Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Because I don't say it often enough. . .

I love my husband.

And I'm so glad to be sharing life with him.

This "raising kids" thing is exhausting.  I've never been so tired.

I understand now, why my mother-in-law breathed a sigh of relief when her baby girl (and 10th child) was married.  And another sigh when all ten kids had children of their own.

As our kids get older, I have more and more respect for those who have gone before me in this parenting journey.  And survived.

The Coach and I are really just getting started.

So much laughter.

So very much forgiveness.

Lots of hard work.

And tears.

And joy.

So much joy.
(although I fear that sometimes the joy gets lost in the work)

The Coach has always been the man of my dreams.  He's handsome, strong, hard-working, God-fearing, humble, teachable, loving . . . not afraid to walk in the door at night, roll up his sleeves, and pitch in with the chaos.  He daily lays down his life and leads through serving (I'm pretty sure he's finishing up the dishes right now - case in point).  

But he's come to be so much more than that to me (not that I don't REALLY appreciate the help with the dishes).  He's the husband of my dreams.  And we have the marriage of my dreams.  A life shared.  Two living as one.  Best friends.  Soul mates.

I could say that we've both grown eversomuch through sharing this life together.  And we have.  But the reason he's the man he is?  He loves and serves an awesome God.

He is consistent, loving, patient, long-suffering . . . and gives me a LOT of grace. . . 


And for all of the "yuck" that the stress of motherhood has brought out in me, it seems to have brought out the very best in the Coach.  He's risen to the occasion, taken on the challenge, and made me so very proud.

I adore him.

(and he's SO handsome. . .  has that already been mentioned?)

It is an amazing blessing to be sharing this life with him.

I just needed to say that, today.  Giving glory to the Immortal Invisible Only-Wise God for creating this thing called "marriage".

And for letting me experience it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's a Battle. And I'm losing.

It's finally quiet, tonight, at the troops.  The four youngers finally gave up and stayed in bed longer than two seconds and promptly fell sound asleep.  Sister finally finished her conversation with me about hair styles and got in the shower.  Big brother went to the store to get milk for tomorrow (Thank you, Jesus, for another driver in the house!) and settled into his book.  Son (#3) tried out all of the Coach's blue ties (for homecoming next week) and than finally quieted down with his book, too.  Son (#4) isn't home from his game, yet (the end of season tournament that he won't be playing in), and the Coach is tap-tapping away on the computer on his Sunday School lesson for this week.

And I'm sick.

After a great morning at home with Little Man. . . cleaning. . . reading stories. . . baking Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. . . my head started hurting.  Really hurting.  My mental check-list began. . . (do you do this?)

Water?  Check.  Several glasses, already, today.
Vitamins?  Check.  Plus extra iron.
Breakfast?  Check.  Because sometimes I forget.
Rest?  Check.  Been to bed early all week.

But the head-ache persisted.  I first sat, watching Little Man creating his "long long car" with Legos.  Then sank to the floor.  Wheels? Sure, I can find more wheels.  Except the Legos wouldn't hold still.

Big Brother saved the day, picking up pizza on his way home from workouts.  The Coach was at a game with Son (#3), the four youngers here with me, making lots of racket then whispering to each other, "Shhhhh.  Mom's sleeping."

I did.  Some.  Here and there.  Amid settling arguments about the computer timer and what was appropriate for snacks.

Eventually everyone made it home, the homework was checked, and forms filled out and signed, and showers taken, and laundry started. . .

Why does being sick frustrate me so much?  Why do I snap at the kids when they squeeze next to me on the couch while my head pounds?  Why do I say (more than once), "Just let me do it." to the Coach when he's trying to help.

Do I really think I'm the only one that can do things right?

Do I really think without me (it's one evening forgoodnesssake) the ship will sink?

Or is it more about control?

Is it more about wanting things done MY way?  Because it's the right way, you know.

I continually fight my desire to be in control.


Maybe because it's the oldest battle there is.  That tree of the knowledge of good and evil tempting me.  That desire to be THE ONE in control.  Make the choices.  Be the "informed" one.  The one who KNOWS.

What is best.  What is right.  What is good.  What is out there.  What my options are.  What others think about it.

