Friday, May 31, 2013

Fate? A cat and a bat.

It's a funny beginning, but one I honestly think was orchestrated by God.

It was October, my senior year in college - 1992.  My housemates and I decided to throw a Halloween party. We'd all invite our friends, have refreshments, music, and encourage everyone to come in costume.

Having recently lost a lot of weight - I decided to go as Cat Woman.  Slinky black leotard with white stitches, a furry tail, pleather boot coverings, and a cat mask to boot.  I made it myself - guess even back then I was masterful at repurposing fashion.

As I was stitching the last bits of my suit together, my roommate's friend stopped by to drop off some sugar free drinks for the party.  We shared glances and pleasantries.  After he left, I was sure to tell my friend that I though he was "good lookin'."

Little did I know I was getting ready to embark on a life changing journey.

When he arrived that night, it was as if we were destined to be a couple.  How else could one explain his costume of choice?  BATMAN.  As Cat Woman and Batman, it seemed only natural that we flirt much of the night away.  And so, we did.

After the party, we talked into the wee hours of the morning sitting on the couch in our living room.  One of my roommates, whose room was right off this main area, did not appreciate our lively and lengthy conversations.  Her sleep, however, was of no consequence to us this particular evening.

Unbeknownst to me, this was the man I was going to marry.  Batman on the other hand, having prayed at the start of the school year that he'd meet the woman of his dreams, was hooked. (Not sure he worded it as such, but the romantic side of me chooses to think so.)   He was convinced - Cat Woman was THE one.

It took me a bit longer to come to the same conclusion.

For a long time his family simply knew me as "Cat Woman".  No other name, just Cat Woman.

By Christmas - things were serious.  Somewhere - without it being discussed - we had become "exclusive".  No other guys sparked my interest and as I mentioned, Batman had already decided back in October that Cat Woman would one day become his wife.

One could say, the rest is history.  We continued to date, got engaged a year later, and married a year after that.  We still have fond memories of our time as Batman and Cat Woman - although I'm quite certain I could no longer pull off such a get-up nor would I even try.

I praise God for answering a young bat's prayer by bringing a cute cat across his path those many years ago.  I also give thanks that said cat opened her heart despite having determined to become an "independent 'cat' making it on her own."

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My First Contest

I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with a frugal, fun idea for a contest. After all, if I offer a contest, there has to be a prize. Well, Ms. Frugal here is all.. about.. saving.. money!  Not thinking giving away a pair of cowboy boots or a fancy cake plate like The Pioneer Woman is within my budget.  I also didn't want to copy my friend Jamie at Life Fully Loaded and give away a box of candy.  So.... what could I do?

After writing my post on crafting with mason jars and cans, it hit me.

I am on the lookout for 'rustic' craft ideas using jars and cans of all sizes and shapes.  Function is important. Techno-genius isn't keen on decorations for decoration sake.  He prefers decorations with a purpose.  I, on the other hand, can go both ways. I like 'pretties' because they are just that... pretty. But, I also don't - like - clutter.  Ergo, most of our decorative pieces double as storage or have a function - clock, light, candle holder, vase, pencil holder... you get the idea.

With that in mind.... I'm putting forth my first ever contest.

Get your creative juices running and send me unique, 'rustic', decorating and crafting ideas utilizing mason and other glass jars or empty cans of any size.

My family and I will evaluate all the entries - please send a pic if you have one - and determine the one we like best. The winning entry will be implemented in my craft craze now that my supplies have arrived.

The most unique, rustic entry will win...... you guessed it..... a pair of mason jar goblets!!!! 
These fun goblets can be used as water goblets, funky wine glasses, even candle holders - whatever your preference.

Hand made by yours truly - six shootin' mama herself.

Send entries directly through the comments section of my blog or to my e-mail to be considered.  (I've had some say leaving comments on my blog isn't an easy task, so.... hoping the e-mail option will make that road smoother.)

Contest opens today and will close in one week - June 6, 2012.  We will evaluate the entires over the weekend and announce the winner Mon. June 10.

