We've been busy here. But, not the kind of busy that can be blamed on anything in particular. We've just been busy with life, everyday, ordinary life. My days are full ~ everyday. It seems I cannot ever get everything done that needs to be done. I'm in constant motion, and yet I am behind most days. But, I am beginning to realize that this is a stage of life. I will not get caught up, not for a while. So, I'm just trying to do the next thing, to do the best that I can day in and day out. . .
I am 34 weeks pregnant, and this baby kicks wildly. I am thoroughly enjoying myself, loving feeling the kicks and wiggles. Feeling a little one wiggle within is one of my all time favorite things in my entire life. I just wish that I could make my skin translucent, so I could watch!! I often think of an old post by Ann Voskamp where she talks about being in labor with her 6th child. And, as she endures the labor pains, her husband holds her and encourages her with these words (as best I can remember), "We do not know that we will pass this way again." And, I did not plan this, my fifth pregnancy, and I do not know that I will be given the opportunity to pass this way again. So, when my legs and back ache at the end of long days, and I finally climb into my big warm bed. I feel that little one adjust itself and wiggle about within, and I think to myself, "Enjoy each moment because I do not know that I will ever pass this way again." And, what an amazing and wonderful way it has been! I'm so thankful.
And, on that note I will say that I feel so blessed, but I do have my days full of insecurity! What are we doing kind of days! Yikes! A month or so ago I was somewhere and out of the blue someone I had not seen in a while made a beeline for me. She took one look at my belly, then looked me directly in the eyes, and asked a quick simple question. . .
"Are you crazy?"
And, I felt like a 6th grader again. I had forgotten that feeling. She meant it harmlessly, but it stung for days. It is really a nuisance to be overly sensitive, but I am that and that I am. And, I suppose I am a bit crazy, too. But, you know what?
I'd do it all over again. Every pregnancy. Every baby. Every toddler. Every stage. I'd do it all again, and I'm so thankful to have been given the privilege! I love my guys!
I have taken so many pictures lately, but they are completely unrelated. I am going to post a few of them just for fun!
I love how these two are bonding lately. I think Lije is finally realizing that God gave him a special friend in Eriky.
I began nesting last week. So, I got the big boys to help me get things organized. I thought they did a great job with the garage. I sent them out to straighten and organize the outside toys all by themselves, and they did such a good job!!
Then I dumped the four downstairs bins out in the middle of the living room floor and got them to sort and organize them back into their appropriate bins. Again, they did a great job!!
I took a picture of all my "stuff" while I was making this week's lesson plans last week. I don't know why, but it is one of my favorite things to do!!! I love reading through everything and planning. It is always a peaceful, fun time for me. I thoroughly enjoy it!
On St. Patrick's Day the boys did their school work with green pencils! It was a fun day. We finished up early and headed to Deana B's for lunch! I got to sit on the back porch and swing while my children played in her fenced in backyard! Ahhhh. . . the life! Eriky D took his nap on me while I sat there just a swingin' and enjoying the sunshine, warm weather, and good adult conversation! Bliss!
At breakfast the other morning the boys were amazed at how fat this poor bird was. And, they were right to stare. This bird was FAT!
And, here is my baby. He is still my baby ~ even if he is 2 1/2 years old!!
We may just have a little soccer player on our hands this time around! You can kick, little one! You can kick with the best of them! Whoa, Mama! But, I can tell you are a sweetheart. I can just tell. But, you like to move around a lot. I'm having visions of me bundling you up nice and tight like a cute little snug bug, and five minutes later I'm going to turn around and your blankets will all be loosed around you! You will kick yourself free! We will see, but that is what my gut is telling me!
My fifth child, my fifth baby, my fifth love, I'm crazy about you! Somedays I get overwhelmed at the thought! One more child! One more who will need me! How will it work? How will we do it? Will I be able to give you all that you need? These worries overtake me at times.
But, I know the One Who knit you together in my womb. I know the One Who determined that you would, in fact, be. I know the One Who knows you, Who loves you, Who has entrusted me with your little life. And, I know that He knows. He knows what you need. He knows what I can give. He knows me, and He knows you. And, I am committed to loving and serving and doing all that I can to make your little life as full and beautiful as it can be. God help me, help me every step of the way!
