As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him--you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2: 4-5

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Things that make me happy today

1. I found my camera! (but just a few minutes ago, so not a whole lot of picture taking going on today.

2. I finally, after 2 weeks of waiting, got the replacement belts for my vacuum cleaner. I have been without a vacuum cleaner for almost a month, forced to borrow my mother in law's every week. Four dogs with no vacuum cleaner is NO fun.
3. Upwards soccer. Love love love this program, and they extended the age limit up to 6th grade, so Maddy can play again. I love going to the games, and there's only one practice per week. Plus, at half-time, the kids get a message. Good, Christian coaches and Maddy loves it. I was actually missing going somewhere for the kids every week--we haven't since cheerleading and cross country have ended.

4. The possibility...however small it may be...of snow! I don't want to live in Michigan, I don't want days and days of it. I just want ONE snow day. Just one.

On the other hand...I'm spotting again. I know that on Wednesday, everything was fine with the baby, and that it probably still is. My midwife says not to worry--as it is light and only infrequently--and to try to cut back on what I am doing and not worry unless it gets worse or I start cramping. She says that with four kids and a full time job, that it's hard to not overdo it (which is true) and that at my age (ARRRGH!) it's normal. Plus something about a friable cervix. So I'm trying not to worry. But how do you manage to take it easy and take care of the little one inside of me, when the little ones (and not so little ones) outside need so much?

Friday, February 27, 2009


What a week.

Enough said.

Still can't find the camera, but have had tons of cute photo opportunities and funny little stories to go with them. Ironic, huh? When I find it, no one will do anything the least bit exciting.

My weary brain can't think of anything to say tonight other than, "Yawwwwnnn...I'm going to bed."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Well.....what do you know.....

We are having a baby! :)

We went today for our 12 week scan and the nuchal translucency test, and all looked perfect! It actually looked like a baby this time and we got some good pictures. seems real to me. Scary real, but real.

5 weeks until our "big" ultrasound! :)

"Mom, I'm throwing up and I have a 103.6 temperature"

Not something you really want to hear at 2:34 in the morning. But this is what I was awakened to. Josh has been sick with bronchitis for a few days, but had started taking antibiotic and this was the last thing I expected.

Now, one of the very favorite stories Josh loves to tell about me is about when the last time he had a stomach bug (years ago, by the way) he came to tell me he was throwing up in the middle of the night and I, in all of my sleepy glory, felt his head, patted him on the back and told him he would be ok and to go back to bed. Over the next few hours, he came down to our room several times, and each time I reacted the same way. Finally the poor boy took his comforter into the bathroom and fell asleep on the floor. He tells this to spotlight my "finer" mom moments (as well as the famed "hot dog incident" that will live in infamy within our family forever). In my defense, I have been known to have entire hour long conversations on the phone in my sleep and not remember it. Anyways, remembering this, I got up and took care of my baby boy until 4:00, when I sent him to bed with a barf bowl and only a 101 degree fever.

On my way back to bed, I hear great shrieks from Hannah's room. I mean, I was sure that she had thrown up. She was hysterical. When I went in there to check on her, I found a clean bed but one very little upset little girl with....drumroll please..."a runny nose." A runny nose? Are you kidding me? All of that because you have a runny nose? So I got her a "napkin" cuddled and snuggled her like a good mom, lay on her floor so she could go back to sleep. I got to bed about 4:30, only to awakened again at 5:00 by more screaming about a runny nose.

This time, since it was over the monitor, I felt completely justified in ignoring it (knowing that Daryl would ignore it and assume I would get her) and finally, he went to her. Yes!!! I had an hour before I had to get up. Two minutes later, Hannah is in our bed...ON MY SIDE...and Daryl has turned his back on us and gone to sleep.

So I'm tired. Really tired. Unbelievably tired. The "oh my gosh, won't this baby please sleep" tired of having a newborn. OH MY GOSH...I am going to have a newborn! I don't know if I'm ready for that again...ready or not, though, here it comes, HUH?

And it doesn't look like tonight will be any better...I deposited Hannah on the couch with an episode of Caillou and went to get dressed, and when I was coming back, she was drinking out of Josh's glass. Just great.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the 27th time I've lost my camera....

