Friday, September 19, 2014

HIGHS & LOWS FROM THIS WEEK

We've had our ups and downs this week, just like you.  Here's a rundown.

High:  We've eaten at CFA at least 3 times.  Maybe more.  Sometimes I lose count.  Not cooking or cleaning up is always such a blessing these days, and the kiddos certainly love their chicken.  Good thing we've got a steady supply.

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Low:  On Tuesday evening, I went to clean out Lily's lunch box.  The plastic insert was already washed out, which was weird, and I noticed that there were a few ants crawling on it.  Then, I noticed that the outside of the lunch box had ants meandering all over it.  Sick.

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When asked, Lily told me that the basket with all the lunch boxes had accidentally been left outside all afternoon, and the ants had been discovered right before school had let out.  It seems that Lily's box had the worst infestation, and she kept saying how it was the "Worst Day Ever."  (I never did figure out if hers actually was the worst, but she seemed to feel singled out in the incident.)  Every other day this week, she has come home and when asked how her day was, replied with, "Good - there were no ants today."

High:  Though John has had a busy week, he still made time to play with the kiddos.  We all love this scenario.

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High:  Every afternoon, Bella and I head to the bus stop together, and usually, she dons some sort of extraordinary attire for the occasion.  It's always pretty entertaining, and she is quite serious about it.

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High:  Sibling love.  The girls really love the babies, and the feelings seem to be mutual.  I shared this pic on Instagram, but its too stinking cute not to share again.  Also, please note the drool dripping from Violet's chin.  This is ALL THE TIME.

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Low:  Last night, after bedtime but while I was still up, Lily ran out to the living room to inform me that Bella had thrown up.  She had, and it was pretty nasty.  She had given no indication of feeling queazy, and even afterwards, she seemed totally fine.  Lily was a huge help during clean up, and Bella was also very sweet and helpful.  Bella woke up feeling fine, so I think it was just a freak thing, but it was pretty pathetic at the time.

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Low:  We got some bad news about Lily's teacher, and she is out of school for a couple of weeks.  We are hoping and praying for a speedy recovery for her!

High:  We got some good news about the twins' birth family, and we are rejoicing!

Well, that's that.  We have some fun weekend plans in the works, and I am hoping and praying for healthy children and all of the other stars to align to make it happen.  As I told John today, God knows what we need.  And though we may not always like what that is, we can trust that it will be good and for the best.  That said, I really hope that we get to do what we have planned!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

EMBRACE THE SEASON

I've got a bit of a thing for the four seasons.  I have seasonal traditions.  I look forward to certain foods or festivals as the year ticks by.  I have pictures of the four seasons in my home, and I am looking to acquire more.

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(I purchased these pictures from iStock several years ago, and they are printed onto canvases and hanging over my fireplace.  I love them.  It's some beautiful spot in Sweden.)

It is fascinating to me that the Lord chose to break up our time here on earth into a rhythmic cadence. Sun-drenched summer with its pool time and popsicles gives way to the rainbow leaves and pumpkin patches of crispy fall.  The world is set alight with the magic of Christmas, and then everything settles into a sleepy sort of cold with snow on the bare-limbed trees and curling up cozy next to a roaring fire.  Just when it seems as if the winter will never end, bright spring green starts showing up all around town in places you least expect it.  Trees are covered with flowers as everything is reminded that new life can be found anywhere and everywhere.  I always need that reminder after winter.

This season in my own life is a full one.  When I glance around the room, I see a million things, big and small, that are screaming for my attention and time.  And there are four precious little people who depend on me for almost everything.  I work for hugs and kisses and the knowledge that this will all be worth it.  Even knowing all that and loving it, there are times of mental boredom and overwhelming physical fatigue.  It's just the season that I'm in.

As I take stock of all the things we have going right now, I am forced to conclude that we cannot be adding to that pile.  In fact, I've had to cut things - things that I have loved in the past - life giving things.  But, to be the wife and mother that I want to be and that God has called me to be, I've had to say "NO" to being and doing other things.  There is freedom in the release, but there is loss as well.

