Monday, December 21, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How the Coach Won My Heart - Part Ten

This has been one CRAZY week here at the troops.
Before it gets even more out of hand (which it is certain to), I wanted to take just a minute to post this. The next part of our story, "How the Coach Won My Heart".

If you don't know what I'm talking about (and yes, it's been a LONG time since I posted a chapter), you can catch up with us, here, before you read on.

Tomorrow, the Coach and I celebrate our 15th anniversary. Hardly seems possible. Well, except that Son #1 just turned 14 (just saying that makes me feel old!).

I can honestly say, that I love my Coach more today than I did not only 15 years ago - but even more than I loved him one year ago. I have never once had enough time with him. I'm always wishing for more. He's my best friend. Our marriage is full of JOY.

We are going to get some much needed time together this weekend. But in honor of our special day, tomorrow. . .

So the Coach, he had pneumonia, I was suffering with a sinus infection and the wedding? Just a few days away.

We finished up our pre-marital counseling (which gave us many good discussion topics!) and the last few preparations before family started arriving.

My best friend flew in from Florida, just in time. I was starting to lose it.

At my "Girls" party that sisters-in-law and friends hosted, I broke down in tears.

The Coach wasn't feeling well at all. No one wants to get married while they are deathly ill. I knew it was frustrating for him. And sad for both of us.
The girls were sweet and encouraging. Life is still REAL, even when we are trying to plan the "perfect" moments. Although the wedding is a wonderful moment, it isn't what life is all about.

Truth is, as wonderful as it all had been, there had been lots of "real", too. It's a big adjustment to go from being dependent on a wonderful, generous Father, to trusting a fine looking young man with a teaching salary that I barely knew. Leaving my home for really the first time, ever, to live with a guy that I loved, yet hadn't learned to fully trust, yet.

It was a lot to deal with.

But I knew.

I knew God had led us. I knew He wouldn't stop. And I had peace.

Peace that came from knowing we had our parent's blessing. Knowing God brought us together. Knowing the Lord would take care of the "details" and we were ready to give Him the glory. Although I hadn't really learned to trust the Coach, yet. I knew I could. I'd seen his heart.

The day before our wedding, my best friend's mother hosted a beautiful bridal luncheon for us. At the downtown, top-of-the-tallest-building club, that I had wanted to have the reception at. It was lovely. Topiaries made with white roses decorated the long table. We had such a small wedding party that she included all of the sisters, sisters-in-law, mothers, grandmothers, aunts. . . the people that were such a part of my life, or soon would be.

That night we gathered for our rehearsal, enjoying the thought that we were soon to say "good-bye" for the last time. The last evening we'd go home to different places. It had been one of the hardest things about our courtship. With so little time together, we seemed to always be saying good-bye. I couldn't wait to say good-bye to everyone ELSE and leave WITH the Coach!

At our rehearsal dinner, my granddad spoke precious words to us about me. He had been such a part of my daily life. Little did we know then, that we would have the blessing of being his next door neighbors for over 9 years while 6 of our children were born!

The Coach's oldest brother spoke about him. About his determination to do right. His love for the Lord. His commitment to his family. All so true, as I already knew.

I was fairly certain that I wouldn't be able to sleep that night. And I was sick. So my best friend, who was staying at my parent's with me, gave me NyQuil. For the first time in several days, I slept like a rock! Only to wake up at 5:00! Excited!
She and I headed out for one last "girls" breakfast together at our favorite coffee shop. When we got back to the house, it was time to start getting ready! My family was there (parents, brother) and my maid of honor/best friend and her mother. We laughed and laughed and sang to sweet music and laughed some more. Precious time.

When it was time to head to the church for pictures, my daddy and I climbed into a white stretch limo (the Coach and I had decided to leave the reception in my car - which we were taking on our honeymoon, so we had to fit a limo in somewhere!). On the way there, he asked me once again, if I was "sure". He said it was not too late, if I had any reservations at all about marrying the Coach.

At the time, that conversation seemed odd to me. After all, we were ON OUR WAY to the wedding! But years later, as a mother myself, having watched countless friends go through heartache and even divorce, I realize that he was telling me it wasn't enough for HIM to be sure. I was the one marrying the Coach. I needed to know. KNOW. Because this would be it. The Coach and I had already promised each other we would not ever leave or divorce one another. Only death could separate us. So we needed to be sure. And I was.

We had decided to have pictures done separately before the wedding, so that we could spend less time after, so the time at church was filled with last minute preparations and pictures with family and friends. I love those pictures. Our last pictures before we were married.

The Lord had provided one of the Coach's friends from college, a gifted pianist, along with a student of the Coach's (an amazing violinist) to play the prelude music. As I stood there in the back of the church . . . waiting. . . I listened to them play "It is Well With my Soul" - at our request (and the only music in the wedding that wasn't Christmas music!). It seemed to fit.

Sometimes, life is really good. Sometimes in life there is sorrow. But always we are "well" in the hands of our loving Savior. It was beautiful.

Fortunately the Coach had made it to the doctor AGAIN the morning of our wedding. When I look at pictures, he seems awfully stoic to me. I'm sure it's just the high doses of antibiotics and steroids. But whatever it was, he made it through.

The church was decorated with lighted trees and poinsettia plants. Beautiful white flowers sat on either side of the steps to the platform. My maid of honor and the Coach's little sister (Junior Bridesmaid) wore black velvet. The guys (the Coach's youngest brother was his best man) wore traditional black tuxes. I carried a white bouquet. The girls carried red roses.

What an amazing, beautiful day it was. My dad began the ceremony with a bit of our story (a lot of what I've shared with you). The Coach's dad led us in our vows to God and one another, and pronounced us "The Coach and Mrs. Troop". Followed by our very first kiss.

We enjoyed a beautiful reception (that was a complete blur!) in a room decorated by sweet friends, with delicious food that more sweet friends and family had made. More pictures, more visiting and congratulating. And we were on our way.

And yes, there IS more to come. . .

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Stay at Home" Mom

Today is, blessedly, at day at home for us. We've been out every day this week with this and that. Which means I'm frightfully behind. Makes the fact that I am technically a "Stay at Home Mom" seem like a joke.

We've had a fun week. Basketball games, BSF, Christmas cards mailed, dentist appointments for seven, field trip with my 5th grader, class mission projects for school, the big van in for some maintenance (and the associated car swapping that ensues), and countless other good times!

Some huge blessings, too.

This verse for me from the Coach:
"If anyone speaks, his speech should be like the oracles of God: if anyone serves, his service should be from the strength God provides, so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen." I Peter 4:11

(and yes, this is his very sweet and not so subtle way to let me know I've been raising my voice WAY too much, lately)

And the reminder (from the Coach AND BSF) this week to start each day by asking the Lord to send in each day what He has for me. And the strength to do it.

Can't say I've done it, well. But I have known that He is there, offering in His sovereign plan, what I need for the moment, the day. I haven't always obeyed. Or abided in His strength. But I'm learning.

This time of year offers so many opportunities to focus on the Lord. On Jesus' choice to obey the Father and come to this fallen, cold, dark earth to be the Savior of the world.

It also offers countless chances for unrealistic expectations, ridiculously long to do lists, overly full calendars, overdrawn checking accounts, ungrateful hearts and tired grumpy kids.

Be careful. Strive to glorify God in everything. Tell Him you have a heart to obey, then ask Him what He would have to say "yes" to and what to maybe say "no" to (when I'm not sure, I ask the Coach!). Be a pleaser of your Heavenly Father and not of men. Share Christ and the hope of salvation with those He brings across your path this season.

