Monday, December 31, 2012

The best photo moments of 2012

For the last two years, I've scrambled like a madwoman to go back and do last minute blog-catch-up on missed events before the end of the year review post.  I loved doing it, but it was super time consuming.  This year, there is just NO WAY.  I'm gonna have to cut myself some slack and just wrap this year up on the ole blog and hope for more consistency next year.

That said, I'm going to do my Year-End post a little differently.  I may or may not go back through each month and try to do a wrap up.  I've done a few, but running out of steam.  For now, I think I'll just end 2012 with my favorite picture (or two) from each month.  Enjoy!

A picture from Cbug's birthday donut outing

February was one of the hardest months of the entire year.  This picture sums up the month pretty perfectly, and therefore is my fave!

And even though I hated the idea of posting a picture of my belly hanging out.  I love every single morsel of what this picture represents to me for 2012!  I wrote more about it in my post about the 1/2 marathon I ran in my seventh month of pregnancy.

This picture from a random trip to the park is one of my favorites because it was an afternoon that I MADE myself take a break, waddle myself to the park, turn my phone off and just slow down to enjoy my babies.  I'm so thankful for that memory. 

Our precious Little Bear joined our family.  And from the beginning, was such A BOY- not appreciating ONE.BIT this sweet moment between his parents.  I love this photo!
And we also celebrated my brother's wedding earlier that same month. The rehearsal dinner yielded this favorite EVER picture of the the only two girls in our family.  Love my precious princess!

When our biggest boy turned six, he took nerf wars to a new level with his improved arsenal.  I love his face in this picture.  I do NOT love how old it makes him look.

And as Little Bear was welcomed to our home, he quickly secured his status as MOST.PATIENT.BABY.EVER.

We packed up to leave our home of 8 years and as we closed the doors for the last time, we took one last front porch picture.  AND Little Bear made sure we didn't take this memorable moment too seriously when he "marked" his brother. 

Also in June our princess turned 3.  She tolerated quite well that we were "homeless" during her big day and I love this precious picture of her blue-icing-teeth from her celebration at Grammy's.

If seeing our entire family dressed in cow "costumes" just to get free food won't make you smile, I'm certain that a certain baby who turned 3 months old in July can help ya out!

I always love first day of school pictures, but this year's were especially sweet thanks to these fun printables from "I should be mopping the floor" and because they were on our NEW front porch.  Libby's sassy pose (self-titled her "Princess pose") only adds to the enjoyment!

FINALLY, a picture of all 7.  We are so thankful that we get to enjoy our nephews and niece in our home one weekend each month.  During their September visit, we finally captured all seven of these little loves looking (generally) toward the camera and nearly all of them smiling.  This is a treasure!

We continued a great tradition with  some fun-friend-photographers at the pumpkin patch and this year went "off the beaten path" to a random church patch.  It was PERFECT- few people, few distractions and FANTASTIC PICTURES.

But maybe my favorite picture of the ENTIRE year...
Our last minute, yet super fun, Halloween costumes.

It counts as one pic if I photo shop them together, right?  It was super hard to narrow down to just these three from our AMAZING photo shoot with "The Three".  LOVE these crazy kiddos and so thankful for the way these pictures captured them.

As part of our daily activities for "Counting down to Christmas" we went to story time at GW lodge with some fun friends.  AND MIRACULOUSLY at half-past-bedtime, my children all acted like they like each other and smiled for the camera.

Which is a feat they far surpassed during this little Christmas eve photo shoot.  I think I'll start telling them "All I want for Christmas is this..."
Every.Single. Year.

2012 was a doozy for our little family in lots of ways.  But along the way there were these pictures, and behind them the stories that we'll always treasure.
 For those of you following along on this crazy ride with us...
I don't know whether this year was one you'd love to ground-hog-day over and over and over.  Or one you hope to pack away and forget.  But regardless, I sincerely hope your 2012 was filled with so many picture moments that it was hard to narrow down to 12 (ish).  And I pray that these are the moments you'll choose to remember!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve with Joseph

We don’t know much about Joseph.
At least I don’t.
I know he was a carpenter.
But I can’t think of one other thing I know about him other than-
His son was Jesus.
Yet, this Christmas I find myself thinking about him and his role in THE story.

