Saturday, May 29, 2010

Summer, Summer, Wherefore Art Thou?

As you probably remember (or maybe not), I complained a tad this past winter about all of the snow we were getting. I am not a cold weather person. Ever. Really, below 70 degrees is pretty chilly to me. Once I am chilled, it may take all day for me to warm back up. I don't like the bleakness of winter, no leaves, no flowers, no green, only browns and grays. Christmas is one of the few highlights, but really, it is over in just a couple of days. More than ever, I resented every snow day we had this year. Well, maybe not that first couple of days when we had just returned from Disney World and I need to recuperate. But the rest of them I did. (Note: I didn't resent the school district for calling them...they were a necessity. I just resented all of the snow causing havoc on my calendar!) It wasn't completely selfish. January and February are usually my best teaching times or rather the best kid learning times. They just absorb like crazy then. Once we hit spring, they get restless, and then it is hit and miss.

The big part was selfish though. I like summer. I like that "lazy" feeling of summer. The freedom to get up when I want, eat breakfast when I want, do what I want with the day. Well, as much as is possible with kids. And while there are many people who think teachers have a "whole summer off", it just isn't true. We actually return a full week before the kids do, and this year I will be returning a little before that. We have workshops to attend, a room to set up (that doesn't typically happen much that first week we officially return since we are in workshops), etc. This year, I think we figured out that we will have about two months of "summer", not counting the early days I will return for...

All that to say, I am getting the itch. The summer itch. I want summer. I am still teaching like it is any other time of year, but the kids are done. They have that look in their eyes, that look of knowing that they are at the end. The weather hasn't helped. It feels like summer. It looks like summer. It just isn't summer. At least not for me for another eleven days (five school days).

Summer, summer, wherefore art thou, summer?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Momma's Lap

I posted on Facebook tonight that sometimes I wish I could turn back time to be a little girl, curled up in my mom's lap. Then she could pat my back and tell me everything will be all right,

In the grand scheme of life, things WILL be all right. However, some days, they won't. And today they aren't.

I have probably mentioned a few times or two that our "life verse" is Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."

I love those verses, take comfort in them, find a peace in knowing that HE will direct my paths. I just have to trust.

The part I have trouble with is the "lean not on your own understanding". That part sounds so easy. It isn't.

I am a human. And it is not my nature, human nature, to just trust and not lean on my own understanding. We are curious souls. We want answers. We want to understand.

Sometimes though we don't.

And at those moments, my knees feel weak. Tears flow easily. And my heart wonders "why?"

What can I do?

Pray. Trust. And Lean. Not on my own understanding but on Him.

That is where I am today. It has been a hard day. When friends hurt, so do you.

I can't go into any details at this point. But I will ask that you pray. Pray for those who are trusting and leaning not.

I am too big and too heavy to curl up in my momma's lap. She wouldn't walk for weeks if I did. But thankfully I am never too big or too heavy to curl up in His lap. And hopefully soon He will pat my back and tell me that things will be okay.


Oh, Mother Goose

I am pretty sure if Mother Goose lived here, she would have written her little nursery rhymes a bit differently...

There was an old lady (or at least she felt that way)
Who lived in a house full (of clutter and children)
She had such a long to do list
She didn't know what to do (first)!

She stayed up late
And worked her way through the night...
When summertime finally came (it will come, right?),
she was completely out of sight. (Because she was in bed, collapsed with utter exhaustion of course)

Hickory dickory dock,
I am working against the clock.
The clock strikes one,
I am nowhere near done...
Hickory dickory dock.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
How I see just what you are
That's because I am still up at night
Though I try not to with all of my might
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
How I see just what you are!

Little Miss Reba
Sat down on a chair (because nothing really rhymes with Reba)
Listening to cries
Of how life is not fair.
Kids buzzed around her
With plenty of things to say (loudly and all at once)
Frightening Poor Momma away!

Mama Cloud had quite a clan, quite a clan, quite a clan
Mama Cloud had quite a clan
That followed her everywhere.

