Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sweet little bundle

#3 has been such a source of delight for our entire family. I enjoyed so much watching my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even our little nieces enjoy holding her. She is not the least bit partial to whom she shares her laughs, coos and big smiles. We were out of town for 7 days and never saw her in a bad mood. She is our little social butterfly and just loves people. What a blessing and perfect addition...two loving, adoring precious brothers and one sweet bundle of joy!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

Blogger Tour of Homes


I was in a mad rush to take these poorly made pictures and post this rushed entry. But I did want to mention our favorite books and activities/traditions with the kids before showing my house.

Books:Jacob's gift, Alabaster's Song, Who is coming to our house?, The Tale of Three Trees

Activities:What God Wants for Christmas kit, Adornaments, acting out/using our Playmobil nativity to dramatize the story of Jesus' birth, spending the night after Christmas in sleeping bags under the Christmas tree *Before I tear it all down and kick the tree to the curb! :)


What a fun idea to be able to see everyone's decorations! I've never participated in anything like this on my blog, but here goes! Here is a blurry picture of our tree. We are still hanging in there with a real tree. I'm sure one day we'll surrender to the artificial tree, but not yet!

This is a picture of our mantle. I haven't gotten #3's stocking yet. The Christmas topiaries are one of my favorite decorations in the house.

This is what our dining room table looks like. The placemats are red velvet from Pottery Barn, I am proud to say that I paid $2 a piece for them at a yard sale. The angels are all from my first bridal shower, a Christmas shower given by my sorority sisters. Actually, 90 % of my Christmas decor is from that shower.

This is my only Christmas collection. My husband started collecting the Dickens village for me beginning with our first Christmas together. My kids love to light it up in the dark.

Gotta run! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Smoochy poo



Today we walked in the kitchen where #2 was eating Ritz crackers. He noticed Rachael Ray on the back of the box. He was giving the box little peck kisses. He caught us watching him and said,"She's pwetty." I can only imagine what life will be like with him as a teenager. With those blue eyes, his affectionate/"touchy feely" personality and his charm I shudder to think! We've call him our "smoochy-poo" because of the dozens of kisses that he plants on #3. Hopefully girls will begin to intimidate him before long. A mommy can only hope!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A little snip-it from last year

Today I was looking back at my journal from last year. I found this entry which I wrote during the midst of last year's holiday season. Our entire family had the stomach bug and one day later my marriage came under major fire. Any way, here it is. I hope it can encourage someone out there who is bogged down and weary.

December 22, 2005
Choosing joy...that's the theme of the day. Yesterday I was prepared to enter a very negative blog. I was struggling with so many heavy burdens, one of which is another virus creeping through our family. I am weary from sickness.

But I woke up with a fresh perspective. My family's wellbeing relies much on my attitude. "If mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy!" This quote is very true under our roof, especially when someone is sick. I definitely set the tone. I have found that when things are particularly yucky and everyone is down, I make or break the day around here. Yesterday I was sulking. I was asking God, "Is it too much to ask for healthy kids?" and "Please...Give me a break!!", etc.

This morning I realized that the here and now, sickness and weariness, this is where God has chosen to put me, and he asks me to be full of joy, hope and love towards Him and my family. If my happiness hinges on my comfort and getting my own way, then I need to realign my heart with God's. He has never promised me physical comfort or my own way. He promises me joy upon joys if I can rely on Him and remind myself of who I am in Him, what He has done for me by saving me, and the blessings he has given me in sharing my journey with my children and husband. Really, His grace is so amazing.

I guess through the cough syrup, vomit, Motrin and countless hours of backrubs and Thomas the Train movies, I have found the meaning of Christmas. The wonder of feeling completely loved and honored among circumstances that are bleak and out of my control. Doesn't God work in mysterious ways? I love him so much! Merry Christmas
!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I thought I was feeling kinda icky...

so I went in to the doctor this afternoon, which is very rare for me. I don't like to take medicine and I don't like to waste my time going to the dr. If my hubby is going to babysit, I would rather be shopping alone or grabbing a Starbucks with a friend! Any way, good thing I went. My little aches and pains turned out to be strep throat and a urinary tract infection. The upside is that I spent 5 quiet hours in the bed which was so refreshing, even with the aches and pains. I think I'll go back to bed. Back to my busy, wonderful, hectic full-time mommy job tomorrow!

Monday, December 11, 2006

86 shots

Today was my first attempt at taking the kids to get a professional group portrait. The morning started out pretty smoothly. The kids were all in great moods, the boys got fresh hair cuts, the baby was grinning from ear to ear all morning, her nursing schedule was working out great with the appointment. Then we left the house...

Long story short, we got lost. There is a 20 minute grace period which we did not make. So we sat in the lobby for an hour to be "worked in". I laid my head down and prayed the entire time. We were counting on these pictures as Christmas presents for half of our family! One lady even asked me if I was sick! Thankfully, an hour later I heard our name called. Thank you, Lord! The baby was in a great mood during the photo shoot, but did not crack a smile because the photographer was squeaking toys and dancing like a fool, and she was perplexed. You should have seen me changing all three kids clothes during the middle of the session. Funny thing is that after all of that trouble I hated all of the pictures in the second outfit! My #1 was the most interesting model. He was embarassed of his snaggle tooth. He's only lost one top middle tooth. He was doing the most bizarre smilish crazy faces. The photographer even asked, "What's up with his tongue?" I think he was trying to use his tongue to hide his gap. I never got a decent shot of him.

After the photo shoot, we sat at a computer screen to order the pics. #3 needed to be nursed so I proceeded to breastfeed right there in front of my 20ish year old male photographer. Meanwhile, #1 wiggled persistently and #2 asked me 15 times to help him with his shoe. It turns out that out of 86 shots I only really loved one. And then I don't even have the energy to post the ordeal we went through during the next hour getting the photos. We also had an interesting lunch at Moe's while we waited which consisted of lots of napkins. Blah, blah, blah. I actually heard a women in the phot place whisper to herself, "He is late again! (I'm sure she was referring to her husband.) If she can do it with three kids, I can do it with one.) It was my only moment of pride all day. Maybe the circumstances were nuts, but I did it all by myself. And so what if it took 86 shots to get one good picture of the three of them! And so what if afterwards I felt like I had run a marathon! I'm laughing so hard right now recalling all of the chaos. Life is so funny in retrospect.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My kind of weekend

This weekend I only had 2 of my 3 little birds in the nest. My #1 was inducted into pre-manhood...he had his first hunting trip with his Daddy and Poppy. He hasn't gotten back yet, but Daddy says they had great success. He rode a four wheel ATV for the first time and he spent lots of time in the woods and saw at least four deer and other animals. He learned how to "fart" on command or at the pull of a finger. (Nice) He ate lots of "meat and potatoes". He slept in a sleeping bag beside his Daddy. He had a blast!

Meanwhile, #3 and #3 and Nana and I enjoyed a more feminine weekend here at home. (Poor #2, he was outnumbered 3:1)We went to the mall, ate out and let the house get as messy as we pleased. We enjoyed quiet nights with the Christmas tree lit and a fire in the fireplace while we recooperated from the shopping. My mom (aka Nana) and I had a margarita together at dinner on Saturday and #2 ate pizza and pbj sandwiches all weekend. We were all thrilled.

Today my mom left early this morning. I only had two little ones to get ready for church and my sweetheart was not here to tempt me to sit and drink coffee with him. It was amazing how easy it was to just get two of us ready and out the door! We had to stop at the gas station and still got there early. Then after church #2 and I had a date at Chili's, followed by a trip to Home Depot. We got more paint! Paint for the boys' room and for the dining room. The little week between Christmas and New Years is going to be a painting week in our house! Okay, little #2 is begging me to play trains with him...more later!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Balance

I am so frustrated with myself right now! I have just discovered (or rather God has revealed to me once again) a sin pattern in my life that needs fixing. It's the cycle of the Christian walk I guess, but frustrating none the less. I am an extremist. What I mean is that I find life hard to balance. I have struggled with perfectionism for a long time, well since I can remember. I don't say that light-heartedly like some women do. Many women call themselves perfectionist and what they are really trying to say is that they like to be neat or win games or whatever. When I say that I am a perfectionist I mean that when chaos begins to ensue, I seek order and will go to great lengths to achieve it!

Right now I am feeling that way about housework. I am looking back on this week with regret because I spent so much time trying to create the perfect house. I cleaned up toys multiple times a day, knowing fully well that the boys would create new messes. I just needed a little time to look around and see order. I put the baby in her seat or swing more that she needed to be just so that I could make sure my bed was made, each pillow perfectly fluffed and placed. Deep down I knew no one cared or would see that bed and in addition, my little guys would eventually jump on it and my work would be in vain. I told my sweet little #2 three times this week that I didn't have time to play with him when there could have been time, but I wanted to organize something or get just one more thing done that wasn't really necessary. I am frustrated with myself.

