Friday, May 30, 2008

Pool Time

Here we are...trying to make the kiddie pool last for hours of entertainment! It did last for at least 2 1/2 hours...not bad. I am loving the action shots of kids in the air! At one point, Sam bent over and started pretending to eat grass. "I want to eat some grass." "No, Sam, grass is for cows and horses." "No, I want grass."
The good news is that the kids are WORN OUT and begging to go to nap and rest times! Whoo-hoo, I love the effects of the sun!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Now THIS is more like it!!

The boys started the morning off having a "Play Day." A couple of years ago, Eli named this little game "play day." What you do is gather every single blanket, pillow, and stuffed animal in the house, pile everything into a mountainous heap and start running and jumping. They had a ball! Whoohoo--they were being creative without my help!

The top two pics are of my brand new spankin' (free) dishwasher named Eli. Eli is loving rinsing all the dishes off for me. Love it, love it, love it.

Sam is having a great day of potty accidents yet for the day! Whoo-hoo! Maybe he will be able to go to kindergarten, after all.

I guess I still "got it"...I took the boys for a walk around the neighborhood and as I was bending over to fix Sam's shoe, I started getting some "Whoo-Hoo's" from some roofers nearby. Glad to know I can at least make roofers still whistle at me!

This is random, but last night we went to Target for a free and fun family outing. I needed to get my friend a birthday card (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHELLE!!) and so we spent some time laughing at the cards. I suddenly panicked, realizing that Cade could indeed read and WAS reading whatever his hands picked up. Some cards out there are really not that nice, if you know what I mean. We laughed at a couple more, and then proceeded to take our kids out of the porn/alcohol, I mean greeting card aisle. It may get harder and harder to keep these kiddos "innocent and protected" as they get older and older.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

And Summer is Here...

Yesterday was the first "real" day of know, the day where you are at home all day and as a Mom you are going to be able to tell how the other 11 weeks are going to go. Let us just say that at precisely 11:42, Eric sat down with Cade and Eli and had a little heart to heart with them. They would not be fighting, saying they were bored, leaving the house in shambles, begging for food, saying they were bored, watching tv all day, saying they were bored, playing Webkins all day, saying they were bored, or resisting the wonderful experience that books provide. They would be learning how to do dishes, clean house, and help out more. They would not come to Me as Mom and expect entertainment, but create fun times themselves. Whew, I am glad that talk came sooner rather than later. The boys have been little angels ever since...playing all kinds of things and obeying their "allotted time allowances" for tv and Webkins. Of course, when Eric threatened to take away snacks any time they uttered the word, "bored," that seemed to do the trick.

Sam and I started the joy of potty training yesterday. I owe my sister in law Kelli gratitude for the gumption to get started, but now I really don't like her for it. I hate potty training. I know it will get easier if I can just stay consistent. But right now, we have gone through a jillion pair of cute little underwear and I am pretty sure that our carpets are going to need to be cleaned in the near future. The problem is that Sam really could care less if he has pee all over himself. He simply does NOT CARE. He never tells me when he needs to go, but is great to go when I take him. I don't know if he doesn't yet feel the sensation and know how to control it or if he enjoys going through 20 pair of Elmo underwear in 20 minutes. Seems to me that I could use some extra patience right now!

My heart has been so burdened for so many tragedies lately. Cancer plaguing young people, a couple who just lost their 2 month old baby, and the Chapman's losing their 5 year old. So much heartache...I am trying to not question so many things and instead cling to the things that God says are true...Jesus is light, truth, goodness, and love. Eric and I had a deep and tearful discussion on the way to St. Louis the other day. I asked him if he thought that God was allowing all this junk (that is happening to his BRIDE) to happen in order to purify His church. Eric thought yes...He is allowing things to happen so that we will crave, seek, and love Him and only Him. So my question to you, reader, is this: What is happening in your life right now? Is it drawing you closer to the heart of the Father? I sure hope all these bad things are not in vain! But if we are knowing our Heavenly Daddy's heart better...then maybe it will all be worthwhile. Please feel free to comment. I love to hear from you!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Six Kids, Six Flags, and Six Turtles

We did it! We survived a very kid-oriented trip to St. Louis to see Lee, Kelli, Sloan, Tia, and Landon. The kids did great on the 6 hour car ride. Cade, Eli, and Sam did a great job of sleeping in an unfamiliar place. They loved, loved, loved seeing their cousins for a few days straight.

We got to go to the St. Louis Zoo and Six Flags. This was the boys' first trip to Six Flags and I think after Cade and Eli rode Thunder River they decided it was the best place in the world. After Sam rode something that scared the mess out of him and almost made me strangle the lady for not stopping the ride soon enough, his vote for Six Flags is still out there somewhere.

The kiddos loved playing Wii together, playing ball, having picnics, and splashing in the tub together. I enjoyed late night talks with other adults while the kids were asleep.

