Thursday, April 29, 2010

progress

i cannot believe the progress we've made in the past week and a half. when we were driving home from IKEA, van stuffed to the gills with brown boxes, i was thinking our next date night (which is tonight!) would be spent assembling and organizing, etc. don't get me wrong...we are far from "finished", but we are well on our way...much further along than i had ever hoped to be....and we won't be spending a second of our date night on home projects...nope, instead we'll be eating sushi and partaking in an early celebration of my birthday.

the "office"...new corner computer desk, desk chair, printer stand and bookshelves (and yellow walls!)...there will be doors on the bottom of the other wide cabinet, we just ended up with two different sets of doors (oops!...but a good excuse to go back...plus we had some sizing miscalculations on curtains). excuse the mess of tools on the shelves...obviously we aren't done with the organizing phase (and two certain girlies seem to have commandeered it temporarily!), and i think i'll be buying a few more of the orange boxes and magazine files. and take note of the striped lamp on top of the desk...i picked that for the splash of color, and i {heart} it.

and then, onto our bedroom...which came together just as i was envisioning in IKEA. it is almost finished...aside from going through some piles and figuring out a few more things.

new duvet cover, throws, and pillows (headboard my dad built us as a wedding gift)...and, yes, i know we need to move the candle wall decor over to be centered over the bed since we shifted it over

new chair and side table (and flowers for the side table)...for newly created sitting area


armoire my dad built for me way back when...isn't it gorgeous

new lighter curtains....this is the view from the bathroom...i enjoy that it is so "clean" and fresh...very relaxing and serene...just exactly what i wanted!

next project is the kitchen (and finishing the painting process...finishing with the yellow and then painting the front room a blue-ish). the kitchen projects include painting our cabinets white, installing the butcher block countertops we purchased at IKEA, and creating a peninsula at the end of our existing cabinets...so more pics to come eventually!

{eight months}


seriously, could this little booger get any cuter? she was eight months saturday.

i'm falling more and more in love with her each and every day.

she, for the most part, seems to just be falling in love with cheerios....well, and us too.

she has been army-crawling for about a month now....dragging herself quite rapidly wherever she wants to go. it used to be she mostly followed me...sometimes with a puppy dog whimper if i was in the middle of something with one of the other girls and couldn't pick her up....but recently she has a huge interest in following her sisters...trailing along after them, putting whatever they are playing with in her mouth, grinning and laughing like crazy (making my heart melt, quite honestly).

she has the funniest belly laugh...and loves to giggle and smile. she is such an amazing treasure. and, oh, those blue eyes...oh my! little girl, you arrived and lit up our world...and i seriously can barely remember what life was like before you.

what's for dessert?

okay...so i know i keep asking her again and again...but seriously, she always says it a certain way...and then the camera turned on and she wouldn't say it like normal!

video

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the tightrope...

i feel like life these days is a balancing act. i think it always is. but right now my awareness is heightened. so many precious things to fit into so little precious time. the incessant cries of dishes and laundry and vacuuming...the gentle tug of little hands, "play with me...look at me....talk to me..."...the constant desire to just sit in silence....dinner to cook...a baby to feed....and on and on...

i checked Crazy Love (by Francis Chan)out from the library last week, and last night after the girls were in bed, while Mike was immersed in a PBS documentary, i finally started reading. here's an excerpt that has me thinking...a lot.

"It's crazy that we think today is just a normal day to do whatever we want with. To those of us who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money,' James writes, 'Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes' (4:13-14).
When you think about it, that's a little disconcerting. But even after reading those verses, do you really believe you could vanish at any minute? That perhaps today you will die? Or do you instead feel somehow invincible?
Frederick Buechner writes, 'Intellectually we all know that we will die, but we do not really know it in the sense that the knowledge becomes a part of us. We do not really know it in the sense of living as though it were true. On the contrary, we tend to live as though our lives would go on forever.'"

and then there is this excerpt...

"Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control. Basically, these two (worry and stress) behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small indeed. Why are we so quick to forget God? Who do we think we are? I find myself relearning this lesson often. Even though I glimpse God's holiness, I am still dumb enough to forget that life is all about God and not about me at all."

oh friends...how much of my life i spend thinking of myself....not even grasping a tinge of the reality that life is ALL about GOD and not about me at all. how rarely i ever consider the brevity of life...the reality that there is no guarantee of tomorrow...no guarantee of another breath. there is no guarantee that there will be a tomorrow for playing games or reading stories to my babies...no guarantee of tomorrow to "get it right" when it comes to gently and patiently instructing my children...no guarantee of tomorrow to tell that neighbor, friend or family member that Jesus died for their sins. there is NO guarantee. and yet, i don't live like that very often.

