Friday, January 30, 2009

Blessed Day

My sweet sister-in-law, Norma, has waited a long time for this blessed day. Thanks be to God, for His plan is greater than we can ever imagine! I am so happy for her! What a beautiful bride!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Love Sophia

I have had a couple of people tell me that I am giving Sophia a bad wrap. Just want to set the record straight...I adore my baby girl! She is a rascal though and she is the baby of the family. I have been humbled greatly by the birth of my 5th child, that is just the way it is. I don't know if it is her personality, or mine, or having 5 kids, or having a 10 year gap, but things can be darn right HARD sometimes. If I laugh about it, it helps me not to cry about it. I want to be real. I have read books, articles, magazines about moms with large families and sometimes things just seem too sugar coated. Those sorts of articles usually just made me, as a reader, feel even more inadequate than I already was feeling. My hope in sharing some of the pleasant and not so pleasant moments of my life is just to offer a little sense of solidarity with other moms who might be feeling a little alone on the journey. I have never been bored as a SAHM, but it can be lonely sometimes. There have definitely been days when I felt like I was in this all by myself and that I was doing a lousy job. I think it is much more fun to laugh at and with another woman who thinks that just getting the dishwasher unloaded is a major accomplishment!

Stay tuned for the promised update on Luke and Hannah and for adorable flower girl pics of Sophia. She was the perfect angel at her Aunt's wedding!!! See, I can say nice things too! ;)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yet Another Piece of Humble Pie

Sophia had been doing great at pre-school. I enrolled her in a 2 day a week, 4 hours per day program, and she has been thrilled about it! Absolutely no problems, in fact one of the other teachers told me how happy she is running around at recess. Her own teacher raved about how great she was doing following directions, taking care of potty business, and listening.

Until today...

Today she got time out at school. Not one of my other children has EVER been in trouble at school. They don't even move their clips to yellow. Once, in 2nd grade, Hannah had to write a note other than a green smiley face on her behavior chart, but it was because her whole side of the lunch table got a group punishment. I think Josh and Katie maybe had to do the equivalent of clip moving 1 or 2 times in their whole elementary careers. Luke may be chatty at school, but he only needs to be told once by his beautiful, funny, sweet long blond haired teacher to be quiet; he would never want to disappoint Mom, Dad, or Mrs. Z. Somewhere we failed to put the fear of God and her parents in Sophia.

She was tired, even falling asleep on the way to pre-school. I knew it was a recipe for disaster. The only reason I even made her go was because I had actually made commitments to volunteer at the elementary and middle schools today. She cried as I left, but quieted down literally 30 seconds after the door closed. I thought all was well, but when I picked her up, the teacher said, "We had some behavior issues today."

After a talk about where paint does and doesn't belong, Sophia decided to paint on the girl sitting next to her. The teacher even said it seemed defiant!! She also pushed someone who had a toy she wanted. My kid was "that kid" today. "That kid" that paints on other kids and pushes them when she is mad.

I love humble pie.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Change of Heart

One of the biggest social issues that my children discuss with us and with their peers is abortion. We pray every night for an end to abortion. We talk to them about babies and about how God doesn't allow any baby to be formed by accident. That God can take a bad situation and bring good into it. We talk to them about difficult choices that women and men have to make sometimes, but that the baby is never a punishment nor the one to be punished. We talk to them about how abortion scars a mother forever. A few years ago I lost a baby to miscarriage, and my heart still aches at times for my little one. I cannot imagine what it must be like for a mother when she realizes that she allowed, in fact even asked for, her own baby's death. God's mercy is never ending. When we confess our sin, it is as if God throws it "as far as the east is from the west," though our "sins are like scarlet, we can be made white as snow." His merciful arms are indeed stretched out to those who realize their wrong doings and ask for His forgiveness.

