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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!