If you ask me, it is a resounding YES. But then again, I don’t have a vote. If you did, what would you say? There are six players in all of baseball’s 140 year history that hit .300 or more, had an on-base percentage of .400 or more, a slugging percentage of .500 or more, 300 home runs, 500 doubles, 2000 hits, and 1000 walks. They are Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, and you guessed it – Edgar Martinez.
I grew up idolizing Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez. As proficient at the plate as Edgar was, he was even more clutch when something huge was on the line – can you say 1995? For as much credit Jr. receives for building Safeco Field and keeping the M’s in Seattle, Edgar was as equally responsible.
I know he was “just a designated hitter” and that he did not start in the majors until he was 27 which left him shy of the magical 3000 hit mark, but this man was as pure of a hitter as you can see in the majors. At some point, MLB will have to begin to allow DH’s into the hall of fame, and why not start with the best DH in the game in this year’s inductions?
We planned a bit better this year and didn’t put the boxes together on the very last day you could drop the shoeboxes off! It was a wonderful time. Both my sisters were able to come and another friend (who is also one of three sisters!) and her sweet children. The kids were a year older and able to understand and help even more. I could watch the DVD they sent and cry every single time. Watching those children with next to nothing to their name opening their boxes all over the world, it’s amazing. It was a great way to hone in our focus on giving and sharing….let’s face it, that’s a little hard to do with little people sometimes!
Rylee must have packed her box a dozen times….she had to get it just right!
This morning we hung out with new friends, shared food with those who are without, delivered by all our children in a line. It was precious and humbling.
Then we enjoyed a visit from my parents who’ve been away for a month, the kids were delighted to have their Nana and Papa around.
An amazing phone call this afternoon.
An afternoon visit from a sweet friend I love who I haven’t seen in a while.
Then quickly I wasn’t feeling good. I was feeling hot and shaky. I recognized the signs quickly and realized I was on the slippery slope to a bladder infection.
My friend offered to stay with the kids while I ran to the store for cranberry concentrate (which has saved me from antibiotics more than once in this department). I first said no then felt myself going down hill and changed my mind.
I grabbed Audrey to come with and Kelly stayed back with the other three. After delivering four children, my bladder function is possibly sub par. But today it was declining by the minute. Hoping I could make it to the grocery store (5 minutes from home) to their bathroom, I whisked Audrey out of her seat and ran into the store.
I found the bathroom and then the juice. I made my purchase and headed out in the light rain.
My van was locked. No problem. I reached for my keys and as I did I saw them sitting in Audrey’s car seat. In my bathroom-needy haste I left them in the van and it was locked. I needed a bathroom again. I ran inside carrying glass juice jugs, Audrey and my purse as I dialed my husband and my friend and roadside assistance.
I cried and agonized over my feverish, locked-out, dizzy self.
I tried to find a free cookie for Audrey. I ended up buying her a donut. At dinnertime.
I used the grocery bathroom 9 times in 45 minutes.
I practiced my labor-breathing to contend with my bladder pain.
Audrey threw pieces of donut all over the bathroom floor.
Then she tried to eat them and yelled at me for throwing them in the trash.
Audrey threw a screaming fit when I wouldn’t let her eat the giant chocolate orange that was for sale. I was completely unable to do a thing about it. I just watched her and tried not to pass out in the produce section. By now I look like I have an involuntary tick sort of thing.
Roadside assistance would be an hour. So would my husband. So I waited. Pacing around from bread to lettuce to orange juice making sure I had one eye on my daughter and one eye on the bathroom.
Christopher texted me as he passed every exit on the freeway. Bless him. He made it to me, we made it home, I made it into bed, my friend who had stopped for a quick visit had now been caring for my kids for a couple of hours. I readied myself for a trip to urgent care as I still was in incredible pain.
Very worried about me the kids sat quietly on the bed and stared. Unable to sleep, they were a welcome distraction. Rylee brought me a science book and asked where the bladder was. I showed her and then we discussed white and red blood cells and how they fight germs and infection. Then she read to me out of her book. Love that about our homeschool home. There’s always something to be learning, even when mom is moaning in her bed and running to the bathroom in the middle of a sentence.
The family prayed for me, many times, the kids prayed their darling sweet, simple, faith-filled prayers.
Then, enter three of my favorite things:
Garlic-hi potency raw garlic tablets
Super strong, nearly undrinkable 100% cranberry juice
Oil of oregano-makes you gag to take it full strength on the tongue but an incredible healing herb
Two hours passed, I waited to call to have someone take me in. I felt better and better.