So here I am again, at the foot of the cross, asking my Savior for forgiveness and my children for forgiveness. If there is anything that I want to accomplish in life for the sake of Christ, it is raising children who know the Lord and who know that they have a Mommy who values her time with her family more than anything else in her life. I want them to grow up knowing how precious and unique they are , and the only way that will happen is if I am spending time with them and finding moments to communicate that to them. (Not just at bedtime or mealtime, but during the real life moments when we are living together!) I want them to have balanced memories of Mommy working as a housewife, Mommy playing and laughing and hugging them, and them playing alone or together. If I parented them during their entire childhood like I did this week, then none of these goals would be accomplished! And I doubt they would look back on that type of childhood with joy. I don't think any adult says, "I had the best childhood! My mom blew me off constantly, but the yellow in our kitchen was a beautiful color and our clothes always smelled of lavender!" Sounds ridiculous, but when I prioritize like this it is just that silly!

Lord Jesus, give me balance in my life and help me to let go of the control I want to have. Help me to find order in knowing I am doing your will and not in my own selfish desires. Help me to treasure the beautiful blessings that you have given me in my children.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A few all-nighters

This week has been quite a challenge. My husband has been very sick since Wednesday. I never realized how much I rely on him until he was completely unavailable! Whew, I went to bed EXHAUSTED every night this week! Tuesday, the night before he came down with this awful virus, I got up at 3:30 am to feed #3 and decided to stay up and devote 20 minutes to each room. Somehow the house was out of control, and then we had pulled out Christmas decorations and only half decorated. It took me until 6:30 to catch up and make each room look like I wanted it to. (Keep in mind on the main floor we only have 3 rooms that I could work in...living room, dining room and kitchen!) I thought I would catch a nap the next day or sleep in and let Daddy take over. Then he got sick!!

But now I feel rested and I am ready to do another silly all-nighter. My precious husband painted our kitchen for my birthday present last week. Sadly, I do not like the color. I picked it out, so his feelings aren't hurt. But I am insisting on re-painting it myself because I feel so badly about it! I picked a coffee brown. I thought it would be rich and soothing. I have a Tuscan-type painting with brown, blue and yellows. It turns out the brown doesn't remind me of yummy coffee or fresh bread, but more of poop! Maybe I've changed one too many diapers, but I can't stand it! So I am going to paint it our tried-and-true yellow. It's my favorite shade, "Arizona Tan" by Behr. I love it. It's a bright, warm yellow. Not a butter, but a warm tone. I plan to use the coffee color in our bedroom. And we are also about to paint our dining room a pumpkiny, rust color. I found a great piece of art at Kohl's today for the dining room...49.99!

Why have I chosen to do house projects now?? I just had a birthday and my generous family all caught my hint that "I don't really need any thing...but if you must, I'll take cash for home decor." We moved in this house at the end of July when I was 8 months pregnant and I haven't been able to really make it mine. Well, between my sweetie's family and mine I received over $400! And I thought birthdays were a thing of the past by 30! (I am currently 31 and loving it!) So I am ready to decorate. I have always been one that has no problem putting back savings, but once my spending money is allotted...I spend!

But I will say my timing is foolish, I know it and I can't stop myself! Trying to buy all of the Christmas presents with 3 kids, decorate for Christmas, homeschool, cook and be an at least adequate homemaker has proved to be a big challenge. And then this week I was frantically doing all of this while trying to be a good nurse for my sick patient. I was lysoling and febreezing every time he left the bed or the couch in hopes of not spreading the virus to the rest of the family, particularly the baby. I literally looked like a chicken with my head cut off running around. I don't think at sat down for a single meal for three or four days straight! I was praying so hard for my sweet Savior to give me a fulfilling sense of worship and purpose as I served Him in serving my family. Many tasks were done with just feeling, but I will admit I secretly dropped a few four letter words under my breath as well. I am and always will be a work in progress, this side of heaven at least!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I love this season!


It can't really be mid-November! Where has the time gone? We have had a wonderful fall thus far. I have enjoyed fall traditions more this year than ever. We have marvelled at God's handiwork in the fall leaves, made batches and batches of pumpkin muffins, and I have fallen for hot teas and a new type of coffee that I don't seem to have a funny reaction to. We have also enjoyed many nights and mornings by the fire already, both inside and outside. We have discovered that we have a wonderful place on our property for night time bonfires. We have even been out with a glass of wine to enjoy by the bonfire after the kids are tucked in. I am going to miss the fall. I can't bring myself to shop for Christmas presents right now. I don't want to miss an afternoon to enjoy these last few days of my favorite season of the year.

Above are my boys waiting patiently for Mommy and #3 to get on our Sunday accessories and get on our way to church. They were so sweet and patient and cute while they were waiting and watching me apply the lipstick and earrings, wrestle the big bow on the baby's head, find her prettiest blanket because the regular cotton one just wouldn't do, etc. I took a picture for posterity. Maybe I will show it to them one day when they are engaged and remind them of the patience that women require. PS...I cut their hair myself! I am learning slowly but surely how to be a good steward of what God has given us, which doesn't come naturally. I saved $25 on their hair and $15 when I cut my man's...I admit I immediately wondered what I could now buy with the $40 I saved, but I dismissed that thought and left it in the bank!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The silver lining

God is really doing a marvelous work in my soul regarding my ministry here at home. I wrote in an earlier blog that I brought the kids home early from our beach trip a few weeks ago. That trip began the humbling lesson that God has been teaching me. In a nutshell, our trip to the beach was a struggle for me. My husband was asked to do a 30 minute lecture per day on creationism. The group he was speaking to was a homeschool co-op called Living Science. The kids were in high school. We went with the expectation of him being able to help with our kids during the day and afternoon, and then spend the evenings with the group. Once we got there he was asked to be with the group the whole day, every day. I was left with my newborn and two boys in a motel room. It was difficult to take the kids to the pool because the baby and I could not get in the water, and the beach was okay but very windy. By Wednesday all of the children had bad colds. So we came home. This trip was a trial for me because the majority of the time I was handling all three children alone in an unfamiliar and not ideal setting and then I traveled 6 1/2 hours home alone, only stopping to breastfeed.

So that was the down side, but isn't it just like God to have a silver lining? The up side was that I got to talk with some of the chaperones on the trip and be very encouraged for our road ahead with homeschooling. I got to see the most emotionally, academically and spiritually mature teenagers I have ever been around, and that was very encouraging! But most importantly, I learned something very important in my marriage. I learned that submitting to my husband is of upmost importance. I drove back home from a "failed trip" so tempted to have an "I-told-you-so" attitude towards my man. After all, who asks their wife to hit the road for 12 days with a newborn? But if I would not have heard God's sweet voice and listened, I would have missed out on so much. Yes the trip was a trial, but it was God's desire for me. My husband was not wrong in requiring me to go. I realized, by God's grace, the He is sufficient for me. I don't have to always be comfortable or organized or have it easy to be in His will. He taught me the strength I have when I look to Him. He allowed me to meet some amazing families and be encouraged enough to commit to homeschooling for the long run. He enabled me to not be mad at my husband for the mess we seemed to be in, but to seek out what God wanted me to learn. All of these lessons are things that I struggle with. I am constantly amazed at how God works in our lives.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My equivalent to Disney World

This week for me is the equivalent to a child's week at Disney World. I am so excited about it. The week began with Sunday when my parents were here and then we hosted our community group from church. I love beginning my week with worship at church and good fellowship with this group. I am learning in a rich way the deep blessing our Father gives us as we live in community with His body of believers. Then yesterday I met my dear friend and her three sweet children at the museum. We enjoyed hours and hours of uninterrupted conversation, a rare treat. Today I got to go to the grocery store alone. I love my kids, but this was again a rare treat. (Which would explain why I came home with delicacies that I usually don't have the time to think about...sun dried tomatoes, white wine, etc.) Tomorrow and Thursday will be low key days at home, which I am thrilled to have. I bought some storage containers and plan to continue my project in the school room of organizing and removing toys that the boys have outgrown. (Let me take this opportunity to make a plug for label makers. If you don't have a labeller, you NEED one. I'll take some pics later of how I use mine...everything from art supplies to toy bins are labelled in my house. :) ) Thursday night I am having a little Bible study with one of my closest friends here. We are reading The Ministry of Motherhood together, a must read for all moms! I have read it at least twice, but I can't wait to hear my friend's fresh perspective. Friday the same friend and another mom and all of our kids are going to have a playdate here at the house. Saturday we are having two of my man's former co workers and their families over to watch a college football game.

Having said all of this I realize we are having four events at our house in one week! I am finally ready to join the land of the living after #3's birth. I am so excited to be at a point where we can open our home to our friends and family again. It is good to feel rested and be able to serve again. I'm sure I'll be blogging on how exhausted I am next week, but for now I am going to enjoy each fun day. I definitely need time alone, time with my kids, time alone with my man, etc. But right now I am just craving time with friends after the first 6 post partum weeks. This truly is like a week at Disney... all I am missing is a Starbuck's and a shopping spree to call it a vacation!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Our little pumpkins

We had a fun Halloween. The boys, Mimi and I went trick-or-treating. There are so many kids here in our new neighborhood. I saw several families with children the same age as ours. I want so much to connect with them, but it is hard to. People are just so busy and kids aren't free to roam the streets. I am sure through prayer God will allow our paths to cross with whom He chooses. Anyway, the boys were so grown up. I can vividly remember a couple of years ago when they were too scared to walk to the doors and speak up. Last night we stood at the road and watched them walk up all of the driveways and sidewalks and say, "Trick or treat!" without any help. They just seemed so big!

