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Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

What defines you?  What defines me?  Who am I?  I know I am mother to four crazy cool children, wife to a very sweet husband, daughter to my fabulous parents, and sister to my witty and charming sibling...but beyond that?  Is there something that is just mine?  Just me?  Here is what I know about myself.

The Good:  I can type fast and accurately.  I can be very organized, I love when things are straight and in alphabetical order.  I love to write.  I love to read.  I can laugh long and hard and have even found myself at times thinking I just may pass out and die from a case of the giggles!  I love people.  I feel like I can find the good in almost anyone.  I am quite chatty, but I do feel I can be a good listener.  I have a quick mind, I am good in a crunch.  I have always known that I do just about everything in life at a very fast pace.  I love to work out once I get going.  I have recently completely accepted the Christian life and LOVE it!

The Bad:  I bite my nails.  I chew my lip and cheek.  I smoked for about 10 years (sort of off and on).  I love to drink to excess when I have no responsbilities (yeah, it's been a while).  I can get angry pretty easily.  I like to yell.  Frustration causes me to throw things.  I can be flippant or aloof about things sometimes when others are seriously feeling stressed.  I am forgetful - way more now than ever before!  I can be lazy.  I gossip.  I judge people rather quickly.  I can hold a grudge...ooh, boy, can I hold a grudge! 

The Ugly:  I have slept with friends' boyfriends.  I have cheated on my own boyfriends.  I have been raped.  I have had an abortion.  I have driven drunk many, many times.  One of those times resulted in the death of a homeless (also drunk) man.  I completed 28 days in rehab, and 127 days in a correctional facility.  I have driven drunk even after that incident.  *I do have to say not many times and definitely not AS drunk.  Still doesn't make it right, but I feel like I have to defend myself a little?*

This is my list.  Maybe not all-inclusive, but it's what has come to mind this evening.  I feel like God has put me through all of these experiences - from The Good, Bad, AND Ugly - for a reason.  Maybe even for lots of reasons.  I have most recently begun praying for Him to guide me to a person or persons whom I could help.  Maybe someone out there thinks they will never be able to have a "normal" life?  Maybe there is a woman who just feels like she will never find someone to love her with all of her "flaws"?  Maybe it's someone I don't even think I could help in any way?  All of the above, even? 

I still don't feel like any of these things is what defines the REAL Audrey.  I know I could make an amazing difference and I could glorify God and truly show the world (or one person) how amazing His grace is and how wonderful life can be no matter what you have experienced or done in the past.  The past is past.  The future is unknown, but what you make of the present is what, I believe, defines you.

What am I doing today?

Today I am a mother to four beautiful, silly, wild children.  Three boys with the endurance of an entire track team and the energy of a rugby team; One little girl who has stolen my heart and melts me every time she smiles.  I am the wife of a wonderful husband who has his flaws, of course, but is still the sexiest man I know.  He is handy around the house, can fix (or rig) anything, and puts up with my every mood and whim.  I am friend to some of the most amazing women I have ever known.  Women who I haven't known long, but have watched me grow in my faith over the past year and truly seen me mature in ways nobody else has ever witnessed.  I am daughter to my parents who are still together after almost 32 years of marriage, still frustrated over each others faults, and still in awe of each other's strengths.  I am sister to the funniest, most outgoing girl I have ever met.  She loves to learn, loves to laugh, and loves to be silly.  There is a man out there who will be blessed enough one day to call her his wife and I cannot wait to meet him.

These are my "positions" on a daily basis, but I still struggle quite regularly with the burning question of WHO. AM. I?  Without any of these people in my life...would I still love to cook if I wasn't preparing food for my family?  Would I still love to talk if I didn't have great friends there listening?  Would I still love to rearrange furniture and watch movies if it wasn't in my Home with my sweet kids and husband?  OR  Would I be going out every night drinking at the bar?  Would I be super career driven and working long, long hours?  Would I still be traveling every 6 weeks to a new city, making new "disposable" friends every month?

I prefer my life now.  There is no doubt about that.  I am happy to be who I am to my friends a family, I just feel like God wants more from me.  I feel like I missing the boat somewhere that I could be out there shouting from the rooftops how good He is!  I feel like there are opportunities left and right I am allowing to pass me by!  I have all sorts of excuses, but I hear God loud and clear that it is time to drop the excuses and dive in.  What's the worst that can happen?  I worry that I will break down crying if I have to tell my whole story.  I worry that someone will take something the wrong way and stop listening.  I worry that I will offend someone, or be asked a question about the gospel or Bible that I can't answer! 

Shut up, right?  Just do it.  God will catch me if I fall and everything will work out JUST the way it is supposed to...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gospel Transformation: Lesson 5

I was going to just quickly look over my Bible Study lesson for this week, and the first question really moved me to do more than just answer it to myself.

What was your relationship with your father like growing up?  If you did not have a father growing up, substitute your mother or guardian.

Not have a father?  I can't imagine.  I love my father.  I think the world of him.  Since getting married and starting a family I have discovered ways he may have been difficult for my mom, but I have always only had stars in my eyes when it came to my dad.  He is the smartest man I know.  I can ask him a question about nearly ANYTHING and he has an answer.  I feel like growing up he was tough.  He never "scared" me, but I hated to disapoint him.  I absolutely LOVED to tell him good news.  I loved to brag to him when I got good grades, scored well on a test, just about anything good in school.  It made me fill with joy when I was able to tell him something impressive I did while playing sports.  I longed to please him all the time.  His laugh has always made me happy.  He and I shared a love of reading while I was growing up, and I could just sit in a room with him and read for hours.  I still remember him teaching me to ride a bike.  In the church parking lot behind our house, I had a red bicycle and he kept telling me that I wasn't even using my training wheels, so why don't we just take them off?  We did and I remember being so nervous, but fully trusting that he would never let me get hurt.  When I was a freshman in high school we moved to a bigger house and we had a basketball goal in the driveway.  I wanted so badly to be good at basketball because I knew dad really liked watching the games.  We would shoot hoops outside and he was always better than me, but nothing made me hold my head as high as when he would compliment one of my shots.  I always felt like my dad was completely honest with me...maybe sometimes to a fault.  His praise made my day.  Negative words would crush me so hard.  I do have memories of him being angry and I recall just thinking, thinking, thinking about what I could do to make him happy again.  My dad wasn't perfect...nobody's perfect.  My dad was the most perfect dad for me.  His honesty and bluntness has made me who I am today, and it has given me an appreciation for the truth and people who tell it.  Now that I am older (and wiser?), I can appreciate his humor.  I enjoy talking to him, talking at him, talking with him.  Just hanging out with my dad is a good day for me.  I miss him like crazy. 

This is supposed to be indicative of the way I view my heavenly father.  Yeah, I'm good with that. 

My book says, "A good father provides a picture of what God is like."  At my church, on Father's Day, we have a guest pastor who is very adamant about the importance of a good father in the home.  I had that.  I still do.  My father loves me with every ounce of his heart and he shows it.  His sometimes strict, often relaxed, always honest way of dealing with me has brought me up to be the person I am proud to be today.  I know I married a man with a lot of similarities to my own dad, and I am happy to say I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bible Study day!

Bible study Wednesdays.  LOVE IT!  I have made a commitment to one year of Gospel Transformation.  I wasn't sure at first, but I definitely felt led in that direction...some by God, some by my favorite fellow worshippers.  Either way we've officially started and I felt really good about today.