One of my favorite memories of my entire life was telling your Daddy about you. The tension in the air, my nerves! He thought four was the end for us, and I had to tell him that God thought differently. We sat there staring at each other, him begging me to speak it, to speak what was on my mind. I beckoned him to lean forward, so I could whisper it in his ear. As soon as the words escaped my lips and tickled his ear, his robust laughter filled our table, filled the entire restaurant, and filled my heart. And, my tears fell uncontrollably ~ happy, relieved, disbelieving tears. God tears. The tears you cry when He overwhelms you with His purpose, His way, and all you can do is overflow because He is overwhelmingly good. Five babies good!
And, now here we are less than two months away from your due date. I can tell you are getting bigger each week. And, I am starting to wake up at night, to toss and turn. You are filling me, and I will not be able to hold you here forever. My body is realizing this. It won't be long, and I will hold your little wrinkly body, frog legs, and soft fuzzy head. And, I will wonder how we ever lived a day without you! Your brothers ask me almost daily when you will be here. Erik Daniel is very curious.
He knows there is a baby in my tummy. If I say baby, he reaches up and touches my belly.
He knows. But, then again he doesn't know completely! But, he will understand, and he will love you to pieces!
What a glorious rainy Tuesday afternoon we are having! I've always liked Tuesdays, not sure why? But, I always have. Yesterday was out of control, but today has been bliss. We all need a day or two like this each week. The rain has my boys couped up inside, and I like that! They are playing indoor basketball ~ living room court. The dog is sleeping soundly on his bed in the sunroom. Every so often when the boys remark loudly, he'll raise up one heavy eyelid and peep out at them. But, then, he slowly closes his eye again and drifts back into peaceful blissdom ~ breathing slow and deep and loud.
My daily laundry is done ~ waiting in everyone's respective basket to be put away. I am sipping coffee ~ enjoying the rain and a good basketball game ~ Oregon versus Indiana. Lije is curled up by his "buddy," the sleeping Rain. I love listening to him whisper sweet words to his furry friend. He loves hard, my Lije.
And, in the distance I can hear the cry of my youngest coming from his room upstairs. So, I am sending Lije to talk to him and give me a minute or two before I have to leave my coffee and rainy window view.
Erik Daniel asked to sit in his bed earlier today and look at books. He sat in there for a good 20-30 minutes all alone and flipped through books. This completely baffled me. None of my other children would have ever asked to be confined to their crib all alone. He is unique. They all are. Sweet loves. Each one so different from the others. At times I try to compare them, but, seriously, they are so different. It simply isn't possible.
JCT, I am convinced is not from the same planet as Erik and I, and I am not sure how he landed here. But, I am soooo glad he did!!!! He adds so much to our world. Yesterday Joshua was given a University of Oregon, Singler, jersey. JCT put on a Duke jersey, so they could play Singler vs. Singler. But, JCT was struggling with the fact that his Duke jersey did not have Kyle Singler's number on it. Later, he announced to me that he wanted a Kyle Singler jersey. I quickly said, "Well, you'll have to talk to your Daddy about that." He turned his head, flipping those long straight strawberry blond strands, and said, "Oh, I don't need to do that. I've already talked to Sean, and he'll take care of it."
Oh, he will, will he?
So confident, that funny little man!!
Then, today I announced to the boys that Daddy bought us a new DVD player. Our old one has been broken for a while now. JCT quit playing basketball, smiled up at me, and said, "Oh, good! What kind did he get? A Blu-ray???" Seriously, JCT, a blu-ray? Erik and I are not techno savvy. We just kind of float along, and before we are completely outdated we join the rest of the world. We got our first smart phones a few months ago. Before that, we were both using "Go" phones. I'll never regret that move! But, to be honest, JCT was more excited about my iphone than I was!! As soon as I brought it home, he asked for it. He played with it for a few minutes then asked when I was going to buy some apps. He is something. And, no, Erik did not buy a blu-ray.