I almost forgot to carve jack-o-lanterns this year. The afternoon of Halloween I remembered and we all piled in the van to find the last remaining pumpkins. The perks were that the pumpkins were practically free ($1 each), and they were very ripe which made them soft and easy to carve. The kids drew their own designs on the pumpkins with a marker and their Daddy did the carving. I bought a kids' book at the Christian bookstore about Halloween. It talked mainly about not having a "spirit of fear" when they see pretend ghosts, etc. No impressive theology, but good preparation before trick-0r-treating. The night was so beautiful. The fall trees even looked amazing in the street light and the air was cool and crisp, but not frigid.

The baby stayed home happily with Daddy to hand out candy. She has always been mostly good natured, but since we cut out dairy and began a daily regimen of Zantac she had blossomed. She flirts and smiles now frequently. We are all captivated. She looked at #1 and smiled at him for the first time today. We were at the mall. There was hardly anyone there and the kids were waiting for me in the restroom. All of a sudden I hear #1 squeal and he screams, "Mama, Mama, she smiled at me!" It was the first thing he shared with his Daddy when we got home. My family blesses me so much each day!

Monday, October 30, 2006

One month old

#3 is a month old! We went to the doctor today due to reflex. She got the same medicine that both of the boys had. Thankfully, she doesn't seem to be too fussy with it. And she is gaining weight fine despite the fact that she spits up everything! She weighs 10 pounds, 7 ounces already! Time is flying by. More later about our beach trip and why the kids and I came back 4 days early?! It was not exactly fun, but we had fun moments and we survived.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Let's not call it a vacation, let's call it an adventure

Signing off for the next 10 days. We are going to the beach. That's right, the beach. My man is speaking at a conference and the thought of being here without him for a week and a half was just too much. So "they" are paying for all of us to come along. I am not the adventurous spirit that many of you are so I am quite anxious. I wish so badly that I was a spontaneous mommy. I have never traveled with a newborn, except to see family a few hours away. I don't think we've ever even taken a family vacation for longer than 6 or 7 days. But we are going, and by golly it will be okay. I have already been reprimanded by my man for expecting the worst. I am usually a cup half full kindof girl, so he is baffled. So pray for us! I don't look to have a "vacation", I just want everyone to be happy and stay healthy. I sound so ungrateful, yikes!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The dinosaur kisses the princess

#1 has been doing a lot of reading about amusement parks. His obsession started in September when his Mimi announced to him that she and Papa are taking the whole family to Disney World next year. He immediately devoted his 20 minutes of computer time to researching every website he could find on Disney. His Papa recently bought him a kids' guide to Disney World. He received it this weekend and has already read it numerous times cover to cover. He has a mental agenda for our entire week at Disney. He knows which gift shops and restaurants come highly recommended. He knows which rides we want to get "fast passes" to ride. It is hilarious what he has planned. He has actually prayed to be 7 years old so that he can go to Disney. He also wants to go to Legoland in California. Somehow, in all of the hoopla, he discovered that website, too.

Well, yesterday I just could not take another conversation with him about Disney World. I did not want to hear again about Space Mountain. I did not want to be asked to tell him again about my memories of my last Disney trip. So I asked him to think of his own imaginary amusement park. I told him to go and dream it up and come back to me with fresh conversation. He quickly came back and said, "No girls allowed!" "What's that?", I asked. "That's the name of my amusement park." He is now in a dinosaur costume. "See, there will be scary stuff and roller coasters and dinosaurs." He then hears little #3 moan. He leans over to kiss her and quietly says, "Okay, there can be one princess playground...But that's it!!", and he leans over and kisses her. Sweet sisters change everything!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I've been thinking...

about my long term goals as a mom. I have been talking a lot lately to a good friend who has deep scars from childhood. This person has a well-intentioned, Christian mom. But her parenting was not very interactive or nurturning and the effects have been long-lasting. All of the conversations that I have had with this person have inspired me to think ahead. And then today I read a quote by George Washington that said, "My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." Could you imagine your child saying that about you when he grows into an adult? A few years ago I read a collection of love letters that George and Martha Washington exchanged during the Revolutionary War. His love for her was so precious, and yet he says that his mother was the most beautiful women he ever saw. She must have been a wonderful, loving, amazing mother.

As I think about my little darlings, I have so many hopes and dreams for them. My greatest desire is for them to have a deep love and zeal for the Lord Jesus. I pray that their love for Him will be the cornerstone of their lives. That should be paramount for any Christian parent. So I have been thinking beyond that to what makes our little family unique and how I can be purposeful in striving toward that end. I can't put my desires into words yet except that I hope and pray that we will always be deeply knit. That we will always share on a deep level the joys and trials of life. I hope that my children can have the respect and love for me that will bind us together for a life time. I pray that they will look fondly back on their childhood and feel blessed by it. Hmm, I'm still trying to find the words. After countless hours of nursing my little sweetheart, I've just been thinking...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kisses

We counted the other day...#2 kissed the baby 31 times from dawn til dusk. What a blessing.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Our first outing, just us girls

It's funny how I feel with this new baby. I guess because there is a four year gap between #2 and #3, and because I have never had a girl, I really feel like a new mom in many ways. This past Friday was a prime example. I took the baby to her 2 week check-up. I was actually nervous to see if she is gaining weight. It's so silly! But with breastfeeding, who knows how much milk they are getting? And she is sometimes going 4 hours between feedings and I did NOT want the doctor to tell me to wake her up to feed. Thankfully, she is gaining well. The picture above is what she wore to the dr. appointment. We have all of these adorable newborn size outfits and I don't want her to outgrow them, so we took the outing as an opportunity to wear something fancy. It really is fun dressing little girls.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Most embarassing moment

So, I shared my most shameful post-partum moment with my best friend tonight and I thought why not give you all a laugh, too. Yesterday, or maybe the day before, I asked my mom to listen out for the boys while I took a nap. Let me back up, I have a love/hate relationship with our master-on-the-main. I love it except when I am looking for quiet time. So, back to the story, I tried to ignore screaming, dump trucks rolling loudly down the hardwood foyer outside my door, the sound of little boys loudly imitating jets, car motors, monsters, etc. until I had had enough! I storm out the door and begin to lecture them on being respectful of others, that they are not the only two people in the family and they need to think of mommy too, etc. I notice my oldest is not looking at me in the face and I feel even more disrespected. I say in my sternest mommy voice, "You better look at my eyes when I'm talking to you!!" Just then I look down and I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I had fallen asleep nursing the baby. I had on a nursing shirt and my right bre*st is just hanging out for all the world to see. My husband wonders if they will be scarred for life! I hope not. It sure is funny now in hindsight!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A new day

Today was a wonderful day. I ended my yuck day yesterday in prayer. When I woke up this morning I had to face the music, literally. The boys have an early music class on Tuesdays so I had to be up and at 'em by 6:45. I actually love being in a hot shower before the kids are awake. What a great time for prayer and clarity. And the baby decided to go 4 hours between each feeding during the night! I started the day feeling better.

Today I knew we had a morning planned away from home and I wondered how the baby would do. I hated to get her out so soon. But the day was amazing. While the kids went to their music class, I nursed her in a chapel. It was dark and quiet and peaceful. Then she slept while we played on the playground with friends. I saw one of my dearest friends for the first time in a month and the fellowship was so nice. On the way home the most AMAZING moment of my day happened, it was a huge answer to prayer. My man called and asked if my mom could eat lunch with the kids and give us some time to have a date lunch together (with #3 in tow, of course.) I knew she would need to nurse right in the middle of lunch, but so what, I was game! We had the sweetest time together. Nothing romantic, just two best friends soaking up one another's company. I needed it SO much. I think my biggest problem yesterday was that my "love tank" was completely on empty. It had been too long since I had some cuddles and quality time with my sweetheart. The timing was perfect. The baby slept through the entire lunch, so it was more than I could have expected!

When we got home I knew we needed to have homeschool. On Tuesdays we do school in the afternoon which is not the best time for my boys to focus. It turned out to be a really great day in school. They did well and the baby slept through all four lessons. She must be going through her first growth spurt. She is eating like a little pig when she nurses, staying awake about 15 more minutes and then she is sleeping for 2 or more hours. Anyway, God was gracious to allow the events of the day to go so smoothly. It was convicting for me to see that life is so full of blessing and joy and that my melodrama is really silly. I am a thankful momma tonight.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The dreaded hormones

Today the post partum hormones have surged. Ugg. I should have seen this coming. Today was a day full of doubts and fears...all day long! The baby would fuss after a feeding and I would secretly wonder, "Could this be the beginning of colic??" It was our first day to homeschool since we welcomed our new little one into the family and the lessons went really well, but I still wondered why in the world I had willingly chosen this for us this year. It seemed like too much today. Even though I am down 20 pounds, I still have 13 to go to be back to pre-baby weight. I wondered as I took a 1/2 mile walk and became winded if I would ever get "my body" back. I watched my mom cook dinner #10 for us and wondered how in the world I would manage dinner next week when she leaves. My man chose to play his Play Station football game tonight after the kids went to bed and I wondered why he would choose to do that over be with me.