I'm left wanting and trying to embrace the season that I'm in.  I know it is fleeting.  I know that its joys are unique and precious.  I know that I'm tired.

Last night I reread Ecclesiastes 3.  The first 8 verses go through there being a time for everything.  I've always loved the rhythm of that passage and the way that our lives do mimic that reality.  And then you get to verse 11 -

"He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

He has set eternity in the human heart.  There is a reason that I am always longing for more; my heart was made for something more.  My heart seems to know that life is but a blink, but my mind cannot catch up to it.  I cannot fathom all that God has done, is doing or will do.  It's too big.

So, for now, I'm praying to see the beautiful in this season, in this time.  I'm hoping and praying for extra strength and grace in these long, full days.  I'm trying to just dig in - right here where I'm at, embracing the season.  For I am all too aware that "This To Shall Pass" - both the bad and the good.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A FEW FUN WEEKEND SCENES

This weekend brought with it some great fun, which was nice in the midst of all that is going on other fronts in our life.  John got back late Friday night, and we kicked off Saturday was a delightful birthday party to attend.  (Check out the super fun details here!)  Our kiddos loved all the barnyard animals and the tasty treats.

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(I love this picture of Violet chowing down while watching that donkey to make sure it doesn't make any sudden movements!)
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Saturday night a miraculous thing happened.  Friends that have moved to Memphis were back for the weekend and almost everyone was able to get a sitter for a fun adults' night out.

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After church on Sunday, we went out for lunch.  By the time we have been there two services, William is just toast.  He wanted to sleep through lunch.

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And, I love this pic of the girls.  Bella sure does miss Lily while she's at school, but they still get lots of time together.  Including this sweet microwave moment.

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Hope that your week is off to a great start.  I can't exactly say that I love the way this one has kicked off, but I am hoping for the best!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

MY MOM & THE NEW WORLD ORDER

John spent most of last week in Atlanta, and because I know what is good for us, I asked my mom if she could come and spend the week with me.  It was a gift in so many ways to have her here.  First off, she's my mom.  She loves me and understands me and is kinder to me than I deserve.  She has shown me what being a good mother should look like.  Secondly, we have a lot of fun together.  And despite/because of all my children, there was a lot of fun this week.  Thirdly, my mother is an organization machine and brought a new world order to several parts of my home that desperately needed it.

Our week included some fun highlights, like letting all the kiddos roam around outside.

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And eating lunch with Lily at her school.


We tried on the dresses Mom made for the girls - aren't they cute?  (Violet's is also really cute.)

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We got matching pedicures.

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We cleaned up poop explosions in parking lots.  Lucky us.

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It was so fun to have Mom see what fun personalities the twinsies are developing.

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And in between all the fun, we squeezed in a lot of organization at Mom's gentle cattle prodding.  We organized my very large bag collection.  It seems that they breed at my house.  Only a portion of them is shown in this pic.

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It's time for a confession.  The state of my dishtowels has been disgraceful.  This has driven my extremely neat mother crazy for a few years, and I really have had no excuse.  It's not like they are really expensive or hard to find.  I just haven't spared the time and energy to replace them.  But, we did it this week.  It's the New World Order in my kitchen linen drawer.  It was way beyond time.

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And last, but definitely not least, we tackled the kiddos' closets for the Great Fall Sort.  I've mentioned before that this job is one of my least favorite.  It was finished in record time thanks to my mom's assistance and determination.

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I think I have a future organizer in the making when I found these notes that Lily had made after seeing our notes.

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And now she's gone, but John is back.  I'm so thankful that Mom was able to come and so glad that she's now retired so we'll get to see more of her.  And I'm hopeful that the New World Order will be able to stay in tact even in her absence.  Fortunately, I have a bit of a neat freak husband to help.