And in the real life moments? When Little Man eats a cracker out of a 2 year old set of Resurrection Eggs that pulled out of the upper cabinet after pushing a chair up and climbing onto the counter? When the laundry pile is bigger than the Christmas Tree? When the kids have a wrestling match or play basketball in my living room because it's 12 degrees outside? When daughter reminds me that her stocking for the City Rescue Mission is due tomorrow (and it's 8:00 at night)? When I burn the cookies the Coach asked me to make for his meeting at school? When the Coach told one group we had a TV they could pick up for donation and I told a completely different caller the same thing? When Daughter #6 has slept in our room every night this week because I'm a "magic mommy" and she has good dreams when she sleeps on the floor by my bed? When you discover that the entire front of your stainless fridge has been scratched (hmmm. . . wonder which two year old did that?), your hair needs colored, you have started closing doors so you won't see the messes in the kids' rooms when you walk by, and you STILL can't think of a gift for that one person on your list. . .

He is still God. He is still on the throne. He loves you. Has a perfect plan for you. And you can trust Him. So can I.

And my time is up. Little Man has been playing with a roll of tape and my essential oils from Beeyoutiful. I just hope he's been rolling the calming one all over his arms and not the refreshing one. Because I SO need a nap! After I play Skipbo with Daughter #7. And take a shower. And finish the dishes. And get something going for dinner. . .

Blessings on your Friday!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Good Reminder. . .

I'll admit to having one of the most wonderful husbands in the world. Really. I consider myself so very blessed to be his helper. His love, faithfulness, consistency and kindness is a continual challenge to me. He's such an example of the character of Christ.

But it's easy to get my focus off of others (and being a good helper to my husband) and back onto myself. Ugh. What I need, what I want, what would help ME.

Reading through this book (for the fifth or sixth time now, I'll admit) always challenges me. I know the main reason is because it's full of God's Word to women. I need to be reminded of my role, my purpose and how blessed I am.

Thought I'd share something I read this morning. Hopefully it will challenge you be a better wife this week as you seek to be a good helper to your man.

"Traits of a Good Help Meet

1. She fears God.
2. She believes God's Word as it is written.
3. She considers her position as a help meet a privileged command.

Make a list for each day of the week.

Monday: Write three new things that you will add to your life that will cause you to become more precious to your husband.

Tuesday: List three things that you can do that will be a help to him.

Wednesday: Write down three things you can do that will be an encouragement to him.

Thursday: Jot down three things about your appearance that you can change, which he is sure to like.

Friday: List three things that you can do to your house that will please him.

Saturday: Write three things you can do that will make him feel like he is THE MAN.

Sunday: Plan three ways you can respond to him in front of others that will show a heart of respect and honor toward him."

from "Created to be His Helpmeet" by Debi Pearl, page 123

I don't know about you, but this list immediately brought a few things to mind that I'm not doing and should be doing.

Hope it challenges you, as well. I highly recommend this book. I read it every year or so and am constantly learning and growing from it's insight. You can read more about it and order it here. Or order it here, too. If you haven't read it, yet, just order it from SOMEWHERE, OK?

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Thursdays are such a good time to pause for a minute and "Count my Blessings". I hope you will count YOUR blessings, today, too. We can choose what our mind is fixed on. It can be fixed on everything that is wrong with our lives, everything that makes life hard, everything we would change if we had the power - or we can choose to remember God's faithfulness. His provision. His salvation. His love for us. It's a choice. I hope you will choose today, with me, to thank Him for His goodness and all he has done for us.

So here's my thankful list for today:

1. That in between changing DVD's, getting drinks and snacks and administering Tylenol and Motrin, I've found a minute to write this post. (And I should mention that I have "Barbie's Princess and the Pauper" and "Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas" completely memorized. Which I'm sure will come in handy some day.)

2. That my house is decorated for Christmas, courtesy of my kids. Amazing.

3. That the Coach is so very patient with me and tolerant of my headcold-tired-cranky self. Bless his heart.

4. Two projects finished for school last night (Little Pilgrim's Progress poster with 3-D map, "My Own Colony" with laws, map and facts poster). Still have a pioneer toy and few other things to finish up. Along with everyone's class mission projects for Christmas. Grateful for kids who do the work themselves.

5. That I have our Christmas cards done. Not mailed, mind you, but ready to address. Just can't decide whether to spend hours fixing my address list to print the envelopes or write them by hand. At this point, I haven't had time to do either.

6. For bakery thrift stores. Love buying 12 loaves of bread for my freezer at 1/2 price. Son #1 eats the bagels by the bag. Good thing they are so inexpensive!

7. And have I mentioned, lately, how grateful I am for my kids' amazing, wonderful teachers? I love and appreciate them so much. We are blessed. I honestly don't know how they do it! It's a full-time job plus a lot. A lot of them have families of their own to prepare Christmas for. I stand in awe!

8. The anticipation of Christmas break. We learned a long time ago at the troops that anticipation is half of the fun. We sit around and talk about what we will do when school gets out. Driving to see Christmas lights, the live nativity, hot chocolate, Christmas movies, wrapping presents, sleeping in, cooking and baking. So much fun.

9. Receiving Christmas cards in the mail. My kids fight over getting the mail in December! We all love to open the cards and read notes from friends and see the pictures.

10. Lam. 3:21-23 "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."

Blessings on your Thursday!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Checking In

So many fun things to blog about in the last week or more. And no time to do it!

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving week! Fun time with friends and family. Really enjoyed time with these friends. Some work done and rearranging in the house. Great day with the Coach's family on Thursday. More time with family over the weekend along with watching Bedlam and celebrating two birthdays (Son #1 turned 14 *oh-my-heavens-I'm-getting-old* and Daughter #5 turned eight). Good times.

Monday morning dawned on a relieved mom (to see the kids all back at school so I could get caught up around here! Ha!) and a sick girl (Daughter #7 with a fever), so we are back in survival mode once again. Missing basketball games, running errands in the afternoon when I have big kids home to help, skipping BSF and trying to single-handedly take down a two year old who has decided he's boss of the universe all of a sudden.
Although he is pretty sweet when he's sleeping - like here on his cousin's lap at Thanksgiving.

As tired as the troops are, we've made some great memories. The house is decorated for Christmas (because my big kids took it on as their project!), we are settling back in for the last few weeks of school before the break and I'm even getting Christmas shopping taken care of slowly but surely.

It's all good.

And here comes Little Man for the 555th time out of bed at naptime. I told you he thinks he's in charge, now. Better go remind him he's not.

Have a great week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Memories and Moving on. . .

You've heard the saying, "The one thing in life you can be sure of is change."
It's true, you know.
Things are always changing here at the troops - and I'm sure at your house, too.

I'm getting better at change.

I LIKE security. Things staying the same IS security to me. But it's not reality. For the first 13 years of our marriage, babies were our huge factor of change. And while the babies were still coming, we started the kids in school, which meant EVERY year brought a lot of change for them and for me.

Four years ago we moved to this house. It's a great house. But it's brought a lot of change, as well, as all houses will. Our joke is, "What next?" with this house. I've accepted that it will always be something and we'll deal with it as it comes. Such a great house for us.

Kids are always changing. Good heavens! Always changing. We move through so many phases at the troops that it seems like every week is a new experience. Who is having trouble sleeping in their own bed THIS week? Who has decided that they are queen/king THIS week? And on it goes. . .

The Coach's job changes a lot, too. August (when it's still Summer) he starts football. Then games. Then (sometimes) playoffs. Once football is over it's MUCH quieter until after Christmas. Then he starts workouts after school. Then after school gets out in May he starts his Summer job at school with early morning workouts for the athletes. See what I mean? Never a dull moment!

Today we have a BIG change happening here at the troops. The Coach's car.

I love his car. What fun memories we have. Little weekend trips together. Date nights without the kids. I always take it on the weekends to run to the grocery store or do errands with a kid or two. SO much smaller than our big green van (which I am so very grateful for!). And just a couple of weeks ago, a visit with my friend S to visit Crazy Daisy and her new baby girl!

God has always taken care of us. And this time we have a chance to get a much newer car with lots fewer miles that has the same number of seats, but in a much more practical arrangement with more space in general. Isn't God good?

In the meantime. Here's saying good-bye.