The pattern here is not good, I know. I'm blaming it on the hormones. I am going to go and pray that God would give me a deep sense of the impact I am making on my children for eternity. I am going to pray that He will fill me with a deep sense of His love and calling for me. I am going to pray that He will take every thought captive. And, I'm not gonna lie, I am going to lay all of these requests before Him. And I am going to pray that He will help me to be realistic. The baby is only 11 days old. I think I have just been looking so forward to feeling good that I am rushing into everything. I'm exhausted!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Ripleys believe it or not!!




I want a consensus. Don't you think the baby could have made Ripley's for this umbilical cord? I looked over and thought a shiny squash was hanging off of her navel! I know it's gross and I'm not trying to make her a freak show. But, have you ever seen such a thing??? They used forceps to clamp it because the traditional clamp was too small.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Our little team

We have a love for college football. It actually marks my very favorite time of year for so many reasons. I remember in college during football season I could count on seeing my mom and dad every Saturday as they came to town for the games. I would meet my brother, who also attended the same college, at the stadium. I went to every game with my sweetheart all decked out (he was in a fraternity and in the south that means dressing up for every game). I love the smell in the air. I love looking at a crowd of 80,000 people that all have a love for the same team. I love instantly connecting with a stadium full of strangers. I love football season. For a girly-girl who was always into ballet and the dance team, it is the only sport I have ever understood. I never played sports in my life. So there it is, and now we are passing down the love to our little team. Don't they look cute?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Good morning!

Even after a night with little rest, I am marveling at this beautiful face that I woke up to this morning.

Today I read a newsletter from a dear friend who just had her fourth baby and is raising support to be an overseas missionary with her young family (husband, 6 yr old, 3 yr old, 18 month old, 1 month old). She quoted a book, Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, which I have not read but have heard so much about. This quote is so beautiful and poignant to me right now as I type at the computer with a weak body, ratty hair and tired eyes. I am inspired and so deeply joyful.

After the birth of a new baby Elizabeth says,
"I shall now have one mouth the more to fill, and two feet the more to shoe; more disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure for visiting, reading, music and drawing. This is one side of the story to be sure, but I look at the other. Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God, and the body in which it dwells is worthy of all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ's name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation, my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother's heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her life-long prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!"

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Here she is...



With love and thankfulness we announce the birth of our little sweetheart...

Lydia Joy
8 pounds, 3 ounces
20 1/2 inches
September 21 at 7:25 pm

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The baby's nursery




Before we go to the hospital, I wanted to post some pictures of the baby's nursery. This might not be interesting at all to anyone. But a while back I blogged on the changing table my husband was making for her and other decorating ideas and I thought some of you would enjoy seeing the finished product. I was really proud of my man for making his first piece of furniture for our little girl. It looks like a potter's bench from a garden, but of course the pastels make it soft and sweet for a baby girl's nursery. Also, remember the sewing project I talked about? I was going to recover the glider? Well...I ran out of time and found a local seamstress to do it. We actually just got it back today and I thought she did a good job. The fabric feels like a mixture of corduroy and velvet. It is really soft and comfy. The picture of the crib is hard to make out. The stars and dragonfly actually are suspended from the ceiling. I love the way they look and it will be fun for her to look up and see them, but I am a little worried that they will fall into her crib so they may not last. (I am so paranoid. My husband assured me that they are safely secured to the ceiling!) The wall with the window is painted pink with a scallop at the top. My husband worked so hard to make that scallop just right. But that too did not show up so well on the photo. Any how, that's the finished product. Again, I was going to sew curtains for her nursery but I some how ran out of time. (I am blaming it on homeschool! :) So I found these curtains at Pottery Barn and had her initials monogrammed on them.

I hope she enjoys it! Thank you for those who gave their advice on how to decorate and what you liked. We are happy with the way it turned out and more importantly it was such a fun step in getting excited about her birth and celebrating her. We are officially "on call" now with the hospital. A nurse will call within the next 48 hours to tell us to come in to start the induction. So I am signing off until we get back. Thanks so much for your prayers!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Whew, what a day!

After a LONG trip to the grocery store, I was so thrilled when my friend called and asked us to come over after lunch. It was my little motivation to put one foot in front of the other and stock up on groceries and toiletries for the next week or two. The kids were great and we got everything on the list. Lunch was good. Then we went to our friend's house...

The weather was so beautiful today. My friend has a newborn, so we plopped our behinds in camping chairs in the driveway and ordered the kids to play outside while we talked. They did for the next 3 hours, but there were so many interesting interruptions. First, her 17 month old fell and just about took a 6 foot plunge into the creek below. (They have a creek that runs under their driveway.) She was literally hanging in the monkey grass when we ran to retrieve her.) I think I pulled a muscle trying to run with my big belly, and Becca had her newborn baby in tow so she was not much faster. #1 was particularly bossy today and had to be reprimanded upteen times for not letting other people share their ideas. #2 ran up to the chair and impulsively grabbed Becca's cell phone and tossed it into her water cup. I have no idea why he did that, but we will probably be paying for a new phone for her. Oh, and #1 was in the garage playing with gymnastic rings and somehow wrapped the rope from the rings around his neck. It wasn't tight enough to hurt him, but a little scary none the less. We came home and my sweetie had dinner almost ready. While I bathed the muddy kids, he got fish, sweet potatoes and pasta on the table. It was delicious to me...but it took #2, our pickier eater, 1 hour and ten minutes to eat what was on his plate!

Can you tell by my tone that I am a little grumpy? I think I need to sign off and go and get a really good night sleep. That always gives me a new perspective!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Chuggin' along

Today was a quiet day at home. The boys made me laugh at the interesting things they found to entertain themselves with. For some reason, my oldest is obsessed with wanting to see E.T. So they came up with an E.T. skit and performed it on stage (our bed). We caught a pet praying mantis, named him Bacon Biscuit Pop Tart or "Bacon" for short. Their Daddy also found a little pet turtle for them that #2 named Nemo. Other forms of entertainment were the sand box, which they decided to sit in and pour sand from head to toe on one another. And they also created a really intricate dinosaur land with plastic dinosaurs. We decided to take homeschool as I felt like doing it this week...and I was not up for it today. #1 talked the entire day long. I wonder how he has a voice left at the end of the day. He asked me at dinner tonight, "What does it feel like to die?" Literally one sentence later he was telling me of a special exhibit at Disney World that he read about and wants to see next year when we go.

We found out at the dr. that I am 3/4 cm dialated. So we are feeling good about being induced this week. We were planned for Friday, but might get moved up to Thursday. Tomorrow we will know a day and time. I am completely focussed on having this baby and can't seem to accomplish anything else. I am done nesting. I now have no desire to clean, cook or wash clothes. My husband has provided a cleaning crew for me right now, thank goodness. So at least I know that Wednesday I can count on them to clean the house really well.

That's all for us. Not much excitement today, just chuggin' along!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Our last week as a foursome

Well, this is our last Saturday as a family of four. Kindof weird! We have all been so excited about our new addition. I want to spend this last week dreaming of her and anticipating her. But I also want to enjoy our family this way, too. I feel like we are so blessed to be a really close family. We are blessed to have a lot of time together due to homeschooling and my man working at home. I know that the amount of time the four of us spend together is way more than the average family. There was a time a few years ago that I felt like I hardly ever saw my husband due to his commute and work load. So I am so thankful for his flexibility and time now. I just want to soak it all up. The baby will add so much fun and love and excitement to our little family, but still it will never be the same. We are ready for a change, I think. But this week is all about the end of our little foursome and the beginning of being a family of 5. I think we will cap it off on Thursday night with a cake to celebrate. I can't believe we have less than a week! Does anyone have any other ideas on how to prepare the boys?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ugg...

Our trip to the aquarium...my new favorite field trip!

Praying through this last week of pregnancy. I am really being tempted to worry and fear. I am about to put off homeschool to go and search scripture for some verses to encourage me. If you have any in mind, please comment!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sweet Daddy

Something wonderful has happened between my man and #2 the two the past month. My boys have both always enjoyed their Daddy so much. And who wouldn't? He takes the time to really BE with them. They have their weekly Daddies and Donuts outing. They go fishing, camping, to the creek, to the park and so many other places...just the 3 of them. They play cards, sumo wrestle, play tag, swim or play hide-and-seek daily. They already have many skills that they can say they learned from their Daddy. My husband is an amazing Dad!!

But beyond that, there is a new bond between he and #2. My little guy can absolutely not get enough of his Daddy! If they are in the same room, he is hugging him, on his shoulders, asking him questions, etc. The other day #2 got hurt and actually went to his Daddy for sympathy. It is the first time either of us can remember that we were both there and he chose Daddy. I know that it is no coincidence that this transition is happening right now as we are getting ready to have a baby. I am so thankful for what God is doing to their relationship. It makes it easier for me to see my baby become a big brother. Isn't it so amazing that our great, big God works out the simplest details and listens to the tiniest of prayers?

Friday, September 08, 2006

A peaceful day

Today was a refreshing day around here. My man took over homeschool just after lunch. It took he and the boys several hours to finish the bird houses. I spent the time getting some things done and then relaxing on the deck. I actually stayed still long enough to watch the hummingbirds feed at the feeder, get a few bug bites and read. It was heavenly. This house has the most wonderful deck. We have never had a deck before, always just a slab patio. This deck is a tri-level piece of heaven. There is a lot of shade back there, so it is cool and peaceful. The thermometer read 62 degrees this morning and around 70 degrees this afternoon.

