Monday, January 31, 2011

Just a Glimpse

Still have sick kids this morning. Five, to be more accurate. But things do seem to be improving. Somewhat. Besides that one was up all night with the vomit monster (you didn't want to know that, did you? Sorry!).

One more returned to school, today. And one is spending her first school day at home. So they are trading places. However, now that ALL eight kids have gotten sick - it can only get better. Right? (please say yes)

In the meantime, a couple of pictures of our Friday night homecoming. Daughter (#7) was the Kindergaren representative . . .

and Daughter (#2) was the 8th grade nominee.

We had a fun time finding dresses, shoes, jewelry. A sweet friend did Daughter's (#2) hair and makeup while I curled Daughter's (#7). I was so grateful for the help after a week of sick kids. No wait. Two weeks of sick kids. It's all running together!

That's all for now. By the time I run the home cafe, administer medications and provide company, comfort and entertainment. . . my day is full!

Happy Monday!

If you want to see other homecoming pictures from years past, you can find them here:

I wasn't blogging back when Daughter (#2), Son (#3) and Son (#4) were in Kindergarten. Maybe I'll get around to posting all of those someday.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tomorrow is Coming!

Sitting here with my Diet D.P. and some Sunchips (the cheesy kind, as my kids would say) - one of my favorite treats - even if I usually have to use some weekly pointsplus to enjoy them.

The two big boys (Son #3 made it back to school, yesterday - hooray!) are watching Pirates of the Caribbean in the playroom. The little girls (and Little Man) are watching Little House in the Prairie in the Living Room.

And it's quiet.

Sort of.

The windows are open. The delightful breeze is blowing through our previously stuffy house. Candles are lit. The dishwasher and dryer are humming. And there's plenty of coughing, too.

As much as I desire to live in the present moment of life. . . to enjoy where I AM. . . to be grateful for TODAY (because it is such a gift - I know that). . .

I have to admit I'll be relieved when tomorrow comes.

I'm sad that we haven't enjoyed this FUN week of school with all of the homecoming activities, dress up days, etc. Two of the kids are missing field trips, today. I hate that for them.

However, the fact that Daughter (#2) is WELL is such as answer to prayer. All of our prayers. . . and yours. . . and so many others. She's excited to be in homecoming, tonight. I'm excited for her. My heart is full of gratefulness for my sweet friend who is helping with her hair and makeup, too, this afternoon. It will be so much fun!

Daughter (#7) is still puny, but well enough to go walk in and out, I think. Praying she won't feel miserable and can enjoy being a "princess" for a few moments. Bless her heart.

So tomorrow? When the school week, homecoming events, and my 12 mile run are all over with (Lord willing and the run doesn't do me in!)?

I'll breathe a sigh of relief.

Because even though I'm trying to enjoy right NOW. I can't wait for some things to be over.

And when the kids are all finally better (let's pray that it's SOON!). . .

I'll breathe another sigh of relief.

I know there's always something to work on. . something looming. . . something on the horizon. My to do list will never go away. The piles won't either. The projects will keep coming (but OH how I love that my big kids are responsible and do most things on their own!). The house will need cleaned, again. And again. The laundry will need to be done over and over. And I'm choosing to be grateful that this particular virus hasn't affected the kids' appetites - even if I'm tired of being the resident short-order cook (fruit smoothie, anyone?).

God gives the grace and strength for each day.

But I know it will ALL be easier to handle once we get the troops feeling well, again.

Happy Friday!

Thanks eversomuch for your prayers.
(And can I just say how much I love the music on Pirates of the Caribbean?)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tired Tuesday

Happy Tuesday.

I'm not really THAT tired, I'll be honest. Not in the sense of "lacking sleep", anyway.

That's one of the many blessings of the kids getting older. More consistent sleep.

I AM tired of sick kids. Not tired of the KIDS, mind you (well. . . ), but the fevers, the fatigue, the head-aches, the coughing. Bless their hearts.

And I WILL be tired of all the make-up homework that will start flooding my house as soon as they all make it back to school (they WILL make it back to school, right?).

But mostly? I'm thankful. . .

For Netflix movies and 99 cent Blockbuster kids movies.

For free Chick-fil-A chicken biscuits this morning (I let Son #3 have mine, though). And the drive-through with a van full of pajama clad, blanket wrapped kids.

For a dishwasher that's been running non-stop.

For clean laundry (and the washer and dryer that make it possible).

For Clorox cleaning wipes, Lysol, Glade plug-ins and candles.

For a sweet daddy who brings Starbucks on my 8th day of having kids home sick.

For a husband who walks in the door at night and rolls up his sleeves and HELPS.

For a vacuum.

For five pallets on the playroom floor for five sick kids.