One of our readings this past week was Genesis 1:1-31.  The creation.  I haven't read it in several months, and I really tried to concentrate on what I could get out of the reading that I maybe hadn't gotten before.  What stuck out to me most was the phrase, "and there was evening, and there was morning".  All of the wonderful, amazing, beautiful creations he was working on and each compilation ended with that line.  Two things struck me as important.  First of all, the simplicity of the phrase.  As though each day really only boiled down to evening and morning.  The second part is that evening came first.  When I think of days going by, I usually think of the day and then the night as a part of that day.  The way this is worded is as though the work took place during the night.  I love the image this creates for me!  Think of night falling and all of the brilliant work being done...the light and the sky and the seas and the land and the animals and the plants and the seasons and the days and the years.  All of these things being created overnight and when the light came and it was morning and it was all good.  This causes peace in my mind.

Each day I try to live in the moment.  Not quite to the extreme of treating each one as though it is my last, but more treating each one as though it is a first.  Regardless of what happens at 11:30 (frustrations with the kids, crying, whining, dropping an egg on the floor - true story), 11:35 can be different!  It can be worse, of course, but I have all the faith in the world that it can also be BETTER.  Much better!  11:47 might be another tough few minutes, but who knows what noon will bring?  God knows.  If I'm truly going to believe He loves me for me and loves all things I do and forgives my sins and inconsistencies, then I truly have to believe the tough times will come and go and the great times will do the same.  Hopefully more often! 

I had a plan for today, and very little of it has gone accordingly.  However, I know He had a plan for today and it's gone perfectly.  So, why don't I just let Him do the planning, while I sit back and enjoy the ride?

Talk soon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Days are here again!

Wow.  I promise you, each and every time I get to my "breaking point", God reminds me of how good He is and how much He wants me happy in my life!

Great week.  I have decided being a one car family is only going to bring us closer.  It is not ideal, and I hope to have a solution come around soon.  HOWEVER, driving Shaun, aka "Daddy", to work every morning is kind of fun.  It gives us a reason to get up when the kids get up, get dressed, and get out the door at an actual designated time.  We made it to the park early on Tuesday and I enjoyed watching the four kids play together.  The weather has come around to being "nice" and we took full advantage!  Something about actually getting outdoors has equalled out to lots of napping this week...not so much with Zoe, but it's a process, I understand that. 

So, yes, Tuesday morning we hit up the park until the twins had to be at school at 9.  I took Conner and Zoe downtown to the library for story time and that was really fun.  In fact - the two kiddos were so good at storytime and afterwards, we headed up to Sweet CeCe's for a yummy treat! 


Now I can't figure out how to get it off "center alignment".  Grrr.

Sorry!  Anyway, Wednesday we played in the gym all morning and wore some little butts OUT!  Everyone took a nap that day, so we headed up to the park close to Shaun's work when they all woke up.  The kids are finally at that super fun age where they play with each other and they make friends at parks and play with them and I really don't have to do much, if any, referreeing.  I love it!  I can just sit back and laugh at their goofiness!  Well, and follow Zoe who is super good at climbing up things.

Yesterday and today were also great in the way of beautiful weather outside and happy kids.  As I mentioned, driving Shaun to work really hasn't been much of a bother.  All four kids have been home for the past three days and it has gone way better than I was expecting.  Always nice when that happens.

Zoe said what we are going to forever refer to as her first word.

"Hot. Rod."

That's right!  The boys' favorite book is a book about cars and last night they kept saying, "Hot Rod!  Hot Rod!"  All of a sudden, we hear Zoe say very loudly, "Hah Rah!!"  Now she will repeat everytime she hears anyone say it.  It is the most awesome thing you have ever heard.  She is so cute and it is a perfect first for her!  She also claps her hands quite a bit when she says it.  Adds to the cuteness.

This has led me to change her first birthday party theme - which was going to be "formal" - to some sort of Hot Rod theme.  I'll figure out something fabulous.  Memorable.  Something the other kids will talk about for years!  Or maybe just days.  Or minutes.  Either way...it'll be fun for me.  And isn't that who the first birthday party is truly all about?  Momma?  That's right.

I'm thinking the twins can have the formal theme.  Love it!

Talk soon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Negative Post

Sorry, folks, it's been a rough few days.  ROUGH.  Shaun's car died on Friday.  One car for a family of six is kind of ridiculous.  I'm sure lots of people do it, but maybe those people don't have four small children.  Or maybe I'm just spoiled.  If so, fine, I will admit to it.  It's not even like Shaun drives his car all that much, but he was on call this weekend and actually got called in both Saturday AND Sunday.  Plus he got called out for a quick side job.  Add to this Zoe's extreme fussiness, the boys' extreme restlessness and wanting to get out of this house, MY extreme short temperedness coming off a long week.  Yeah, I'm sure you can "do the math". 

Today has been interesting.  I knew coming in to this day, that things would be a little off - we had to drop off Shaun at work by 8 and Zoe's doctor appointment wasn't until 9:15.  The boys were super good for these two things...well, "super" might be an overstatement.  The doctor's office was a little frustrating.  The thing is - the kids are really good, but only if they are getting 100% attention with everything centering around them.  Easy enough for a daycare to provide, but not so easy when I have to actually live my life at the same time.  The doctor wants to talk about Zoe, but I have three others tugging on my pant leg and trying to show me various things in the doctor's office.  Not anything important, of course.  Never is.  Sorry, but it's true!  They will "mommy, mommy, mommy" for thirty minutes all to say, "Hi."  Literally.  Or, "um, um, um.  What you doing?"  Annoying.  Not cute.

Anyway, after the doctor's visit including two shots for Zoe  :(  , I decided we would head to the YMCA.  Then Zoe fell asleep in the car, so I switched directions and went home.  Zoe stayed asleep and I set the boys up to paint with marshmallows!  That was fun.  Unfortunately, fun doesn't last long in this house.  30 minutes was great and then they were just making as big a mess as possible.  When I didn't get mad about this, they went to the bathroom to try to create some mess in there.  I swear they enjoy being in trouble.  SO, "paints" (condensed milk and food coloring) were cleaned up and the painting hung outside to dry.  Zoe was still sleeping, and the boys had eaten lunch, so I turned on a movie to see if they would fall asleep?  It was only 11 am, but early nap was sounding good to me!  Sigh.  No such luck.  Zoe woke up, I tried to nurse her back down, but no.  Since everyone was awake, I took them to the Y then.  At noon.  On the drive there they started telling me they were "tired".  Awesome.  Still went and I got in a good thirty minute workout and shower.  Feeling refreshed!  Ready to hang out with the kids!  Ready to get them to nap! 

Fast forward a little bit to now.  Conner is up.  Jack is up.  Zoe is up.  Sweet boy Henry is napping and has been since 2:30 (it's 3:30).  Zoe was nursing like a champ after a big lunch of ravioli, and she was totally asleep when Jack began yelling from the bathroom, "Uh-oh, mommy, it's spilling."  Yeah.  The toilet was spilling.  AKA overflowing.  Fantastic.  I jumped up, waking Zoe, ran into the bathroom and totally ruined the excitement of Jack pooping in the potty by himself (for the second time today!) by yelling at him for using about a quarter of a roll of toilet paper to "wipe".  I do have to admit, however, that he did a pretty good job of wiping.  Ha.  It's how I get through these moments.

Now I'm dealing with three crabby kids who are pretending to not be tired by running up and down the hallway and laughing.  They have told me they will NOT go with me to pick up daddy in an hour and they don't care if the tv is off because they will just go to my room and turn on that tv.  So, I unplugged all the televisions and am about ready to just set them outside...let them run free and move in with a new family. 