Now all my little monkeys are playing upstairs ~ hide and seek, I think. And, my thoughts are beginning to turn toward dinner. I am thinking we will do something simple and fun that everybody likes ~ like breakfast for dinner ~ pancakes, eggs, and fruit. Eriky D just came to sit with me. He says, "De dunder scures me!" And, I'm okay with that because I get to steal a bunch of sweet sugar from the baby soft skin on the back of his neck. Yum!
Yesterday evening I called my husband from my car outside his office and asked if he would let me in. He came out to find me all alone ~ the boys at home with a sitter! You should have seen his smile!! I highly recommend surprising your husband at the end of a long, hard workday with a night out alone with you, his favorite friend. We enjoyed a quiet evening, looking across a gently lit table and talking about all the things that we haven't had time to talk about lately. And, after we discussed the main things, we just enjoyed chit chatting over a yummy meal. I love quiet alone time with my love. On the way home, Erik joked that he almost forgot we had a houseful of sleeping kiddos. It felt like old times. Marriage is such a gift ~ a gift I never forget to be thankful for!!! We've been through so much together, and I love that when we are alone, the richness and fullness and love is not only still very much alive, but over the years it has grown in depth and beauty and tenderness. It is truly an amazing thing to share your life with another. I'm so grateful.
I keep thinking one of these days I will post about one of our school days, how it works, what we do, etc. But, every day differs here and there, and so I keep putting it off! I keep thinking I will nail down a schedule, and then I will post that so I can have a record of what our year looked like this year. But, I have come to the realization that with young children you have to be flexible, and I will never have a strict schedule that we adhere to perfectly each day. We have an order of events. Three of us have check lists that we keep up with throughout the day. But, I tend to go with whatever is working each day. If at 8:00 the little boys are busy playing in the sunroom, I don't make them come sit and listen to a story. I do math with one of the big boys while the littles are occupied. If I want to do grammar with Joshua, but Lije needs some TLC, then I put off the grammar and read to Lije, or I hold Lije while I teach grammar. And, this is why, we do not adhere to a rigid schedule. But, I feel we do have order and stability ~ it is just flexible!
I remember Roan telling me once that when her children were young, she would teach while little ones crawled on her head! I thought, at the time, that that sounded awful, and that I'd never be able to do that!! I am a tunnel vision girl ~ one track!! But, God has grown me so much in that!! Now, I invite my little two to sit in my lap while I teach the big boys! Especially Eriky! He will curl up, head on my shoulder, silky in his hand, thumb in his mouth, and snuggle in while I teach. I like that! And, I envision myself, a couple months from now, holding a newborn while teaching. The newborn stage is too short! I'm a believer in holding them as much as possible until they no longer want to be held!! Life is just too short!
Well, the rain is still pouring down. My boys are completely occupied in imaginative play ~ knights! And, only Rain and Eriky are near to me. They want me to protect them from the "dunder." Ahh... the peace. And, I will end with my afternoon's counting. . .
* Raindrops breaking the pond's surface.
* Little boys ~ my superhero knights in shining armor
* Kissing soft baby neck skin
* Distant thunder rolling
* A hand or heel protruding from my swollen abdomen
* A sweet, old, easily frightened, dog
* A peaceful afternoon in a house full of couped up boys ~ only with Jesus!!
* Grace that goes on and on and on...
I think that in today's world we assume it's a thing of the past, a lost treasure, gone with the wind. Sweet small town America, that is. The likes of it inspired movies like It's a Wonderful Life and TV shows like Andy Griffith. Does it still exist? Is it possible in the midst of the hustle and bustle of modern technology and the trendiness of being overcommitted and busy? It is a hurry, hurry world ~ an America that no longer glorifies small town life and building character. Instead of Mayberry and Walnut Grove, today TV boasts in America's bright light big city world ~ tall buildings, business suits, cell phones, nice cars, and busy fast paced city streets.