And now I’m writing on the blog.
Talk about a crazy day. The lovely mixed right in with the awful. That’s life I guess right?
The minute I spend letting Audrey walk holding my hand instead of sticking her in the stroller and ‘efficiently’ walking around the park while waiting for the kids to finish music class. I wouldn’t mind the exercise. I certainly know I need it. But I can see her little body leading me down the path before have time to think longer about getting the stroller out.
That minute leads to more lovely minutes. At her mere 27 inch height, she spots a bright green caterpillar inching along on the sidewalk.
She squeels and points and demands that I delight with her in the discovery.
I kneel. I listen. I watch. I smile. Then I sit on the sidewalk with her.
Exercise it is not. Efficient? Not one bit.
Beautiful is the delicate caterpillar.
Sweet is the sound of her voice.
Perfect is that moment sitting on the cold concrete alone with my fourth born.
I am still continually amazed at what follows when I choose to give a minute.
A minute of attention, a minute of laughter, a minute of snuggling, a minute of helping…
Just one, tiny minute.
We picked up the little green friend, put him on a leaf and walked some more. I sang softly as we meandered slowly down the path. We shared our discovery with the rest of music class and then he found his way to the dirt and we found our way home.
Simple and boring it may sound. But a delightful, precious morning is what it was for me.
After hanging around home the first couple days we ventured to a man made waterfall that the kids waded in and climbed up and down, it was a blast for everyone
We also enjoyed several walks to a man-made lake near my friend Kristin’s house. The kids loved walking on the trail along the water and playing at the park there. It was so fun to wear flip flops and shorts for a whole week…in November!
We partook in MANY battles with everything from swords to brooms to sticks to fishing poles serving as weapons of choice in the backyard. Just playing in the little pool was fun too!
There were countless legos played with and Elise must have had her hair done by Rylee twice a day or more….Rylee also loved reading (and making up stories) to anyone who would listen
I lost my camera cord so I can’t download my own pictures (of which there are few) but the one of all 9 of us eating at In n Out Burger is priceless. This last one though is a good indicator of the week from my perspective. It was 6 PM, we were bike riding with the kids as the sunset. I’m a little hot and sunburned and I had just made myself a fresh pot of coffee to get through the evening…
I’ve been away. Pretty sure no words can describe what the last week looked like but I’ll do my best. I have a good friend who is like a sister to me whose husband is working in another state at the moment so she is home with her kids in a place that isn’t ‘home’ to her. After an impulse purchase of plane tickets, we were off to Arizona while Daddy stayed here to work. Hoping to bless my friend and make her time alone a little brighter we ventured out on my very boldest mothering adventure thus far….
2 brave mothers whose friendship currently spans several states
7 (combined) children ages 18 months to 6 years
8 days together with no husbands, babysitters or…any other source of respite
1 roof for all to sleep under
1 three hour plane ride by myself with four children
4 sweet children who traveled (mostly) very well
1 ten minute window that I am trying to block from my memory when I found out my friend had car trouble, was sending a shuttle instead to pick us all up at the airport and waited on a little concrete island with cars passing on both sides while changing a blowout poopy diaper on a slippery metal bench while trying to keep track of 3 other kids, 4 car seats, 4 back packs, 1 ginormous suitcase and 1 double stroller
2 days spent in and around the house before the car was fixed and we could get out
15 sword/light saber/fishing pole/stick battles that ensued in the sunny backyard
15 times we had to remind them that all weapons must remain out of the house
40 books read aloud (many by Rylee to her little friend Elise)
21 shared meals with kids ages 1, 2, 3, 3, 5, 5 and 6
21 times I was thankful my friend had done all the grocery shopping and meal planning before we got there
10 hours spent building legos together
20 times said legos had to be defended from those who wanted to destroy lego creation
1 trip to the zoo in 90 degree heat stressing the whole time about not losing kids in the craziness of it all….only learning AFTER we left that we went on a HOLIDAY
300 pictures taken
24 or more…times I was glad we’d come
12 times we tried to talk to our husbands on the phone only to be interrupted by the sheer volume of so many little people in one place
18 eggs eaten by my husband who doesn’t cook who did his best to feed himself while we were gone
4 boys using the same toilet for 8 days
2 boys who peed into the pool
14 loads through the dishwasher
2 late night movies enjoyed by
2 tired mamas who savored
2 bottles of very good wine along with
2 cartons of Haggen Daz
3 nights up with Audrey for hours letting her play at 3 AM hoping not to wake the 6 other children
3 hours of sleep the night before we flew home
3 hours up with Audrey the night before we flew home
3 screaming, thrashing fits from Audrey on the plane ride home
2 leaky diapers I had to change on the airplane
2 blue pen marks on my face, trying to keep Audrey happy
8 people on the plane who had to tell me about the pen on my cheek
1 husband who was smart gracious enough to kiss me anyway and not say a word about the pen on my face
13 times I wondered how we would make it
1 enormous smile when we saw Daddy waiting for us at the airport
4 so happy children to wrap themselves around their dad
1 sleepy ride home
1 pile of dirty clothes
30 blissful seconds slow dancing in the living room with children swirling around our ankles….so happy to be home
Life is a constant set of blessings and blows. The final score is undecided and when things get out of balance and the blessings seem to be blooming everywhere but in your own home, so many people today choose to walk away and try again elsewhere.