I am just so frustrated!!!!  People are forever telling me what great kids I have.  Yeah, sure, they're great.  Not to me.  They treat me AWFUL.  I'm sure some expert would say it's my fault.  Somehow I have "ruined" them and spoiled them and that is why they have an inability to speak to me with any amount of respect.  Thing is this - I use please and thank you all of the time when speaking to them.  I ask them to do things in a very nice tone, ask them several times in fact.  Always using "please".  Saying "thank you" when they (finally) do something I have asked of them.  This is what I get in return:

Conner yelling:  I'm hungry!!!!!
Ignoring...
Conner yelling:  MOM, I SAID I'M HUNGRY!
Me:  Conner, I heard you, I just don't appreciate your tone of voice.  You know the correct way to ask for something.
Time passes....
Conner:  Mom, I said you better get me something to eat!  I'm hungry!!!
Ignoring...

This goes on and on and on.  If I say (again, for the umpteenth time), "Conner, you need to ask me nicely."  He will very rudely huff a big sigh and yell, "PLEASE!"  Yeah, that doesn't count.  The kid is four years old.  He definitely knows better.  Not to mention his daycare teacher would never allow him to speak that way, so I know he doesn't say it that way to her. 

You know what?  Even typing this pisses me off.  These kids will be lucky to make it to 5.

Talk soon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Mommy's Issue"

As a native Nashvillian, the humidity lately is no surprise.  However, somehow the temperatures truly are ridiculous beyond belief this year?  I'm dying.  Could be the temps.  Could be the extra 60 pounds on my frame.  Could be the fact that my kids canNOT do anything at a normal pace.  They are s-l-o-w.  Quick to say a swear word in public!  Slow to get out of the car and into the air conditioned house.

I have started really trying to take a deep breath and mentally sort out different situations I encounter in my day to realize whether my frustrations are stemming from something the KIDS are doing or if it is my own issue.  "Mommy's Issue"  I am not shy to admit it is quite often a mommy issue.  For example, when I can't find anything to wear because all of my clothes are too small or too tight or have strange stains (spit-up?) on them, and one of the boys is trying to help me by putting the clothes away as I tear them off my body and throw them on the bed - when they inevitably get in my way and I feel ready to scream, this is mommy's issue.  See how that works?  Today, I had to pee SO bad, I am holding the 23 pound baby girl I affectionately have begun referring to as "Brutus", it is 96 degrees outside with a humidity of, like, 7,000%, and did I mention I was about to wet my pants?!?  Oh yes, and holding both of the boys' backpacks and their empty lunchbox and my heavy purse with all of the mail in it...Jack and Henry decide to fight over who gets to bring in the new box of toys the neighbor brought over this morning.  REALLY?!?  Please just get inside!  My gut reaction was to scream at them to, "Get your butts inside!  I will carry the toys!"  Nevermind my hands were already full, right?  So, deep breath.  Think it over.  Did I need to bring ALL of those things inside right now?  No.  Can Zoe sit on her bottom in the grass while I attempt to break up the fight?  Yes.  DEEEEEEEP breath.  "Boys, this is mommy's issue.  She has to pee very bad and is a little frustrated about the ridiculous fight you have gotten in to.  Please, can we just go inside, play with our new toys, and let mommy get into the bathroom?"  Guess what?  It worked!  We went inside and started a whole new fight about why we can't throw toys.  Still.  It's nice and cool in the house.  And there's a bathroom!

By the way - the word "why" is about to be banned in our house.  Fine, you are a curious toddler.  Sometimes, however, there is just not an answer to the question "why".  There just isn't.  Guess what answer comes at those times?  "Because I said so!"  Oh yes, thanks mom.  I swore I'd never say it.  Actually, I think I've kind of been waiting to use that line.  So, Henry's favorites are "why?" and "what?"  We're pretty sure the "what" comes from our inability to understand him for a long time...even know we're at about a 75% understanding of his speech.  So, conversations with Henry used to go as follows:

Henry:  "I'ma doodin lee fy-ny."
Me or Shaun:  "What?"
Henry:  "I'm A DOODIN FY-NY!"
Me or Shaun:  "Uh.  Yes?"

Conversations with Henry now go something like this:

Henry:  "I want some foo snacks."  (fruit snacks)
Me or Shaun:  "First, you need to eat your dinner."
Henry:  "What?"
Me or Shaun:  "Eat your dinner."
Henry:  "I'ma doodin fy-ny?"
Me or Shaun:  "What?  Is that a question?"
Henry:  "What?"
Me or Shaun:  "Dinner?"
Henry:  "Okay."

That is pretty much a direct quote.  Don't you wish you could hang at our house??

Talk soon!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How you ask?

I get asked on a regular basis how I "do it".  I don't have an answer for that.  Honestly, I think we all just do what we can each day and plug along.  I don't think an hour goes by without some prayers being lifted up from me...I know there is a lot of deep breath-takin' and mercy-askin', that's for sure!  Today could have been super stressful, but I didn't allow myself to think beyond the next thirty minutes (give or take).  I had a lot to do, but absolutely nobody was going to lose a limb if I didn't get it all done before a certain time.

We got back in to town from our Virginia trip around 9:30 last night.  The final hour of the drive was kind of tense because Zoe was FREAKING out in her carseat and causing everyone to be on edge, so I pulled over for Shaun to begin driving.  His license expired on his birthday this year (July 11th), so he really didn't want to drive at all....especially at night....with me holding the baby.....and then it began to rain!  So, with all these "wammies" on his shoulders, we were all holding our breath until he pulled in to the drive.  We got the boys inside (discovered they had smeared caramel in their hair, thank you apple dippers and sauce!), changed diapers, wiped off what I could, and put them in bed.  Same with Zoe.  We unpacked the van quickly and hopped in to bed.  Zoe was up every couple of hours overnight.  Loudly crying, inconsolable without nursing - good times, right?  Thinking it was a bit of a stomach ache...lots of yummy food at grandma's may not have sat well with her.  Bringing us to today.

Very little sleep on my part, Conner's daycare is still "on vacation", and the twins had "swim day" at school today.  Not to mention, Henry's ENT appointment at 2:30.  Okay, no big deal.  Start with a good breakfast!  I firmly believe in breakfast.  I love breakfast.  Every morning, I make sure my kiddos eat breakfast.  Their favorite is pancakes...mine, too.  This morning was no different.  Whipped up some pancakes, ate together at our silly kitchen table.  Silly = too large for our small kitchen, but just right for our large family!  Shaun left for work around 7:30 and I decided that was a good time to begin unpacking.  Started slowly.  Kids' stuff first.  Then I remembered there were clothes in the dryer...including the twins' bathing suits.  Necessary for swim day!  Began folding clothes.  Conner was chilling on the couch, watching America's Funniest Home Videos (love!), while Jack read him a book.  Maybe even a couple of books.  Zoe was crawling everywhere, seemingly excited about being back home.  Henry was....well, Henry was whining.  And following me everywhere.  I consider that a good morning.  If I only have one hanging on my leg, I practically feel light as a feather!  Got most of the laundry put away, changed Jack and Henry into swim diapers and bathing suits, and this is when Conner realized he was NOT in a bathing suit.  Some discussion between us about what we were going to do that day.  This does get a bit tricky.

Me:  Conner, the boys are going to school and they are swimming at school.  We are going to storytime at the library!
Jack:  I want to go to storytime.
Me:  No, Jack, you get to go swimming!
Conner:  I want to go swimming!