The story of a baby.
A baby King.
A baby King that was born in a manger inside of a stable, because his parents had traveled for miles and miles to a city that was too full for them.
A baby King, both God and man.
Who would save the world.

I’m always amazed when I think about the humble beginnings of our Lord and Savior. It doesn’t get more meager than spending your first hours in an animal feeding trough. It is amazingly incomprehensible that He was completely GOD as he nursed, as he cried, as he had his diaper changed. And He would grow up to save the world. He was worshipped from the beginning yet in the beginning, he was completely reliant on his parents.

His parents, Mary and Joseph.

I’m always amazed when I think about the delivery Mary endured. She found out from an angel that she had conceived a baby without ever having slept with her fiancĂ©. She faced certain ostracization and there would always be those who wouldn’t believe her, or believe in Him. And THEN she got on a donkey. A DONKEY at 9 months pregnant. She endured the ride and then lay down in a bed of hay to deliver her child. A child she knew would grow to be Lord, Savior, KING. Knowing he was completely GOD, she would nurse him, rock him when he cried, change his diaper. And she would worship Him from the very beginning, while he was still completely reliant on his parents.

His parents, Mary AND JOSEPH.

But to be honest, I haven’t ever really been amazed by Joseph. Maybe never even really considered him. A carpenter. A carpenter who knew that his son was completely God as he lead the unborn child’s mother on a donkey, as he watched his new wife nurse him, as he rocked him when he cried, maybe even when he changed his diaper. And he would worship him from the very beginning. Worship him knowing that this baby, though not his blood, was entrusted to him, to his ancestors, to all of those that had come before him.

And this Christmas I find myself thinking about that carpenter. A carpenter to whom I’ve never really given much thought. And it turns out, he’s kinda significant to the King’s presence in this world. Because in the gospel of Matthew, the lineage of Christ comes through Joseph and his father and his fathers’ father. From David, down through a baby king. A baby king that was his son, but not his. Not by blood or conception. I’ve heard about the significance of those in the lineage of Christ, the imperfect people who paved a perfect path for a savior to enter the world. But I’ve never considered that the heritage of Christ, in Matthew at least, comes through Joseph.

And for Christmas, that means a lot. Because in many ways, Joseph CHOSE to be the father of Jesus. By faith he married a pregnant virgin. By faith he led a donkey to Bethlehem. By faith, he took on the role of protecting the King before he could take care of himself. He fled more than once to find a safe place for the tiny King when Herod hunted him. And when the pre-teen king went missing, he scoured the roads and towns to find him.

His blood was not in the boy, but the boy was his son. His sweet tiny adopted son. Who would save the world!

I cannot imagine the faith that took. The faith to take on that role, explained to you by an angel, knowing it would not make sense to much of the rest of the world. The faith to marry a woman and commit with her to raise the Lord they would worship. To be so determined to spend every once of your being protecting this King. No matter what.

And I wonder. What in the WORLD did Joseph’s parents think? How did he explain to them- THIS is what I was made to do. This is what I’ll be remembered for. And that is what I know about Joseph. He WAS the father of Christ. He chose to be the Daddy to a baby that needed to be protected, like no other baby ever was.

And because of that choice, and because of the lineage in the gospel Matthew, I also know something about Joseph’s father and his father’s father and those that came before him. They created a legacy of faith that would ultimately give one man the strength to accept the responsibility of adopting and protecting the Son of God.

This Christmas Eve, I find myself praying for a legacy like Joseph’s father. And Joseph’s father’s father. Oh sweet Lord, give us strength. Strength to encourage and teach our children in a way that will allow each of them to do what they were made to do.

The best gift I could give them this Christmas is that they, like Joseph, would know...really KNOW...Christ. 
No matter what the world thinks, no matter how crazy it might seem, no matter how much it might cost them. I hope they see that kind of faith from us, and I hope they experience it for themselves.  Most of all, just like Joseph learned from those before him, help us create in them a faith that could believe this story.

The story of a baby.
A baby King.
A baby King born to a virgin.
A baby King ADOPTED BY A CARPENTER, who would protect him while He grew.
A baby King, both God and man.
Who would save the world.

