet little (BIG) heart.

Now, I realize that he is only 5. And, I'm not sure how much of the song he completely understood. If you ask him about Jesus coming into his heart, he'll tell you he has already asked Jesus into his heart. We talk about spiritual things a lot, but you just never know how much they are grasping. I believe they grasp a lot more than we realize, and that is why I never hesitate to talk about anything and everything with my boys. JCT may not grasp it, but Joshua may, and eventually things will begin to click for JCT.

Last night when we returned home and put the boys to bed, Erik and I sat on opposite ends of the couch facing each other, just talking. We haven't had a TV in over a month (lightning strike), so Erik has gotten accustomed to listening to me ramble from about 8:30 until about 10:00. He just sits there and eats a bowl of cereal, and I open my heart up and talk about everything - a flight of ideas of sorts. It is therapeutic for me, and he never complains, so it has become our routine.

I digress. . . So, we sat talking, and I shared what my heart felt while I watched Joshua sing. We talked about how that is all we could ever want for him - a heart filled to the brim with worship. And, even if he didn't understand all the words to the song, I believe that his little heart was worshipping. It is simply natural for creation to worship our Creator, a natural outflow. And, who is more pure and free to worship than a child filled to overflowing with simple faith. As adults we complicate worship, we complicate theology, we complicate God's unconditional love. When in actuality faith in God is a simple thing really. Even He, Himself, asks us to come to Him like a child, not like a Biblical scholar. He doesn't need us to figure Him out, He just wants us to love Him.

Worship is simply a natural outflow of a life that loves God, thanks for the reminder, my sweet Joshua. I find myself praying and asking God to take your little heart, to hold it close to His own, but in actuality only you have the power to ask Him to hold your heart. And, I believe you that you have. I pray that God will continue to grow your sweet heart, to mold it, to make it like His own. I'm so proud of you, my son. May your life be a love song to your Creator. May you worship Him with all that He gives you. I love you, sweet boy.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Wonderfully Precious Daddy. . .


What makes you a wonderful Daddy?

Is it the way you teach our boys about hard work by giving 100% to your job while you are at work?
Or, is it the way you teach them about priorities by giving 100% to them when you get home.

Is it the way you discipline them with strength and authority when they are out of line?
Or, is it the way you extend love and grace to them when they have thoroughly made a mess of things?

Is it the way you play rough and tumble, tackling and wrestling them to the ground with giggles and screams all the while?
Or, is it the way you hold them close and softly whisper, "Daddy loves you. . . Daddy loves you. . . Daddy loves you. . ." over and over again in their little ears.

Is it the way you teach them to look inward, to know who God created them to be and to believe firmly in themselves, holding their heads high with confidence?
Or, is it the way you teach them to look outward, to be observant and aware of the needs of others around them, and to meet those needs without being asked.

Is is the way you teach them to reach high for goals, to stretch themselves, to do things that they think they cannot do, letting nothing get in the way of the dreams God has placed in their little hearts.
Or, is it the way you teach them to reach down with love and respect to help even the least of these.

Is it the way you teach them to focus, surrender, and endure, to look unwaveringly in the direction God has called them.
Or is it the way you teach them to not get so caught up in the big picture of life's journey that they miss the simple, sweet details of everyday life all along the way?

Is it the way you teach them to selflessly love their future wives by treating me with grace, gentleness, and unconditional love?
Or, is it the way you teach them to respect their elders by treating your mother with tenderness and your father with great respect?

Is it the way that you carry yourself with character, integrity, and amazing self-control through the way that you live your everyday life?
Or, is it the way that you humble yourself, admit your mistakes, and ask for forgiveness when you have missed the mark?

Is it the way you read them Old Testament Bible stories emphasizing the Holiness and Amazingness of our God?
Or, maybe it is the way you read them New Testament Bible stories emphasizing with soft eyes how relational and loving our sweet God is?

Whatever it is, you are a wonderfully precious Daddy! And, I am so thankful to be journeying this pathway of life with you by my side. Watching you love our children has been one of the greatest joys of my life.

Happy Father's Day, Baby!
Proverbs 20:7

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Little Afternoon Nap. . .




I had to take a picture because this may be the last time I ever see this precious sight! My sweet Joshua took a nap today for the first time in over a year! I think VBS, T-ball, and swimming may be wearing him out, too! I'm glad that it isn't just me feeling extra worn out this week!






There is just something about watching a child sleep! Oh, me! Precious! He fell asleep under the duvet at the end of Erik and my bed! Snuggled into peaceful sleep! And, I don't know what to do with myself!! The house hasn't been this quiet in the middle of the day in soooo long!! I may have to make a pot of Bifferdoodle to celebrate! Who cares if it is 90 degrees outside - days like this don't come along very often!!!!!!
Updated to add: I couldn't quit taking pictures of him! All boys slept for 2 hours! Lijah is still sleeping! But, the bad news is that Joshua has a 101.6 temp!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Our Little World Right Now. . .

