Friday, September 30, 2011

Treasures from a nature walk -- some you see and some you can't

I believe everyone goes through it every once in a while.  The past few days, it's been me.

I've been in a bit of a funk.

It's weird. Nothing is 'wrong'. Most things are, well--right, actually. I feel close to the Lord, to my kids and my husband, we have everything we could possibly need, we are healthy...the list could go on.

{his "hugest" leaf--an oak}

I couldn't put my finger on what was up, but Wednesday night in my ladies Bible study, Beth Moore smacked me upside the head with it. (High five if you LOVE that woman too.)

Even if you are not a Christian, stick with me here for a moment.

{seeds from a sweet gum tree--referred to by E as "spiky bombs"}

I am doing the study of Esther, and we were discussing how Esther's circumstances of being an orphan had radically affected her life. Beth had done an internet survey, inviting women of all walks of life to talk about some of their situations, and she was reading one of the ladies' survey questions aloud.

One of them went something like this: I feel like the jobs I am doing every day at home as a wife/mother don't matter--and at the same time, I feel guilty for wishing for significance, recognition, and importance.

{the maple tree seeds--he intends to plant his own tree}

Beth talked about the things that that mother probably did daily: wiped snot, cleaned up toys or throw up or toys or dirty dishes or toys, broke up arguments, fed others numerous meals (oh, and cleaned up after each one, too) and got up sometimes countless times a night to deal with who-knows-what. Things that don't seem at all like they make a difference--let alone are glamorous.

{the entire haul from his bucket}

Until, one day, tragedy strikes; and, out of the blue--that mother is gone.

Boy, are those 'insignificant' things that she did awfully noticeable now, once she is not there to do them on a daily basis.

{beautiful huge acorns}

That hit me so hard, but not in the way you might think. I realized not that I am searching for something more glamorous, or important, or significant, but that I am not seeing the joy and significance already present in my everyday life. I am not seeing what I do as purposeful in anyone's eyes--and I'm missing opportunities because of it.  She was able to phrase things in such a way to bring me around to seeing what the problem was.

I get up. I feed them. I clean up. I eat (maybe). I do chores. I play with them. I clean up again. I feed them again. I read to them. I work while they sleep. I help with homework. I feed them again. I clean up again. I clean them up. I read to them. I tuck them in. I go to sleep.

{ooooh-ing and aaaaahhh-ing over the spiky bombs}

Then, I do it all over again the next day. And the next. And the next.

Can you relate?

But here's the deeper reality:  I've cared for every single need they have ever had since the day they were born.

And, to find true joy, I need to choose to stop looking at these things as chores--and start viewing the mundane as the biggest things anyone will ever do for them in this life. Ever.

Being everything to them for now, while pointing them to the True Everything who will take their lives and do with it only what a loving, all-knowing, all-gracious God can.

{"I love these ones, Mommy....}

Seeing the little things as opportunities.

Like when your child says "I want to give some of my acorns back to the squirrels, they won't be hungry."

An opportunity to discuss loving others; giving; unselfishness; putting others before yourself; kindness.

Or when he asks you before putting each leaf into his bucket "Do you think this is a good one Mommy?" You say "Yes" over and over and watch him put the leaves in the bucket; then decide to test him on one by saying, "No...." and you watch as he puts it back on the ground.

An opportunity to realize just how much your opinion of things really means to him.

We had a wonderful walk together and made wonderful memories. 
I will treasure our day yesterday forever.

And now, I'm off to go find something amazing in my day. It'll be there. Guaranteed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Soccer photos, 2011

Storm U6 boys
(Cameron: middle back; Ethan: front left)



Storm U8 boys
(Shane, coach; Colin: front, second from left)


{Aren't they just the cutest!?}

Friday, September 23, 2011

We've left the TEEN months

My sweet girlie has left her teen months.

Today, she turned 20 months old.

She is doing and saying so many things. I thought about listing all the words she says, but it literally changes daily. The list would be very long, and I'm sure I would still forget so many....suffice it to say that she is speaking very well, and has more words in her vocabulary than I remember any of the boys having at this age!

She also understands very well. She follows even two and three step commands when we give them to her. {She must take after her father in that, because everyone knows how much I like to follow given directions!} Every mother says it about their child, but she just seems exceptionally smart!

