Wednesday, September 29, 2010

err...what happened to tuesday?!

seriously...does anyone know what happened to tuesday? one minute it was here, and then in a flash it was gone...so apparently this is "ten smile wednesday"...although since i am blogging so infrequently (i'd like to say that will change soon, but in reality...well, once a week might be an ambitious blogging goal at this point!).

1. i spent the weekend at True Woman '10...it was amazing. incredible speakers, great fellowship with friends, a break from the norm. wow....i can't even begin to scrape the surface of what the Lord was revealing in my heart...i think i'm still doing a lot of process. mostly i was reminded of the importance of being a Biblical woman...the importance of home....the lies of "feminism"...the importance of loving my husband and children...where my priorities should be....and i could go on and on...

2. did i mention that my husband booked my friend kim and me a hotel room at the last minute...he found a great deal through priceline's name your own price feature, and no joke, we couldn't have possibly been any closer to the conference...right across the street from the conference center via skywalk. it was lovely!

3. we also managed to find sometime during the one long break to do a bit of shopping...5 ladies...some scarf purchasing...lots of browsing and laughing...capped off with dinner at old spaghetti factory with conversation of how we met our husbands, engagement stories, etc...lots of fun!

4. also at the conference i was introduced to the gorgeous music of Keith and Kristyn Getty. it is beautiful and full of truth...you really should check them out...their pandora station is fabulous!

5. spending my mondays with this waffle-eating smiley girl while the big girls are at "school"....and getting to hear kate and elizabeth share about their adventures when i pick them up!



6. sights like this...what?! you mean buzz lightyear doesn't usually wear a tutu...don't you dare tell elizabeth...who is turning more and more "girlie" by the day!


7. all the helpers...daddy was hanging curtains in the front room (YAY!)...he had LOTS of supervision!


8. being upside down...i mean, really, could anything be more exciting than that?



9. lots of silly singing...

the start of "Jesus Loves Me"
video

and after scooting around getting situated, she picked up where she left off and finished her song.
video
this one takes me back to my time at church growing up...love that she is SO serious and focused while singing! :)
video

10. sweet Sunday school stories...and lamb ears...i mean, really, who can resist lamb ears! :)
video

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

{perspective}


here i am...ten smile tuesday meets random scattered meets what is on my mind...and all converges in a blog post.

the last 24-36 hours have been pretty "ick"...i'm not sure why...perhaps tired children, perhaps a hormonal and pregnant mommy, perhaps because i am *trying* to "tighten" the reins in the way of discipline (reins that have become a wee bit slack in the first 17 weeks of pregnancy ick, but perhaps mostly because we are a bunch of sinners living together under one roof. the mommy is a sinner...the girlies are sinners...and, yes, even the daddy is a sinner. ugh....

just moments ago (literally...moments) the Lord brought the word "perspective" to my mind. granted, this is not a new revelation or anything...just a solid reminder...a reminder i really desperately needed today. (that and the beautiful reminder from my own mama that a stubborn and defiant child isn't a reflection of me being a bad parent or doing something horribly wrong along the way...and oh how i needed that reassurance...because my particular "challenge" (well...the current "challenge") constantly makes me feel like an utter failure at this motherhood "gig").

anyway...perspective. someone recently asked me my opinion of what the most essential, can't live without "tool" for new parents. they, of course, were talking in the realm of baby gear...car seats, bouncers, boppies, etc...but honestly, those things are all trivial...every.last.one.of.them. trivial. what every new parents truly needs is a massive dose of grace and Jesus...and perspective.

i feel like i get *nothing* done throughout the day...and what i do accomplish often feels scattered and half-done...not to mention that while i am doing one thing i feel like there are a million other things i should be doing. i am often existing in an illusion...setting unrealistic expectations and then berating myself for not accomplishing what i hope to. the truth...sometimes just cuddling a needy child is enough....sometimes making it to the grocery and getting dinner on the table is more than enough. to some, that might seem minimal...but in my world right now, that is reality...it is where i live....pregnant with 3 kiddos under 5. it is where many of us live. yes, in an ideal world my carpets would always be vacuumed, the laundry put neatly into the correct drawers, dishes cleaned (and dried and put away!), and on and on...reality is that most days it is either or. either the laundry is finished OR the dishes put away. either i clean the house OR i spend time doing puzzles with my girls. either i press on during naptime to accomplish more tasks (and wind up spent by the time my husband arrives home) OR i take time to rest even though my house is less than immaculate (much, much, much less). perspective.

