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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

It is 10:35 pm, past my regular bedtime, and yet I am still up. I simply clicked on a link that someone sent me, and now here I sit, tears in my eyes, my heart so heavy. I just want to go in and wake up my babies and hold them close.

Lord, forgive me for the times today when I've wished for some time alone, longed for bedtime, begrudged Hannah an answer to a question simply because I was in the bathroom. I can only imagine what this mother wouldn't give for the interruptions, the laundry, the non-stop talking, the constant motion.

If you pray, please do.


The question invariably comes 5-6 times every Monday morning.

"How was your weekend?" they will ask.

"Good, but short! And yours?" I will reply.

But what I want to say is "Full....really full." Because it is. Always. Wonderfully so.

This weekend, it was full of soccer. Josh is playing soccer again for the first time since he was in third grade. He had to play goalie on Friday night in his first game--unexpectedly too, as their usual goalie was deemed ineligible due to some exchange student rule. They lost, but he fought valiantly!
It's full of sweet little (and some not so little) girls. Like this one, wearing some too cute shoes...
and this one, posing for a picture...

and asking her daddy to do the same.

It was full of family. My family came on Saturday to celebrate Josh's birthday. We went to Red Lobster and then back home. I forgot to take pictures....arg. We were supposed to spend Sunday celebrating Daryl's sister, Darlene's, 50th birthday in Cumming, but a dead Expedition in the driveway--the only car that can carry us all, put a halt to those plans. We love you, Darlene! We're so sorry we missed it!

But most of all, wwhat our weekend (excuse me MY weekend) is usually full of is laundry. See this below? This is all of the big kids' laundry that I washed and folded this weekend. And this is just the stuff that made it to the laundry room. I have made one room of our wall into a laundry closet of sorts...all of the kids' clothes are folded and put down here for them to take up and put away (or in most cases, leave there).
And here are the little girls's clothes

And the dreaded sock basket--one of those huge rubbermaid tubs filled almost to the top.

And that's not all...after doing the laundry, I have to pack up the little girls for Kay Kay's house. Hannah, with 5 outfits on the left. Charlotte with 15 outfits on the right.

And then set out my clothes for the week to avoid the morning stress.

And still, after a bottle of laundry detergent, ten or more loads of laundry, and two hours straight of folding and sorting and packing and matching...
there is still this....

and just for the record, this is NOT part of the "wonderfully full" part...but they say I will miss even this.
Our schedules are full, the washer and dryer are full, and my heart is full of love for my sweet babies (including the big guy). The only thing not full is ME. I'm on Day 2 of the official "dagum it, I am going to lose weight" diet--otherwise known as the "eat only things that taste like cardboard and not enough to make you feel like you really just ate" diet. Trying to be positive. Trying to tell myself that the empty feeling in my stomach is a good sign. Trying to no obsess over how hungry I am. Now if I could just convince myself that this caramel flavored rice cakes are just as good as the homemade brownies that Louise made for Josh's birthday!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

An experiment gone wrong...

So...the diet. Yeah. Sigh.

I had lamented before about my plateau. My month long plateau. The agonizing, frustrating month long plateau. The not made any easier by my husband losing 23 pounds, agonizingly frustrating plateau. Well desperate times call for desperate measures. Or so my mom always said. So I did it. I knew it was not a good idea. But I did it anyways.

That's right. I took a week off. Daryl is always telling me to take the weekend off from my dieting. He always does and he always has fabulous results. Quick results. Fabulously quick results with no plateaus. So I did. The week we were off, I didn't count points. I didn't obsess about my weight or my food or the scale. I ate what I wanted. (those chocolate dipped crackers and peanut butter? yep...even those ) And at the end of the week, I stepped on the scale, closed my eyes, and held my breath. NO CHANGE.

So then last week, back to school it was, and back to the lunchroom and it's incredible salad and fruit bar. All of the fresh fruits and veggies and steamed veggies I could eat. Lots of water. And Saturday morning rolls around and once again, I stepped on the scale, closed my eyes, and held my breath. And yep, you got it. NO CHANGE.

OK. I love me some good steamed broccoli. Plums? My favorite fruit. Dipping my fork in the fat free salad dressing before I spear my salad, a habit I have gotten used to in the last two months. But really? If I can weigh the same eating chocolate covered peanut butter crackers as I can eating like a rabbit (and a hungry rabbit at that) then really, what is the point? And then...and then...if this is not enough, adding insult to injury is the call I get from the doctor. Telling me that all my blood work came back fine except my cholesterol.

