Friday, August 30, 2013

Be Still My Heart

I came across this picture today, and it literally took my breath away!

I had an immediate physical response to it.  I literally ached inside looking at it.  I can't seem to shake that feeling.

That picture was taken on my first Mother's Day with Isaiah and Laila home.  Our family was finally complete and whole.

I miss my babies.  I miss everything about the baby phase.

Yes, it was hard, it was exhausting, and there were many days where I didn't think I would survive.  I don't want to discount any of that.
BUT, I loved it.  There was so much joy and delight in it for me.
Taking a totally dependent little baby, loving them, teaching them, watching them grow and learn new things was truly life giving to me.  
You see, I am a baby/toddler/preschooler kind of mom.  It fits well with my personality.  I am really black and white in my nature which makes consistency in discipline easier.  I know how to teach children and deal with temper tantrums and meet their needs.  I like structure and schedules and ultimately being in control of everything.  I am kind of silly so I can totally relate to their silliness.  They even thought I was funny!!
I don't have regrets about not enjoying that phase.  I really did savor the moments.  I gave them my all in every way possible.  We sacrificed so I could be home with them.  It wasn't easy, but it was worth it!

So, here I am now, with my youngest in Kindergarten and my oldest in High School.  It is a new dispensation in our house.  I am desperately trying to embrace it.  To be honest, I am grieving.

They don't view me as they once did, and to be fair, I don't view them the same way either.  All of our expectations have changed and we are working through what that will look like for our family.

I knew this day would come.  Now, I have to figure out how to navigate through it.  I am finding it to be a harder phase for me for many reasons.  I will process this more in the days ahead when I am able to articulate it better.

For now, I am asking God to take this ache in my heart and show me how to move forward with these 6 lives He has entrusted to me.  It is still my calling, but it has changed.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate change?????  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Living the Dream

I share lots about our "special events," but I don't often tell about the day in and day out.  Here is a glimpse into the happenings at our house on any given day.  
These 3 are loving to dress up in costumes 
 It entertains them for ours
 Laila would way rather dress as a superhero than in one of the princess dresses we have
 We had a small incident a couple of weeks ago.  Lauren got a "bug bite."  It started out like a mosquito bite.  Within a couple of days, it looked like this:
 Then, she developed a fever and it turned into this
 We don't know for sure if it was just a bug bite gone bad by infection or a spider bite.  Either way, it required an antibiotic to heal.  She was in quite a bit of pain.

Periodically, I will take one of the kids grocery shopping with me and give them the opportunity to pick any one item they want for under $5.  They get to have that item all to themselves.  I did have to rule out drinks.  I have a couple of kids that would get five 2-liters or a 24-pack of soda.  
This is Sam's choice:
 We had Promotion Sunday at church a couple of weeks ago.
Isaiah is now in the big kids area.  He is pretty pumped about that.
 Sam now goes to Propel(4th and 5th grade area) and can sign himself in.
 Abby's garden is beginning to produce some veggies.  So far we have had tomatoes and zucchini
After reading "The Little Red Hen" Isaiah was very motivated to help me make zucchini bread
 We made 2 gf loaves and 2 regular loaves
 "Who will help me make the bread?"
 "I will, I will!"
 It turned out nicely(These are the gf ones)
 Laila and I have gotten to have some special dates while the big kids are at school.  
 I took her to Pei Wei for the first time
 She loved it so much, she said, "We have to bring the whole family here sometime, Mommy!"
We stopped by the Farmers' Market last week to see our friend, Holly.  
She gave Laila her very own bar of soap.  That chick was so excited, she carried it with her everywhere for the rest of the day.  
Here we are picking the kids up from school:
 Crafty Abby has struck again.  She made mini purses out of blue jean pockets
 What could be so valuable that it requires a combination lock to protect it?
 I bet you didn't guess, Queso!  
My kids take their food very seriously!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Day with My Girl

As part of Lauren's 13th Birthday, I had promised her a girls' day for the two of us.  I had some topics I wanted to talk about with here as she enters teenagerhood and junior high this year.  I also just really love getting some extended one-on-one time with my kids.  She decided she wanted to go to Denver for the day.  
The first and most important stop for this girl was at Starbucks.  She got a Mocha Cookie Crumble Frap.  She truly is a coffee drinker, way more than I ever will be.  I think you are either born with it or not.  I enjoy a cup of "candy coffee" in the morning, but she really likes the taste of coffee!
Carrie, she likes her Hawaii shirt!! 

