...with a husband and 5 sons, I am truly outnumbered....stories and thoughts on life from a mom in a houseful of little men!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Just Snowshoein'

Our Alaskan boys have been out on their new snowshoes every day since Christmas save one. What a great gift from Grandmom and Grandpa...I foresee a lot of use of these for years to come!

Our Little "Joseph"

Our church has a tradition of a "living nativity" the Sunday before Christmas. The preschoolers bless us with a very precious reminder of Christ coming as a little child...while the choir (including the grade-school kids) sing. Our little Spunky played Joseph this year...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The First Load...All Hues of Blue

OOOOO....I love all these blues! I finally was able to indulge in washing the first loads of our newest son's teeny-weeny little clothes. Tony and Spunky have been busy painting and setting up the crib.......so now it's been my turn to fuss about and do the new mommy nesting thing! I love having this room all (almost) set up......and dreaming about all the precious, tender times we will share with our baby son in here. I'm so happy we're having this baby...I'm overwhelmed with the fact that God Himself came to us in this most humble and precious and vulnerable form. I'm overwhelmed with the fact that that same God also has laid out each and every day and purpose for this little one that we're about to meet any day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"I Winned a Cwuvverin' Test!"

MTA sponsored a kids' coloring contest this year. Here's our little winner:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rollercoaster of a Weekend

This past weekend will be set in my memory for a long time. It's been packed full of activity, and packed full of emotion. Friday night we rejoiced as our 6-year-old Eaglet overcame his fear and went up on stage for his Christmas concert...
then felt a sting as we sent my beloved Grandma Dorothy back home to Wisconsin.

Early Saturday morning we felt shock and sadness as we learned our church building had been set on fire and extensively damaged...

....and yet felt God's peace and hope...because we know that though someone tried to destroy our church, our Church cannot be destroyed. We joyfully met with friends from Rwanda whom we haven't seen for five years... and then were blessed by my goddaughter's ballet performance. She, like our Eaglet, has worked so hard to overcome her shyness: First coat of paint on the nursery walls, and we were off to "It's a Wonderful Life Night" at some dear friends' home. It was so comforting to enjoy the warmth of their home, group prayer for our church, sustaining food, and friendships. We finally made our way home, exhausted yet content. Today our boys were contentedly at home with Grandmom in charge. It had been a long several days for them, and they needed some time to rest and play and not go anywhere. Tony and I had plans to Christmas shop for the day after attending the Wasilla Bible Church service. We are back to meeting in the Wasilla Middle School--physically displaced, but renewed in faith and hope. The service was packed, and NEVER have I experienced a more Spirit-filled service in our dear church. No frills. No childcare. No Sunday school. Three instruments and five musically gifted brothers and sisters led us in worship. It was deep worship from the heart. Deep emotions. Glory to our Savior. We spilled out of the school after services and made our way back across the parking lot, across the street and into the high school parking lot where we'd had to park. The day was crisp, well below-zero...and beautifully clear and bright. Sunshine poured down and the frosty sillhouettes of trees and foliage shimmered. What a beautiful day. What a blessing to have such a full weekend...such a full life. To borrow a quote from a fellow blogger/friend..."I'm just so thank-FULL."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blessed Big-Time

Wow. Not even sure I have the words for this post. I was SO BLESSED this past weekend with love, encouragement, prayers, gifts, FRIENDS. This is a group shot from Baby Alek's and my baby shower last Saturday. What an amazing time. Been to a lot of baby showers...but never have I felt such blessing and peace from the Spirit as I did at this one. We had a wonderful, heart-felt group prayer time together and I even had a song written for and performed for me. This will be one of my best life memories; I'll cherish it always. I am truly speechless by the number of positive, loving, God-loving women (and their families) that God has brought into my life. Another precious thing was that my 78-year-old grandma was here from Wisconsin. It was such a blessing to have her at this shower. Thank you to Mom, Grandma, Tracee, Heidi, and all of you who made this such a wonderfully special day for me.
It also seems as though this shower was planned with perfect timing. An appointment with my midwife yesterday confirmed that our little guy is very anxious to make his way out! He dropped Monday night, and I have instructions to take it easy and try and make it another 2 1/2 weeks. If things keep progressing, it will be bed rest time until that 2 1/2 weeks are up. I feel peace in knowing that he will born at the perfect time.
I'm so excited, and find myself in irrational states of nesting. The boys and I went out to buy a car seat yesterday...and bought everything for the baby from Target but a car seat. Now if we could just get that nursery painted...and a crib purchased and put up! Plans are for this weekend--I can't wait to have that little room all ready and waiting for our precious 4th son.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

JJ's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day...

