Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An Unexpected Gift

We didn't have any basketball games last night.  Can you believe it?  First Monday in ages that we've all been home.  Egg roll dinner with my parents (Happy Birthday, Dad!), gluten-free mocha brownie cake (so yummy!), homework, kids making fun of me (as usual), lots of laughter.

The basketball season is winding down.  Daughter (#7) finished over a week ago (4th place in the 5th and 6th grades).  The Jr. High girls have their last game on Thursday.  Son (#4) has his last home games today and his last regular season games on Friday.  Next week we'll be at the playoffs.

Then it will be volleyball, tennis, play rehearsals, track...  you get the idea.

But last night's evening home?  Lovely.

Last week I had two of the girls home with ear infections.  Daughter (#7) for two days and Daughter (#6) for three.  It was a long week.  They are doing a great job catching up on schoolwork and I'm working on catching up on errands and piles around the house.

So much to be grateful for.

Speaking of, I think it's above freezing so my run is calling.

Last night was a good reminder.  It's so busy, we are constantly coming and going,  never stopping, always work to do and laundry to fold and games to get to and meals to fit in between here and there...

Daughter (#2) and I made a trip down to see Son (#1) this weekend, have lunch, switch cars.  It was wonderful to have some time to visit with them.  And even the time with the girls last week while they were sick - I enjoyed having that time with just them.  All reminders that it's a good idea to pause now and then and just take time to enjoy these days.  They are passing so quickly.

Maybe eventually the Coach and I will get a date night, again!  Yay for basketball.  Ha!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Thankful Thursday, Take 2

So after yesterday's need to re-focus on gratefulness...

Daughter (#7) came home from school with a fever.

So today's plans were scrapped and we've been watching "Flash" and "Phineas and Ferb" non-stop all day while I coax her to stay hydrated and eat something.

A friend's sweet text reminded me that these days of the troops needing their momma when they are sick are numbered.  I only have two or three who really want me to take care of them when they are sick, now.  Of course, I take care of them anyway, but only a couple of the troops can't stay home alone - so if they are sick it rarely derails our plans.

Not to mention, the big kids just aren't sick very often.

So here is today's list:

1.  Got to talk to Son (#1).  He finally got the insurance settlement on his wrecked Jeep from Christmas Break (not his fault).  Which means a trip down to see him in a week or two.  Yay!

2.  Texts from Daughter (#2).  Concerned about her little sis, discussing Gilmore Girls, and getting updates on the basketball games she and I have both missed this week.

3.  Another call from Son (#3) asking what he could bring home for us.  His thoughtful heart and willingness to make a root beer run.

4. Even though I've missed the last two games that Son (#4) has played - one currently in progress as I type - I love knowing that the Coach is there cheering him on and so is the wonderful "family" that is our school.  And cousins.  And aunts and uncles.  Plenty of cheering all around.  I love seeing him play, but I'm grateful that when I'm not there, our fans still will be.

5.  That Daughter (#5) is literally the most easy going, dry-humored, funny and low-maintenance teenager ever.  In history.  Enough said.  Because we don't lack for drama around here.

6.  That every time I see Daughter (#6) play basketball (like the game I watched last night right BEFORE we realized that her little sister was sick), I am reminded of the amazing work God has done in her life.  Oh the stories.  Oh the joy to see her, now.

7.  If someone has to be sick, Daughter (#7) is seriously the never-complaining, happiest, non-particular, sweet, laughing-even-when-she-has-a-fever (thanks, Ferb!), girl to ever grace our troops.  Need anything, I ask?  Nope.  Are you ok, I ask?  Yep.  Even when she's burning up.  Every family should have a 7th born, 4th born girl.  Sweetest.

8.  And Little Man?  He's grown so much this school year.  Especially with his reading.  From not getting all of his AR points the first 9 weeks to reaching beyond his goal the next 9 weeks to reading all. of. the. time. now.  I'm so proud.