if i clean my floors but neglect my children's hearts, i fail. if i finish my to-do list but do not take time to sit at the feet of Jesus, i fail. if i have a healthy, delicious meal on the table when mike arrives home but have an ugly heart, lacking in love, i fail. if i get my children to obey but don't reach their hearts, i fail. perspective.

so my friends...when i was putting the girls down to rest, i was thinking, "ugh...i haven't accomplished anything today"...but the truth is...i did. i showered (i mean, seriously, some days that is a huge deal...i even washed and dried my hair). i met with my Jesus. we went to aldi for a few groceries...without incident. elizabeth worked on her handwriting and reading. kate traced letters. i spent time sitting with them putting together puzzles. i fed them....two meals. i made dinner and popped it in the fridge to avoid dinner prep during that ugly 4:30-5:30 hour. i have bread rising in the oven. yes, in fact, there are toys all over the floor as a result of my dinner prep...no, i did not involve the girls in dinner prep as much as i could have (or they maybe would have liked)...nope, that folded laundry from monday *still* isn't put away...no, my children weren't completely joyful and compliant throughout the duration of the morning...yes, there were a few tantrums and tears (and no, i didn't always deal with them perfectly)...and yes, yes, my children are desperately in need of baths...and the list could go on and on. but my Jesus is showing me a better perspective...and He is telling me to let.it.go.

after all...how long will i have these "little" people under foot? how long will i have horse-drawn lego racecars sitting on my end tables? how long will i have endless hours for imagining and story reading and puzzle putting together? not nearly long enough, i think.


yes, this is elizabeth's recent masterpiece...a horse-drawn race-car (you know, it needed a horse to pull it since she couldn't find the wheels)...what you can't see is that the driver has a pink mug next to her and a black pot in the back...because, you know, every horse-drawn race-car driver needs food and drink! :)

and a few random smiles...most of which have nothing to do with the pictures...i just wanted to share...because, well, call me biased, but i think these girlies are pretty cute. and friday evening was gorgeous, so we headed to the park in hopes of capturing a few good photos. i didn't necessarily get what i was looking for (you know, like where all three children cooperated easily, smiled, looked at the camera at the same time, etc.), but i do think we caught a few sweet moments.


*rain*

*another trip to the orchard...just the big girls and mommy this time*



*mike finished the "backsplash" of the countertops in the kitchen (hence my trip to the orchard with libs and kate while jilly napped and daddy worked)*



*discovering the deliciousness of a new restaurant..."Grand Traverse Pie Company"...yumm-o!*

*a nice Friday lunch and afternoon with mike's parents*



*our cloth diaper trial...thanks to a sweet friend who lent us her stash of bumgenius--so far, so good...we just might be making a switch for baby #4*



*pumpkin pie brioche*

*skillet cinnamon apples*



*friends*

*truth...like this one, in particular, that a sweet friend shared the other day, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God, and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair...."*




*two little voices singing "Jesus Loves Me" to their baby sister*

*watching my Jilly girl explore her world*


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ten smile tuesday

i think it has been at least a month since i actually wrote a ten smile tuesday post on a tuesday. i kind of want to go take a nap right now instead of blogging....but i won't...because my camera and brain are full of memories i'd like to blog about before they slip into "prego-brain oblivion".

so...here goes...in no particular order (except, perhaps, the order of photo uploads!) and most definitely from the past few weeks!

1. we decided to spend labor day weekend at home...an odd thing for us, as it is a "summer holiday"...and thus, traditionally, a lake holiday. however, with projects at our house (and my parents' projects of their own at the lake), we felt like we hadn't had a lot of time together and life had been a bit nutso, so we stayed home...kind of! friday afternoon we took a road-trip to cincy to hit up ikea for a few misc. project supplies. in spite of an hour detour both ways since the interstate was closed due to an accident, we had a fabulous time. also, in spite of very little time spent napping by jilly (or kate, for that matter) we had no major melt-downs! the girls were quite excited to bring home a few new family members...so, without further ado...introducing.....

