Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the GREEN SLIME

You know those "Mom Plans" that you have before you are a mom, that you are so certain you will stick to.  My kids playing sports was one of those for me.  I definitely wanted them to try sports, but I really wanted them to wait until kindergarten or so, and not get competitively involved at too young of an age.  HOWEVER, when a certain 4-year-old witnessed one of his favorite friends playing soccer last fall, he was ALL IN.  He asked and asked and asked to get to play.  And when we didn't let him IMMEDIATELY, he just formed a team of his own, an imaginary team that lived in our home.  And that's when I knew... that I knew nothing.  He was ready to play, and was determined that Cbug would be on his team, too.  So, we signed up for soccer.

I could not have asked for a better introduction to organized sports for my boys.  They absolutely LOVED playing soccer for the first time.  And we couldn't have hand picked a better coach (with saint-like-patience), a better team of kids and parents...Actually, I let my good friend MRF handpick them :)

Let me introduce you to the
GREEN SLIME SOCCER TEAM


Before the first game, KJ asked if I thought that his "fans" would make a tunnel for him after the game.  GUESS WHAT?  They did!  This was a highlight for both boys after every game. Too funny.

And his "fans" were indeed amazing.  It was so much fun to watch people that love my boys, cheering for them.
(I don't know how we didn't get a picture of Grammy...she loves the Green Slime, too)

As for their competitiveness, I don't think we have to worry about their skills going to their heads anytime soon.  For approximately eight out of nine games, Cbugs soccer performance looked something like this...
Marching around the center circle, hanging from the goal, snuggling with Coach, running with his shirt over his face. 
You know.  Soccer stuff.
In the final game it was like a light switch flipped.  He actually CHASED THE BALL.  I was shocked.  He was thrilled.

KJ was totally into it all.  He was definitely a newbie, but he scored in the first game, regularly kept score, loved running back to the goal to play "defense" and couldn't wait to get the snack at the end of each game.  Here's a little video of his big goal!

video
But my favorite part was watching something we talk about all the time...TEAMWORK. 

We talk about these two being a "team" and watching out for each other.  It was so much fun to watch them have this good visual example of that life lesson, in a super fun way.

GO.GREEN.SLIME!
ABL


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I LOVE MAY!

Two of my favorite birthday months begin with "M".  Those two months are packed with celebrating people that I love.

I love May because three of my favorite fellas have birthdays within a little more than a week of each other.  Uncle D celebrated his last week, someone else special is today, and I can't even type out who will be FIVE on Friday without tearing up.  We'll get to that.

AS FOR TODAY....

 Happy Birthday to my Daddy.  Oh my, how much I already loved you.  But the way you adore my children and now support and encourage all SIX of these kiddos makes my heart skip a little.  I am so very thankful that they all call you their "Papa". 

And, yes, this picture has strings attached.  Please refer to previous birthday post for the not-so-subtle ulterior motives.  Thankyouverymuch.

Love,
ABL

Friday, May 20, 2011

I want to remember...

I do hope to continue going back over some of the fun events from the last couple of months and get them documented here.  I don't know how long that will take or if it is even manageable.  There has been camping, the museum, Easter, Mother's Day, 1st birthday party, many a park-adventure, a soccer season and more.  Just thinking about that list of documentable occasions makes my heart start racing a little.  So, yeah, not making any promises and planning to cut myself some slack on hashing through it all.

In the meantime, I thought it might be fun to show a few pictures of how things are "rolling" around here.  People often ask "how we do it"- meaning how do we SURVIVE.  My answer is nearly always the same...we ARE NOT doing it.  We simply can't.  Can't do it alone, at least.  I mentioned before, but we have literally been sustained in miraculous ways through strength and endurance of supernatural proportions and by the angels sent to walk beside us. 

At home, though, we are learning a few survival tactics, and I thought it might be fun to show you a few of the small ones.  No one else may be interested in this, but these little things speak volumes to me about our lives right now and...

I want to remember.

I want to remember what it looks like to have six car seats in the minivan.
(not pictured: the solid layer of books and toys on the floor, the mass chaos of getting everyone in and out, and the "luggage" that fills the trunk each time we go ANYWHERE)


speaking of "luggage"...
I want to remember the color coded cubbies where school backpacks, lunchboxes, folders and nap mats are organized each evening


I want to remember what it looks like to walk by myself with six little chicks to the park nearly every day. 

I lead the way with the stroller and four little ducklings tag along behind on their bright orange rope.  If that weren't spectacle enough, we also usually have at least one kid in some combination of funny hat, random winter gloves, mismatched clothes, shoes on the wrong feet, lugging a favorite (but random) toy...etc.