Oh, Lord, help them believe.  No matter what the cost, no matter where the journey takes them, no matter what the world tells them.  Help them believe in Christmas!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

the December Funk

I've been in a funk this December.

You might could even call me a Scrooge.
We did our "Christmas countdown" with the kids (which they loved- more soon), but I was often pretty half-hearted.
Our tree was barely up.  I stopped at which point my hands and arms were significantly scratched up from fluffing and my 4-year-old critic questioned the "grey stuff" I was putting all over the tree (some call it silver ribbon). And there it sits.

There were no other decorations to speak of.  In fact (and I can't believe I am about to admit this),  as of the 10th of December, I still had 6 adorably monogrammed pumpkins on my front porch.
And until the very last minute, I'd purchased very few gifts (and those few were thanks to the convenience of my dear friend, Amazon).

I seem to get this way at about this same point post-baby-birth.  I don't know exactly why.  Its kinda like a delayed onset of post-partum funk.  Maybe its that I'm pulling up out of "survival mode" just in time to try to figure out how we're going to include this precious baby, who is becoming more and more like a person, into our everyday life.  And I'm just sleeeepppppyyy  zzzzzzzzzz.  When adding Christmas to that, my Christmas tradition list has just turned into a Christmas to-do list.  Only I never make it past my normal to-do list of laundry, dishes, etc with enough energy to start on the Christmas to-dos.

But this year there was really more to it.  I had trouble reconciling in my heart the hurt I see around me with the joy my family experiences at Christmas.  I don't think that's the way it is supposed to be.  I don't think being aware of hurt should keep me from enjoying my blessings.  It should just spur me to look for ways to share them, but i just found my self distracted.

Because of my Christmas "funk", this idea (by the super thoughtful Sarah), the idea of "Neighborly Blessingmas Revolution of 2012," was a huge blessing for me.  The idea that something small for me might make a huge difference for others.  Maybe a huge difference in the way my children perceive neighbors and a huge difference in the way my neighbors perceive us.  Trust me, they might need some perspective help.  (Reference above, re: our December pumpkins and add this fact: we rarely rake leaves from the neighborhoods two biggest leaf-dropping trees). 

The idea was easy- work together to bless our neighborhoods.  To take time during Christmas, during advent, to share the J-O-Y!  I love it.  Its definitely a new favorite tradition for us.  The kids loved baking and they LOVED delivering. And for a bit, this ole Scrooge had some Christmas spirit. Isn't that how it usually works- blessed by what you do for others?  That's what I want my kids to know about Christmas.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bad Idea...Gone Good

Taking family pictures right after school, may have been one of the worst ideas I've ever had as a mom.

  Seriously.  Why would I think that the "bewitching hours" of 4-6 that are always a little rough around our house, would suddenly become the perfect time to ask my FOUR children to cooperate with photographers?  Ya'll it was bad.  My adorable blonds were C-R-A-Z-Y. 

And, I'm not just saying this in a make-you-feel-better-about-your-children kind of way, either.  I was seriously sweating from children hanging on me, running circles around where they were supposed to be posed, looking the opposite direction of the smile target, etc.  

And then there was the time we thought it would be a good idea to cross OVER a creek on a narrow bridge (without sides/handles) with our four children in tow and momma in heels, oh and pause in the middle for a photo shoot.  Seriously. 

Which is why, I'm pretty sure these pictures have been significantly altered.  
AND on that note:

What you should NOT do:
IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS compare your family to this picture perfect one.  These ARE JUST PICTURES.  You would need video to see the real story. 

What you should do: 
IMMEDIATELY contact The THREE and beg them to perform similar miracles at YOUR next photo shoot.  If you, too, would like to portray your children as happy, smiling, peaceful and compliant (even at 5:30 on a school night) all means, CALL THEM.

 This picture, on the otherhand, is not rigged.  Cropped, maybe, but not rigged.  I really do love him absolutely this much.  I just so appreciate them capturing it (with the slobber on my shirt that tells the real story about what was happening moments before...and after).

Thank you, thank you, thank you, The Three for capturing this season for our family so beautifully.    

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Never a dull moment...

