Friday, June 27, 2014

Rest for the Weary Soul

I think I could type for hours . . . I had a post started a couple weeks ago, in the midst of LIFE at its fullest.  The final weeks of school are always intense and this year was no exception.  By June 5th, I felt like I was dragging my body from place to place . . . and by June 12th it was like watching a horror movie of my life.


I was completely and 100% exhausted, then I got another cold (perhaps from being exhausted, do ya think?).  The last week with our boys was just stepping from moment to moment, doing the minimum to survive.  (My dear friend Janet wrote a great post on life in survival mode- because, let's face it, there certainly ARE times when we simply have to survive, not thrive.).


And then the boys left on June 19th.  And I began to breathe.  And then on Tuesday we arrived at my mom and dad's house in NY.  And I was able to take full breaths of air again.



Today it's Friday and I feel a million times better.  These three days have been that balm for my soul.  Wednesday it rained all day and we just relaxed inside.  Yesterday was a beach day, followed by an overnight camping trip with the grandparents, while Heidi and I returned home alone.


This morning Heidi got up at 5:30 and in the quiet of the morning I realized I didn't HAVE to do anything.  Not only that, but there wasn't much FOR me to do.  At 6:30 we headed out on a fantastic two mile walk.


THIS is what I need- to have nothing that requires being done.  And nothing really TO do.  I'm not good at "not doing."  Part of being a mom- there is always that requires some attention.  I have a hard time just sitting around when I'm at home.  I don't do that, ever.  But here on vacation?  No projects, no organizing, nothing.  Doing my laundry is a novelty because it is something to do.







I'm so extraordinarily grateful for this time to be away and to have my soul refreshed.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May is Moving!

May is moving right along, eeek!   Instead of a rambling of words, how about pictures?  We've had lots of fun the last couple weeks with random outings and stuff around here.  And I've managed to get some pictures of it too!  The big things coming up for us-
**  19th- Jer's birthday (tomorrow)
**  TWO and a half weeks of school left for Shannon!  Last week was probably our best week ever . . .but I tell you what, THIS mamma is looking forward to a nice break!!!!!!!!!!  This homeschool thing- wow, not easy at all.  More on that another day
**  2 1/2 weeks left of school for our boys . . . and then the dreaded schedule where they only go to school from 9-1 each day.  Gonna make it, gonna make it.
** ONE month until summer vacation starts!
**  Five days after that, we fly to NY for 2 weeks of wonderful vacation!  Counting!!!

BLACKBERRY PICKING has been the activity of choice lately . . . the boys have picked so many that I have FIVE gallon bags stuffed to overflowing in my freezer, a big jug of blackberry syrup and two bags of blackberry pie filling made.  Along with countless blackberry cobblers already made and consumed by the boys.  This was one of our evening hikes out there.  And don't even get me started on that horrible shirt Shannon has on . . . someone gave it to her . . .






A Birthday in the cottage (the guy in blue is our case manager and friend)


A playground trip



A trip to Sea World (me and the kids while Jer went golfing.  Yes, I am proud of myself.  No they weren't tired, because I was the one pushing the stroller ;) )



Then Jer remembered he had a friend who could get us here . . . any guessess????  Don't let the shorts deceive you, it was soooooo cold . . .  


Just kidding.  
It was a zillion degrees at Universal: Islands of Adventure! (this is Harry Potter world)




And a few more . . .




Okay, I think that's it!  Those were the fun things . . .that book-ended lots of school work, house cleaning, chasing baby . .  .who is now crawling like a mad woman! Eeek!  I don't have enough time in the day to keep the house clean enough for this little spy!  Crazy!  


Saturday, May 03, 2014

Pressing on

I wish I knew best how to share . . . ladies . . . it would be so much easier if you would just come visit and we could chat!!!!!!!!!!!!  Every single one of you . . . a cup of tea and swinging on my front swing under the big oaks?  Or relaxing on my back swing, listening to my new fountain bubbling and seeing the sun sparkling on the lake?  I dream . . . if I could have one wish, it would be for my friends- YOU to be close!

Instead you're not and here I sit in my darkened room (Heidi just went back to sleep in the other corner, again), staring at my glowing screen and listening to the computer hum loudly.  I look past the mountain of things on the desk that scream to be finished- letters to write, papers to file, camera to charge, napkin and bowls to return to the kitchen, washi tape waiting to be used . . .

