Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thankful Thursday

My overwhelming feeling (and I know feelings aren't necessarily truth - but they are an indication of what's going on inside) lately, has been one of having too much. Too much to do. Too many kids (though I wouldn't trade it!). Too much food to buy and cook. Too much laundry to get done. Too much on my to do list. Too much pain in my neck (literally). Too much on the calendar. Too many phone calls and e-mails. Too many dishes. Too many. . . well. . . you get the idea.

But if I'm going to change my feelings, I have to change my thinking. Begin to think about what IS true (not just what I feel). You know what is true today? God's goodness. His love for us. I'm so grateful for that.

Here are a few other things. . .

1. We haven't blown away in this crazy wind!

2. My knees quit hurting on Monday. Whew.

3. Favor with the insurance company and a soon-to-be new roof! Yeah!

4. Only four weeks of school left. Ahhhh.

5. That the Lord is helping me be OK with NOT having it all together. Not being perfect. Not doing it all. Not always saying, YES. I don't LIKE it, but I'm OK with it.

6. A clean house. Sort of. Minus the laundry piles and dishes.

7. A quieter day, today. Wednesdays are crazy.

8. A beautiful yard. And three boys and a Coach who keep it that way.

9. Bird feeders and birds to watch. Little Man told me yesterday, "That bird is singing to me, Mom!"

10. That the red Sharpie came out of the carpet. Long story. Abundant relief.

11. That Daughter (#6) is catching up on some sleep this morning. And praying for her next week as she has surgery on her neck.

12. For God's grace to us, as parents, in spite of my inadequacies. Which are huge. Ugh.

Here's to holding on tight and riding this crazy roller coaster of the last few weeks of the school year without falling off! I will miss the "quiet" of the Winter months. But not the cold. And I will look forward to Summer when we can take a break from this hectic schedule. Not looking forward to being without the Coach and Son #1 for two weeks. But I will look forward to our beach vacation. It will be here before I know it!

Blessings on your Thursday!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First half marathon. Ever.

Had FUN on Sunday walking/jogging the OKC Memorial HALF Marathon!

It was an early morning.
We were at the starting line at 5:50. Ugh.

The Coach cheered us on at the start, then went back and got the girls and Little Man to come watch at the finish line. He should get a medal, too!

Son #1 and his cousin finished in 1:48. Wow!

It was a beautiful day! Windy, but sunny and cool. So nice.

And finally, with a chip time of 2:50, we came in. Woohoo! Little Man acted like he hadn't seen me in days. HA! Here we are afterwards.

It was a great day! So happy to have accomplished something NEW - something that seemed impossible in the beginning.

And honestly? I'm excited to do it, again. It felt better than I expected. Was more fun that I thought it would be. When I started training I thought 3:15 would be about all I could do. Then about half way through training I thought it would be fun to hit around 3 hours if we could. And to come in 10 minutes faster? Exciting!

Being out there with 23,000 people had it's moments - good and bad. I wasn't particularly fond of all of the pushing and shoving. But around mile 4 it started thinning out and it was such a pretty day and aside from some calf cramps (mom) and some knee twinges (me), we felt great and had a fabulous time out there.

Thanks for all of the encouragement! Thanks for sharing in my joy!

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


16 weeks ago, I started training for tomorrow.
I have no idea how many miles I've logged.
A lot.

I'm in awe of the real marathoners out there.
What I'm attempting is not even close.
But for me?
Tomorrow is a big day.

My bib is pinned on.
My Bloks are cut in half and in my belt.
With my chapstick.
And tissues.

My tag is on my shoe.
My clothes and sunglasses are ready.

I'm nervous.

Maybe not nervous.


I have now idea what this will be like. This mass of people. This EARLY morning walk/jog. The whole experience is new for me.

But I've done the work.
And I'm ready.

Full report, tomorrow.
Or whenever I wake up from my nap.

Thanks for the encouraging words and the prayers. I've needed every bit of it.

Until tomorrow. . .

Friday, April 23, 2010

Random Observations

Well, Good Morning from the land of kids!

For those of you who do this each and every day (as if any of you have TIME to read my blog - ha!), hat's off to you!

I would have loved to have 12 of my own.

I think.


It's been a FUN couple of days!

All in all. . . these are some fun easy going kids. Not MINE. The cousins.

The hardest thing about keeping extra kids is this. . . it brings out the worst in mine.