Here's our crew at 7:00 this morning on their way to school in the Coach's car for the last time. (sniff)
I was holding Little Man while I took the picture. He wasn't awake enough to participate.
(and it's "Bedlam" day at school, hence all of the t-shirts)

Seeing this picture makes me wonder how they all FIT (not Daughter #7 - she stays with me, of course). Ha!

The "old" car was miraculously provided by our Heavenly Father. And the new one was, as well. Every good gift is from above. We know that.

So things continue to change. Sometimes day to day. . . sometimes month to month. But they WILL change. Sometimes I'm glad for the change. Sometimes I'm sad. But ALWAYS, I know that true security lies not in my circumstances or my stuff, but in the Lord.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Heb. 13:8

He will NEVER change. That's something you can count on.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Well. . . it's Thursday. Whew. Busy week.

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Eph 5:20

1. The dirty laundry. . . because it means there are children and a Coach to wear clothes and go to work and school and basketball and play outside.

2. Dishes to wash. . . because it means we have plenty of food to eat and healthy, hungry kids who eat it. Lots and lots of food and kids. :-)

3. A messy house . . . because it's full of children and laughter and noise.

4. Bathrooms to clean . . . hooray for indoor plumbing!

5. Bills to pay. . . what a blessing to have electricity and running water. A gas fireplace, extra freezer and fridge in the garage. . . washer and dryer, telephone and computer with DSL. Oh. And lights. And heat.

6. Homework and projects to do . . . thank you, Lord, for our wonderful school. So grateful that the children are being taught God's Word and Christ-like character by teachers who love them and love the Lord. So blessed.

7. Gray hair. . . ugh. This one is hard! But I'm hoping all of the gray hair means I'm growing and learning and becoming more of what I should be as a wife, mother, daughter and friend. Sure am grateful for that box of hair color, though!

8. A Little Man that has to be force-fed every meal. . . because it means he's healthy, whole, well and in spite of his "issues" with eating, he CAN eat. Praise the Lord.

9. The extra 25 pounds I'm carrying around right now. No, not Little Man - he doesn't weigh that much! If I had the time to work out every single day and go back to Weight Watchers - I could certainly lose the weight. But the lack of time is because I am amazingly blessed with wonderful people that keep me insanely busy. It won't be forever.

10. Tight budgets. Because almost every week we see God move in incredible ways to provide abundantly for our family. If we could do that on our own, we'd miss the chance to praise Him for His goodness.

So today. . . thank God for the "hard" things in your life. Some of you are dealing with REALLY hard things. His grace is sufficient. Give Him thanks in all things. I promise you'll be blessed.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trying to Give Up

Been thinking, lately, about how often I "fight" the moment.

Am I the only one?

Desperately wanting some quiet and being frustrated with the chaos.

Longing for a clean house, which often means a grouchy over-busy momma.

Wishing for everyone to be well when I'm tired of nursing the sickies.

Wanting bedtime, my Coach home, the weekend to come sooner . . .

Looking forward to things can become an idol to me, if I'm not careful.

I think it's normal to look forward to the "next thing". I do. I look forward to not buying diapers, anymore.

The Coach told me the other day he's ready to be a "sippy cup free" house. Whatever. (Can you tell I have no hope of getting there?)

I look forward to having everyone old enough that I'm not regularly wakened in the night.

Most every night.

But if I'm not careful, I end up living for the NEXT thing instead of living the here and now.

For me, there is a need for submission. A need for my heart to give up MY will for the moment and relax into God's plan for me for today.

To quit fighting it and start working IN it - His will - to accomplish what He has given me to do.

It may not be what I would chose. I may rather have more quiet, more time, more clean, less mess, less food, less illness.

But I'm learning that when I relax into it (submit), stop trying to change it - accept it as God's perfect will for me TODAY- the fighting stops, the grace is sufficient and it's not so bad after all.

I think I've done a lot of fighting, in my life. A lot of trying to get my own way or make things happen as I think they should. Maybe I'm just too tired, anymore. But maybe. . . .just maybe. . . I'm learning to trust my Creator who gave me life, salvation, His Holy Spirit AND the circumstances I'm faced with today.

God is the blessed controller of all things.

And I'm glad.

John 5:30 "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sometimes I forget. . .

I feel like crying, tonight.
Not just because it was a chaotic evening. Thursdays always are. Spelling words and memory verses to review. Reading to finish up and papers to sign. And tonight? Two kids who have a lot of homework from missing a week of school, each.

The Coach was gone, too. Lucky guy.

Then at the spur of the moment, my two eldest were invited to go to Branson with grand parents and cousins for the weekend. Tomorrow. So much fun for them! But there was packing and thinking through things to do.

Now I'm short a baby sitter for tomorrow night.

But none of that is really what got to me. Well, it GOT to me, but something else did, too.

You see? Son #4 has been home from school for over a week. Running a fever every day (until yesterday). I asked for some work to be sent home, knowing he's missed a lot. But with 5 seasons of the A Team to watch, he hadn't had much time to work on it. (ha!)

And tonight? I think it hit him that if he makes it back to school, tomorrow, Lord willing. . . he's going to be taking unfinished work with him. To face more unfinished work at school.

He lost it, bless his heart. He's a booger of a kid. Seriously. ALL boy! But he works HARD. And smiles constantly. And wears me out. But that's neither here nor there. The kid was overwhelmed.

I don't blame him. I can relate.

Right as I was about to start singing, "Lord have mercy on me" at the top of my lungs. . . with Little Man getting out of bed over and over and trying to help Daughter #6 with homework she should have done YESTERDAY (when the weather was SO nice) and Son #3 being the goofball King and Daughter #2 reminding me she was out of shampoo and . . .you get the idea.

The phone rang.

I completely missed that it was answered and given to Son #4. But I noticed him hang it up, so I asked him, "Hey Bud - who was that?"

"Mrs. . . (his teacher)."

"Really? What's up?"

A grin began to spread over his darling little face. "She didn't want me to get stressed out about the homework."


So you see? Sometimes I forget that the sovereign God KNOWS what is going on in our very loud, very chaotic and very dramatic household.

I can't see it. . . but He's there. . .prompting a sweet, loving, Godly teacher to call a frustrated little boy. He calmed right down. Finished most of it up and crawled into bed.

I know it's not a "big" thing. There was plenty of other drama going on. But I paused long enough to remember that I am loved. Son #4 is loved. By a Heavenly Father who knows all things.

And by a teacher who is sensitive to the Holy Spirit in obeying His promptings to DO something.

I'm humbled by that.

Because sometimes when the Holy Spirit prompts me, I'm not listening. Or I don't stop what I'm doing and DO it. Even a little something. Those little somethings mean a lot.

Everyone is finally settled down and asleep. Son #1 and Daughter #2 are packed. The Coach is home. The grocery run is done and all put away. The dishwasher and laundry are humming. The homework is as finished as it's going to get and tucked away in all of the backpacks for tomorrow. The lunch bags are out and ready to go. The clothes for morning are lying on the ends of beds.

And me? I'm just so grateful for the reminder that Jesus loves me.

Thankful Thursday

Yesterday my kids came home from school singing the "Gratefulness Song" from school (Character First!). It's something about "When we all see, what we should see, all we would see, is the good we know that others do for us and show them all our gratefulness!"

Now I have it stuck in my head. But you know. . . it's true.

What are you "seeing" today? What you SHOULD see? What I see here:

1. Laundry getting caught up. For today.

2. Bathrooms wiped up. Not scrubbed, but clean enough.

3. Son #4 still home from school, but I think we are ALMOST there. Made it all day, yesterday, without fever, then started running one again, last night. Bummer.

4. A freshly dusted bedroom. The Coach thought he was in the wrong room last night! We could have been leaving each other notes on the dresser. In the dust. But it's clean, now!

5. Finishing up my z-pac today. I'm finally feeling better.

6. That the Son who has been sick the longest, is also the best sick kid ever. In the history of the world. Seriously. Not one complaint or request. This kids is TOUGH. A little bit of cabin fever going on, but he's doing great.