See how this can be tricky?  Nobody is ever happy with what they are "scheduled" to do.  Kind of doesn't change in adulthood, does it?  Slathered 'em up with sunscreen and away we went!  We dropped the twins off at Parent's Day Out, and I took Conner and Zoe to the downtown library for storytime.  I love it there.  Zoe was having almost more fun than Conner!  She is SUCH a little social butterfly!  No matter how cranky the girl is or should be, she lights up when other people come around.  It's awesome.  After storytime (10:30 am), I was watching the clock a bit...knowing lunch needed to happen, and some nap, and some grocery shopping, all before picking up the twins by 2:00 to make it to the doc appointment on time.  Conner needed to go to the bathroom, so we headed home.  I nursed Zoe, Conner did his business, and we headed back out to the grocery.  All of my kids love to go grocery shopping.  I'm not sure what is their favorite part, but they all get excited when you mention the word!  They know Publix and Kroger.  They even know some of the workers!  Not sure what to think about this. 

Grocery shopping was pretty uneventful.  Conner and Zoe ate some of the sample food and then smeared it on each other.  I managed to stick to my list - a first!  We headed home for some lunch.  I was kind of thinking naps would happen, but no such luck.  Conner did fall asleep for about half an hour, but Zoe was having none of that.  Turns out power naps are the new black for infants.  At least my infant.  We ate some lunch, and left the house at 2.  Ten minutes later than I wanted to leave, but Conner looked so sweet sleeping on the couch!  At the daycare, the boys had apparently just fallen asleep around 1:40.  Fabulous.  Woke them up, put them in the car, and headed downtown to the doc's office.  I explained to the kids on the way there that I need "best behavior".  Would you believe they listened?  Holding hands in the parking lot!  Not running through the halls!  Going straight to the toy corner and playing together!  Who are these kids???  Henry ended up needing his ears cleaned out, and the kid didn't make a peep!  What is this all about?  We got home in time for me to start dinner and all four were playing nicely together, running around the house and yelling loudly, of course, but playing without prompting from me!  Love it.  We had a yummy Sloppy Joe and peas dinner, one of my good friends stopped by to bring some stuff over, and then we headed them all to their rooms for "ni-night".  Zoe took about 20 minutes, but there wasn't one objection from the boys. 

I love nights like these.  I thank God for the patience and perseverance to make it through the tough moments.  I also ask God to remind me of the good times when I'm steaming mad about something ridiculous that, "too, shall pass".

Talk soon!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Greetings from Virginia!

We are here in VA visiting my parents and, hopefully, some extended family we haven't seen in a couple of years. I'm sure it goes without saying that the drive here was interesting. Not bad, though! Definitely could have been worse. We got up around 5:40 am and changed diapers on the boys and loaded all four up in the car. I rearranged a little bit and had the twins and Zoe in the way back seat, Conner in the middle, and I am driving because Shaun's license has expired. I had packed Thursday night and completely loaded up the van so we were ready to hit the road! The kids were all super excited to head off to "gramma jacie's", so they didn't go back to sleep right away, but Jack didn't last too, too long. Unfortunately, the other three fought it for a while. Thank God for our VCR under the passenger seat! We started off with Monsters, Inc., then Shaun hopped in the back and all five of them watched his high school all star hockey game. Hilarious. The kids were really excited and I have to tell you Shaun was super excited as well. Reliving his glory days. After stopping for about 40 minutes at Hardee's and then a fun walk around the building "marching" and "high-stepping" and walking backwards (my idea of getting that last bit of energy out!), we put on The Wizard of Oz and all the kids proceeded to fall asleep. Ahhhh. We arrived at Grandma's house around 3:30 VA time, so we made really good time! The kids ran their butts off outside in the 100 degree weather, getting muddy and sweaty and just gross. After bath and some fighting, they finally crashed out in beds.

Zoe has just blossomed like I could have never predicted. She is such her own little person now and she just LOVES attention!! Especially from her brothers! She had tubes put in both ears last Wednesday and she has bounced back very well.

I'm going to insert some pictures taken this evening at my mom's restaurant. She is having an all-night jazz jam from 5 pm till 5 am, so she is gonna be a little sleepy in the morning! We took the kids (and grampa) for dinner and some "dancing". Everyone is already sacked out as I type this and I am not far behind! :)
Jack
Shaun
Henry
Shaun and Grampa Gary (my dad)

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Zoe loving spaghetti









Conner "playing" sax

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Friends

How do you know a friend is a true friend? How do you decide when they have earned your trust? When do you divulge details of your life that you wouldn't just ramble out to a complete stranger? I struggle with this. I am an open book. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too open...do I scare people off? My husband thinks I read too much into other's actions. For example, if I meet another mother and our children are the same ages, I feel like this is a good reason to have a playdate, yes? And when we schedule this playdate, I try my hardest to follow the courteous "rules"...if we are at the other person's house, I always have intentions of cleaning up after my children and bringing food and snacks for my children - sometimes even enough for their child(ren). However, we all know what can happen with even the BEST of intentions! The truth is I have a lot of kids. They are small kids. They are not the best behaved. We have a pretty regular routine which includes eating at regular intervals and napping at close to the same time each day. We don't plan more than one thing a day...it just gets too complicated. So, when I say these things out loud and openly to another parent during planning phase, I feel like they should be respected, right? I will bend over backwards to be in a position where we are hanging with another family...mostly because I CRAVE adult time. I love to talk about "the way we were", I love laughing about pre-kid days, I love complaining about my husband.

All of this being said, lately I have been on some "playdates" - let's say in the past several months - and never heard from the other again. "Never" is a harsh word. I usually see these people around somehow...and maybe there are words exchanged of how "we should get together soon!" Unfortunately, any attempt of mine to schedule something is usually countered with an excuse of being out of town or something else is already scheduled, etc. Shaun thinks I'm being sensitive. On one hand, yes, it's the summer. People vacation often in the summer. Well, some people do. Lucky them. I realize people have family members come into town during these months, too. It's just....well, I don't honestly know what "it's just". I want some friends who I am comfortable with! I want friends who WANT to hang out with me and my kids! I want friends who will say out loud to me, "Yes, I would love for you to come over. Anytime." And MEAN IT! A standing weekly playdate would rock my world. Someone who's parenting tactics I relate to and agree with...someone who's children get along well with mine...someone who doesn't mind switching off hosting and guesting.

I don't know who (if anyone) reads this and I would hate to offend someone or hurt their feelings, so I'm going to try to be very vague. I had a friend I felt met these qualities, but just 2 playdates resulted in me finding out some "deal-breakers". Another friend has issues at home which prevent me from being comfortable over there. I met a couple of women through church who I really felt connected with, but had one playdate with each and have heard nothing since. I've made an attempt or two at setting something up, and all have been met with an excuse as mentioned above. I understand the excuses, but I feel like people would offer an alternate date if they were even interested in hanging out again.

Sigh. I did run into an old friend recently and we really had a great time together when we made time to hang out a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, a later look at our schedules showed us her "perfect play day" is the opposite of my perfect play day. Awesome.

Are there people who would rather just hang out at home with their kids and NOT be around other adults? Is it the fact that I have 3 or sometimes 4 kids with me that is intimidating? Is it my kids? Is it me? I understand people not wanting to come to my house because it is rather small and we have only one bathroom and we have severely weeded out the toys due to the space constrictions, but I am almost always willing to venture OUT rather than always being the type who invites people here.

