Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sweetness. . .











My mother is here visiting, and she always takes such good pictures!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Winter Snow

I often make comparisons between my husband and my God. Not because I in any way equate Erik with my Lord, but he is to me a tangible picture of Christ's love for me. And, once years ago I remember watching my husband's strong hands grip a basketball. My husband is a large man, tall and strong, shoulders broad. As I stared at his hands, I thought of the power he held in them. He could snap me in two if he wanted. . .

But, thankfully, he doesn't want to. :-)

Instead he uses his strength to protect me. But, more often than that, he chooses to forego the use of the power he posesses, and he uses his hands to wipe my tears. He carefully, gently holds my little men in his arms. He catches their sweet, naked, wet bodies as I give birth to them. He uses his hands to love us, to caress us. His strength laid aside, he is tender and gentle. And, it is a beautiful thing to me because. . .

it reminds me of my first Love, my sweet Love, my Jesus. The world was waiting. We were needy, hungry, angry, sinful, and soiled. And, God seemed to be silent. He could have come and taken this world by storm. He could have come in power, majesty, and might. He could have come in such a way as to show Who was in control. But, He didn't.

He didn't make a fuss over himself. No earth shatteringly loud trumpets, no splendor, nothing. While the sinful world slept, He came, quietly, peacefully, gently, tenderly as a helpless baby. He slipped into the night, into our world, and into our hearts. And, without fanfare, without a show of strength or power, but instead with a humble cry and a fragile body, He came, and the world. would. never. be. the. same.

Now that is powerful.

I love the song Winter Snow because it says this so much more beautifully than I ever could. This video is of our Christmas 2010. The words of the song are powerful and glorify my God. The pictures are just of us and have little to do with the words of the song. . .

Unless of course, you look at it this way. . .

We have joy, peace, and love filling our home to overflowing. In fact, rarely a day passes, that Erik and I do not look at each other in amazement and say, "We are so blessed." And, the only reason that our home is full of joy and peace and love is because He came as Emmanuel ~ God with us. He lay his strength, power, majesty, and might aside and came in humility ~ naked, wet, and helpless. And, because He is Who He is, a God Who came to us in such a humble and beautiful way, because He wasn't afraid to get dirty or hurt or hung on a cross, because He loved us enough to lay aside all that He is and come as a babe, because of all of this, we can live in a broken, fallen world, and we can have peace. It is all because of Him. It is only through Him. Our hearts are full of thanks today for God's gift, the greatest gift. Can I say His name one more time. . .

Jesus.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours. . .
video

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Every Shade of Beautiful. . .

I love that as my kids get older I can take my hands off, sit back and watch, and be amazed at their creativity not stifled by my direction. These cookies are a perfect representation of this. I did my best to stand back and watch them decorate however they would like. We didn't stick to traditional Christmas colors or shapes. They were free, within reason, to have fun and create to their hearts' content.


The creative process. . .



And, that makes this year's cookies the most beautiful ever to me!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Baby, Baby...

I am going to stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and focus my thoughts on little old you.

My sweet smallest one, I'm crazy about you already. You are 20 weeks and 3 days old, about 7 in, 11 oz. ~ according to the What to Expect app on my phone. Joshua grabs my phone and checks up on your growth at least once a week. This week the app compares your size to the size of a banana. So, Joshua grabbed a banana and put it up to my tummy. He is a great big brother, and he is so excited about your life. We are all happy about your joining in our fun!

Your Daddy and I talked about you for nearly an hour last night. We dreamed about what it will be like to have you with us. We made tentative plans for our family of 7. My sweet little surprise, we are so glad God chose to give you to us. Your Daddy puts his hands on my belly at night before he drifts off to sleep. He feels your soft kicks, and he prays for you.

All four of your brothers ask about you. They are always happy to welcome a new little one. I am excited to do the whole thing over again with you. I am excited to hold you little and to watch you grow right before my eyes. I am excited to hear your squeaks and coos. I am excited to see your first smile and hear your first little rolling belly laugh. And, then one day you will pull yourself up, and then you will take a step or two. And, when you do these things, four little boys will cheer for you, and your mama, well, she might just cry a tear or two, but she, too, will be excited for you!

I love you, my little one.

I've been doing this long enough to know that no two are alike. There may be similarities between you and one or two of your brothers, but you will be a unique little one created by a BIG God Who has great plans to use your life for His glory. I cannot wait to see the creativity of my God as it manifests itself in your sweet individuality.

Today, I wonder and I dream of you and who God will make you to be. But, one day I will know you like the back of my hand. I will know your likes, your loves, what makes you smile and laugh, what inspires you, and what makes your sweet little heart tick. I will know you and love you well ~ this is my prayer.

You do not have perfect parents or brothers. We are not the smartest, most beautiful, most athletic, most organized, or most patient, but we love with big, full hearts.

And, I think you will grow well here.