She no longer sleeps in her standard position--she has a new wacky spot every night. It's fun to go in after she has fallen never know what you're going to find!

She loves to dance, and proceeds to show off whenever music comes on. 
{Even hymns in church--now that is some funny stuff.}

She has the funniest, cutest expressions. And you never know when you're going to see them!

She runs to the door when Shane gets off work hollering, "Daaaaaadeeeeee!" Talk about cute. 
She loves him, and he loves her even more--a special bond there for sure.

She has lots of hair in the back, but hardly any on the sides of her head! 
Enough for our favorite, though--PIGGIES!!

She. Has. Attitude.

She is loud. Like, supersonic loud. (I have no idea where she gets that from.) Instances this would include would be: screaming when she doesn't get her way; screaming (screeching?) when someone is trying to take a toy or other beloved object from her grasp; screaming when she is excited about something; yelling for Mommy to come and get her from her crib in the morning; or yelling "Guys! Guyyyyys!" at her brothers, when she wants their attention.

She loves to support her Salt Fork Storm soccer-playing brothers!

She lu-hu-huuuuuvvvvs Nutella. 
Also just like her mother.

Recently, she discovered that she can skip the whole wheat English muffin altogether--
and just lick the Nutella right off.
Not. Good.

On that note, she also picks the chocolate chips out of the granola bars; 
eats them; and then discards the granola. *grin*

She has a smile that lights up the room. 
And my heart.

She recently has developed a new skill: climbing. She climbs every stationary thing in our house. She's quite good at it, but still. Scary.

In the video below, I *somehow* managed to capture three of my favorite things:

  1. She knows the 'clinking' sound of the treat jar.  When she hears it, she runs into the kitchen and begs for whatever happens to be in there at the moment. (Which means I have to be in constant stealth mode when I'm sneaking peanut M&M's if I don't want to share which is always.)
  2. She knows what the Wii is, and can say "Wii", but it's almost German-sounding. It sounds a bit like "Vvvvfeee". Hysterical. 
  3. She calls Ethan "E-E" now.  He is her buddy--the two have become inseparable since the biggies went back to school. If he is not in the room, then she is searching for him!

I warn you: the video below is horrible quality, but you get the idea. Enjoy my girlie in action and be jealous that I'm surrounded by this face each day! :)

Lola Claire Fransisca, every day is made better by your presence in it.  We are thankful to 
God for the 20 months He has blessed us with you! We are immensely enjoying watching 
you transform from a baby into a sweet, tender, beautiful little girl. 
Happy 20's!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: "Hey boys....SMILE!!"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Old Cars

My Cameron is such a unique individual. {If you know him in real life, you know just how much 'weight' that sentence really carries.}

One of the things he has displayed to us is a love of "old cars". Since the time he was very young--almost from when he first started talking--he could recognize, point out, and say "Old car! Old car!"

The real kicker is that neither Shane nor I ever pointed those kind of cars out to him and taught him they were old. I guess he just instinctively knew.

We were always amazed at that.

{I feel quite certain he got that love from his Grandpa Danny, who also loved cars from the time he was knee-high.}

To this day, he still sees (and hollers out) at those old cars. So, when I heard that our local Fall Festival was going to be having an old car show, we just knew we had to check it out. We were lucky enough to have Grandma 'Nette and Grandpa down for a visit, so they came along--and we felt sure that Grandpa Danny was there with us in spirit, as well!

Checking out the Impala

Ethan in front of a corvette

Blue Stingray!

56 Thunderbird! 
Are you impressed that I knew that?!

Yeah....don't be.

Checking out the whitewalls

Ethan seemed to be particularly drawn to the RED ones!

Cameron loved this one....

....and the mini-cooper!


Cameron didn't care for the Do Not Touch signs, and needed to be reminded several times :-)

He just kept inching closer and closer!
Austin Healey 3000

A 57 Chevy!

Cameron said this one looked like a red "Doc" (from CARS).
Love this picture!

We saw a few roadsters....

{Colin loved this yellow one, and insisted on a picture with it}

....and even a Model T.

Ethan even got to sit in one (which I think, judging from how 'keep-your-kids-away-don't-even-let-them-breathe-on-the-car' crazy most of the owners were, was a pretty rare opportunity)

A racing engine

We all really enjoyed our time at the show.
Who knows, maybe someday Cameron will own and rebuild 
one of these himself, and we can go to his very own show!