The kids came in to rest and then we decided to eat out. Mexican...mmm! The highlight was not the food, just the idea of not having to cook or clean. We stopped by the pond in our neighborhood and it was so cool and pleasant. We explored new trails and my sweetie gave the kids a mini science lesson on cicadas. Their "shells" were all over the trees. We also saw ducks, geese, turtles, fish and lots of mosquitoes! After a quick stop at the playground we came home and put them to bed. #1 prayed, "Dear God, Thank you for your world filled up with all of your creation. Thank you for the other planets too. But thank you for so much creation." What a day! Another day that I just sucked in slowly and wished would never end with these two amazing little boys. The weeks are flying by and I can't get enough of them...their faces, their words, their hugs and kisses. I feel overwhelmingly blessed today.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Homeschool Highlights




We have been studying different types of animals this year in homeschool. First we studied farm animals and farming, then wild animals and the zoo and this week we are studying birds. I wanted to post some of our favorite projects. The first picture is of our clay monkeys. The second is of the kids feeding a calf at the dairy farm...my favorite field trip thus far! (That's my big belly in the picture.) The third is #1 finding the queen bee at the honey exhibit at the farmer's market. And the last is some animal creation that #1 made from his Kidnex toys. Tomorrow the kids are making bird houses with Dad. I'll post pictures, should be fun.

One of my highlights in school this week was #2's prayer for our day yesterday. He prayed an original that made me smile. "Dear Jesus, I just pway dat you have a good day. I hope your day goes well Jesus. In Jesus name, Amen!"

Also, reading clicked for #2 today. We used those Leap Frog refrigerator letters for reading lesson. I needed a break from 110 Easy Lessons...it's so monotonous! I started putting any and every 3 letter word I could think of together. He was sounding them out and reading! I was so excited that Daddy was down stairs and got to be a part of our big day. We were all jumping up and down (well, I was sortof jumping, maybe bouncing) and clapping and yelling. It was so sweet! As exhausted and sometimes even worthless as I feel, somehow we are getting school accomplished and the year is really going well in terms of learning and fun. Now if only I can get the rest of our life in order (laundry, bills, errands, etc.etc.etc.)!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Happy birthday #2!

Where does the time go? My precious little boy turned FOUR last week. In honor of his big birthday and his big life, I had to do a little post on my FOUR favorite things about #2.

1. You are a walking testimony that God knows what to give us even when we don't know what to ask for. I prayed for a daughter when you were in my tummy. I really believed that I already had a son and I needed you to be a girl. What in the world would my life be like if I always got what I asked for? Your "boyhood" makes our family just what it is. You are a patient, loving, entertaining, amazing brother. I am SO thankful that I have two sons and not just one. What a blessing!

2. Your blue eyes, sweet perfect nose, white teeth, and round face are absolutely breath taking to me. Every single day I look at your face and you make me smile adoringly. You have the most animated facial expressions I have ever seen!

3. You are so sweet and lovable. You are easy to get along with, apologetic, affectionate, and bubbly. The big, amazing spirit that God gave you is contagious and fun and brings so much life to our house!

4. You are fun to homeschool. You learn fast and you are attentive. You are a kinesthetic learner and take everything apart. If anything is broken in our house, I always look for you, and you always smile and confess proudly. You are amazing with numbers and writing. When you feel joy or are excited about an accomplishment, you scream with joy. You melt my heart. Happy birthday!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

D-day

Several of you have asked about the baby's due date. I will be induced on September 22, unless she comes earlier. I am being induced because I had a lot of pre-term dialation with #2 and he came fast. I was 6/7 cm when I went in to be induced, and he came in a couple of hours. He was 10 days early. So they are anticipating the same pattern with #3.

We started a countdown today with the kids. It worked well into our lesson because we are talking about tally marks in math. There are only 21 little tally marks between today and the day I meet my little girl!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Nesting Nazi

I have gone into complete nesting mode...not in a cute way. My poor man has moved 2 pieces of furniture into the baby's room and put together the crib all in one day today. We made this goal to have her room done by the end of August (which by the way is tomorrow!), and I would not budge. He was working on it right up until 20 minutes before he had to go to youth group.

And I'm not just going crazy to get the nursery done. I make these lists for myself that are out of control each day. Yesterday I made a list of 22 things that need to be done. I kindof thought that I might get them done all yesterday. (And if I wasn't pregnant, by golly, I would have!) Of course, the list did not include dishes, laundry, cooking or homeschooling, you know the usual stuff. So I went to bed with 4 accomplished tasks from that crazy list. I think I may have done 4 more today. Some of the things are not necessities, but most of them are. (Like grocery shopping and going to get books for our new unit study that started 2 days ago.) How did I get so far behind? I think when you become a homeschooler, you have to be willing to do things around the house after they go to bed. Most days it takes until 12:30 to finish school. Then lunch. And then I feel like the kids need to get out of the house and at least breathe fresh air, or on a lot of days see a friend or two. By the time that is all over with it seems I am moving toward cooking dinner, then cleaning the kitchen, taking baths, reading books...and then OOPS! It is 8:00. Normally that is when I put up the laundry, clean out the messy car, prepare for the next day of school, etc. Well, at this stage of pregnancy I am done with my day by 8:00. So I guess that is where I am coming up short, just lacking that hour or two at night. Hmm...I guess I'll just have to prioritize. But no matter how much I try to not let it bother me, it just does. I guess I am and always will be fundamentally a little anal.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A year of trials and faith-builders

*I will go ahead and warn you that this entry is revealing, raw, intimate. Read at your own risk! :)

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We met the first weekend of our first year in college. By the time I turned 18 a few months later, we were head over heels in love. So he has been my only heart throb during my entire adult life. I've heard of a lot of statistics about people who get married young like we did. I'm sure the general consensus would be that I did not know enough about myself or my future to be able to commit myself completely to someone else. But we were extremely blessed to have complete support from our church and family when we got married. And looking back, I really didn't have a clue where I was going or what I was doing, but I did understand the gospel and God's plan for marriage. We were, at least well prepared spiritually.

So Friday night was a big celebration time for us. We left the children with my mom and my sweetie had a surprise date planned for us. (I love surprises. He plans a secret date once or twice a year and it is so exciting!) We went to the most beautiful restaurant. We had a window view of the lake, the landscape was beautiful. Dinner was great. After dinner he wanted me to open my present. I unwrapped it and inside was the most beautiful ring. It has three gorgeous diamonds in a row. I was floored! I have only received jewelry a handful of very special times in my life. I was really not expecting it at all. But what he had to say when I opened the gift was the sweetest moment of the night.

I didn't start this blog until the drama had settled in our life, so I think only 2 people who might be reading know what we have been through this last year. Wow, it's hard to look back and see that so much could go wrong and right in one year. It's definitely been the most eventful year of my life. To try to make a long story a little shorter, I'll start with our last anniversary. The very day of our anniversary I shared with my husband that we were pregnant. A couple of weeks later the morning sickness began. We struggled along, excited but tired until around Halloween when we found out that we had lost the baby. Actually I found out first when I was by myself at a routine check-up. That was really horrible, especially having to call and tell my husband over the phone. We have such a great family and friends who surrounded us during that time. I had no idea how hard it would be to mourn that loss. My #1 named her "Sarah", so that is how we refer to that baby. Of course we never knew for sure that she was a girl. During the following days of sadness is when I found the verse that lead to the hope we found to try again for another baby. "Weeping comes for a night, but joy comes in the morning." I knew that God would eventually give me a little girl that I would name Joy. I have to admit that part of me wondered if Joy would be a Chinese girl that we would later adopt. After a miscarriage, it was hard for me to imagine carrying a healthy baby full term, especially a girl. But this verse gave me peace on tough days. God's grace and love were so real and tangible to me during our loss that there is no way to describe the faith-builder that this time was for me.

In December we had another really challenging time in our family. Through a series of events I discovered that my husband had struggled to keep his mind and eyes pure. Without revealing the details, I'll just say that I also found out that this struggle had almost lead to an affair a couple of years ago. This blow to our marriage was by far the lowest point in my life. I have never felt more insecure or confused. My husband is a godly man with a servant heart. He is typically incredibly loyal and giving. To think that he had succumbed to the temptation to lust after other women or had been very tempted to actually have a physical relationship with one rocked me to the core. I spent about two weeks with no sleep, unless I took medication to help me rest. I woke up many times having nightmares or overwhelming feelings of anxiety. My world had changed forever and it was shocking, to say the least. Of course, looking back I feel extremely blessed that he had not had an affair, nor did he have any addictive behaviors. None the less, we were at a crossroads. A lot had been lost, particularly trust and security.

Leaving out a lot of details, once again my Savior's presence was real and amazing. I was able to forgive out of the overflow of love and forgiveness that I have found in Christ. My husband was so broken and humble, in need of the same mercy that I need and have tasted. We spent a solid week alone. We poured out our hearts to one another. Our marriage was forever changed. Trust is a hard thing to build back. But I came to a point many times where I had to rely on the power of the gospel in his life. Did I really believe that the gospel transforms a broken, contrite heart? And he was the most humbled, broken person I have ever seen. If I did, then I had to let go and trust God when I was not with him. Somehow I did. (Meanwhile, he went to our pastor for counseling, sought out counsel from friends and family, had three accountability partners, and we prayed together often for protection.) We did not underestimate Satan's ability to attack. But God poured his love and protection over us both.