AGAIN. Argh. I know I had it last night, because I was trying to take a picture of Hannah in all of her snuggly sweetness as she snuggled up with me for story time--without getting my chins in the picture. I failed by the way, which is why the snuggly sweetness will have to wait. But I digress...

Yesterday? I woke up with my alarm, scrubbed my face with sugar scrub for that "fresh from the spa" feeling, dressed in my matching skirt and sweater with pantyhose AND heels. I engaged my children in conversation on the way to school, greeted each student at the door with a smile and a hug, and was an effective, fun, nice teacher. At home, I made dinner, played with Hannah, and enjoyed my family. And then stayed up to 11:00 because I was relaxed, refreshed, recharged, and not nauseous!

Today? Not so much. I woke up before my alarm because Daryl was rocking the bed in an attempt to get me to stop snoring (I tell is the only cure for this starts when I get pregnant and doesn't go away until all the water weight is gone) So feeling guilty, and sad, just a little ticked off (after all, he had gone to bed at 9), I threw on a pair of pants and a hide your butt sweater (because the butt...growing at a faster pace than the belly, unfortunately). The girls, sensing my mood, listened to their MP3 players the entire way to school. Let's just say that before 8:30, I had a child pee on the floor, two children fight under a desk over an eraser, and another lose a hearing aid. Four hours, two spilled water bottles, a six year old tantrum, and countless nose pickings later, it was Bible time.

Bible time is usually a peaceful time in our classroom. It is the one time during the day that I can count on having everyone's attention. Everyone listens, everyone participates, everyone enjoys. Today, though, they came to the "carpet" fighting and fussing and rolling on the floor. Before I could make it over there, the same two boys that were fighting over the eraser were fighting over who got to sit on the elephant. I gave them a long speech about preparing our hearts before we come for Bible time, about coming with an open, loving, and forgiving heart, and about being calm and quiet and listening to what God had to say to us. They all nodded in agreement, all earnest and sincere. We ended up having a great lesson about the ten lepers and the one who came back to say thank you. And then it hit me.

Had I prepared my heart this morning? Had I taken the time to be still and listen? Had I stopped this morning and thanked God for all of the blessings he has given me? Instead of perusing Facebook this morning, I should have spent the extra 45 minutes in His word. Instead of mourning my lost sleep, I should have been celebrating this quiet, uninterrupted time I could have with the Lord. It's days like this where I realize my dependence on Him, my own weaknesses, His unmatchless grace. It's days like this that I need to be thanking him...for days like this.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just another manic Monday...

I used to love that song by the Bangles, and I can usually find it on one of the "oldies" stations now and again. That describes our day to a T. Just go go go from the time we got up. Nothing interesting, nothing photo worthy (although I did try to get a cute picture of Hannah, who cried, "Stop taking my picture! Right now!"), nothing exciting.

A sick boy--who checked out, went to the dr. and then checked back in again (the power of first love). A tired husband with a stomach ache--who's gone to bed. Two teenagers who have nothing to do, but won't go to bed. And a chatty two year old who is still talking, despite being put in bed an hour ago("Hannah," "what?" "whatcha doin?" "I read books in my bed"--this conversation is going on between Hannah and ....herself).

And me...for the first time in as long as I can remember, I am not tired, not sick. I think I may have turned the corner!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Joshua!!!

This weekend has been all about Josh. Friday night was about getting him from the airport. Saturday, our plan was to go to Red Lobster to celebrate his birthday and then to circus. However, there was an hour wait at Red Lobster, even at 4:15, so we ate at Dwarf House instead. Then today is his real birthday and we celebrated at home. I can't believe my baby boy is 17 years old today. That sounds so much older than 16 for some reason, although I don't know why.

Here's Hannah coming out of the Dwarf House. She just loves the little door, and she was rarin' to go to the circus! I made her take a nap before we went, and from the moment she awoke, she thought we should go to the circus "right now!"Here's the gang in our seats...couldn't get Hannah to smile. I think she is tired of me following her around with a camera!
Daryl gave us all $20 to buy souvenirs...and here is his. So very very Daryl.
Out of all of us, I think Maddy enjoyed it the most. Between the sights, the sounds, and the food, she had a blast!
Here is Hannah with her beloved elephants. She didn't want a glowing sword or a light up swingy thing...she wanted these elephants, and has carried them around ever since.
Here's Josh on his actual birthday, blowing out his candles on his ice cream. He doesn't like cake, and so I just put letters and candles on the top of a carton of Moose Tracks. They all enjoyed Moose Tracks ice cream cones afterwards (I, being the diligent weight watcher that I am, had a 2 point Weight Watcher ice cream cup, thank you very much!)