So let's recap, shall we? After having Charlotte, I immediately lose 39 pounds and then another 15.5 over the next two months. I drastically change my eating habits. And I do mean drastically. I cut back on my Diet Coke to one per day. I drink at least a gallon of water a day. I adopt the mantra, "The whiter the bread, the quicker you're dead." No white ANYTHING. And what do I get? Weight that won't come off and has for the first time in my almost 43 years settled itself in my midsection. High blood pressure. High cholesterol. Getting up 5 times a night to go to the bathroom. (And while I am whining...when did I get my mother's hands?)

I have come to the conclusion that my body is revolting against me. Getting back at me for the years of subsisting on diet coke and carrot sticks, the years spent in search of the perfect tan, the years that I thought I was fat (at 150 pounds mind you). I am getting old. I am growing old...literally. And let me tell you,...there ain't nothing graceful about it!

Friday, February 26, 2010

just one of those weeks...

Every once in a while, I come home from work, look around the house, and go into a funk. I don't see the sweet pictures on the refrigerator of friends and family. I see the fingerprints, the dirty drink dispenser, the dust bunny under the vent. I don't see Hannah's artwork hanging on the cabinet, but her artwork on the back of the couch. I see the piles of laundry, the sink full of dishes, the living room...oh the living room, the sea of toys on Hannah's floor, the bathroom trash that someone (who shall remain nameless, but it's YOU...who had trash this week) forgot. I see the baby belly, six months after the baby was born. The hair that I was too tired to style. The clothes that I inadvertently wore to work with spit up stains and a missing button. And after seeing all that, I lose it. Usually, my lovely (and I do mean lovely, not being snarky here) children and the dogs (which aren't so lovely) are the recipients of this frustration. This month, and it does seem to be once a month, always on a Friday (hmmmmm....), I just kept it all inside and what I have come away with is a funk I can't shake. I am hoping that a good night's sleep, a weekend with family, Hannah hugs, and baby smells, will snap me out of it. Six hours into my weekend, though, and I remain unsnapped. Daryl has taken all the kids--except Charlotte--to Josh's soccer game and I have had three hours to myself. Resisting the temptation to go get a sleeping Charlotte out of her bed for a snuggle. Oh, I'd regret it, I know. But right now, a little fuzzy head, some baby drool, and those big eyes...that might be just the ticket. It's a lot less dangerous than a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream...but just as sweet!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Josh!

It's hard to believe that eighteen years ago today, I was meeting you for the first time. I had no idea how to be a mother--how to change diapers, make you stop crying, how to give you a bath. But most of all, I had no idea howyou would completely steal my heart. The magnitude of my love for you took my breath away at times, consumed me at others. Changed who I was at the very core.

So tiny at 1 week old. In your Pooh nursery that I worked so hard on--and that you noticed not a bit. So little, so sweet, still a little orange. For weeks at a time, it was the two of us against the world.
You grew into a toddler, and we were still a team. You were still my favorite playmate. You were still your momma's boy.
And then you were a busy pre-schooler. And we moved out of our little apartment and into our first house. You wanted to be a "wobot" for Halloween, and I searched high and low --there really wasn't internet yet--and finally I made your costume. You wore it for weeks. This was our last Halloween as a family of three.

Years passed and you grew into a little boy. You went to school, learned to read, made friends, grew a little farther away from me, as Sarah and Maddy were born. It was an adjustment for us both, having to share our time together.
The years were not always easy. There was pain, upheaval, and many unwelcome changes in our lives. And you impressed me with your strength, your sense of responsibility, and how you stepped up to be the man of the house. I loved the way that you looked after your sisters and me, and the way that you tried to protect me. That was a bittersweet time. Some of our worst, but best memories were made. However, not many pictures!
And then we met and married Daryl. One of the sweetest moments of our wedding was when you walked me down the aisle to give me away. So handsome, so grown up.
And after that, I watched with pleasure as you changed. As we started life together as a new family, I saw you blossom. You began to enjoy life without the veil of worry and responsibility that you had taken upon yourself. You started at ELCA, you began your relationship with Jesus Christ, you grew in so many ways.
You loved your paintball--and we have a shed in the backyard to prove it!

You developed a keen sense of humor, and the ability to laugh at yourself. Along with that came your confidence in yourself, in your own skin--no matter what you were wearing. :)

You started high school and gone was the Ceasar cut, and thus began the fascination with the long hair. You went to your first day of high school with hair that clearly defied the dress code--one of the only times that I have ever seen you openly challenge authority. (We cut it that afternoon, by the way...I think it was just a statement you had to make)
You started driving. First with Daryl, then with me, and then on your own. It was hard to let you go by yourself that first time. I was afraid that it was just the beginning of the times that I would watch you drive out of my life. But you always came home--and you were still sporting that long hair. One night, at 11:00 pm (yes...once I was in bed) you woke me up, handed me a pair of scissors, because you had forgotten that Coach Campbell had told you to cut your hair. We learned that night that there was a reason that I was not a hairstylist, and that next time, you might be better off to remember!
You spread your wings even more, as you ventured to other countries to share the love of Jesus with others. I was overjoyed that you wanted to go, but wary of letting you go so far away. Still, I let you follow your heart and God's leading, and I am so glad I did. Your experiences on those mission trips in Jamaica and the youth conference in Budapest helped shape your character and your desire for your future. (And yes...the hair...still long)