During this time of reconcilliation, I can not describe the oneness that I felt with my husband. And during that time, #3 was conceived. The following months have been incredible. The depth of love and gratitude that I feel for my man and boys is indescribable. The faith that I have in my Lord is tried and true. And here we are at our tenth anniversary, stronger than ever. Only a God that created the universe and holds us in the palm of His hand could accomplish that! It is amazing to look at our marriage and know that we have been through the valleys and are still running the race, and loving it!

I hope that someone will be encouraged by our story or will be able to remember it when they go through a similar circumstance. Also, I want you all to see what an amazing God we serve and how his love can heal even the deepest wounds. I am amazed at how he transforms hearts and lives. I am looking forward to a lifetime with my precious husband as we follow Jesus in faith. "Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory forever."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Avoiding

My oldest son has a mind that RACES! I don't think I could survive one day if I had to have his brain. He doesn't have a particularly hard time paying attention, or at least I don't think he does in comparison to any other 6 year old boy, but when he speaks I sometimes wonder how he so quickly changes his thought pattern.

Case in point, we were just sitting at lunch. Homeschool is over for the day. He was asking me if I had ever seen a Lilo and Stitch movie. Literally 10 seconds of silence pass and he asks, "What does the tooth fairy look like?" I say, "I don't know, I've never seen her." I see the wheels begin to turn. He tells me for this new loose tooth (He is wiggling his 5th loose tooth, first one to be loose on the top) he is going to paint a special bag to put the tooth in. 10 more seconds of silence pass. He says with a big grin, "Well, there must be magic in this world. Otherwise, how could reindeer fly?" I knew he would go from tooth fairy to Santa. I hold my breath waiting on the big question about Santa. 10 more seconds of silence pass. Then he smiles again and says to himself, "Yeah, and if there is really magic, I bet I can find the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." 10 more seconds of silence pass. And then he says, "Thank you for the food. May I be excused?"

I'm taking a deep sigh of relief right now.

Monday, August 21, 2006

What's my deal?

I am such a people-person. Sometimes I wish that God had designed me a little differently. I know that I am being so disrespectful to Him when I say that. I mean, I am His creation and formed just like He meant for me to be. But if I am honest with myself, I do wish sometimes that I could change some things about myself that are just fundamentally me.

One of those things is my LOVE of being with others. Poor guy, I married this precious man who is so perfectly content to be alone, at least some of the time. Don't get me wrong, I have never met a single person who didn't like him or want to be his friend. His is funny and friendly and loyal, but he is much more content to just be. I am writing all this to say that I am annoyed with myself! Today we had a great day. Nothing special, but good. I got plenty of things done around the house, we got everything done that I wanted to accomplish during school, etc. I even got to see my college roommate for a quick visit as she and her family were passing through town. (This was the highlight of my day. She lives in Paris and we only see each other every few years. I met her 18 month old for the first time today!) Anyway, so my man has plans to have dinner with two friends who both need advice. I was more than happy for him to go and be a good friend. Really, I was! But the minute he walked out the door I was lonely. WHY? I can't explain it. I spent several hours with a good friend, the kids and I had been together all day, and I still wanted more!

Have any of you ever read the Love Languages book by Gary Smalley? Well if you have, you know that there are 5 ways that people give and receive love. Not surprisingly, my top two are physical touch and quality time together. Of course, my husband would rate those on the bottom of his list. He is an acts of service guy. (The other two "languages" are words of affirmation and gift giving.) Since we read that book together 10 years ago when we first got married, my husband is incredible at "speaking my language". I have gotten better at what I expect. I just wish that I could learn to be happier when I am by myself. What's the deal?

Friday, August 18, 2006

More pictures...now I'm on a roll!





There she is! Notice little Miss Nose Picker. Isn't she sweet? That thing on the side of her face is not a really big ear, by the way. There is so much fluid and stuff to cloud the picture. But get a load of her cheeks? I asked if all 34 week olds have cheeks this big and the ultrasound tech said no!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hello in there!

Yesterday was the most incredible day as a mommy. We had the opportunity to take my mom and the boys to see the baby on a 3D ultrasound. I will admit, we waited later in the pregnancy than recommended, but it was still a special opportunity. I have bonded with my little daughter so much during the last 14 or so weeks since I found out that she is a girl. Each night when the boys are in bed and my man is busy we have our little talks. She kicks right on cue to let me know that she hears me. I sit in her nursery some nights and just stare at her clothes or her bedding and I can almost see my little blue-eyed girl staring up at me. Watching her move and squirm during the ultrasound was really fun. She loves to use those legs and arms. We got one shot of her with her finger all the way up her nostril! (Made the boys proud to know that even girls pick their noses. :) ) And I got the most vivid shot of her "girl part". I know for sure that she is definitely a girl! I just needed to hear that one more time before we go to buy the pink paint.

When we drove home from the doctor, I was so elated. A beautiful girl who looks healthy. It's so awesome after our miscarriage last year to keep getting these positive reports. I am so much more grateful after what we have gone through. I just can not wait to meet this little soul! So we drove up to the house and there was a package for me. A family member sent the sweetest dress, booties and blanket I have ever seen. The dress says, "Fairest among the roses" and has roses sewn into it. I tried to post a picture, but it doesn't do it justice at all. Even my mom wants little #3 to wear this dress home from the hospital instead of the actual dress that I wore home from the hospital! It was just a special night of anticipation and...joy!

Today we were rushing home from the library at 5 pm. I was so overwhelmingly exhausted that I caught myself yawning every 10 seconds. I began to feel a little anxious about every life that depends so heavily on me right now. I thought of my baby that is sucking up all of my energy and depends on me for everything. I looked at my little boys in the back seat that are depending on me for their education, security, and SO much more. I thought of my poor husband who has given a million percent to help me out and is now requesting some "intimate" time with him. I began to feel like I just didn't have any more to give to any of them! I am emotionally, physically and spiritually having the life sucked right out of me! And instantaneously God allowed this song to play from one of my favorite cds. The lyrics said, "Take my body and build it up. May it be broken as an offering of love. I have nothing, nothing without You." The Spirit used this song to automatically turn my exhaustion into pure joy. I began to think what an honor it is that these four people depend on me for things that NO ONE ELSE can provide for them! God chose me alone. I came home feeling still tired, but truly excited about the tasks before me. I really do love being a wife and mom and I am so thankful for a God who never ceases to soften my heart and show me how blessed I am!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Happy birthday, boys!

Well, Saturday was the big party for the boys. I must say that is was very fun, but WILD! Our guests arrived around noon. We had planned pizza, a game and then swimming and cake. Well...it began to POUR rain right around the time the party started. Sooo...I quickly decided with all 16 kids and almost as many adults to have a pizza picnic in our family room. We covered the entire floor with quilts and the kids had lunch. Then one by one, they filled all the rooms in our house with giggles and toys. The rain was still coming down hard. Keep in mind, we have kids ages 3-7 because the party is for both boys! I decided to take the 10 younger kids and paint. But where??? Again, we spread quilts, this time on the kitchen floor, and painted train frames in honor of #2's request for a "twain party". The kids really seemed to love this project. The little girls spent 20 minutes or so on their little art projects. The older kids were upstairs checking out #1 and #2's new room. The rain KEPT coming! So we decided to have cake. We had a train cake and a space cake. The kids revisited the "picnic" area in the family room. Then...the rain became a drizzle. My man decided to take the big kids out for a super space obstacle course. We had made each child a sunvisor with his or her name on it and he had foam space stickers to add to their hats throughout the course. He even had a map for each child, which was really cute. The rain finally let up and the sweet sunshine was bright. So as the kids ended the obstacle course (with very muddy shoes), the timing was perfect for me to yell, "Swim time!" I am so glad that the pool is in our yard and we had the option of doing things inside until the weather was nicer! We swam for about an hour and had a candy pinata and they all went home pooped. All I could think when it was all over was, "Wow! Thank you God! We pulled it off!" Did I mention that we have a big red playdough stain on our new family room carpet? Or that a beautiful teapot that my great aunt handpainted with our initials (I was named after her) broke into a million pieces? Oh well! I have precious, healthy kids that I have gotten to watch celebrate another birthday. I can't believe I have a 6 and 4 year old! I feel like the most blessed lady on the planet! Happy birthday, my little sweeties!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Blessings

Today I received the BIGGEST blessing! There were two, actually. The first was that my dear friend called and offered to let my kids come over to play for the day. We have had a lot of playdates here since we moved in because we have a pool in the backyard. But this is the first time in the last crazy three weeks that my kids have been dropped off at a friend's house. (Okay, the second. Another friend did watch the kids during one of the closings.) Anyhow, it could not have come at a better time! I am stubbornly trying to get the house in tip top condition for this weekend because we are having the boys' birthday party here. We are basically done unpacking, and so now I am trying to make our house look like a home. I think I hung close to thirty things on our walls yesterday and today. If I was not pregnant, I would probably be painting or sewing window treatments at midnight. I act a little looney when we first move into a house. It's like I am on a race to make life back to normal, so I won't stop until I am completely done with each room. It has been exhausting, but the "nesting" phase of pregnancy could not have come at a better time. So today, while my boys spent 4 HOURS with their friends, I unpacked my little girl's wardrobe and hung pictures in my bedroom. (I also wasted a good 45 minutes shopping in my favorite flea market for plates to hang on my kitchen wall. Is that irrational, or what?)