7. My sewing machine. Zig-zagging around some bath mats this morning and thinking about what a blessing that machine has been for the last 19 years. How much mending it has helped with, how many curtains, bedding, crafts and countless projects. So grateful.

8. Beautiful weather. Seriously. It's been amazing. The kids have built an entire hobo village in the woods that they have spent every daylight moment after school playing in. The Coach is tearing up our deck (which is in need of repairs) after school each day. It's sunny, cool, lovely. Little Man is all about jumping on the trampoline, digging in the dirt, playing in the ashes in the fire pit (yeah. THAT is fun to clean up) and running around after all of the big kids. Good times.

Blessings on each of you this Thursday morning! May the Lord fill you with knowledge of His power and wisdom. My you find new strength to trust Him and allow Him to guide your steps.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tea, Muffins and Thoughts

Happy Tuesday morning!

As I'm sitting here eating a chocolate chip pumpkin muffin and drinking Chai tea, I thought it might be a good time to check in.
Not that I am opposed to just eating my muffin and drinking my tea, but I'm all about multi-tasking.
And did I mention that Daughter #7 and Little Man are at BSF with Grandmother?

Which would make it REALLY quiet here, except that Son #4 is home sick (which is also why I'm not at BSF with my kids) and is watching his, oh, about 236th episode of "A Team" on Netflix online. Fortunately, I am quite entertained by the A Team. Not that I sit and watch it with him, but I do get a chuckle or two from Murdock as I'm washing the dishes. And I almost have the intro memorized. Which I'm sure will come in handy at some point in life. I know for SURE the education on 80's culture will be invaluable to my son.


Reading through some old posts last night, I was struck by something obvious.

We are sick a lot.

Did I say a lot? I mean A LOT.

Or maybe it's just my perspective after being sick, myself, for over a week and caring for four sick kids, as well.

In the meantime, you won't believe it, but the Coach has finished up his 2009 football season. Even after 15 football seasons with him, knowing it will end soon enough, I'm relieved when it actually DOES end. So nice to have him around, again.

It's such a blessing being married to a man who is fortunate enough to have a job that he loves. It is a busy Fall at our house. But as the kids get older, it's getting easier. And starting next year, we will have a son of our own on that highschool team (ugh - where does the time go?) and how awesome is that to have your dad as your coach?


Praying that all of you are staying healthy and enjoying this beautiful FALL weather that we are having here in our neck of the woods. It's almost time for Family Pictures, Thanksgiving and finishing up my Christmas shopping (which would mean that I have to START, I suppose).

I probably should have skipped the muffin this morning since my current size is about to be documented for posterity. But I'm pretty sure it wasn't this morning's muffin that caused the problem to begin with. So why quit, now? There will be plenty of time for dieting when I'm not recovering from a flu-induced sinus infection and all of my kids are well and back in school.


Well, the laundry and dishes are calling. Son #4 is about finished up with his third episode this morning. I don't know that watching the A Team on Netflix for 6 days straight has helped out with his private Christian school principle approach education, but it probably hasn't hurt it, either. I hope.

There will plenty of time for homework (and dieting) another day, right?

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday

What a week.

Daughter (#6) finally made it back to school, yesterday. The hives only lasted a few days, but a fever followed. She missed a whole week!

But before she went back to school she gave the virus to her sister, Daughter (#7). Who, in turn, gave it to me.

Yee haw.

I "only" ran a fever for three days. Nice. She's still running a fever, Little Man started on Tuesday and Son #4, this morning.

On the very day of our wonderful school's Fall Festival! I'm so sad for him.

But enough of that! It's Thursday!!

1. A wonderful family reunion with my dad's cousins on Saturday. What sweet memories! The kids had fun on the farm - riding horses (thanks, Cousin Glen!) playing with the puppies, swinging, climbing in the tree house. What an amazing Godly heritage we've been given. (Praying, too, that none of us were contagious while we were there! We got sick the very next day.)

2. All of my mother's wonderful help while I was sick. Dinner one day, lunch the next, picking up the kids THREE days for me. Taking Daughter (#2) to her hair cut. What a blessing!

3. Beautiful weather! How amazing to be able to open all of the windows and let the fresh air and sunshine in. Ahhhhh.

4. Daughter (#2) and Son's (#3) help making 12 dozen chocolate chip cookies, yesterday, for the Fall Festival Bake Sale. Go buy some! :-)

5. The last week of football. It's all over tomorrow night - hopefully on a good note. But over, none-the-less. Can't believe I survived my 15th football season with the Coach. Some years I haven't been so sure we would make it!

6. Life lessons. The self-sacrificing, thinking of others, pitching in to help without being asked kind. I would never chose to be sick, but I appreciate the opportunity that my kids have had to help out. Hard for me, hard for them, but good for all of us.

7. Two full nights of sleep. Sure does help. Even if it only happens when we bribe, I mean REWARD, our little girls for staying in THEIR room all night!

8. No school tomorrow. We need the extra time to recover from this week!

That's all of the energy I have for today. Still lots of cleaning and caring and "come sit with me mom" to be done here, today, with sick little ones.

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I can't believe I'm actually on the computer at this time of day.

You know that time.

After school. Before dinner.

Homework. Notes to sign. Snacks. Lunchbags. Play clothes to change into. Dinner to get ready. You know.

Today? Doesn't seem so bad, really. Maybe because just my eight are here. And lately, that's unusual (although we LOVE having our cousins!).

Since I missed last week, I couldn't let the day go by without posting a Thankful List.

Here goes:


(sometimes it's hard to get going. . . )

1. The rain. (I don't know why I should be thankful for it, but I'm just GOING to be.)

2. The falling leaves. So pretty.

3. Our cabinet full of hot delicious goodness (hot chocolate, chai tea, cappuccino, etc.). Comforting and yummy.

4. The end of Jr. High football season. It was fun. But Son #1 missed the last half because of his knee injury. And it just wasn't the same without him out there.

5. The Coach will be home on Monday nights, now! Yeah! (well, except for when Jr. High basketball starts in a couple of weeks - but some of the kids can go with him on those nights)

6. Laundry caught up (for today).

7. Dinner in the oven.

And while we're at it. Have I shared this recipe with you, before?

Chicken, Potatoes and Beans
(from my good friend, Laura - thanks, Laura!)

In a 9x12, fill one third with chicken breast (I cut ours into strips), one third with potatoes (peeled and chunked) and one third with green beans (canned or frozen).

Sprinkle 1 packet of Italian Dressing MIX over all.

Pour one melted stick of butter over all.

Cover and bake one hour at 350.

So easy and so good.

My version has to be made in two pans. One with chicken, one with beans and potatoes. I use two packets of dressing mix (one for each pan), but only the one stick of butter for the two pans.

You're welcome!

8. Grandmother and Granddad are back from California! We missed them!

9. Not sure if I missed this last week (or was it the week before?) - but Daughter #5 has her cast off! For good! So grateful. Here's the first cast:

Here's the second one (notice they are BOTH blue!):

10. Same orthopedic visit that Daughter #5 got her cast off, we found out that Son #3 has a broken finger. But he's OK and we're taping it ourselves. He's learning to be tough! Ha!

11. ALL boys clothes sorted, organized and cleaned out. LOTS to give away, LOTS being used and plenty saved for Little Man. What a blessing. And SO nice to have our playroom back. Ha!

And THAT, my dear friends, is all she wrote for tonight.

Blessings on each of you as you enjoy this wonderful season of color and cool weather and time together with family.

And while I'm here with you - would you pray for Daughter #6? She broke out in hives on Tuesday night and has had them (and a lot of misery) ever since. Took her into the Pediatrician yesterday, but it's kind of hard to tell WHY one gets hives. As some of you probably know. In the meantime, she's been home (missing school) and although she's been just fine overall, it's not a lot of fun.


Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just passing these along. . .