Send those ideas. Get crafty.  Help me fulfill my 'rustic decorative dreams'.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bubble Wrap Fun

Who doesn't LOVE bubble wrap?

Once you start popping those little bubbles, you just. can't. stop!

As I cut the tape off the make-shift box encapsulating the doll house, the bubble wrap became visible.

Eyes widened as the girls excitedly asked if they could 'pop the bubbles'!

Waiting - somewhat patiently - they stood just out of reach as I wrestled the large and awkward structure.

Finally freeing it from the box, I then began cutting the bubble wrap to expose the actual house.

Gasps from all three girls erupted.  "Why are you cutting the bubble wrap?"

"To take it off the house."  Was my flat reply.

As I cut, I was able to pull piece by piece of the wrap and toss it to the 'bubble wrap vultures' for their disposal.

That's when the fun REALLY began.

Initially they sat down and.... pop, pop, pop....quietly popped those bubbles - some big, some small - with their tiny little fingers.

All three littles quietly
concentrating on popping bubble wrap

Suddenly an explosion of POP, POP, POPPITY, POP, POPPITY, POP, POP, POP resounded throughout the back room.

As I turned, this is what I saw:

Trinity and Selah jump popping!
Charity on her own little island
of bubble wrap

Why sit and pop one bubble at a time, when jumping on the bubble wrap results in a machine gun effect of bubble popping bananza?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why is saying yes sometime so hard?

Following lunch, I decided to be a 'yes mom' and allow the kids to have a piece of candy as their treat.  Everyone had eaten well, so it seemed a good idea.

Happy to have this privilege they all jaunted off to the pantry porch to scavenge through the candy  bucket.

One by one, they appeared.

Selah, "Can I have these?"  Holding up a small tootsie roll and a piece of gum before her little face, squinting her eyes.

"Yes," came my reply.

Next, Jacob appeared.  "Can I have 2 pieces of gum so I can blow a bubble?"

Pondering, I decided, "No.  It's not 'bubble gum', I'm not sure a second piece will really help."

Then Bethany asking for both she and Elijah, "Can we have m&m's?  All the candy in the bucket isn't appropriate for our braces."

"Yes," I happily responded.

Next came Trinity and Charity.  First Charity said, "There's a spider in the candy bucket!"

I quickly replied, "Did you squish it?"

"No, I didn't see it."  She squealed.

"How do you know there's a spider then?"  I muttered.

"Selah thought she saw an ant one day, but it only had one body so I know it's a spider", she excitedly exclaimed.

"Did you see it today?" I asked.

"No." She flatly responded.

"It's probably gone then."  I tell her.

"Can we have m&m's?"  She and Trinity both asked simultaneously.  I guess a potential spider in the candy bucket relegates it 'off limits' from here on out.

After some consideration I decided, "No, you guys still have candy you like in the candy bucket.  It's chewy, so Bethany and Elijah cannot eat it.  You guys eat that."

Off they go.

Moments later.  Trinity chimed, "Can we have a candy cane and break it in half?"


"Where are they?" She asked.

"I don't know," I stated, "did you not see them with the rest of the candy?"

No answer, she just disappeared back to the pantry porch.

Another appearance by Charity.  "Can we have Oreos as our candy?"

Sigh.  "Yes, that is fine."

"How many?" came her response.

"Two seems fair."  I slightly exasperatedly uttered.

A few seconds later, Trinity bellowed as she came bouncing into the room excitedly, "Can we have a small handful of chocolate chips?"

Bigger sigh.  "No, those are more for cooking and baking.  You guys have plenty of candy.  I said you could have candy, if you don't want candy or the other options to which I've already said yes, you can skip the treat this time around."

"We'll have Oreos!"  She yelled back as she ran out of the room. Knowing mom had hit her wall on questioning for candy types.

Why is it saying yes - which seems so simple - can be so complicated?

A simple kind gesture of allowing the kids a treat after their afternoon meal turned into a 15 minute interrogation of what candy, how many pieces, why not this, why not that, how about this, how about that?