But, you know what? We are still here. Small town American, that is. We still exist, flourish, thrive. And, dare I say it, we prefer our simple, slower paced life. Quiet, slow, and easy, we live, we work, we are rural, small town America. Mayberry still exists, and I know because I live here, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I live in a place where the old men, the ones who've know each other all their lives, meet for coffee at Hardees each morning where they laugh and slap their knees and sit back slow and easy enjoying the moment, discussing local sports and politics. And, the women, they discuss the small town who's who and what's happening over hair cuts and styles at the local salon. You hardly pass a car that you don't know the driver, and you wave. The old men prefer to just throw up their hand in a slap the steering wheel type of method, but either way, you wave. It's polite, it's southern, and it's a way of life around here. You aren't in so much of a hurry that you can't stop your car to let friends cross the street ~ even if there is no crosswalk. And, when someone lets you cross whether there is a crosswalk or not, you wave a polite thank you to them. There is no hurry, and that bothers the fast paced city folk. But, this is the way we roll here in small town America.
But, I think the part I like the best about my Mayberry like world is that we all root for the same team, the home team. You live in a town of around about 10,000 people, and you play high school ball, then you have around about 10,000 fans. Easy. Just like that. Win or lose. Around about 10,000 fans. And, that is the way it works in small town America, and it is truly beautiful. You don't go to games just because the team is winning. You go to games because that is what you do. You support your team. Old and young, rich and poor, you go, and you sit in the bleachers, and you root for the home team. You just do. And, if you happen to be a particularly good high school athlete, then you become a celebrity. And, every little boy in town looks up to you, (I know this first hand because my little boys get starry eyed when we pass a football or basketball player at the grocery!), and all the old men know your name and your stats. You become a small town hero.
If Norman Rockwell was still painting, no doubt he'd enjoy painting our town's high school basketball team. The lanky, tall Kenny Paul, and the fiesty guard Tre. But, even more than that he'd paint our coach, our neighbor, Michael. Michael has studied John Wooden, his mentor, for years. He has met him, even attended church with him. And, as I told Michael last Thursday night after he became a 3A state championship coach, "Wooden would be proud." And, I know he would.
Earlier this year Michael took his team to the trophy case and showed them the state championship trophy last won by our town's team back in the 1960's. One of the players reached for the gold ball, touched it. And, Michael stopped him, saying, "Hey, boy, that's not your ball. You have to earn yours."
Little did Michael know, he would.
We were the underdogs. We weren't expected to win. Our school is at the small end of 3A, and theirs is at the big end. They have experience and maturity. We have one senior in our starting lineup. One. But, we wanted it. Badly. And, we wouldn't quit. We held strong, kept up. In the first half, trailing by anywhere from 1 to 10 points, we stayed with them ~ wouldn't let them run away with it. Then, at half time something shifted. Michael said he told the boys to look at the trophy on their way back into the gym. The trophy looked just like the one he had shown them earlier in the year ~ except this one was different ~ this one was shiny and new ~ this one could be their own. They were minutes away from being given the privilege of bringing it home ~ these small town boys, these dreamers who believed in themselves, in their coach, and in the community who came out in droves to support them.
At half-time they interviewed the Superintendent of our school. He is special to us, very much loved and admired by our entire community, my husband counts him a close friend. When the TV reporter mentioned the huge crowd our town drew to the game yesterday, he said in his slow, good old boy, southern manner, "Well... It'd be a good day to rob a bank in our town. I think pretty much everybody is here." The newspaper estimated 2,000 blue and gold fans traveled four hours to cheer for their home team. And, the rest of the fans, those who stayed behind to see patients and take care of business. Well, they had their radios and TV's on. And, no doubt, half their brain was focused on the game and the other half was focused on the work at hand. My husband and Sean were running in and out of patient rooms to the break room to watch their Devils play on TV. Even Deana B dropped her sweet girl off at dance class, then sped quickly to Sean and Erik's office to watch the end of the game in the break room. The community nearly shut down for an hour and a half this past Thursday afternoon.
