Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Finally, I made a set of felt food for K. The set includes bread, donuts, tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, fried eggs, and whole eggs. These were so easy and fun to make; I think I may be making him even more in the future. He could also use some cheese slices, and cookies, and ravioli, and....
Monday, December 28, 2009
I can't stand mess, so it's one person opening a present at a time, followed by cleaning up the wrappings. Only then may we move on to the next gift. It takes a while to get through all the gifts this way.
K. and TM playing with the play mat M. made for K. She made it out of felt...it's her own design. K. has played with it a lot.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Here is everyone before we left for church and the Christmas pageant.
The first thing we do after coming downstairs is light the candles in the advent wreath and the center Christ candle and have a prayer.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
On a completely unrelated note...does anyone out there have a sewing machine that also functions as an embroidery machine? Do you use the embroidery function and wonder how you would live without it? Or, is my sneaking suspicion correct that it's a fun toy to have, but not really essential to life? I would love people's opinions!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
- I can't think the last time we ate dinner before 7 pm. We used to eat at a more reasonable time, but the babies seem to need to nurse right when I should be preparing dinner. It's hard to eat at six when that's the time preparations are beginning.
- There are always toys everywhere, mainly due to K. I forgot what chaos-makers three year olds can be. K. is quite willing to help put away the toys, but doesn't quite understand that I don't want them to come out again immediately after picking up. Some evenings we don't get to the last scheduled pick-up time and I briefly think it would serve a robber right when he breaks his neck tripping though the mine field that is often my house.
- Some days I don't get dressed until 11 am. By the time I've fed both babies, helped with various schoolwork questions and (if I'm lucky) started a load of laundry, it is often time to nurse babies again. I always hope we don't have unexpected visitors, though it's happened.
- I have completely abdicated responsibility for breakfast. J., winner of the most wonderful husband award, has taken that on. It is even more impressive when you realize that we don't buy cold cereal. J. makes oatmeal, farina, scones, muffins, and quick breads to fill-up the ravenous hoards while I lie in bed either nursing or dozing...depending on the kind of night we've had. J. even brings me my first cup of coffee in bed. It's the life of leisure I have...well until about 8:30.
- Evidently I have also completely abdicated all cleaning responsibilities if the state of my bedroom is any indication. Most of the rest of the house is clean and presentable because those duties have been divied-up between the children. But my bedroom is my responsibility and if I ever go too long between posts it wouldn't be unrealistic to wonder if I have been taken hostage by mammoth dust bunnies.
- And if I'm not done in by the dust bunnies, my being buried alive in an avalanche caused by the papers that are piled about on my desk is another distinct possibility. The piling started because I had run out of room in the filing cabinet. Now I have a larger filing cabinet, but it is easier to continue piling than to sort it all out.
I could go on and on, but I'll spare you the gruesome details. I am continually asked how I manage 'to do it all' and I wonder what the 'all' is that I'm doing. Most days I feel as though I'm doing the bare minimum for survival. But in general I'm OK with that. I'd rather focus on spending time with my family and friends than trying to maintain a home that might grace the pages of House Beautiful. I do have my moments of wishing my house could stay clean and picked-up for more than an hour (minutes?) at a time, but that would mean my home wasn't filled with children and the price for a pristine house is a little too steep for me to pay.
"Cleaning and scrubbing
can wait 'til tomorrow
For babies grow up,
we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs,
Dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby
and babies don't keep."
-Ruth Hulbert Hamilton
Friday, December 18, 2009
But, still, I find it difficult to focus on what we have and not worry about what we don't. As I grow spiritually and continue my walk with Jesus, I find the past four years have been a period of God asking me if I really trust Him. Do I trust Him to bring children into our home? Do I trust Him to heal brokenness...both in our children and the brokenness I find in myself as a result of raising those children? And really the crux of it all is do I trust Him to provide for us financially? We have gone from a place where we really did not have to be concerned our finances to a place where I wonder when we call the realtor. But deep down I know it is not really about the house, but do I/we trust God to shelter us and provide for us. I do a lot of praying in the shower...there are fewer interruptions there. And once again this morning I found myself pleading with God to show us what direction we are to take, and wondering how on earth we continue on if things (job/house/income) stay the same. It was not five minutes after exiting the shower that J. called with news of the Christmas gift in his mailbox. I feel it is God saying that He will provide, we may not know what the long range plans are, but God will provide when we need it.
So, to the giver of the generous gift, if you are a reader of this blog, J. and I offer you a heartfelt thank you. Your gift offers far more than than just the financial help it provides. It is a symbol of hope to us that God has not forgotten us and that He hears our pleading for guidance.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Don't these dresses just cry out for cute matching Christmas booties? It's all I can do to force myself not to drop everything and make them some. I find I constantly battle what I call "Class
Auditing Syndrome". It's that phenomena that occurs when you decide to audit a class along with all of the classes you're taking for credit. Even though you aren't being graded (or perhaps because of it), you become consumed with the reading and classwork for the audited class, while virtually ignoring the work for the for credit classes. Interest doesn't seem to play a part in the equation. For me, it all has to do with my reactionary nature. The minute I feel as though I must do something, it is exactly what I don't want to do...even if it is something I enjoy. So, while I need to be making Christmas presents, and it all involves things I enjoy, it is also exactly what I don't want to do right now. Maybe if I work really hard, I'll find some extra time to make a couple pairs of little green flannel booties with red polka dot linings....
