Monday, November 26, 2012

Partied Out!

Last week was FUN at the troops.

*Tuesday the girls high-school basketball team came for lunch after a morning scrimmage.  Their coach is SO handsome!  (grin)  They ate lasagna and played Nerf basketball in my living room and Little Man ate up all of the attention from those pretty girls!

*Tuesday night, one of the Coach's older brothers and his family arrived at my in-laws up the street - he's the only one of the 10 who doesn't live close by.

*Wednesday found all of us (kids, especially) going back and forth from my in-laws to see them, visit, and trade kids.  Loved watching the pack of boys play football in the yard!  Cousins are the best!

*Wednesday night we were SO excited to be given tickets to go to the Thunder/Clippers game downtown.  Four of ours had never been!  Winning in overtime just added to the fun.  I won't mention whose dancing ended up on the jumbo-tron, but his name starts with C and ends with Y and he may or not be the Coach's younger brother.

*Thursday we were back at the annual extended family Thanksgiving Day gathering.  Not sure how many were there, but it was quite a group!  The Coach and his siblings were all together for the first time in. . . something like 3 years?  Longer?  I'm not sure.  Want to see?  In this photo they are lined up youngest to oldest with their parents in the middle.

We didn't attempt one with the grandkids (55 + 3 spouses + 2 great-grandbabies).  Several were with in-laws or away at school, so it would have been incomplete (and loud!).  But here are the 10 kids with their spouses.

Have I mentioned how much I love this family?  I grew up with two brothers (whom I love, dearly), but the addition of sisters (on both sides) has been a joy for me!  I have 11 of them!  :-)  My brothers-in-law are pretty great, too.

*On Friday we loaded up our troops (minus the Coach and Daughter #2 who had basketball practice) and headed to the farm house for a family day.  Sunshine, cool weather, leaves blowing, coffee, hot chocolate, snacks. . . ranger rides, skeet shooting, bonfire with marshmallows. . . good times.

(Little Man is on the laptop and just asked for my credit card.  I'm worried.)

*Friday night we continued the party at my extremely brave sister-in-law's house for pizza, football, and Duck Dynasty episodes (some of them hadn't seen it before, can you believe it?).

*Saturday found us back at home, with cousins here to play, Christmas decorations all over the place. . . then over to another sis-in-law's (again - BRAVE) house with our crew plus some to watch the bedlam game and partake of yet another round of SNACKS.  Ha!  The younger kids rode the horse and played with the dogs and ran around like wild indians while we "older folk" - teens included - watched the game.  Another overtime win - crazy!

So Sunday seemed awfully quiet with "only" church and Sunday lunch with just our troops.  Son #3 is the Christmas decoration master - he helped me finish up inside and helped the Coach work on outside lights, too.

It seemed oddly quiet when the troops headed off for school this morning. . .

But the piles and lists were ready for some attention.  FUN week, but time to get going on Christmas shopping, groceries and meal planning, laundry . . . you know, real life.  Except made more cheery by a visit from a sis-in-law bearing happy, red Starbucks cups this morning.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Is it really only Tuesday?

Because I'm Thursday kind of tired.

The Coach and Daughter (#2) left for early basketball practice before I was awake. . . no, that's not true.  Their clanging around, opening and closing cabinets and turning lights on and off woke me (and I know the Coach tried so very hard to be quiet!).  After the Coach's alarm woke me.  Because his alarm wakes me and I wake him.  Sometimes I wish I were the one who can't hear.

But I digress.

Daughter (#6) is sitting beside me at the kitchen table writing her spelling words.  She just told me, "Mom, I don't GET the whole 'Mrs. Troop' thing.  It's like you're trying to be funny.  But you're not."


Maybe I should quit while I'm ahead.

And for the record, I'm not trying to be funny.