I feel like I veered off up above...I usually don't re-read, but I did this time and I didn't connect my thoughts very well. What is happening is I feel as though I'm being avoided after just one playdate. It's happened a couple of times...leading me to believe it's me. Maybe I should just keep the conversation to "about kids" at first. Maybe I don't need to tell people that Shaun and I fight. Maybe I need to keep my mouth shut and not offer up any advice for disciplining/raising kids. I think, instead, I would just appreciate honesty. If someone doesn't think my personality is appealing to them, I do believe it would hurt my feelings less to be told that rather than all of my attempts at getting together being thwarted. Hmmm. Maybe there are some people in my life I should start being more honest to and see if it comes back around. When did we all get so concerned about hurting feelings? The friends I mentioned above are not people I "dislike" for any reason...there is just one reason or another that I feel getting together with our children involved is not a good idea. Maybe we could be friends later when my life is more MINE and less MOM. Maybe.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday Morning

So far this morning we have had numerous breakdowns, several tantrums, scrambled eggs and grapes, cleaning, playing with blocks, 3 poopy diapers, throwing blocks, 2 timeouts, and 1 hour of working on getting the baby down for a nap. It's 9 am. What does the rest of this day hold?

I have been struggling with discipline pretty much the entire time I've been a mom. Spankings? Time-outs? Talking tos? Ignorance? What is the answer? I literally go in circles trying different things. Different combinations. I know consistency is key, but I honestly feel the most important part of consistency is being consistent about what is and isn't allowed. Time out is not always convenient or even possible. Spanking is sometimes only to make myself feel better - when they are REALLY in trouble. You know the rules are clear when they break one and look right at you in anticipation of the response. This leads me to believe sometimes ignoring the behavior is best. Unfortunately, ignoring isn't always easy either. I've heard and read such a range of theories from toddlers' brains being comparable to cave men to using "love and logic" works best. Is there an answer? I don't think so. I think you just have to set ground rules, respond to them appropriately for the infraction, and make sure "downtime" is full of obvious love. When they aren't crying or whining I shower them with affection and praise. When they get cranky, I try to "solve" it or just ignore it. I'm not saying this works for all kids, but it's what I am hoping will work for mine.

While I was typing this (literally 5 minutes), we had quite the show here in the kitchen. Jack got up on the table. I ignored this. Henry got up on the table. Still ignoring. They began to mess with the cord to the light, so I pulled them both off the table and went back to typing. While I pulled them down one of the chairs fell and they then had a fight between the two of them about who was going to pick the chair up. Really? Necessary? No. I was content to let them yell it out, but daddy came in and broke it up. This resulted in everyone crying and whining...until they realized I wasn't picking them up because of it and now they are playing "robot". I just described 2 minutes of our day. 2 minutes. Jealous? I didn't think so.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thoughtful Lunchtime

Do you ever feel like God is too busy for you? Like maybe there are way more serious things He is working on and you are just left alone to deal with things as they come? This is how I have been feeling lately. I know He is always with me, but I have just been SO down in the dumps and the more I pray the more frustrated I seem to get!! What am I doing wrong? I have been trying to see everything through rose-colored glasses and REALLY focusing on the positives in my life rather than the negatives, but my fuse just seems way too short these days. Know what I'm missing? NEW good. Like, every day is just fine. Okay. Nothing spectacular happens, nothing fancy, no news. Just the day comes, the day goes...there's some fussing from the baby, some tantrums from the boys, I change diapers, cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner, bedtime and boom - next day. Same thing. Just way too monotonous for this girl!! I do recognize this can be a good thing...I wouldn't want any BAD news to replace the NO news, but what about some good stuff? Even just middle of the road good news? I mean, yes, every day my kids wake up healthy and Shaun and I don't fight...I guess that's "good" news. But I just feel stuck in a rut! Bored, bored, bored! I realized yesterday this feeling started about the time my Bible study was winding down. This is the same time I stopped reading. The Bible, that is. So. I think I need to find some time and get back in the good Book. And read me some Good news!

I also feel like I have some stories inside just wanting to get out, so I'd love to find time to get those down on "paper". Unfortunately, we have a separation issue with Zoe and this results in no me-time...unless you count the few hours at a time she is sleeping overnight. When I, too, am attempting to get some winks in. I just keep reminding myself...these days will not be forever. Just a warning, though - don't tell me it goes by fast. No matter how much I enjoy the present, it will always feel it went by too fast.

Talk soon.

Mediocre

(**This is something I wrote a week or so ago, and just wanted to post it.)

It’s not a bad word. Not necessarily. It’s just frustrating. Time and time again in my life I have felt mediocre. So-so. Middle of the road. Does it ever stop? Does everyone feel like this? I know all about the grass is greener syndrome. Felt it most of my life, honestly. Thing is I have always just been okay. When I played sports growing up I was good. Never the best. Never the worst. Never won MVP for anything, never won most improved. Typically started off playing good at the beginning of the season and, even though I feel I truly tried, ended the season still just “good”. Not amazing. Not star quality. I felt looked over at all the sports banquets. I’ve never been pretty enough to be in pageants; never been ugly enough for an “Extreme Makeover”. I haven’t been fat enough for Biggest Loser; don’t work out enough to be a personal trainer or have my own fitness DVD’s. Worked my way up in one of my first jobs of adulthood to be 3rd manager…actually, did this at two different companies. Not manager, just an assistant. I always saw something shiny that would drag me off in another direction. I didn’t graduate high school at the top of my class OR at the bottom. I do believe I was smack in the middle. Didn’t completely flunk out of college, but I definitely wasn’t in the running for valedictorian either. In my various jobs I’ve held, I was always good…sometimes really good. But it always felt like someone was better. I guess it’s good to have something to strive for, right? Well, now I am married with four children. Not enough children for a reality series. The kids aren’t naughty enough for Supernanny. My husband and I don’t have one specific ridiculous problem to get us up there on the Marriage Ref. Nobody will ever knock on our door to do an Extreme Home Makeover. There will not be any telethons for us. Most recently there was some major flooding here in Nashville – you may have heard?  Well, it feels awful to say, but we didn’t even get any flood damage. I definitely don’t want this to sound like complaining. I don’t mean to make light of the fact that some people lost everything and are having to literally start from scratch. I wouldn’t trade places with those people, honestly. But I can be honest and say there is a little part of my mind which thinks, “Hmmm…think of all the people who would come out of the woodwork to help around the house if we HAD gotten hit?” It’s the same part of my mind speaking up to say, “You can’t leave your husband just because he annoys you…people would only come around to offer help if he was cheating, or abusing.” Sick thoughts, but I can’t possibly be the only one who has them! At church yesterday the pastor was telling the stories of some flood victims. I don’t doubt it is tragic that the family who just bought a home and worked their butts off to make it the perfect house for their family and then promptly lost everything in the storm. Do you think those people would ever speak up and let someone know they actually hated their furniture and are looking forward to new pieces? Do you think people might be a little glad to have the time off work and maybe they’ll use this time, not only to gut their home, but also to sneak a peek on the internet for a new job? Is it wrong to think these things? I think it is exactly what makes us human. It’s all a little bit of sinning. The green-eyed monster is always there showing us how this person is handling their situation so much better than you. This person goes to church AND Sunday School AND joins a community group, still finding time to volunteer for flood clean-up. This person has 4 kids and home-schools. Who do I think I am? I complain and I only have all four kids at home on the weekends. When my husband is there, too. It’s so easy to bog yourself down with the thoughts and dreams of a better life. Do you think rich people have these same dreams? I always thought it would just be the best thing ever to win the lottery. I wonder what stresses people out when they have all that money? Trying to decide what to do with it? Trying to agree with your spouse? Keeping your kids level-headed? All problems I would like to try to have.  Sorry, but I’ve done the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle long enough. Always just one job loss away from having to call relatives for cash. I wouldn’t trade ANY of my blessings for others. I wouldn’t want one of my children diagnosed with cancer just so we could get a new house. I wouldn’t want to lose a child or my spouse or any family member in a tragic way, just for our spot on the nightly news. I definitely love all that I have, but I think the most basic way to put this…I want more. There. I said it. I don’t feel good about it, but I just want more! I want more money padding our bank account, I want more vacations with my family, I want more vacations with just my husband, I want more STUFF to fill my house! I want more house!! I want more clothes to choose from. I want more self-discipline to diet! I want, want, want, want. Ever feel that way? Am I the only one?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Morning

Oh, to have a morning where I could wake up, make the coffee, sit back and watch whatever I want on tv with no interruptions. Ahhh. Sounds relaxing, doesn't it?