I'm home now. The kids have had a "lunch" of sorts--at 4:00 p.m. Time for me to unload.
It snowed all afternoon and evening and into the morning. It's truly beautiful, except that three little boys and I needed to be dressed, fed and out of the house at 8:30 this morning to make it to a doctor appointment by 9:15. I still have not gotten my studded tires on.
My 3-year-old morning person made his way up the stairs much too early. I knew he was coming by the perpetual, "I'm way too tired because sleep is for the birds" whine which slowly increased in volume. It was soon apparent that he was not the only one who got up on the wrong side of the bed. Our morning routine consisted of much pestering, bickering, moaning, groaning, and in-general--gnashing of teeth. Three little boys finally got out the door (on-time--whew!) and made their way out to the studless family van. We made our way through the slip-sliding morning traffic and arrived at the medical plaza at 9:15. I naively thought, "We did it! All downhill from here!" Three little boys unloaded and we made our way across the parking lot and into the building and down the hall. We were greeted by a dark, shade-drawn office with a note on the door proclaiming, "We moved in October! We finally have a building of our own!" Good for you, and congratulations. WISH YOU'D HAVE BOTHERED TO MENTION THIS LITTLE FACT WHEN I MADE THE APPOINTMENT...OR YESTERDAY WHEN YOU CALLED TO CONFIRM! There was an address on the door, which was totally unfamiliar to me. Upon investigation, I found another little note in another window with a very obscure map on it. Three little boys and their mother (mind you with 4th little boy inside) headed back up the hall, back across the parking lot, and through the ritual of buckling into three little car seats. This sounds innocent enough, but any of you readers with three boys know the facts--it is somewhat similar to herding cats, only much louder. Back out into slip-sliding traffic we trudged. I headed in the general direction of where I thought the new office was located. Taking the back roads, I over-shot where I wanted to be and needed to take a left out onto Parks Highway. Done it many times. It's no big deal if you are patient enough to wait for a reasonable opening. I pulled up to the "stop sign" (more on this later) and waited. Finally it was my time. I safely pulled out, and for some reason, the notion popped into my mind that I was going to get in a car accident on my way and it would be all because the doctor office didn't bother to mention they moved. I had to hang in the middle "suicide lane" momentarily while I waited for the other flow of traffic to open up...and it was there I saw a trooper's lights go on. Crap. Is it illegal to hang momentarily in the middle lane if necessary on a snowy day to avoid a collision? Guess so, or so I thought. This was my last straw. I pulled over and burst into tears; I had absorbed my limit of stress on this morning. I'm talking tears as in, the blubbering, gasping type that do not and will not shut off under any amount of will power. I rolled down my window and apologized to the trooper, asking him to please wait a moment. He had that slightly nervous, large-eyed look that most men get to some degree when faced with a pregnant woman in tears. I finally collected myself enough to answer his question, "So you must know why I pulled you over?" I blubbered out why I had to hang momentarily in the middle lane while the other side of traffic cleared more because of the slippery roads...blah, blah, blah." He replied, "There's a traffic light there now; you ran a red light." (Insert loud gong-type noise that at this point went off in my frazzled little head.) A traffic light. Of course. They put them in last September, or August, or...whatever. At this point, I struggled to come up with all the documents the trooper needed--licence, registration, insurance. Most things were in the glove compartment, and proved a bit difficult to retrieve...as are most things these days which require stooping or bending of any sort. I did not have our most recent insurance card in the van. I apologized through my stream of tears which would not end, and waited for him to do his thing back in the patrol car. At this point I thought I'd try and call the doctor's office. Too bad they were not listed in the phone book. Trooper returns, all apologetic-like, and explains he's giving me a ticket for no insurance and if I just produce that within ten days the ticket is void. For the red light, he explained, "I am just giving you a warning...I can see you're having a REALLY BAD DAY." I blubbered out a barely-audible "thank you do you know where Willow street is?" The slightly-nervous-man-look returned and he began to walk backward in an effort to relieve himself from this pitiful, teary-eyed, desperate, pregnant woman whom he REALLY was wishing he had not bothered to pull over. He apologized that he does not normally patrol Wasilla. Off we went.
By God's grace we found the new office; it was 10:50. We headed in, me still not able to stop crying. What a nuisance tears and emotions can be; I desperately wanted those tears to stop, but they would not concede. The receptionist had no pity that I didn't know the office had moved, but we were still able to see the doctor after every other person who had gotten there on time. The doctor visit went as expected. This was an appointment I had not been looking forward to, and had been putting off for many months. Bobcat gets migraines. Freaky, knock-him-out-with-no-notice, makes-him-puke migraines. I've been hoping and praying for months they would just go away. Finally after another episode this past weekend, I made the appointment. Here's a little fun-fact about myself--I hate radiation. I chalk this up to having gone through radiology courses and training and taking x-rays in my previous life, uh...job. I know too well the dangers and risks associated; I also know it can be necessary and helpful. I just do not like the thought of my babies taking any of it on. I have put off this doctor visit because I knew the doctor would request an MRI. Sure enough, we are going to be heading for an MRI. News I expected, but didn't like. The other thing we needed to do was blood work. No biggie, for most people...including myself, and our 6-year-old and 3-year-old. BIG DEAL for our 8-year-old. Mercy. We spent a long time (3 of us) holding him down while he struggled and plead and cried. It added to the wonderful day we were having.
At this point, we were supposed to be headed to a long-awaited field trip to Matanuska Creamery which began at 11:00. It was now 11:06. Three very bummed-out little boys head to the van, and I tell them we can just head over and maybe they'll let us go on the 2nd tour at 12:00. They did. Ice cream brightened my little crew's day momentarily. We had a couple errands before we could go home. The highlight, which was tucked in between a whole lot of whining and pestering, was knock-down, drag-out hysteria in the Fred Meyer restroom...because my 6-year-old is positively panicked over automatic-flushing toilets. If you heard a blood-curdling, frantic screaming sometime this afternoon...it was us. At this point, I made my summation proclamation, "Well this has been a banner-day for the (insert our last name.) That's all. May you all have a much better day than the one described!
Side note--We choose to give thanks for our days--whether they are good days, or bad days. What a cool thing that after the trooper incident, I could remind the boys of the song we hear regularly on KLOVE, "Praise You in This Storm". They have asked before, "What is this song talking about, Mommy?" I told them today, that days like today are what the song is talking about. We choose to praise Jesus for all our days--because each and every one (YES, including today!) are a gift from Him. We are healthy, together, and have a job that provides a warm home and good food. Jesus is the giver of everything good, and we will praise Him in every storm.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Eaglet and the Big 0-6

