03-31-16 Chase The Cat

I’m going to write a book, she said resolutely as she sat down at the table.

C loves to read. She loves to write. She loves to learn. And it’s fun to see her getting more creative. The other day she wrote her first book. It has a total of six pages, but I was very impressed that the story made pretty good sense and she didn’t ask for any help with spelling. She was very proud of it when she was done and asked to take the notebook into school to show her teacher. Thankfully it came home again and I got to document it!

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“Chase the Cat” By C___ P___


One morning there was a man and a cat, but


The cat ran from the man.


Then the man went inside the cabin.


But he saw his cat and kittens.


Then they went back home.

The End.

Good job, C! Mommy is proud of you!

In other news, Baby E has… wait for it… another ear infection! Actually, the doctor thinks the last ear infection didn’t quite clear up so it came back. Ugh. Poor kid! He’s on another antibiotic, this time for ten days. I will be so very happy when the warm weather is here to stay and I can say goodbye to all the germs! This poor kid has had such a rough winter and I just want to see him catch a break!

03-30-16 My generous one

During dinner, Big E had eaten his food and I told him he could get something out of his Easter basket. He spent a few minutes Eeny Meeny Miny Mo-ing it before he landed on a pack of Smarties. He came over the to the table where Tim and I were still eating and he asked me, “Is it ok if I share my smarties?”

Wow, this kid. I told him it’s always nice to share and he promptly gave me a smartie. And a few moments later he handed me the very last smartie in his pack. That’s the thing about Big E, this is the second night in a row that he has given me the very last smartie, and he does it without hesitation and with a smile. (Both nights I told him I was happy that he thought to give it to me, but I wanted him to eat it, which he promptly did.) His generosity always astounds me. I hope he keeps and nurtures that generous spirit as he grows. Such a sweet boy!

Meanwhile I don’t have any pictures him today. So… Here are the other savages!

03-29-16 Feeling Blessed

You’re very pretty, mommy… He said as he stroked my face. We were both squeezed onto his toddler bed and he had snuggled up against me. I could feel his breath against my face as my fingers trailed through his blonde hair. My little boy is four… no longer a baby. I love you all the way up to heaven and back again, mommy. Everything about his face is handsome to me and I hope all mothers feel that way about their sons. I love his wide little nose and his big blue eyes. I love his eyelashes and his blonde eyebrows. I love his little ears and I love the way the corners of his mouth curl up when he smiles. I know I often gush about his sweetness, but it flowed over me again tonight how lucky I am to have him in my life.

And as I leaned over to kiss C goodnight she smiled at me that sweet little smile that only she can give. Her arms wrapped tightly around my neck and she held on for a moment. Goodnight Mommy! she said and her arms relaxed as I pulled away.

And Baby E played patty-cake with me tonight… He stared at my mouth as I sang the song, concentrating on my lips as I spoke. At the end of the song he would grab my hands and start hitting them together, a not so subtle hint that we should do it again. As I laid him in bed tonight I pulled the covers over his head and pretended he disappeared. The giggling under the covers was replaced with full out laughter as I pulled back the blanket to discover him there. That little tradition tends to ease the transition to bedtime.

This evening, as my children sleep in their beds I am once again reminded that I am a very blessed woman.

03-28-16 My Little Artist

Spring Break is drawing to a close. I took the day off today to spend the last day of it with C before she heads back to school tomorrow. We spent the whole morning with the neighbor cousins- watching tv, playing, drawing, etc. Watching the six kids run around was fun, and I got some great grown up time with my sister in law! After nap time, they went out and played with a neighbor. Then it was dinner and bedtime.

This evening I looked in C’s backpack only to realize she had been assigned homework every day of break. Oops! So, she did some marathon homework lessons this evening. Serves me right for setting her backpack to the side the first day of break! Oh well!


While C was working on her homework, Big E was practicing his drawing skills… with hilarious results!


“Mommy, I drew a picture of you and you have very big hands!”