i raise my voice with the girls rather than patiently instructing and drawing them to the grace of Jesus.
i sleep an extra 20 minutes rather than awakening to meet with my Savior.
i let stress over household chores consume my time rather than savoring the moments with my family.
i struggle with jealousy when others life seems "perfect" rather than clinging to the truth that He is working out something beautiful in me...and that the truth is that no one's life is trial or struggle free.
i complain within my heart about who God has made me rather than embracing my gifts and appearance.
i focus on the fussing, whining, and arguing rather than the beautiful laughter of my children.
i am full of pride and arrogance rather than humility and love.

and i could go on.

i am walking the tightrope...balancing the priorities of life....and i am falling short quite often. but i do know He is gracious. i do know that He is kind and full of love. i am praying that He would remind my heart often of the truth that i WILL die....that my tomorrow are not guaranteed...that even my next breath is not a given. oh that Jesus would mercifully teach me...that He would take my hand and lead me through each day, each moment, each and every second...that His Holy Spirit would grant me wisdom to discern the "best" for every choice i need to make...especially when it comes down to choosing between the "good" and the "better".

...and yes, i do have smiles i want to share...but right now my heart is in a deeper thought mode...wrestling with those excerpts...in so many ways that i just can't put into words yet. i'm thinking i might need a lot more than the three weeks the library allotted me with the book. perhaps this evening i will find some time to share smiles...i was going to say, or tomorrow...and then i giggled a bit, because, after all...tomorrow is not a guarantee, right!?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

ten smile miscellany!

oh my goodness...it feels like forever since i've shared ten smiles. life has just been constant....and with jilly on the move (and i mean seriously on the move...people, she never stays still...and can get from one room to another in an instant!) i just don't have nearly as much time as i used to (not that i had tons to begin with!). we've also been spending a considerable amount of time outside...enjoying the spring. but here they are...some smiles. maybe ten...maybe more...maybe from the past week...maybe from the past month...who knows!

1. a wonderful weekend away with my beloved...it was fabulous. we went to Cincinnati...stayed in a hotel for two nights...visited IKEA and filled (and i do mean FILLED) our van with goodies...a desk and bookshelves for our new "office" downstairs...a comfy cozy chair for the creation of a sitting area in our master bedroom...new countertops for the kitchen...and lots of decor goodies, including a new duvet cover and decor for our bedrooms. while i am stoked about the home projects (as we have been talking and thinking about this for SO long), i'm smiling even more about getting to spend an entire weekend with just my hubby...no kids, no interruptions, just the two of us. it was beautiful. we talked...we laughed...we reconnected...we planned and dreamed...we gamed....we were together...and together is delightful. we also took some self-portraits (if only i could share the whole bunch because they are hilarious...and the process of taking them resulted in many laughs...as i seemed completely unable to get us both in a picture without chopping half of mike's head off....of course, maybe the laughter was also partly due to the fact that we were totally wiped out from our day (and i do mean DAY) at IKEA.



2. a sweet libbers who has become amazingly more compliant when it comes to her hair (and yes, that is a huge smile...because seriously folks...my girls hair is a battle most mornings!). she has been asking me to braid it, etc...and while i am by no means "talented" when it comes to doing hair, i have been having fun!



3. this girlie...'nuff said. if you haven't already, you should check out the previous post and hear her sweet little chirping "dah dah"...sweetness! she is growing and changing every day and has gone from mastering the dragging crawl to getting from her tummy to a sitting position...and she even has tried to pull herself up on things a few times...eek...where did my baby "blob" go. but no, really, while i miss some of the little snuggliness i LOVE this stage and am soaking in all the laughter and chattering and movement...she is beyond precious!


4. sprinklering! it might be april in indiana, but it has been HOT some afternoons, so i finally broke out the sprinkler...and then the paintbrushes and bowls of water...and then the spray bottles...and that equated to an entire afternoon of happiness and laughter. love it!





5. my three girls. we've had some fun "all three girl" moments in the past week....all three girls hanging out in the pack-n-play together--laughing and playing...all three girls taking their first bath together, which was giggly sweetness!

6. oh, and i mentioned my weekend away with the hub, but i failed to mention what a smile it was to know our babies were in FABULOUS hands with grandmommy and poppy, who offered to come down and stay at our house with them. AND, not only were the girls well taken care of and played with, but we came home to a freshly mowed (and weed sprayed!) lawn, clean laundry, a finished drywall project, and a slightly more organized garage....amazing! what a blessing from my parents AND for their grandgirlies....i have a sneaky feeling they are still trying to catch up on rest though! :) thanks mom and dad!