Eaglet planned his own party this year. He looked through a cookbook and chose Ice Cream Mice in lieu of cake.
He wanted a "coin hunt", and so we searched the house for chocolate coins.
He wanted to play "Pin the Thomas Jefferson on the 2 dollar bill"...and so we pinned up Andrew Jackson (Mom's mistake) portrait on a giant "bill".
He picked out strawberry Whoppers for appetizers, to proceed Papa Murphy's pizza...
...and received a prized Buffalo toy...many coins for his coin collection...a coin collecting guide, camoflauge overalls, and many Titanic books! Gifts that he totally treasures, but none befitting of the love we feel for him. The years just go by faster and faster. I love this child. He is intense. He is loud. He is full of life and joy. He cares for others. He loves what is right and good and just. Happy 6th Birthday, Eaglet.

Perfect Saturday

My idea of a perfect Saturday...doesn't happen real often...but then "perfect" would become "ordinary", right? We were blessed with such a one a few weeks ago.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bawling--Sobs of JOY!

Oh my goodness...you all have GOT to click on this site and watch this (October 20) video of our dear friends meeting their precious, new baby daughter in Seoul! We have been knit together with this family in prayer for their long-awaited baby girl for years. I mean seriously...it has been years in process and our amazing God is bringing it to fruitition. Grab some kleenex, turn up the volume and check this out: Meeting Molly Howell And then, please join in praying for this incredible family.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Great Reason to Love 3-Year-Olds!

Their blatant honesty.