So, they came out in the second half, ready to play, ready to win. It was obvious that they. wanted. it. And, the tide turned and most of the second half it was the other team, the big school, the predicted winners, the more experienced, more mature team who trailed. And, in the end, our Devils did it! They pulled off the win. I think the other team was a bit shocked. Our community had a fun little kick in our step that evening. People I didn't know stopped me on my way in Wal-Mart saying things like, "They made us proud, ehh?" Town pride. And, I, yes, I was in Wal-Mart buying streamers and posters to decorate our coach's home. I wasn't the only one who thought of this. I was joined by a few others. And, when our neighbors got in late last night tiki torches lit their driveway, streamers covered their bushes, trees, mailboxes, and posters were scattered here and there. We love our coach because he does so much more than coach basketball. In the way of his mentor, he coaches young men to have character. He coaches them in the game of basketball, but more importantly he coaches them in the game of life.
Erik went to the high school around 10-10:30 Thursday night along with a huge crowd to welcome the boys home. When Erik got in, I asked him about the evening. I asked who was there. His answer: "The better question would be who wasn't there." And, he listed a family or two that wasn't represented. He told me how proud he was of Michael. In his speech to the community that awaited him, he told them of a poem that he read to the boys on the team earlier. It spoke of how any praise or glory that they received from this, they would turn right around and offer back to God. In small town schools in the deep south, God is still allowed, invited, and from time to time even glorified. And, around midnight the owner of the local Pizza Inn, kept his staff late and fed the team as he has done many other times throughout the season.
Then, Friday morning as Michael drove to school, he stopped by our house. Erik and I walked out to his truck. Guess what was sitting in his passenger seat? The trophy. He handed it to Erik who smiled like a school boy and admired the golden ball ~ so proud of his friend. They discussed the game. They discussed the blessing it was that neither of their wives went into labor during the game. Michael said at one point he turned around and saw Shawna standing in her chair yelling (30 weeks pregnant). Shawna loves these boys. She has them in her home, feeds them, and she was one of the first in line to hug them when the game was over. Michael said he didn't sleep a whole lot Thursday night~ said he could sleep when he died. This was just too good, too good to sleep through, and I loved it for him.
Our town will float on this cloud for the next month or so. It's a special thing, and I am so glad that we got to be a small part of it. No doubt, across our small town, preachers will weave the championship game into their sermons this Sunday. I know my basketball loving pastor will! It will be mentioned. It will be celebrated. Things like this are a really BIG deal in a really small town.
Here are some pictures from our day. . .
The boys during the final seconds of the game. . .
The boys singing "Hey, Hey, Baby. . ." at the top of their lungs after the game was over. . .
Michael and Shawna's front door. . .
I put this where Michael parks. . .
I never got a picture after Lane lit the tiki torches, but we had so much fun fixing the place up for our friends!
I'm not sure whether it is the lack of sleep, or the fact that I'm getting so large that I can't get around very easily anymore, or maybe it is that I have caught myself in the same old trap of worrying about the same old worries. Maybe it is that I feel like I haven't talked to Erik in over a week ~ just passing each other in our busyness, and he is my steady, my balance. I need him. Or, maybe, just maybe it is that I have been eating too much sugar! That always makes me feel all yucky! Or, maybe it is all the things that I know I need to be doing but feel paralyzed to be able to get to them!!
Whatever it is, I've got the blahs.
And, I know the cure for them, but I'm feeling a bit weak at present!
The cure. . .
Rejoice in the Lord, always, I will say it again. . . Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all (especially those closest to you). The Lord is near. (He is close, whispering in my ear, leaning over my shoulder, walking hand in hand with me throughout my day. The gentleness should be a byproduct of his ever present presence, right?) Do not be anxious about anything (not money, not chaos, not the fact that you. are. not. perfect., not your children's education, nor the fact that your children are. not. perfect.) but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving (counting the gifts, the amazing immeasurable, simple, full of life, gifts) present your requests to God (lay them at His feet and leave them there). And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (the guard that keeps the peace in and keeps the blahs out!).
Lord, fill me with the energy and perseverance to seek Your face!!!
You are good...
Sweet boys immersed in movie...
Butter beans boiling...
Little boy feeling so much better, playing one handed basketball...
Mr. Cole's beautiful daffodils smiling at me...
Springy warm weather and sunshine on strawberry blond heads...
Snotty, slobbery wet two year old kisses...
A body able to cook, clean, straighten, launder, teach, hold, and work the home...
A God Who meets me where I am and loves me even here in my selfishness and pride...
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.