Monday, January 30, 2012

A Calling

     Recently I was asked. What has God called you to do right now. Not your long term calling, or your life goals, not what you have to do tomorrow or even next week. But right this minute, what has God placed before you?
Although it seems obvious, I thought a list was appropriate.
1. I am married,
      so be a hardworking godly wife.
2. I have children,
      so to raise obedient children who love the Lord.
3. I am in school,
      so to be a focused, listening student.
4. I am part of a new church,
     so to support and encourage those involved.
5. I have family and friends,
     so I need to be in prayer for them.

     All of these things seem pretty general, and I'd like to think I've been doing most of the things I need to do, such as cooking food and washing the laundry.  But have I been doing them with joy, the joy of knowing they are my most important work? Have I really been looking forward to reading, each evening, with my older children, or have I been avoiding it? Why have I been making excuses on why we don't have time to read the bible before school each morning if it's #2 on my list of importance. Is sleeping in really creeping up on importance that I find I do that instead??? Have I been purposefully building my children up to be strong confident people, or just letting them mull and wander about hoping that my hugs and kisses will carry them through?

     I find that my life has flip-flopped from what I know it should be. Somehow School had become my number 1 and my husband mentioned feeling like number 5. If I do not wake each day with the knowledge that I must pursue my calling, then the pieces will continue to be rearranged without an ounce of care. Each days work will become a mash of chaos with the loudest need being moved to first at each given moment.

     This is no longer okay for me and my family. No longer will I haphazardly live life day by day. I know that I will fail, but I must still wake each day with a purpose, with a plan, knowing that this is my calling. This is my work and I claim for my own Joshua's declaration of "As For Me And My House, We Will Serve the Lord." ( Joshua 24:15)


Friday, January 27, 2012

This Moment 1-27

  {this moment} - A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

(I know I broke the rules again, by posting 2 moments, but that's just the way I am, I guess.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Moment

I've always wanted to do one of those 360 day photo challenges, where you post a picture everyday. But it totally overwhelms me. It's not the idea of taking a picture everyday, because that, actually doesn't overwhelm me, but the idea of processing and uploading it does. I have no problem being tied to my camera everyday, I have zero desire to be tied to my computer everyday. Then, today I saw what my awesome friend Kim @  did. She posts one awesome "moment" picture each Friday. Now that I can handle.
     So, if it wasn't obvious from the above, I totally stole this idea from her and I hope she doesn't mind, but I doubt she will, because she's cool about sharing her ideas.  I'm even going to steal the quote though, (which from the link in it, apparently was stolen by herself as well) which I hope she also doesn't mind about either. But I am giving them both the credit here, so I'm hoping  it's okay too.  

  {this moment} - A Soule Mama Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Our Church on Sunday was the snowy outdoors and our pew was a pair of sleds.
      OOOPS, I used words....oh well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

RIP Snowman

This is the snowman we built on Monday. As Andy and I were about to go to bed, we noticed mean kids had already kicked it down. All day long our little boys had been bragging about how big and strong they were to roll those big snowballs around. In the morning they were very sad, and woke us up early to tell us of the tragedy.
RIP Monday SnowMan and SnowDog.

This is our Tuesday Snowman and Snowdog. We built them closer to our house for their safety.  We thought that Monday SnowMan and SnowDog could wave to all the people that drove by. But Tuesday Snowman and SnowDog don't really have that ability, but they get to wave to us when we leave and arrive, so, it's  not a bad life.

Tuesday SnowMan and SnowDog were built with Monday's remaining snow clumps.
     Right before bed, on Tuesday night, Andy stepped outside,into the dark, to have a last cigarette before bed. A car and a truck full of people was nearing our house. Andy heard a voice shout, "HEY, they rebuilt the snowman." and the cars slowed to halt right in front of the house. We're not sure what would have happened next, because that was when they saw Andy and took off.

     Please parents, teach your young adults, that small CHILDREN build snowmen. Children Love their snowmen, and are sad when they get kicked over........well..... unless they do the kicking themselves.

The Math of Parenting

     Sometimes having practical mathematical knowledge isn't a good thing. Such as, it's hard to want to go for a walk when you know that a lone child will fall and get hurt around  25% of the time. And if you have 4 children, the odds of someone crying for part of the walk is, oh, 100%. Now add in the odds for someone falling in a puddle, say that happens around 10% of the time, but the odds of someone jumping into a puddle is more like 70%. That makes for an 80% chance that another child will be whining because they are cold and wet.
     Now figure that children are hungry 95% of the time. (the only non-hungry 5% is only when food that has been served to them must be completely UN-eatable because it may taste healthy or different.) They are also thirsty another 99% of the time, so, unless you take time to pack bribe treats or water bottles, the return trip WILL be super pleasant, as it is being made by loud, starving children who are going to die. If you do choose to pack bride treats, the odds of someone taking off or loosing their shoes is 35%, a lost coat is around 20%, and children fighting while waiting is 60%. If you walk away from the snack packing to disband the fight, the odds that you will now forget something is 40%.
       So, even though we live only 1/2  mile from the library, we only walk to the library about 25% of the time.  This 25% happens when Mommy amnesia has kicked in, and I actually think it will be different this time because my children are a whole 60 days older.
     On this note, we now have the Uno game. I love Uno. Awesome game, simple, fun, teaches children colors and numbers.  But, when you play Uno with 4 children only 25% of them can can win, and 75% of them will loose. If 50% of your children freak out when they do not win, you have a 100% chance the game will end in screaming and crying.