Things that are going on in my family's little world. . .

1.) It is Erik's birthday week this week! And, that means that I am crazy trying to think of sweet little happies for him each day! I think I started this tradition the first year of our marriage, and, needless to say, it was a hit - thus, it stuck! Yesterday I took the boys to Super Wal-mart hoping that they would help me come up with some little presents for Daddy. Guess what Daddy got from his little men?


An inflatable turtle, 3 water guns, and a two pack of bubbles!


I love letting them pick out whatever they want to give Daddy (or themselves, anyway!). But, I think this was the gift that meant the most to Daddy. . .

2.) We are doing Vacation Bible School this week at church. It is nearly all consuming. Between the planning and preps, missed naps and exhaustion, I may be in serious need of a vacation myself next week. I have already decided that next Monday I am not doing anything. Not A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G, nothing, nada, zilch!! I am going to lounge around the house and enjoy the fact that I am a stay-at-home-mom, and I have no where that I have to be at any certain time. This getting up and getting three boys ready by 8:40 is for the birds.


3.) I have to admit that on top of all the craziness that is my life - Erik's birthday week+VBS+t-ball games+regular chores, etc. - I have been struggling. Not with the busyness so much, but with the age old sins that lurk around and present themselves when I least desire for them to do so. They keep me humble. They make me realize that even though I have been walking with God for 20+ years, I still stumble over some of the same sins. I seem to forget about them, and then boom, there they are again.


And, it makes me wonder if sometimes I seek perfection rather than the Perfector if that makes any sense. I long to be perfect, flawless, selfless, and pure, but if my desire is perfection, and not the One perfecting me than I am completely missing the point.
Father, you know my heart. Be my sole desire, Lord.


4.) I am loving the pool! What did we do before we had it?? Seriously, I highly recommend pools! If they were cheaper, I'd buy them for all my good friends for Christmas next year! So, fun! I even stocked the freezer with Popsicles and ice cream sandwiches for post swim treats. I have never really liked summer. As soon as it hits 80 degrees, I start praying for fall to come quickly! But, this pool deal is changing my whole perspective!

5.) And, now I must end with the words to a song my lyrical genius of a son wrote for me during his bath this evening. . . With little to no effort at all Joshua wrote this catchy little song for me:


Mom is good.

Mom is Great!

Mom smells like a BIG FAT GRAPE!


I am just thankful that he likes grapes. He eats them often. So, I am assuming that he finds their odor to be somewhat pleasant.
One can only hope.

Friday, June 06, 2008

If This Is Any Indication. . .

of what is to come in the years ahead, then they might as well go ahead and save me a room at the nearest assylum. . .





Erik happened upon these lovely wads of toilet paper tossed up to the crown molding and bathroom door trim. I don't really want to know if they were originally wet with toilet or tap water. They have since hardened, and we aren't sure how long they have been there.


Boys.


Will I ever get used to this?

Will they ever cease to amaze, surprise, and horrify me?
I think not!
I guess that is why God made them so adorably cute!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

T-ball treats!


When I signed up for my turn to bring treats, I had the idea of bringing something healthy for the kids to snack on after the game. But, as I stood in the snack aisle and surveyed my options, the idea for these little bat and ball cookies came to me. And, how could I not make them after the thought occured to me! So, I gave in to temptation, and those cute little t-ball players will have a good sugar high thanks to Joshua's mama!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Our Little Getaway - 2008!

A week ago yesterday, Erik and I were kissing our sweet boys goodbye and heading off to spend a few days alone. (sigh.) We had a really good time, but I'm not sure we had quite as much fun as our offspring. The boys had a BLAST with Nana and Poppy!!! I'm not sure that they missed us at all! And, I am not even kidding! Our first night back home, Joshua literally cried himself to sleep because he missed his Nana and Poppy! Nana is vivacious and fun while Poppy is layed back and easy. Nana gets down on the floor laughing and playing with them. Poppy sits back in his chair and the boys bring him book after book to read. . . His voice is deep and soothing, and my boys adore him.



Anyway, last Monday, as Erik and I drove away from my parent's home in my mom's car (no car seats, kids, or extra bags of toys and books), I got a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. Even though I was looking so forward to time alone with Erik, something felt odd, wrong, and awkward. And, then, it happened.

The dam broke.

And, from behind my sunglasses, the tears began to fall. Erik smiled and seemed to be tickled by my little show of emotion. "Do you want to go back?" he asked. "No," I answered, "I just love them. That's all." Somehow my life has become wrapped up in those three little men. And, I'm not sure where one ends and the other begins, you know? They are a part of me, by golly, and I love them! I always think of myself as their constant. I am the one who never leaves. I get up with them in the morning, play with them during the day, and tuck them in at night. But, you know what? I guess they are my constants, too. My little constant companions. . . And, even though taking care of them requires selflessness beyond what I daily desire to give, taking care of them is something that I thrive on. . . It makes me better, grows me in more ways than I even realize.