9.  Without the Coach?  This whole ship would sink.  He's been support staff the two weeks I've been down with this cold (thankfully, still SO MUCH better, today).  He's brought kids home and gone to games without me and walked in the door ready to help out however he can.  I'm so grateful to be married to a man who lays down his life DAILY for all of us.  Too bad I'm missing all of the under-his-breath-coaching-from-the-bleachers tonight.  Once a basketball coach?  Always a basketball coach.

So there you have it.  Nothing is ideal here, today.  But all is well.  How could I complain about being snuggled up with my littlest girl watching Phineas and Ferb and eating chicken quesadillas on a cold, dreary night?  With lots of texts from the Crusader fans.

Happy Friday.

What are you grateful for, today??  I want to hear it!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thankful Thursday

1.  I'm thankful that there are only 7 basketball games this week instead of last week's 14.
2.  I'm so SO thankful that my on-again-off again-for-two-weeks cold is finally better.
3.  I'm thankful for a relatively clean house.  A few Clorox wipes, some Windex and a vacuum will do wonders.  Every time.
4.  I'm thankful for potato soup in the crock pot.
5.  For Jr. High games this afternoon.
6.  I'm thankful that Elementary basketball is winding down.  As fun as it's been.  It's tries my patience in countless ways.  Bless my sweet girl's heart.
7.  For a husband that loves me enough to make me stay home and rest when I don't feel well.
8.  That I'm half-way through my four weeks resting my leg that seems uninclined to heal.  Because I really miss running.  And the clear head that always follows a good run.
9.  For talks and texts with my college kids.  And the occasional visit.
10.  I'm thankful for a warm house in this gloomy cold winter weather.  Brrrr.
11.  For my new coat that the Coach got me for Christmas.
12.  For leftover coffee that I'm going to re-heat here in a bit.

Happy happy Thursday, All!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Back at it...

Our 2nd left to go back to college, yesterday. The Coach and the school kids left bright (or dark) and early this morning to head back to school.  Son (#1) has another week to work before he has to leave. I faced a quiet, empty house with nary a Christmas decoration in sight at 7:00 this morning.  And I was sad.

Not because I'm not ready for some kind of schedule and routine.  I've missed that.  Not because it wasn't time for earlier bedtimes and fewer movies and ENOUGH of the constant eating already.  I'm over it.  Not because I want Christmas back... we celebrated thoroughly and soundly.  And let's be honest, Christmas is a HUGE amount of work for us mommas.  Just ask my back  - it went out early Saturday.

But there's just something about having all 10 of us HERE.  Together.  Everyone sleeping in their beds at night (even if they come in after I'm already sound asleep in mine).  Along with extras which delightfully show up most nights.  Dinner around the table with all eight troops, laughing until we cry.

Even the amount of food and laundry doesn't make me wish it over.  Well.  Maybe the laundry.


I loved it.

It was messy and loud and meals overlapped all day long and the dishwasher ran constantly and I loved it.

Such a reminder to me, once again, how grateful I am to be able to do what I love.  The Coach works so hard to give me the opportunity to be HOME.  To have time to take care of my people.  To cook for them and sit and talk with them and say goodbye to them in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon and cheer them on at all of their (countless) games.

I know I take it for granted.  It's all I've known.  But it's the best.

When the kids were all little it was exhausting to be with them 24/7.  To have kids everywhere all of the time.  To have few breaks and less rest.  Looking back, I'm not sure how we even survived.  This 42 year old momma would never be able to do what that much younger momma did.

But it was so worth it.  I got to see them grow and learn and play and fight.  I got to teach them how to help and love one another and be kind.  Well, we're still working on some of that.  Ha!

Now that they are older (well, most of them), I'm enjoying so much fruit from those years.  No, I'm not done.  Are we ever?  But it's much less teaching and training and more talking and just BEING with them.  And talking.  Especially late at night.  Yawn.

There's always more to learn.  Always more to teach.  Always more growth that is needed.

But after two weeks with all of my kids?  From age 8 to age 20?   I'm realizing anew how very blessed I am to be their momma.  They are amazing people.  Every one of them.  They must take after their daddy.

I miss it, already.