Korben and the RULES

1) I heard an urgent "Mommaaaaa" from the kids bathroom and hurried in (because nothing urgent is ever positive in the bathroom).  I found KJ, sitting on the toilet, with the hand soap in his hands.  "Mom, read right here. What does this say? This says 'keep out of reach of children.' what do you think that means? Is this safe?" He was very concerned that I would just leave something so dangerous lying around in the kids' bathroom.

2) KJ came home from school on Friday after TWELVE kids had been at our house for a playdate.  He looked around at the mess and informed me "Mom, if there are going to be a lot of kids here, I think its a good idea if they practice the 'only get one toy out a time' rule, don't you?"  yeah, that might have been wise.

3) While a friend was visiting, KJ was showing her his kite.  The kite he got for his birthday. In May. That his parents still haven't let him take out of the package (in our defense WE WERE MOVING).  I thought bemoaning that he hadn't gotten to fly it would be the extent of the conversation, but he had something more urgent to talk about.  He read her the kite safety instructions.  Like "don't retrieve from power lines".  After going through the list with her, he commented "don't you think they are forgetting a few things.  They should have put 'don't fly kites in the house' and maybe should have said 'don't fly kites in fire'. Those would be good rules to add."  I think I see a future for him in this!

           CBUG makes us LAUGH.
1) Cbug got in the van after school one day as the "interrupting robot".  Only we didn't know it.  While some of my children would have announced "I'm an interrupting robot." and cracked themselves up at the idea, not Cbug.  He just climbed into his seat, took out a book and started looking at the pages.  UNTIL.  Lou tried to tell me something.  Midway through each of her sentences, Cbug (while not looking up and still turning pages) would blurt out "IN-TUH-RUP-TING." in his best robot voice. She'd try to tattle and he'd just say "IN-TUH-RUP-TING".  I'd try to correct him, but he'd interrupt me, too. I was laughing so hard, I nearly had to pull the van over.  His delivery was impeccable.  I don't know where he comes up with these things.

2) On the way to Church on Sunday, we were talking about Harvest Sunday- an
annual event to raise money for missionaries.  We talked about how some people go on short term trips to tell people about Jesus, but some people choose to move away to another country for a long time, just like Uncle L and Aunt S.  KJ asked "How do some people decide to be a missionary?"  That question, (coupled with a talk I'd had the night before on helping our kids identify what they were created to do) launched me into one of my best parenting monologues ever.  It was about how every person is created differently and we are all created to use our gifts to teach others about Jesus, wherever we are.  And Daddy and I want to help each of them discover what THEY were created to do.  It was compassionate, it was sincere, it was biblical, it was empowering.  OR so I thought.  Until, Cbug called me back to a humbled parental state by responding "Ya know those big trucks?  Not the regular big trucks but the big trucks that have something attached to the back?  I'd like to ride in one of those."  
crickets. crickets. crickets.

Lou and her Successes
1) Our little Lou is getting pretty smart when it comes to working people. At her preschool each semester they do a little assessment for each kid, just showing the parents wheat we can work on at home, what they have learned, etc.  Last time Lou did one they asked her to count and she said she could only make it to 9 and then "forgot anything after that".  This time, she apparently couldn't remember some of her letters.  When I got the sheet, I didn't make a big deal out of it, but I pointed to a couple of the letters and said "Lou, what is this letter" and she told me.  So I said "when your teacher asked about that letter, did you tell her what it was?"  She grabbed the paper out of my hand, studied it up one side and down the other and then with a wave of her little princess hand declared "I do NOT know WHAT this is talking about!" and went back to playing. 

2) We went to KJ's school carnival on Saturday.  I was already cracking up at Lou because she was wearing polka dot flats that were two sizes two big.  But then she decided she REALLY wanted to do the cake walk.  It was mostly bigger kids and grown-ups and there were doing about 35-40 people in the circle at a time, the line was long, and I told her she'd have to wait in it by herself because i couldn't take the stroller over there.  i was certain she would pass.  But, nope.  She carried her little ticket, through the line, found herself a number to stand on and paraded around the circle like she BELONGED THERE.  And guess what, she WON herself a cake. AN ENTIRE cake.  Now, I'm not entirely sure if she won because she was a full 2 feet shorter than all of the other contestants, because she looked so cute in her polka dot flats, because she nearly came UNGLUED when she saw that it was a pink cake with sprinkles up for grabs in her round, or because the lady running the game actually drew number 31.  Regardless, she was THRILLED .  I thanked the lady in charge by saying 'This made her whole day" and Lou told me later "Momma, this made my WHOLE day SOOOO excited."