And then came something I had been dreading. The day that you gave your heart to someone else. The day when I was no longer the one you loved best. The day you came home and told us you had a girlfriend. And it was Maranda. I was so proud of the way that you treated her, the little things you did to show her how much you cared, but just a little bit sad that it was now someone else that held your heart. Over the last year, I have gotten used to it, realize what a perfect match you make, and been overjoyed at the man that you have become.

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy. I thank God every day that He gave me the honor and privelege of being your mother, and I can't wait to see what He has in store for your life!
I love you!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

**The waiting is the hardest part...

We've had a great winter break. It started early with an unexpected snow day. We've had little to do but lounge around, and except for Daryl and Hannah being sick, it's been restful. But something has been baby boy, who is so not a baby, and who has been in Jamaica for a week on a mission trip. He comes back tonight around midnight, but we've been so excited for the last two days.

A little over excited, over stimulated, even. You know, living with a three year old is a bit like living with Sybil anyways. It's "Mommy, I love you" one minute and "I am wiping off your kisses!" the next. But she took it up a notch on Thursday. It all started....
with this:

As far as messes go, so not a big deal. She finished playing and then was lured away by the sound of Sarah and me playing with Charlotte on the floor beside her.
All it took were a simple sentence: "No, we can't play anything else until you pick up the game."
And she was toast. In the time it took to take the lenscap off the camera, I missed the rolling on the floor and the sobbing pleas of a sore throat.
She eventually got over you can see. And surprise, more sore throat!

She's also spent some time this week making other sand cakes--which looks quite lovely below, but after smashing your hand in it repeatedly, not so much.

And then there was the big, 4 hour, cake icing mess. Daryl was making Josh a birthday cake, and Hannah just couldn't stop herself. No really. Her exact words were, "This is so yummy. I love it. I just can't stop myself!"

The black was washed off and replaced by a Spider Man blue mustache--the removal of which was the impetus for yet another three year old "fit."
Her sister, however, has been much less moody. She has enjoyed "feeding" herself...
but wasn't so sure about the shark hat.

It's back to work on Monday, and to that, I can only let Charlotte do the "talking" for me...

Yeah, that about sums it up.
On the plus side, only three hours and fifteen minutes until Josh is home. We can't wait!
**Post title credit--Tom Petty

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Procrastination, princesses, and perceptions

Procrastination is a problem in our house. In fact, you could say it runs rampant. Daryl got through graduate school (all three of his degrees) doing his assignments the night before, and sometimes the day that they were due. I am just as guilty. Laundry gets done when we have nothing else to wear. Lesson plans that have to be turned in at 8:00 on Monday morning? Yep, still writing them at 7:45. And I won't mention the fact that Josh's 18th birthday is in four days and we are still at that "What do you think we should get him? I don't know. What do you think?" stage.

So is it any surprise that Charlotte is soon to be 6 months old and we are just now (as in today) getting Charlotte's crib set up? OK, so her room isn't done. But she now has a little corner in Hannah's room...
and you see that little pink basket on the far right? She now has her own toy basket. How sad is it that all those other toys (plus three baskets you can't see because then I would have to show you the HUGE pile of laundry I still have to put away) are Hannah's and that little bitty basket is Charlotte's? Lucky for us, she gets just as much pleasure out of a plastic cup, a cell phone, or one of the dogs as a toy right now.
Align Center
oh, and did you notice the unfinished window frames? Yep, we started on those when Hannah was 6 months old. I told you...procrastination abounds.
Our break has been filled with lots of sickness so far, and so we haven't ventured out much. Hannah's been her usual busy self, despite the fever and the stuffy nose, and she has been drawing and making "caffs." (i.e. crafts) Her latest creation is a picture of a "princess standing on a colorful rock."

And I'll leave you with a little Hannah funny. This girl just cracks me up sometimes. We were lounging around this morning, trying to wake up and get going. She looks at me and looks at Daryl and says, "Mommy, Daddy, can I be a wife? I want to be a wife. I want to dance and eat cake."

If only....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My first....

and probably my only blog award! I can honestly say that I am more excited about this than I should be...mainly because I really do think that most days, it's my mom and my daughters (who are looking for pictures of themselves) reading this. Anywho, a big big big thank you to Lynn from Living La Vida Loca who nominated me. Lynn is a friend from high school who is a cardiologist, a mom, an incredibly funny blogger, and in her spare time, a sewist (ya know, I just learned this word...I have been saying seamstress instead...but sewist is a real word!)