All of a sudden, the little troops are selfish, needy, picky, fit-throwing brats. (sigh)

I'm never sure if little ones obey so wonderfully when they visit us because they ARE really sweet and obedient (and they are, of course), or if they just see how often my kids get in trouble and it scares them into behaving. HA!

It's a possibility, for sure.

Our fearless Granddad, Grandmother, Nana and my Aunt took us all to lunch at Chick-fil-A, yesterday, and in one, rare, thoughtful moment (when we weren't taking someone potty or picking food up off the floor, or wiping up a knocked over cup of root beer), I realized something. YES - six kids (the other six were at school) with the oldest being a 1st grader is crazy.

Then it hit me.

Hello? Been there done that. And they were all my own.

No wonder I have more and more frequent lapses into insanity these days.

I am exceedingly blessed.

And a bit grateful that we are beyond that six kids seven and under stage. Yikes. Makes me tired just thinking about it!

Because now? I have a lot of help. My older kids are amazing. They do countless things to help our house run smoothly. From helping with meal preparation and clean -up to folding laundry and entertaining fussy little ones - even giving a bath now and then. Besides the fact that they are completely responsible for all of their school work. It's really a good place to be - this not having to do it all myself.

So here's to the Berenstain Bears library DVD that has made it possible for me to get a shower in the mornings.
Here's to Granddads who swing little ones so I can get out of the house for a minute and take us to lunch, after.
Here's to Uncles, Aunts and Grandmothers who pick up and bring home kids from two different schools.
Here's to late night trips to the store and husbands who help make cookies.
Here's to big brothers and big sisters who read books, wipe noses and sing songs.
Here's to swing sets and soft green grass and itchy legs.
Here's to massive casseroles, cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies.
Here's to cuddly little 2 year old girls who adore their uncle and cousins.
Here's to Monopoly, Wii, Uno and Netflix Instant Play Movies.
Here's to Advil and Chiropractors.
Here's to coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper (which I should SO not be drinking).
Here's to big washers and dryers and plenty of hands to sort and fold the laundry.

Here's to life!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Looking out the big picture window in our kitchen, right now, I can see five kiddos swinging and giggling on the swing set on this beautiful, cool, clear Spring morning.

The dishwasher is humming quietly, the laundry is tumbling in the washer and chicken is baking in the over for tonight's dinner.

Circumstances aren't always this pleasant. I realize this. I know you realize this.

But as you also know, it's my desire to give thanks in ALL things. The reason I can? Because I trust my Heavenly Father to do what is best. To take care of us. Even when things seem "bad" and the "good" is only a memory. I trust Him.

1. Cousins. I love that we get to have cousins here so often! The kids love it. I love it. Eight is our number, for sure. But I love that it swells temporarily to a larger number. For the next few days? 12!

2. Kids. There are way too many moments, these days, when I'm more frustrated than grateful. I so desire to be transformed by the Lord to be a mom who enjoys and delights in my kids MORE of the time.

3. The Coach. Goes without saying. The guy is amazing. He puts up with my ability to attract extra kids to our house, invite people over, host this and that. Not only puts up with it. . . but pitches in to lighten my load. Amazing, I tell you!

4. 16 weeks of 1/2 marathon training done. When I looked at it back in December, I truly didn't think it would be possible for me to complete it. Didn't see where I would find the time. Didn't think I was strong enough. Things will still happen. But I'm awfully pleased that I've completed the training. Can't wait for Sunday!

5. My Dad. What other "Granddad" will come stay with five little kids (my three "at homers" and two nieces) so I can go to the Chiropractor AND let me drive his super-cool car AND give me a Starbucks card to stop for coffee on the way home. Admit it. He IS the best dad!

6. My Mom. She's tough. And even after completing six marathons on her own (Unbelievable!) she is stepping back to do the 1/2 with me this year. Couldn't have done this last 16 weeks without her. We've walked in 19 degree weather. We've walked in 80 degree weather. We've walked outside on the hills and inside on the treadmills. For hours. And hours. And have yet to run out of things to talk about OR get tired of each other.

And now, 555 interruptions since I began this post early this morning. . . it's almost lunchtime.

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our Version of WHERE'S WALDO

I promised my s-i-l (one of them) that I'd tell you our latest past time here at the troops.

It's a game.

Well. If running panicked through the house while yelling and frantically searching IS a game. . .

We'll just call it a game just to remind us to laugh now and then.

About five hundred (or thousand) times a day, I call out, "Guys! Hey! Everybody! WHERE IS LITTLE MAN?"

Without fail, my paranoid screech is responded to in one of two ways.

