Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Laugh or Go Crazy

Does any one else have any sleep walkers? We've been blessed with THREE!

I would still be laughing about last night's incident if I didn't have this horrid crick in my neck from Little Man climbing all over me and coughing in my face all night.

So last night about 11:00, in comes one of my sons. I've learned to recognize when he's not awake. And he wasn't awake. In a big way!

We've figured out that asking him questions usually wakes him up, eventually. But it took awhile last night. Turns out he wanted me to come with him to see the apartment. All said with tears and extreme unrest. So funny! It always amazes me how they can look right AT you, eyes opened wide, talking, walking around and be ASLEEP!

He finally settled down and went back to bed. I can't help wondering if his restlessness was caused by the fact that he was sleeping on the playroom couch. He and the other son who were well weren't ABOUT to sleep in their room with Son #1 and his stomach virus. HA!

Between the sleep walking, the coughing and crying two year old (who seems to be fever free so far today - yeah!) and a little girl who thought she was going to be sick (but didn't ever get sick - thank you, Lord!), it was a long night.

Reminded me of a story we were laughing about at the Coach's mom's birthday on Sunday. Apparently one of the many camping trips they went on was more than miserable. At one point in the night, sleeping in the station wagon with the windows shut to keep mosquitoes out and yet suffocating from the heat in the process, one boy exclaimed to the other, "Yeah! Look! The sun is coming up!" So relieved that the night was over! Except. . . it was the moon.

I felt a bit like that last night. So miserable that it couldn't be morning soon enough.

So ahead of me, another day of caring for kiddos. Cleaning up behind them and cooking some chicken soup for Son #1 (when he eventually wakes up). Missing BSF, which is really fine because I can't turn my head to the side, anyway. HA! And taking lots of Advil.

And a nap.

We've had such a good long stretch of "well" here at the Troops. Nothing in me feels like complaining. But sleeping sure sounds good! :-)

Nay, in all these things we are more than
conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers,
nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate us
from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Whatever your circumstances are today, remember that He loves you!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A few goals for 2010. And yes, it's almost February.

It isn't that I haven't thought about goals before now. There just hasn't been time to sit down and tell you about them.

Today offered me a gift (in a weird sort of way) of three sick kids (two little ones and one big one). Which means errands, grocery shopping (we're out of milk) and walking at my mom's on her treadmill are all canceled. Some home time with my sickies is in order. Well, that and a whole lot of Lysol and Clorox wipes.

Although the laundry is going and I have the Lysol can at hand, I don't feel too guilty about being in my pajamas pants, still. Or about the fact that the kids are occupied with movies on Netflix (they're sick, after all). Or about the house being a mess and the breakfast dishes still sitting there. It was a long night.

So let's start with clarifying something. I don't DO new year's resolutions. Call it what you may, it's not my thing. I think a few too many years with pregnancies and new babies made me realize I can't count on what the year will hold. But I do think a lot at the first of the year what I would like to accomplish in the coming months. THAT is what this is about for me.

1. Potty train Little Man. My plan? Spring Break while the Coach takes the rest of the troops camping. Just the two of us (well, and Daughter #7). And the potty. And some M & M's (I might even share).

2. Break Daughter #7 from sucking her fingers at night. We've already made GOOD progress on this one. We've been wrapping them with first aid tape at night. Seems to help her remember. The nice thing is that she's old enough to understand and work on it with us. We've only had one other child suck his finger. Grateful Little Man threw the pacifier out of the bed at 10 months and never looked back.

3. Walk the Memorial HALF Marathon in April. So far my long weekend walks are up to seven miles. And I'm still enjoying it. The Coach has been amazing to give me so much time to be gone. But in all fairness, it was his idea to begin with. :-)

4. Simplify. I've already been working on this one, too. I've always been good at cleaning out. But honestly? This Fall ate my lunch. I just didn't have one second of extra time. My plan? Just picking out a drawer here, a cabinet there and going after it. Having LESS to keep picked up, wash, sort through, etc. The kids do so much better when things are simple.

5. Write letters to my kids. You can imagine with eight kids in the house it gets pretty, well, I refer to us as the traveling zoo! I'm more aware than ever of how very much my kids need my encouragement. Not just my correction. Letters are a good way for me to do that.


