Friday, May 31, 2013

Because I needed to laugh!

I am that mom...go ahead and hop over to her blog and read about her end of the year school drama.

My own version is similar...end of year party after party, email after email about end of year party, field trip, what to wear, what to bring to lunch, what not to wear, what money to bring, what paper to sign, what this and what that...all the while trying to find my eyes after sand was dumped in them from middle of the night feedings.

I am pretty sure Eric stepped in.  The whole month of May was quite the blur.

My favorite moment was when Cade had a project due THE LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL!!  Who does that?!  :) 

Hop over here and read this.  Cause it is Friday and you need a laugh, too.  (Oh that we were all this honest...might make the world a less intimidating place.)

Jen Hatmaker's Blog on being the "worst end of school year mom ever."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ten Years and Three Months {saying goodbye to home.}

This is a tough week.

Besides the mess of cardboard boxes piled up containing earthly treasures, our hearts scream of chaos as well.

This week and next we have to say goodbye to home.

Why is a place of residence always so hard to let go of?  Call me the attachment type cause I am pretty sure I bawled my eyes out when I left my freshman dorm.   What am I supposed to do with ten years and three months worth of memories?

When we first moved in, the year was 2003.  Eli was a whopping 5 weeks.  (Yes, Asher will be 5 weeks when we move!) The home was Eric's Grandmother's.  She had just moved into College Square but wasn't convinced she wanted to live there.  So, we moved into her home for a year.  After that year, she decided she loved it and we decided to purchase her home.  This home has only belonged to Stuarts.  Don't get me started...

To tell you the truth, I didn't love this home at first.  It offered more space and a huge backyard, but the kitchen counter tops were mauve pink, the bathrooms tiny and the closets pretty much invisible.

Over the years, we added our own touches.  My Dad graciously changed the pink counter tops to a neutral shade.  We purged toys and clothes each season in order to make the lack of storage space work.

Then something amazing happened.  I started praying for a heart of contentment to be here.  It was many years ago and I had so many friends with larger homes and nicer things.  I knew it was my heart that needed to change.  And God changed it.

He allowed me to fall in love with things.  The huge laundry room.  The bright and happy sunroom that also functions so well for a photography studio.  The bedrooms so close that I could be at the boys' sides in no time at all.  The outside that always has something in bloom.  Eric's Grandad did something beautiful out there...there is always color no matter the season.  God knew my heart needed that.

I can't tell you about all the memories, but here are a few that stick out.

Enclosing 5 week old Eli into the sunroom while I would paint the rest of the house.  I would run in to nurse him, get him back to sleep, then keep painting.

Seeing Eli and Cade in the backyard playing with Savannah as 3 and 5 year olds.  I was nursing Sam and watching them from a window.  Savannah was tied up and the cord quickly wrapped around Eli's neck in some random way.  That moment of knowing I couldn't get outside fast enough to save him.  That moment of knowing God intervened and spared our little guy.

The day Savannah ran away and Cade sat bawling as a 5 year old on the swings.  I got to teach him the value of prayer.  We prayed we would be able to find her that day.  A little bit of faith blossomed in him that moment.

There were the countless days of spending outside hitting baseballs and swimming in the kiddy pool.  Inside, we watched movies and ate popcorn and played wii and read adventures and chased each other around the rooms.  I taught the boys how to clean house here and wash the car here and bathe Savannah here.  Cade learned to make macaroni and cheese and chocolate chip cookies.

It was here that their love for sports and Jesus and church and school and others took root.

I think of Sam, content to play with colored pencils, as long as he could use them as swords.  I think of his little backpack full of his most precious toys, making an appearance at each of his brother's ballgames.  I think of us curled up on the big chair, reading Dumbo for the 349th time, and then later reading to baby Asher while he was still in the womb.

I won't ever forget the friends that have graced our doors with their beautiful personalities.  The ones that have brought us meals.  The ones that have helped us pack.  The ones that would stop by to share coffee, heartaches, joys, and Dove chocolate.  The ones that literally made my burdens easier.  The ones that were the hands and feet of Christ.