  Now I seem to have forgotten, but I thought playing games as a family is supposed to be fun????

Updated January 20,2011:
After receiving multiple  notes of encouragement, I wanted to add that I greatly enjoy playing games with my children. It's the endings I hate. But that is why we play right before bedtime. So I can just send them off to bed. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This lesson is not for them

     As the first real snow of the year has hit, I am noticing how different it is from the last snow of last year. This year all of my children can find (to some degree) their own gloves, snow pants, hats and boots and can, then, attire their bodies in this gear. They can also take off all of this gear know to place it carefully by the fire place. They finally realize that whining while walking home, through deep snow, does not make the walk any faster or the work any easier. They seem to understand that sharing a sled is more fun than hording one to themselves.
     Now, I want to clarify that my children have not been anywhere near 100% on these subjects, as many of you knowledgeable Mom's must have guessed. But, as silver linings go, this snow cloud has had more silver than grey and I'm going to enjoy it! Apparently having 4 children over the age of 4 = More fun for Momma!!
     Another noticeable difference is our relationship with our neighbors. During the snow last year, I was trying to not go crazy keeping my two 3 yr olds from getting too cold, too wet or too tired and Corbin and Sienna were feeling the crunch. After playing outside for a bit, the new neighbor kids joined us and they even brought a few extra sleds to share. When it was time for the twins to go indoors, they asked if Corbin and Sienna could stay outside and play with them, I was relieved, Corbin and Sienna were stoked!
     Since then our relationship has grown and the daughter often visits and even starting attending Awanas with us. She is 10 and I have often wondered why she enjoys visiting, since she often gets bombarded by the twin's questions or drug around by Sienna. But for some reason she does and I'm not complaining. She helps them do their chores, engages them in new games (is currently playing Hide & Seek with them), and in general helps them out. She is like a big sister that they weren't born with.
      Today she helped us build our snowman, went sledding, and after watching Despicalable Me, she helped Liam with his snow pants and found Barrett's hat so they could all go outside to play again. And as I was watching them all go outside, it occurred to me that things could be very different than they are today. That my actions, on one day in July could have changed everything.

     During the 4th of July, we had a few friends over and had bought a few boxes of fireworks. Our neighbors had an entire truck load of fireworks and enough people to light them. Since this was our first July as neighbors, I was wondering what their party would end like, but it ended up just being a pretty mellow night with a firework show that we didn't have to pay for. Not so shabby.
     Then the 5th happened. Consider the mess a few boxes of fireworks can make, now imagine a truck load worth all sitting in the street. It was everywhere. As I drove through it, I remember thinking, a bit self righteously, "I hope they plan on cleaning that up." Know this, I had not picked up our yard yet either. After swimming with the kids, we returned tired, grumpy and hungry, and not knowing that a large breeze had whipped up during our absence.
     That wind was now blowing all of the fourth of July shrapnel into my yard. My yard was covered. I was not happy. I ran inside and grabbed a few empty grocery bags and told each child I would feed them when the yards was clean. And we started cleaning. I thought, proudly, the awesome lesson I was teaching my children about "loving thy neighbor" as I asked them to clean up the yard to our left where an older Lady lives. I thought of how humbling it would be for the "mess makes" to get home from work and find the street all swept. I hoped they would pull in while I was sweeping. I thought of all the sweet things I could say when they thanked me, how to sound humble, yet irritated and wounded. How I was such a good example to my children while plotting the burning coals that would fall upon my neighbor's heads as they saw my good deeds.
     Then, my greatest hope happened and the Mom did get home right as I was about 3/4 of the way done. She got out of her car, looked at me and said humbly, "thanks, we were going to clean that up tonight." Then, it hit me, she had been at work all day, I hadn't. She was exhausted, I was a brat. I looked at her and said simply, "Well, we got to enjoy all your fireworks, so it's the least I could do." She went indoors and soon her kids came out, brooms in hand. We finished up together, I thanked them and went inside to feed my children. I felt as though someone whispered to me, "this lesson was not for them, it was for you."
     That neighborly lesson I thought I was teaching, was not for my kids, it was for me. All those righteous thoughts were just pride and anger. Had that day gone any differently, or even that one conversation, my children may not have a friend that lives just next door, a friend that can just come over and hang out any ol' time. A friend that seems to enjoy my smallest children as much as my older ones, and a friend that can actually makes my job a little bit easier because she is a little bit taller. And we have neighbors we can feel comfortable around.
     I'm so glad, now, that that day didn't go the way I had originally hoped it would. Oh, so very thankful!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dancing through December

