Thursday, November 29, 2007

No Wonder Rain Loves Them. . .

This is JCT feeding Rain part of his dinner. . .

Happy Seven Months, my sweet. . .

Oh, I do love you, my baby! You are a joy to my soul! You have managed to accomplish three major baby milestones this month!!

#1 You have teeth!!! How cute is your little smile now with those darling little toothers bottom center!!
#2 You are sitting up - and with marvelously wonderful posture I might add!
#3 You are crawling!! I didn't realize how fast you have gotten until last night. I was trying to put your big brothers to bed while you played on the floor in their room. I was attempting to hold, rock, and sing to JCT when I noticed you making haste toward the light in the hall - and the steps are just around the corner. So, I kept having to put JCT down and chase after you!! Your big brothers found this quite humorous.
I love you, my little man! I adore your plump cheeks. I could kiss them all day long!! I'm thankful for another month to hold and love on you! Keep growing and smiling! May nothing steal the joy that fills your precious heart!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fish, Flying, and Family

We traded fall leaves for palm trees and headed to central Florida for Thanksgiving. Erik's family lives there, and so we flew down for a fun little mini vacation.

Doesn't that sound so sweet and simple. . . "and so we flew down there for a fun little mini vacation. . ." As anyone who has flown with more than two children can tell you, it isn't simple. But, it is good - once you exit the plane that is.

Let me begin by saying that it hit me several hours before we had to leave that there are two fish in two bowls sitting on my kitchen counter. And, I felt sure that they wouldn't be able to fend for themselves while we were gone, so I had to get a sitter. Who better than the boy's trusty sitter?? Sweet Andrea, who slept at our house the night Elijah was born, agreed to keep our fish for us. I thought that this would be simple. Erik would hold one bowl, I would hold the other, and we would drive to Andrea's house to drop them off - along with all necessary fish care items and a detailed instruction list entitled "All you need to know about our fish."

Let me begin by saying Erik was not in agreement with me about all this. He thought that we should leave and let die - if you know what I mean. Imagine. Umm. No thanks, honey, how would we explain that one to the kids? After a short discussion, we decided to drop the fish by Andrea's on the way to the airport. Erik assured me that this was not a good idea, that it would be a mess, we would get wet, and that we should just give Andrea a key. And, make her come over to our home twice a day to feed our fish. Maybe for a dog, but not fish. I mean, really Erik, how hard can it be to drop off the fish?

It started out fine. We made it out of the driveway. He held Zack the tank killer with one hand and drove with the other, and I held Dora with both of my hands.

But, as soon as we turned onto the road. . . HUGE SPLASH in my lap. We both heard it. We both saw it. Erik just shook his head, and very sarcastically said, "You should really listen to your husband. Sometimes he knows what he is talking about." We dropped off the $3 fish along with $20 for Andrea, you know, for all the laborious work of watching our fish. What is wrong with that last sentence?

Anyway, we then headed to the airport, fish water wet pants and all.

Oh, have I ever mentioned on this blog that I hate to fly? Well, I do. I hate it, abhor it. I have flown for as long as I can remember. I have flown to Israel and back, to Honduras, and every other week to see Erik when we were dating. . . But, once I was flying home from visiting Erik and there was a little thunderstorm, and I have never been the same. Terrifies me. But, I have to be strong, to act like it is fun, you know, for the kids and all.

So, there I sat in row 18 with Joshua on one side and JCT on the other and Elijah in my lap. Oh, Erik? Yes, he was there. . . across the aisle sitting next to a sweet, quiet old lady.

No one ever said that life would be fair.

Let's just say that I clutched Elijah like a scared child clutches his teddy bear. Elijah was my security blanket. I held him and intermittently kissed his head for comfort. I tried to focus on the boys, but I am seriously near panic attack until the plane begins descending. And, the closer we get to the ground the more my body begins to relax. I hate to fly, every single second of it. So, if I ever fly to see you, know that you are loved, deeply. I wouldn't go through that for just anybody.