I've been meaning for quite some time to tell you about a few "new" blogs I've started reading. My blog reading is kind of a temperamental thing, here at the troops.
For one thing, there isn't really much time for reading other blogs.

And a mom only has so much time and I don't want to waste any.

So my blog list has changed a bit over the years.

And most of the time? I don't even get to those! But I wanted to share a few really good blogs that you might enjoy.

First off: My friend Shannon and her family of ten (just like ours!) - she's a bit further down the motherhood journey than I am (older kids) and I really enjoy reading what she has to say. And it's SO encouraging to read about how she does things and think, "I do that, too!" Her post about lists made me laugh out loud - because we do that! Huge help.

Another friend I've started keeping up with via blog, is Magnolia Mama. You'll love her recipes and household tips! I'm going to make her homemade laundry detergent. One of these days! :-)

When I need a fresh perspective on my own life - and a reminder to pray for others who are dealing with MUCH more difficult circumstances, I check in over here (I don't know them, but they are friends of a friend). This amazing mom has chronicled the care and death of their fifth son (their second to die of a rare genetic condition) and the healing and recovery of their other three boys. It breaks my heart to read it, but it is a privilege to pray for this family. And a reminder to find JOY in the daily life here at the troops. Because while I will never be able to understand what they have gone through, we ALL should have the eternal perspective that their sorrow and loss has given them.

What is your favorite "new" blog these days?

I'm going to quit here, because it's getting harder and harder to type with Little Man climbing all over me. Ha!

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A day like today. . .

A day like today reminds me why I have the most wonderful life ever. . .
A day like today helps me forget yesterday (when I thought I could stay home all day, but in reality missed getting something really important taken care of - ugh). . .
A day like today makes me wonder why I get so discouraged. . .
A day like today makes all of my complaining seem so ridiculous. . .

Because today?

The Coach slept in.
Chai Tea in the morning.
The sun is shining.
The kids are playing with cousins.
Calls from good friends.
The laundry is caught up.
The house is *somewhat* clean.
My aunt came for a visit.
Beautiful hand-me-downs for the girls from a friend.
The Coach's little sis stopped by.
Cookies are baking (and being eaten as quickly as they come out!).
The Coach is coming home early. Woo hoo!
No football tonight (and they won last night!).
And best of all, everyone is WELL at this particular moment in time (although this fact is subject to change and probably will at any moment).

And did I mention the sun is shining?


All on a day like today. . .

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It has never been my intention to only blog once each week.

But life happens.

And lately at the troops?  A lot of life, happening a lot.

Today I'm so thankful for:

1.  A day at home.  First day in a couple of weeks that we haven't HAD to get out - so we are camping out here, today.  So much catching up to do.

2.  That my sick kids are improving.  In hindsight, we're pretty sure it's been the flu (our doctor said it didn't matter which one and no need to test - we've got it!), and depending on how far back we go, maybe six have had it?  I'm hopeful that they have because that only means 2 more to go.  

3.  Daughter #7's birthday this week.  She is sunshine and smiles and laughter and joy.  And LOUD.  Ha!  Love her.  And can't believe my baby girl is FIVE!  Ouch.

4.  A WONDERFUL visit with this sweet friend on Saturday.  SWEET baby and fun times.  And lots of chocolate and laughter.  Doesn't get any better!  Except maybe for the Coach who stayed home with the sick kids so I could go.

5.  Patriotic Program at school, yesterday.  Daughter #6 missed being there, but I so enjoyed watching Son #3, Son #4 and Daughter #5 participate.  Our wonderful school gives me hope for the future of our nation.  

6.  A new kitchen sink!  Woo hoo!  My Daddy gave us theirs (from their water damaged induced kitchen remodel) and I LOVE it.  How fun is that?
Here's what it looked like before:

And here's the much improved "new" one:

7.  Thursday night football game tonight.  Because that means we'll have Friday night at home.  Together.  On Friday.  All of us.  (it's been awhile)

8.  For a full night's sleep last night.  No little ones sleeping on the floor beside the bed.  No kids coming in and out and in and out.  I can handle three or four hours of sleep for a few nights, but I think I'd reached my limit.  And I'm pretty sure the Coach had reached HIS limit for dealing with me when I'm so grumpy and tired.  Ha!  And for those of you with new babies?  Who are up every night?  Getting very little sleep?  I'm so sorry.  I've done that a few times, myself.  

9.  That Little Man survived the "Febreeze Incident".  I did almost cry when I saw two whole bottles of Febreeze sprayed all over our breakfast room, kitchen, computers, desk chair, window, window sill and floor.  It was my fault for asking a flu-stricken daughter to watch him while I picked up the kids.  She fell asleep!  We keep him around because he's so stinkin' cute, though!

10.  For a day OFF school, tomorrow.  Ahhhhhh.  If only the Coach were off, too!  But I'm going to enjoy the fact that he'll be home with us on a Friday night.  The break will hopefully help everyone recover and catch up on rest around here.

11.  For e-mail and Renweb - such a blessing to have an easy way to keep in touch with teachers and get missed work.  And such wonderful teachers they are!

12.  For "Window Markers" - which sound awful, but have, in fact, been a lot of fun!

13.  For Playmobil - which has made these MANY rainy (and some sick) days go more quickly.  When the kids aren't fighting about who gets the treehouse.  Ha!

14.  Prayer.  I struggle a bit with knowing God is completely sovereign, yet knowing He asks me to bring all things to Him.  But when life gets overwhelming (like now) I understand more and more why I need to "continue in prayer".  I'm learning.

And now, my dear friends?  I'm going to take full advantage of our day at home (with two extra kids who are still home from school)  to get the bathrooms cleaned and some of the sheets washed.  And make something warm and comforting for dinner.  

Happy Thursday - may the Lord give you His grace for today.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday

1.  Thankful for the rain and thunder (every time he hears it, Little Man runs, grabs my legs, and says "THUNDER, Momma, THUNDER!" - which is better than when he used to say, "It GET me!" because Daughter #2 told him it was a tiger).  We've had a lot of rain, but I don't mind.  It's cozy and we don't have to water!

2.  Thankful that Son #1 is low maintenance.  Because he's home sick.  And other than hanging around trying to infect everyone, he hasn't been any trouble.

3.  Thankful that Son #1's knee is going to be OK after hurting it in Monday night's game.  We spent the morning, Tuesday, at the Orthopedic and getting a brace, but his ACL is OK and nothing is broken.  Kind of depressing that we spend so much time there, but I'm grateful that they take such good care of us.

4.  Thankful for Netflix - and instant play episodes of "Mythbusters", "Survivor Man" and "Future Weapons" to occupy Son #1.

5.  Baked potatoes and Salad with Chicken on top for dinner.  Yumm!

6.  Library.  I may pay my share of fines and the cost of lost books, but it's SO worth all of the books we check out.  My six are READERS of the most earnest sort.

7.  Naptime.  Because Little Man wears me out.  Especially today.

8.  Haircuts.  Got mine, yesterday - and ahhhhhhh.

9.  Kids old enough to babysit.  Most of the time someone is here who is old enough and responsible enough to stay with whoever doesn't want to go along.  I don't take it for granted - I remember the days of 5 kids 6 and under.  Ha!

10.  Baby gifts from here.  Love them.  Order lots of them for sweet friends and nieces and nephews.  So sweet.

11.  Son #3's new fish.  We lost two of the original three - and it took awhile to get the water to test alright.  But it finally did this week and we've added three more fish to the family.

12.  Good friends who don't mind talking to Little Man when they call.  He's all about talking on the phone, and only a good friend would listen to him talk about hitting his head on the door and his animals and the thunder.  That's friendship!  

Happy Thursday, All!  