Six kids under the age of 8 is a whole heap of activity. They were all really good, but it sure is crazy. I still can't get over this family in NWA that is about to have their 18th kid. Whoaaaaaa.

I am really really really sleepy, and I am sure that I am forgetting some great stories, so do forgive and just enjoy the pics!
Oh yeah, back to the title. On the way home, Eric and I saw 6 ALIVE turtles trying to cross the road. What on earth?? They were all on the roads in Missouri. I think I am going to write the State Legislatures of Missouri and see if they can't endorse a law to spade and neuter the turtle population and see if they can't get things under control up there.
OK, OK, one story for you. On the way back home, we stopped in a seedy gas station to get gas and go potty. I took ALL three boys with me in a single potty room. Sam was complaining that he was poopy, so I took off his diaper to see what the deal was (cause I knew he wasn't.) I decided to let him try on the potty and as I was trying to get it clean enough for him to sit on, he started peeing everywhere...floor, pants, and potty seat once I grabbed him and held him over the a plane flying overhead. Accidents don't bother me, but cleaning up pee in a nasty bathroom is a little out of my comfort zone. EEWW, I just get the shivers thinking about it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The PAPA Prayer

This is my most recent read. I am really starting to like this Larry Crabb fella. This book seemed to come at a very seemly time. It was sitting on my Mother-in-law's nightstand and I selfishly asked if I could read it...before her. I know that is selfish, but you have to realize it was calling my name or something. I got it done in 2 days and returned it kindly back to her nightstand.

I have had so many questions regarding prayer lately. Does it mean anything? Does it change anything? What is the point...other than conversing with my "Papa"...or is that THE point? I have been struggling with prayer since my prayers seem to be left unanswered. This book has helped me with some of my questions. It obviously is not a cure-all...nothing this side of earth will be. Crabb discounts this way of praying to be a miracle prayer to get whatever you want. But He does promise it will lead us to the Father's heart. This book has helped me see how often I come to God with petitions and requests without coming to HIM first. I basically treat him like a vending machine and it is shameful. I wouldn't answer my requests, either. Sometimes I wonder why He even puts up with me.

Here are some quotes from the book:
The Papa prayer approach is:
....a way to relate to God that lets us hear Him speak
....a way that delights Him and changes us
....a way to know God so well that the deepest desire of His heart actually becomes the deepest desire of ours, and that frees us to ask God for what we really want with confidence that He'll move heaven and earth to grant our requests, because what we want now matches what He wants.

I really like that last sentence. It is like asking God to make His desires my desires and then asking Him to give me the desires of my heart.

I won't go into what "PAPA" stands for...but I recommend the book if you're prayers seem dry and your relationship with God seems distant or stale. The whole premise of the book is that petitionary prayers are supposed to follow relational prayers...and Crabb shows readers exactly what that looks like.

1st Day of "Summer"

Today was the final day of school! Eric turned on the sprinkler in the front yard and before I knew it, Eli was running through it with all of his clothes on. So, the boys turned the mundane job of watering the lawn into a celebration of the first day of summer...even though that is not officially for another month. Poor Sam's lips were pure blue by the time he was finished. He is warming up right now in a bath of warm water while Cade and Eli are in the backyard playing ball.

Yesterday, Cade got a very prestigious award. He got the "Crown" award at his school...only one first grade boy receives this. It stands for:
C Character
R Responsibility
O Obedience
W Wisdom
N Noteable
Eric and I are so proud of him. We told him to give thanks to God for giving him the ability to learn and do things well. He told us he gave God the credit by pointing his finger to the sky after he got the award. Cute.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Come on, Cook!!

Come on, David Cook! You are gonna break my heart if you don't win. My Aussie already let me down, now it is your time to shine. Win, or I may not buy your album. (Or, I might.) Only a couple more hours til the results. I even voted for you last night. My first time to vote for Idol EVER. And it wasn't just once, either. I can't say how many times, because my Mother-in-law who loves Archuleta will get on to me. So, come on, Cook...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Feeling the Burn

I did this workout this morning. Tony Horton's Power Half Hour Thigh Trimmer. Now I can't walk.
I feel like if I could just get my lower body more accustomed to using its muscles...hidden and maybe invisible...then they would aid me in losing weight. I heard the legs/bootie muscles are some of the biggest, and if they are activated, they can burn lots of calories. Unfortunately, my muscles down there are more used to sitting while I blog. Such a hard life, I tell you!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fellowship on the River

The hoochie coochie man and his band.
Luke is saving some food on his face for later licking.

Shane and Anna look a bit tired here.

Donnie and Becky look tired, too. I think the jump from one to 6 girls is enough to do that to ya!

This is independent little K. C. His Dad is the hoochie coochie man.

These two pics are of Anna Claire...a doll. I have never seen her upset. I think she is the perfect baby, or something.