"donuts"...cleverly named by her "mama" elizabeth. and seriously, donuts goes everywhere with elizabeth these days...elizabeth "feeds" her, tucks her in, snuggles her, and on and on...this is one loved pet

...and "curly" (also nam ed by her "mama" kate)

2. the girls had their very first full day of "preschool" yesterday. they are doing a program at a co-op-ish homeschool group that meets at our church (not truly a co-op since i don't have to teach) on mondays...and so far (we're only 2 days in) they are LOVING it. they came home yesterday with crafts and stories and smiles (and exhaustion). my heart is blessed to see kate smiling and talking all about school and about her teacher and her new friends...as the sweet girl has had a rough time with being separated from me in any way shape or form lately. and, honestly, i am blessed to have one day a week (8:30-3ish) to spend with just my jilly girl...who still naps twice a day, meaning i can also accomplish something around the house! yesterday i was reminded of why my house looks like a tornado tore through it all the time...perhaps it is the three little girls who occupy the space. when daddy arrived home with the girls in the afternoon elizabeth's first words were, "mommy, the house is so clean...did you do this?!"--spoken in complete awe....it made mike and me laugh! :)



my little "scholars" all ready to head out...oh my, when did they get so big?!

3. gorgeous, incredible, amazing weather...seriously, i am so appreciating the cooler air...many, many days with windows open and a autumn-ish breeze blowing through the house...warm coffee in the morning...a new season of clothing (and the few weeks i can savor those items before busting out the maternity clothes officially).

4. seeds family worship...discovered these cds awhile back, but finally had the chance to purchase them through our church at a steep discount. we are loving them...the girls and my current favorite is definitely "seeds of praise"....you really must check them out if you haven't already.

5. a trip to the orchard...okay, i'm so out of order...this was way back on labor day. it was a gorgeously cool morning...jeans and sweatshirts! we stopped at our local bakery for donut holes and headed to the orchard to pick some apples and raspberries. what a blast! :)

daddy and his girlies



raspberry time :)

6. incidentally, we've been enjoying loads of apples at our house...raw, baked, skillet apples, apple bread, apple crisp, apple cinnamon oven french toast...apples, apples everywhere! :)

7. this little love....who is growing before our eyes. yesterday she had the privilege of going to my OB check-up with me after we dropped the big girls at preschool. after finding the baby's heartbeat my OB said, "do you hear? BABY!"...and jilly grinned from ear to ear. i know she doesn't really get it...but the moment was beyond precious...and i cried, of course, since, you know, i do that a lot lately...watching my baby grin and hearing the incredibly precious sound of my other baby's heartbeat. i don't have any fabulous pics of her lately, because, well, she is on the go...seriously...the child never stops moving. last night she was crying after i put her in bed, which is completely atypical, so i went to check on her and rock her a bit, and the sweet little munchkin snuggled against me, then looked up with an adoring gaze, smiled, and laid her head back against my shoulder....and i held her and rocked her and thought to myself, "my oh my, where in the world did that first year go!?"


8. i am just starting to feel the baby's movements (and at week 16 i am also feeling MUCH better...i can make it through the day without a nap being essential...although i am still wiped out and opt to nap many days!...and i'm able to eat again!). i have an ultrasound in 3 weeks...which means i am almost to the mid-point...what!?!? how did that happen!? and for all you curious friends out there, no, we are not going to find out gender....i know, i know...it might drive you all crazy, but we really do cherish hearing those words in the delivery room.

9. "school" with the girls is going well. we are working on getting more and more structured...but not overly so. it is my opinion that the big structure can wait...right now we are doing LOTS and LOTS of reading (we checked out 20 books last wednesday and then immediately came home, popped popcorn, snuggled up and read like crazy!), working on phonics and reading (elizabeth amazes me...but she is still four, and some days she is thrilled and could work on it for hours...others, not so much, so we stop...but she is proficiently reading 3 and 4 letter phonetically "normal" words and simple books and readers!), writing, tracing and cutting practice, and lots of crafting, play-doh, baking, mess making, Bible time and memory verse, and otherwise learning through our daily routine. the preschool theme this week was "A", so we carried that into today's craft and Bible lesson...the fruit of the spirit, and painted apple trees (with real apples!) with nine apples a tree (one for each of the "fruits" of the spirit).