Little Bear
He's six months old and I've finally chosen a blog name for baby C, Little Bear.  (which you might see as "bear" or "lb" or "little b". who knows.)  It is a tribute to his playful baby bear throaty growl with which he pleasantly communicates.  Its also a discrete shout-out to the middle name that our oldest two wanted to give him- Robin.  And because he's snuggly bear adorable, of course. Except in the middle of the night.  Around September he decided sleeping through the night was overrated. Which might have to do with the fact that he just cut his first tooth.  I hope that's what it was, but if so, it took 2 months for him to get that tooth through.  He's started eating more foods and loving anything we give him, so maybe he was just hungry.  He really likes to pull hair and eat jewelry.  He loves for his siblings to play with him and their current favorite game is to sing "trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat" until he laughs so hard he nearly chokes.  He's learning to go with the flow, but really prefers to be in his bed for naptime.  His happy place, though, is being outside either in the stroller or sitting in the grass (trying to eat it, of course).  Fun times for our littlest man!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Responding. Reflecting.

I was up much of the night on Saturday night.
Partly thanks to the cutest 6 1/2 month old on the planet and his little bear growlings.
But largely thanks to my own brain. The brain that would.not.quit.

It had been a long day.  A day that left me at a crossroads and unsure how to navigate it.  I feel like much is expected of me, but there is little left to give.  Primarily, I feel like my heart will EXPLODE if my intententios are misunderstood one more time.  I try to communicate love and grace. And yet it comes out as self-righteousness. I strive to offer answers and it comes across like I have them all.
And the thing is, it is not entirely "their" fault. 
I've been responding.

And that's what I lay awake praying about.
I've spent my life responding.
Responding to others' expectations.
Responding to others' time constraints.
Responding to others' words.
Responding to others' behaviors.
Responding to others' choices.

The response itself isn't always negative.  It makes sense to respond to compliments with pride, it makes sense to respond to high expecations by thriving, it makes sense to respond to inspiring life choices by living differently.

But what about how I respond to words that are meant to hurt me, how I respond to behaviors that might hurt my husband or children, to choices that are destroying families.  My strong responses to these attacks is likely justified, but that isn't enough for me.  I want to correct it, make it right, undo the hurt, respond to the words in a way that brings clarification. And many times, my response just isn't enough to do any of that.  I was deep in prayer and thought about how I could respond differently, how I could speak diffierently, how I could communicate the love and grace that were keeping me awake.

And driving to church Sunday morning, amidst a van full of children, I thought.
"Don't respond to people.  Respond to their needs."
Honestly, at the time, those two things didn't seem that much different to me.  In the moment I was thinking "that's some clever semantics there, ABL".

So I continued through the day.  Half listening to class (sorry Rick), half listening to the sermon (sorry, other Rick), half heartedly participiating in lunch with my family and guests.  My heart was aching to respond differently to those I encountered, especially those that would rather not encounter me at all.

And again a tug.
Don't respond to people.  Respond to their needs.

Thank you inner-voice-that-won't-shut-up.  Honestly, if I respond to one more person's NEEDS, I think I might come crumbling down.  Ask me to write a check. Ask me to go on a short term mission trip. Ask me to teach a class or deliver a meal.  Great.  But don't ask me to invest in anyone else or to try to meet their needs today. they don't want what I have left to give. I.AM.TAPPED.OUT.

And then I went driving.  Sunday afternoon, I had a long road in front of me.  Both the miles and the difficult destination were looming in front of me.  My passengers fell asleep, it was quiet, and still my brain would not stop.  Suddenly, I looked out at the horizon (which is a strage thing to say considering I was driving straight into it).  It was gorgeous.  The sun beams literally bounced from cloud to cloud, reflecting from the center sphere of the sun and then darting down and out.  The clouds nearly acted like prisms. It was gorgeous, different than anything I've seen before. The power was from the sun, but the beauty came from the clouds reflecting the light..

Oh my.
I had to stop the tears to keep driving.