And I wonder why I sometime just say NO despite not having a good reason to do so.  LOL!
Who knew such simple treats could cause such trouble?  :-)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Unpacking 'Wees' and 'Woes'

All the boxes have been opened, looked through, and moved to staging areas - at the very least.  Wee!

The kitchen is unpacked and reorganized.

Dad's items that we will no longer be using have been packed up to donate or go to storage.

Our dishes, pots/pans, glasses, etc have been placed in their new homes.

  • A new pot rack with all the pots hanging - check.
  • The island moved into its final resting spot; all the small appliances that will live there positioned; as well as a myriad of gadgets filling the drawers - check.        
  • Tea cup hooks hung with coffee mugs placed upon them - check.
  • TONS of items stored above the cabinets - check.

In addition to the kitchen, the kids rooms are basically in order.  THEY. HAVE. BEDS!!!!!  Whooohooo!!!  One of the most exciting events of our belongings arriving.  Not to mention Techno Genius and my nice comfy king sized bed. :-)  Wee!

Books are on bookshelves; games are strategically placed up high; movies line the top two shelves in the 'toy closet'.

The 'media center' is assembled.... ON THE ENTERTAINMENT CENTER!  What a novel idea.  Gone is the make-shift board held up by 2 filing cabinets cluttered with all our electronics.  Happy Day!

As I emptied boxes to find items, I did discover some 'casualties of moving'.  A few special mementos were broken in transit.  Woe!  It made me sad -- for a time.  Then I reminded myself that just b/c the items were damaged, ruined didn't delete the memories they signified.

I still have those!

Plus, those items were JUST THINGS!  Although special because of the memories they held, they are  nothing compared to the PEOPLE those memories were based upon.

The next 'woe' in our unpacking venture was a sore throat and fever for me.  Guess the germs didn't get the memo that I. DON'T. HAVE. TIME. TO. BE. SICK!  

I guess that's just my cue to rest and take it easy for a bit.  Get a good night's sleep.


Enjoy the accomplishments we've made thus far.

Allow myself to take a little longer to 'get it all done'.

Realize I'm NOT super woman.

I'm just Liz.

Average, everyday mom.  Who, by God's grace, can and often does accomplish a lot.

However, occasionally... I need to step back and wait. Be patient.  REST.  Listen to the signals God is sending.  The ones that will keep me healthy and well.

For now, the boxes will remain unpacked.  The house will be a mess. The laundry will overflow.

It's ok.

It'll wait.

Thankfully, tomorrow's a new day!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The truck arrived!

Here it is:  Wed, May 23, 2013.

The moving truck finally arrived.  Only 3 days after it's original scheduled arrival date.

Happy dance!

I'm sure the movers were even more excited than we were  -- at least until they started unloading everything.  :-)

It was exciting and anxiety provoking all at the same time.

'OUR' stuff was finally here.  That's a good thing, right?

Now that it's all unloaded; I see the multitude of boxes; I gaze at the myriad of additional furniture items; I'm. not. so. sure.

The boys bunk beds - all we need are mattresses.
Oh yeah, and twin sized sheets. Hmmm.... wonder
what box THOSE are in?

Our upside down table and future 'island' - plus lots of chairs
The bunk beds are being assembled as I type.  Lots of excitement over that task.  The dining room table  has legs again, but is still 'upside down'.  This too fills us with joy.  The workbench that will be morphed into a movable island is sitting in the kitchen as well.  More thrills abound.

Waiting for the twitching to begin, I feel more like napping than unpacking.

That dreaded 'shutdown' mode threatens to encroach upon my being.

But... I'll persevere.  Press on.  It WILL all get accomplished.

The left half is boxes we need to unpack.
MOST of the right half is 'donatable' stuff.

Only half of the garage is filled with boxes.

The movers will assemble all the furniture.  

Taking this task bit by bit, bite by bite, moment by moment we'll get it all unpacked, put away, organized, and donated.

I'm envisioning what the 'finished product' will look like.  How great it will feel to have 'our stuff' nestled into our new home.

