Giving Thanks (inspired by)

Thanks be to God, Father, Son and Spirit, for the abundance of good things he pours on His children.
We are but few, but His blessings are many.

Monday, February 28, 2011

They're so different!`

Of course they are all different, but every now and then you have an experience that really drives the point home.

For example, during dinner tonight we noticed the sunset, surrounded by beautiful pink clouds resting over the treeline.

Aggie cheerfully points out the window, "Look mommy! It's a shooting star!"

Marcus smirks and points at the clouds too, yelling, "Look mommy! It's a shooting gun!"

Sunday, February 27, 2011

gratuitous cuteness

Indulging in a display of random pictures and tidbits of cuteness from the past month, mostly for the sake of the grandparents, of course.

The boys were forced to sleep in princess beds when Lorraine had her sleepover. Apparently they can be comfortable even surrounded by pretty things.

Marcus relaxing after a hard day on the court.

my blue eyed baby bear

When I was gushing over my mini-date for the Auction last night, the other boys wanted in the picture. Yes, Seth and Eldon, I think you are handsome too!

A good place for Peter to sit, even when he is not in the bathtub!

Eldon is pretty high-maintenance, especially when he is sick!
Here he is enjoying a movie and a snack, resting comfortably the only way he can- with his soft "dog dog" pillow pet arranged under him just so, and of course, covered with his smelly old blankie.

My girlie kitchen buddies! Lorraine is learning how to cook and Aggie will help if she has to, but still mostly just looks forward to that delicious moment when I finally say, "OK girls, you can lick the spoons!"

Naptime the other day was a "divide and conquer" kind of a day, and we were short a bedroom, so Petie slept here on the floor.

And just for fun, blowing kisses...

And practicing animal noises...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Better than chocolate?

Aggie came home from school last week with two small pieces of candy. She was BURSTING to tell me about them and could not WAIT to share them with each one of her siblings.

After dinner, she made certain the candy was divided fairly. The tiny kitkat she wanted cut on thirds, one piece for each of the boys. She and Lorraine split the peanut butter cup in two.

Wow, I thought. Had that been me, I would have eaten all the chocolate myself, immediately, and secretly.

Her joy is not in the food itself, and she is no slave to even her most favorite treats. Her delight is in having something to give, and she does it freely and cheerfully.

God loves this cheerful giver, and I do too!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

To Lorraine, on her eighth birthday

When did you grow up? I look at you and all of a sudden I see a young woman!

You are still girly as girly can be! One afternoon you girls came into my room in fancy headbands with stuff on their lips and smelling "very pretty." "Mommy, we had 'spray time.' " you said, explaining how much you like the gifts you received from your Aunt Amy. Funny how a girl who has never seen her mother have any kind of a "primping session" seems to intuitively know what one is and how to do it! I have to admit you make me want to try to be a girl sometimes, which is why I set the table for your birthday meal like this:

What is ironic about this, is your requested birthday dinner. CHEESEBURGERS and TATER TOTS with lots and lots of catsup! Preceeded by Resees dessert, and followed by milkshakes!

You have become a fantastic babysitter. Marcus is still your little buddy, but time spent with him is no longer tickling and wrestling but playing or even reading together. You adore Eldon and love entertaining him. He actually calls you "mama" sometimes! You buckle Eldon and Marcus in the van for me, and you sometimes even get Eldon dressed! To be sure, that is a workout for both of you, but it usually gets done in under a half hour!

It has been a challenge to get you to say "no" to Eldon when he is too demanding or screaming to get when he wants (often!) I say, "Honey, it's ok to walk away from him when he acts like that. You have to tell him NO sometimes!" You sigh in frustration and insist, "But mommy, he's just too cute!"

You fell in love with baby Peter when he arrived this fall. You walk around the house with baby Peter on your hip, knowing just what to do to keep him happy.

You, Aggie, and I had our first taste of Camp Lakeview last summer. You both absolutely loved it, and you are looking forward to going without your mommy and with your friends for the first time this summer. I will never forget that Sunday morning when I let you go swimming before church. Afterwards, you and Aggie kept on begging for "just five more minutes" in the warm showers. I left you there to get your clothes for you, and when I returned you were both singing in the showers at the top of your lungs! For some reason, you deny this, but I know it was not Aggie that started that Hannah Montana song!

This year you got an apron from your Aunt Jeannie for Christmas, and ever since then you have been working hard to learn how to cook and bake. You can do pancakes with no help, and also know how to make burgers and muffins. Sometimes you even serve cereal to the kids on weekends so your mom and dad can sleep in!

You are growing up so quickly! I sometimes see glimpses of what you will be like as a teenager, and even (Lord-willing) as a mommy! I can no longer leave my IPOD unsupervised when you are around. You know what a text is, you love talking on the phone, and you even email your grandmothers now and then! But then I recall New Years Eve, when you and friends got carried away with noisemakers at Aunt Mary Anne's house, and thought the kissing you saw on TV in Times Square was totally GROSS! I am glad we still have some childhood left to enjoy together.