So, I mentioned I was blessed by two sweet souls today. My friend was the first and my precious husband was the second. He is paying a cleaning crew to come and clean the house on Friday. OH MY GOSH! I literally teared up when he called and told me today. This Friday, I was planning to clean the entire house, buy all of the birthday party supplies, and cook a big dinner for out-of-town guests by 5 pm. I am so relieved that he was so thoughtful!! Yeah! He also told me at dinner that he had planned our anniversary date. On August 31 #2 turns four and we will have our 10th anniversary. We have always planned on Paris for our 10th. I don't think it would be a good idea just a few weeks before the baby is born, so we are settling for some kind of special date here in town. I am excited just to have a night out. I told him that maybe we could go to Paris on our 12 1/2 anniversary...you know, half way to the silver anniversary.

I really was going to post pictures tonight, but...my man borrowed my digital for work and I don't have a clue where it is. I promise, promise to post pictures soon.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

All moved in

Well, we have survived. It took until last night to get our DSL up and running, so it's been a long time since I've posted an entry. But we are all doing very well. The move went well. #1 did wake up with strep throat the morning of our move, but thankfully his Mimi was here to give him some tlc. We are almost completely unpacked and I am exhausted. We love our new little house and it already feels like home. #3 has been more active than ever and my contractions are getting to be a pain at night. But I think it is just par for the course with a third child.

I will post some funny stories and pictures soon. I miss hearing from you all!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Another LONG day!

Thanks everyone for praying for our move. We had a wonderful closing on our current house today. I really love the family that is moving into our house. They are from Egypt and have the most interesting life stories. They seem really sweet and I think our neighbors would love them. Is was interesting, they were "sold" on our house because of a "feeling" they felt when they came here. We had prayed that there would be the sweet "fragrance" of Christ to the right family and that He would lead just the right people to be here. The way they described how they felt here was really interesting. Anyway, the house is theirs now. We will finish packing tonight and tomorrow morning and begin moving boxes tomorrow after our closing late in the afternoon. My sweet mother-in-law is coming to watch the kids and she booked a hotel room for us for tomorrow night. And then Saturday the movers come to move the big stuff and whatever boxes we don't get to move tomorrow.

I can't explain how exhausted I am! I had to lay down and take a nap today. There was no getting around it! But after the nap and a big burrito at Moe's (okay, and an ice cream cone from Baskin Robbins)...I feel a second wind. If you have the time, please pray for energy for us. God has been extremely gracious to bless a with a sense of humor that we have never had during a move. For some reason (maybe, being slap happy) we are able to laugh at just about everything. One thing that I thought was funny was #1 keeps asking, "What does a closing look like?" I explain to him that you sit in an office and just sign papers and exchange money. Then he repeats, "NO!! What does a closing LOOK like?" There is no telling what image he has conjured in his little head, but he is determined that a closing is a living, breathing person.

That's all for now. A day and a half to go until we are moved in! And #3 will be here in 7 weeks. The countdown begins!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Blah, blah, blah

This week has been exhausting, particularly today. I am having aches all over my body! But, we have accomplished a lot and are still planning to move on Saturday. This afternoon I spent almost 2 hours on the phone trying to transfer utilities. It took that long to accomplish 3 phone calls! Thankfully, I was busy organizing our filing system and that kept me patient. Incidentally, I had let our billing statements build into this huge stack on top of the filing cabinet. It took me the entire 2 hours to file them! I love organization and usually actually enjoy anything around the house that accomplishes a look or feeling of being organized. But I hate to file bills.

Anyway, mission accomplished. We accomplished many other menial, yucky tasks like getting all of the storage boxes out of the attic, going through all of the boys' toys and organizing/trashing, and I made #1's space invitations for his birthday party. I also wrote an article for our church's women's ministry newsletter. It will probably be the most worthless piece of reading that any of them have ever read. But today was the day to at least get the first draft done and I did accomplish that. Praise the Lord that the kids were having a blast at VBS and I didn't have to worry about them.

I guess tomorrow will consist of more hours on the phone with utility companies and I think I'll tackle the bedroom closet. Also, I am going to take a ton of stuff to a consignment sale. Might as well let our trash be someone else's treasure, right?

Question of the day: What is your opinion on having a joint party for siblings? I am thinking of doing that this year. I feel a little guilty because birthdays are very special days around here. We try very hard to emphasize JESUS at Christmas, and not focus on gifts for the kids. (Of course, we go the grandparent's houses and that philosophy is null and void.) But on birthdays I really try to celebrate my little one's life. I try to make their big day individual and special. I am always abiding by a strict budget, so it's not so much about the money invested, just about the celebration. So I wonder if having a joint party would be a big let down. Our boys' birthdays are 31 days apart and I'm just not sure if I can handle planning two parties as I unpack the new house and prepare for the baby's birth.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Watching God at work

After a few minor compromises, our offer was accepted on the new house. We will close on our current house on Thurs. and close on the new house on Fri. Moving day will be Sat., we are required to be out by 11PM. Yesterday we had five people come over and help us pack. We got the entire downstairs packed and half of the garage. Now we just need to pack a bedroom each day this week (except for today, thank you Jesus for designating a day of rest). The kids will be at VBS for 3 hours each morning this week, so hopefully I will have plenty of time. Now our biggest prayers are that our new house will get a good report from the home inspector on Monday and that we will be able to find a mover who is available on short notice. We have never paid anyone to move us, so if we can't find professionals I am sure we can recruit help. But I would love for my husband not to have to spend the following week recovering. (He has a defect in his bottom two vertebrae that are not fused together properly and so he is prone to back aches.)

That's it for now. I know these details sound boring, but I feel inclined to post them just to proclaim God's grace and providence. He has lined up each and every detail beyond what we could have imagined. This process has been incredible to be a part of! If I think of it, I will post a few pictures tomorrow when I am on my computer. Gotta go get ready for the college group from church to come over. Isn't that hillarious? They will have paper plates and plastic utensils to eat with. We have furniture to sit on, but absolutely nothing else to enjoy. There are boxes everywhere. Oh well!

Oh, quick funny story. I took #1 to the ENT this week. He likes to STUDY the anatomy pictures on the wall. Right as the doc walked in his proclaims LOUDLY,"Oh, great. More private parts posted on the wall. I asked, "What do you mean?" He says, "Look, (pointing to a picture of the opening of the larynx), there is the woman's hole opening where the baby comes out!" I sink in my chair. It did look a lot like the "woman's private part". Maybe I should rethink taking this kid with me to the OB/GYN! We had noticed that he was studying the graphic posters. I justified that they at least were drawings and not real photographs. Yikes! I am NOT ready for the birds and the bees talk yet.

Friday, July 21, 2006

God is amazing, I am silly

I don't know why, but God's perfect plan still amazes me when I take the time to acknowledge it. Yesterday we looked at all of the houses in our price range with a finished basement. We had a few options, but none of them were a really great fit. We decided to randomly drive around our favorite neighborhood with our real estate agent. (What we really love is cozy, quaint and lots of families.) We had just looked at a house in that neighborhood and it was just not a good fit. But we felt at home in the neighborhood in a way that we hadn't all day. By sheer accident, we found a house in the back of a cul-de-sac that had a for sale sign with "finished basement" posted at the top. Our agent reluctantly pulled a flyer. I was 100% confident at that moment that the house would be too expensive. It turned out to be in our price range! Long story short, we love the house. We have had a little challenge in really loving any of the houses we have seen. We are actually looking at houses that are $80,000 to $100,000 less than what our current house is selling for. So right away that was something to get used to. But this house is great. Not an inch of space will be wasted, that's for sure.

The neatest little blessing showed that God is concerned about my silly heart. I reluctantly agreed to give our frig away with the sell of our current home. Only a stay-at-home weird mom could say this, but I LOVE my frig. The drawers pull out. The door has the little ice and water spouts and the water tastes so good! (Even though we did let a fudgesicle melt in the water line during our last move. :) ) Well, low and behold the exact same frig comes with the sell of this home that we love. The same stinkin' one! Unbelievable!

So last night we made an offer. We should hear by 3pm whether it is accepted or countered. I pray this will all work out. Incidentally, I have already mentally decorated the house and the Christmas tree will be in the front window on the left. :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Under contract!

We have had an eventful week. Yesterday our house went under contract. We now have 8 days until closing and 10 days until we need to be moved out of our house. We have not allowed ourselves to look at new houses until this point. (The reason being that I fall in love, decorate the house in my mind, picture where our Christmas tree will be...and then the house sells before we sell our house and I've lost a little dream!) Anyway, we spent yesterday and today looking at houses. We have narrowed our list down to 2 houses and then there is 1 more to see tomorrow. Of course one of the houses is a little more expensive and of course that is my favorite house. We are praying that God would give us wisdom as we are in a time crunch and tired, but want feel His leading. Did I mention that the day we are supposed to be moving out I am helping the host a baby shower at a friend's house (it was supposed to be at my house...thank you Jesus for preventing that from being the plan) and then the next day some ladies are having a shower for me. Also, my #1's birthday is 12 days away and I was suppose to send out party invitations today. Of course, I didn't and I'm not even sure where we will have his party unless I want to pay BIG bucks to have it away from home.