This too will be an adventure.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Life in the country/mountains

Today, the girls asked to have a 'snack picnic' outside in preparation for a picnic lunch with the big kids.  "We had to 'try it out' to be sure ants and critters wouldn't get our food."  According to Trinity.

It was a beautiful, sunny, warm, Spring, Wyoming day.  A balmy 60 degrees, so I said yes.

The skies were blue, the clouds puffy and white, the grass green - mostly,  and the mountain caps in the distance tipped with snow.


Before our snack, we ventured around our property line again. The girls find this trek ever so fun. All the rocks to climb over; ground squirrel holes to investigate; little tiny flowers to pick; the dry creek bed to explore; and the big bush to view in full bloom now.

Snack time complete, lunch in progress, the girls were bent on taking a walk around the neighborhood.

Off we went.  Leaving the older kids to complete their chores and finish an on-line test.

The littles took turns holding Apollos' leash.  I have to admit, he's come a long way when Selah can keep him in check on a walk.  He just trundled along beside whichever girl was tugging on his leash at that particular point in the walk. He'd jog as they 'ran him', pulling them to the side to sniff a critter hole every now and again.  Meandering ahead,  they all bounded down the dirt and gravel road.


While walking, we said hello to some distant neighbors.  The woman suggested we clean out our creek bed from sticks and leaves and other debris so the water we are receiving can make it's way through the community.

When we returned, we started on this task.

The funniest part of all this?  Earlier, on our 'trek around the property', we checked out the creek; walked across the bridge; picked up some odd/end trash that had blown back there. At that time, there. was. NO. WATER!

Now, however, as we began at the front of our property working our way back, we discovered the water was flowing ever so nicely.  It hasn't filled the entire creek bed, but it's getting close.  It's already past the little bridge making it's way to the pipe that flows under the roadway.

The girls and I kept moving upstream pulling out twigs, leaves, and other debris to make the 'path' for the water more open.  All in hopes to get the water flowing more readily throughout our neighborhood.

This was quite the adventure.  Who knew I'd be straddling a stream today, rear end in the air, plucking out dead limbs, leaves, dirt and whatever else might have fallen into the creek bed over the last several years?

I'm sure it was quite the sight.  Grateful for the trees and brush that hid my backside from view, I diligently worked on this task.  Wishing the whole time we had 'raked' back here well before the water began flowing.

Then, remembering with a smile, that our lawn tools are still on a truck; stuck somewhere in Colorado; waiting to be delivered.  But, that's another post all together.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Creative Juices

I've always been crafty - or at least enjoyed doing crafts.  Since having kids I've 'upped the ante' in the crafty department.

Sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

Making halloween costumes, props for pretend play, crafts to keep them busy, even repurposing clothing into new forms - jeans to skirts or purses, t-shirts to scarves - the possibilities are endless.

Since moving west, I've gotten a hankering for making 'rustic decor'.  Pinterest has been wonderful for this endeavor.  There are hoards of ideas out there.

My friend, Jamie Irwin, posted on her blog - Life Fully Loaded - using mason jars for glasses and it made me nostalgic for actually CREATING some of the wonderful craft ideas I've been coveting.

Unfortunately, most of my craft supplies are still in storage from our move.

So, I'll continue to just save up supplies and plot out my plans.

Like Jamie, I save most of our glass jars from store bought food items - like salsa and spaghetti sauce.  Even some fun jars that once held olive oil or fancy vinegar.  Not sure what all I'll do with the various jars, but... with my plethora of 'pins' , I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Mason jar goblets are on the top of my list, however.  How fun will that be?  I can guarantee we'll be the only ones of our friends with such unique glassware.

I.  Simply. Can't. Wait!  I'll have to snap a photo of our first unsuspecting guests who get to use them.  ;-)

The other thing I've started keeping is cans.  Big, small, short, tall.  The possibilities are endless.  Candle holders, lanterns with holes punched in the sides in a decorative pattern, a chandelier (ok, not sure I'll pull that one off, but...), pencil holders,  cans wrapped w/sticks to use as vases and decorative holders, the list goes on.