I'm walking through a journey with God, fighting against the call to be disciplined, self-controlled.  Right now my "self" is screaming- it wants to stay up late reading and doing whatever I FEEL like doing.  To eat anything I want to eat (be SO thankful you don't live where you get huge donations of junk food daily).  To never stress my body with exercise.  It wants me to forget the dishes that need to be done before bed and ignore the school activities that should be prepped.  I want to be selfish and lazy.

And yet, something inside, that spark of life from God, reminds me that I wouldn't truly feel good doing all that.  It would be temporary.  But wow, it sure is hard to do the right thing day after day.  I'm super good at short-term changes and things, but long term is so hard.

We are in our final push of the year.  Eight weeks or so until vacation and mountains to cross before then.  We are dealing with some pretty huge things in our cottage.  We're tired and worn out- emotionally, physically, mentally.  Like most staff, we are ready for a break NOW and have to push on through until June.  I'm in the final push of finishing our Kindergarten year WELL.  Wrapping up some things, planning out the rest of first grade and figuring out how to squeeze my eager to learn boy into the mix.  And on and on.

I'm feeling the urge to get my Bible out more, to be more tuned in to the truth, to keep my mind fixed on things above NOT on earthly things.  We're gonna make it ladies, we're gonna make it.  And if by chance you find yourself in Orlando, let's have tea and sit on the swing!!!!!!!

I leave you with baby doll.



Edited . . . after I wrote this, I went to wash the dishes (joyous occasion, I know).  And I was reminded of a verse I memorized 14+ years ago in college . . . it was what I needed and hopefully is an encouragement to you, too.  Wow- we are being trained by our discipline . . . and it brings righteousness and peace!  What more could we long for and work for????

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:11

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Prom!

A quick share . . . one of the families that we work with, has the loveliest daughter.  She is 17 and is one of those girls you want your son to marry and daughter to be like . . . she is the babysitter for our kids and just an amazing young lady.  Her parents asked me to snap some prom pictures for her this year.  I spent some time on Pinterest and was HORRIFIED at what I found when searching "prom pictures."  They looked like wedding pictures . . . revealing dresses, kisses, body contact to the point where I'd be so embarassed if I was 17 and my mom saw those pictures.  What is going on with teens these days?  Anyway!  NOT the kind of pictures I wanted, so I was quite nervous going into this "shoot,"  not really sure what to do and how to capture these lovely friends.  And besides, who knows the mind of a teen!?!?!?!

Anyway . . . I was SHOCKED when I pulled these pictures off my camera . . . the lighting was amazing and the kids were so relaxed, that I literally had to do nothing to the pictures.  I wanted to share a few, proof that there are some Godly teens out there who can be beautiful and appropriate!  (these are NOT fixed up for internet- no sharpening, etc. just fast and easy upload!)

A girl and her mom- as precious as can be!



Isn't she lovely?  And just as beautiful inward as outward!





Almost makes you wanna be a kid again, huh?  Okay, maybe not!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April already?

Oh my!  Has it really been since February?????  Wow!  We've just been busy doing life . . . our days start early and end late . . . filled with boys and school and baby!  Nothing out of the ordinary going on, just life!   How about a picture post today?  That's more fun than words anyway . . .

Over spring break I was able to take Shannon out on a date- a trip to the mall to wander around, look at stuff and chat!  Our days are so full, we don't have much room for just "wandering," so this was great!  She told me it was the "best day EVER," so I guess the purpose was fulfilled!


Trying out furniture at the Pottery Barn store.


As sweet saleswoman asked if she could take our picture.


Shan and her cinnabon . . . that was bigger than her face.! 


Random mall landscaping!  Does your mall look this pretty?  ;)


Beautiful weather and a baby who is becoming more portable = lots of playground time!


Our two oldest "boys" were in a Ranch drama . . . fun times!



My BEST friend from college happened to be in town visiting and I got to spend three precious hours with her and her cute kiddos!  Always leaves me wishing my friends lived closer . . . 


Jer made Forest this amazing bed with a climbing wall on the end!



Little Lovebug plays with toys now!