And just a random picture of Josh opening his pictures. I just think he looks handsome.
I am missing my laptop right now. It had a wonderful program where I could fix all of the pictures. I feel like all of these pictures are blurry and far away! I must figure out how to do this on the desktop.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My baby is home!!!!!!

After an hour delay and what seemed like forever to get through customs, the Jamaica mission team--with Josh, of course--made it to us about 10:30 pm. It was so good to see him and to have our family back together!

We got to the airport at about 8:15. Their plane was supposed to land at 8:30 and I like to be there when he lands. As it turned out, his plane didn't land until we had some time to wait. Here's Sarah, Maddy, and Maranda waiting patiently.
Along the outside of the Atrium were all sorts of restaurants, and one featured a piano bar. Hannah loved this and spent a good deal of her time watching him play. He even played "Jesus Loves Me," "Mary Had a Little Lamb," and the theme from Sesame Street for her.
And here is my baby boy--who seems much more man than boy these days. He's weary and hungry, sunburned and with a broken toe, but what a wonderful sight!
Daryl and I were joking on the way to the airport...who would Josh call first when he got on the ground? Us or Maranda? Who would he hug first, his momma or Maranda? Well....Maranda left her phone in our car, so we are saying that he called us first (and if he didn't...we choose to be blissfully unaware!) As for the hug part, as soon as Maranda saw him, she leaped over the barricades, knocking over a security guard to get to him. So yeah,...she won that one :). I got a hug...the very last one, too, I must say. But I"ll take it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


After almost 3 years, she's figured it to get out of her crib! I put her down for a nap, and then headed down for a nap of my own. I listened to her babble and sing and "read" for a good 45 minutes and then everything went silent. Ahhh....asleep finally.

About that time, my bedroom door flies open and there stands Hannah, huge smile on her face, "I'm done Mommy! Time to wake up!"
I only hope that she decides to stay IN her bed tonight and doesn't wander down the steps in the dark.
Everywhere I have looked today, I have been bombarded with images and writings that have made me feel even worse about the undomestic goddess that I really am. Oprah today? All about decluttering your home, and how the state of your home is really all about the state of your life. Oh my goodness...I hope not, although somedays I feel like it. In my daily Google reader list, one of my favorite blogs, The Barefoot Mama, was all about how she loves to keep house. And she just happens to be one of the most genuine, honest, sweet, in love with Jesus, people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

And even though my house is as clean as it ever gets around here (except for the fact that the vacuum is broken and I have to borrow my mother in law's once a week) and my laundry is DONE every day, and even though I have cooked every day this week, I don't love it. I wish I did. I try to. I love having a clean house. I imagine when I walk into other people's houses that are clean and neat and beautifully matched without dog hair and without H's drawn on the back of their couches that their lives are so much simpler and calmer than mine. Hmmm...maybe there is something to the cluttered house=cluttered life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Saved at the last minute....

I thought I was going to have to forgo posting a picture today, as we have done NOTHING today besides watch TV, housework, read, play Wii, and nap. Then Hannah disappeared for a few minutes and came down looking like this:

It appears that Hannah went to see Sarah in her room and Sarah fixed her up a "costume." Brings back memories, as Sarah and Maddy, not too long ago, often entertained us with fashion shows.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's hard work being a big girl...

Hannah was determined today to be a "big girl." Countless times I heard, "I do it myself!" This morning, she was playing Wii with Sarah. I don't think that her controller was really working, and I wish that I knew how to take and post a video, because she was really going at it!

Then later, Sarah's friend Rachel came over and once again, Hannah had to play with the big girls.
She missed her nap because she was playing at Nanny and PawPaw's house while I took the girls to a movie, and all of her big girl work must have just worn her out!
The girls and I went to see "Confessions of a Shopaholic" this afternoon. What was supposed to be a mother/daughter afternoon out turned out to be a "Mom, will you take us and our friends to the movie?" type of thing. Oh well... it was still a cute movie, and I am afraid that I identified a little too much with the main character. More on that...later.