1. "Right here, Mom. It's OK. I've got him."

or (the less preferred response, I'll admit, and the much more frequent one)

2. "I dunno." "I dunno." "I haven't seen him."

Then the frantic craziness ensues.

We always find him. Usually not in the same place. Unless he's done something wrong, in which case you can find him under the end table in the living room (now you know). But other than that, he's usually doing something "interesting" in another room. Could be it has to do with water. Or the toilet. Markers are a favorite. Candles are tempting (last week he figured out putting bits of torn paper in the candles starts fires. Lovely.). Or there is always the garage fridge!

So who's up for a rousing round of "WHERE IS LITTLE MAN"?

Speaking of . . . it's awfully quiet. . .

Monday, April 19, 2010

Shall forever be known as. . .

Whew! Has it really been two weeks?
I've missed ya!

Truly. I miss the writing. I miss the outlet. The chronicle. The encouragement that you give when I pour out my chaos all over the place.

A moment of quiet has descended. Little Man is watching Curious George. Which my big kids determined last week MAY not be the best idea. He seems to be following in those curious, ornery, but VERY cute footsteps. (sigh)

The "at home" girls are sleeping in. Which considering all of the partying that's been going on is not only understandable, but WELL appreciated.

And it's Monday.

Although the list is long and the time short. . . I'm grateful that I can be overwhelmed and yet still sleep "the sleep of the exhausted" (to quote my sister-in-law's mother, whom I love). A good night's sleep sure does change one's perspective! And we've had two in a row, here!

I find myself saying rather frequently these days (mostly to the Coach), "Whew. What a day." To which he has developed the habit of saying, "Day? How about week? How about month? How about year?"

Painfully true.

It's been busy here. And OH the good stories I've failed to chronicle. But since it's Monday and I have just a minute. . .

Last Wednesday my mom came over in the afternoon, after the Coach was home but before dinnertime, to walk our 4 miles here in the neighborhood with me (we are less than one week from the 1/2 marathon, by the way!). Since the weather has been nice, we've been walking outside instead of on the treadmill. Lovely!

So I got back from huffing and puffing up and down the Arrowhead Hills . . . we had a good time, too. . . to walk in the garage and find. . . I'm not sure what? Some of the "middles" (that would be not the big kids but not the youngest, either) with a bucket and rags wiping the garage floor.

Well. It seems that while I was out walking, the Coach and Son (#3) were mowing (Son #1 was working at his uncle's), and FIVE other kids were left to watch Little Man (the Coach was right here in the back yard). Apparently it wasn't enough. He is magnetically drawn to the fridge in our garage. It hold gallons of milk, water bottles, cartons of eggs, butter, etc. In the past he's taken all of the water bottles out and dumped them in the front flower bed. He's dropped eggs on the garage floor. You get the idea. And it even has a bungee cord twisted around the handles and attached to the cabinet next to it. He's Houdini, I tell you.

This time? It was the gallon of maple syrup. You know the one? From Sam's? Poured out on the garage floor. Tracked all over the garage "rug" where the kids take their shoes off and put them in the cubbies. And yes. Yes it WAS tracked through the laundry room and into the kitchen.


When I got home, Daughter (#2) was occupying Little Man elsewhere (thank heavens) and the Coach had left to pick up Son (#1) and Son (#3) was still mowing and four middles were wiping the garage floor with rags dipped in a big bucket of hot water.

Further inspection of the kitchen revealed that Little Man (he's really a genius, you know), had taken the swiffer mop off the hook in the garage and attempted to "clean up" the puddle (or pond, or lake) of syrup himself. Which would have been an intelligent thing for a three year old to do. Except that Daughter (#2) hadn't realized this and had brought the same mop into the house to clean up the kitchen. Are you getting the idea?

Garage floor? Not too bad, actually, after the kid's work to clean it up. Garage rug? Hopeless. Kitchen floor? Depressing.

I think we mopped it a hundred times. Mopped may not be the right term. Picture hands and knees and rags and hot water. Over and over.

The rug? It had to be hung out on the back fence, hosed off, left out to dry and then brought back into the garage days later to be steam cleaned with my handy dandy carpet cleaner.


Seems like I sigh a lot these days. Three year old boys will do that to you.

So about four days later we finally had everything cleaned and back in order.

And Little Man? We decided in spite of it all to keep him.

So last week at the troops? Shall forever be known as. . .

"The Syrup Incident of 2010"

And now? The girls are awake, George is over (see what I mean? He probably shouldn't be watching this every morning) and the day is calling.