Happy 2016 from our troops to yours.  May you have the supernatural strength and grace to do what God has given you to do this coming year.  If it's in the trenches with little ones?  Bless you.  If it's juggling college kids and grade school, I'm with you.  Now lets settle in for the Winter months and make the most of it.

Happy Monday.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

21 years

Several weeks ago, the Coach and I went away for a weekend by ourselves.  There was a time when a weekend away meant a clean house, meals in the freezer, getting my nails done, having things organized for the kids, and packing my "nice" clothes.

This time?  I literally threw my yoga pants and a school t-shirt in a bag with my overnight stuff, grabbed my laptop, and left a sweet friend at home with the troops in a messy house.  We picked up take-out on our way (and enough for leftovers for lunch the next day) and packed oats and coffee for both mornings. Because we are pretty much 80 years old.  Ha!

And it was heavenly.

Sleeping until I woke up.  Twice.  Planning and discussing and catching up.  Without being interrupted or having the phone ring or stopping to switch the laundry or fix dinner.

Of course we had to come in for a game on Saturday night.  And we missed a game Saturday morning.  We finished it off with our long Sunday run (in the afternoon, because... sleep!).  Even squeezed a movie in before the game.

This week the Coach and I will celebrate 21 years of marriage.  

Which means I've officially been married as long as I wasn't.  Or something like that.

We'll celebrate with a basketball game.  Of course.

At some point over the holidays we'll go to dinner - we've already talked about whether it will be Charlestons (always so good) or the Cheesecake Factory (because we haven't been there in years!).  I'm happy just to BE with my Coach.  Sit across from the table from him.  Talk to him.  Discuss what's going on with the kids. Work through the next week's schedule.

Neither of us are who we were 21 years ago.  But the beautiful thing is that together we've both become something that we never would have been apart.  

I've been so challenged by the Coach's consistency and discipline.  I've even learned a bit of it. And he's learned to extend a lot more grace to his much less ambitious wife.

It's a gift, this thing called marriage. It was God's idea and it's a good one.

Last year on our 20th anniversary, the Coach had the flu.  Five of the kids had the flu.  I celebrated by caring for them.  Not a bad way to commemorate it, really.

This year?  There won't be a cruise or a trip, or much of anything else during basketball season.  And please, Lord, can we skip the flu part?

But real life is truly good.  I'd rather have quiet weekends at the farm working on the budget.  Moments watching our kids on the court.  Precious family time with our college kids home.

So. Very. Blessed.

Happy 21st, Babe.  I'd say yes all over, again.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015


I just saw my post from three weeks ago and I almost walked away.

I could say the very same things, today.

But isn't that life? Many days DO look the same.  My list certainly does.

Get up earlier than I'd like.
Drink coffee.
Put the laundry in the dryer.
Wake up Little Man.
Get breakfast stuff out.
Make sandwiches times seven.
Get six kids and the Coach off to school.
Start laundry.
Load and start the dishwasher.
Work out.
Drink more coffee.
Run errands.
Fold laundry.
Make something for dinner.
Pick up kids.
Go to basketball games.
Supervise homework and showers and more laundry for the next day.
(The Coach always supervises the dinner dishes - I love him for that.)

There may be a few variations, but this is LIFE for me right now.

Working through, processing, continuing to hand over the hard things to our loving Lord.
Focusing on, soaking in, reminding myself of the good in every day.

I'm still in the Psalms.  Still singing worship songs (and some Michael Buble' Christmas, too) in the shower.  Still playing Daily Audio Bible when I get ready in the mornings.

Maybe this is where I'm camping out for awhile.  Life is good.  And life is exhausting.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with our troops.  All home.  All eight.  So amazing.

Cooking, baking, running the Turkey Trot, time with family.  Cousins everywhere, two birthdays (Son #1 turned 20.  TWENTY!), an ice storm, family pictures.

And now, two weeks later, my college kids are headed home again.  Taking their last finals this morning.  They've survived their first semesters at new schools with new classes and new friends.  I'm so proud of them.