There was a time when I didn’t understand this. I was young, married my high school sweetheart, the love of my life. Life truly seemed dreamy except for a few newlywed scuffles that always worked themselves out quickly.
But around year 7 or so of marriage, dreamy wasn’t the word I would use to sum life up. Babies came, jobs shifted, we both hunkered down and opted for survival mode.
Survival mode is good for surviving, but not for living. Not for long term. And eventually it wasn’t working to well anymore. Things that had always seemed strange to me, made sense. The one I loved more than any other was the one who could cause pain and I did the same for him. Dreamy it was not. The promise we had made “till death do us part” seemed a more than lofty goal.
We made a choice. In a time where life pulled us all different directions, when we were just trying to keep our heads above water, we chose eachother. It was (for me at least) the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
We just passed the 10 year mark and I am completely in awe of the restoration and repair that God has brought to our marriage. He was more than able to work it all for good. He just asked us to choose Him and to choose eachother. Sounds simple I know, but it wasn’t. Life never is. But choose we did and it has been good (not easy, just good).
Six months ago Christopher’s boss gave him a CD that he brought home and we both fell in love with the music. With him not working at church, his ‘work world’ is now totally separate from mine. He leaves and spends the day driving and talking. I spend the day here. We attend a church where he isn’t pastoring. The lack of overlap is good in ways but the past year has accentuated the lack of shared loves.
Of course we share parenting and a bed and weekends. But it’s easy to feel like we have very little in common.
Enter Mat’s music. The simple thing of us both enjoying a musician together has bound our hearts together just a little more and in the sweetest way. I know it sounds cheesy and that’s okay.
When we found out Mat Kearney was coming to Seattle we both scrambled to buy tickets and surprise the other. He beat me to it and had to tell me before I bought another set of tickets! We had the best time last week and tears rolled down my cheeks as the words of this song rang through the theater…
We’re on the run I can see it in your eyes
If nothing is safe then I don’t understand
You call me your boy but I’m trying to be the man
One more day and it’s all slipping with the sand
You touch my lips and grab the back of my hand
The back of my hand Guess we both know we’re in over our heads
We got nowhere to go and no home that’s left
The water is rising on a river turning red
It all might be ok or we might be dead
If everything we’ve got is slipping away
I meant what I said when I said until my dying day
I’m holding on to you, holding onto me Maybe it’s all gone black but you’re all I see
You’re all I see…
And if all we’ve got is what no one can break
I know I love you
If that’s all we can take
The tears are coming down
They’re mixing with the rain
I know I love you, if that’s all we can take
Yes, we still shop at Target some days and have our share of Hotwheels cars. But this year, we are choosing to only buy things for our children that we know where they came from. Hand made wooden cars from a grandpa on the east coast. Beautiful, simple baby dolls from a stay at home crafty mama. Carefully sewn light saber swords that won’t leave a mark when they “accidentally” whack you in the head.
Yes, it costs more to buy fair trade, local items. But I would argue that most kids don’t need the plethora of toys they are barraged with every year. Truly, less is more. Simple and classic can be wonderful. Just because it doesn’t have batteries doesn’t mean it isn’t cool.