Oh, and I learned a neat trick. Don't freak if your two year old son drops, oh let's just say for the sake of example, 4 trucks on the floor of the plane. And, let's just say that you are holding a sleeping baby, so you can't reach under your seat to get them. No worries! When you land they'll just roll right back to you. Easy as pie. Thanks, Mr. Pilot.

Seriously, I don't like flying. I always check out my pilot upon entering the plane. Does he look experienced? Is he old or young? I prefer middle aged pilots - not to old, not to young. Seasoned. I always analyze their voice on intercom. Do they sound like their hiding information? Like maybe the plane is quickly running out of fuel or another plane is rapidly approaching or there is an engine failing, mechanical failure, a bomb threat, a thunderstorm approaching, a hurricane, or maybe the co-pilot is talking because the main pilot is having a heart attack right there in the cockpit!!!

And, not just the pilot, I analyze the stewardesses too. Yes, I do. Do they look worried? Do they look like they are hiding information, putting on a happy face - but underneath their smile is the knowledge that the plane is threatened, our very lives are in grave danger. . .

Oh, and I also analyze the sounds of the plane. The pilots really throw me into a tizzy when they shift gears. I even involuntarily grabbed Joshua's hand on the way there as we were ascending. He didn't know that it was because I was scared half to death. He just thought I was loving on him. He looked up and smiled at me, and through gritted teeth, I smiled sweetly back at him.

And, you don't even want to hear about turbulence. . . I won't even go there. . .

And, I always scan the plane for possible terrorists or just plain crazy people who might do something desperate. My husband would argue that I am the only crazy person on the plane. It tickles him. He even rates my performances. How well did I hide my fears on this trip? He gave me a 7. And, I am proud of my 7.

Now the trip itself was wonderful. Jen and I had a wonderful time!! She was like fresh, clean water for my thirsty soul. God is so good to use our sweet friends and sister-in-loves to refresh us!! All the children had a blast! Oh, and at Thanksgiving dinner, the children went around the table telling what they are thankful for. . . Joshua said his bunk bed. The others said, family, mommy, etc. But, JCT, oh, my darling JCT, would you like to know what he said?

With a grumpy, pouty face, he declared, "I'M NOT THANKFUL FOR ANYTHING!!!!"

And, so that was that.

Joshua who is known to cry when we leave family. Was crying the last day that we were in Florida. Jen, who loves my Joshua so tenderly, came and put her arm around him. She assured him that we would all see each other again soon, that all would be okay. She told him that she was sad, too, and that she didn't like to say goodbye either. After talking sweetly to him for several minutes, he looked up at her with tear-filled eyes and said, "I can't find my shoes." She asked if that was why he was crying, and he said, "Yes." Laughing to herself, she agreed to help him find his shoes. . .

When we entered the airport in Florida, it was sunny and 80 degrees. When we exited the plane later that evening, it was 40 degrees and raining. As I stepped off the plane, the cool fall air surrounded me like a soft sweet welcoming home. All in all it was a wonderful trip.

And, I had a great idea when I picked up Zack and Dora yesterday. Why not put them in cups to transport them! Sheer brilliance. . . only a bit late.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sumo of the Superyard XT

Had I known when I bought the "Superyard XT" that my precious sons would turn it into a fighting ring, I certainly would not have purchased it.

It was all quite innocent I assure you. Elijah is beginning to crawl a bit more quickly. And, since our floors are concrete, I thought it wise to buy something that would contain him on the rug. My hope was to save him from injury. Little did I know that one of my other children might become injured due to this new "toy."

Once again I would like to thank the creative minds at Big Idea (Veggietales) for planting this idea in my son's heads. Sumo of the Opera is one of their favorite movies, and it was the inspiration for their "ring." They took their shirts off, stood in opposite corners, puffed their tummies out as big as they could, and then ran at eachother. I think you can imagine what happened next. . .

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Our Sunday School Assignment

As part of a Sunday School assignment, Erik and I are supposed to make a list of things for which we are thankful. The tricky part is that we were asked to think "outside the box," i.e. not listing the obvious - family, etc. Because I have trouble seeing past the 4 darling men that I love so much, I have procrastinated on this assignment. But, I no longer have time to procrastinate, so here goes. . .