Along with these, I am grateful to be learning so much through studying this year. The Red Sea Rules study with my family, the Weight of Grace study with a small group and BSF every week. I may not get it all done, but I'm seeing that the Lord uses wherever I am in His Word to reveal Himself to me. I can't help but be overwhelmed by His goodness.

My "quiet" time is long gone. I've had more interruptions while writing this than I would care to count. Remembering, today, Elisabeth Elliot's story of how in difficult times (not to say in the least that my circumstances today are truly difficult) we should just "Do the Next Thing."

For me. . . that means folding some laundry.

Blessings on your Monday!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Life of a Little Man (in pictures)

Little Man brings us so much joy. As he approaches his third birthday, I find myself thinking, "Will we ruin him completely?" Not that I don't train him. Or teach him.

But seriously? He's the baby. In a big way.

Everyone at the troops is hysterically funny in their own way. Mostly when it's just "us", of course. But Little Man? He takes the cake.

His vocabulary is amazing (nothing like having three sisters right ahead of you). He is always saying things that make us all roar with laughter.

He LOVES dirt, play dough, scissors, water, markers and anything else that will make a really big mess. I take pictures of these things. . . but few of them have made it onto the blog. So here's to catching up!

First of all. . . yesterday. . . in the dirt:

A BIG thanks to the Coach for taking out part of the deck and leaving it this way all Winter. Woo hoo! The carpet will never be the same.

And then. . . working backwards, here. . . because it's easier. . . the day I poked Little Man in the eye while trying to take his hand at Chick-fil-A:

Just so you won't worry. He's fine.

Then you have, "Take my picture while I act goofy." Fortunately, there are seven kids who are happy to do just that:

And unlike my other seven, he's subjected to missing nap time all too frequently. We are out and about so much more than when my big kids were this age. Which means I have dozens of pictures of him falling asleep in odd places. Or not so odd:

Even on a "regular" day when we are getting kids out the door, he's always happy to provide a bit of comedy relief for the other troops. Fortunately, I am styling in a blue t-shirt and dark green fleece top. Did I mention this is at about 6:30 in the morning?

And I mentioned his love for play dough, right? Well. . . here's the oldest picture in the collection. Notice the much missed DECK (covering the DIRT) and the falling leaves. And the strange coloring of the play dough. Don't ask.

All of this reflection has made me realize something. We will definitely ruin him. For sure. (I just realized the shirt he had on in the photo above is one that is now cut in various places - the scissors, remember?).

The one thing he won't ever doubt? How much all of our troops love him. And maybe, just maybe. . . with a good dose of counseling. . . he'll come to realize that he isn't the center of the universe. Well, at least not outside of this house.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday

In no particular order:

1. I'm thankful that even though our treadmill isn't working and we haven't been able to find the part that it needs, my parents' house (and treadmill) is just three miles away. And they have a TV with cable to watch - not all bad! Although I'm not sure that I should watch the food network while I walk. Came home awfully hungry last night!

2. I'm thankful for a GOOD time with friends, yesterday. Our kids just have a ball together! And so much fun to have a baby in the house!

3. I'm thank for the thunderstorms, last night. Love it. And it's an unusual treat in January. Even if I did have to get out in it.

4. I'm thankful for the testimony of dear ones who are going through a hugely difficult trial. Praying without ceasing for them, today.

5. I'm thankful for the Jr. High basketball tournament, today, tomorrow and Saturday. Our two oldest love the game. I love watching them. Even if it means missing nap time.

6. I'm thankful for lunch with a dear, dear friend on Monday. Have missed her. It was nice to catch up a bit. Even if Little Man was a mess through the whole thing.

7. I'm thankful for this book and the study with my sisters-in-law in the Coach's family. Thankful for his mom. I've been learning from her since before the Coach and I were married - and I still have so much to learn!

8. I'm thankful for God's timely and perfect provision. The more I learn about His faithfulness, the easier it is to trust Him.

9. I'm thankful for the strength to care for my family, our home, prepare meals, exercise, enjoy fellowship with others. I really don't want to take it for granted.

