The list of thankful continues…

#286 – a calm weekend

#287 – a date night…getting to share full sentences, take deep breaths and enjoy each other

#288 – grace for really, really crummy days

#289 – a full fridge

#290 – parents who live and love globally and invited us to have an authentic Indian dinner at their home tonight, complete with spices and treats brought back from their recent trip

#291 – eating with our hands and not getting in trouble-nan bread, tiki masala, dal and more that I can’t spell or pronounce…amazing food!

#292 – sweet Ruby cheeks

#293 – these grandparents and their brood of 6 loves (they brought back colorful, beautiful outfits for all of us from India, we all wore them tonight)

#294 – this boisterous, delightful little grinning nephew of mine

#295 – getting to see pictures and hear stories about their time in Northern India – incredible.



Acorns and donuts

#270 – finding a giant oak tree at the park today

#271 – finding tiny acorns under that giant tree

#272 – being amazed

#273 – leaf and acorn collecting in the rain

#274 – homemade donuts…how could anything taste so good?!?

#275 – a husband who calls home to ask me to make tea for him with “whatever all that stuff is you put in it”

#276 – getting to care for him when he doesn’t feel good

#277 – taking time to be on the floor with my children

#278 – learning how to braid girl hair

#279 – a long drive, a long day and happy hearts

#280 – warm socks

#281 – a date night on the horizon

#282 – forgiveness

#283 – eggnog lattes

#284 – sisters (yes, that’s Audrey in a sling with Rylee)

#285 – shirtless boys hard at work carving

Imperfect people

Yesterday we read about the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle.  Fascinating and amazing the way God was present with his people in the desert.  I was all excited to build a tent ‘tabernacle’ in the living room and then read the 10 commandments as we talked about how they resided in the Ark.

But, food came first, as it does these days.  So Rylee and I were mixing up an apple cake for after dinner – which in case you wondered, I ate 4 pieces of before the day was over.  She was about done working and said:

After I finish helping you bake, I’m going to go make a dwelling place for God in the living room, okay Mama?

I grinned and said that sounded good.  I love that that was the part of our reading she’d captured, she didn’t try to pronounce tabernacle, but instead called it what it was.  And I for one would love more of God dwelling in our living room.  It’s been a more than challenging week with attitudes and behaviors.

She started gathering supplies then Caleb came to help.  It started off good but quickly went downhill as they argued about how the tent should be built, what parts to use, etc.  I was bummed but I couldn’t help but think, this is probably what it looked like…imperfect people who had clear instructions on what to do but they still grumbled about all the details. This is so me.  I know what my heart should look like (I’ve been reading through the New Testament, chock full of inspiration on how to live) but despite a continual pursuit, I still fall short.

And just like God patiently, faithfully led the Israelites through what had to be a crazy hard 40 years, he consistently does the same when I let him.  Not with a cloud, sometimes I think that would be nice.  But in ways that are just as real and relevant for me.

So, really still wanting to make it happen,  I gave up on our tent making and opted for our little pop up sun tent.  We huddled inside and started to read Exodus.  We got through 3 commandments, slight fussing about how cramped we were, and then somebody farted.

The moment was over and everyone ran away.  I was left at the door to the tent, holding my Bible and laughing.  This is my life.

14 ounces of love

From the moment we found out we were expecting this fifth baby, I was gripped with fear.  It was beyond what I could understand.  I was not willing to speak it out loud as that made it more real to me.  So it has been carefully tucked away in my heart for nearly 5 months.  In our 8 years as parents, we’ve walked through big changes and encountered many different kinds of loss.  These of course culminated with the incredibly tragic death of my husband’s father in January of this year.

The fragile and uncertain nature of human life stared me in the face like it never has.  It left my heart broken and my legs shaky and all of me uncertain how life would move on.   The whole world moved forward and I felt like our life stood still.  For months.

Debating if I would still believe in the God I claimed to love, I wondered how He could have let so much hurt seep into our life.  Some seen and some completely unseen.  In tender and quiet places filled with puddles of my tears, I chose Him.  I chose to believe the truths that were crashing around in my head even though my heart said it was all too much and it would be understandable if I was done.

We took life one day at a time.  We still do.  We held onto each other for dear life when just 2 years ago we were grasping for straws and trying to put a broken marriage back together.

So I suppose with the freshness of loss still lingering in my heart, I was strangely pessimistic and felt like this gift of new life might just slip between my fingers.  Earlier in the week, I wept out the words as I prayed “No matter what happens, you need to know that I know you are still good.  I don’t want anything to be wrong, but I trust you, you have never failed me.”

I could hardly breathe as the technician scanned my belly and gave us our first glimpse at this little baby.   Though I had felt for weeks certain and sure movement every day that told me “I’m in here!”, I still struggled to believe it was for real.

Weighing just 14 ounces, this babe moved so much it was hard to get everything measured.  We counted fingers and toes.  We watched a tiny perfect mouth open and close.   I breathed in and out and did not pass out like I’d imagined I might.  Peace overcame.  My heart slowed down.

I was undone and spilling over with thankfulness…

#258 – a healthy growing fifth baby blessing

#259 – sunshine for days on end

#260 – a perfect pumpkin patch adventure

#261 – frosty cold mornings

#262 – warm pumpkin scones

#263 – an empty washer, first time in 6 months or so being caught up on laundry!