Monday, February 16, 2009

For just one day....

Or maybe I should say, for just one week....I just love being a stay at home mom. And this picture illustrates it all. Laundry? Done and folded. ALL OF IT. I got to have quality play time with my baby girl, and I got some quality time to myself to read (my very favorite thing to do!). Now of course, after about 10 minutes, Hannah arrived with all of her "people" and five minutes after that, her "barn," so it was short lived, but still...
Another part of staying home that I really really like is being able to wake up and have time by myself on the computer with my diet coke. And I don't have to wake any of my children out of a deep sleep to get them ready for school. Hannah awoke about 8 this least that is when I first heard her. When I went into get her, she had about ten books in her bed and greeted me with, "I love to read books, Mommy!" Oh how this makes my heart sing!!!! Sarah went up to her room to read earlier, and Hannah kept walking in and out of the living room with arms full of books. Turns out she was taking her books into Sarah's room to read with her.
I just wanted one of my children to enjoy reading as much as I do, and while the others enjoy it, they would much rather be doing other things and only resort to a book when they are bored out of their minds and don't want to clean their rooms. I, on the other hand, read every chance I get. In the car at stoplights, while I'm cooking, in the tub, in front of the TV. It looks like maybe...just maybe...some of this has rubbed off on Hannah!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Valentine's Day Cuteness

How precious is she? I couldn't resist pulling this dress out for one more wear, even though it really is too short. I think the tights did wonders for it, and while I wouldn't put this on her on a regular day, it was perfect for the day after Valentine's Day. The tights even had a big red heart on the tushie...but I didn't realize it until we were already at church!
We have heard from Josh, and he has arrived in Jamaica safe and sound. He started his trip playing soccer with one of the locals...and breaking his toe. Guess it's a good thing that it's warm and tropical down there, because he's basically relegated to flip flops now. Today he said it is "beautiful....83 and with a slight breeze...just gorgeous!" His words, not mine! He really has a heart for the people of Jamaica, and he loves the country. The momma in me would love it if God called him to Jamaica...nice and close and not dangerous. But the believer in me knows that he...and, sigh,...we will only be happy if he is in the center of God's will.
We had a sort of preview this month of what he has to look forward to if indeed he does end up on the mission field. Some of our visiting missionaries went to Bible college, then out to raise support, and then to the country to learn the language, etc. Others are going right to their mission field after raising support. Some have to be extremely careful about what they say and do, and are in danger of persecution or even death if they are known to be preaching the gospel. Others face only opposition from other religions in the area. Some have families, some are single. But what has stood out to me is the peace that they have, the committment to serving the Lord, and their contentment, no matter the circumstances.
I'll admit that I have had a longing to go back to Romania. I'll admit to feeling strongly that God is calling me to a mission field. Maybe it is my classroom, maybe it's something more. Every time I feel like maybe God is talking to me...truly leading me, and every time I pray for clarity, for direction, for a "sign" even, I end up pregnant. Hmmmm....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

My Valentine's Day stretched over two days this year, as we celebrated at school on Friday, and then we celebrated at home on Saturday. Here are my flowers from my sweet first grade kiddos
And then the flowers from my sweet husband (who gets brownie points for knowing that tulips are my favorite flowers. I think it was a coincidence that they were our wedding colors!)

Daryl had to work alllll day, so I spent the day at home with my girls. My big girls pretty much kept to themselves most of the day, but Hannah was my shadow all day. "Wait for me!" was her cry any time I left the room. This afternoon we pulled out her an hour and a half. Here she is excited about her new 10 pack of play-doh! Rolling out her "snake"
And here with the finished product. I made the eyes and spots, but she put them on herself! She was quite proud of it, but not too proud to roll it flat with the rolling pin 5 minutes later!
What a sweet Valentine!

Friday, February 13, 2009

My weary traveler and future missionary...