I'm beginning to drool just thinking of all the possibilities.  I do think the first thing I'll venture to make will be those goblets.  Maybe even soon as I didn't have glass glue in my supplies before we moved.  Might just have to go purchase some and get started. They are going to be the bomb!  Does anyone even say that anymore?

What ideas do you have for rustic decor using jars and cans?  I'm gathering ideas to keep in my arsenal. I'd love to add some more.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy to be Me

How many of us look in the mirror and think, "uugh, I wish there was a reset button somewhere?"

I know I"m guilty.

Since getting married and gaining - well - a lot of weight, I have been fairly uneasy with my looks.

After 6 babies and almost 19 years, I have more of a lump shape than an hour glass figure; I carry luggage under my eyes; my natural highlights are now grey streaks; and cute dimples have been replaced with laugh lines. AVOIDING cameras and mirrors has become my plight.

As Doug and I dressed for our date, I thought, "He loves me as I am.  He finds me attractive.  God created me."

Yes, I have made choices that have made "more" of me, but despite all that, my husband still chases me around the house and my God still loves me.

Cooking at Doug's Dad's house
 before Christmas - normally,
I'd delete this photo
With that, I decided I am no longer going to "run and hide" when the camera comes out.  I'm not going to try every fad diet that comes along.  Nor am I going to hide behind the biggest sweater/sweatshirt I can buy.

I want to be healthy; eat right, exercise, take care of myself.  But, I don't have to be a size 6 to be beautiful.  Nor an 8, 10, even a 12.  It's not the number that counts - the scales don't define how attractive I am.

I need to learn to like myself - the way I look.  To accept me.

As I am - - now.  Not saying I can't strive to be better - God says we should always do that.

However, if I stay focused on what I should/could be, I'm missing out on who I am right here and now.

I want to leave pictures for my children and grandkids when I'm gone.  I don't want them to have to search long and hard to find a photograph of me.  I also want the photos to show the progression of my life - not just the "thin" me, the "young" me.

Heading into town - liked my hair this day
With my contacts in 

Thin, young me isn't the mommy my kids have had the last several years.  They love and see ME - they don't care what I used to look like compared to what I look like now. They  just know I'm  mommy and I love them. If you show pictures of "thin, young" me to the littles, they may not even recognize who it is.

Me and my best friend and the world's greatest husband

So, from now on, I'll take pictures and not be afraid to share them.  I'll try to be more comfortable in my own skin - not hide and shrink away fearing what others may think.

If God loves me, my  husband loves me, my kids love me.... I think it's time I love me.  It's time I'm "happy to be me".

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Love of Mom

I had intended to write something for Mother's Day, but with our visit to Ohio and traveling back to Wyoming over the Mother's Day weekend, I didn't manage to get a post written.

Since being a mama is such an important aspect of my life and because I also wanted to say thanks to my own mom - I decided to write the post - just late.

I consider myself blessed to have the mom I have.  It's because of the sacrifices she made, the unconditional love she shared that has made me the woman and mom I am today.

I am tremendously thankful for the example she set forth.  She demonstrated love to me when I messed up, when I succeeded, even when I chose not to even try.  She did what she knew to do - love me, care for me, nurture me, even discipline me when necessary.

I attribute much of who I am today to her love; her illustration.

Thinking of Doug's mom - who passed away 2 years ago - I'm also grateful for the mother she was to him.  He's the man he is, in part, due to the love she lavished upon him.

In reminiscing on my childhood and how important my mom was in my growth; in molding me into the person I am today, I am humbled to think of the impact I can and do have on my own children.

In that vain, this Mother's Day week, I am choosing to continue to invest in my childrens' lives.  I want them to one day look back and know, "Mom cared, Mom loved me - for me."

I know that being a mom - a stay-at-home mom - is what God has called me to for this season of my life.  I want to honor that God given role.

The Bible instructs me to be a 'keeper at home', to minister to my husband, my children, then to other circles in my life.

I want to excel in this area.

What an opportunity.