Since we were at the Starbucks in King Soopers, I also let her pick anything from the grocery store that would be only hers.  My kids love it when I do that.  When you are in a big family, having your very own food item that you don't have to share with anyone is a big deal.  
Look what she chose:
 We had a great drive to Denver with some good conversation.  I was very open with the fact that I had some things I wanted us to talk about like friendships, choices, purity, her relationship with God, our family, etc.  At first it felt a bit forced, but as we both relaxed we had some really great talks throughout the day.  I love this girl so much and especially love it when I get to see into her heart.  I felt like this day provided that opportunity.

We went to the mall and walked through the whole place stopping at the stores that interested us.  I can't even remember the last time I did that.  It was refreshing to be able to take our time.  She also still needed a few uniform items for school.  We were able to find them and they were on sale!!
We spent the most time in Claires
 I am pretty sure we looked at everything at least 3 times.  That's okay.  That is what she wanted to do!  It is her absolute favorite store right now.
Our time ended with a stop at Krispy Kreme.
We even brought some doughnuts home for the others.
 I saw this shirt.  If you know me well, you realize how much I need this shirt! : )
I am so glad we had a day together.  Having really meaningful conversations with my kids takes work and effort.  The craziness of our lives does not lend itself to those moments.  We have to be really purposeful in order to make them happen.

Lauren has a really good head on her shoulders.  I am praying that this year will be one in which her relationship with God goes even deeper, her friendships with others grow stronger, and her place in our family provides the stability and security she needs to make the wise choices for her life.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

School Has Started!!

I have spent some part of the last 22 days working on getting these kids ready for school.  I refused to even print out the supply lists before August 1.  About August 10th, I was wishing I had started earlier. It has truly been a HUGE project.  I am very proud to report that everyone went to school fully clothed on their first day, and as far as I can tell, everyone had the supplies they needed.  Now, I need to go apply for a second mortgage on our house to pay for it all!!  

We have had lots of back-to-school activities going on over the past week.  It started last Thursday with "Meet and Greet" at Abby, Sam, and Isaiah's school.  We took in their supplies, met their teachers, and got to have ice cream at the end.  
Sam and his teacher, Mrs. Vandewarker
 Abby and her teacher, Ms. Higgins
 Isaiah and his teacher, Mrs. Davis

 On Friday, we had our last Big Breakfast before school begins.  I made sausage balls, garlic cheese grits, and monkey bread.  It was delish.
Laila had her "Meet and Greet" later that morning. 
She wanted to wear her "Swazi dress" for the occasion
This is the first time we have ever been able to walk to school. 
She is going to our neighborhood school for this year until she is old enough to attend the same school as her siblings.
 We didn't get one-on-one time with her teacher to get a picture
 This is her classroom
 Since our kids are at different schools, they have different start dates.  So, we don't have a group picture.  Cody and Lauren leave much earlier for school than the others do.
Lauren is in 7th grade this year
 Cody is a Freshman in High School
 Laila is in Kindergarten
 Look out Pioneer Elementary, Here I come!!

 Playing on the playground before school started
 She was pretty excited when we picked her up.  She had a great first day!!
 All I do is pull out the camera and this boy starts his magic.
He is in 1st grade and will be going to school all day!
 I don't even have to ask him to pose
 I am praying for his teacher this year!!
 Abby is in 5th grade
 Sam is in 4th grade
 This was his silly pose.  Not sure what that is all about.
My 3 C's:   Calm, Cool, and Crazy
 Laila jumped in for a group shot
Once again, I have half a day to myself as Laila goes to morning Kindergarten.  I am pretty excited about that.  She and I will have some special time together each afternoon .  I am pretty excited about that, too!!

We have almost survived our first week of school.  Everyone has been pretty tired and there may have been a few meltdowns at night.  I expect the first 2 weeks to be hard.  We are all figuring out our new routine.

On top of that we have Lauren and Isaiah in soccer, Abby doing piano and gymnastics, and Cody and Lauren in youth group.  That results in something going on Mon. - Thurs. nights with games on Saturday and church on Sundays.  The Lazy Days of Summer are definitely over!!