1.) I am thankful for a warm home on a cold day. The other day the boys and I played outside until our fingers and noses were red and sore. After much convincing and corralling, I herded the big boys toward the back door all the while holding sweet, warm, 'Lijah in my arms. When we got to the back door, I made them stand out in the cold a little longer as I looked at them. Red noses, rosy cheeks, coats, hats, and icicles for fingers, they stood impatiently waiting for me to open the door. I was overwhelmed by the blessing of the moment. And, I said, "Boys, I want you all to experience one of Mama's favorite things. . . Are you ready? Okay, when I open the door, I want you to walk inside and notice the warmth of our home in contrast to the cold you feel now." So, slowly I opened the door and guided them inside. The blessing of a warm home filled our cold bodies, bringing life and feeling back to our fingers and toes. Now, I am certain that they didn't comprehend the blessing in all of this, but I did. And, I do nearly every time I enter our sweet warm haven on a cold day. There is no place like home, at least not on this side of heaven.

2.) This one probably should have come first - oops! I am thankful for a relational God - for a God who doesn't simply look down on me from heaven above. But, rather I am thankful for a God Who walks with me - each moment of each day. I am thankful that He sits with me on the steps of our staircase while I put my face in my hands and cry out to Him for wisdom on dealing with an unruly toddler or an inconsolable baby. I am thankful for the wisdom He imparts to me in the necessary moment when I am disciplining a child or explaining a deep spiritual truth to a four year-old mind. And, I am unbelievably thankful that love covers a multitude of sins. Because after a long day of losing my temper repeatedly, being overly selfish with my time, and complaining way too much, my boys somehow, unbeknownst to me, know without a doubt, without a question, that they are loved and loved deeply.

3.) I am thankful for the small things, the simple things that take place everyday. Things like the sound of my boy's laughter and my baby cooing, a good morning kiss from my sweet husband, the smell of a hearty meal cooking in the oven, a sunset, a sunrise, the smell of coffee brewing first thing in the morning, a hot shower, the feel of Joshua's sweet hand in mine, JCT's kisses through the crib rails, Elijah's fuzzy head nuzzled under my chin, the sound of my mom's voice on the phone, good health, the way I feel after a good run, and a million other things that I consistently take for granted.

4.) I am thankful that my boys have a godly, and handsome, Daddy to look up to as they grow. Erik models selflessness and walking with God breath by breath for our boys. He attempts to show them through everyday life that Christianity is not about rules and is not simply a religion passed from generation to generation, but rather that it is a living, breathing, moment by moment relationship with the loving God that created them. And, he is modeling for them that a life of following hard after Christ is a wild adventure, never stale, never boring. He shows them God's grace daily as he disciplines them. I'm not sure my boys will ever know how very blessed they are to follow in their Daddy's footsteps.

5.) And, last but certainly not least, I am thankful for a man named Biff who lives in Jacksonville, Arkansas. He works hard day after day to make the coffee that has given me reason to rise from the comfort of my bed morning after morning for the past 10 years. Bifferdoodle Decaf. is the sole reason that I am a self-proclaimed morning person.

Now for Erik's list. He has the gift of brevity unlike his wife. Last night, we discussed our lists, and his list was simple and to the point.

1.) He is thankful that he gets to work with his best friend.
2.) He is thankful for Endorphins
3.) And, lastly, he is thankful for Special K with Strawberries.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Autumn Morning

And, even when the trees
have just surrendered
to the harvest-time. . .
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
and sending us inside. . .

Still, I notice You when change begins. . .

And, I am braced for cooler winds. . .

I will offer thanks for what has been

and whats to come. . .

You are Autumn. . .