The trouble with responding is you often end up reflecting what you respond to.
I respond to:
others' expectations.

others' time constraints.
others' words.
others' behaviors.
others' choices.
And as a result I often find myself reflecting their anger, their frustration.  I find myself responding to their choices and behaviors in a way that reflects who they are, not who I want to be.  Its true with my children, its true with my husband, its true with just about anyone I encounter.  Its especially true when my heart is so tied to wanting more for them.

Quit responding to people and respond to their needs.

Ask ME what their needs are.  Respond to ME as I show you their needs.

I don't know what to do with this completely.  But I know I'll be a different mom if I respond to the choices of my children by reflecting their Savior.  I know I'll be a different wife if my expectations for my husband are reflective of my relationship with the Lord.  I know that I'll be different in ministering to others if I respond to their words, to their choices, to their NEEDS by reflecting GRACE and MERCY and LOVE that doesn't come from my cracked and broken self. 

But I also know there was something in the beauty of that sky that was a result of the NUMBER of clouds.  I do learn from others showing me how to respond to needs in a way the reflects our common CREATOR.  I want to stand by friends who are responding to needs in radical ways, ways that reflect the Light of the Lord.  Would the light from a house on a hill have been nearly the word picture of an entire CITY on a hill (Matt 5:14)?

I'm still processing the practicality of what this looks like (I am, afterall, still an accountant), and likely will spend my entire life learning what it means to truly reflect the Lord.  But for now I just wanted to share the Hope it gave me this weekend. The HOPE which is simply-

I can't be the Sun.  I simply don't have enough light to penetrate the places I've been asked to shine.  I just want to be that tiny cloud. A single cloud in a chorus of other clouds.  Clouds which simply by being what they were created to be were able to catch the light and send it darting across the sky.

*i wish the pictures had turned out better.  so weird that they are blurry...from my old ipod, while driving, with birdpoop on the window.  crazy.

Friday, October 19, 2012

the ROCK.

I don't blog about him very often.
Not because he's not here.  He's VERY here (Well, except for that one time that we were trying to buy our new house and a credit company tried to tell me he was dead.  I assured them that I had 4 children and was moving and I absolutely would not allow him to be dead.  So, we fixed that, and NOW he's here.)

He doesn't get blogged much because Deep Rolling Right Field is primarily a mom's-eye-view.  Its mostly about my kiddos and about being their mom.  Its just that I don't think he'd necessarily appreciate me sharing the funny things he says, making him take pictures in bluebonnets, or documenting his milestones. And he hasn't ever run away from me in the grocery store or invited himself to a birthday party.  Those events are easy to blog.

But today deserves some blogging.  Its not his birthday. Not even Father's day or our anniversary.  Its just a day when I come to the realization of how much he carries, how hard it must be, and how proud I am to watch how he is walking a difficult road.

He is RRL.

He does family differently than most Dad's I know, is involved in ways many aren't.

He knows how to order for me at a restaurant (trust me, this takes major skills, love and patience)

He encourages me to be better and still encourages me to rest.

He leaves sticky notes on the dishwasher so I'll know the dishes are clean.

He goes along with my hare-brained ideas. And pretends to enjoy it.

He chooses to love people that are hard to love. 

He makes an effort to walk in our door in a way that sets a tone for our home. 
He kisses me and plays with them.

He listens to more podcasts in a week than I have in a lifetime.

He has a side-identity as a techy. And yet makes our home electronics tech-dummy-friendly (for me).

He is a better listener than anyone else I know. And never backs down when someone asks for help.

He loves Jesus. He wants others to love HIM, too.

He's not perfect and sometimes he makes a really big mess of things. 
But he isn't afraid to admit that and work to make it better.
The Daddy in our house ROCKS.
And what's more
He is building our house on one.
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock." 
Matthew 7:24-25 from The Message

Love you, Babe! YOU.ARE.MY.FAVORITE!!


Friendly readers of DRRF.  Would you join me in doing two things:
2) Would you pray for Ricky.  Especially for this weekend?
3) Would you consider supporting his efforts as he works with Teen Lifeline to reach hurting teens?  (check out this post about the 5K)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mom skillz

You know I'm going to say it.  I feel strongly enough about this to not back down until the fundraising ball gets rolling.  Would you check out my previous post about the 5K and consider helping us reach teenagers in our community?