Now that Josh has decided that he feels called to themission field, I realize that this kind of good-bye is something I need to get used to! Here he is ,along with Daniel, who has been spending a few days with us while his parents went to Texas to see his brother graduate from boot camp. He was excited and ready to go.
Here's just my handsome man ( did he get to be a man when I was just changing his diapers yesterday????)
Then just a few random pictures...
Josh and Maranda--
My girls posing...after finding my camera, obviously. I can't tell you how many pictures I have to delete because it was just them posing for the camera to see how they look!
And is Hannah in the corner of shame. This is where she goes when she "has to" pick her nose, because all of us tell her how nasty it is and try to give her a tissue. She claims that her nose is "running" and she has to get it...thus the justification.

Happy Friday everyone....and it is indeed FRIDAY!! And better yet, the Friday before a week off--9 whole days--of school!!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yesterday was plain awful...

(Title taken from one of my very favorite musicals--Annie) But today will be better.

I came home yesterday at 10 with some sort of stomach bug. Felt awful all day.

Last night my 18 year old, incontinent cat finally died. While we have been watching and waiting for a while, and while I have several times in fits of anger wished he would die already, this hit me hard. Maybe because he was my very first baby. Maybe because I had never really seen an animal dying before. But yesterday I was there the whole day.

My sweet husband--how did I get so lucky?--who is allergic to cats and whose shoes were so very often the target of Rufus' pee-capades, sat with him for an hour last night before we went to bed and took care of him this morning so I wouldn't have to see him.

but today is a new day...and it's bound to be better!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why I love having daughters....

Yesterday, Hannah's babysitter called me at school to tell me to pack some short sleeved shirts for her. So, since I had packed them all away, we made a trip to my very favorite place in the retail world...Target. (And just so you know, Hannah can now recognize it and screams "Togget!" whenever we pull into the parking lot) On my way to the toddler section, I ambled by the women's section and lo and behold, there was a super-cute dress on clearance. And it would grow with me in the next few months. How could I resist????

And, as I was making my way to the back of the toddler section (because that's where the good stuff is, not because I wanted to check out the shoes), I saw this lovely pair of shoes that matched perfectly. Not on clearance. I got them anyways. Irresponsible? Probably. Immature? Yeah. Worth it? YES! It has been so long since I have felt anything but frumpy and I needed a boost.

So anyways...I got dressed this morning and went to wake up the kids. Sarah, who usually gives me one or two incoherent responses before I have to raise my voice, opened her eyes...looked at me...and said, "OOOOH! Cute shoes!" Maddy, who is more than reluctant to wake every morning and whose morning routine usually involves some sort of crying about the fact that she doesn't want to get up, greeted me with a "Come here... You look so pretty...and I LOVE those shoes!"

And of course, here are my girls trying on my shoes...the new tradition every time a new pair of shoes comes into the house.

And below is my latest defense in the morning sickness/weight gain battle--peppermints. These for some reason make my stomach feel better, so I am going to try one of these instead of a cracker next time I feel sick.

Monday, February 9, 2009

We are loving this weather!

Today, I got off of work a tad bit early due to accidentally thinking my dr. appointment was today instead of tomorrow. I took advantage of the time that I would have had off and went to get Hannah early and headed home for a nice walk outside. It was gorgeous weather, and Hannah and I both enjoyed the time outside. I don't know why I ever worried about her talking. I don't think she took a breath between pointing things out, asking questions, yelling to people!

This was a huge thing for me today, to take a walk. I did it yesterday afternoon too, as we didn't have night church and I had some free time. OK...not so free, but I chose to make it that way! I didn't feel like it yesterday, and I didn't feel like it today, but I did it anyways, and it did make me feel so much better and so much more energized. I am hoping that I can keep this up and get some exercise every day. So far during this pregnancy, my exercise has been limited to walking from the bathroom to the couch, or walking to the kitchen to get something to eat. If I were Jewish, I'd say "Oy vey."

My body does pregnant only one way: fat. No sweet little baby bump for me. My whole entire body gets fat. It happened with the first three--even though I watched what I ate for the most part. Then with Hannah, inspired by my beautiful neice who is just the most beautiful pregnant woman and doesn't ever look swollen or tired (yes, you, Kristin!) I thought...hey...I can do that! I'll eat right. I"ll exercise. I'll drink lots of water. And I did. And I did OK until the eighth month when I gained 62 pounds...mostly in water.