To mold little lives. To help them achieve their potential.  To love them unconditionally as an earthly model of how God loves them.  Most importantly to take a major role in leading them to know Christ as their personal Savior.

Thanks, Mom, for instilling in me a love that I can now pass along to my own children.  Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bitter Sweet Memories

Our time in Ohio was bitter sweet.

It was fabulous to see family and friends. To reconnect with those we haven't seen in months.

Smiles and hugs everywhere.

Meals were shared; fellowship was had; play dates were executed; time was spent; stories were told.

Some friendships picked up as if we'd never left - even blossomed - etching them deeper into our hearts.

Through all this we also had some friendships close doors.  I guess that's some of the bitter part.

But, a friend reminded me, "Friendships are often for a season.  Enjoy them during that time."  I happen to agree with her.

This friendship was so precious to me for that time.  Choices were made and things changed.  A new season.

I'll always cherish the memories, the growth, the love -- but, now -- it seems a new era has dawned.  It's not easy to admit, however, it was obvious.

Still, we'll relish the kindness and ever reaching friendships of so many.  We'll look forward, fondly, to future visits and correspondence with these treasures.

With social media, e-mail, and the telephone the distance and time apart seems so much less.

We're excited to return home, but we are sad to say goodbye all over again.  We'll miss the face-to-face interactions we were able to enjoy during our visit.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Kids should be seen AND heard

Listening to our children laugh and giggle as their daddy picked them up to kiss them goodbye - giving them a little tossle as he did - made me smile yet wince as their giggles morphed into loud squeals.

Our kids are not quiet - yet they are not obnoxious and destructive nor are they disrespectful.

They are...... JOYFUL!

Enjoying life, feeling secure, knowing they are loved - they aren't afraid to giggle, to laugh out loud, to sing and make boisterous music.

Occasionally others make me feel like I need to hush them, to quiet them, keep them still.  I want to honor those who think kids should be seen but NOT heard, but at the same time I struggle because the noises our children make are happy (usually), joy filled, fun sounds.

Rarely do they 'throw a fit', yell inappropriately, speak disrespectfully to another.  (Not saying they never whine or fuss, but when in public and with other people they tend to control those 'outbursts')  In general they are simply happy, giggly kiddos just living life and showing their propensity for joyfulness.

I want to balance allowing our children to be kids; to laugh, giggle, make loud, playful noises while still teaching them to be respectful of what others 'expect' from them.

Jesus told His disciples to allow the little children to come to Him.  I doubt those children were quiet, calm, noiseless.  I imagine they were 'typical' kids.  Giggling, chattering, squealing in delight.  Maybe even jumping, running, skipping around him as a game.  Yet, Jesus called them to Him.  Gave them His blessing.  He even admonished the adults to be LIKE them.

Wow - that alone speaks volumes.

Children should be taught to be respectful.  To honor their elders. To speak politely.  To be helpful.

Techno-genius and I strive to teach these qualities to our children.  For the most part, our children exude these characteristics.

At the same time, children are children.  They wiggle, they giggle.  Often they even squeal and bounce around like a squirrel hyped up on an energy drink.

Just as I smile as they chuckle when they are happy, I believe God smiles too.  He's the one who created them.  He made their wiggly, giggly bodies.  His Son beckoned them as they were, NOT just when they were silent, still.  Therefore, it's my opinion that children should be seen AND heard.

If we adults approached life MORE like children, had the faith of children, shared the joy of children; I wonder how different it would be?

How do you handle 'others' expectations for your children to be quiet, still, un-animated?  I find it difficult to balance at times.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Don't Give Your Joy Away

At church service on Sunday, I was smacked upside the head with the notion of 'giving my joy away'.

Wow - not something I like to think about.  It's easier to blame the circumstances, the situations, others actions and attitudes for my lack of joy.

I have to admit - shamefully - that I often allow my joy to be stolen.  Jesus tells us to be joyful. That He left us HIS joy that our joy could be complete.

With that in mind, who am I to allow what's going on around me - no matter how irritating or annoying it may be - to steal my joy?