May God continue to grow your faith towards Him and your love for others as you blossom into a little woman!

Happy eighth birthday, young lady!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

something to dance about

Funny thing....

If mommy actually eats healthy foods, then kids who habitually mooch food from mommy may find themselves begging for something that is good for them!

Eldon did a happy dance over bran flakes today!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What you don't see: the normal dinner conversation-

"Honey, put your plate back on the table." "Eldon, don't put your food in your hair!" "Stop touching your sister!" "Eat your food!" "Careful with your drink- OH! Get a towel, quick!" "OK, enough jokes now, eat your food!" "Do you want me to eat your cupcake for you? Then eat your food!" "Eat your food Eat your food eatyourfood EATYOURFOOD!"

And there is a close up Eldon with something red on his lip. No, that is actually not an injury this time. It is Aggie's nailpolish. He walked into her wet hand, or her hand flapped into his face, or something.

Here's hoping they only remember the pretty stuff!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines day dinner prep!

Today I am getting ready for our traditional family valentines dinner. This year, Daddy is going to let the older boys "help" him prepare the fancy dinner for the princesses of the house!

I love looking at pictures from Last year, and the year before. Our days are numbered for this kind of valentines day, but we will enjoy it while it lasts!

God, thank you for these dear children! As we celebrate Valentines day with them today, we ask Your blessing on them! If it is Your will for them to marry someday, we pray that you would provide for each of them a spouse who blesses them, who will join with them to create a home that springs out of Your love and is filled with it. Thank you for these Valentines days before dating, when relationships are simple, when they are glad to celebrate with just their family. Let the girls always remember that love is like what they received from their daddy when then were little. Let our imperfect example point the boys and the girls toward You, the giver of Life and Love, as we see in Jesus. Amen.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A recent controversy

I was coerced into watching a bit of Tom and Jerry with the kids the other day. So as I sat there I made a comment, "Look Eldie, Jerry is hiding in the cheese!"

Eyes rolling, Seth sets me straight. "That's not cheese, Mommy, it's a SpongeBob. Rainy said so."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Working hard to be cute

If I am cute enough this morning, mommy might forget that I was such a stinker last night.
Is it working mom?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This is how we know

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. 1 John 3:16

Inner contortions not necessary!

Listen here

It is less than a minute long, and you will be encouraged.

Oh, the cleverness of Marcus!

Marcus waited in the bathroom for me to come give him a talking-to. When I walked in he said humbly, "Mommy, I already spanked me!"

"When I grow up I want to be a worker man. And when this [hammer] grows up it can be my new hammer."

After an exuberant Marcus roar, I touch his arm and say sternly, "Marcus, be quiet! Peter is sleeping right there on the couch!"
Marcus runs over to Peter and pries open his eyelids, yelling, "Look mommy he's not sleeping now!"

As we are getting ready for church I see a naked Marcus streak down the hallway for the third time. "I told you to get dressed, did you obey?"
Standing in front of me without a stitch of clothing on his little body, sticking his stomach out proudly, naked Marcus looks me right in the eye and says "Yes I obeyed! I am dressed!"
Thinking back, I wonder if he would have carried on with his lie when I told him it was time to go to church... Maybe I should try that next time. (You have been warned.)

As I am helping him with his PJ shirt, I say, "Marcus please pick up your dirty clothes and put them where they belong." He replies, "Mommy, you got them out, you get to put them away."

This morning,
"Marcus! Is it kind to pee on your brother in the bathtub?!"
Eyes dancing, huge smile, Marcus says, "No!"

Lord have mercy!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Budding friendship

We sit together.

We bounce together.

We sulk together.

(Eldon was the one in trouble. I guess Enola thought he needed some company! )

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Weak and Loved Part 1

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

When I worked at the crisis pregnancy center, I was in charge of interviewing volunteers. One of the questions that was on the application was, "What are your faults?"

By far the most common answer, and likely the one I said as well, was something like this:
"I am a workaholic... and a bit of a perfectionist."

Yes, I was at home among those high-achieving do-gooders in my college community. I shared that "fault" of doing too much and expecting too much of myself.

I might have really believed that perfectionism was a problem (if not exactly a fault,) in part, because it made me weirdly different from many other people, because my inability to relax was annoying to calmer (lazier) people, and because I knew sometimes I took my "to-do" list a little too seriously.

A quirk, an irritation to some, but also a mark of strength, I secretly believed. It is good to be dependable, hard-working, and extremely motivated. It is good to be a person who can take care of herself and everyone around her. Right?

Of course it is good to be the caregiver... that is, if you actually have care to give.
What happens when you find yourself empty?
What happens when you find yourself at the mercy of sickness, or depression, or suffering, and you realize that you are made of flesh? When you discover, to your dismay, that you are not a machine?

Ok and understandable in other people, but not in me!
And yet, there it is, in me, and my own willpower does not make it go away.

But I find God is teaching me many things through weakness, things I cannot hear when I plow through life like a machine.

He is a God who cares for the weak.
Even when I am weak, I am loved.
And perhaps, that is more important than what I get done today.