Well, that is the exact morning my husband had. While I was in the kitchen making two cheeseburger pies, fixing bowls of cereal, making Zoe's breakfast, snacking on ham so I don't faint from hunger, all the while trying to keep it somewhat tidy because I HATE hearing from him what a mess the kitchen is. I guess I didn't do such a great job at that because he made sure to come in and comment on how all he does around here is "sweep and clean". I try to ignore him. I really, really do. However, I have not perfected my anger control just yet, so I'm fuming and my body temp goes up to what feels like 400 degrees and then I have to go back into the overly hot kitchen and listen to whining. I tried to make myself some toast to eat...the twins ate that.

One happy place this morning...I got my cup of coffee in and managed to drink it before it was cold. Thank you, God. That was honestly just the break I needed. Have to end this now...Henry is tugging on my pant leg and crying loudly that he needs "bread". If his screaming is any indication, he will most likely die with some bread. I must go!

Talk soon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another Great Wednesday!

Whew!! A roller coaster of a day, for sure. This morning was rough. Zoe was clingy, the twins couldn't decide whether they wanted to finish their breakfast or play with blocks or take turns smacking Zoe in the head! I would try to nurse her and she would latch for 2 minutes, then change her mind. I would put her down to try to clean up some of the mess the twins created during the 2 minutes, and she would start fussing again. Both boys are still on Augmentin for ear infections discovered last week, so they have had some AWFUL diapers and worse diaper rash! So, between changing dirty diapers and carrying 20 pounds of cranky baby...I was SO ready to head out for Bible study!! Unfortunately, when Zoe finally did decide to eat, the twins rediscovered the broom and mop (Rule #4. Don't touch the cleaning supplies!) and went into "mommy and daddy's room" (Rule #7. Stay out of mommy and daddy's room!) and began stacking the single cup coffee maker K-cups. Sigh. I carried the big girl on the Boppy (yes, latched on) to kick the boys out of the room and then sat on the bed and listened to what sounded like trashing the kitchen!! Awesome. The baby nursed, nursed, nursed...half an hour at least. When she finished, I burped her and attempted to lay her down for long enough for me to get the boys strapped in the car. She woke up. Started screaming. Fabulous. Amidst the chaos I managed to get the diapers bags packed and everyone dressed with sippy cups in hand and out the door. Right on time!

Bible study rocks my world every week. Seriously. This week I hadn't found time to do more than read the verses (Galatians 6:1-10), so I figured it would be more of a listening day. Boy did I hear some things I needed to hear! Thank you, God. I left feeling stronger as a mother, better equipped for my afternoon, and ready to talk over some things with my husband! The afternoon was great...not to say the kids didn't do their best to bring me down, but I handled it with more grace than I think I've ever felt. I just prayed over each time I started to lose my temper and I would calmly explain things to the boys and then move on to whatever it was I needed to do. They took good naps this afternoon and I even took all three (twins and Zoe) to the grocery store after naptime! We headed over to my friend, Mary's, house - the twins just love her sons, so we hung out there for a bit. Mary and I have been friends for 10 years and I really enjoy spending time with her. She is also in my Bible study and had missed today, so I filled her in on all she missed. When we got home, Shaun and Conner had dinner ready! We ate outside and Shaun and I even got to have a great conversation while the boys played in the back. We discussed some things we needed from each other and promised to try to be more understanding about each other's stressful days and not take things out on each other as much. It was a great conversation. We haven't talked like that in a long time!! I have gotten much more comfortable lately with explaining things to him in "faith terms". Just ended the day on a truly happy note!!

I feel that I learned to just turn to prayer in ALL my times of need. I've been getting frustrated with myself a lot lately concerning the kids. I feel like I get so angry and I blow up and I call my mom to vent and nothing ever gets "solved". Nothing seems to change. Today I prayed through everything and it truly did change things! The boys still pitched fits and disobeyed a bit, but my reaction to it made them stop quicker. Or just made me ignore it better? Either way, I like it! I like it when I feel God's response. When I pray for patience to "ride the storm" and I experience it almost immediately...that is the kind of "instant gratification" that I just crave sometimes. It truly amazes me each and every day how powerful prayer is! I never want to lose this level of excitement!!

I do have one testimonial to the power of prayer and the awesomeness of God. I have been a little stressed about how to pay for the twins' parent's day out program in May. I kept going between having faith that the Lord would provide and still looking at my bank account balance that did NOT include the extra money! (or so I thought) Well, I was praying there would be a bonus on Shaun's check so I would have the lump sum at once and would know just where it needed to go...Friday morning, I checked our account balance and his check was actually $200 short!! Due to this predicament, I called our landlord to let him know the rent would be a couple days late (18 months of paying on time resulted in him being completely understanding), and began rebudgeting. Which is when I realized I had overlooked an "extra" paycheck back in January (thanks to Shaun being paid every other week instead of twice a month)...guess how much extra money I have? Enough to pay May daycare! God is SOOOO GOOD! Even Shaun was impressed. I had been telling him all month, "I am praying about the money we need and I know God will make sure we have it in time."

Talk soon.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just some thoughts!