How to do it right.  How to find it out.  How to make it work.


It's such an illusion.

Because no matter how much I KNOW or how much I DO or what I might THINK.

I'm not the one in charge.

And in my heart of hearts?  I don't want to be.  I don't know.  I can't always do.  My thinking?  It's flawed.

But I can trust in the Sovereign, Omniscient, Loving, Omnipotent, Heavenly Father who IS in control.

I can let Him KNOW and DO and be ALL WISDOM.

I just wish the whole process hadn't brought out such ugliness in this momma.

But I'll probably get another chance, tomorrow.  A chance to be patient when I'm hurting.  A chance to show love when I'd choose solitude.  A chance to received help instead of being proud.

His mercies are new every morning.  I'm so grateful they are.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In what shall henceforth and forever be remembered as. . .

The year of sports injuries at the troops.


I'm going with "sports injuries" over "broken bones" because:
a) my leg wasn't actually broken - it had a stress fracture.  NOT the same thing.  So there.
and b)  saying "sports injuries" means I can be included in the same category as my awesome basketball players.  The "athlete" category.  (And yes, I realize these abilities came from the Coach's genes, not mine.)

Trying to make the best of it.

Daughter (#2) is still sporting her neon pink cast (for a few more days), and Son (#4) joined the casualties, this morning, with a temporary splint until next week, when he, too, will be put in a cast for a month.

"What color will you get?" says Little Man, who knows the drill.  And wants a sucker.

We've had a year like this, before (Daughter #2, Son #3, and Daughter #5 - all arms - all within a few months).  We'll get through it.

We are blessed to have a kind, gracious friend who works in Orthopedics - who takes amazing care of us.  So blessed.  Although when you know all of the doctor's office staff (including the guy who puts the casts on) on a first-name basis, it may be a good indication that you've spent too much time there.

The worst part MAY be having Son #4 sidelined for 5 weeks.  Because this boy NEEDS to burn some energy.  Lots of energy.  Every day.  And without his daily shooting and dribbling drills, he may spontaneously combust.

Then again. . . he did break his LEFT hand. . . no reason he couldn't keep practicing with his RIGHT hand. . . hmmmmm.

Feel free to leave your "multiple broken bones in the same house" jokes in the comments.  As well as any "do your kids drink milk or take calcium?" jokes.  I'm going to go read some more here.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday

1.  Good visit with a sweet sis-in-law last night.  I would love to have that time with the other ten, too!

2.  Smooth mornings this week getting the kids off to school.  I have no idea why, but it's been melt-down free.  Woohoo!

3.  Clean house.  At least it was, yesterday.

4.  Laundry, Ironing, AND mending caught up this week.  At some point.  Although the laundry is never-ending.

5.  Freshly colored hair - thanks to my sweet Mother, who is kind to put the color on for me now and then.  Not quite ready to "go gray", yet.

6.  A suit (on sale!) for Son #3 to wear in Homecoming in two weeks.  I wouldn't say that shopping for it was "fun", but I'm so grateful for the Lord's provision!

7.  A morning AT HOME with my Little Man, today.  These are becoming more and more rare.  I have to fight for a day at home, but he and I both enjoy them tremendously.

8.  The Coach's gift of a CLEAN garage, last night.  Things returned to the attic, leaves blown out, kids lockers organized.  Ahhhhhhh.

9.  An uninterrupted nights sleep.  It seems like we've had a little girl (not always the same one, of course) in our room almost every night, lately.  Last night everyone sleep better!

10.  A much shorter to-do list, today.  Some weeks I don't get anything done (that's on the list!) and other weeks I get to cross things off.  I enjoy the crossing off.

The coffee just beeped (Totally forgot to make coffee for the Coach this morning before he left!  And it had nothing to do with his story in our class on Sunday - I really DID forget!), so I'm off.

May the Lord bless and keep you, today.  May He prepare the way before you and direct your steps.   May we all be willing to receive the grace He offers us to face whatever this day holds.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thankful. . . Day!