I finally got our Christmas cards ordered this morning - which means they may or may not be mailed before Christmas.  I'm headed to help my girl pack some things up to move into a different dorm room before break.  The Jr. High girls have games this afternoon, while the Varsity boys play at our gym.  The Coach is bringing the littles home so they can welcome our oldest when he drives in.  Dinner is ready to go in the oven and will be eaten as some point.

The house may not be as clean as I would choose.  I didn't have time to make cinnamon rolls for the kids.  A leg injury has kept me from running all week.  And let's be honest, we all have things that make the holidays a super hard time.  Family issues, broken relationships.  This earthy life is full of sorrow. Current world events and leaders make me long for the new heaven and the new earth.

But in the midst of it all... our Faithful God.  I trust Him, today, with all of it. The fun blessings and the not so fun ones. He's sovereign over it all.  Even when most days look pretty much the same.

I pray that your Christmas season is filled with the Hope of Glory.  The Savior of the world, who knows and loves YOU.  Numbers the hairs on our heads (which must be super difficult, considering what I clean out of the shower drain every day!), knows the burdens on our hearts, and loves us in spite of ourselves.

Happy Thursday.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

November at the Troops

It's been a month since I last wrote.  A month.  How is that even possible?  The holidays are soon upon us and that means my KIDS will be home!  I can't wait.  I know it will be crazy and busy and loud and my well laid plans will all have to be adjusted but I will LOVE IT. And Christmas shopping!  Yikes.  I should start.

I've got Pioneer Woman's Hamburger Soup simmering away and my school crowd is due any minute.  We'll quick get through homework and eat and head back for basketball.  Because somehow while things here were rolling along, we morphed quickly from football season (with a hard loss last week) into basketball season for four of our troops.  It's great fun.  And Little Man is already whining about the time sitting in the gym.  Ha!

We started basketball and finished up football season WORN OUT at the troops.  Each and every one.  As hard as it is, I am so grateful for the opportunity for my boys to play.  To forge relationships in the trenches of helmets and hard hits and injury.  Along with the glory of victory now and then.  There's nothing like it and it went SO QUICKLY this year I felt like I just blinked and we were done.  Thank the Lord we don't have a senior this year or I'd still be crying like a baby.

Truthfully, it's been so busy and there has been so much going on that I've been a little bit discouraged.  It's a lot to manage and we got so worn out that I think my ability to keep smiling and encouraging and just moving (ha!) lagged a bit.

Sometimes it takes a few weeks of the Psalms and Daily Audio Bible and singing worship music at the top of my lungs in the shower and going from moment to moment in prayer to pull myself out of a funk.  I don't know that I'm there yet, but I'm closer than I was last week.

Seasons keep passing.  Kids keep growing.  Games keep being won or lost.  Schoolwork and homework and papers and projects move in and out of our house like a wave most days, often leaving devastation in their wake.

But each morning the sun rises, again.  The Coach makes coffee, again.  The workouts and the runs and the laundry and the meals and the bills keep needing my attention.  And before I know it, time is passing and I'm tired, but smiling.

Smiling because I have a FAITHFUL God whose love amazes me every day.

Smiling because I have a husband who loves me even when I'm tired, overwhelmed, cranky and dieting (which means extra cranky!).  Ha!

Smiling because the TROOPS - how I love them.  They make me laugh until my sides hurt.  They keep me busy and make life FULL and fun.

Smiling because we have the most wonderful group of people who love us and encourage us every single day.  No matter what.  Our parents.  Our friends.  Our school family.  So blessed.

And sometimes?  It just has to be enough - in the midst of an uncertain world and uncertain futures - that God is sovereign over it all.  It IS enough.  No matter how I FEEL today, or tomorrow, or next week, or next year.  He is enough.  His love.  His grace.  His unending mercy.  Whether or not I can keep up, or keep the laundry going, or keep food fixed for this crowd.  Whether or not I'm missing my engineering student (sigh) or haven't seen the coach in days or have a run that feels like my legs are lead.

He is always there.  Always faithful.  Always enough.

Happy Thursday!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.