Friday, December 31, 2010

too many ways

I've been unbelievably busy lately, and my mind is pulling too many ways. I start to focus on a particular joy, issue, problem, prayer, and am pulled right back in another direction. Yo-yoing.

***and I wrote that yesterday. See what I mean? Couldn't even get through a paragraph.

This morning, about 6am, Fred grabs me and shakes me. Tornado siren was going off, and my mind had just incorporated it right into my dreams. So glad he was home this morning, and not on the road coming back from work. We waited it out in the hallway, watching the news from there. There were three homes and a fire dept hit in a nearby town. A little tiny town that doesn't even have a siren. Hoping and praying that no one was hurt...

That's all I have right now. Too early, too sleep-deprived, and I'm writing pre-Coffee.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Best Family

We are part of an amazing Family, adopted by God Himself.

Luke 2:4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,
to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of
David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married
him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for
baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She
wrapped him
in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest
room available
for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in
the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of
the Lord appeared to
them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and
they were terrified. 10
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I
bring you good news that will
cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today
in the town of David a Savior has
been born to you; he is the Messiah, the
Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths
and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly
host appeared with the angel, praising
God and saying,

14 “Glory to
God in the highest heaven,
and on earth
peace to those on whom his favor

Jesus, simply the Best Gift ever given.

I've also been immensely blessed, by the best earthly family I could imagine. Fabulous sisters, playful and fun parents, the most amazing children.
My parents, never too old for Twister.

Amy, Julie, me
Best Sisters ever.
Hope yours was just as wonderful, filled with celebrations of our Savior, full of laughter and love.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where else can you...

ride virtual roller coasters

(love big sister's protective hand on her little brother)

go bowling...

ride a horse...
shoot guns...lots and lots of monster trucks...blow out candles...
and enjoy yummies at a birthday party?

Why, Chuck E. Cheese, of course!
I know, in the past, I've been a little skeptical of Chuck E. Cheese.
In fact, I remember once saying that I was sure they had one in hell.
But we did have a great time today!
The noise, craziness, and unsupervised sugar-hyped kids were tolerable in the short-ish amount of time that we were there. Plus, free food and tokens-- can't beat that. Not to mention, friends that we adore! Yeah, it was FUN. A new Chuck E. Cheese memory for me. Good stuff. Even if my littlest did have a major meltdown and start screaming when it was time to go. SCREAMING. ;/ Ugh. But his dear Daddy whisked him out to the van, without shoes or a coat, to silence the little bugger and put an end to the fit. Apparently, LittleLad apologized immediately, upon reaching the van.
Again, good stuff. Progress.
He was removed from a situation and, instead of throwing a worse fit, he apologized.
Yes, I will take that as a lesson well-learned, even if I did suffer some brief Mommy-embarrassment in a very public place, as a result.

In other news, we've been dressing the Daddy doll, while Fred is at work.
I love a man with a great sense of humor. ;)
Awww, holding hands.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Overbooked, yet overjoyed

I'm so ridiculously behind. I know.
Remember how I was trying not to overschedule? Yeah, well, the holidays totally cramp my isolation-style. ;) The calendar somehow filled to the brink.
How do you say no to so many wonderful things? I'm not good at that.
I said yes.
A lot.

Here's the lowdown on my last two-ish weeks:

Awesome home group with amazing people, singing, eating, playing games.
Jetta and Isabelle, two beauties!

See the line Tate drew? What would you guess?

The answer was "floss." :D

(We didn't get it.)

And Kate had her baby TODAY, two days after this picture was taken. The hysterical laughing helped, I'm sure.

Ryan and Nicole, I'm going to miss you.

My fantastic friend Rochelle had her beautiful blonde baby Jasper last week

Love this pic!

Papaw took us all to the Candlelight dinner and service. Amazing. Thanks to all who planned, directed, and sang!

And my Man had a birthday on the 15th (I won't disclose his age, but he does have gray hairs now...shhhhh!)

Lots of playdate fun with friends...
My awesome sister, Julie, dyed my hair. Thank you, woman of many talents!
Fire red streaks are making me happy.