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Laugh or Go Crazy

Someone asked me, yesterday, what it's like in a household with eight kids, teens down to toddlers.  Here's a glimpse into our Saturday here at the troops:

1:00 this afternoon found:

The Coach?  Home working in the yard, after a morning of watching film of last night's game with the team.
Son #1?  At an Africa picture party with my parents and nephew, after mowing the back yard this morning.
Daughter #2?  Had a cousin over, after visiting with Sweet Sitter, A, and helping me around the house this morning.  Went to another cousin's house around the corner.
Son #3?  Sick.  Fever.  At home.
Son #4?  With cousin at other grandparent's house playing football.
Daughter #5?  Getting the girl's room cleaned up after having Sweet Sitter, A, spend the night last night and stay for donuts this morning.
Daughter #6?  With me in the car, taking. . .
Daughter #7?  And a cousin to a birthday party at a friend's house.
Little Man?  Following the Coach around the yard, but going down for a nap.

The Coach didn't end up getting much done in the yard - because Little Man didn't take a nap. #1 did enjoy the party (and I managed to get some brownies made for him to take), but was late getting home.  #2 had fun with cousins (but I'm sure they were exposed to the virus that #3 has).  #3 is still running a fever, but slept and watched movies all day (he's determined to follow me around all of the time when I'm home - what are the chances I won't get sick, too?).  #4 played hard all day, but has a tummy ache.  #5 got a bath tonight, but that cast sure is getting dirty!  #6 hung with me while the little girls were at the party.  She's sporting her new glasses and we talked all about Webkinz and school and her A.G. doll.  #7 came home with a kitty cat face and lots of treats.  And Little Man?  He was pretty tired, tonight, but LOVES the new jammies that Grandmother brought from Florida (size 3?  Seriously?  Where IS my baby?).

The Coach and I enjoyed an early dinner out and a few errands, tonight, while the kids ate pizza.  Came home to do baths and put the youngest four (and the sickie) to bed.  And now we're watching the football game and eating popcorn, while the laundry runs and the windows are open letting in a cool Fall breeze.  And washing our hands frequently.  Ha!

My eyes are starting to cross.  Think I'll say goodnight to my football fans and call it a day.

And here comes one of the little girls walking in her sleep.  

Happy Saturday!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I missed yesterday, completely.

In a blog sort of way.  

But when Little Man smeared Vaseline all over the girl's bathroom AND himself, yesterday, during naptime, I was issued to challenge to find something in THAT to be grateful for.


Not sure I'm up for it, but how about this?

1.  Thankful that Little Man's skin is even more baby soft after the liberal application of Vaseline to his arms and legs, yesterday.

2.  Thankful that the girl's bathroom is cleaner (although I keep finding more Vaseline), now.

3.  Thankful for our sweet sitter, A, who is here after spending the night.  How fun is that?  Even got the kids all off to school - in spite of the fact that I'm sure they all wanted to stay home!

4.  Homecoming football game tonight.  We might freeze, but it will be fun!

5.  Mom and Dad coming home, tonight, after a week in Florida.  We've missed them!

6.  Sweet sister-in-law to walk with in the afternoon, yesterday, after school.  12 kids playing in the front yard - too fun!

7.  Fabulous Chai Tea AT HOME!  Thanks to my friend, S, who brought me some!  If you are a Chai fan, it's "Tazo Chai Latte" concentrate.  Just add your skim milk.  Yum!

8.  Berry Scones to go with our tea - brought from the tea room by Sweet Sitter, A!

9.  Late night grocery shopping at Wal-mart last night.  Which means waking up and NOT having that on my list, today!

10.  A trip to the Farmer's Market last week which yielded pumpkins and pansies for the front porch.  Now if I can just keep Little Man from digging in the flower pots and carrying the pumpkins all over the yard!

11.  Being back in BSF.  I missed my first week, since the kids were out of school and we went to the farm (no broken arms!).  But I'm already grateful for the two lessons I've done.  So good to be back into a Bible Study.

12.  Date night.  Without it, I'm pretty sure I'd be a basket case during football season.  Wait, don't ask the Coach - he would probably say I'm a basket case, anyway!  But think how much WORSE it would be if we didn't get out by ourselves for a couple of hours every weekend.  Ha!

Off to get the day going.

Happy Friday, All!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Well, it's quiet for a moment, here at the troops.

Daughter (#7) is playing "Library" at our desktop computer.  She gets stacks of books, types away on the keyboard and runs the books across the desk to "check them out".  Love it.

Little Man is watching "My Friend Rabbit" on Qubo.  Which I'm pretty thankful for, actually.  He's wearing me out.

Oh.  This is supposed to be a Thankful Thursday Post!   Ha!
Here goes:

1.  Thankful I don't feel any worse.  I've been without a voice since Monday night.  Although it's been harder to work with the kids while whispering, it hasn't been all bad.  BOY do I have a lot to say when I get my voice back, though!   Some one should probably warn the Coach.  Ha!

2.  Thankful my parents have had such sweet and patient attitudes in dealing with their current trial - extensive water/mold damage in the downstairs from a leaking refrigerator.  It looks like a war zone over there.  But they are OK.  In the end, they will have new floors, walls, some new kitchen cabinets and countertops.  Just a mess in the meantime.

3.  Thankful that Daughter (#6) is getting glasses next week (for reading) and praying that this will help with the headaches and difficulties at school.

4.  Thankful that Jr. High volleyball season is over on Monday.  Although we've had a great time!  Snacks and coloring books help make anything go more quickly for little ones!

5.  Thankful that all of the kids are doing SO well in school.  Even Daughter (#6) is making amazing strides.  I'm so grateful.  They have such amazing teachers!

6.  Thankful for Granddad's kind offer of Chick-fil-A, yesterday.  So nice.  And fun.

7.  Thankful that the Coach and I love each other unconditionally.  Between his hearing loss and my whispering, we've had less than little communication, lately.  And some frustration.  Yeah for e-mail!  Now I just need a white board for home.  Ha!

8.  Thankful that I finally got to see my sweet littlest nephew on Tuesday.  Wow.  Super cute.  Seriously.  :-)  He's #54 grandchild for the Coach's parents.  Unbelievable!

9.  Thankful for all of the laughter I've had at the expense of all the people who have whispered back at me since I've lost my voice.  Had two nephews and a niece here, yesterday, and those boys whispered the whole time they were here!  Ha!

10.  Fall.   I love Fall.  Love the cooler weather, the leaves falling, the gray skies.  Love that it reminds me of when I fell in love with the Coach.  Of looking for houses and wedding showers.  Love the pumpkins and pansies.  Mmmmmmm.  OH!  And chocolate chip pumpkin bread.  (glad I thought of that - doesn't it sound yummy?)

I'm off for now.  Need to get dinner ready to go in when we leave for school.  Need to fold last night's and this morning's laundry.  Need to fix lunch for these kiddos.  

At least I'm not spending any time talking on the phone.  Ha!

Happy Thursday!

OH!  I almost forgot!  I'm also thankful that Daughter (#5) got her new cast this week.  Shorter (yeah!) but still blue.

Friday, September 18, 2009

That explains it!

All week I've been running late.
Waking the kids too late.
Not enough time in the mornings.
Getting ready to go, then coming out to the kitchen to see that I'm late!
Late to get Little Man down to naps.
Late to pick up the kids.
Late to games.

What in the world?  I'm usually a punctual kind of girl (barring any child-caused catastrophe, anyway).

I figured it out this morning.

Our formerly "set ahead" clock (it was 12 minutes fast) is now the REAL, ACTUAL, time.


Of course it took me all week to realize this.  

Finally this morning, I asked the Coach about it.  He said he was tired of using it as an excuse.  So he changed it.  (Should I mention that he's the one who wanted it "fast" to begin with?  15 years ago?)

In the meantime, I'm forgiving him for not mentioning it to me.   And adjusting to the fact that I've lost 12 minutes somewhere.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thankful Thursday

The days are flying by, here at the troops.  With games four nights a week (football and volleyball), six in school, groceries, meals, cleaning, laundry. . . you know!  

But since it's Thursday, it's time to pause for a moment and remember a few things I am thankful for this week. 