It's still Tuesday, right?
Because BSF with Little Man and Grandmother was this morning.
I think.
And lunch with Granddad at Chicken-fil-A (as my girls have taken to calling it).
Have you tried their Chicken Tortilla Soup?  Mmmmmm.
Even a short nap while Little Man watched an episode of Phineas and Ferb on Netflix (how sad is it that I can fall asleep during a 15 minute obnoxiously noisy show. . . )

Then the real chaos began.

But I digress.

One of my goals in this New Year has to be more intentional in my daily activity.  To stay off of the computer when my kids need me.  To be more diligent in listening to them, what is going on in their lives, what they are concerned about. . . just be AWARE of all that goes on with them.

That basically leaves me time to write here. . . never.  Sigh.

1.  My newly licensed driver IN THE HOUSE. Woot woot!  Congratulations are in order - he's a great driver - passed his driver's test with flying colors - and was much less nervous than his mother.  Ha!  Let's hear it for having HELP with all of the running around, dropping off, picking up. . . bless his heart. . . it's a good thing he's still happy to drive anywhere.

2.  Good report on Sister's broken finger yesterday - healing well, no surgery needed.  New PINK cast for two weeks, than hopefully a removable splint.

3.  The freedom to start weaning myself from my personal prison boot.  And if this thankfulness post doubles as a confession. . . I haven't worn it since yesterday morning.  That's more like cold turkey than weaning. . . but I promise to do better tomorrow.  Maybe.

4.  Fun date night with the Coach on Saturday night.  Revisiting a Chinese restaurant that we loved during our living-in-the-hood days.  Have I mentioned, lately, that I love my man?  And that he gets the "most patient husband on the planet" award this week?

5.  Healthy kids. . . after coughs and snotty noses . . . and general yuckiness. . . the last part of Christmas Break and the first part of back-to-school.  The Coach and I were sick last week.  Not bad.  Just not good.  Grateful to be on the other side of it.

6.  Clean laundry.  Even if it's all over the Living Room floor.

7.  Sweet girls who cleaned up the Sunroom School Room today (yes, they do come home FROM school and PLAY school - every day!).  Of course, I had threatened to burn it to the ground.  Apparently they took me seriously.

8.  The 1/4 of a cow in my freezer.  In various pieces, of course.  We've already enjoyed some of it.  Yesterdays pot roast was delicious!  Love that I won't need to buy beef for a loooooong time.

9.  The Coach's new series that he's teaching in our Sunday School class.  It's been encouraging. . . and we've had some great conversations about it at home.  Fruit of the Spirit.

10.  The patience, tolerance, and general opportunities for growth that kids provide.  I'm overwhelmed.  But grateful that they continue to challenge me to depend more fully on the Lord.

11.  That the strength of the Lord is sufficient.  Even when I'm tired.  And cranky.  And don't want to hear the piano practicing, reading, memorizing, questions, homework, etc.  I'm so very blessed.  So. Very. Blessed.

Some days I feel like I'm failing as a mother.  Failing miserably.  I listen to my kids criticize one another. . . see them choose to disobey. . . hear my own voice threatening instead of encouraging.  It only takes each of them doing one thing wrong and my whole afternoon is filled with correction and consequences.  Because there are something like. . . I don't know. . . eight of them?  And if one of them persists in a bad attitude, it's less than pleasant for the rest of the troops, too.

But you know what?

They ARE great kids.  They love the Lord and their family.  They work hard in school, take responsibility for their own assignments and deadlines.  They are all making excellent grades.  Practicing basketball diligently.  Being good friends.  Laughing and playing.  Reading, growing, learning.

Sometimes I just need a reminder of all that they do WELL.  And forget (for a second or two), that they aren't perfect.  Although the $1 fine on any coats, shoes, boots, socks, or backpacks that are not put up by dinner time seemed to help, today.

Starbucks, anyone?

Turns out they still have a lot to learn.  They still need love and patience and encouragement.  They still need Jesus.  Imagine that.  Sounds like someone else I know. . . hmmmmm.

Trusting Him for it all.

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Just a warning.

Not sure if it's the boot. . . killing brain cells as I drag it around all day.

Or if it's the lack of sleep. . .late games, sleepy girls with dreams that wake them, early mornings.