     I don't really remember dance, but I have pictures to prove I did it. Apparently, I've heard, I was the smallest girl in my class. I do have a vague memory of watching the teacher as she led us from behind the curtain, and that my dress was scratchy. Well, in honor of such wonderful memories, I had to, of course, enroll my daughter into a dance class.
    From September through December we attended a dance and acrobatics class each friday night. I shared driving duties with my Sister-of-my-heart, whose daughter was also attending. The girls were adorable and loved showing off their new cartwheel skills, flirty hips and bendable bodies. For their recital, they did a routine to Mariah Carey's, "All I want for Christmas is you" and we learned about how difficult it is to apply and maintain makeup on children and how very carefully you must be to NOT loose or allow dirt to touch two white gloves. We truly had to bring our "A" game, but so did the girls and the efforts were well worth it.

Just a little bit nervous.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chutes and Ladders

     Some days I feel like a good mom, and some days I feel like a failure. Some nights I am engaged and patient, while other nights I am tired and snappy. Some days I vary between the two kinds, sort of like "Chutes and Ladders." The very moment you think you are getting ahead of the hit a wall and slide down, right back to where you started from. Tonight was one of those nights. All day I could feel a cold bug trying to move on in, and I knew that the headache I felt coming on, would only get worse if I started yelling. There I resolved to enjoy my children, knowing that the best defense is a good offense.
      We played Qwitch, a weird math game sort of like Uno, then I promised "Chutes and Ladders" right before bed. I fed my children and cleaned my kitchen. I was getting tired so I hid away for 30 minutes and read my book. I knew time was short, it was 7:30 when we set up Chutes and Ladders. The game was fun, but not everybody can win, not everybody can spin at the same time and not everybody knows how to leave the game board alone when it's not their turn. There were two time outs taken by one child, and a crying fit by another. There was only one very patient 4 yr old who, at the back of the pack for the entire game had not offered a single complaint, and then he, of all the children, landed on the BIG downward slide right as he was catching up to everyone else. Poor kid just sat there and muttered, "I'll never win now." So, I just did what any caring mother would do, I let him cheat and back up that slide he climbed, just so I could see his smile return.
    Then I made the mistake of walking away for a minute. When I returned, one child was yelling, one was crying and I was done. The game was done, we were playing for 2nd place anyhow and I asked everyone to head to bed and I picked up the game. 10 minutes later nobody was in bed and that's when it happend. The scary mad mom voice, that even suprises yourself, came out..."GET INTO BED NOW!!!!!" No fun bedtime conversations, no silly games, just a quick kiss, hug and out the door. "Love you, GOOD NIGHT!!!"
     So close to the end, I almost made it...but down the slide I went. Oh well, thank God for forgiveness and new days. I think tomorrow we'll play Candyland.

Just A Soccer Mom

     In September my twin 4 yr old boys played soccer through the Boys N Girls Club for the first time. It was our first year of sports for all of my chillins, with Corbin hitting baseballs in the spring, the soccer fall and Sienna dancing through December.
      Since I'm writing this post in January, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves and you can guess what it was like hanging out on a  crisp Western-Washington Fall evening with darkness encroaching once a week. Although, we were lucky, I think only 1 or 2 practices were rained out, and 0 games.

    An important piece of this blog, is knowing that my Little Lee is #9, and my Snuggle Bear is #12.

My little #9, Liam, is waiting for his turn.

I'm Practicing Panning on my little #12, Barrett, as he makes a run towards the ball.
3 against 1, I think the Grey Thunder may win this match up.

The goalie has left his post, go for it Lee.

Pulling away from the pack

Intense games involve hair-raising experiences.

Watch out Barrett, your own team might trip you up.

My own trophy??

Check it out!

Ever hear of rose colored glasses, well looking through a trophy makes the world even brighter.

It may look cook, but what I'm really wondering, is how does it taste??

After an intense game, the best this is a good tickle fight.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Like a Slide Show

     In October my most serene friend filled my head with dreams of henna. Well, she actually covered my head in henna. I was then told to take a few pictures of the resulting awesomeness. So, in order to do it, I set up an off camera flash and tripod situation in my hallway. Let's call it an impromptu studio. I, then, had Corbin and Barrett stand in my place to get the settings right, and I took a few pictures of me. By now all the children had gathered, so I sent them off in search of costumes, we turned off all the surrounding lights and played in the dark with the flash firing every few seconds to capture the insanity. There's just something fun about not knowing when the flash would fire and what the camera would capture.

                  Just pure fun



Click to below all of them. 
Like a Slide Show