They followed her all around the house, all around the house, all around the house,
They followed her all around the house
Some days it was more than she could bear.

Oh, yes, she really did love them so, love them so, love them so
Oh, yes, she really did love them so
She just wanted once in a while to be alone.

Maybe Mother Good was right. She probably wouldn't have made it far in life in my household with my rhymes.

But for just a minute, I wasn't thinking about my to do list (longer than the trail of socks in our house). For just a minute, I got to just be.

Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


You may think I am referring to a certain television show. Sorry to disappoint, I am not. I never watched that show, so I couldn't even pretend that is what I was talking about even if I wanted to. (I rarely add new shows to our repertoire around here...I don't get much t.v. time)

Anyway, I e-mailed Mark and asked him if I could "work late". Unfortunately, he still had to work his regular time, but when he got home, I took off for the bedroom, locked the door (I think it took less than five minutes for someone to try opening it), and started working on paperwork that really needed to be done. My to do list for the end of the year is REALLY long. He handled dinner, bathtime, books, bedtime, etc, while I worked. I did take a short dinner break. Or maybe it was a breakfast break since I had cereal. Anyway, as usual, I digress.

One of the projects I worked on involved notes for a book study I have done at school all year. I had started the notes at school and sent them to myself via e-mail to finish them up before we present them on Thursday. I worked on them off and on all night. When I finally finished, I closed it out so I could e-mail it back to my school e-mail to print up there. It asked me if I wanted to save and I did. Unfortunately, I forgot to save with a 2 letter word..."as" as in "save as". Apparently it saved it to a temporary file. And apparently temporary means just that. Temporary. As soon as I realized I didn't see it (within seconds), I panicked. I did a google search. I put an update on Facebook. Got all kinds of advice, most good I think. Unfortunately, the advice works for other people. Not for me. A friend of mine who is an IT guy accessed my computer remotely to see if he could find it. No luck. I felt bad for him as he presented the bad news. It is gone. All gone.(By the way, I am not happy with Microsoft...when a girl is "saving", she really wants that document saved! Even if she forgets the "save as".)

Sigh. Sigh again. I couldn't wait to cross that off the to do list. Now I can't. Or maybe I can. Maybe, just maybe, I will turn in the notes I have, explain what happened, and hope for the best. Maybe I will...


Monday, May 24, 2010

I Don't Wanna...

I found the blog of a little girl recently. She caught my eye because she was adopted (from Serbia). She had a heart defect, physically but definitely not emotionally. Her family was finally able to bring her home last fall. They knew that she had a hard road ahead of her with surgeries along the way. However, they were committed to one another. Just in the past couple of months, little Chrissie (please forgive any errors in information...I am relying on my memory which is not always reliable) had open heart surgery. Unfortunately, Chrissie develoiped some complications. And sadly, she passed away this past week.

I watched/listened to little Chrissie's memorial service via the blog (click on her name above) the other day and cried through the whole thing. Chrissie sounded like a really neat little girl with a big heart for her family and for life. I cannot imagine the pain and anguish of a family that waited and waited to bring her home and now is separated from her again. :( Yet in spite of the sadness, her family has an incredible faith. And that is what the post is about (click on her name above :) from her blog. Read it and weep, then read it again and take it to heart. I promise your life will be changed...


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Knotty, Knotty

Do you ever get knots in your stomach? Like in the very pit? The kind where you feel a little bit nauseated but you aren't really sure why? The kind where things just don't feel right, but you cannot explain what is wrong? Hopefully at this point, you are nodding your head, thinking, "Sure, Reba, feel that all the time..." If you aren't, at least pretend so I think you can identify with what I am saying.

That is where I find myself today. I have felt "sick" to my stomach all night long. I don't think it is just one thing but rather a combination of things contributing to the knots I feel.

When I mentioned it on Facebook, immediately I got responses that others truly do feel that too at times. And I received some urges to pray. So that is what I need to do.