Parenting is literally the hardest job I have ever had. It is a constant struggle within…how to teach, how to relax, how to keep them safe. I know just being around me is enough for them, but I am always feeling like I should be doing more. Are they learning anything right now? What else could we be doing? They seem to like this, let’s try this…or this…or maybe we should do something different. I’ve read that book sixteen times, they can’t possibly want to read it again. I am always trying to think of my next 6 steps with the kids. What time did we eat breakfast? Do they want a snack? What time should we do lunch? What should we have for lunch? How do I coordinate their nap with needing to go to the grocery store? Three kids rarely results in a simultaneous naptime (weekends are practically a lost cause with all four home), so making sure the eating and playing and resting and all of the above happen at just the right time is exhausting. Then there is the constant voice in the back of my mind telling me all the errands I could be running. What time can I fit those in? Could I do them when my husband gets home from work? Is that fair to him? When was the last time they had a bath? Gorgeous weather outside, should we play in the yard? Go to the park? Go to the zoo? Do I have sunscreen? Does laundry need to be done? (of course it does) Is the dishwasher ready to be run? (of course it is) Do we have soap? Toilet paper? Paper towels? Shampoo? Conditioner? Diapers? Diapers? Diapers?!?!?!?!? Have the kids had enough to eat? Have they had anything to drink? When was the last time I changed them? Is the bathroom door closed and locked? Kitchen gated off? Every time I use a knife I have to make sure it is put away from the edge of the counter…and the kids get taller…so you make sure the knife is put farther back. Then they figure out how to use chairs or stools or ride-on toys or boxes or ANYTHING to stand on and reach the knives. Attempting to have the kids help with every day chores has been a total bust for me. Laundry. They hate to fold, love to unfold. Love to put on everything that is “mine” (theirs). Putting away dishes – this is how plates get broken. Knives get discovered. Most things get licked. What is that? Put books back on the shelf. Yeah right. Books are apparently made to be scattered on the floor…who knew? Kids know.
I pray constantly. I pray for patience. I pray for guidance. I pray for them to go to sleep. I pray for them to sit down and behave and just give me a spare second to use the bathroom in peace! They want to be with me always. Sitting in my lap. Doing nothing. Unfortunately, I am not made of that kind of material. DOING is what I do best! BEING is tricky. Go, go, go. If we’re not going, we might as well be sleeping! Even when I’m sleeping I’m busy! Waking up, checking all four kids, going to the bathroom, getting something to drink, do I hear someone crying?, checking the thermostat, back to sleep…one hour later up going through the same motions. I wake up in a panic that someone was crying and I may have slept through it. Does the baby need to nurse? I think she may have been fussing? Covers check in the boys’ room. Shirt change because I’m leaking. Bathroom stop again. Kitchen for another drink of water.
I have often thought this would be easier if I could turn off my brain. Or just click it back 20 years. Okay, maybe 25 years.  If I wasn’t constantly thinking of a million different things, maybe I could just enjoy the time with them as they enjoy their time with me. If we’re in the living room, I thinking about cleaning the kitchen. When we’re in the kitchen, I’m thinking about the mound of laundry. When I’m doing laundry, I’m thinking of the mess in the boys’ room…or Zoe’s room…or the closets…or the bathroom. Or the boxes in the attic. It’s like I can never just chill. Just relax and live in the moment. Such a beautiful, romantic concept. I have the grass is greener syndrome. If we only had a bigger house, if I was working full time and only home on weekends, if this, if that…what? Would any of it make a difference? If I can’t enjoy my time with my kids, what makes me think anything is going to change that other than ME? My faith in the Lord is what I am trying to rely fully on. My trust that He has my best interests at heart, constantly. But I cannot turn off my mind.
My prayer. Father, please help me to live in the moment. Please help me to see opportunities when I can get things done and make the most of those times. Please be with me as I try to maintain patience through the tantrums, help me to be outwardly calm and ride the storm when there is nothing I can do to make peace with one of my children. Please guide me through each day with your perfect nature and I pray that you will allow me to make the most of all my time with my family. Whether it be something simple like reading a book seventeen times, or something complex like showing them how to draw. I pray for forgiveness for my harsh words and I pray that they would be removed from my vocabulary. I pray that you will guide me so I may be the best human role model for my children. I pray that you would help me to show them how wonderful You are. Help me to glorify Your name in their presence, so they, too, will come to You in times of need. Amen.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Galatians Bible Study

I started this inductive Bible Study a few months ago and this week's really got to me. I am just going to cut and paste everything I had typed up, so it starts off with the passage we were "studying" and then all the notes I had typed up as I went through it. I'd love to know what you think!

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


SUMMARY, MY WORDS: Okay, we all know what ‘counts’ as a sin. All of the people who live consumed by these things known to be wrong, well, they will not be welcome in Heaven. If you live by the Spirit, you do not feel the need to sin. Instead, you will be driven to live wholesomely and happily. When you believe in Christ and have accepted him as your Savior, you have let go of the need/desire to sin. Stay with the Spirit, accept him into your soul, do not let yourself get carried away by others who are not living by the Spirit.

THOUGHT: Today I was thinking about some people whom I feel have it “better” than I do. I was allowing myself to feel some sense of jealousy when it totally hit me “out of the blue”.  God said, “Audrey, nobody’s life is perfect. Where you see perfection, you are overlooking the negative. Where you see happiness and ease, you are not looking at the struggles that come along with it. You only see the outside or the times when people allow you to see. You will never see anyone else’s full story. You will never know what is going on behind their scenes. You have to be happy with what I have given you and make the most of it because I know it is what’s right for you at the time.” I felt this so deeply, I had to tape record myself saying it! This is so true. We all know what sin is. Fine. This I understand. What I wasn’t understanding is that it’s not about “provoking and envying each other”. It’s about loving each other. Loving people for who they are and what they do. Being truly happy for them when they meet with good fortune. Feeling truly upset WITH (alongside) them when they meet with struggles and/or setbacks. Not feeling envious because they got something you felt you should have been blessed with. Not pitying them when you are the one who is feeling fortunate. It is so important to just stay in the moment and LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE. Take things as they come. Friendships and other relationships are important, but they are not to be used as a guideline for how you feel your life should go. All too often I have chosen friends for the wrong reasons. People who have things I want – maybe if I am their friend they will share, or maybe I will learn the secret to obtaining what it is they have? No. Prayer and Faith. This is how you obtain the right things. You will get them in due time. When you truly need them. I have also turned my back on people for the wrong reasons. You can’t ask, “What is this person doing for me?” You have to realize there may be people out there who need you as a friend. Not to help you, but for you to help them. You have to recognize that sometimes just being there for someone will alter their entire life. You may not even get to see it in action or reap any rewards for the help you’ve given. You just have to trust that when you are truly living through the Spirit you will affect people in the right ways and you will, in turn, realize ways others can lift you up at the right times. I LOVE LEARNING THIS!!!!


CROSS REFERENCES:
5:22 But the fruit*(Eph 5:9) of the Spirit is love*(Col 3:12-15), joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Ephesians 5:9 – (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
Colossians 3:12-15 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature*(Romans 6:6) with its passions and desires.
Romans 6:6 – For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - *(Romans 7:24)
Romans 7:24 – What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
5:26 Let us not become conceited*(Php 2:3), provoking and envying each other.
Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.*(Romans 12:10)
Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Quick note: Romans 12:9-21, awesome. All of this is so much more powerful than just the simple, “Love thy neighbor.” Starts off strong!! “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”…I have to type the whole thing – it’s all fantastic!!
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Is it me or is this exactly what God spoke to me about during my drive to the YMCA today? For once all four kids were in the car and being quiet…I felt so spoken to that I had to record it on my phone. Wow. What a great day! I knew I had a good day, but now that I am having this sort of epiphany (for lack of a better word), today is off the charts good! G’night.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's 9 PM?!?

Today flew by. Seriously! This morning the boys woke up super early and seemed to have some energy to burn, so we let them outside around 7:30-ish. It was chilly, but they did NOT care! Shaun and I managed to get lots of laundry done and I rearranged Zoe's room (yay!)...then, at 9:30, I started getting the boys ready to leave for the Y. Conner started swimming lessons today. He did so good!! I wasn't planning to hang out in the pool because I figured he would do better without me in the room, but I really didn't feel like working out, so I hopped in the pool and did some water exercising. Mostly treading water and diving to the bottom. :) Whatever. Conner loved, loved, loved being in the pool and was very obviously exhausted afterwards. We got the twins out of the daycare and headed to McD's. Kind of a Saturday tradition for us. While we were at the Y, Shaun took Zoe to the hardware store. I love when they have daddy/daughter time...I think they love it, too. Apparently she did great the whole time...until she saw me when I got home and she began to cry and scream as if she had missed me so terribly! Of course I picked her up immediately and we spent most of the rest of the day together. I did get her down for a nap around 2, then got Henry down and had Jack and Conner on the couch watching a movie...this is when I headed out and got my hair cut! Majorly cut. Super shorter than I've had it in a long, long time. The woman cutting my hair was very sweet and seemed to be having a good time, so I just went with it. It's hair. It will grow back. I am quite pleased with the final product, though! Shaun likes it, too. Zoe and I ran to the grocery store to pick up some things for dinner and breakfast tomorrow. Also, the twins are starting a parent's day out program next week and I will need to pack their lunch, so I grabbed a couple small things for lunch bags! I'm very excited. I love those boys (duh), but this momma is in serious need of a break. Zoe is on the waiting list for the infant room...I am trying to find some ways to make some money. I have lots of ideas of things I can do "from home"...I am really not eager to go back to work for an actual "employer". My most recent job seriously soured me and I feel that God truly has a better plan for me and my use of the talents he has blessed me with. I've been praying lately for Him to give me a really clear picture of what He has in mind....all in due time, I know. :) So, we grilled out this evening and played in the yard until the dark came, then everyone (well, all the kids) hopped in the bath, put on pajamas, and headed to bed. Zoe just needed a little bit of milk to "top off" for the evening and even she sacked out pretty easily. Sorry for the uneventful post, but it was a surprisingly fun, laid back day! We are having some funny moments with the boys "potty-training". Conner has learned the joys of peeing outside in the grass, and the twins think it's awesome. Today we were having a picnic in the front yard with our McDonald's and Conner walked around to the side of the van in the driveway where we couldn't see him, but the rest of the neighborhood and passersby could...all of a sudden, our neighbor comes out of her house laughing hysterically. Turns out Conner had dropped trow, facing the road, and was just letting it go for the world to enjoy. Hard not to laugh. This prompted the twins to begin pulling down their pants and removing their diapers. We are having a hard time with "the line", so as Shaun and I attempted to figure out our next course of action (and stop laughing so hard), Conner grabbed the twins' diapers and hit both boys with their respective diapers. Seriously? This is my life. Welcome. We quickly grabbed everyone and got them indoors before Child Services was called....or America's Funniest Home Videos. Talk soon!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rough Day!