In spite of the obvious chaos, I am PRAISING God for the timing of the move. We will easily be settled into our house before September. #3 will actually have a nursery to come home to (not that she cares). And I can postpone homeschool for a couple of weeks and then begin without interruption (until the baby comes that is). And I don't have to keep the house in perfect order and clean each and every time we leave! In fact, until our house is empty I will probably not be cleaning at all!

Well, that's our crazy week so far!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Our day

-Miracle of the day: #1 ate brocolli, salmon and turnip greens and asked for more.

-Quote of the day by #1: "Mommy, I am scared of your feet. They look really old. Why do they look so old and when will they heal? *Note to self: Remind the airbrush tanning lady to go easy on the feet next time.

-Most entertaining toy of the day: The boys had a blast putting the little pretend belly pillow under their shirts and acting pregnant. That game went over really well until the third store when they began to throw the pillows at one another and one of them got a velcro strip in the eye.

-Buy of the day: I found an adorable maternity dress for my baby shower! It's a strapless sundress, black with pink polka dots and a big pink bow below the bust line. Again, no batteries in camera so I will post a picture later. My neighbor came by and saw it and asked, "Now how do you make strapless dresses stay up? She obviously has not noticed the two foreign objects below my neck that are getting bigger by the hour. I had to buy a new strapless bra today and I am still thinking that they surely sewed the wrong size in the one that fit!

-Gift of the day: My mom bought me the cutest little diaper bag/backpack! It is extremely feminine, mint green and pink with flowers all over it and #3's name monogrammed in pink. I've waited a long time to buy all of this girly stuff and it has been really fun! But I will admit it is impractical. I will be emptying and washing that pastel diaper bag upteen times a week. Oh well!

-Experience of the day: Earlier this week we volunteered at a homeless ministry. We picked up food at a local restaurant and took the boys to help serve with us. There were around 40 people there. #1, who is eager to visit Disney World, was listening as one of the men in line shared with us his history. He had been to culinary school and worked for years at Epcot as a French chef. My prayer is that the boys will see themselves and their Savior in the faces of the people we served. #1 was a little more withdrawn. There is no telling what questions he will ask during the upcoming weeks about being homeless. He likes to "sit on it" for a while. But #2 found an empty seat and a roll and went about his business of smiling, gabbing and making himself at home. I want God to continue to give us His heart for those in need. I pray that we can embody mercy and along the way learn more about our gracious heavenly Father and His grace for us!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fake and spray

Man, have we enjoyed our little boys this past week. My sweetie and I have gone and spent the afternoon in the mountains, watched fireworks, gone to the pool, played in the sprinkler and cooked all together with each other this past week. His new business is slow, and the boys and I are reaping the benefits. What a week! I can't say for sure that men feel the same emotions, but I am completely delighted when we are altogether. The responsibilities of managing the household fade away and the joys of being a wife and mom are overwhelming and wonderful!

That's my serious post. On a lighter note...I have a suggestion for all of you stay-at-home moms who don't have time to think about yourselves, especially for those of you who are pregnant. Bear with me now...AIRBRUSH TANNING!!! I know it sounds cheesy. But, today I gave it a try. It is suppose to be perfectly safe, even if you are pregnant. I am agreeing with a friend who recently said and I quote, "Tan flab is more attractive than pale flab." It's true! My poor stomach has not gotten any sun since I was pregnant with my first son, 6 years ago! I actually wore a maternity bikini, until...the last month. You guessed it, I got "love marks" as #1 would say. You know the permanent "marks" across the belly from too much stretching? Well, my stomach is nice and tan and the love marks look so much better! I decided I needed a "glow" for my baby shower which is this weekend. I also got my hair cut and highlighted today. The boys were so sweet. When my man got home from a meeting, they made me hide and told them they had a surprise. Then they walked him in the kitchen with his eyes closed and yelled, "Isn't mommy beautiful?" Love really is blind, isn't it? I was flattered just the same. Tomorrow I am on a search for a pink dress for the shower. Anyway, just call me "fake and spray", but I'm telling you the airbrush tan is worth a try! I'll post pictures to prove my point when I get new batteries for the camera.

Monday, July 03, 2006

More baby projects




My projects for the day were to price items for a consignment sale and make burp cloths for #3. I definitely need to brush up on my sewing skills. Sadly, it took me over an hour to make these two little burp cloths! My sister-in-law is going to monogram her name in pink on the pastel one and her initials in orange on the bright one. I have materials to make four more this week. I am hoping to be faster with each one! I am itching to make curtains for her room as well. But since we are moving and I don't know where we are going, I have no idea how many/what size her windows will be. I guess I am just having the urge to nest a little. But it is impossible to "nest" when all of the baby items are packed in storage boxes. We have 10 1/2 weeks to go! Pray our house is under contract in the next few weeks!

Friday, June 30, 2006

What a man!

My precious husband sent me this email and article today. I want to sing the praises of God's grace and my sweet man, but the following speaks for itself.

From my man:
I particularly enjoyed this devotional. It reminds me of Christ’s deep love for us and is a good reminder for me in how I am to treat you- as you are my bride. May I represent Christ in our marriage and may you be able to enter every room of my life and enjoy all that I have.

The devotional:
"The glory that You gave me, Father, I have given to them."--John 17:22Take a good and long look at the overwhelming generosity of the Lord Jesus for He has given us His all. Although a tenth of His possessions would have made a universe of angels rich beyond all comprehension, He was not content until He had given us all that He had. It would have been surprising grace if He had only allowed us to eat the crumbs of His bounty beneath the table of His mercy; but this isn’t how He operates. He provides us with a seat next to Him at the feasting table! Had He given us some small pension from His royal coffers, we would have a good enough reason to love Him eternally. But no! He makes His bride as rich as Himself, and He will share ALL of his wealth with her.He has been content with nothing less than making us joint-heirs with Himself so that we might have equal possessions. He has emptied all that He owns into the coffers of the Church, and shares all His wealth with those He loves. There isn’t a single room in His house that His people can not enter and enjoy. He gives them full liberty to take all they want from His treasury, and they can draw from His all- sufficiency as freely as they breathe the air around them.Christ has put the cup of His love and grace to the believer's lips and invites him to drink forever— a cup that will never be empty. [M&E]

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mommy award

Today was full of mischief and interesting quotes from the children. I admit, I was on the phone a lot today and that contributed to the mischief. I had almost a dozen calls to return, some quick and some long (Angela). :) But I got to talk to everyone that I needed to and catch up with a few friends. Here are some of the adventures the boys found during the process:

*Soapy water splashed from the sink on to the walls and floor
*Bad attitude for being asked to clean up water
*"I'll wun away if you spank me!", dramatically delivered by #2 when his attitude was followed up with discipline
*Somehow they got the tivo to replay "So you think you can dance" and I came in just in time to hear #2 say. "I fink dey are gonna kiss" as they watched a pair do ballroom dancing
*Sand poured into hair
*About 50 books were brought to me from the bookshelf to read and then put in a reject pile when I pointed to the phone to say that I could not read to them
*#2 got his foot stuck in the cushion as he dangled upside down off of the sofa
*#2 got out a ton of train tracks, not to play trains, but to use as "bones" as he was pretending to be a doggy, which he carried all around the house and "buried"
*And finally, beautifully, #1 found 3 good books, put #2 in his lap and read to him

Do I get the mommy award today or what?

Monday, June 26, 2006

My prayer today

"If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.If I only have time for waxing and polishing, my children will learn of cleanliness, not godliness.Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh.Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on the newly cleaned window.Love wipes up the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.Love is the key that opens salvation's message to a child's heart.Before I became a mother, I took glory in my house of perfection;but now, I glory in God's perfection of my child." -Family Life Magazine, May 1982

Jesus, keep my focus on YOU today. I pray that you are glorified in how I spend my time. Change the hearts of each of us in this little family to your likeness!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

How deep the Father's love for us!

Today was a real "pick me up" day. I was exhausted and a little down when I went to bed last night. We had been cleaning the house all day for an Open House today. I was feeling discouraged about the house not having any offers yet. Basically, I was having a pity party! But this morning we woke up and went to a beautiful service at church. The music was captivating and my heart was soaring as I basked in the love and grace my Father has for me! The message was a beautiful reminder of the meaning and personification of mercy. I needed to hear it. And then after church we saw our dear friends who invited us to come over to their house during our Open House. We were so thrilled to have something to do from 2-5 when we had to be out of the house. I love the fellowship we have with this couple and their children. I came home refreshed and I felt like God, once again, knew what I needed when I didn't even know. I needed to feel His love through His people. I needed to feel hugs and hear funny stories and talk about similar interests and just rest! I feel alive and ready for the busy week ahead of us.

Thank you, sweet Father, for answering my heart's desire when I couldn't even articulate it. Thank you that you care so much for me that you can bless me, even after my big pity party. Thank you that in your great love for your creation, you have given me people who love me so much, in spite of myself!