10. the start of a new MOPS year. we had our first meeting last thursday...so fun to meet new moms and to continue relationships with those i already know. we also had a steering, dgl, mentor cookout saturday, which was lots of fun.

**and i leave you with a bonus "smile"...perhaps chuckle is a better descriptor. see this sweet girl (picture taken yesterday around 6 in the evening...the girls were so wiped out from their day at preschool that as soon as dinner was over we showered, pj-ed, etc., and kate didn't have energy for anything other than laying on the couch. (incidentally, she was in bed by 7:20 and asleep by 7:40...this from the child who has stamina most nights to be awake (and noisy) in her bedroom until after 9...even though she is tucked in every night by 8...so you know the pumpkin was tired...but i digress)....anyway...note the cow jammies...some of her favorite. mind you, i thought she was a little girl...though in these pjs she often dreams of being a cow and walks around "moo-ing"...but apparently this morning at 6:30 she must have mistaken both the little girl and the cow identity...because the sweet child was laying in her bed "cock-a-doodle-doo-ing" like a mad woman, loudly and repeatedly. what in the world?! apparently that is what happens when she falls asleep before 8!

Friday, September 3, 2010

catch-up

so, so, so behind...

in lots of things, really...blogging, housework, the stack of good books i want to read, cooking *healthy* well-balanced meals, keeping up with the delightful friends in my life, and the list goes on.

somehow the summer snuck by and my calendar is now turned to september...eek...how did that happen? (probably with the flourish of august is ending a *new year* is beginning. (i know, i know...it isn't really a new year...but seriously, in my mind the turning of the calendar from august to september might as well be a new year. it used to signal the start of the school year...the planning of high school English lessons, the beginning of waking early after a leisurely summer of sleeping in, learning a whole new list of student names and faces. though i no longer find myself heading into a high school classroom, this season of the year still feels *new*.

a new MOPS year (and all the planning that goes with it when i'm on the steering team), thoughts of a new, crisper aired season (one of my favorites...but then again, i love them all for varied reasons!), the end of lake season, aisles upon end of school supplies, the start of pre-school co-op for my girlies (for the first time EVER!), breaking open some new school stuff at our house for the girls, the start of warm coffee mornings rather than the iced variety...and on and on.

for our family august brought lots of craziness. it started with a delightful weekend of celebrating kate's birthday (and enjoying the weekend with beautiful friends). it included jillian's very first visit to the ER (actually, the first ER visit for any of my three children). august was the month when i first heard the incredible and amazing sound of our newest babe's heartbeat, and the month where we really revealed our news...much to the delight of elizabeth who has informed EVERY, and i do mean EVERY person we run across that "my mommy is having another baby after Christmas"...and, of course, by after Christmas she means february or march! :) august was the month where i anticipated turning the corner in my first trimester ickiness only to be thwarted by allergies and a wicked summer cold. it was the bustle of getting a training meeting ready for the MOPS discussion group leaders, coordinating care for a dear friend on bed-rest, and constantly wondering "what's for dinner" due to my own lack of appetite and planning. august was a torn up kitchen undergoing a facelift...a facelift that is about 50% complete now (with the second 50% coming SOON!). in august we watched with delight as an oh-so-proud jilly took her first steps and grew steadier on her feet every single day. august was celebrating jilly's first birthday with sweet friends and a backyard cook-out. and, in the midst of the craze, august was beautiful...giggly...hot...fun...full....and so much more.

my "moustached" worker-bees...

the new sink mike insisted upon...and, oh my, i am sooo glad...it is huge and deep and beautiful. he insisted a bigger sink would be a blessing for a family of six (eek!)

in progress...we are picking up another section of countertop at IKEA today and will rip it into strips to use as a backsplash ledge (i say that like i know what i am doing...don't be deceived, mike and nathan will be doing the hard labor!)

what the end result will look like...white cabinets/drawers, nickle drawer pulls, butcher block counters.