In case you want to join in, here are a few requests...
  • A friend of mine needs prayer. I cannot say for what, nor who it is. But God knows. And this is a bring you to your knees kind of prayer. Please.
  • Parenting. Our youngest is like I said, "All boy". He is also "all toddler". We need guidance in how to parent him while not squashing who he is. We are exploring some decisions with the best way to parent another child and covet prayers for that too. Then just general guidance for one as he moves on to middle school and another as she begins to enter that stage between childhood and the teen years...A lot of changes going on!
  • End of school. I cannot say it any other way. I am buried this time of year. I have so many things to get done in so little time. Please pray for me to wisely use my time so everything does get done while I maintain our home/family too...
  • The family of little Chrissie. I do not know this family but found her website not long ago. She was a little girl, adopted from Serbia, who came home to her forever family last fall with some serious health issues. She recently had open heart surgery and passed away after some complications. I watched/listened to her memorial service on-line today...beautiful tribute to a beautiful girl. If you can get past the tears, I encourage you to read some of her mother's recent entries. A good mix of motherhood/adoption and a very strong faith.
  • Our friends, the "T" family. They started an adoption of a little boy (who isn't so little anymore) around the time we started with child 4. Their case got caught up in the transition of Guatemalan adoptions, and now, almost three years later, they are still waiting. They are nearing the end. Please pray for that final paperwork to process so they can bring him home.
  • Another set of friends, the "M" family, recently brought home a son from Guatemala (very similar situation to the one above). He is 8 or 9 years old. What a transition he faces! On top of that, their family has a new baby (biological) who has had a rough week of illness. Please pray for their comfort, his healing, and their time together uniting as an expanded family.
  • Decisons regarding child 4 for next year
  • Placements for next year...soon the teachers will divide classes. I just pray that our children will have the teachers that are just right for them. I also covet wisdom as I work on placing my own students that I will place wisely.
  • Please pray for a friend of mine who recently lost her adult son. Children are children no matter the age. Pray for some peace and comfort as she navigates a new normal.

I know there are several other prayer requests out there. Please feel free to throw in your own.

Thanks for listening!

Headed to bed...


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mommy Stripes

There are few times in life I feel like I earn my "mommy stripes".

Some days I feel like I am playing dress up. Some days just go smoothly and I don't feel like I have contributed much to the lives of my children. Other days I am emotionally exhausted and "check out" (not physically, just mentally); I don't feel like much of a mommy on those days either.

There are times though, once in a while, that I feel like I truly earn my mommy stripes.

You know, times like...
  • when your child throws up just feet from the bathroom and you (possibly with a roll of the eyes and a sigh) help clean both the floor and the child up without (too much) complaint.
  • when it is after midnight and you are waiting for the cookies you are baking for a child's school event to be done so you can go to bed.
  • when you run home from school on your lunch break just to put some food in the crockpot so your family has something good to eat that night.
  • when you listen to a two hour tantrum and don't lose your cool (even when you feel like it).
  • when you give up the last string cheese for a hungry child even though you had your heart set on it.
  • when you spend the day rocking a sick child rather than hitting all of the things on your to do list.
  • when you really want to come home and take a long afternoon nap but instead get dinner on the table, help with homework, and throw in a game of Memory.
  • when you throw a pair of jeans in the washing machine at midnight because your child is just convinced he/she MUST have them tomorrow.
  • when you trade in your very favorite vehicle (Honda Accord) for a minivan that you thought you would NEVER drive but now must out of necessity.
  • when you find yourself up at all hours of the night conversing with experts (often parents themselves) and reading literature about how to help your child who is struggling with life.
  • when you wait for months (and sometimes years) for the call that you can finally bring your child home after much prayer, tears, and ups and downs.
  • when you find yourself going to DisneyWorld for vacation rather than the Bahamas because you know what memories your child will hold dear to their heart.
  • when your shopping trips consist of 90% shopping for kids, maybe 10% for yourself.
  • when your heart breaks for a heart broken child.
  • when the words "I wish I had a different family" crush your soul in a way you never knew words could, yet your love for your child grows.
  • when you are separated from your child, no matter how young or old, through his/her untimely death. It hasn't happened to me yet but has happened to many dear friends...:(

How did you earn your mommy stripes?