I won't forget the morning really close to Christmas that we had to tell all three that we were pregnant but that God had taken the baby home to Heaven.  Sam looked us dead in the eye and said, "YOU LOST MY BABY SISTER??" 

I remember the day that I hysterically fell to the kitchen floor and Eli wedged himself in between the front wooden and glass doors as I got the call that forever changed my life.  Kiley had died.  I numbly took myself to my closet and stared blankly.  What does one wear to her sister's funeral?

I think of our bedroom where Eric held my hand through the hard times and prayed over me when I couldn't breathe.  I think of the happy times and the rejoicing over the Lord before we went to sleep over all the things that brought us joy.

I think of sitting in my big chair, surrounded by countless versions of the Bible and various commentaries.  God met me there.

A lot of life has been lived here.

I will never forget seeing the lines turn pink on the pregnancy test...God ushering in new life.  I fell to the ground and worshiped.  We see Asher today and praise Him for not just taking away, but for giving as well.

It has been a decade of knowing Him more purely.  This house just gave us the comfort and safety to do so.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Asher {27 days}

Beautiful baby, let's slow down the time, shall we?
Asher is full of sweetness and contentment.  He is starting to be awake much more during the day.  He loves to follow who is talking and stare into your eyes.  I swear I could sit and hold him all the time, but laundry, making meals, and packing always beckons. 
He is starting to make the sweetest sounds: cooing and finding his little voice.
He loves to eat, take baths, sleep, be upright on my shoulder, and watch his brothers.  He isn't a big fan of being swaddled.  He fights it every time.  He is on a great schedule of eating about every 3 hours during the day and 4-6 at night.
The only time he really is fussy is around the ten o' clock hour when I am sooo ready to go to bed. He absolutely comes alive at ten p.m. and gets so irritated with us for wanting him to go to sleep.  We keep him awake as much as possible during the evening, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.  What is hilarious is that he did the same thing in the womb.  Every evening at 10 when I was trying to sleep, he decided it was time to party!
Only one-two more weeks and we will move.  I am so ready for him to have his own little space.  I have been planning his nursery for a long time and I am so excited about it all coming together!  It is crazy that we have been in this home for ten years, and yet the future home will be the only one he will know.
Cade thinks he is cute and loves it when he wears something other than "pajamas."  Eli wants to hold him all the time.  Sam still talks to him and still wants me to talk back in "Asher" voice. 
We are blessed.  We truly are.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

So proud

So thankful for these boys. They worked so hard this year and won a ton of awards. Eli even won the crown award. Now, bring on summer!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

That Smile

He looked right at me and smiled today.  That sweet Asher smile.  Maybe it was gas.  Maybe it was a fluke.  But this mama knows it was the most precious smile she had ever seen.

My soul and heart have been double dipped in joy these past 18 days.  I have savored every feeding time, every diaper change, every bath, every nuzzle, every sweet smile.  Asher has brought blessing to my inner being.

So many friends and family members have allowed me the time to sit with Asher instead of being in a rush.  Running a household of six is no easy thing without a newborn, much less with.  Just the laundry is enough to keep me tied up every single hour. 

But, friends and family have joyfully provided delicious meals.  They have offered car rides to boys whose schedules don't stop.  Eric has been gracious to run errands and make sure the big boys are on track with homework and end of the year activities.

And I have allowed myself this time of grace. 

Because deep down, all I want to see is that smile.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

On This Mother's Day

On this Mother's Day, we wrapped up our newest bundle and headed to worship the Creator of all. 

We marched ourselves on stage, this new family of six, and listened to our pastor dedicate our sweet new gift.  He prayed for salvation at a young age, Godly friends, people to encourage and disciple Asher along the way, and a Godly understanding wife.

I simply stood there and let the tears fall.

I am not worthy of such blessings.  The word grace washed over me on this mother's day.

His grace has been lavish.  I think of the loss and heartache over the past five years.  I wondered if God would ever bring forth new life and restoration.

I look in Asher's face and I see grace.  Amazing and abundant and alive grace.

On this Mother's Day, I praise Him for a new song to sing.