7. tasty new recipes. i've been trying boatloads of new recipes lately, and we've had several that were quite tasty...like the toasted orzo risotto with butternut squash tonight (even jillian tasted and enjoyed that!)...or the roasted chicken thighs with orzo last night...and several others. it is great to break out of the recipe rut a bit.

8. a visit from my sweet, dear jill and her boys this morning...what a breath of fresh air to have some time to catch up with one another and simply be together. now that we have 5 kiddos between us and busy lives to keep up with the time together isn't as frequent or uninterrupted, but it is an absolute and complete blessing!

9. MOPS spa day...always a good thing. i so enjoy the gals at my MOPS table...real, genuine ladies...seeking to follow Jesus and instill that love of Jesus in their kiddos...what a blessing to share life along the journey.

10. a much less cluttered house...i did some major de-cluttering, rearranging, etc. in preparation for our new projects. we were able to sell one of our couches, and i have a growing pile/room of stuff for a garage sale soon. it feels great to be able to "breathe" a bit...even though it has meant a few weeks of me being really, really busy. and i'm excited to see things already starting to come together...i spent much of yesterday grabbing any moment i could and repainting the room yellow...the exact color is "sunrise beach"...and it is oh so cheery and bright and goes delightfully with the white desk and shelves we bought (not to mention the white our cabinets in the kitchen will eventually be...although that is a bit further down the road in project-land). then last night mike assembled the desk while i assembled the desk chair (and then sat in it to cheer him on!).

11. Sunday night game night. we've been getting together with a group of friends a couple Sundays a month for games and dinner....which is right up my alley. we played "settlers of catan" last time...and had a blast...gotta love good company!

12. a sweet friend who knew i was having a rough week with kate...she called on her way to drop her little guy off at preschool and offered to pick kate up to play with her other kiddos for the morning. what a blessing....and, honestly, a reprieve. by the time she dropped kate off after lunch i had accomplished a few things, spent some quality time with elizabeth while jilly napped...and was ready to enjoy kate again as opposed to feeling overwhelmed by her intensity.

13. Proverbs. that is a punch you in the gut smile...but good. i've been reading a Proverb a night most nights before bed...and then again in the morning...so practical...so convicting...such great direction for my prayers and life.

and i could go on. we are so blessed...even in the midst of a wild and crazy phase of life. thank you Jesus!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

music to his ears...

could there be anything sweeter to a daddy's ears than this?


video

Saturday, April 10, 2010

glimpses of our Easter

we had a delightful Easter. early church service, volunteering in the nursery during second service, and then off to spend the afternoon with sweet friends. tasty, tasty lunch. Easter egg hunting. Easter egg hunt candy eating by the kiddos. scrumptious pavlova dessert for the adults. and then home...to rest and relax. He is RISEN!

waiting for the hunt to begin...


hunting, hunting.


wearing the garden gloves from her Easter eggs...and pretending to be the "tickle monster"...and i have to say, i find it highly amusing that my daughters run around playing tickle monster...elizaebth told me she was trying to "get" one of the boys in her Sunday school class, but he was afraid of her. i told her maybe we should save "tickle monster-ing" for at home...we don't want to traumatize anyone. :)


tobin, caroline, elizabeth, and kate show of their gloves. jillian slept through the egg hunt (and i wasn't about to disturb a sleeping baby!)...and camden was too little for the hunting and gloves.


yummy!


jilly checks out her basket at home


Easter smiles...(if you click on the pic and enlarge it you can also see her two bottom teeth!)


{nailed to the cross}

an Easter object lesson with elizabeth...

with my help she nailed her sins to the cross...

we talked about how the price of sin is death...

...and then we covered those sins in red paint...

....and were reminded that He paid the price for our sins with His blood.

He paid the price...for Elizabeth...for Kate...for Jillian...for Mike...for me....and for you, sweet friend....for you too!

see this sweet smiley girl....


....she is up and rocking...


...and while she still likes to practice "rocking"...she has figured out the army-crawl and can pretty quickly drag herself anywhere she wants to go...especially if she has her eye on anything "forbidden"...

video

on the move AND skinny...yep, long and skinny...that's our jilly...so skinny, in fact, that she can crawl right out of her jeans! :)
video

and, for the record, i predicted she would be able to move before april 16...and i was right. you see, next weekend mike and i are headed to IKEA (thanks to my wonderful parents who are coming to hang with the girlies) to make some purchases for the "rearranging" of the downstairs...rearranging that will create room for jilly's pack-n-play to hang out downstairs and help contain her...so, of course, she would start moving before we have the ability to contain her...of course she would! :) her favorite items to crawl for include broken crayon pieces, paper--of any kind, coloring books, mugho's dino bone and squeaky...and, well, pretty much anything that isn't hers.