Monday, December 14, 2009
I flipped through the mail as I balanced my five month old daughter on my hip. There, in among the bills and advertisements, was a postcard; a postcard from Nepal. My best friend from high school, who was now a single, well-paid lawyer, was off on another world adventure. Normally, her postcards didn’t bother me. It was fun receiving real mail from exotic locales, but this time was different. This time I had a baby daughter and the possibilities for world travel seemed a long way off. Looking at the postcard, I realized that in choosing to become a mother, I had also chosen not to take other paths. The rest of the day, I found myself thinking about all the “might-have-beens,” wondering if I was okay with choosing motherhood over adventure and excitement. As the days went by and my daughter grew, these questions faded into the background. Every so often, something would trigger the memory of that afternoon, but just as quickly, the demands of motherhood would take center stage again.
That five month old baby is now a 16-year-old young woman, and many other babies have followed her, but the memory of that postcard remains. The difference is that I know now that I took the correct path. I feel only relief that the “might-have-beens” about which I dreamed never came. I have not missed any adventure or excitement by choosing motherhood. Through being a mother, I have experienced, joy, adventure, excitement, sorrow, grief, anxiety, and love. Much love! And while trekking around the mountains in Nepal would have been thrilling, mountains can’t make you laugh or wrap small arms around your leg. Mountains can’t be sent out into the world to accomplish great things. And mountains can’t love you back.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Christmas stockings for each of us, compliments of my mother who made all of them. They are displayed on the couch for the picture, since to hang them we must double them up, having only 7 stocking holders. (I thought that was so many when I bought them 5 children ago.)
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Instead of doing a happy, cheery post about Christmas and family fun, I find myself needing to write about Vietnam and Agent Orange. (I bet you are all hoping I find that battery charger soon, huh?) Our local paper has been running a series looking at the after affects of Agent Orange on both the Vietnamese people and on Vietnam veterans. I found today's article particularly disturbing because it focused on the Vietnamese children, some living in institutions and some with their parents, who were born with significant birth defects. To see a picture of children, who look very much like one's own sons, born with such devastating issues is upsetting to say the least. And then when the map shows that some of the heaviest concentrations of Agent Orange were sprayed in the areas where one's sons were born it begins to be personal. Especially when the boys in question were each born with mild to moderate birth defects. We will never know for sure whether each boy's anomalies were a result of heredity, or poor maternal nutrition, or as a result of Agent Orange...or some cocktail of two or three. But some small part of me can't but help worrying just a little bit. It seems that Agent Orange somehow combines with a person's own genes and becomes a generational problem. As a result we just don't know what their future holds. Of course this is true for all of us, every day. We know it was God who brought these boys into our family and God will lead us through any difficulty which may come our way in the future. But it is a sobering thought to ponder.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
To make all you who have your laundry under control (and even those of you who don't) feel better about the laundry in your life, I really should have taken a before picture. Unfortunately, I didn't think of it until after I had it all (well, except for A.'s dirty sheets and the basket full of dirty laundry I found in B.'s room) sorted and the first 5 loads done. So, instead of a picture of a frighteningly large pile of laundry, I will share a picture of two cute babies from the morning.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
By the time I arrived home, I had given myself a stern talking to, spent some time counting my blessings, and regained most of my good sense. The whole experience reminded me of why I avoid malls, stores, and catalogues. If I am not aware of everything that is out there to buy, I am perfectly happy with what I have. I have plenty and don't really need anything. And often, my want list is actually fairly short as well. I would venture to say, I spend more time feeling as though I have too much and work to get rid of it than feeling like I need more. But...there is nothing like browsing through a store with all the shiny, new, exciting things on display to create a sense of discontentment. And it doesn't take long. I was in the store for less than an hour, but that was all it took to make me feel as though my lot in life wasn't very good.
I had thought that I had become immune to the ploys of marketers. My experience this morning teaches me otherwise. I will go back to vigilantly guarding what I let my mind focus on, because I discover it is all to easy to focus on my perceived lack instead of focusing on my abundant wealth.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Every year for the past 12 years, J. and I have hosted a large Christmas party. We enjoy doing it and love having a chance to visit with friends. I don't think we've ever sent out less than 60 invitations. As the date for the party approached, I found I wasn't thinking of it as fondly as I have in past years. Actually, the word fondly shouldn't be considered at all. I was closer to dreading it. Not the actual party, but all the preparations it involved. It finally occurred to me that we don't have to have it this year. So we're not. It is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and I feel as though I can enjoy the Christmas season now. It makes me wonder what else I can jettison in order to make my life feel calmer.
In other family news, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week. We always spend it with J.'s aunt and uncle and much extended family. I think the total number of people this year was 33.
Every year, there is a huge bonfire. I'm convinced that some of my boys think the whole point of Thanksgiving is to set things on fire. I never made it out to the fire this year...those nursing babies, you know. But I hear it was very hot to be close to. Here's some pictures:
And a cute picture of sleeping babies (L. on left and G. on right) in the hotel room. The picture is somewhat ironic given that they didn't do much sleeping in the hotel room at all.
Monday, November 23, 2009
These are my newest creation for the girls. I am working on a second pair which I could finish if the growth spurt the girls are in would ever end. They will have a different cupcake design on them. I'm just a little proud of them since they are the first thing I've ever sewn for which I made the pattern. They're even lined with flannel on the inside so they are soft against little legs.