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Viva Las Vegas

Mark just returned from a very long week (or it was to me anyway) from Vegas. He attends a conference every other year there, always right around Mother's Day. The other years the conference is in New York. Due to the busyness of school (and those four kids living here :), I never get to attend. I have never been to either city.

A couple months ago, Mark told me that he needed to go to Vegas again in June for another conference. Please don't ask me about what; I have no idea. I just know it has to do with work. He thought it might be fun if I joined him. It happens to be the week we are finished with school (I will have a day or two at home before we leave). We were excited about the possibility of getting away. We usually do that in August, but this opportunity just presented itself. I had heard wonderful stories of how cheap it is to get to Vegas, so this seemed like a perfect thing to do.

Well, I think much of the year it IS cheap. Not so much in June.

We probably should have just "passed" for me. We are not lacking for priorities in the "wants" category of things that cost money.

Next thing I know, Mark bought us the tickets. Of course, his will be paid for. Mine won't. It was more than we should have paid. But it is done. So now I am heading to Vegas in just a few weeks.

What to do, what to do...


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tag Teamin' It

The other night I posted on Facebook that I needed prayer. I was very fortunate to have immediate response (which is what I love about FB) offering both encouragement and prayer. I think a lot of people thought it was because Mark had gone out of town when in fact I was dealing with a kid issue that was (or so it felt) much bigger than me.

I realize a lot of people do think I am wimpy. I do have a hard time when Mark goes out of town (though I typically just suffer in silence rather than announcing :). For one thing, I miss him like crazy. I don't sleep as well when he isn't here. He really is my best friend. Though we talk on the phone when he is gone, it isn't the same. Things will happen and I don't have anyone to share them with. By the time we usually get to talk, the conversation is short lived (right now we have a couple hours time difference separating us) due to the late hour.

However, the other big reason it is hard is we tag team. That is how we live. And my guy to pass the baton to isn't here tonight...

From the time the kids were born (and truly even before that), we tagged. I nursed both of the big kids for the first year of their lives. When they would wake up in the night, Mark would get up and bring them to me, they would eat, then he would take them back to bed. (I really wasn't just lazy, he just goes back to sleep easier than I do) When someone needed a diaper change, most of the time it was just whoever was nearer or had available hands. When we have dinner, usually one person gets milks ready while the other dishes out the food. I bring the kids home, he runs to the grocery store after lunch. At bedtime, he reads to one child while I get another one down. It is just the way we do things.

I am often told how lucky/blessed I am to have Mark. And I am. I feel very blessed. At the same time, I rarely hear anyone say the same thing to him. I have always wondered about that. At what point did a lot of those "tasks" become Mom only tasks? We do the things we do because these children, our house, etc are OUR responsibility. So while I am thankful, I don't do cartwheels when he does these things. It is how we work.

If I were a stay at home mom (I am not really sure what the correct term is these days :) or if he had a job where he left town often, I think it would be different. I would be used to doing things my way. We wouldn't be a tag team anymore, so I would know to run the race without passing the baton. (We also might not have had four kids or thrown a young one into the mix :)

However, that isn't our life. We are a team. And when one of us is missing, the other has to fill in the gap.

I realize that life is unpredictable. At any moment, our teamwork could change through death, change in jobs, etc. And if it did, we would have to learn a new way to run our race.

I am capable of it. I can do it alone. I am actually fairly self-sufficient. I have even learned how to fill up my own car with gas!

But for now, I am counting the days until my partner is back so I can pass the baton. "Tag, you're it!"

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Oh, how beautiful

are these flowers

my dear husband

sent to me...
oh, oh, oh...

how they make


Friday, May 7, 2010

Maria's Mother's Day Madness

So today child 3 brought home a laminated sheet for me for Mother's Day. On one side, it has a sweet poem with a cute little painted handprint. The other side has a questionnaire about her momma; the answers were dictated to her teacher. Here are the questions followed by her answers followed by MY responses in bold print...