For Tylenol Jr. meltaways (or the generic version thereof).

For Gatorade.

For Sam's size versions of hot chocolate mix and Chai tea mix.

For an amazing, generous, kind doctor who answers my e-mails and phone calls.

For IgG (which seems to have kept the Coach and I healthy - so far). Trying not to regret the fact that I hadn't been giving it to all of the kids, too.

For precious teachers who call, e-mail and Facebook to check on my kids.

For Amish Friendship Bread. Makes the whole house smell yummy.

For homemade chicken noodle soup in the crockpot.

For a Grandmother who is willing to take a HEALTHY Little Man (who is driving his sick siblings crazy) to Bible Study so we can have a break from his endless energy.

For a dresses and shoes for Friday's homecoming for Daughter (#2) and Daughter (#7). Would appreciate prayers for our family that we will all be well so we can go!

For only one more long run left in our training for the Austin Marathon. Tapering here we come!

For the fact that I can still walk after all the running we've been doing. Ha! 24 miles last week!

For great teenagers. I've missed being at their games, lately.

For the Coach's Nook. And that he leaves it at home during the day.

For sunshine.

For Windex.

For laughter.

Yes. . . I know it's not Thursday. But I'm thankful.

Monday, January 17, 2011

(Deep Breath)

It's quiet here, this morning, at the troops. Little Man slept right through the kids chaos this morning getting ready for and leaving for school. THAT doesn't happen often.

I'm blessed to have this quiet in my day. I know this. I'm not trying to homeschool while running a household and attempting to maintain some remnant of sanity. I only did that when I had six children seven and under! HA!

Wait. . . it might be too late to hold onto that sanity part.

One of my favorite hymns is "It is Well With my Soul". The Coach and I were married at Christmas and our wedding was full of Christmas music - "Joyful Joyful we Adore Thee", was the processional. But the one song that we wanted that wasn't Christmas music was "It is Well With my Soul."

"Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is WELL. . . it is WELL, with my soul."

Sometimes I'm lacking that peace on the outside. I may appear to have my act together or know where I'm headed, but truthfully, I'm drowning in the to-do list, the school calendar, the sports schedules, and the simple everyday LIFE of this busy, warm, laughter-filled house.

Being a mom is a dream come true for me. I love my job and I thank the Lord that I am able to do it.

Well. . . I am sort of able to do it. Some days I'm not sure that I've done the right things and left the right things undone. It's a constant struggle.

But even with all of the outward chaos, I have peace in my SOUL. I may not know what the future holds. How it's all going to work out. How we are going to pay for it, forheavenssake. I may not know how that costume will work out, or if I can find shoes for that homecoming dress. I may not know what I am fixing for dinner for 10, tonight, or if I'll be able to get those errands done today or next week. I may not know if that dentist appointment is going to take 10 minutes or 100. Or whether or not I'll be able to make it to all of the basketball games, or if I will chose to stay home with the younger children so we can have a normal bedtime in the evenings.

I DO NOT know how to make it all work. I used to think that if I just kept things organized, we could handle the busy schedule and the long list. That was when my kids were little. Now I'm fairly sure there isn't enough organization in the world.

But I know WHO holds it all.

So instead of wigging out and losing my mind and hyperventilating. . .

I'm going to trust Him. I'm going to tell Him. And I'm going to listen. I'm going to spend time in His Word, asking Him to show me what really matters, today.

And then I'm going to keep folding the laundry and washing the dishes and making the phone calls and paying the bills and . . .

Be grateful for this full, blessed life.

Oh! Look who is coming out of the bedroom with his blanket trailing behind!

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tiring Tuesday

I love writing Thankful Thursday posts. Reminds me all that I have to be grateful for. Good attitude adjustment in the exhaustion of the week.

And "Thankful Thursday" has such a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

If I had to come up with a post just for Tuesdays. . . well. . . that's a bit harder.

But I'd go with "Tiring Tuesdays".

LOVE my BSF class. But it wears me out. Not sure why. Maybe I'm not used to having to sit still and pay attention for all of a weekday morning? Hmmmm.

Often, Little Man and I have lunch with Granddad and Grandmother afterwards. FUN!

But by the time I get home with a tummy full of Chick-fil-A, a heart full of fellowship, and a spirit full of Biblical truth. . .

I need a nap.

To top it all off, I'm always behind on housework, e-mail, phone messages, laundry, cooking, etc., after being gone all morning. And Little Man falls asleep in .2 seconds (if he doesn't on the way home). (yawn)

But that's all done and gone. Everyone is home. It's freezing cold. Dinner is cooking away. The laundry is done, if not folded, and I did cross a few things off the to-do list before time to get the kids at school.

And the frog?

It's been found.

In the tank.