-Nichole Nordeman

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Little Chef

Sunday did not end after Elijah's baby dedication service. The attention shifted from my sweet baby to my darling big boy, Joshua. Sunday night was the children's choirs annual Operation Christmas Child Musical. And, Joshua had the starring role of a shepherd - or as John Charles calls them - chefs. He told his mom that the boys were chefs and the girls were angels. . .
Anyhoo, I thought it very brave of the choir director to let the youngest class of choir members do the manger scene. And, a scene it was. . .
Asa, also a shepherd, made a bazillion different crazy faces and played with the manger straw. That was okay, but then be began hitting "baby Jesus." This upset Macey (who played Mary), so she yelled, "Leave my baby alone!!!" at Asa. And, thus you have the 4&5 year-olds reenacting the nativity alone on stage. Joshua just hid behind the other shepherds and giggled. He never partakes in the antics of his friends (or his brother), but he sure is entertained by them!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Baby Dedication Sunday

This is what the day should have been about. . .

My Sweet, sweet 'Lijah. . .
But, he had some competition.
And, this is a more accurate picture of what the day was about. . .

Yesterday was Elijah's baby dedication. And, to make a very long story short, it was a crazy day, insanely. JCT woke up at 5:00 a.m. And, there was no returning to sleep. . . Erik is training for a half-marathon, and he had to do a 9 mile run before church. This meant the bulk of the getting everyone ready, etc. was on me. Let's just say that I got everyone else ready and out the door on time, but Elijah and I were the ones running late. Church starts at 11:00. I pulled into the church parking lot at 11:01, and Elijah was not yet fully dressed. I met Erik and the big boys in the foyer with a few minutes to spare - before we had to walk down the aisle.

Baby dedication always makes me a little nervous. But, this time I was really nervous. Joshua has always been dependable and for the most part predictable - even when he was 2 years old and we dedicated JCT. But, JCT is for the most part neither dependable or predictable, thus my stomach was in knots. I made Erik hold JCT, I held sweet 'Lijah, and Joshua walked alongside us.

JCT wanted to smell the altar flowers, he wanted to touch them, he reached for them, he wanted down, he sat on the step, he found the electrical outlet on stage, and he attempted to electrocute himself during the dedication prayer.

Needless to say, it was an uneventful dedication. We all, with the exception of JCT, smiled and acted like this was all wonderful and good. Only those of us closest to Erik could see the beads of sweat on his brow. I think we put up a good front, at least that is what I am telling myself. . .

Here he is in all his toddler glory. . . The will is surging. I am accepting prayers from all willing to offer them. . .

These pictures were taken by Deana B, our official family photographer. We attempted to take one of our entire family, you know, to remember the special day and all. Let's just say the big boys didn't really want to cooperate. . .

Craziness. I guess this picture is an appropriate representation of the special day.

Me and my baby. . .

Sometimes I sit on the front porch and hold Elijah in my arms. We stare at each other and laugh and play - sweet and quiet. Then, I look up and see the two crazy boys running wild in the front yard. First, I think to myself, "Look 'Lijah. They are so wild and crazy, but not us. We are calm, quiet, and sweet." But, then, quickly, I remind myself that it won't be too long before he leaves the peace of my arms and joins his older brothers in the craziness that is being of the little boy breed.

Oh, sad day.

No, I don't mean that. I will just make a glass of lemonade, sit back, smile, and watch them chase and tackle. And, I will tip my lemonade glass to them and toast the joys of raising little men.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bad mood, Good Day - Part 2

I think it was around 4:00 pm yesterday that I posted the post previous to this one. After I finished the post, JCT woke up and I took all 3 boys outside to play. Do you remember that I said something like this. . . "and the day isn't even over yet. . ."

Well, it wasn't.

I bundled the boys up and took them down to the swing set. As I was settling this cute, cozy little one into the baby swing, I heard my oldest son squeal with delight.

And, if you have sons, then you know that squealing with delight is often a bad sign. I looked up to see Joshua smiling and laughing at the bottom of the slide. He looked at me and in between hysterical laughter he let me in on the "fun." It seems JCT thought that it would be a good idea to stand at the top of the slide and tinkle down the slide. I walked over to the slide. There stood JCT smiling proudly at the top of the slide and a stream of urine making its way down the slide. I didn't think it was funny. Call me a prude, but I was quite disgusted by the whole thing. And, since the swing set is too far from the house to hose the slide down, I announced that the slide was not to be used until we have a good hard rain.
The day before JCT went tee tee in the garage. I was unloading the van, and when I came back out to get another armful of bags, I saw him. He was standing beside the car, pants at his ankles, and a little puddle in front of his feet.
So, in a twenty-four hour period the child has gone tee tee in my car, down the slide, and in the garage. What next, I ask you?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bad mood, Good day

I've been in a bad mood today.