My other amazing sister, Amy, turned ...umm...27 (? that's right... right?)
some artwork of mine, for girlfriends and for my etsy:

Plenty of messy indoor play--here the boys are playing cars in the snow (flour)

Last, but not least,
Amers bought a new house, and will officially sign papers in January!!
One of my other dear friends was finally able to move into her new home TODAY.
YAY Tracy!
We're missing Papaw, as he travels to California and Colorado to visit family over the Christmas season. How many 77-year old fly around here and there, hanging out with family?
And, most importantly, we've been together a lot as a family, able to talk, sing, and worship.
So very thankful for the Reason for the Season.
Oh, God, thank you for sending us Your Son.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hug them longer

5 days, folks. I never go five days without posting. But, you see, I'm not only busy with holidays and etsy stuff, birthdays and family gatherings... but I'm also trying desperately not to trivialize the little things. After reading that this fellow mommy blogger just lost her toddler, on my husband's birthday... I feel... so so very sad. So sad and heartbroken for her. So guilty, and really downright ashamed, that I have scolded my kids so often this week for being too loud and rowdy in the house. That I too quickly say, "just a minute" when they ask me to come or to look at what they've drawn. That I don't always stay the extra few minutes when I tuck them in, to hear about the latest plot in the library book.

So sad...and scared, too. So scared. Scared for my children's safety, and scared that I would falter under such tragedy.

I'm so sad for that sweet, sweet Mama and her family. please, please pray for her. Pray for daily strength, perfect comfort over their entire family. Lord that you would ease their hearts, that no one would see blame.

And, Lord, help me look at the eternal. Help me see each moment with my children as the blessing that it is. Please fade the urgent and pressing matters, social events, bills... and help me focus on the truly important things.

I also urge you to read her advice at the end... look around your home. Accidents happen.

We have two bookcases in our playroom that are both anchored, and a pantry cupboard that is set against the wall in such a way that it would fall against a bookcase (thereby not ON anyone or the floor) if it tipped. But the large, heavy, real wood dresser in my son's room was not anchored. So I moved it today. Now it can't fall. Now it's safe, because I read that post and the heartache of that mom's words, as she tries to protect other children.

I know it's a sad, horribly tragic thing to post so near Christmas. But, if you're like me, it will help you focus, pray, hug tighter and longer...think about those who are hurting at this time...

Must go now. Must kiss my sleeping beauties.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pay It Forward Babysitting, and more Art Therapy

If you read my recent post about my 3-year old, you'll know that I needed a break. We ALL needed a break. He's a GREAT kid (they all are,) but we were sandpapering each other. Rub, rub, scratch, scratch, grrrriiiiind.

Often it's those IN the mud of the situation that can't see how to get OUT. I could-should- have called off school for a day. Or packed them up and carted them off to Fun City. Or any number of things that might have helped us. But I just kept plugging along instead, doing some tweaks...but never asking for help or getting us out of the house. All of that changed, though, when a dear friend of mine sent me an email asking for my kids.

Yeah. Even after my last posts about them driving me nuts. She simply has the sweetest heart, full of genuine love and care. She knew I needed a break, and offered to take my four for four free hours of drop-the-kids-off-and-get-out-of-here. I'm not big on asking for help. You know, 'cus I'm awesome and all, and I can do it all, all by myself, all the time. ( uh, huh *cough*)

My gosh, you'd better believe I packed up my precious munchkins and dropped them off at her house, where they had a fabulous time, and I had a nice long break (well, mostly housework, but that felt good!) I had a chance to miss them. After four solid hours of quiet, I was prepared to resume Normal.

Glorious silence. And then glorious laughs filled the house again. My, that gift of time was just what the doctor ordered.
Elizabeth, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I never guessed I'd have such a full plate in life, that requires so much physical and mental energy from early morning until late at night. I never knew that I would have so many children to get ready every day, school every day...(Thank you Lord, that I do). Sunlight and outdoor time rejuvenates me, and I'm sorely lacking that in the winter. Still trying to find good ways to cope. Breaks, yes. Also exercise, which is lacking. Plus I've been replacing my normal diet of mostly fruits and veggies with LOTS of carbs. Maybe not the best mix, all in all. Must do better.

Anywho, tomorrow I get to pay it forward to another friend, and I'm excited about that! Goes to show what the example of one person can do!

And now, Artwork #4 and #5. I'm on a permanent-marker-on-book-pages kick, as you can see. I do fully intend to go back and paint some or all of these later. And reopen my etsy soon. Someday. And sell art. Maybe. We'll see...