Typical homeschool morning!  Check out my READER!  Yes!  We crossed the line from hemming and hawing and fussing over reading, to being able to pick up books and enjoy them!  So glad to be there . . . and yes, her lips are blue.  Don't ask.



And that's a wrap . . .or at least a little update!

Friday, February 14, 2014

February

Long time, no blog . . .I know, I know!  Sometimes I feel like there is so much to say, I don't know where to begin!  But in the interest of time, let's just jump in!

Kids . . .
Shannon- Doing really well with her school work.  We took a week off for Grandparent visit and had a sick day today, but we're moving along.  I'm learning lots about . . .myself . . . how to do this "home school" thing . . . and how to organize my time.  Lots of learning in this area over the next {too many} years I suppose!   We are working through some issues with friends (sharing them) and on controlling our tongue when angry.  She continues to enjoy gymnastics and we had to have the conversation with her coach, saying "no, we don't want to move her to team competition."  While it's flattering that our kid is doing well, we aren't ready to put a 6 year old in the gym for SIX hours a week . . . not gonna happen, no way!  She decided to learn to ride her bike without training wheels . . .we took the wheels off, she got on and road across the yard!  I guess the balance she's learning in the gym is paying off!



Forest- Wow, this kid . . .  my dad summed it up when he came to visit, "does he EVER stop talking?"  My answer . . . . no.  In fact we were driving the other day and he was quiet for two minutes, I almost thought we had forgotten him.  We are working on controlling our emotions (isn't every 4 year old?), not talking when other people are and other lovely lessons like that.  Honestly, this boy wears me out some days!  I've worked with boys for 13 years but whew!  I feel sorry for his kindergarten teacher!  Oh wait, that's me!  He is a darling, really, just a boy too!  He asked to have his training wheels off this week (which is what spurred Shannon on).  He is doing well, but won't stop bouncing his body around while riding, so it's going to take a while to get the balance thing. Unfortunately, once he gets the balance, he'll be leaping off buildings and such since he is so wild on that thing.  Heaven help me!  (Typical Forest picture- Hey mom, look at the parrot on Heidi's head!!!)



Heidi-  Ahhh, the ease of life that comes with 4 months!  She can sit and play with toys, gas doesn't bother her as much and the car doesn't make her scream!  In fact, she fell asleep in the car for the first time yesterday!  Oh and she has a TOOTH!  What in the world????  Crazy kid, doesn't she know 4 months is too early!?!?!  Actually she'll be 5 months next week, but she got the tooth two weeks ago.  Anyway, she is a sweet, sweet baby.  Our love bug!  Shannon and Forest continue to be thrilled and awed by her every, single move and coo.  Oh and the delightful shouts and yells she is learning to do!  She rolls and scoots around and delights everyone with her beautiful eyes and lovely smiles.





Work- Is hard, hard, hard!  We went from three boys to six boys and are getting number seven on Sunday.  And it's hard.  Really hard.  One of the hardest years we've had . . . since we can't remember when.  I find myself fighting lots of internal battles . . . little frustrations that come up and I have to find ways to deal with.  Like what parent allows their ten year old to be on FOUR major psychotropic medications??  I know they are overwhelmed and the kid is completely out of control at home, but to fill these tiny bodies with such powerful and mind (and body) altering drugs?  ACK!  I can get really upset and worked up if I let myself. It's a fine line between caring and praying and shutting that part out so I don't get upset.  Hard to deal with things I can't always do anything about. Thankfully some parents are open to our suggestions to wean them off, while in a protected place.  Other parents though are literally living in TERROR of the "horrible" things they think their child might do should we even think about lowering a dosage. So sad.  Anyway, just one of the many issues we deal with on a daily basis . . . times multiple kids. If you think of us, pray for us and our disaster of a cottage!

Well this is long, but at least that's a few little updates for ya!   I feel little stretches, little reminders to be prepared for the future, to be ready for what God asks of us.  I have NO clue what that may be but I feel urged to "be ready."  Trying to get exercise back into my day more often, working on revamping our eating habits, continuing to sharpen our spending habits, getting our family more functional and organized, etc.  I want to BE ready for whatever he asks, not have excuses like "we are too tired" or "we aren't organized enough."  Our world is SO hurting and SO broken, I want to be here and be used!