Upon the advice of my hairdresser, I bought myself a set of hot rollers. Haven't tried the things since about 20 years ago, but thought I'd give it a shot. Sherry knows what she's talking about, right? Yesterday morning I put 'em to work. As I sat all hot-rollered on the couch during my morning Bible study/quiet time, I heard the little padded footsteps that I know and love so well, coming up the stairs. Spunky started chattering away about something as he made his way up the stairs--his way of diverting attention from the fact that he really isn't supposed to be out of bed yet. I sat with a smile...just wondering about the effect my get-up would have on him and what delightful comment he'd have to share. I was not left disappointed. Upon seeing his mommy, he stopped in mid-sentence, gaping at me. "OH MY MOMMY! WHAT is THAT thing?! Mommy! You is lookin' like a SCARECROW!" So, it is only right that I end this post with a picture of the (very scary scarecrow), taken by my 8-year-old (who by the way had plenty to say about my state..as did my 5-year-old.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

From My Heart

This one's very tender on my heart. So tender, in fact, I've let it sit for about six weeks before deciding it was important to share it. God designs families, and He does it perfectly. He knows exactly who we need and who needs us. Boy, girl, conceived or adopted....He brings us all together in perfection. With each of our babies, we have inwardly acknowledged and embraced this, and eagerly anticipated exactly "who" He was adding! With each of our babies, we have also developed dreams and possibilities of "who" the new little person was and what they would be like. Baby number four has been no different. So when the much-anticipated ultrasound day arrived (we never have waited until the birth day to "find out" boy or girl or to choose names....we've always had the possible names ironed-out and we've lovingly called our little ones by name from the ultrasound date on...) we grabbed hold of the dream that really was, and simultaneously let go of the dream of the other possibility. At the pinnacle of our joy we shared with anyone who asked (and many who didn't ask) about the ultrasound--"Yes, praise the Lord our baby is healthy and well! And....he is a boy and his name is _________!" Well, I was not prepared at all for some of the reactions this time. We were met with some hurtful and down-right rude reactions...such as--deep, heavy sighs....hands covering faces....mutterings of "I'm so sorry--will you try again?" (What do you mean--"try again"? For what?...because there are no disappointments here.) These reactions hurt. These reactions made me cry. How could anyone be sad over such joyous news? I am the mother of four, perfectly special, hand-knit gifts from the Lord. They happen to be all boys. Actually, they don't "happen to be"...they are each and every one a unique gift from God. No accidents here. He created them for us and created them perfectly--knowing exactly how He wanted to build this family He's so graciously given us. Feeling very sad and teary those first couple of days post-ultrasound because of these reactions, in addition to pouring my heart out to God I also did something I never do--e-mailed a complete stranger. Rachel Balducci is a newspaper columnist and mother of five sons. I love her stories and insights...many are all so familiar to me. I needed so badly to hear from someone who may have walked a similar experience. This precious woman e-mailed back to me words of grace and love. Yes, she had been in my shoes. Yes, it hurt. Truly she was God's mouth-piece to me during a rough time. She also included part of my e-mail in her blog, Testosterhome. The discussion on yours truly is posted on September 1, 2008. There are several comments on that post--some funny, some poignant, others...well...annoying. It is a good discussion. One of the comments stands out to me the most:
Blogger Rebecca said...
I try SO HARD to remember that "congratulations" is the only appropriate response to news of a new baby -- boy or girl.
Well said. Let's remember to rejoice over God's masterpieces.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fourteen Years of Grace

September 23, 2008

First Snow!

The first snowfall is always fun...no matter when we get it. We've been watching the snow come steadily down the mountains the past few weeks, and knew it could meet us down here any day. The day was yesterday. It started out raining, then turned to sleet, then snow. The first picture here is from yesterday...the second from today--we were surprised it stayed cold enough not to melt. Well, we're sort of surprised. I guess more is in the forecast. A couple years ago, we had our first fall on October 10, and it stuck the entire winter. This could be it, folks.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Lessons on Women

So last night at supper, Eaglet asked why the Titanic is referred to as "her" and "she". I explained that, traditionally, ships are referred to as women and named womens' names. so Bobcat pipes in--in his normal, revelatory, booming voice--"Oh! So we can call women "Titanic"?!" Uh....no. But we got a GREAT laugh!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

5th Gup and a Broken Board--Way to Go!

Bobcat tested to move up rank in Tang Soo Do this afternoon. I know I've said this before, but I'm completely amazed by the positive, fun, rigorous testing these guys go through. The instructor actually said that the goal is to totally wear the kids down and see if they can still perform...and they do--with gusto and enthusiasm and smiles. It is really fun to watch.