And, that is one of the great lessons that I learned in being away from them. A little reminder for myself on the hard days. Even though it can be hard, monotonous, and stressful, there is nothing in the world that I would rather be doing with my life. Getting away was awesome, incredible, and refreshing, but coming home with a renewed sense of love and desire for my little men made the whole thing even sweeter!!



Now back to our trip. . . It didn't take long for me to straighten up, dry my tears, and have a bit of fun. I was introduced to the world of XM radio. I listen mostly to Veggie tales and Curious George, so I was completely enthralled with talk radio. Erik flipped from ESPN to Fox News to Oprah and Friends, and it didn't matter to me what station he had it on, I was mesmerised. I hung on their every word. I learned things. I was entertained. I laughed. It was quite wonderful, really. I even enjoyed the sports radio shows - which is what we listened to the vast majority of our 3 hour drive.

Erik kept asking me if I was okay. And, if you know me, you know why he was asking. The only times when I am quiet is when something is terribly wrong. I am never quiet in cars or restaurants or at home, anywhere really. I kept reassuring him that nothing was wrong - I was just really enjoying listening to the radio. I'm not sure he believed me because he continued to ask me over and over until we arrived at our destination!


Other than the drive time, where I was completely immersed in talk radio, the rest of our trip was filled to the brim with coffee, ice cream, and invigorating conversation! We talked about everything from marriage to parenting to work to friends to travel to character issues - we covered the full spectrum!! What else can I say, it was great to be alone with my best friend! I love my Erik, and I am so thankful for him! The bulk of our conversation revolved around raising 4 boys - the challenges we'll face, decisions we need to make, etc. It is so refreshing to get away and just talk about our life, our family, the direction we are headed in, the journey we are on, where we are today, where we want to be tomorrow, what lies ahead on the horizon, what steps do we need to make to prepare them, to prepare ourselves. . .

It was sweet time. Thanks Nana and Poppy for making it all possible!! May God reward you richly in heaven!!!

Now a few pictures from our pit stop on the way to Nana and Poppy's house Memorial Day weekend. We stopped at a zoo located in between our small town and Nana and Poppy's city. Great fun!

God gave Erik and I a special little surprise when we pulled into the zoo. An exhibit that we visited on one of our very first dates (the Butterfly Exhibit) had come back to the zoo permanently. I told him that this was definitely a sign that we were going to have a special trip!! So, we took the boys in, and they enjoyed it as much as we did. I remember Erik and I, young and in love, sitting on a bench in the butterfly exhibit years ago just watching all the butterflies fly and land all around us. Ahhhh, the romance. . . .

Needless to say, it was a bit of a different experience with 3 boys. They were more interested in running and chasing the gentle, beautiful creatures!!




Erik went to Africa on a Medical Mission trip the last semester of his final year of Med school. He brought me back an African painting of two giraffes with their necks twisted together. He told me that it reminded him of us. So, when we saw two real giraffes with their long necks intertwined at the zoo, I told him, again that this was another sign that we were going to have a special getaway!! God was in this thing!!!! How sweet of Him to give us these sweet little symbols of our love on the eve of our time alone!





Okay, enough about Erik and I!! The boys had a blast, as always, at the zoo!!

Here they are checking out a swimming polar bear!


They could have stayed there all day just watching the polar bears swim laps. . .


But, we moved on to the more fast paced and fancy swimming sea lions!



And, here is Elijah waving to an elephant!!! He was so excited! He kept waving and saying, "HEY!! HEY!!! HEY!!!"


But, the highlight of the zoo trip had to be the Hippos. We happened to come by their home at feeding time! The boys had a blast watching the zoo-keeper feed the hippos half a watermelon. They ate the entire thing in one huge hippo bite!! Joshua still talks about this from time to time! By the way, did you know that their heads can way up to 500 pounds? Amazing!


This is what I would like to be doing right now. . .


A fun time had by all - kiddos and adults!!!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Breakin' It In!

Okay, so the water was not quite warm enough for the boys to thoroughly enjoy their first little dip in the pool. But, that didn't stop them from diving right on into the water!!! Well, maybe they didn't dive. . . It was actually more of a slow, cautious one toe at a time kind of progression into the water!




No doubt, it was Joshua who enjoyed himself the most!! The arctic water didn't seem to ward him off at all.


Erik and JCT appeared a bit more stiff and uncomfortable in the cold water.



In fact, in the words of his father, "Joshua is monsterously crazy. JCT and I are a bit more reasonable!"


This is JCT hiding behind the back porch table. He is hiding from "Squirty," the pool cleaner who has a nasty habit of spraying wildly without warning. Everytime "Squirty" made his way close to JCT, the poor child would jump out of the pool and run for cover!

And, this is what Elijah did while his Daddy and brothers swam in the subzero waters. . .


He had serious things to contemplate while his carefree and silly brothers were busy playing. . .



All in all, I think everyone had a good time - even Mama who watched from behind the lens of a camera!

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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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