This pregnancy has started off pretty much the same...fat. It doesn't help, I know, that when I got pregnant, I had been on an extremely low carb/hi protein diet, eating almost entirely fruits and vegetables and grilled lean meat. Then came the sickness and the smell of a vegetable (except baby carrots, for some reason) made my stomach turn. And what made me feel better? Dairy and carbs. So my body has been on sort of a revolt, and I am truly scared to see the scale tomorrow at the doctor. Even though I KNOW that I can lose it once the baby is born, and even though I KNOW that I have not been eating nearly as much as I could be (and have been known to when I am not dieting), it's still hard to see those numbers go up and get the tsk tsk from the doctor.

And to add insult to injury tomorrow, guess what I get to do???? Watch a 40 minute educational video about pregnancy and childbirth. Like if I wasn't such a sissy and needed the epidural, I couldn't do this myself! All of that and probably not being able to hear the heartbeat would be worth it for that!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes...

This morning we were trying to figure out who was riding with who to church and whether we were going to take two cars.

Me: Hannah, do you want to ride with me or Daddy?
Hannah: Mommy!
Sarah: Are you going to ride with Maddy?
Hannah: yes!
Sarah: Are you going to ride with Rah-Rah?
Hannah: Yes!
Sarah: Who else is going to ride with us? Is Jesus going to ride with us?
Hannah: NO! Jesus can not ride with us. There are enough people in our car already!

Tragedy has struck...and other weirdness

The laptop....has died. As in won't even turn on. Which in reality probably is NOT a tragedy--you know, compared to world hunger, the war in Iraq, AIDS. But in my own little world, it is somewhat a hiccup.

First of all...I don't know how to post pictures from the desktop. I've tried, they've showed me, but the software is different and once I get them downloaded, I can't ever find them. So much more difficult than just plugging my camera into the side of the laptop and hitting a button.

Secondly...I now have to fight three teenagers (doing homework, Facebook, and checking email), one husband (finishing a dissertation), and a two year old (watching Dora) for the computer.

Thirdly...ALL of my school stuff that I have created in the last year and a half is on that laptop. Unsaved to disk, of course.

And perhaps most irritating of is very hard to assume the "Oh my gosh, I think I'm going to die or throw up" position while on the desktop. It was such a luxury to be able to lay prostate on the couch in the evenings, in the middle of the night, in the early morning hours while still being able to enter grades, type newsletters, create worksheets, surf the net, answer e-mail etc.

Oh well...maybe a sign that I was too dependent on it? That my time could be better spent elsewhere? That my enjoyment of other people's blogs and Facebook (so very very cool) was bordering on addiction?

In other strange going ons...
This afternoon is our international potluck at the church to celebrate missions month. Each year, Josh and Daryl attack various ethnic dishes (mostly Asian, and mostly involving some sort of fish sauce--yuck). This year, Sarah wanted in on the fun and Maranda came over to experience it as well. As I was putting Hannah to bed last night, they were off to the International market to get supplies. When Hannah and I finally moved downstairs to our bedroom because it was "too noisy" and sounded like "scary monsters," they were chopping and food processing and banging around in the kitchen. When Daryl came and got Hannah to put her in her own bed at midnight or so, there was a distinct smell of ...well, I don't know...but under normal circumstances I think it would have been rather pleasurable. As it is, it made me sort of nauseous.

So when I got up this morning at 5:00 am (yes...on. a. weekend) and went into the kitchen to find something that would settle my stomach, I notice a clean kitchen. Odd. Pleasantly so, but still odd. But the kicker is this. Their culinary creations are nowhere to be found. Not in the fridge. Not in the freezer. Not on the counter. Nowhere.

Full moon maybe?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Where has the time gone?

How did my baby's feet get so big? When did she get so big?
And how can I stop it?????

Thursday, February 5, 2009

If I could only find my camera...

You would be seeing a cute picture of Hannah sitting on the potty. As I was getting her PJ's on tonight, she said, "Mommy, I have to go tee tee. Really bad." So I carried her up the stairs (the floor was too cold for her bare feet), sat her on the potty, and lo and behold...she did indeed tee tee! I did the little potty happy dance, and then I carried her back down where she proceeded to tell me that "tee tee makes her feel all better," but that "doo doo hurts her butt." Gotta love it. I am just thrilled that she is making some progress in this area....finally.