1. What is your mother's name? Reba (She knows that one; she and the youngest ask me that regularly)
2. How old is your mother? 59 (Seriously...59? My parents aren't even 59! When I asked her about that she said, "Well, I didn't know...)
3. What is your mother's favorite color? dark blue (She did get that right. Why would I have preferred her to get the age thing right or at least err on the OTHER side rather than this one? :)
4. What is her favorite food? spaghetti and shrimp (not necessarily together...she had wide range on this one because I have a lot of "favorite" foods. I do eat spaghetti a sauce. And I will eat shrimp most days.)
5. What does your mom like to do for fun? go to my sister's gymnastics (I had to laugh on that one. I don't know if it is "for fun" but Mark and I do look forward to our turn to do that because for one hour, you get to just chill. There may be other children around but they aren't ours. We can play on the computer, read, whatever...Apparently this child has picked up on that.)
6. If I could buy my mom anything, I would buy her...a new shirt. (I will always take one of those :)
7. My mom likes to go out to eat at...Catfish Hole. (I can't really deny that one)
8. What does your mom cook best? square sandwiches (Those are little ham sandwiches I make on Hawaiian sweet rolls; you pour mustard and some other things over the top. She LOVES them and will eat as many as I let her)
9. What is your favorite thing to do with your mom? Go outside and play on the monkey bars (I guess that means it is HER favorite thing...I do not play on monkey bars. I usually just sit in the sun on the porch swing watching.)
10. What is your mother's favorite song? ones about God (We have a Christian contemporary station in our area that I listen to any time I am in the car. She can probably sing as many of the songs as I can.)
11. What does she like to watch on TV? America's Funniest Home Videos (That is HER favorite TV show. I have told her over and over that I am not that crazy about it...I really don't watch much TV if they are up)
12. My mom doesn't like to...get unhappy at other people because they hit and scratch. (hmmm, wonder where she would get that idea?)
13. My mom looks pretty when she...wears a ponytail and a black and white and blue dress. (I just started wearing ponytails on occasion because my hair is longer and it drives me crazy. She thinks it is so fun that I do. :)
14. I love my mom because... she lets me go to bed early and lets me watch TV. (I am not sure she meant "early" because she balks every time I tell her to go to bed. And we do let her watch TV once in a while but it is before she goes to TVs in kids' rooms!)

Just had to share my little gift. :)


Hoping for...

a better day. Yesterday afternoon was a humdinger of an afternoon. I spent all afternoon dealing with kid issues at home. It was not fun. During times like this, I am thankful for a few things...

  • a mom who listens and talks me off the ledge.
  • a husband who is in it "with me". We spent a good amount of time last night just talking about it all. It was so nice to have uninterrupted conversation and to find out we are on the same page (and if we aren't, we get there).
  • bedtime. Last night I was so thankful when everyone was in bed.

I know, short and not so sweet. I must head off to school. Just wanted to check in. Praying for a better day today!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pitter Patter

My big boys were gone last night. Our fifth graders go to a Nature Center every year for an overnight field trip. As our oldest son's teacher explained it, the kids learn more in two days of activities there than they would in a month in the classroom (or something like that). This child has been ready to go since third grade I think! He also had his heart set on his daddy going as a chaperone. I won't go into the long story but that almost didn't happen. But then it did. So last night they were gone.

I am used to Mark going out of town. I won't say I ever like it but it is part of his job. Unfortunately we have a longer stretch of his absence next week. Ugh! And our oldest has been away from home on occasion, so that isn't new. What is new/different is having both boys gone at the same time. It just felt very strange.

After lunch, my stomach started getting butterflies waiting for the classes to get back. Around 2:15, I left my intern in charge for a moment to return some papers to the office. When I left the office, I thought I might check to see if there were any buses full of wiped out fifth graders. I peeked out the door just in time to see a bus pulling up. I watched for a minute then saw Mark walk off the bus, our son right behind him.

We have been married over 13 years...together about 14 I think.

Even all of these years later, I still feel my heart go pitter patter when I see him (some days, some days not as much :). I ran out the door and jumped up in his arms. I missed him so much. Then I felt our son's arms wrap around my legs. I missed him too.