Or maybe it's the cumulative affect of 16 years of being a mom.  And losing brain cells with all of the pregnancies, one right after another.

Maybe it's too many episodes of "Phineas and Ferb" with my Elementary age kids.  "S to the I to the M to the P!"

Or too many episodes of "Top Gear" with my teens.  I always tell them that TV kills brain cells.

Could be the ten consecutive years of having kids in our precious school (only 14 more to go!). . . the assignments, notes, projects, ball games, and so many fabulous teachers (over 30 this year, alone).

Maybe it's the new glasses.

Or this cold that has been lingering for a week.  (sniff)

Could be that I haven't run in about 9 weeks.

Or maybe the fact that my legs are no longer "runner's legs" (I use the term loosely, of course), but rather pillars of some kind of expanding jello-like substance.

Whatever it is?

I have no brain.

So no, I haven't gotten your e-mail, your phone message, or your text.  Nor have I written you that note to tell you "Thank you" (I really AM eversograteful!).   I most likely will call you the wrong name, or get confused about which kid is yours.  Just ask my own kids (Poor Little Man thinks his name IS the other three big boys names followed by his. . . ).

I have hope, though!  Because I actually KNOW moms personally who have survived these school-age years and seem like they have come through it with relatively little scarring.

Of course they could just be pretending.

I'm getting pretty good at that, too.  ("Wash sheets?  Oh sure!  We do that on a regular basis!  Of course!")

And did you know that if you have a Webkinz that you got for Christmas which may or may not be a fish?  . . . he can't wear pants.  And Little Man is NOT happy about this.  So I'm warning you all.  FISH CAN'T WEAR PANTS!


Glad we cleared that up.

Maybe that is the REAL reason that I can't think straight.  My brain is full of completely useless facts that, in the moment, really matter to my various children with their crazy different interests and tastes.

Have you HEARD the song, "Camouflage"?


I wish I could say I hadn't.  I'm pretty sure it's taking up much needed space in my head.

Along with all of the lines to "Princess Bride".

"As you wiiiiiiiiiish. . . "

Monday, January 9, 2012

He Holds it All. . .

I've sat down to write several times since Christmas.  My thoughts have been scattered, my stories random, and I can't seem to make sense of any of it.  Thank heavens for the delete button - when you are tempted to name your post "The Rant", it's the only way to go.

But the whining?  It's got to stop.

Yes, I'm tired of "the boot".  (Week five starts today.)

Yes, the troops have all had colds.  And low fevers.  And the grumpies (of which I am queen).

Yes, mornings have been trying for my little ones since school started back.

Yes, my list just keeps getting longer.  And longer.  And yes, I'm avoiding it by pushing it under the piles of mail, coupons, school assignments, and returned Christmas cards that I need to find new addresses for.  Oh.  And thank you notes that should have been sent LAST week and have only been started.

Yes, my beautiful daughter's hand/finger is STILL hurting.  Ugh.

Yes, the house is a mess.  What's new?

Yes, errands are piling up while I hope for a chauffeur.  So I don't have to take the boot off and put it back on with each and every stop.

No, I haven't been to the gym since Friday.  And it's unlikely I'll make it there, today.

No, I haven't planned meals for the week.  Or even looked at the calendar.  Yikes.

But you know what?  God's grace is sufficient.  I don't just say that.  I BELIEVE it.  Because I've lived it.  Over and over again, He shows His love by giving me the strength I need for TODAY.

He will be faithful to do it, again.

In the meantime, I'll keep remembering my mother-in-law's button that says, "Stop whining, stop whining, STOP WHINING."

Because a mom as blessed as I am, has NOTHING to whine about.  I have healthy (colds won't last) children, a hard-working (and handsome) husband who loves me, a warm home, cars that run (although I did discover that one of the new van's pockets is sticky - already!), oatmeal to fill my tummy, coffee to wake me up, a washer and dryer to keep working on the laundry, food to fix for dinner (even if I have no idea what it will be), and a Little Man to keep me company all day.

And since "The Cat in the Hat" is over. . . and Son #1 needs an appointment at the DMV for his driving test on Friday. . . it's time to get going.

Happy Monday!