I want to remember what it looks like to fix 5 toddler plates at the same time
(fix them all on the counter BEFORE we sit down and say prayers and THEN serve them.  Critical timing to ensure that nothing gets spilled, traded, tasted or complained about...before RRL and I get to sit down).

I want to remember what it looks like to find random jobs around the house to a) get toddlers involved and b) keep those toddlers occupied.  Jobs like helping load the washing machine via a 2-year-old to 3-year-old handoff.


I want to remember what it looks like to lay out six outfits each night, across the back of the couch.
in age order, so that everyone knows where there clothes are in the morning and can get themselves dressed before breakfast


And I want to remember what it looks like to tuck in 6 sleeping angels.
(this particular night 5 were all sleeping on one pallet in our tent when we went camping.  Baby B, not pictured, was in his packnplay.)


As crazy as it all is...I do want to remember each of these things.
Such tiny things that have completely transformed our everyday living in just two short months.

ABL

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Guess who has a Birthday today?

One of their favorite people.


We love you, D, and these six absolutely LOVED your visit and the package you sent them.  Hope you have a wonderful birthday!

And this picture may or may not be
 one part birthday celebration
and
six parts "maybe-if-you-see-their-adorable-faces-you'll-come-back-to-see-us....ASAP". 
Did it work?

ABL

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

MMM: Pi Day

You can learn all kinds of amazingness via facebook, even if you are facebook-sporadic (as the case may be). 
For instance, Did YOU KNOW...

March 14 is National Pi day
(get it...3.14?  I know, it took me a minute, too)

Your life is complete now that you have that amazing piece of information, isnt it?  But, if you happen to have just arrived back in town on a Sunday evening, and are looking for something spur-of-the moment to do with your children on a Monday (which happens to be 3.14), this is MOST excellent information to stumble across.  And its even better news when paired with the fact that I did a quick library search and found this treasure...

The treasure that my treasures are holding, that is.  A book on the very subject that includes DRAGONS...what boy doesn't love dragons?  RRL picked it up for us Monday morning and MMM:Pi Day was born (or "circle day" as KJ dubbed it).

Who knew so many activities could include circles?
We made circle pictures, decorated with circle stickers.  The boys loved this project, Lou thought her pink paper was complete with a single basketball and a couple of scribble.


We also headed outside for more circle drawing, this time with sidewalk chalk.  We even tested "Pi" by counting the number of steps around a circle compared to the number of steps straight through a circle.  Even with anything but even "stepping" contributed by the expert-measuring-team, we got pretty close to 3 times more steps around than through.  The kids didn't get it...at all...but I thought it was cool.


 Next we did some "circle exercising"...totally made this up to kill time...and energy. 

 After using all our "circle" energy, its time to refuel...with some circle lunches.

 AND FOR THE GRAND FINALE...
 Pi Day Pies.
Seriously, if you have small children (and aren't afraid of a little mess), this was an awesome activity.  Jello pudding pies.  I just followed the very simple no-bake directions on the box, let the kids fill the pie shells however they wanted, and sprinkled some Andes mint pieces on top.  YUMMY, and the kids LOVED it, too. (well, two of them did.  I can't remember why exactly, but KJ was sulking about something and didn't want to participate).  You'll notice that most of the pies were "unsharable" by the time Cbug and Lou licked all over them, but the fun they had was totally worth it.  This kept them occupied FOREVER.  I love the pictures of the incredible duo "cleaning-up" the chocolate mess.  These two are hilarious together these days.  I love the sweet relationship they are forming.

We had such a fun "Circle Day"- can't wait to celebrate again next year.  It was so sweet of the Lord to give me this special day of JOY with my three treasures.  By that very night there were three more treasures sleeping in their rooms, so it was a much needed day of fun for us.  One I'll treasure, messes and all, for a very long time.

Thanks, Facebook.  And thanks, Pi Day!  You were well celebrated by Team L.
ABL


Monday, May 16, 2011

Testing...testing...one...two...three

After a two-month (plus) "sabbatical", I wonder...is it worth trying to start again? This blog and I...our relationship is anything but consistent. Yet it sticks around. Thanks, DRRF, thanks for providing a blank page for me even when I forget to write.  I'd promise to be more faithful, but we both know it would be pie-crust (easy to make, easy to crumble).  I'd try to fill in the gaps of time, but where would I even begin.  I know you'll forgive me.  And if even if you don't...that's the beauty of this relationship, it continues anyway.

So, here we go.  I promise to post more pictures, funny stories, and antics soon, but first I need to set the stage a bit for a big change you'll see on this little piece of the web.