(don't even try to read the text-- I need to choose my pages more carefully, I think. *snort*)

"Wise for his age"

(shan, that title is for you. Because I knew you'd looove it. ;) heh.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Indoor Play and Artwork

Felt Board (aka Felt on the couch)

I said I was going to do artwork every evening, and I didn't lie... just slacked on posting on Day #2. ;) So I'll show you two things today, to make up for it.

But first... I'm coping with the cold days and high-energy boys by planning better. This article, at Heart of the Matter, spoke to me. I was trying to do too much at once, pulled in different directions and stressed out. The boys were indeed misbehaving, but at least part of it was the poor planning and lack of structure on my part. I had let our schedule get too lax. I had been sick. My own energy was weak, and I let a lot go.

Marble Run.

Best. Gift. Ever.

Now I'm back to planning plenty of "structured activities," with time for free play scattered in short intervals. By structured, I do NOT mean that they are sitting and doing crafts all day. My boys can only handle so much sitting. I simply mean that I give them something to do, so they don't use the time for demolition, as boys are prone to do.
Pull-Up Bars, bought several months ago at Wal-Mart, and worth every penny.
Now for my last two days' artwork.
Fairly quick permanent marker sketches on book pages.
A view overlooking the city

Girl in the wind

Have a great night! I'm off to the Candlelight service, in a few minutes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Agonizing Throes of Threes

My sweet little toddler has turned into a defiant, rascally little bugger, almost overnight. And, because of the extra energy and emotion that it's taken to deal with this astoundingly naughty little boy, I've been much snappier with the other kids, too. ;/ Bad deal.

After a week of this nonsense, I'm feeling rather discouraged, angry at myself for not consistently responding well, and more than a little ticked that he's been such a snot. Mostly mad at myself. If this is a test, it's pretty small in the grand scheme of things, and I'm already failing it.

I did some yelling out loud, more in my head, took my deep breaths, and then still proceeded to need my own "time out" on the kitchen floor (trying to breath while my teeth were grinding.) And, instead of relying on God, having quiet time, or calling for support, I threw my own little pity party. "This isn't US!" "This isn't how it's supposed to be!!" "WHY are they fighting all the time?" "What did I do wrong?" Yes, I did. Right there on the floor. I might as well have been stamping my little foot.

And I wonder where he gets it from. {sigh}

I have been praying about it, usually at night, when the kids are asleep, and I can think loving thoughts about them again. And I'm finally coming up with some tactics. Tomorrow we have a plan. A new schedule. More outside time. More Daddy Time. Firepit planned. A new spot for the time-out chair. Oh, yes, I'm on the ball.

And I have a back-up plan, too! If things turn south, I'll run away. No joke. ;) My Man is home tomorrow (hallelujah, do you hear singing??) so I can run a lap around the neighborhood if my stress level elevates too high. Oh, speaking of stress rising-- My Little Lad saw my deep-breathing today and asked, quite seriously, if my head was going to explode. Perhaps I've mentioned the possibility too often?

I'm also reinstating my late-night art times. How on earth had I let that slide? Got too busy listing books to sell, finishing furniture (my computer desk, TV table, a desk for a friend...) Redoing furniture is fun, but just finishing it isn't "artsy" in my book. I missed my creative time badly.

So, first, you can pray that my boys will not kill each other through the winter. Why must boys wrestle nonstop? Outside it's fine and dandy; go ahead, knock each other down, climb trees, play in the mud-- but when we're stuck inside, they MUST learn to deal with it in a semi-decent way. I put the pull-up bars back in the doorways, but we really need a padded "ball-pit" room, and an indoor playground, complete with climbing wall (Michele, I'm relying on you to invite me over when you finish your room!!)

Second, you can help hold me accountable for my own behavior. I need to pray, seek advice for this new stage from more experienced moms, be consistent with my art "therapy," and take enough time away from them to remember how absolutely fabulous they are. That's a biggie; Fred's shift, plus our recent sickness, have thrown my social life out the window. I miss my friends. I miss being away from the kids, for at least a few hours a week. I NEED to miss them. I hope that makes some sense.

Ah, sigh. Confession helps the soul, too, I think. I know I'm not alone. And I know that anyone who would judge me, simply hasn't walked in these shoes.

So, here's my artwork for the night. My therapy, if you will.


maybe done?

Not sure if I'll end up painting this or not.

My goal (a bit half-heartedly, maybe) is to post a new piece of artwork every night. Which means I'll HAVE to draw or paint something every day, or at least add to a picture. Fingers crossed.