1.  Daughter (#6) doing SO much better with school!  Even a tear free morning, yesterday!  Yeah!  I'm so grateful.  It's been a rough three weeks.

2.  Son (#1) scored TWO touchdowns on Monday night!  So much fun!  He loves football.  OH how he loves it!  I love watching him - and his Coach!  

3.  Daughter (#2) has improved SO much on her serving in volleyball.  I think she had 7 or 8 really good serves Tuesday afternoon.  Really enjoying seeing her improve.

4.  Started back to BSF on Tuesday (at least I will if there is a spot available for me after next week's intro).  Little Man went for his first time and loved it.  Daughter (#7) was so happy to go back.  Really fun to be with my mom, sister-in-law and another dear friend.  

5.  Daughter's (#5) blue cast is filled up with happy blue signatures.  She's doing really well with it - at school all week - and looking forward to a shorter cast (and more signing!) on Monday.

6.  Getting settled into the school routine.  So grateful that teachers haven't assigned any big projects, yet.  We've just barely been getting it all done, as it is! 

7.  New crepe myrtles for the back fence - and some new hydrangeas for one of the front flower beds.  How fun is that?

8.  Lots of rain!  I know some of you don't like the cloudy, cool and sunless days.  But me?  I love it!  I don't know why - maybe it just feels good to "cozy in" and enjoy being indoors and getting things done.  The best part of all?  Not having to water!  Ha!

9.  Date nights with my Coach.  I know it much easier for us now that we have built-in babysitters, but getting to spend time with my favorite person in the world most Saturday nights?  It's wonderful!  Can you tell I'm already looking forward to it?

10.  FALL!  I love Fall.  It's my favorite season.  It the busiest for us, for sure.  But I love the cooler weather, falling leaves, football and most of all?  It reminds me of when I fell in love with the Coach - 15 years ago - in the Fall.

You know what I'm the MOST grateful for this week?  That even though we live in this world (with the good and the bad), deal with money and STUFF and budgets and schedules and things wearing out and breaking and going very wrong. . . that we have hope in Christ that this isn't all there is.  Some days?  Things are really great wonderful amazing here at the troops.  But some days?  It's the hope of heaven that reminds me to keep on keeping on.

Isn't God good to TELL us that this isn't all that there is?  Makes it possible to ENJOY life here on earth and remember what really matters.

Happy Thursday!

And now we're off to the grocery store. . . 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I want to stop, this morning, and purpose to be thankful.  It's so very important.  Somehow by the time we get to Thursday, every week, I'm tired.  So very much going on.  It makes a huge difference in my attitude to stop for a minute and think about all of God's blessings this week.  It doesn't change the hard things.  But somehow, when I'm remembering all of the good, the hard isn't so hard, anymore.

1.  God's abundant provision.  We've had a few medical bills this year (are you laughing, yet?).  God always provides.  I sometimes don't know how it will all work, but He always takes care of us.
2.  A GOOD day, yesterday, for Daughter (#6), at school.  This morning was horrible, but we have yesterday's success to give us hope.  I'm taking it!
3.  Good start to Son's (#1) football season on Tuesday night.  He LOVES football.  LOVES it.  I love watching him because he enjoys it so much.
4.  Daughter's (#2) eyes are much better.  Thank you, Lord!
5.  An appointment for Daughter (#5) to get her cast first thing tomorrow morning.  I've enjoyed some extra time with her this week - she stayed home yesterday (and today) - there's so little she can actually DO with her one hand, at school.  Hoping once the cast in on, she'll have more movement and that her hand will no be so sore.
6.  Grocery shopping done, yesterday.  It gets done every week, but I don't always look forward to it, or know how we will fit it in.  Love the feeling of having it done, though!
7.  A mom who helps me so very much.  I've said it before, but it bears repeating.  What WOULD I do without her?
8.  Best place for a one-armed girl to find cute games to play!
9.  A day to stay home and get caught up a bit.  (If I don't get a call from school, anyway!)
10.  Simple goals for the day, today.  Bathrooms need to be cleaned, checkbook needs to be balanced.  Everything else is optional.  Ha!  Well, except for the kids, laundry and the cooking, I guess!
11.  Volleyball this afternoon, football tomorrow night and volleyball on Saturday.  Tis the season!
12.  A husband who takes time to teach our kids.  Family night (Wednesday evening) is my favorite!  I love that he plans and reads and studies so he can share something with our kids that will encourage them.  Right now we are working through "Worldliness" by CJ Mahaney.

That's it for today.  Even with simple goals, it will be a miracle if I get them done.  So I should get going!  Blessings on your week - take time to remember all that YOU have to be grateful for this week!

And I'd LOVE a comment telling me something that you are thankful for on this Thursday!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Want an exciting life?

I can't let the day go by without posting all that's gone on here.
Because you will laugh!

We started the weekend with the Coach's first football game Friday night.  After a HARD week with Daughter (#6) and school.  HARD.  I can't remember the last time I have been that emotionally exhausted.  Ugh.

The football game?  Well. . . we got creamed.  In the worst way.

Headed home to tuck in the little ones and wait for the Coach.  He's so good - knows it's just a game and he did all he could.  Not like when we were first married and a loss ruined the whole weekend!

As I was putting the three little girls to bed, I noticed that Daughter (#5) looked worn out.  Out of habit, I placed my hand on her forehead.  On fire!  Couldn't believe it.  She had a temp of 102.5.  

Saturday morning, we slept in a bit (always do after football games) and soon found 4 or 5 or 6 of the kids in bed with us talking and laughing.  It's a tradition.  :-)  Anyway, as we were lying there, the power went off!

I'm SO not kidding!  

It was off for a few hours, we had to postpone the Saturday morning waffles.  No way to cook them!  Turns out a squirrel chewed through the line behind our house.  Ha!

Daughter (#2) woke up with a horrible eye infection.  We started antibiotic drops immediately and she left her contacts out.  It's not any better, tonight, though.

Saturday was somewhat quiet - after the power came on - we caught up around the house a bit.  The Coach took Son (#3) to the pet store to get the LONG awaited fish (he got the tank for his birthday LAST weekend and we've been prepping the tank and testing water until it was ready to be inhabited).

I did catch up on the laundry from Friday.  Nice to have that done.  And finished a great book.  "Candle in the Darkness" by Lynn Austin.  Enjoyed it.

Then we headed over to my parents for the two football games of the day.  Daughter (#5) went along and slept on the couch.  My sweet mother bathed all of the other little ones and the big boys showered, so we could stay a bit longer.

Of course the first game was good and the second (Coach's favorite college team) was . . .  well. . . they got creamed, too!

This morning, the Coach went to church with six kids while I stayed home with the formerly feverish and the Little Man.  No fever today, though!

After a nice Sunday lunch, we packed up and headed to the farm.  The kids LOVE the farm.  I've told you about what we do there - four wheelers, rangers, pond, canoe - it's paradise for our kids.  They hit the vehicles with the Coach and I took a nap!  Yeah!  Soon, Grandmother and Granddad arrived with the food.  We sat down and played Skipbo (about 8 of us, anyway) and were about to fix dinner when. . . 

In came little Daughter (#5) holding her arm.  Well, she was driving one of the little four wheelers and turned to look behind her - and hit a tree!  She was going slowly, wearing a helmet and didn't even fall off!  But her arm. . . ugh.  Her big brother loaded her up on his ranger and brought her back to the house.  It looked awful!

The Coach and I loaded her up in Granddad's car and headed into town.  My parents (who really are too kind for words) stayed to feed the kids and pack up.  We talked to a friend of ours (who took care of the other two arm injuries this year) and he met us at the Orthopedic ER (thank you Lord - no Emergency Room at the hospital!).

She broke it, alright!  BOTH bones - all the way through - separated.  Nasty.