Who am I to give it away so easily?

I've struggled with the concept of joy for some time.  I tend to be of the pessimistic persuasion.  The glass is definitely half empty.

Bubbly is not a word often used to describe me.

My moods are easily impacted by my experiences and circumstances.

As the pastor talked about joy and how it is different than happiness, my mind clicked.  I don't have to be 'happy' to be joyful.  I I knew that - I've heard it before.  I just tend to forget - to allow life to push it out of my memory banks.

I determined that I should NOT allow what others do or say to take my joy.

With Jesus in my heart, no matter the situation, I can have joy. Even in hard times; frustrating times; painful times; I can be joyful. Why?  HOPE!  The hope I have in Jesus allows me to be joyful in ALL things.

Now the trick will be to live it out - more often than not.  To cease my thoughts when I am tempted to have a mini pity party or feel 'woe is me' over some difficulty that is attempting to gobble up my joy.

I knew this.  I just needed a reminder.  A jolt, as it were, to get back on track.  To purposely guard my JOY!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why God Made Kids Cute

It was one of those mornings.

I hadn't slept great.

Waking up, I felt vaguely like I'd been hit by a mack truck sometime along the way in my slumber.

Then it started.

Whining, fussing, griping.  "Don't tell mommy!"  "I can tell her if I want!"  "I want that." "Let me through."  All within minutes.

Even the older kids were getting in on the 'fun'.  Shoot, grown-ups in the house seemed grouchier than usual.

I stumbled out of the bedroom, into the kitchen and began the process of making a pot of coffee.  Knowing full well this mini-pot that only brews 5 cups at a time was just. not. gonna. cut. it this grey-mood-brewing day!

As it finished, I poured 2 cups 'o Jo for Techno-genius and myself; adding Splenda and whipped cream to make it palatable this dragging morning.

Walking back to the bedroom for our morning coffee chat, still hazy from waking up and the aforementioned grouchies, I passed the dining room where the grumbling kids were finishing up their breakfast treats of pastries brought home by Granddad.

Due to all the grumps, grumbles, and grouchiness already portrayed this 'lovely' morning, I lumbered along, head drooping.

That's when I heard Charity's sweet voice begin singing.  Obviously a "Charity Original", she joyfully sang of Jesus hanging on the cross, now looking down on us, loving us.  The tune was sweet, melodious, almost like a lullaby.  She carried on for 4-5 stanzas with similar words of love and encouragement keeping her lulling melody constant.

This made me smile.

All of a sudden, just as I entered the bedroom, I hear in a much more boisterous, belting manner from our precious 5 year old, "Ba da bum, ba dum, dum, da cha ra dum."  Ceasing her musical debut.

Strike a pose - seems like this would match the end
of her song quite sportingly
By now, I couldn't help but chuckle which caused Techno to ask "What's so funny?"

That's when I commented, "God sure knew what he was doing when he made kids so stinkin' cute."

A true cutie-patutie

Charity  helped soothe her mama's tired, frazzled, grumpy-building soul with her melodic yet comical song and delightfulness.

God did know what he was doing when He made kids so darn cute.  That charm kept mommy's grumpiness at bay and we all know, 'when mama's happy, everyone's happy.'

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

House or Home

Walking through our 'old house', I was amazed at how it presented.  How it made me feel.  Or yet, the lack of feelings it created.

That house was a FABULOUS house for our family.  It blessed us and others is so many ways.  It fit us perfectly for that particular season of life.

We had ministries there, friends and family visited, neighborhood 4th of July parades and cookouts, we hosted gatherings, many birthday parties were thrown within those walls, movie nights, dinners, games - so many memories.  So many blessings.

I wondered before we arrived what it would be like to walk the halls, go through the rooms, sit on the window seats.  Would we miss it?  Would we long to return?  How would the kids react? Would it still be 'home' to them?

On one hand it was depressing.  It looks so different, not at all what we left behind.

On the other hand - it was fresh, clean, neutral.

I guess that was partially why it didn't illicit the memories I feared it might.  In many ways, it's not the home we had developed, nurtured over the years.