I hope that pitter patter never goes away.


Have I Mentioned...

That Mark is gone tonight. our oldest had an overnight field trip with his class to a nearby science center. Mark is helping chaperone.

Today was a big day at our school. We had visitors coming to check out our school/school system.

Today was also a "fiesta" for the interns. I took peanut butter brownies. Yum.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, so I am trying to make each day special in some way for the three big kids. The little kid will take a new batch of peanut butter brownies to his teachers later this week.

That my first "class" from NWA is graduating. Somehow I didn't realize they got out of school a month earlier than everyone else. I have been madly writing letters (typing) and wrapping a little gift for the remnant...those that remain.

That we have piles of laundry waiting to be laundered.

That we got our third round of carpet for the living room which means for the third time we are loading up the living room, putting pictures and knickknacks back in place. Sigh.

That I am still filling out paperwork for kids (mainly for summer events).

I am cooking more this week which means more dirty dishes to put away.

That tomorrow is trash day.

All that to say...I will have to save a post for another day. :)


Monday, May 3, 2010

Esther's House

This will be short and sweet. I am knee deep in paperwork right now. This is going to be a humdinger of a week. I am hopeful that at some point I will sleep but it won't be today!

The other day I read an article in the paper about a local family that traveled to Africa for about three months to help start an orphanage. I was fascinated with the story, especially after seeing that the family had four children...four young children. Even more of those children is adopted.

I then read that the family had their experiences recorded. Our television station is airing it for the next few weeks. I knew I had to set our DVR.

Last night I watched the first episode of Esther's House. And I cried. I know, big surprise with me. :) Wow. That was all I could say. Wow.

Tonight our house is in disarray. We had our third round of carpet put in today. It is a neverending saga I think. Anyway, I let the kids know that even though we had things everywhere, we were going to take a few minutes to watch this episode together.

We all settled in and watched the beginning. The kids were captivated. Well, most of them. The youngest was very three...short attention. He was captivated for a few minutes though. :) Child 3 was watching the show with interest. As the family on the show shared about the heartbreaking conditions they encountered, including so many orphans, her wheels started churning. She began to ask me where the parents were for those kids. She commented about how sad they must be to not have a mom and dad. She also said that people with moms and dads were probably glad that they have one.

Those words alone brought tears to my eyes. But what touched my heart even more? As she was sharing these things with me, it became apparent that she in no way identified with those kids. She empathized with them but she didn't identify with them.

Wow again.

Our little girl has no qualms. She has a mom and dad.


PS Child 1 didn't say much but Child 2 noticed the mention of AIDS in Africa and how short the lives are for many of the people. My favorite part? Too many to name. But I love the honesty of the mom of the show. I look forward to future episodes so we can learn more about this family and their experiences.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Truth and Consequences

I awoke early again thanks to a little boy who really needs something over his arched windows to keep the light out. "I wanna get up!" We hear it over and over via the monitor, getting louder each time. I needed to get up to make pumpkin muffins, but I didn't really want any helpers at that point. I just stuck my head in his room and told him it wasn't quite time to get up yet, that I would let him know when it was. He said, "Otay." Then it was quiet. At least for a little while.

We hadn't had muffins in a couple weeks. Do you know there was only one mini muffin left over by the end of breakfast? I am not sure where they all went! Usually I get to eat leftovers for a day or two. Bummer.

Oh, I almost forgot the Big Scare. I walked out of my bathroom into the bedroom to get dressed for church. It was so quiet, ahh, peace and quiet. What a rare treat. Suddenly I heard a little muffled sound. I looked around. Nope, no one around. I continued getting dressed. Then I heard a little whisper, "Mom, I am hiding..." I screamed. Sure enough, our youngest was hiding behind a door, completely out of sight. I think he was hiding from his dad (who was waiting to get him ready for church). I also think it took a while for my heartbeat to return. Oh, what a kid!