Apparently it's not JUST an aquatic frog -

it's also a disappearing act. Right in our very own house.

(I lost it, again, this morning.)

Thank you all so very much for your concern. For me. Ha! I appreciate all of your loving (and humorous) comments, yesterday. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one without the "I love pets", gene. Whew!

And the "stepping on a frog in the middle of the night" story?

Thanks for that!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I try. Really, I do.

What is it with kids and pets? Why do kids think they NEED a pet? That life isn't complete without one?

I wasn't that way.

Of course I cleaned my room without being asked, too.

My kids are desperate.

You'll remember we tried the dog thing. I was a good sport about the whole thing for the most part. Never mind that the little kids and I were home all day with the beautiful monster of a dog.

The Coach finally realized it wasn't working. The kids were even relieved.

Another chapter in the troops was closed.

About 2 years ago we started the fish tank in the boys' room.

It hasn't been too bad.

Lots of dead fish, but fortunately the boys are pretty much OK with that. They are tough (the boys, I mean) and just start asking when we can go to Petco for a replacement. On the positive side, we've gotten to care for lot of different kinds of fish. Ha!

I haven't had to deal with any of the dead fish. In spite of the pet store guy warning us that dead fish poison the tank with ammonia? I just leave them there until the boys get home.

Sad, I know.

There was the phase when Little Man tried putting everything that wasn't nailed down INTO the fish tank (stupid little hinged door on top of the tank!).

A bad of Cheetos was probably the worst.

OH. I forgot. The worst was the ENTIRE can of fish food. Bleck. Took MONTHS to get the water clear. And I'm pretty sure there were casualties from the incident.

But it's been a good experience. Son (#3) is the official "owner" of the fish and he's been very responsible.

I really am a good sport. I hardly flinched when the Coach took the girls to get a small tank for water frogs this weekend (in spite of the fact that I had successfully put them off for months, now).

Didn't say a word when they got the tank all set up so it could run for 24 hours before they brought frogs home to occupy it.

And when they DID get two tiny, slimy, disgusting frogs, yesterday, I even went in and smiled at their excitement.

I try.

But this morning? When Little Man came running out saying, "I DID NOT put anything in the frog's water, Momma!"?

I lost it.

It's all fine and good when there are 7 older kids here to keep an eye on him. But when they all leave for school and it's just him and me here in the house all day?

I can't spend the entire time just making sure he's not messing with the frogs!

Granted, it wasn't a bag of Cheetos or the whole jar of frog food (who knew there WAS such a thing?). No. I made the girls HIDE the food. I won't make THAT mistake, twice.

It was just jewels from one of their headbands that had been sitting on the counter so I could fix it with hot glue.

No harm.

Then I noticed something.

Something alarming.

ONE frog.

Not TWO.


This is bad. Really bad.

Little Man doesn't seem to know where it is, either. And I think he would tell me if it had jumped out (the Coach says they don't jump, but what does he know? He's at work!) while he was opening the lid.


No one in the whole universe seems to share my total lack of need to have any pets in my house. Is there something wrong with me?

We had dog when I was growing up. And outside dog.

We had gerbils. They were like large mice, in my mind. Eeeewww.

I don't remember fish or birds, but we may have even had those. The only cat was before I came along (I'm deathly allergic).

I must be missing that "I love pets" gene.

Unfortunately I'm also missing a frog.

I'm sure it will turn up. Pre or post dried-up, who knows? I'd rather find it on purpose than on accident, though.

This is the life of a mom. Taking care of fish and frogs and dogs that are out of control. I don't do it because I love animals. I don't. Unless it's from a long ways away and there is glass or a fence in between us.

But I do love my kids.

Now, where IS that frog?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It's Thursday!

It's a new year, we're half way through the school year, Christmas has been celebrated, enjoyed, and packed away for another year, and I thought it was about time to get back to my Thursday lists! Yeah!

1. Clean House (except I'm noticing all of the dried leaves that have been tracked in).

2. Laundry done. Now just to put it all away!

3. Ironing done. I have not followed in my mother's footsteps in the ironing department. She irons EVERYTHING. I only iron about once or twice a year. Maybe.

4. New towels in our master bathroom (thanks, Mom!). I feel like I'm in a fancy SPA every time I take a shower, now. Well. . . except for the banging on the door.

5. All of the Christmas "treats" have been eaten. Whew! Glad I survived. I did gain last week at my WW meeting. Just being honest. But overall I'm still more than 30 pounds down since last Spring. It's about the long-term for me, at this point. I'm back on track!

6. Week three of 1/2 marathon training going well. The first two weeks were while the Coach was home for Christmas break - how fun is that? Next week will be tough, with my longest run EVER (10 miles). And it gets worse. Ha!