Norma McCorvey (also know as Jane Roe in the Roe vs. Wade case that legalized abortion in this country) never actually had an abortion. She has come to the realization that her case has been the cause of millions of babies' deaths over the last 36 years. She has had a change of heart, she has turned to Christ. You can hear some of her testimony here:

There is more danger for the unborn babies on the horizon. Former President Bush signed a ban on FOCA (the Freedom of Choice Act). President Obama has said that he will try to overturn this ban. FOCA is very scary. It basically takes away every restriction that individual states have put on abortion including parental notification and the ban on partial birth abortion. Please take a moment to learn more about it here

No matter where you stand on abortion, most of us will agree that anytime for any reason, is not ok. If you feel so compelled, you may even choose to sign the petition to let President Obama know that we are a nation of peace. We value the lives of all our people, especially those most innocent, vulnerable, and those that cannot speak for themselves.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ring Ring

My children get a hold of my cell phone sometimes...I never know what my ring tone will be.

Currently it is Katie singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" of Handel's Messiah, at the top of her lungs. It catches me (and everyone around me) off guard every time.

Ha Ha

Today Josh and Katie had to get their teeth cleaned. The dentist's office has changed over the years. It is not the scary, cold, sterile place I remember. It is actually kind of fun to go. In the waiting room, the kids play video games and in the big, open examining room, my kids watch flat screen tv's hanging on the ceiling. While Josh was waiting for his turn, I kept hearing him laugh out loud at a "Raven" episode that was showing. I wanted to shush him, but why? He wasn't disturbing anyone and it was fun to just hear him enjoy something simple on tv. Thankfully, the nicer side of me won over the controlling, we must be perfect in public side of me, and I let him just sit there and crack up.

My sweet Katie has the kind of laugh that is contagious. She gets the giggles easily and they get loud quickly. She really enjoys life and shares that exuberance. It is one of the things that I loved ( and still love) about my college roommate; the ability to let out a laugh so easily. As the mom of a free flowing laugh-er, it can be a little less enjoyable and I find myself asking her to take it down a notch frequently.

When I think about it though, I love people that laugh easily and often. I love to be around them and their energy makes me happy. I guess really I am super blessed to have these two giggle boxes in my home, and in my car, and in the church pew with me, and at the doctor's office with me. Is there anything better than hearing another person laugh? It really is the best medicine.

Dollar Store Fun

For Christmas, my kids shop at the dollar store for presents for one another and their parents. It is really sweet, and usually pretty funny, to see what they have picked out. This is a tradition that I would sure like to see continue for years to come.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

For Everything There is a Season

I love that there are 4 different seasons of the year. Just when I think I cannot take another 100 degree day and feel like I am melting every time I step outside, a cool autumn breeze will blow through with the promise of relief. Likewise, just as I feel like I cannot take another bleary, blah, dull day of clouds and lifelessness, I will see the promise of new life budding on our trees outside. God is so gentle with us. He knows that we need change, we need a fresh start. He knows that we, as well as the earth, need times of renewal, rest, and growth. Our Church has incorporated this lesson into our Church year as well. We just finished the seasons of Advent and Christmas and now will enter into Ordinary Time for a few weeks until we begin Lent. Again, it gives us opportunities each year to start fresh and to make changes where we need to in our lives. If we embrace the changes of the seasons, our lives will be enriched and we will be able to really appreciate the beauty and importance of each time, whether it be a season of joy, exhaustion, or pain.

My sweet, adorable, and loving 87 year old Nee Nee in entering a very painful season of her life right now as she suffers with Alzheimer's Disease. As I am witnessing first hand, this is a merciless disease. She gets lost in time. People and events in her life seem to blur as her past and present mingle in front of her. Then, she has great moments of coherence and is completely aware of all that is here and now. Watching her struggle is painful. I know it is even more so for my aunt and my father. She has never been one to complain and even now will say, "I am glad I can still get around. My mind is gone, but at least I can still get up and get my coffee." I think if she could, she would remind us to be thankful for what we have. Be thankful that I have had my grandmother as an important part of my life for all of these years. Be thankful that my children have known and spent time with their great-grandmother. Be thankful that my children are getting a lesson in loving and caring for their elders. Be thankful that we get the opportunity to serve her, just as she has tirelessly served her family, never asking for anything in return. Be thankful that we are getting to learn to love and serve Christ, and grow in patience and kindness as we love her in her frailty and her confusion. It is a hard season for her and also for those who love her. If we can try to embrace our cross, maybe God can grow something beautiful through it. When we suffer, we have the opportunity, through grace, to become less like ourselves and more like Christ. It doesn't take away the pain, the winter is still long, and cold, and quiet. But there is hope and the promise that the seasons will change.