and now friends...it is september. how did that happen?

last monday the girls had their orientation day for the "co-op-ish" preschool they are going to (it isn't really) a true co-op...but it is a homeschool pre-K through dialectic homeschool group that meets for classes with instructors all day monday. both the girls are doing pre-K as we begin exploring what homeschooling might look like if indeed that is the direction we take...so much to explore...to co-op or just stay home, curriculums, learning theories and on and on...a bit overwhelming (but exciting!). the girls loved their orientation day...and i had fun watching, as i volunteered for the orientation day. needless to say, at the end of the day i was the one who was the most wiped out! :) we've also been working (some days more successfully than others) to implement a new, more structured schedule with school time, chore time, reading aloud time, etc. to help our days go more smoothly. i'm trying...trying...trying to be a little more organized each day...to enjoy life a little more fully each moment...and most of all to smile at my girlies just a bit more often (oh how it is too too easy to fall into a "tired and frazzled" mommy persona!).

september has decided to bring a few cooler days to us this weekend, and that makes me almost giddy...if it weren't for my already kind of needing maternity clothes tummy...i would be sporting some jeans this morning. as it is i'll stick with the capri non-maternity pants that fit as opposed to digging into my maternity bins. the girls had their bi-annual (you know...twice a year) haircuts yesterday. that wasn't really planned so much...i got an e-mail from the salon about a two-day promo that happen to coincide with the umpteenth "i don't want you to brush my hair and keep it out of my eyes" straw that broke the camels back...so i made last minute appointments, and off we went. i like the results....a lot. so do the girls....and hair brushing and styling this morning didn't almost lead me to sin...hallelujah!

bobbed hair twins

kate finally got photogenic later...love that her hair just naturally dries smooth and curls so blissfully...is it wrong to be jealous of your three year olds hair?

and my favorite...the crinkle nose mischievous smile

yep...it is september. as soon as mike comes home from his half-day at work, we are heading out on a quick road-trip to IKEA...just an afternoon and back again later tonight trip...picking up a few odds and ends. right now it sounds fun...ask me later if that panned out as reality.

tomorrow, when the forecasted high is a blissful 72 degrees (can you tell i am pregnant and anticipating autumn...i might be a bit bummed if we had decided to spend the long weekend at the lake), we are planning to head to the orchard for some apple picking (and, of course, some apple-ish baking to go with that). my taste-buds are already longing for a fresh from the tree honeycrisp apple. :)

oh, and for those who didn't already know i was pregnant, i suppose i was bit sneaky just popping it in a post. i am, in fact, pregnant with #4...and my due date is march 1, making me right around 14 1/2 weeks (although i already feel like i look like i'm about 24 weeks....and if you saw me and didn't know, you would likely be in that "hmm...she looks pregnant...but i shouldn't ask because what if she isn't..." debate in your head). i am shocked by the number of people who feels so incredibly sure that we must be praying and hoping for a boy (because clearly, who in their right mind would go for a fourth for any other reason...). actually, yes, we would be thrilled if this one is a boy....just as equally thrilled as we would be by a girl. no, we are not having another baby in an attempt to "get a boy". yes, part of me does long for blue and for a mama's boy, for a brother for elizabeth (who so longs for a boy!), but honestly, an equal part of me longs for a fourth little girl...for more pink and girly, for another sister to my beautiful girls. and to top it all off, the major part of me cannot even begin to conceive of the reality of either gender! :)

and that, my friends, is a bit of catch-up. what it doesn't capture is all that is in my heart. lots that i cannot quite put into words yet. lots of thoughts rolling around about the sufficiency of God's grace and His provision...something i've been thinking about, seeing and living lots lately. my pastor last week quoted something along the lines that if we believe God can do the impossible, then we pray that way....if we aren't praying, then we are NOT exercising a believing faith. that, my friends, has been rolling through my mind a lot. i've been able to see the delight of a 4 (almost 5!!!) year old seeing God answer prayer...even something as simple as, "God, will you let it rain...but not storm because the storms scare me"....and then watching fat little rain drops plop onto our windshield a wee bit later. life is a beautiful thing.

i am blessed.