You might also see a picture of me in my costume for tomorrow. Tomorrow is Book Character Day at our school and we are all supposed to dress up like our favorite book character. Well, asking me to pick my favorite book or favorite character is like asking me to pick my favorite child. I just can't do it. We have had such fun this week reading all the different books that the children have brought in for their book reports to go in for this fun day. It's not often I get to read to them 4-5 story books in a day. We all have been in heaven! Anyways, I have chosen to be the Grouchy Ladybug for tomorrow because a. it's easy, and I can take off my wings and headpiece and look somewhat normal (but uncannily like a deranged UGA fan) and b. it fits my personality lately! I overheard two of my children talking about my costume (I had the wings laid out on the table) and they decided that I "must be the nice ladybug." It's so funny that when I feel like all I've done all day is tell them to be quiet, sit down, settle down, get along, that they still think I'm too sweet to be the grouchy ladybug. Gotta love a six year old! will see neither of these things, because my camera has disappeared into the dim recesses of my house. It will show up...of this I have no doubt. When and where? That is another question. Yet another reason to become more organized!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"If God brings you to it, He'll bring you through it"

I'd always heard Christians say this, but quite honestly wasn't sure if it had a scriptural base...until today. My sister gave me a day by day calendar based on Rick Warren's A Purpose Driven Life and the meditation of the day was on 1 Corinthians 10:13.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is Faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Now, I've read that verse before and thought of being tempted as being tempted by the flesh or worldly desires. As I head into this pregnancy, though, I see it differently. For my temptations lie not so much in worldly things but in the temptation to give into fear.

As long as I can remember, I have feared greatly. There were the three years where I was deathly afraid of dogs and wouldn't leave the house. Then there was my fear of tornadoes. My fear of failure stopped me from trying and doing many things. My fear of imperfection has driven me to do unhealthy things in the name of beauty.

But no fear has completely controlled my life as much as the fear that gripped my very soul as my first marriage fell apart and I got divorced. I have many scars from that time in my life, and many have faded with time, prayer, and forgiveness. One that has not healed, that fades for a while, only to resurface when I least expect it, is the fear of...well...I don't know what it is that scares me. All I know is that when it appears, it completely takes over my thoughts, my emotions, my physical being, my spiritual peace.

For a while, I thought I had conquered it...with medication, therapy, exercise, and at last a safe environment. But then with my last pregnancy, at 22 weeks, Daryl went out of town. And that old fear gripped me like never before. For a week, I was unable to eat, sleep, or work. The panic attack began as soon as I lay down the night he left and continued until he returned and beyond. I was left feeling sad, confused, disappointed in myself, and questioning God. My faith was relatively new...God had brought me through the mess that was my life and brought me Daryl and a second chance. I had turned to Him, turned my life around, was living my life for Him. Why this? Why now?

This time in my pregnancy was so awful, so scary that for that reason alone, I didn't want to do it again. I made sure that I would never have to do it again. But once again, God showed me that it is not me that is in control. and here I am...pregnant...and while I am thrilled to be adding to our family, I am also scared to death. Scared to go through that again. The fear hovers every night as I go to sleep, kept at bay by the presence of my husband, my rock, my stability, my protector beside me. I already know that he will be going out of town again, about the same time in this pregnancy. And this thought terrifies me. What if it happens all over again? What if this begins the downward spiral again?

These are my temptations that I struggle with, and I stuggle on a daily basis. Even now, months before he leaves, the fear is there. Because of the baby, no medication to rely on to get me through it. No husband to lean on. Surrounded by my children, yet alone. And maybe this is the lesson. To rely on God to get me through this pregnancy, through this fear. To give it up to Him and leave it there, confident that he will "bring me through it."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This requires more creativity than I thought it would,

Posting every day, that is. There's just not so much going on in our lives that warrants picture taking most days, but a resolution is a resolution. Not much going on here today. It was supposed to be a snow day, but since we all had to go to school (begrudgingly too, may I say), we're spending tonight doing a whole bunch of nothing.

Hannah has enjoyed playing house in the dog cage...

and modeling the latest in Santa wear.