This is the artist’s self-portrait. No, that circle isn’t his chin. It’s his belly button. I love this picture. 


This is a picture of Daddy, complete with male anatomy. *sigh* The blue lines are “paths” that he drew all over daddy’s face.


This is Grandma and Grandpa. “Doesn’t Grandpa have a funny head?!?”


This is a drawing of C standing on Baby E’s head. “Isn’t this picture hilarious?!?”

03-27-16 Happy Easter!!

Easter and Christmas usually battle it out for favorite holiday status. On the sentimental, gifty, warmhearted side I choose Christmas, but in the life changing, reason for being I have to go with Easter. Easter is the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. It wasn’t enough for him to die on the cross, but to raise from the dead was to conquer death and all its power. His death and resurrection secured a place for us in heaven that requires no payment from us but acceptance that it is true. That an omniscient, omnipotent God should choose to do such a thing for me, so that I may freely receive it is an act never matched in other religions. No other gods die. No other gods raise from the dead. And no other gods take such a personal, intimate relationship with their creation. There is no greater story than that, and I love that each year we get to celebrate the story of redemption.


Teaching my children that Easter is more than hunting eggs, and Easter baskets is very important to us. We don’t tell them the Easter bunny is real. They know that I go to the store and buy the candy, that I pack their Easter baskets, and that we are the ones that hide the Easter baskets. That’s just how we choose to celebrate Easter. I’ve been on the fence about Santa at times, but never the Easter bunny.

I woke the kids up early this morning and as they rubbed sleepies out of their eyes I told them they needed to go find their Easter baskets. They went downstairs and started to hunt. They found them pretty quickly and immediately begged for some candy. I acquiesced since it was Easter. Then we had breakfast, got dressed and headed out for church. But not before a brief photoshoot with the neighbor cousins!

Getting my kids and the neighbor cousins to all sit still and smile was next to impossible, but we got some cute shots anyway!


This picture cracks me up!

We went to church, had a very nice service, and then headed to my in-laws for an afternoon of eating, egg hunting, and playing. It was the first get together where most of the kids were old enough that we felt comfortable sending them all outside for most of the day. They only came in for food and bathroom breaks! I love that they spent the whole day with their cousins building amazing memories. They played games, had a picnic, blew bubbles. They didn’t need us to entertain them for plan games for them. They did it all on their own!! We’ve waited years for this and it was wonderful!

Of course they loved the egg hunt!

If we thought getting a handful of kids to all sit still and smile this morning was going to be tough, just wait until they were all together! I think I snapped between 20-30 pics and surprisingly I got a few that they were at least all facing forward!


Wow, I love all these guys. They are each so different and amazing in their own ways and we are so thankful to call them family!


03-26-16 The Piggyback Rider

A few weeks ago I got something called a “Piggyback Rider.” It’s a standing child carrier. The idea is that you wear a vest like contraption, as does your child. There is a bar that they stand on and their vest is clipped onto your vest. That way, instead of having their legs wrapped around you, they are supporting some of their own weight. I was a bit skeptical about it, but I got it for a good deal and I decided to give it a try! First thing first was getting myself hooked into it, which was relatively easy. My first victim… ahem… volunteer was Big E. We put the vest on him as he protested loudly and then hooked him up to me. As he stood on the bar, I stood up. The weight was pretty evenly distributed across my shoulders and back, and as opposed to doing an actual piggyback ride, his arms weren’t clinging around my neck and strangling me! However he was freaking out that he was going to fall, even though he wasn’t because he was securely attached, but I let him down and then we hooked Tim and C up to the contraption. She loved it. It’s supposed to be for children over 18 months old and up to 60 lbs, so I think it will come in handy as Baby E gets a little bigger.