May the Lord give you His grace to face today. . . whether that means dealing with 3 year olds or things MUCH more difficult (because I am completely aware that there are MUCH more difficult things).

Happy Monday!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday at the Troops

How can it already be the beginning of another week?

The time? It is flying!

And the troops? We are busy!

If you don't use it - I highly recommend Google calendar. I was adding some things last night and printing the week out for my magnet board. The Coach uses it at school and we have our calendars added to each others so I can see what he has going and he can see what's going on at home. Because we all know it would be too complicated to actually remember to TELL him things. In person. Ha!

Speaking of the Coach, we are settling back into our weekly date nights after basketball season. I hadn't realized how much I missed that time with him! As we sat there eating our soup on Friday night, it occurred to me that having time to discuss life and the kids, catch up on what's going on and ENJOY time together is my biggest "de-stresser" of the week. Sometimes, we just can't fit it in. But it sure is important to try!

Did you have a wonderful Easter? We enjoyed early service at church, brunch at home, naps (ahhhh!), baths for the kids (OK. Not all of them napped.) and dinner at my parent's. It was lovely.

I know this is sad, but you know what Easter means around here (besides the obvious, of course!)? Spring clothes. :-P Changing out the kids clothes from Winter to Summer has to be one of my least favorite chores. Well, besides potty training. It takes so much time and is such a huge job! One year they didn't have their clothes switched out until June. :-) We survived. But I am hoping to get to that in the next few days. It's been in the 80's here!

Today begins week three of homeschooling Daughter #6. For the most part, I think we are all enjoying it. We have our moments, of course. And getting school DONE is a big challenge (in our already full schedule), but we are SO enjoying the lack of stress that school was causing for her. Peaceful mornings. . . full night's of sleep. . . she's eating well, again. . . it's all good.

Saturday marked week 14 of 1/2 marathon training. Mom and I walked/jogged (very little jogging) 14 miles. And survived! I'm really enjoying the time with her. We get to catch up on our visiting during the long Saturday walks. At this point we taper down to the marathon day in three weeks. I'm glad the longest of the training is over. But I've enjoyed it, too.

It's also "month two" of potty training here at the troops. Little Man is doing pretty well. He does about as well as I do taking him. Ha! But you know what? It's the best we can do at this point. It's not as effective as "boot camp" style potty training, but at this point we simply can't be home all of the time.

I am completely amazed at the quantity of food being devoured around here these days. Having to work and re-work the budget just to keep all of these tummies full. What a wonderful problem to have! One of our favorite "new" things? Instant Cream of Wheat. The kids have been having it and instant oatmeal for snack time in the afternoons. While I'm fixing huge casseroles for dinner. Ha! Just think how fun it will be with five teenagers in a few years?

Planning and preparing for a Premier Jewelry Show this Thursday evening. Our schedule is so hectic and they are certainly optional! But when my girls were oooing and ahhhing over the Spring catalog, I gave in. They are going to help me fix the food and host. In return for getting to order some jewelry. Really looking forward to visiting with friends!

As you all know, life is busy and full and overwhelming. I'm learning more and more how to trust the Lord with those "divine interruptions" (life is pretty much ALL interruptions these days) and quit trying to "fix" everything and everyone and allow Him to love others through me. It's a whole lot of serving, trying to be patient (and often failing!), prioritizing the to do list and enjoying the kids in the meantime.

For now? I'm off to start another load of laundry, take Little Man potty and get some bread in the oven. Time to get school started, too!

Blessings on your week. What is on YOUR list today?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thankful Thursday

1. New bathroom counters, sinks and faucets. So pretty!

2. The blessing on having Daughter #6 home with me, during the day. We're figuring out a simplified version of home school and we're enjoying every minute!

3. Visits from our California Aunt and an Aunt and Uncle from Missouri. What fun!

4. Little Man's THIRD birthday, last week. (sigh) Can't believe it.

5. Potty Training relatively settled. Most of the time.

6. Warm weather, flip flops and white sandals for Easter. It was a long Winter!

7. A day OFF of school, tomorrow. For the kids (not the Coach).

8. God's perfect provision. He meets every need. Gives His wisdom for decisions. And the grace to obey.

9. The Easter Program at school, tonight. Hearing all of the little ones quoting all of the that scripture - one of my favorite moments all year.

10. Health. We've had a nice long stretch of everyone being well. Easy to get used to!

Busy day here at the troops. May the Lord give you the grace to obey Him, today, and the strength for all that He allows to come your way.

Happy Thursday!