7. Beautiful weather, yesterday and today. It's not going to last, but I would LOVE a snow day next week!

8. Lots of Thank You notes to write. I am so grateful for all of the precious family and friends that I can say "thank you" to.

9. New Nike visor to wear while I run (thanks to my kids!). I only dream of looking cute in a hat, but the visor is super comfortable and keeps the sun out of my eyes and off my skin.

10. Precious, talented, committed, Christian, creative, amazing teachers for my kids. The Coach and I counted 38 teachers and faculty (from Kindergarten to 9th grade) that teach our kids every day they are in school. Wow! And I am blessed to count many of them as my good friends.

11. Time in Branson with the Coach's family before Christmas and time with both families on Christmas Day. And any time we feel the need to turn a regular evening into a "party", my parents are usually willing to come!

12. A day at home. It's been awhile. Very needed around here.

13. Great kids. We have our moments. I know I'm far from the perfect mom. Some days I'm not even a "good" mom. God's grace is so abundant. We have amazing kids who are growing into amazing adults. Love them so very much. And I even like them most of the time!

14. No meltdowns this morning. Yeah! School started on Monday and it's been a rough transition from sleeping in and jammies all day. . . but today it all clicked. Thank you, Lord! (7:00 bedtimes have sure helped!)

15. Tomorrow is Friday!

I'm going to have to really focus these next few weeks on all that I have to be thankful for so that I don't get overwhelmed. The school year really stays busy from January through March. Science Fair, Homecoming (for TWO of our girls!), Presidential Tea, Speech Meet, basketball season, all while running more miles each week than I'm used to, and trying to wrap up my weight loss and get to my goal weight.

How grateful I am, today, that God is sovereign. I can trust Him no matter what circumstances enter my life, today (and YES - chocolate milk has already been spilled on "the" chair. Sigh.).

And now, I have a little man climbing all over me AND my computer. . . time is up!

Happy Thursday! What are YOU thankful for, today?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Not sticky. Yet.

We got our chair back, yesterday. Isn't it pretty? The kids knew it would be red. . .

I'm full of surprises, apparently.

This is a great chair. It was a hand-me-down like a lot of our furniture. I would have left it the orangey/blue/gold plaid, if I could have. I loved that it held so many memories. But along with a wonderful, soft, "lived-in" look, it also was ripping at the top, losing feathers from the seat cushion, and it smelled funny.

Which, again, is like a lot of our furniture.

The Coach said, "Why don't you see about having 'the' chair recovered?" I knew what he meant. The kids LOVE this chair. Fight over this chair. Play fort in this chair and use the feathers that poke through to make crafts.

He didn't have to ask me twice!

Isn't it pretty? (did I say that, already?)

I keep walking back and forth through the living room and every time I glance to it's corner, it makes me happy. Life certainly isn't about how amazing my house is (thank goodness!). But when something new and fun and pretty lands in my living room - I enjoy it! I enjoy the blessings we've been given. I know it's only because of the generosity of others, in some way or another. The Coach's job, and the income which provides for us, is a blessing. The hand-me-downs, the gifts, and so many other kind things we receive are all blessings. It's not anything I've done.

Maybe the reason I'm enjoying it (and I always enjoy something "new", don't you?) is because it IS new.

It hasn't been spilled on, spit up on (hopefully we've past that phase here - but you never know with boys), squished to death by piles of wrestling kids, slobbered on, or encrusted with raisins, granola bars, or goldfish crumbs. Never mind the "no eating in the living rooms" rule. It somehow happens, anyway.

There's just something about "new".

And it's reminded me, today, that I am "new", as well. I may still be living in this "old" body - yet to be redeemed - with it's smooshed raisin, spilled rootbeer, stuck on old candy cane issues, but my spirit? It's already BEEN redeemed and is sparkling new.

I find myself telling guests who sit at our dinner table, "Watch out for sticky." Is it just me? Or is everything in our entire house have something sticky on it? I just took the "small" van to the car wash and vacuumed it out. Where DO those little sticky drops come from? We don't allow our kids to trash out our cars OR our house. I think it just oozes from the kids, themselves. Kids=sticky. There's no avoiding it.

I can wash, clean, vacuum, and use every cleaning wipe in the house, but I guarantee there is sticky somewhere. Yesterday I had on a soft, velour sweatsuit. Little Man thought I had it on just so he could come snuggle up to my arm. And wipe his nose on it.

The chair is beautiful. New. Smells nice.

Not sticky. Or stained. Yet.

The rest of my house? Not so much.

I'm so grateful today for a clean heart. One that is "new" because of the blood of Jesus and His forgiveness and cleansing.

And the promise of a NEW, redeemed, body someday, too. Won't it be wonderful?

Will be nice to get rid of the sticky (and the stretch marks!)!