Elijah woke me up at 5 a.m. crying to be fed, and it wasn't long after I settled him back in bed that I heard JCT crying upstairs. This time change has literally changed my life. Now my boys are waking up in the 5 o'clock hour and not the 6 o'clock hour. Ugh.

So, reluctantly I climbed the steps and opened the boys bedroom door. I was greeted by two smiling, happy boys. Their energy and enthusiasm soared. I vaguely remember statements like. . .

"Mommy, can we draw?"

"I want my milk!"

"I want to wear my pirate shirt today."

"Do I have to go to school today?"

"Can we go outside?"

And, so the day began. By 6 a.m. I announced to my husband that today was going to be a "bad day." And, when I decide that, it is pretty much set in stone at that point. You know, since I am Mama and all, and I set the tone for the home.

A few hours later Deana called to tell me that she has shingles. Enough said.

After that, I ran errands and went to pick up Joshua at school. Elijah cried so hard in the pick-up line outside Joshua's preschool that I took him out of his car seat and nursed him. While I was nursing him, JCT announced from the backseat that he needed to "tee tee." I climbed into the back of the van, holding Elijah, and helped JCT out of his car seat. Then, looking around for options, I decided the best thing to do was to put a diaper between his legs and let him tee tee in it. This went horribly wrong, and he ended getting tee tee on his shirt, his underwear, his pants, his shoes, and the floor of the van. Why, I ask, why?

Then, after Joshua got in the car and we drove home, Elijah began crying again. Did I say crying? I mean screaming. The kind of crying that unravels every nerve in your body and makes your hair stand on end. Shortly after we got home, I noticed that Elijah's right eye was pink. It appears he burst a blood vessel. I guess that is what happens when you scream unrelentingly for extended periods of time.

During the little boys' nap time, Joshua attempted to eat Lick'n stix for the first time. Needless to say, my table and floors were covered in green sugar. And, his teeth, tongue, and lips turned a lovely shade of green, as well.

It has been a day, and the scary thing is that it isn't over yet.

Life is never boring. It is constantly busy, always interesting.

So, I am reminding myself today that life is good. Really, it is.

Now, I am sipping coffee and listening to "What Can I Do" by Paul Baloche. Perspective. It is all about perspective.

Dear Lord, give me the right perspective, Your perspective. Oh, and a good sense of humor, too, Lord.

I'm Not Sure It Was Salvation, But It Sure Was Cute!

A few nights ago I was reading to the big boys from the Jesus Storybook Bible. The story for that particular night was about when the Holy Spirit came like tongues of fire on the disciples in Jerusalem. The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the story like this. . .

"Suddenly, a stong wind filled the little room, whistling through the walls, rustling the straw on the floor. And there - on everyone's heads, shining in the gloom - were flickering flames. Fire that didn't hurt or burn.

And, something more: inside, in their hearts, they felt a strange heat, almost as if all the coldness and hardness were melting away. As if their broken hearts were mending. And God was giving them brand new hearts - hearts that could work properly.

How it happened they didn't know, but they knew God's power had struck their heart's ablaze - and Jesus Himself was coming to live inside of them."

Joshua perked up at that last sentence and said, "Jesus, lives inside of my heart!"

"Does He, Baby? Have you asked Him to come and live inside of you and be your Lord?"

Joshua looked up and in the sweetest little voice he said, "Jesus, will you come and live inside of me?"

We talked for a few minutes about sin and forgiveness and living our lives for the Lord - not for ourselves. I ended by saying, "If you ask Jesus to live inside of you and you really, really mean it then, He will do it."

Joshua, once again looking up, talking to God, said, "I really mean it!"

And, his mama's heart smiled.

May His desire always be for You, Lord.
And, may Your hand be always upon him.
My photo
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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