This evening I had a ton of stuff to do in preparation for tomorrow being Easter. I had run to the store for the last minute basket stuffings, I had to clean, do laundry, and dishes… but I was also incredibly exhausted, so in a moment of weakness I had Tim make me a cup of coffee… Soooooo…. I’m wide awake at 11:30 pm and I am really going to regret it in the morning. Meanwhile, their baskets turned out pretty cute!


I know, this post is one huge, caffeine induced ramble. Here’s to hoping I crash soon!

03-25-16 Good Friday


“Christmas and Easter can be subjects for poetry, but Good Friday, like Auschwitz, cannot. The reality is so horrible it is not surprising that people should have found it a stumbling block to faith.” ~W.H. Auden


Years ago, when The Passion of the Christ came out in theaters, I was eager to see it. I had read the reviews and I knew that it was going to be a bloody, gruesome movie, but I also heard it was well written and acted and would give me a more realistic understanding of the Crucifixion. I remember finding a seat in the crowded theater only to realize that I was sitting next to a small girl, probably no older than 8. As the movie progressed and became more graphic, I heard the little girl next to me whimpering, and moments later she was crying. As they whipped Jesus and the blood ran down his back she buried her head in the shoulder of the woman she came with and cried. As they nailed him to the cross, (a scene I had to turn my head from watching) I heard her wail, “Why are they doing that to Jesus?!?” By the end of the movie, I could tell she was not the only traumatized person in the theater. There were people crying everywhere, and I would be lying if I said there were no tears in my eyes.

Now I am not going to get into whether or not that child should have been in the theater in the first place, my point is she asked a very valid question. Why are they doing that to Jesus? And since that day, when I stop and think about the Crucifixion, her question surfaces in my mind.

If I am honest with myself, the answer to that question is that they were doing that to Jesus because of me! And the horror of that reality is life changing. You see, I tend to think of myself as not that bad. After all, I was raised in the church, I follow the rules, I think I make pretty good choices.

But when I stare at the cross, and the full weight of its implications settle on me, all my good deeds are stripped away and what is left in the vacuum is my pride and selfishness. Daily I do things that should separate me from God, but for the cross I would be lost, because it was there Christ took my punishment. The cross was bloody and gruesome and horrible, but the physical death paled in comparison  to the devastating emptiness when God turned His back on His son. The punishment that by birthright was mine, fell on another, so that in doing so I could be restored! So I cannot boast of my good deeds, or my virtues, for they have played no role in my redemption, but rather I cling to the promise of that bloody cross, for it is only by the arms and feet that bore those nails that I have been redeemed!


“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” ~Galatians 2:20


“I am wholly deserving of all the consequences that I will in fact never receive simply because God unashamedly stepped in front of me on the cross, unflinchingly spread His arms so as to completely shield me from the retribution that was mine to bear, and repeatedly took the blows. And I stand entirely unwounded, utterly lost in the fact that the while His body was pummeled and bloodied to death by that which was meant for me and me alone, I have not a scratch.” ~Craig D. Lounsbrough

“It is to the Cross that the Christian is challenged to follow his Master: no path of redemption can make a detour around it.” ~Hans Urs con Balthasar

“But the resurrection without the crucifixion is empty optimism, an optimism that gives credence to Freud’s notion that wishful thinking is the sum and substance of our faith. Include the crucifixion–and our role in that bloody moment–and the whole picture changes.” ~Mark Galli

03-23-16 Home

After several uncharacteristically quiet evenings, the big kids came home.  The house went from nearly silent to boisterous and rowdy in a matter of seconds as they burst through the door, eager to fill me in with the news of their new shoes and awesome adventures. You see, visiting their grandparents is always a special treat. They get to do many fun things like go to the park, play at Chik-Fil-A, and ride the carousel at the local mall. These are things that might happen now and again with us, but they all get crammed into one visit for the kids, so they get extra excited about their stay! I love seeing my children so excited about my family. I love seeing my kids interact with my mom, dad, and sister and I enjoy watching their relationships blossom. I am so thankful to have them living so close and thankful that they enjoy the kids as much as the kids enjoy them!