#264 – peace

#265 – believing He is the same regardless of my days, my attitude, my success or my failure

#266 – a cousin kiss

#267 – a baby on a baby bump

#268 – making applesauce

#269 -being married

…yes, I know it’s not Monday, but I decided that was okay!

Pumpkin Patch 2010

There is something wonderful and healing for me about going to the same place to do the same thing year after year.  I am more aware of this now than ever just because the last couple of years have held a lot of change for us.  It’s nice when some things stay the same.  Like Bob’s corn…we had a perfect, cold, fall day with my sister and her family.

Our family ‘code’

In history this week we learned about the code of Hammurabi.  He came up with 300 interesting rules intended to help govern his highly developed, ancient civilization.  One of our assignments for the week was to write up our own family code of conduct.  I’m not sure what I expected exactly but this is what our kids came up with verbatim at the dinner table tonight as I took notes:

  • don’t lie
  • don’t tease
  • don’t steal
  • be appropriate-don’t do anything in the living room you shouldn’t
  • don’t pull your underwears down or let people see your privates
  • don’t say bad words or be rude
  • listen
  • don’t pee on the seat
  • don’t get out of your seat till you’re done eating
  • don’t read at the dinner table
  • don’t run away from people
  • no hair in your food
  • don’t lie (this was listed twice by someone who has struggled with this issue lately!)
  • don’t chew with your mouth open
  • no gulping your water
  • don’t pick your nose
  • when you toot, say excuse me
  • when you poop, flush and wipe your bottom
  • we help clean up
  • don’t break anything special unless it breaks on its’ own
  • don’t kill someone unless it’s not in your family and it’s a bad guy

They asked me to read these back after we were done.  I wish I was mature enough to read words like poop without laughing, but alas, am not.  Maybe that comes with…turning 40?  I don’t know but I had tears streaming trying to recite their list back, which they’d made in all seriousness.

All the fun you can have with peach spandex

Two years ago I bought several yards of peach colored spandex.  That was the color that was on sale.  And our son’s OT said spandex was incredible for providing sensory input.  We were up for trying anything.  With rain on the way for months to come, I thought we’d share our list of ridiculous fun that has come from this one piece of fabric…

1.  Spandex Burrito – we wrap a kid up in a snug roll and let them slide around in there

2. Spandex in a knot – we place a kid in the middle of the spandex, tie them up tight in a ball and listen to them giggle and shriek while they find their way out through the hole (while this could sound bad, it has been nothing but crazy fun for us all!)

3. Spandex tug-of-war – this stretchy stuff is perfect for pulling on and having an awesome tug-of-war contest

4. Spandex swing – we place a kid in the middle and each take two corners and bounce kids up and down as long as our arms keep working

5. Spandex sliding – the stuff is super slippery and when running onto it, can send you flying across the floor (again, this could end badly but so far no major injuries here)

I’m pretty sure there are more things we could do with this spectacular piece of material that was well worth a few bucks.  It is hard to get physical energy out in a small house for weeks on end.  This is one way we make it through, just thought I ought to share 🙂

Keeping on counting

#242 – all six of us spending half a Sunday in our pajamas

#243 – resting instead of working

#244 – a fluttery tiny baby making himself/herself known

#245 – the halfway mark of pregnancy…and knowing the hard part is to come

#246 – flannel sheets and cold nights

#247 – crisp fall days

#248 – listening to little readers

#249 – learning to be flexible with what isn’t working

#250 – an early morning wake-up friend, accountability is good!

#251 – watching my parents be radical and refuse to ‘check out’ during their golden years

#252 – living close enough to those parents for mid-week park dates

#253 – giving up coffee…again

#254 – dinners in the freezer

#255 – blushing as I walk at the same park with my kids where a lifetime ago I once kissed a boy in those trees and dreamed big dreams…now his sons climb the very same trees

#256 – a house to call our own

#257 – the love that happens here

Homeschool “recess”

Since summer never came and now it’s finally here, we’ve been unwilling to miss out on the lovely days when they come…so we’ve been up early, hard at work getting schoolwork finished so that we could head to the park for a brief lunch picnic and play time.

This week our history reading covered Ancient Egypt, which is full of wildly fascinating things to learn about – like mummies:

And in our loose study of geography (it sort of just fits in all over as we learn new things about new places and keep heading back to the map!) we have been focusing on India as my parents just returned from there this week and brought back some darling Indian clothing for the kids:

We ventured to one of our favorite parks yesterday to end the week and watched a screech owl cleaning itself in the bushes, saw countless turtles and waterfowl and ran to our hearts content!

Rylee brought all the supplies for a little science experiment that she made up, she was sure her 2 year old cousin Isaac would want to do it with her.  He enjoyed it as much as she did I think…it was so cute!

7 year old smarts

As we were getting ready for a quick lunch picnic after morning school work, Audrey came barreling into the kitchen screaming and holding her eye.  She was holding a bottle of bug spray and trying to tell me through sobbing that she sprayed it at herself.  I picked her up and got a washcloth and Rylee grabbed the bottle.

“Don’t worry mom, it’s organic!”  she said delightfully, as if that would surely stop the hysterical tears.

I kept washing the eye out and she kept reading “Non toxic, safe for the entire family, all natural” she stated over the noise.

It took quite a while to recover and poor Audrey’s little eye was red and watery for a long time.  But I did have to laugh inside.  I can see a new catch phrase in our home developing….