So these are a few things that will be found under our tree this year (or under the trees of our friends with kids) in case you are interested in any ideas…
I bought a set of these cars for each kid for their stockings this year. I will have to restrain myself from the last minute dollar store run for just a ‘few more things’. But I think I can do it. And these heirloom quality, ready to be played with by boys and Rylee will be wonderful. My interactions with Grandpa Ernie’s niece (who runs the selling side of the shope for him) were downright entertaining and very speedy.
Have you ever been knocked in the head by your son’s plastic or wooden sword? Have you ever had to throw said sword into the trash 4 days after you bought it because it broke? Well, instead consider the thickly stuffed fabric sword from this mother of boys. They won’t dent your head or your wall and are modeled after the light sabers in Star Wars (in my opinion). Our boys are mad crazy for Star Wars and I’m quite sure this gift will be a highlight this December.
For the girlie girl in your life…fun hair clips and lovely hats and headbands. Made by a pair of moms who met while picking up their adopted daughters from South Korea, I have given these as gifts a couple of times and they are absolutely darling. I tried to make some myself. It did not go well. Now I have a lot of ribbon for….something.
At this little shop you can find I Spy bags. They are a fun, quiet, interesting little activity for children. Our kids are huge fans of the I Spy books. I actually bought do-it-yourself kits of these and sewed them myself last year. The kids LOVED them. Until our dog shredded them into pieces and I cried in the kitchen. They make a great gift.
This Tennesee mama makes amazing ring slings and other types of baby carriers. I have two of her slings myself and they are my first choice for carrying Audrey in. She has also done some other custom sewing for me and is quite talented. When Audrey was born we got Rylee a little baby doll sling for her to wear her baby. She loves it and now carries our cat around the house in it daily. The ones like Rylee’s at Li’l Peeper Keepers are now $15 but you can find many great choices in the $10 range here or here.
It was hard but narrowed down my choices and a doll from this shop will be Audrey’s gift this Christmas. I thought I’d get Rylee one too but I can tell she doesn’t really want a baby. She’d rather have a purse and a diaper bag for her baby things. And an outfit for her cat…so I’m working on sewing those myself (we’ll see how that works out!).
Taking care of everyone else in this house takes up most of my time. When the day is done and everyone else is bathed, fed and full of new information and ideas….I am often spent and empty.
I don’t do a great job at factoring in margin for myself. With Chris gone as much as he is, my little coffee shop getaways and afternoons spent browsing the thrift store are a distant memory (at least in frequency). When I get away, it’s to meal plan, get school/craft supplies, fix the car, go to a mtg, get a gift for someone or simply shop for groceries. I feel like I’m always on a mission for something and don’t really even possess the ability to take my guard down and relax.
This has all sorts of ramifications but the most obvious are things like the old adage that goes something like “When mama ain’t happy, nobody ain’t happy”. My lack of care for myself, my lack of time spent in stillness (which is a huge matter of discipline for me, one I’m utterly failing in at present) and my lack of rest/sleep in general impact the very core of our home in a monumental way.
I hate that. At least today I do. I can go months and feel like I’m dealing all right with the burden of responsibility on my shoulders but then comes a few things that put me over the top. Extra challenging behavior from a child. Another’s sleep habits reverting back to newborn baby style sleep. Bad manners from my kids one too many times at the dinner table. Am I raising children or farm animals I wondered one night this week?
So when I get in a funk and struggle to see beyond the momentary mishaps of life, everybody else seems to join me there. Then we’re just a ball of fun to be with 🙂
That doesn’t seem fair to me. But nobody asked me unfortunately. God gifted me with these little people and chose me above anyone else to be their mother. He has proven His goodness to me for decades and has never left me alone in the desert.
But sometimes I still question. I still dare to wonder why. And my wondering never takes me anywhere but right back to what I know to be true.
God is His infinite faithfulness and love for me, will walk with me and carry me along on the journey even when I feel like I can’t take another step.
One way I’m working on taking care of me is planning to attend a conference in January put on by the author of my favorite books on being a mom. Every book of hers I’ve read has ministered to my heart. And I know that spending two days hearing her speak will be even better.
Sally Clarkson and her husband have a ministry together that brings a bold message of God’s truth to parents today. I wrote a review here a while back about the last book of hers I read.
If you are a mom and there is any way you can attend one of her conferences I am sure you will be blessed by being there. I am attending the one in Denver in January and can hardly wait.
In the meantime, I’m heading to Arizona for a week with all four little ones to visit a dear friend and her three kids. Should be an adventure and I’m sure the sunshine and the friendship will be good for all of us!