So, I really am not sure I am deserving of an award for being creative. I'm not one of those super creative people, and aside from my uncanny ability to create children (even when I am not trying!) and piles of junk around my house and the constant stream of consciousness turned blog post in my head, I don't really create anything. But never mind the details. I'm supposed to list 7 little known details about myself and then nominate 7 other people. So here goes...

1. I read magazines from the back to the front. Which makes it a good thing that the only magazines I read are mainstream tabloid magazines like People and US and Star which have their articles all contained in one page.
2. I wanted to be a gymnast as a child and made up countless "beam" routines on the railroad ties that lined our driveway.
3. I once created an entire book featuring the Partridge Family in different places--the zoo, the store, an amusement park.
4. I do not like pickles, mustard, or tuna fish. Not in a box, not with a fox, not here or there or anywhere.
5. Speaking of which... I know most of the Dr. Seuss books by heart and have actually written a few for my first graders in classic Seuss style.
6. I still love to color. And do.
7. I am realizing that I am pretty much an open book and there is very little that is "little known" about me.

I am a prolific blog reader. Maybe I am a secret voyeur, but I love taking a little peek into the lives of others. I follow many. too many. I spend at least half an hour to an hour a night catching up on my google reader list. But I guess in keeping with the creative (or Kreativ) theme, I'll go with the following:

1. Kristin at It's a Wonderful Wyatt Life
She is my niece, a mom of three little boys, a woman of faith. She is so creative in the things that she does with her boys as she homeschools. How she does all that she does while maintaining a perfect figure and a perfect home, I will never understand. Remarkable!

2. This woman simply amazes me. Just check her out. You will immediately see how creative she is--and with seven children!

3. Katie from Love and Life on the Rock
An online friend who has endured incredible heartbreak over the last two years and emerged with a strong faith and incredible grace. The whole theme of her blog is creative, and just beautifully written.

And yes, that's only three. But that will have to do because: a. I obviously have some work to do on the "making links" part of blogging. I've done three and it's taken me half an hour to do so. and b. I have a three year old with a fever laying on my chest saying (demanding) "Tickle my back like a spider!"

Ahhh....award winner or not...a woman's work is never done!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The snow is gone...

And so is Josh. He's in Jamaica by now, but of course I had to get some pictures of him leaving. I woke him up at 3:15 am and he and Daryl were off to the airport by 3:45. He woke up his sisters--the big ones, I wouldn't let him wake up the little ones--to say good-bye.
And then had to scrape the snow and ice off of the car in order to get in!

We heard from him last night. He had just gotten back from evening church service and then had been wrestling with the children. He said he was hot and sweaty, and so glad to be back. He just sounded happy. He loves it there. And I love the idea of him being there, of following God's leading, of sharing the gospel, of doing what he loves to do. I just wish he didn't have to do it so far away.
As for the rest of us, we began our winter break with both Hannah and Daryl sick with fevers and sore throats. I still feel yucky too, but mommies don't get sick days!

Friday, February 12, 2010

They said it would happen. They closed the schools. We got to sleep in. And then we got up...and no snow. About 1:00, though, it started.
So we picked out our super cool snow playing outfits...
and went out and caught the first snowflakes on our tongues...

even built a snowman within the first hour...

Then it started snowing harder.
Never fear...Sarah was here!

And Maddy...who obviously didn't learn a lesson from her momma....or Ralphie

Josh got home from his Valentine's Day celebration with Maranda, after a llloooonnnggg drive home, and he joined the fun. Please note that unlike last year's snow day, he is NOT wearing his Daisy Duke cut-offs!
Daddy and Hannah coming in from their "ten minute play date."

After a pot of chili and a good family dinner, we settled down for a movie, but not before Maddy and Hannah performed for us
Charlotte and I, both with nasty colds, opted to stay inside and stay warm (and in Charlotte's case, look cute!)
Josh was supposed to fly out to Jamaica on a mission trip at 6:25 am, but his flight has been cancelled. So he'll fly out Sunday morning instead. He has to be at the airport at 4:30 am, as in the morning. Because of the snow and the delays, he and one other will be flying separate from the others. My baby boy will be flying to another country without an adult. But, as he and Daryl both pointed out, HE is a week shy of being an official adult himself, so I guess the time has come. Doesn't mean I have to like it!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hannah's afternoon of valentines

So much work to be done.
First you have to think, think, think....who should you send a valentine to?

Then you have to write your "H" just right...
And lastly, squeal with delight and show them to Mommy, before putting them in your special valentine holder (i.e. baggie)

Gotta let your little sister in on the action...
And then since you have your mommy and daddy all to yourself while the big kids are at soccer and tumbling, you convince them to play circus and dress up...

whew....hard work!