We welcome you, sweet one.

With open arms, we wait for you. . . patiently.

Godspeed, sweetness, Godspeed. . .

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Low Key Week

That has been the central theme for this week ~ "low key." This week has been a gift. I have next week to worry about getting ready for the holidays and all our class/church parties were last week. So, this week has been a slow moving, easy going week. We have done a very small amount of school this week ~ just the priorities ~ making it easy for the boys to be done by lunch. Nap time, for those of us too old to nap, has been spent playing games or exploring the cold outdoors (not me on the last one!). I have spent nap time curled up with one of the following three items ~ a book, my journal, or my computer. I am such a nerd, but I love it!!!!

My boys are presently laughing hysterically at jokes I do not "get" while eating ice cream with chopped up pieces of candy cane oreos mixed in for fun!! Guess who gave them that idea???Yummy! :-)

Pics from a cozy week at home with little boys. . .

Yesterday morning we made Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments. . .


Here they are ready to go in the oven. . .

Each day as soon as the little boys fall asleep, we turn on the fireplace and enjoy its warmth!!

Isn't twister so fun. . .
Sweet friends. . .
And, candy land. . .
And, yes, they are still in pjs!!! A couple of days this week the boys opted to stay in pjs until the afternoon, but not their mama!! She is dressed and ready by 7 every morning. What a nice, lazy week we have had!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Peace on Earth

What a wonderful Sunday this has turned out to be!! A little after 8:00 this morning, I looked out and noticed snowflakes!! I grabbed sweet Lijah who has been praying for snow since summer and showed him what the cold north wind was carrying to us! Then, I grabbed my cell phone to text Deana B and tell her, but before I could push send, she sent me a text announcing the winter weather!! The boys got dressed and ready for church then headed out the backdoor to play for a few minutes!
They were so pleased!!!!!

When they came inside to get warm, we celebrated with marshmallows and Candy Cane flavored Oreos.

I have fallen in love with Candy Cane Oreos!! I went for a mid week trip last week to Wal-Mart to pick up a few necessities and came home with three bags of Candy Cane Oreos!!! Erik asked if I got milk. I said that I didn't know we needed milk. He walked to the fridge to show me that we had less than half of a half gallon. Then, he said, "You mean to tell me that you went to Wal-Mart and came home with 3 things of Candy Cane Oreos, but you forgot to buy milk???" Oops. Guilty. . . and happily so!! :-)

Now here I sit, curled up in a very quiet house ~ husband and two littles napping, big boys playing at a friend's home. I am watching snowflakes blow about in my backyard and sipping cider!! The hardest thing about this afternoon was deciding what hot drink I wanted to sip ~ coffee, cider, or hot chocolate!!! We've yet to hit 30 degrees today and the wind is bitter!! I'm so happy. I hit Erik up again this morning to move me a little farther north ~ Kentucky or North Carolina, but he ignored my request. Oh, well! I'll take what I can get!!! I'm soaking it in today!!!

My heart is heavy for a family here in our little town. Word got out last week that a little cancer survivor who was at Joshua's elementary school last year has been diagnosed once again. This is her third time, and the tumor is near her brain. As we sang I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day this morning at church I couldn't help but tear up as I thought of her ~ little girl with such a big diagnosis.

"And in despair I bowed my head: 'There is no peace on earth' I said, 'For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men.'"

"And, mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men!" How true in our world today! But, I love the next verse's answer to the previous verse's despair! It replies,

"Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: 'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.'"

I nearly shouted the part in bold above as I sang this morning. I, somehow, wanted the world to hear it!!

And, so I have been thinking. . . is there peace on earth, can it be? Or, is it impossible? Maybe we will never truly have peace on earth as a whole, but individually I do believe we can have peace. This world will be full of trials and hard times, but our Prince of Peace says, "Take heart, for I have overcome the world." I am praying his sweet peace over this little girl and her family right now.

I am planning a week of peace for my little ones this week. I am refusing worry. We will work slowly and peacefully and enjoy the moment, each and every one of them!! We will do happy Christmas things as well as our basic studies ~ focusing primarily on math and grammar/phonics. I am looking forward to a more laid back week. Excelsior ended for the semester with a Christmas party last week. The kids were studying Tchaikovsky, so they got to watch a version of the Nutcracker and eat yummy Christmas goodies. They had a fun day. We also did the Christmas party thing at church last week, so now things seem to be a bit more calm! I am looking forward to sticking close to home and enjoying time with my little men!! The first of this week will be very cold, and so I am having visions of coffee cups, board games, puzzles, and lots of books!! This is pure peace to me!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

My Little Snowflake. . .

He is preciously and perfectly unique just like a snowflake!!!


And, I love him with all my heart!

We had icing in the house today!! I haven't made icing or cake or cupcakes in quite some time, so the boys were very, very happy!!! :-)

Yummy!! :-)

Christmas Card Attempts. . .