All of the girls' clothes that were stored in the attic from Daughter (#2), who is almost 16 (yikes!), are all over the playroom.  At some point I did quit saving them (there is a 5 year space between my first two girls), but these were still up there taking up space in my brain.  Tell me I'm not the only one who has to get things OUT OF MY HOUSE before I can stop thinking about them?

Last night, after dinner, was one of those moments.  You know.  When you look around your house and see kids everywhere, projects being working on (and messes!), homework, reading, dishes not quite done, brownies baking for a class party, a Nerf gun war coming through the kitchen now and then, laundry piled high needing to be folded, the piles and lists on my desk literally taking over, the phone ringing, clothes to be found for PE and basketball today, what IS that weird smell (discovered later to be the fact that Son #1 cleaned out his gym bag from football.  Last Friday.). . .   And MOM can you type the computer pass word ONE MORE TIME so I can find a picture of a blue bird?

You know.

A full, noisy, happy, beautiful life.

But a messy one.

I want to take mental pictures of these moments.  All eight kids around the table (YAY!) for dinner, talking non-stop about funny things that happened at school, telling me about practice, all while Little Man makes funny faces and has to be brought back TO the table to eat, and I keep telling the little girls to put their knees down (why DO they like to sit like frogs?), and someone knocks someones cup of pomegranate tea over, and can you put strawberry jam on my muffin, Mom?

I don't want to forget it.

Well. . . sometimes I do.  While lying on a desert island with a Diet DP in my hand and the surf rolling up and touching my toes (and could I be 20 pounds thinner while I'm dreaming?). . .

Oh wait.

The here and the now.  It's where we live.  And I want to LIVE it.  The noise and chaos of it all.  Even when my instinct is to shut it all out and make it just STOP and be quiet. . .

It's beautiful.  And blessed.  And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Because you know what?  Son (#1) will be gone in another 2 years (sooner than that, actually).  Once he heads off to college the troops will dwindle quickly.  And before that?  There will be lots of nights at the gym and evenings when kids are here and there and not HOME.  Soon we'll have two drivers and it's only going to be busier and crazier and these evenings at home will be what we have to FIGHT for (like we did during football/volleyball season).

Lord, help me to soak it all in and NOT be drowned by it.  Help me to be grateful and joyful and not nag and complain about the MESS of it all.

Life is good.  And messy.  And good.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm not feeling very inspired, this morning.  Or eloquent.  Or awake.  But I am feeling thankful.  And I've got a mug of coffee (my "She Who Must Be Obeyed" mug, nonetheless), pumpkin muffins, and a gorgeous view out my kitchen window.

As inspiring as those are. . . my brain still feels fuzzy and overloaded with all of the prayer needs of those I love.

But here we are.  Thursday.  And for this week?  Our last day of school.  Time to be thankful.

1.  Great friends (cousins among them) for my kids.

2.  Laughter (of said kids and their friends last night).

3.  A clean house.  Although I probably should check behind the furniture one more time for remnants of "The Candy Wars I"  and II, and III. . .

4.  14 dozen Chocolate Chip Cookies baked and sent to school this morning for tonight's Fall Festival.  Whew.

5.  The Psalms.  Spending a lot of time there, lately.  Especially with Daughter (#6).

6.  Fall Festival tonight at school.  And not having to cook dinner!  Yay!

7.  Day out of school tomorrow.  There is, of course, basketball practice and a football game.  But a slower pace in the morning will be lovely.

8.  New fireplace screen installed by Granddad and the Coach last night.  Looks great!  Can't wait for our first fire (gas logs - I love them!) of the season.  Soon!

9.  Christmas Branson trip planned and reservations made.

10.  Have I mentioned how much I love all of the Fall flowers that Son (#3) planted for me?  I have?  555 times?  Well, I do.

11.  A still, sunny, cool morning.  The wind wears me out.

And now, I think I'll join Little Man on the couch for an episode of "Phineas and Ferb" while Daughter (#6) is still sleeping off a rough night.

Happy Thursday!

What are YOU thankful for, today?