Whew!!! We just got back from "vacation" and I'm already worn out! Jack kept taking his diaper off in the car yesterday during our 11 hour drive home (yikes!), so I thought maybe he would like to work on potty-training this week. Sigh. What was I thinking? This morning both twins took their diapers off before coming out of their room. Both went to the potty, so I decided we would start the training today. Well, they were super excited this morning...taking turns sitting on the potty and straining, straining, straining to get something-anything!-out. It was starting to get a little boring - cheering every time any amount of pee came out - so, I tried to wrap things up and put some clothes on them. Oh no, they were having none of that! Whatever. Zoe needed her diaper changed and they were excited because they had finally gotten some poop out (yes, in the potty), so I left them alone. For 2 minutes. All of a sudden, Jack is running into Zoe's room with poop on his hand. "Yuck." I head towards the bathroom and see three little piles....of poop....on the floor. Jack is crying, poop is everywhere, Henry is still sitting high on the throne. I put them both in the tub, run back to Zoe (who has starting rolling a little bit!), and get her finished up. Now the twins are getting out of the tub, getting in the tub, getting out, up on the toilet, back in the tub...it's exhausting! Zoe is crying because it's breakfast time (yes, only breakfast time!) and the boys are frustrating me to no end because they think they are big and have emptied out half of the soap before I grab it and put it up higher. SO - Jack falls asleep naked promptly upon getting out of the tub. I manage to get a diaper on him and let him sleep for two hours on the couch. Meanwhile, Zoe won't go to sleep after breakfast and nursing...I have asked Henry to bring her a toy to play with while I fold laundry, so he's busy bringing EVERYTHING from the boys' room in to Zoe's room. She's buried under books and superheros and he just keeps bringing more stuff! I manage to get the laundry folded and away...Jack wakes up just in time for lunch. Spaghetti. Another brilliant idea courtesy of yours truly! So, major mess in the kitchen...major mess of toys in Zoe's room...major mess in the bathroom due to bath and potty fun. Good times. Henry falls asleep after lunch. Zoe goes to sleep. Now it's just Jack and I staring at each other. The lawn is way overgrown, so we can't play outside (till lawn-guy comes Friday!). Can't go anywhere because 50% of us are sleeping. Jack is rubbing his eyes, so I try to get him to lay down and watch tv...nope. He would rather throw things. Like food. And my cell phone. Nice guy. Henry wakes up in a crap mood and takes his diaper off. Jack follows suit. I have cleaned the house, so they get busy trashing it again. I block off the kitchen. Zoe wakes up. Jack pees all over the floor in Zoe's room. Henry pees in the living room. I put diapers on them. They take the diapers off. I try pull-ups. Nope, off. I call Shaun and let him know I will be leaving the house as soon as he gets home. :) That's just what I did...he literally pulled in the driveway and I headed out to my car with Zoe. Jack followed me with his t-shirt and nothing else on. Henry was completely naked when he came out the door. Oh, except for a pair of orange sunglasses and my flip-flops. I left for the grocery store amidst shouts of "put some clothes on", "mommy!", and "I need a diaper change!". I love Kroger in times like these...especially when the two-bite brownies are the first bin by the door. Thank you. Talk soon!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Back online and ready to *blog*!!!

Good morning and Happy Easter!! Shaun's aunt has bought us a beautiful new laptop and I am currently ignoring the children to catch up on all I have missed over the past several months with no internet. :) We are in The Villages, Florida, visiting Aunt Meme and Uncle Tom. Today we are planning to hunt for eggs after breakfast and probably head out to the pool. I have been keeping a story saved in my head for a week now wanting to post it, so here goes... The kids and I have been going to the local YMCA 3-4 times per week. I get to work-out and they enjoy playing rowdy in the nursery. I also enjoy them playing in the nursery because I don't have to clean up after them! So, during the week, the twins, Zoe, and I go for about an hour and a half three times, then I take the boys all on Saturdays. Last Monday was just like any other time we've been...until I went to pick them all up from the daycare after my long workout and satisfying shower. Love the water pressure there! Anyway, when I stepped in to get Zoe the old woman who was rocking her in the chair scolded me for not brining a pacifier. She says, "You have to bring her pacifier because she just needed it so badly." I explained lightly that Zoe doesn't take a pacifier at home, so I don't always remember. "Well, she would have taken one today. She's been crying for a long time. I would say she's been screaming for a full hour." I asked why she didn't come and get me or call or anything? She had no answer for that...just explained, "She's asleep now, but she really needed that pacifier." When she could tell I was angry she didn't come to get me, she told me she liked my "top". I just took my baby from her and left. Trying hard to she no tears at the thought of my sweet girl crying for an hour. I get the twins quickly and they want to go upstairs to ride the elevator down. Of course. I was carrying Zoe because she hates the carseat and I didn't want her crying anymore, so rather than fight I let them head up the stairs. We walked around towards the elevator, but had to pass the senior citizens' exercise class first. This proved to be trickier than usual...Henry must have found someone especially intriguing because I couldn't get him to leave the glass doorway! He's staring, staring, staring. Jack was interested for a minute, but then he realized the elevator was so close. Meanwhile, I had a thought to check Zoe's diaper because of previous experiences where the nursery said she was being fussy, and she had a dirty diaper. Sure enough - poop, lots, in the diaper. Great. I am trying to pull Henry away from the seniors who are all laughing and waving to him. Jack has pushed the button for the elevator and gotten on. I run down there and push the button again to make the doors open....they open.....no Jack. I quickly grab Henry and sprint back to the elevator. We get on, press the button for the first floor and take the slowest elevator ride of my life! When we get downstairs I see Jack going in the daycare door. Thank goodness someone saw him, recognized he was alone and took him back there! So, I did change Zoe's diaper - in the toddler section, NOT the infant side. I told one of the girls who works there about the situation with the old woman in the infant nursery and explained I would not ever be leaving Zoe in their care again. I intend to keep going to the Y, but I will be walking the track with Zoe in the Snugli. The worst part of that idea is not being able to take a shower there, but I might figure something out. I also have been working on my Bible study there and that will be tricky if she is awake. My mother says I need to put my big girl pants on and tell the woman I will be checking back every 20 minutes and, if she has a poopy diaper, I will "HAVE YOUR JOB". I don't have balls for that. Talk soon!