visitors

a couple of our favorite people came to visit wednesday. (and they were the perfect visitors for "Gg" week)

grandmommy and her grandgirlies


i think they were most eager to see this little girlie...who has changed oh so much since they last laid eyes on her....


we giggled and colored and ate lunch and played games...lots of games...mostly the preschool kind. :)


this might have been one of my favorite moments...grandmommy, GG, and the girlies fishing. oh, if only you could have heard the giggles and gales of laughter...and, i must say, elizabeth was definitely the most skilled fisherlady of the group...she would make her poppy proud. this is the best proof i have that GG was with us for the fun...i think the pics of GG and the girls are on my mama's camera.


but we were quite happy about their visit...see!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

i'm gonna miss this..

...right!?

some mornings come earlier than others. this winter was rough...as in trying with all my might to keep kate in bed past 6:30 rough. day light savings time was blissful...two straight days of 8:00 wake ups...which then fizzled into hearing elizabeth and kate chattering at 6:45 but fabulous obedience on their part...staying in bed until their turtle comes on (which happens at precisely 6:54 according to my clock). i've settled into a routine...up around 5:30 (on a good morning when i actually hear my alarm...but that is another story...because, yes, apparently i have the ability to totally sleep through my annoying alarm that repeats itself every 10 minutes for an hours....), quick shower, pack the hubby's lunch (sadly to admit, this is a new-ish addition...for quite awhile i allowed him to fend for himself), make my coffee and breakfast, sit down for some Bible studying...at one point i was also doing wii fit, but honestly, i cannot do it right now...i just can't. there is no way i can get up any earlier than 5:30 and still be functional for the rest of the day...and there just isn't time before the girls are up and the morning starts to fit everything in...lunch packing, Bible study, showering, etc. as it is the girls are typically up before i finish praying and journaling...so they have settled into a nice routine of eating dry cereal and watching PBS kids while i wrap up my morning. except for jillian...sweet, sweet, delightful, sleeping jillian...who doesn't get up until 8:00. have i mentioned lately how precious she is?

most mornings that is our routine.

most mornings it works beautifully.

most evenings we are in bed by 10:30.

most.

and then there are some.

some evenings when we get in bed late.

some mornings when we are up far too early.

like this morning.

4:00...i'm up for a quick potty break and have a bit of a hard time settling back to sleep...still struggling with the semi-migraine-ish headache that has been plaguing me since sunday evening

4:45...i've finally settled back to sleep, but wake up when i realize the door to our room is opening. someone taps on my shoulder, and i hear kate's sweet little voice..."mama, i spit in my bed...spitting is my children's term for vomiting. i think, "oh dear Lord...please no...." upon inspection in my bathroom she doesn't have "spit" anywhere...i stealthily sneak in to check her bed, praying i don't wake elizabeth. i find a suspicious puddle but no "spit"...so i re-inspect kate...only to discover that she, in fact, has on underwear...very wet underwear...where there should be a pull-up. oops...i do take note that it is a bit ironic that the night she wears undies she would pee while 3 of the past 5 nights her pull-up has been dry. ironic...but not really funny at 4:45 in the morning. mike takes care of kate and gets the laundry started while i take care of the bed. sweet blessed husband...who i think felt quite bad about missing the "pull-up factor" at bedtime...

5:10...sit down on the bed, debating whether i should go back to sleep or just get up...

5:15...alarm goes off...i debate what the day might look like if i just skip my morning routine and go back to bed...the prospects aren't good....i roll out of bed.

6:54...showered, hair dried, mike's lunch packed and he is already out the door for work, breakfast finished, Bible study mostly done...though dare i admit that i have struggled the ENTIRE time to keep my eyes open, and i fell asleep mid-prayer-journaling about 4 times....but like clockwork the big girls come tromping down the steps.

7:15...kate heads upstairs to get some undies....and doesn't return....

7:25...i head upstairs to get kate. i can hear her talking...and as i climb the steps i can see that the light is on in jillian's room...kate's explanation..."sissy waked me...so i waked jilly".

7:45...sooooo tired...already contemplating how much caffeine one can consume without completely erasing the benefits of the weaning from caffeine i've done in the past month or so...wondering what might ease my headache (aside from shipping noisy children elsewhere....) and coming up empty-handed..

...and that, my friends, is how some mornings go around our house. that is how this morning went at our house, in fact.

and on this morning, i am praying for grace...for strength...for energy...for love and a sense of humor....for His new every morning mercies...for healing for my headache....and you know what the best thing of all is...i know He will meet me here...that He will give me everything i need for this day. He is good like that....

and, i know that someday i'll be missing these sweet, messy haired, noisy, early waking, morning buddies...maybe not today...but someday...