NOW, for the point of this post...

Just in case anyone miss-perceived my "Mom confessions" to be a self deprecating post, I wanted to take one more shot at getting to the heart of the matter.  As a coworker (and good friend) and I were talking this morning, we emphasized that SHE was the best mom for her girls and I was the best my for my four kiddos.  Because we are both the very best people to teach them about Jesus.  It doesn't matter if we do a single other thing the same way.  It doesn't matter if we even agree on any other parenting choice, we are each loving our kids and teaching them to love Jesus.

And, to get that job done, we each have our own skillz.

When my kids ask (a million times a day):
How do you know that?  Where did you learn that? How did you do that?
Sometimes I provide a detailed explanation, give credit to my teachers or parents, throw out a"practice makes perfect" or "when at first you don't succeed".  But most of the time the answer I give is simple:
"Mom skills"  And they nod their understanding (that I like to think is full of admiration).

You know, those skills that you have completely mastered that make you their mom.  The skills that would be completely useless in any other venue, but are completely essential to your survival as a mom.  The skills you didn't dream about when you played house as a young girl.  Mom skillz are as different as each mom, but we all have them.  Its the identifying them, taking pride in them and using them that counts!

And here are a few of mine...

I can feed a baby while playing cards with my three big kids and talking to their Daddy on the phone. 

I can separate ANY two Lego pieces that happen to get stuck together.

I can turn anything into a game.  And convince my kids that it is more fun when it is a competition. (pennies for bribes, optional)

I can walk into a room and convince the kids that I have completely figured out what just happened.  Even if I don't have a clue.

I can count to 4 (and locate the corresponding child to that number) without missing a beat in a conversation.

I can identify princesses by the color of their dress, Thomas trains by their engine number and superheros by their masks.

I can come up with a song for just about anything my kids say
(some might call this a quirk.  I call it a skill)

I can completely change a conversation (and an entire mood) mid-breath.

I can (usually) remember which kid likes which foods prepared which ways.
( for example: one likes mashed potatoes, one likes baked potatoes, one likes sweet potatoes)

I can pray while driving and listening to "Silly songs with Larry" or Raffi's silly "Sing-along-songs"

I can interpret the foreign language of "kid-speak".  The language that has words which do not mean what you might expect, sometimes completely leaves out important facts from a story, and is filled with words pronounced quite differently than English.

I can hide and eat treats without getting caught so that I won't have to share.
*at one point in their lives I even mastered getting their chick-fil-a toy and driving through the drive through after lunch to get myself some icecream, without them being any wiser.

I can identify the location of lost shoes, the man from a favorite plane, a missing pacifier, a favorite shirt, all without even leaving my chair.  And the directions often sound something like "Yeah, I saw it last Tuesday.  Upstairs, in your brothers closet, under the blue blanket, in the back right corner, inside his white shoe."

And just this week, I discovered that I can conquer fears, use cat-like reflexes and impress my 6 year-old by catching an illusive grass hopper.  All while holding his baby brother.

Yep, I'm their mom. 
And I have skillz.

What are your MOM SKILLZ?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My four pumpkins!

WAIT!  Before you get distracted looking at the four cutest pumpkins E-V-E-R...
Would you please take a minute to read my last post and consider helping us help teenagers?
Thank you!

Now, for some pumpkins...

The Pumpkin Song
(tune: Have you ever seen a lassie?)

Have you ever seen a pumpkin, a pumpkin, a pumpkin,

Have you ever seen a pumpkin, that grows on a vine?

A round one, a tall one, a bumpy one, a squashed one.

Have you ever seen a pumpkin, that grows on a vine?

It just so happens,
I picked the cutest four pumpkins in the patch.
And brought them home where they belong.
But these four of mine, they didn't grow on a vine.
For every bit of color that the Lord pours into our lives
through pumpkins and fall leaves and green grass and trees,
How much more did He delight in designing and creating them!
  Thank you, Lord, for my Pumpkins! ABL    
If you haven't been around deeprollingrightfield long enough to fully know the joy of this tradition for us, here is a clue.
You can read more about this favorite tradition
here, here, and here.
Thanks again, Cass and Cindi for loving them and capturing them! This may have been the best year yet.
We love you!