Exactly one week after my last post, I had an awesome weekend at the beach with some lovely ladies.  Sadly, I carried my camera everywhere and took exactly zero pictures.  You'll have to believe me that it was a perfect 3 1/2 days, celebrating one of my favorite people in the whole world and her upcoming marriage.  There was lots of laying around at the spa, laying around on the beach, laying around by the pool...mixed with some shopping, a couple of great runs, and too much good food.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet and visit with different pieces of the bride-to-be's world(s).  It was a wonderful way to learn more about someone I already dearly loved.  I came home thoroughly rested and rejuvenated. 

And its a good thing, because the day after I came home, life around our house changed drastically.  Monday was a normal MMM (more later about the "National Pi Day" that we celebrated) and the kids went down for great naps.  Over the course of the next few hours, something RRL and I could not have foreseen began unfolding in a miraculous way.  Here is a little piece of the email I sent the next day...

While the events of the last 24 hours were not even on our radar screen, we know that all along the Lord has been paving a path for these events. RRL and I have felt very strongly over the last couple of months that the Lord was "preparing" us. While that was just as ambiguous to us as it sounds and left more questions than answers, the result was that we have been in a season of growing closer to each other and closer to the Lord. We have confided this in a few close friends and as a result, know that others have been praying for us...even before we really knew what they were praying for.  Yesterday the "what we were preparing for" fell in our laps in the form of three adorable siblings, the children of RRL's stepsister. A, age 3 (three weeks older than Cbug), C, age 2 (6months older than Lou) and baby B (10 months).

We don't really know how long our family will include our sweet nephews and niece, but for awhile at least it will change the photos and stories you see here quite a bit (obviously).  Our daily family tasks take on a whole new adventure-like-quality when handling them with six small children.  Its really hilarious, actually.  Can't wait to give you a glimpse.  For now, though, here's a picture to fool you into thinking we've got it all together (after all, it is my blog).


`

I mean, really, how adorable are they?

Life with six kids is anything but easy.  Its full of blessings in the form of tons of sticky kisses and lots of dog-pile-like hugs, but there have definitely been times it when it has been completely exhausting.  We continue, though, to experience that same sense that I wrote about in those very first days.  We still believe that He prepared us for this path.  He's asking us to walk through something we didn't choose, but He's walking ahead of us, behind us, and right beside us.  Sometimes His presence is in the stillness of naptime, the peace of children playing together, or the sweet conversations I get to have with my husband after all 6 kids are in bed.  But sometimes its more tangible.  Many times, He's walking with us in the form of His people.  People that are meeting so many of our needs, before we even know how to ask.

Here's another email excerpt
"I am not exaggerating when I say that every single time we get to the point of being at our wits end, help arrives. There was one point this week that help was walking in our door with arm loads of groceries, at the same moment that help was walking out of our door after dropping off 3 of the children. We feel so loved. So blessed. Not alone.
I keep thinking about the following verses in Nehemiah, chapter 4. The building of the wall is well underway, yet threat of the enemy seems imminent. In order to complete the work they were called to, the people couldn't just huddle together waiting for an attack. Instead they had a plan...
19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
Thank you for being the kind of friends that, no matter how spread out we are, no matter how many different paths of service He may lead us to, we know we can be JOINED at the sounding of a trumpet (or email or blog). We've seen this first hand as we've felt surrounded in presence and in prayer and as we watch what God is doing."

We know He is at work and feel privileged to have a front-row-seat.

I know this is long, just wanted to document a small piece of our current lives.  And it seemed a bit abrupt to just show up in Deep Rolling Right Field, and not at least explain why the pictures include six children instead of three.  So there you have it.  Hope to be back soon...but no promises.

ABL

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rewind: PRICELESS!

We didn't travel far, didn't spend a lot of money, and ate most of our meals at restaurants equipped with a playscape (which Cbug kinda makes look like a cage in this picture).

But because some of their favorite cousins
 

live in South America

These pictures of them together
are ABSOLUTELY

PRICELESS!!


RRL's sister and her family were here for nearly a month this spring.  One weekend Grammy kept AB, CB and baby B so we could spend some time with this precious family.  We loaded up the kiddos, went camping, and enjoyed a "dinosaur" park.  We cooked dinner by the fire, enjoyed S'mores, and the "oldest" kids told us a bible story before bed.  We played hide-n-seek with the soccer ball and we laughed.  Mostly we just sat back and LOVED watching these six continue to form a bond that will span thousands of miles...just like the one their parents have.  So thankful for the time we got to spend together!

ABL