Right there (because it was the right place to be!) they put her to sleep and put it straight.  The only time she cried was when they did her IV.  Four times!  Bless her heart.  The nurse said when she saw her, she thought she was about four years old.  She's SO tiny!  They weighed her to calculate the meds- 45 lbs.  And almost 8 years old.  :-)

Her arm is nice and straight, now.  She had an extremely kind and gentle doctor.  He was great with her!  In a splint for now.  Got her a Sonic Cherry Sprite on the way home to wash down her Tylenol and Motrin.   She'll get a cast after 7-10 days.


My amazing parents fed the other 7 at the farm, loaded everyone up, beat us back to the house and had already bathed the youngest three, when we got here.  I told you they were beyond belief wonderful!

Went to check on Peanut (Daughter - #5) a minute ago to see if she needed anything.  Tucked her in, turned and reached out to close the closet door.  And guess what I found?  Little Man.  Sleeping half in, half out of the girls' closet.

Want an exciting life?  Have a houseful of kids.  I'm telling you, life is NEVER dull.  :-)

Happy Labor Day! 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Although I started a post, yesterday, it just didn't get done!
I'm going to persevere and post a thankful list today.

"In every thing GIVE THANKS:  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  I Th. 5:18

1.  Thankful for sweet friends who call and say, "I know how you feel!" and "I'll pray for her!".
2.  Thankful for sweet friends who bring lunch and playmates for my little ones.
3.  Thankful for a mom who insists on helping, even when I say I don't need it, but I really do.
4.  Thankful for a husband who doesn't give up on me, even when I'm grumpy.
5.  Thankful for a new day.
6.  Thankful for God's abundant provision of everything we need.  
7.  Thankful for healthy children.
8.  Thankful for the laughter that Little Man brings to our home - even if he kept me up all night.
9.  Thankful for Daughter's (#6) teacher who is doing everything possible to help her adjust to school - even though right now she's miserable.
10.  Thankful for the love I have for my kids that brings me such joy, even when it's hard.
11.  Thankful for a three day weekend!  Woo hoo!
12.  Thankful for the unusually cool late Summer weather - delightful!
13.  Thankful for caffeine.
14.  Thankful for birthdays - Son's (#3) - and new fish tanks.
15.  Thankful for the anticipation of new fish (maybe tomorrow?).
16.  Thankful for the hope of a nap for all of us this afternoon.
17.  Thankful that school hasn't had to call me, yet, this morning.
18.  Thankful for a house that we enjoy.
19.  Thankful for a beautiful big yard.
20.  Thankful for two cars that run - one of them is even big enough for the whole family!
21.  Thankful that God answers prayer.
22.  Thankful that His grace is sufficient.
23.  Thankful that Little Man's hair is really short - since I have to wash various things out of it several times each day.
24.  Thankful for God's faithfulness - strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
25.  Thankful for the new Keith and Kristyn Getty CD that I ordered with a birthday gift certificate.  Especially "The Power of the Cross".
26.  Thankful that my kids are quick to forgive me when I am impatient.
27.  Thankful that my shoulder is feeling better.
28.  Thankful that five of the kids are doing GREAT in school.  Loving it, doing well and are happy.
29.  Thankful for the humility that the Coach and I are learning with the other child who isn't.
30.  Thankful that we've survived the week and it's Friday!

Happy Labor Day weekend!  

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Side benefits

We're into our first full week of school, here at the troops.
And BOY are we tired!

But we are experiencing a strange phenomenon.

Everyone is sleeping.


Through the night!

I can't tell you how many nights in the Summer I spent shuffling kids back to bed, giving "stuffy nose medicine" and Papaya for upset tummies. . . changing Little Man's diaper (in the middle of the night!), putting him back into the crib.  Over and over and over.  Have I mentioned that we are raising a crew of sleep-walkers?  (another story for another day, I suppose)

Talk about exhausted!

But since school started?  No one has woken us up once!  They even go to sleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow.  


I realize that they are just extra worn out.  Getting up earlier along with a much busier schedule.  

But these quiet nights are wonderful!

Now if I could actually go to bed at a decent hour, myself - maybe I could catch up some of the sleep I lost this Summer.  

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Week of School

Well, we made it.
Pretty much.

School started on Wednesday.  Three days into it, we are exhausted!

With the exception of a tummy ache and a visit to the office (for the tummy ache) on Wednesday, everyone has done great!  Bless her heart, she loves to be in control and know exactly what's going to happen (I have no idea where she gets it!).

Mornings have gone more smoothly than I could have hoped.  This year I decided it was time for them to pack their own lunches.  It's been great!  They do most of it at night and make their sandwich in the morning.  It's my mornings less hectic for me, at least!

The little ones set out their clothes at night, so they need very little help in the morning.  We reorganized the kids chore charts for their rooms.  That helps them SEE what they have to do in the morning before school.  Instead of asking (have you brushed your teeth?  have you made you bed?  etc.) about each specific responsibility, I can just have them check their list!

Our new Google calendar on the computer (which merges the Coach's, the school's and my schedule) has been a huge help!  They even include t-shirt days on the calendar - so the kids can look and see what's ahead.

Bedtime has been a little rough.  It's HARD to start bedtime right after dinner.  We eat later during football season (although we've been starting before the Coach gets home, just to give us an extra few minutes) and the kiddos need time to get ready for the next day, take baths, do their reading, make their lunches, etc.  

I miss the evening play time outside.  We've just moved it to before dinner, I guess!

They've all done great getting their school stuff done first thing when they get home.  Assignment tablets, lunch bags and water bottles emptied, papers signed (and the soon to come homework).  It's gone really well.

I'm not enjoying all of the socks to wash and fold.  Ha!  Miss those flip flops! 

So very grateful we weeded through ALL of the kids clothes.  It makes it so easy for them to find what they need for the day.  School shirts and pants in specific drawers so they don't have to dig through play clothes to find them.  We also just pared it down to LESS clothes, as well.  So much easier for them to keep up with.

Here at home, during the day, it's been a bit of an adjustment.  The little ones are tired, too.  My goal this year was to have the "work" (laundry, kitchen, dinner started, house cleaned up) done before lunch so that right after lunch,Little Man could go down for a nap (we have to leave so early for school pick up, naps are early, around here), and Daughter (#7) and I could have some school and rest time together.  There hasn't been enough time!

I'm really working on getting things organized and simplified.  It's getting there.  I want the kids to come home and be able to get things taken care of efficiently and have some play time!

One thing that hasn't happened is my early morning workouts.  I had high hopes!  The little ones have been up in the night, though (seems like it's always something!) and I'm so tired!  Without my big kids here, it's almost impossible to get on the treadmill once everyone is up.

So that's something to work on next week, right?

The Coach is very busy, but feeling a lot better.  I'm so grateful.  I've been reminded, once again, this week, how wonderful it is to have him THERE at school with all of our kids.  He can check on that tummy ache.  Bring kids home if they have to be at school longer for activities.  Hug on the little ones during lunch hour (the cafeteria is right across from his office), keep things in his office for the older kids, take the boys to football scrimmages with him. . . could I be any more blessed?

Jr. High is going well for the big kids.  There's been some trouble with lockers (keeping the gym locker and the school locker combinations straight - ha!) and there seems to be a lot of rushing around between sports practice and trying to get outside quickly after dismissal while the little ones and I are waiting.  But all in all?  Really good week.

All of the younger kids have wonderful teachers. They seem to be enjoying their classes.  Last night, while Daughter (#6) was reading to me, I was thinking how amazing it is that she's old enough for 1st grade.  Reading everything in sight.  Keeping her stuff orderly (that's my girl!), being one of the first kids ready in the morning.  Even Daughter (#5) hasn't had trouble getting up in the morning.  The boys never do!  Ha!  

I guess my overwhelming sense of the week?  Gratefulness.

We are tired, yes.  Ready for the weekend?  You bet!  But a really great start to the year.  I know it's going to be crazy.  Hopefully we can laugh in spite of it all.  In the meantime, doing my best to keep things in order.  And when it all falls apart in the chaos (because we all know it will!)?  Laugh some more.

Happy Friday!