Our church got together at Toad Suck River and had us a little fellowship. This year, we got smart and had The Fish House cater it all. The catfish and green tomatoes tasted especially good! The boys had fun playing games and seeing their friends. I had fun holding baby Jack, taking pics of kids, and talking with people I don't always get to talk to on Sunday mornings. The blues band played us a few tunes. My favorite song was the one where Todd Floyd sang about "I wanna be your hoochie, coochie man." I asked Eric if he thought Todd sang that to Leanna every night...I mean, they do have four kids. Hee Hee.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Little Present

God blessed me with a little somethin' somethin'!! Last night, my friend Marvin from our church's praise team called me in dire need of an alto for a women's church retreat the next morning. I knew he was getting desperate if he called me! His wife, Pearlie, had just had an abscessed tooth pulled, and two "better alternatives" were not available. I was going to get the pleasure of singing with his "group"...the one that makes CD's with him. I was all over that little offer like white on rice. I was a little nervous, because I sometimes sing soprano and sometimes alto with his songs, and I didn't want to get schizophrenic and forget which part I was doing.

I had suspected as much, but when I walked into the place, I was the only white person there. I mean every gorgeous shade of dark brown and chocolate brown and ebony and espresso was present, but no white cream for the oreos if you know what I am saying. I love black people... their heritage, the way they worship, their lavishness for living life. This was my first experience where I was the minority in color. I wasn't uncomfortable...these were my family in Christ...but I definitely felt different. I always wondered what black people feel like as they enter situations where they are the minority and now I got a taste.

I just have to go into a little detail about the setting of this experience. The theme was "Women under Construction," and the tables were all decorated in yellow and black. Even a lot of the women chose to coordinate with the theme and wore black and yellow as well. Those that didn't color coordinate still had on their best suits and looked beautiful. I asked Marvin why no one had on any hats and he said that was reserved for Sundays. I got this mental picture of how my church would dress up at a ladies' retreat and jeans and tennis shoes came to mind. I am not sure I saw any jeans or tennis shoes. (Except on me...but that is OK, because Marvin told us to wear jeans and white shirts so we could coordinate.) Anyway, I say all that because I love how people are so different...even to what they wear to a women's retreat and yet we can all love the same BIG God!

The best part of the morning, of course, was getting to worship WITH these women! What a joy to lead worship where the audience engages with their whole bodies, souls, and spirits! My sister, Kiley would have loved this experience...but I am pretty sure that her worship experience right now is far surpassing this one! It was such an edifying time...being with complete strangers of a different color and yet praising the same Redeemer and Lord and feeling a bond as a result. Thank, you Lord for this little present today!

Feeding the Dinosaurs

Here we are, feeding the dinosaurs! Last year, Eric started calling it this in order to make it a little more fun for the boys. Of course, the big brown lawn bags are the T-Rexes and Triceratops. They love to eat leaves, pine needles, and azalea trimmings...depending on what time of the year it is. It was the perfect day for this...but we are only 1/2 done. Lots of azaleas to go! After a bit, the boys got "tired" (whatever!) and started complaining and asking why they have to work. It turned into a neat teaching session...I told them work makes us appreciate what we have been given. Eric later brought some scripture into the session, saying that they honor us as parents when they help out and they are also working for the Lord in everything that they do. Still, I think they were glad when it was over. .

This is Eli under the lawn bag. He and Cade figured out that the best way for them to "undo" the bags was this method:

The blessing of good friends...

God blessed me tremendously when I first arrived at UCA my freshman year. He immediately set me around 3 Godly girls who would become dear to my heart. This weekend, Brittney came to town and 3/4 of us got together. Rebecca couldn't make the 25 hour trip for some reason. (Missed you, girl!) We went to Anna's and proceeded to let 7 out of 8 kids destroy her place. (Cade was in school, so we won't blame him for anything.) Actually, the kids were amazingly well behaved and loved getting to play all day together. It is so fun to see my freshman BFF's with kids of their own...I still feel like we should be back in our dorms begging to go to Anna's parent's "real" house so we could cook "real" food.

Here, Reed is sitting on Sam and messing with his head, but Sam doesn't care one iota. Something about being the 3rd born has made Sam very laid back. The only thing he won't stand for is if someone else messes with his blanket. Here, little Miss Esther is using a gun to spray freshness into the air. I loved getting to see how differently boys and girls play. Boys can turn anything into a sword and girls can use even guns and ammo to make a house nice and homey.

These three tator tots are all less than 2 months apart. It was fun to be pregnant at the same time with good friends. It was nice to have others around who are craving ice cream at the same time! At this point, Sam's eyes are getting heavier and heavier. 3 pm and no nap? All the kids did a great job and played nicely even though they were exhausted!
Little Miss Graceyn...all I can say is what a DOLL!
These boys love to cut up together and live life BIG!
Brittney, one of my dear friends. We can go months without seeing each other, and when we finally get to, it was like we were never to get deep with each other instantly.
Hey Miss Blue Eyes...what do you think of BOYLAND?
Engrossed in Luke Skywalker's "STAR HORSE" video game.