Anyway, we got out of the house for church, on time even. After I dropped the kids off at their respective Bible Fellowship (a.k.a. Sunday School) classes, I ran into a couple who goes to our church. I had worked with their daughter one Sunday but hadn't really had much of a chance to talk to them. They have adopted four children (plus have biological children), three of whom are now adults. They asked me about our family and our adoption. I mentioned how challenging parenting could be at times, and the added challenges of adoption. I really feel like God orchestrated that moment. I needed it, I needed to hear those words. They readily agreed that there are special challenges with adoption and that some days are not easy. However, they were quick to point out that their children have grown into mature, likable young adults (not that they weren't likable before, just that they are very delightful now). It was such an encouragement to me since the last couple of days have been challenging for various reasons. The truth that the dad spoke though that said more to me than most books I have read..."In some ways it is like you are adopting all over again each day." Simple words with a deep message. It is like that in some ways. We think of adoption as a one time, sign the papers, you are a family event. But it is ongoing. And each day you wake up, it does feel like you are adopting all over again. We are a family, and I have no doubt the kids view us as mom and dad. However, the challenges of adoption (and its effect on attitudes and behavior) are always there, each day. I am not saying every day is hard, just that it is always there, hovering. We are constantly learning, teaching, and loving our way through it all. Anyway, I truly appreciated those words, and I am thankful that we had the opportunity to talk.

Now on to the consequences...

When we left our own Bible Fellowship a little later than usual, we rushed to the sanctuary. I knew that the kids would be waiting for us there. I also know that unsupervised (at least by us...they have others watching them), there was no telling what might happen. I just had a bad feeling. And that bad feeling was confirmed as soon as I walked in the building. I was quickly approached by two children complaining about the behavior and words of the third child. It was a lovely way to start our church service! :)

We headed on into the sanctuary, and the third child in question had a little meltdown. I can only hope it was a little guilt for the negative behavior with her siblings earlier, but I am guessing it had more to do with knowing there were consequences in the future. :) Anyway, the meltdown was not really appropriate for church, so I escorted her to a quiet room to discuss her behavior/attitude and the resulting consequences if I didn't see a change in it. Really, that is all I was going to do, and it is all I did. However, my little angel started yelling, "What are you going to do to me?" Moments like that I want to melt into the floor. (Thankfully there was a slight change of attitude and the behavior changed for the most part...sigh of relief!)

When we got home and had a quick lunch, I doled out consequences. I had the offending child write a letter of apology to the offended party, listing three things she loved about said party. That was the easy part. The next part required her to read it to the offended sibling and then give her a hug/kiss. I really think we could have skipped the rest of the consequence...the hug about did her in. :) Thankfully the rest of the day was a little better.

While we napped, Mark took the oldest to watch a play at our local Arts Center. The play was called "Runt of the Litter". It is based upon the life of Bo Eason, a pro football player who grew up being told he was too little to play the sport. He was determined however and shared his story of perseverance. He then had a question and answer time from the audience. Our son LOVED it. He is in determined mode now. He is talking about working out, persevering, etc. We hope that some of that sticks!

After naps/play, child 3 did a little run around town with a Flat Stanley for her cousin. I think it will be a little late but hopefully the teacher won't blame him but us instead. I should have written down the deadline. Flat Stanley visited all over our region. :)

Then we headed out for some pizza and a quick trip to Target. It was just one of those fun family nights. We enjoyed our pizza, watched "America's Funniest Home Videos" which was actually set at DisneyWorld while eating, then had a magician come to our table to wow us with his magic. (I was totally wowed). Usually when we stop at Target (which is a little out of the way, thus a rare trip), usually I run in. However, Mark decided that all of us going in was more fun than entertaining four restless children in the car while I escaped, I mean shopped. :) Needless to say it was kind of fun. We didn't spend much time (more money than time) and there were no major catastrophes. Child 4 can be a little loud at times but we are noticing that life in some ways is getting easier. It is rare for him to have a tantrum while waiting for our food or to get distraught in the store after a couple of minutes. Of course we are moving on to new challenges but I am thankful that those are becoming distant memories!