We always wait until the last minute to take our family Christmas pictures which means we end up using a tripod and our camera's timer. The results are never perfect, but, hey, neither are we! So, I always feel we end up with a good representation of our family at the stage of life we are in!

Our family lit the advent candle this past Sunday at church, so I thought it would be a good time to take the picture. Lighting the advent candle was so fun! I was so proud of my little ducks all in a row!!! And, thankfully, we didn't burn the church down!!! Erik walked in front holding the flame, Joshua a few steps behind him, JCT a few steps behind him, Elijah a few steps behind him, and then I brought up the back holding Eriky! It was a proud mama moment to watch my little men walking all in line. I still can't believe God has given me four little men!!! I never would have dreamed! God is so sweet!!

I digress. . . So, I knew that we would be in our Sunday best, and this would be our best opportunity for a picture. We came home, set up the tripod and timer, and sat down in front of the fireplace. The results. . .

Missing someone. . .

There he is. . .Too serious ~ not a true representation of us. . .I asked Erik to voom in a little closer. . .The next two pictures I absolutely love because they are so true to life!!!!
I think this one is my favorite. . .

The chosen one. . .


Look closely, do you see it? Something (someone) is missing!! Right there just behind JCT, under Erik's left arm. . . There is room enough, and there is most definitely love enough for one more!!! Can't wait to fill in that little hole next Christmas!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Melting Snowball

Sadly, we do not get enough snow around here to satisfy my silly snow-loving heart. But, thankfully, it does get cold enough to allow me the privilege of celebrating winter from time to time!! And, yesterday the high was 41. I never actually saw the temp rise above the 30's, but I'm sure it did for an hour or two in the mid afternoon. So, we celebrated with melting snowballs. . .

The boys loved watching the ice cream melt into their hot chocolate, but even more, they loved drinking it!!! :-) I love celebrating cold weather with warm treats!!! :-)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Text Mess!!!!

So, yesterday evening, after a long day, I wrote this text to my sweet husband. . .

"You know that thong you clean your ears with, yeah, bring yourself a new one home. P.S. The ear cleaner will not work to unlock the bathroom door, the bathroom that houses the plunger, that bathroom. Therefore, I am unable to unstop the stopped up toilet and this pg (pregnant) mama is having to go upstairs to potty. Your sons opt for the backyard."

This is all fine and well. It is a relatively normal text for me, anyway. Only problem is that after I pushed send I realized that I sent the text to Joshua's choir teacher who I had recently texted to ask what they were going to be doing during choir that evening (caroling, Christmas party, etc. ~ I couldn't remember the plan?). So, I gasped! And, as quick as I could, I grabbed my phone and typed this text in. . .

"Oh, funny - totally meant that for Erik!!!!!! :-) Sorry, you got a glimpse into my crazy life!!! Maybe it made you smile or be thankful for your calm life!!!!!!"

I pushed send as fast as my little fingers could, and then I waited. . .

and waited. . .

No response.

So, I thought, "Take a deep breath, Erin, reread the text. Maybe it isn't so unusual or crazy. Maybe she just shrugged and thought nothing of it."

It is during this rereading of the text that I realized that I misspelled the word "thing" and typed the word "thong" instead. Could it get any worse???? So, once again, as fast as I could type, I texted her again. . .

"And Erik doesn't use a thong to clean his ears!! I meant thing!! I'll never get used to this stinking new phone!!!!!"

I pushed send and waited. . .

and waited. . .

At this point I broke a sweat!!!

No response.

Silence.

And, I am very, very uncomfortable with silence ~ just ask my husband. :-) So, I felt compelled to explain myself. . .

"Long story short ~ Elijah locked one of our downstairs bathrooms. Then, later Joshua and JCT took turns pooping in our other downstairs bathroom and stopped it up, but the plunger is in the locked bathroom which I can't find the key for. And, all day I have tried to pick the lock with everything that I can think of including my husband's very beloved ear pick! There you go! Again, sorry!!!!! :-)"

Again, silence. But, this time at least I felt that I had done all that I could do ~ including laugh so hard that I cried a puddle!! :-)

Finally, sweet Lori (Thankfully, she has a great sense of humor!) text me back!!! Hurray!! This is the sweet girl who used to kid me when I got pregnant for the 4th time in 5 years that I needed to "Lock the door! And, when he knocks, do not let him in!!!" First thing she said when she saw me after word got out about baby number 5 was, "You let him in!!!! I warned you not to let him in!!!" I love her. She's great! Anyway, she said. . .

"Well I was just getting ready to text you and check on the thong thing. Maybe thats why you stay pg! I have laughed for a while. You are so funny."

Later I found out that she was driving to church (she lives out a little bit) and just kept receiving my texts and laughing. . . .

I texted her back. . .

"Glad I could make you laugh!" :-)

It seems I say that last a lot these days!! Oh, me, it's just another day around here. . .
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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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