Our families personality had been obliterated from the heart of that house.

Our red and black kitchen is now beige.  Our chalkboard paint/peg boarded school room is simply, beige. The kids black and purple chalkboard painted bedrooms with matching curtains morphed into.... beige.  My bright colored, handprint decorated craft room has been altered to - you guessed it - beige.  The fun teal and brown basement playroom muted to... beige.

Sensing a theme yet?  The whole house has been impersonalized. Stripped of our 'footprint'.  A shell of what we had created it to be.

Not saying memories don't still exist for our 'old home'.  Today, however, I realized those memories are in our hearts and minds NOT the walls of this building in which we once lived.

Even the kids referred to it as 'the old house'; not home.

In essence, it's not the house that makes a home.  It's us.  Our family.  Being together.  Home is where we are - together.

For now, our home is in the mountains of Wyoming.... and we all like it there.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Keeping the little in my girls

As I look around at our culture I'm reminded of how fast we try to force our children to 'grow up', mature, even be sexy.

Our oldest daughter is a teenager now. did that happen? When did we get old enough to have 2 teenagers in our house?

I digress...  Back to my original topic.

As she has matured, I've had the privilege to watch her grow into a beautiful young woman.  However, I still see glimpses of that little girl with the pretty blue eyes and blonde hair.  That innocent youngster.

I watch as she balances wanting to 'play' with her childhood belongings and slowly moving toward being interested in 'fixing her hair' and trying her hand at new fashions - being a teen.

Seeing other girls younger than her, the same age, or slightly older than her acting well beyond 'their years'; dressing in a manner that would make a grown man blush; dating; plastering their faces with make-up; posting suggestive photos and quotes -- It makes me cherish her innocence even more.

We have 3 more following in her footsteps.  I'm thrilled they have such a wonderful role model in her.  A big sister with integrity.  A young lady more interested in what God's Word says she should be rather than how the world encourages her to act, dress, look.

It's not easy for her.  She doesn't attract the 'popular girls' as friends.

Despite her ability to run a household and care for younger siblings, she's not considered 'mature' in the world's eyes.

She's still innocent, naive.

Others may think we are sheltering her, holding her back.

I believe we are preparing her to be a Godly woman; to follow God's ways; to be pure and lovely.

There's something to be said for keeping the little in our girls.  Once it's gone, I think we can all agree, it doesn't come back.  Why force that away earlier than we need to?  Why not encourage them to 'stay little' a while longer?

That's my goal.  I hope to keep the little in my girls a bit longer.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Relax and Enjoy the Ride

In case you didn't know this, I'm a type A personality. A bit high strung.  Techno-genius would probably say that's an understatement of mass proportions.  :-)

Over the years (and no, I haven't mastered it yet), I've learned to try to 'go with the flow' a bit more.

As I age, I want to improve even more.

I used to (ok, still do on occasion) get totally flustered whenever things didn't go as planned.  I'd become anxious, grumpy, irritable.

Just imagine traveling with me!  Especially with lots of kids in tow.

I think having so many kids is partially what helped curb my 'anal' tendencies.  (Pardon my choice of words.)

As one can imagine - having 6 kids sorta negates the idea of 'everything going as planned'.

As I observe others and how they respond to things not being just so, I am even more convinced that I desperately want to curb my overactive perfectionist qualities.

I acknowledge that I will always prefer structure, order.  Having things planned out and tidy; running smoothly.  However, I am well aware that doesn't always happen and that I have a choice in how I respond to those times.

My words, my reactions impact others.  I want my legacy to be a positive one.  I want to find joy in ALL situations, not just the ones that 'fit my agenda'.

After all - life happens.  It's rare that things REALLY turn out exactly as we'd like or anticipate.

Sometimes, if we're open to it, it's those unexpected, unplanned, imperfect moments that are the most precious.

If we're so focused on what we think should occur or on things being 'just so' we may miss  the many treasures that 'just happen'.

The gifts God had planned for us.  The ones that were in HIS agenda, even if they weren't in ours.