Oh, my best buy of the night was a shoe bag I bought for the girls' door. I have stored their hair scrunchies (by color) in little plastic containers. However, the girls have trouble getting the scrunchies back INTO the containers. We find them all over the house. And in some ways, it is legitimately difficult...they were full. Well, now the scrunchies are in the pockets of the shoe bag, still sorted. It will be much easier to send Maria into find a white scrunchie. And it will be much easier to tell the girls that I don't want to find ANY scrunchies on the floor. These are easy in and out.

Oh, on the vacation front...we have not made a decision yet. I am watching the situation via the news and the travel forums. I am not hoping to cancel, but will wait to see what happens. Child 3 thinks we should just hop on a plane and head to the Virgin Islands (we had spotted some pictures of a beach in a magazine). Oh, what a world she lives in. :)

All in all, it was a good day of family and fun.

How was yours?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Stay at Home Day

We have always called Saturdays "Stay at Home" days. Not sure why. We don't truly stay at home much of the time. Lately we have stayed at home because someone is either injured and can't walk or because of the weather. Otherwise, I would much prefer to be at the zoo or on a hike. But I digress...

Today was a treat. It truly WAS a stay at home day for me.

This morning Mark took the youngest out for donuts. This was his week for "Dad" time, so that was their activity. He looked so cute, telling me "bye bye" as he headed out the door with his daddy. I just wish he had slept in just a tiny bit. That would have been a treat for all of us.

Child 2 was spending the night with someone so I just had two kids to feed breakfast. That felt very odd! Let me just say that when one child is gone, the dynamics of the house change drastically!

The rest of the day I hung out at home. I didn't get in my car one time to go anywhere. Mark did leave a few times, like to pick up child 2 and to go to a baseball game. And that was okay too. But I enjoyed the time at home.

I cannot say I was particularly productive. I wasn't. I surfed the Web. Disciplined and supervised children. Worked on laundry. Made dinner. Thinned out my daughter's shoe collection. Thinned out another daughter's closet clothing. Worked on putting some things away. But mostly I just relaxed.

Well, and maybe worried a bit. Let me preface this next part by saying I am very sad for the people on the coastline who are watching the oil spill and feeling the effects of it for some time to come. I do. I realize that our vacation is very trivial and minute compared to the pain and difficulties the coastline residents will be facing. Okay, that being said, I am trying to figure out what we will do about our vacation. We had a beach vacation scheduled for this summer. You know I love going to the beach. We have a place already rented. And that part of our calendar is blocked off. Only now we are wondering what to do. The oil spill is headed that way. I have been brewing on this all day. (Very typical for me...I get something stuck in my head and have to work through it) I have researched other possibilities. Thought of no vacation at all. (A huge part of the problem is that where we were headed was exactly what we could afford. And we truly love the Gulf waters.) Now here it is bedtime and my only thought at this point is to wait. We will wait for a little bit and see what happens. We will pray for direction in knowing what to do. Really, what more is there to do?

Let me just say that certain individuals ages 6 and under were a bit on the grouchy side today. And a couple times I thought I was going to run away. At one of those moments, I turned to this video which I had seen last week at Women of Joy. It so fits our life right now:

I wanted to show Mark the video and found myself crying as I watched it. It really is our life (plus a couple of kids). It isn't a bad life, it is just a difficult one at times.

That being said, tonight when I was working in the girls' room cleaning out clothes, I was listening to my i-Touch. The song "Remember When" by Alan Jackson came on. This song is "our song". Mark was about to get Joshua ready for bed, but I called him to the girls' room and we just slow danced for the song. I was standing there in my holey jeans with no make up on. He was in his Razorback casualwear, smelling like a baseball game. The kids were in the living room wrestling on the floor. And for just a little bit, it was just the two of us. I rested my head on his chest, listening to the thumps of his heart as he held me in his arms. Before it sounds too sweet and romantic, I will say that partway through the song, our youngest threw his little arms around our legs in an effort to not be left out. It isn't the Love Story we all dream about as a child. But it is a love story nonetheless, a true love story.