10. I'm thankful for the Coach's Sunday school lessons in our "Faith and Family" class the last two weeks. He's teaching this. So so good.

11. I'm thankful for the lessons the Lord is teaching me. About listening. About asking questions. About listening to Him. About letting things go. About forgiving. About believing what He says about me. And those I love. This is changing how I think.

Well, I'm off to get this day going. Laundry, cleaning out the fridge, cleaning the kitchen, making a plan for dinner (to eat between games), errands, getting the house in order. And if I have a chance before the ball games this afternoon, some work at my desk. That always seems to get left undone! Oh. And those Christmas thank yous. It's probably about time to finish those up, as well!

And today? Know that:

"You are loved with an everlasting love
. . . and underneath are the everlasting arms."

(Elisabeth Elliot from Jer. 31:3 and Deut. 33:27)

The Lord our God loves YOU. Trust Him with your day. Spend time in the Word. As my mother-in-law tells us. . . if you change your thinking (with the Truth), that will change your emotions and your actions. I don't know about you, but I have some emotions and actions that need to be changed!

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Well. It's Thursday.

I'm here.

Not feeling very thankful.

I guess that's the point. Right? Right?

OK. So here goes:

1. Healthy kids. Thought Son #3's fever on Friday was a bad sign of things to come. Everyone has been just fine all week.

2. An injury free week of basketball for Son #1 and Daughter #2. And a FUN win for Son's team on Monday. Woo hoo!

3. God's protection for Little Man's eye when I poked it with my fingernail on Monday.

4. Our gracious optometrist who came TO OUR HOUSE and took care of Little Man.

5. The chance to work in the new baby-under-twos at BSF on Tuesday. What a joy!

6. The encouragement of friends. You know - the kind of friends who love you even when you fail at being a good friend to them. Or when you fail at being good at anything.

7. My mom. Love her. Appreciate her.

8. Lunch with my parents EVERY DAY this week. So far. And plans for tomorrow, too.

9. New under cabinet lights that my daddy put in. They look SO nice and lighten things up beautifully. Feels like a new kitchen! (I like the new outlets, too, Daddy!)

10. A new Bible Study with my sisters-in-law, taught by my mother-in-law. Really looking forward to more.

Waiting for the Coach to get home from the Last Jr. High game. Time to get the little ones in bed. Trying to work up the energy to do it. HA!

Blessings on your Thursday! Or on what's left of it!

Friday, January 8, 2010

How I've missed ya. . .

Happy Friday morning, All!

What a wonderful Christmas/New Year's we had here at the troops. The first week back in school has passed so quickly. Ahhhhh. And COLDLY. Brrrrrr. We still have snow on the ground from Christmas Eve. Bizarre. And the high today? 18. Ugh.

There's something so refreshing about putting up the Christmas decorations, rearranging a bit, doing some sorting, organizing, cleaning out. Getting things simplified and back to the "normal" routine. Crazy busy as it is.

Hopefully back to some sort of regular chronicle, here, once again. I've missed writing and more than that, I've missed READING what's going on in each of your corners of the world. There's only so much time - and we spent it making memories and enjoying each other over the holidays. Wouldn't trade it.

Last night I read Colossians chapter 3. If you haven't been in the Word today, start there. Part of it says this: "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." (verse 15)

That pretty much sums up how I feel right now. Peaceful (which does NOT mean quiet - ha!) and thankful.

Peaceful regardless of my circumstances (which at the moment are good) because of the hope I have in Christ.

And thankful.

So thankful.

Looking forward to what God is going to do in this new year of 2010. Ready to share some of my own thoughts and "resolutions" of sorts with you for the coming year. Contemplative about all that God did in 2009. Prayerful for our nation. Hopeful because of the power of the gospel.

And for now? Going to go serve my Son #3 who is home with a fever. . .change a bed from last night. . . get dinner going for tonight (have I given you the recipe for Cracker Chicken?). . .bake muffins. . . vacuum. . . finish putting away two days worth of laundry. . . and get on the treadmill when Little Man goes down for a nap. And if all goes really well? A shower before dinner.

Happy Friday!

I'm glad to be back.