The big kids have been playing Wii for the last few hours,
and Daryl has been working on our taxes. Ugh. The only thing that he's said so far is, "Wow, I didn't realize how slow this year has really been." Not a good sign, I don't think. But with the housing market slow, so is his electrical business.
Luckily, he teaches as well, and that is our/his major source of income. His job is pretty stable and I hope and pray that mine is as well. My job means so much more to us than just my salary. It means that our children can go to a Christian school, which is so worth the sacrifices of a drastically cut paycheck, scrimping for school bills, and a half hour commute each way. There is not way that we would be able to affofrd to send the kids to ELCA without the discount I get for teaching there. I can't imagine sending them to public school, or going to school without them, really. Josh has been at school with me since 2nd grade and the girls have never been to school without me there. Three of my dear friends at school got notices this week that their contracts would not be renewed. It just breaks my heart for them, for their families, and for the family that we are as a faculty and staff. It's hard not to be worried in these times, but I have faith that the Lord is in matter what happens.

Monday, February 2, 2009

This is what tired looks like...

and no...this wasn't us getting up this morning, but after dinner. Hannah has been struggling with sleep lately. She won't sleep unless the light is on, and then thinks of every excuse in the book not to go to sleep--my diaper hurts, I scary, I need a book, I want water, my boo boo hurts, and the latest....the ladybug is hiding (??????) It is at least an hour every night to get her to sleep and then every time she wakes up, her light is on and she thinks it is time to get up (OR...if we turn the light off after she goes to sleep, she wakes up screaming because it is dark) Regardless, it has made for some long nights/grumpy mornings in our house.

On another note...I can't believe I really posted this picture. Where is that famed pregnancy glow????

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Just Another Sunday...

It seems like Satan works overtime in me on Sundays, and today this was particularly true. I woke up early after a night of being up several times with horrendous nausea. Great, I thought...I'll get a head start on the day. It will be a nice peaceful Sunday morning, unlike all the others. Yet I still burned the cinnamon rolls, stepped in cat poop, and spent 15 minutes searching for Hannah's other shoe. I went to get dressed only to find out that everything I own made me look fat. Hannah decided that no, she didn't want cinnamon rolls, but white donuts for breakfast. After two bites, she wanted Fruit Loops, and then didn't want breakfast at all. This left me trying to eat my own breakfast while simultaneously trying to put on my own makeup and get Hannah dressed, while everyone around me (who were already dressed, of course) leisurely ate their breakfast. In my mind, I was screaming, "What about me? When do I get to just ignore everything that needs to be done and focus on myself?" and perhaps it wasn't just in my mind. Perhaps a little bit of that escaped the filter and made it out of my mouth. Needless to say, I spent the ride to church apologizing to everyone and trying to get my heart right.

All that to say this...when Satan is at work on me, It is all about me. And Sundays seem to be the time when I most fight this battle. I spent the rest of the ride to church listening to some old hymns on a local radio station and in silent prayer for God to open my ears, my mind, and my heart to what He had to say and show me today. And what a blessing it was. This week was the start of Missions conference at our church and I would have missed some amazing opportunities had I stayed in my self-imposed cocoon of selfishness and self-absorbance.

The first person we say when we walked in was Ms. Janice, a family friend and Hannah's biggest fan. She watches Hannah every Wednesday night and Sunday night at church. She is a polio survivor--thus the wheelchair, and a lung cancer survivor who just earlier this week started her second round of chemo. Yet here she was at church, smiling, and not grumbling about how life wasn't fair. Having to multi-task because I have a lot of children and a house to take care of--just downright childish. And some nausea and fatigue? At least I am creating a life instead of fighting to save my own. Lesson learned, God (again).
Hannah with Mrs. Conkle. Mrs. Conkle was Daryl's kidnergarten teacher, and was Sarah and Maddy's Sunday school teacher from the time we came back to Zion Hill until each was in fifth grade. She led both of them to the Lord, and I am hoping that she sticks it out until Hannah is kindergarten! Mrs. Conkle misses church twice a year, and I have never seen her without a smile on her face.
The children had a Parade of Nations this morning and sang a few songs in different languages. Even though Hannah didn't sing, she did get to dress up and Maddy walked her in. This is Maddy and Hannah before Hannah decided that the stage was not a place for her!
And Maddy, in her Polynesian dress, front and center, singing.
All in all, it was an amazing Sunday, and while it might have seemed from the start that it would be just another Sunday, it most certainly wasn't.