Monday, September 23, 2013

It shouldn't be. But it is...NINE YEARS!

Today is a big day for me!
A day that according to my surgeons and doctors should never have been celebrated.

In 2004, I underwent extensive GI surgery hoping to eliminate the chronic pain I'd been dealing with related to Crohn's disease.  At best, I was told, I might get 3-5 years of pain free living and even then I'd likely need medication to manage it.

It seems to me today that maybe they forgot to factor in HOPE.  They knew what they knew- but not what HE knew.  And boy HOWDY did He show them.

Because after:
One hike to the bottom of the grand canyon

Lots of half marathons (three while pregnant)

Four babies (three completely without medication).

And a ton of other fun...

I can officially say:

9.  Nueve.  Neun.   Neuf.  Novem.  Nove.  Nau. NINE YEARS!!  
Pain free.  And not just that, but medication free as well.

Don't be confused by this list of my accomplishments over the last nine years.  Join me in recognizing that there is not a single ounce of any of that I could have done.  Oh, sure- saying "it shouldn't be" was great motivation for me to try (it is so strange that my kids have a stubborn streak).  But when I see this list, stare into those sweet faces, remember how far we've come...welp, I'm simply overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed with praise for the ONE who provides beyond what we can ask or imagine.  The One who grinned at the thought of "maybe 3-5 years" and delighted in providing so much more.  

And don't be confused.  If today was different.  If there comes a day when it IS different.  Whether there are 9 more years, 3 more days, or a lifetime of living without pain- I'll still declare HIM mighty to heal.  I'll still shout out "HE is mighty to save".  I'll still remember that He is doing more than we can ever imagine.  Don't get me wrong- it won't be easy.  There are other areas of my life that have certainly proven that hope doesn't mean "what I want, when I want it".  Other "miracles" I've HOPED for have tested my willingness to believe.  But isn't it always true that the best things are worth fighting for, and lots of times you WILL have to fight for them.

I'll fight for Hope every.single.time.  I will chose to believe in miracles.
It just so happens that today it is easy.  Today is a day to celebrate.

It shouldn't be.  But it is.
And that's simply miraculous.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

All dressed up with someplace to go

I hear the wedding planning business is a booming one.
Apparently, brides are willing to shell out big bucks if you will make her day perfect.
I could write a whole book about my thoughts on that matter.
It probably wouldn't be very popular.

But if I'm going to tap into this booming wedding business, maybe instead I should write something called:
"Being the mom of the wedding parties' mini-members."
With the subtitle 
"You are going to need a LOT of pennies"

Its not that I have any kind of marketable knack.
Its just that my children have made a grand total of 20 combined appearances 
(in 8 separate weddings).
And you can't do that and not learn a few things.

Like buying miniature tuxedos on ebay.
We own four tuxedos (in two different sizes) with an assortment of ties
 as well as an array of flower girl dresses.

And the trick of giving bribes which fit in their pockets or baskets- like pennies.

Surprisingly enough, I love it when my children are asked to play this special role.
Having my children be the mini-wedding-party-members honestly doesn't stress me out (anymore).

Don't get me wrong. There has been quite a lot of trial and error.
Mostly error.
(like the time KJ's newly polished BLACK shoe came in contact with a brides beautiful WHITE dress)

We've definitely had to make some adjustments to our wedding routine over time.

Mostly we've learned that you can't roll at the same pace or schedule as the rest of the wedding party
Which is actually how we got these pictures.  All 6 of us were hiding out. Outside.  
Far away from the rest of the getting-ready-for-the-wedding-hub-bub.

We've learned that since the majority of brides and grooms have never been parents- shockingly, they don't really get why certain times of the day and certain situations are recipes for disaster.  And they shouldn't have to be worried about those things on their big day.  So, only we-their parents- can really advocate for our kiddos.  Which means,  I've even said "no" to requests that I thought wouldn't be in their best interest.

But when the requests are reasonable (even over-the-top but still reasonable)-
You just figure out ways to make things fun so they'll want to participate.
You have to plan to do things that they don't normally get to do.

And you have to talk about the cake.
A lot.

So, if you are looking for a circus to entertain during your big day,
I happen to know where you can find one.

OR, even better,
if your kiddos are the ones invited to play this special role- just remember:
Nothing they can do can actually keep the bride and groom from getting married.
Even if they do invite the father-of-the-groom to play catch with the ring pillow mid-ceremony.
So sit back and enjoy your children being dressed up and doted on.
It's that simple.

Well, that-
 and bring a lot of pennies.


This series of pictures is one of my very favorites of these four blonds.  I love that we captured them exactly as I imagine I'll remember this stage in life- a lotta parts crazy with even more parts adorable.  We snapped away while we waited for the summer wedding of RRL's sister to begin.  And if you think these pictures are should see the ones from when three of these rascals figured out the concept of the photo booth at the reception.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Being in the top 0.1% is a Rough Gig

It has been officially confirmed.  My children are in the top 0.1%.
But being tops is not always all it is cracked up to be.

Don't get me wrong.  I already knew I have some pretty AH-mazing kiddos. I mean seriously stellar. KJ's reading level, in first grade, astounds me. He can read a story and really bring it to life. Cbug can do math in his head so quickly it makes my own head spin, counting by crazy numbers like 8 and doing simple division (he just started K). Lou's nurturing instincts are off the charts, she can read people in a way that is wise beyond her years. And the way Tito says "thank you" is enough to make me wanna buy him a pony (nearly).

 When you get me started talking about my kids its pretty tough not to brag.  But all of this is purely based on my own 100% biased, cuz I'm their Momma, opinion. And I'm totally cool with that. I think my kids are the best, smartest, funniest, cutest, sweetest in the world. Because they are mine.

This week that all changed.  It is now absolutely official.  I have real scientific proof that my four children are in a category above nearly all other humans on the planet (or at least those tested by certain manufacturers of cleaning products). To be honest, I wish I didn't have this proof at all- because it turns out, my 4 kiddos have germs that are more persistent than approximately 99.9% of all other germs. I know because I've used this.

and this.
and this.
not to mention a homemade solution.

All trying to kill the germs in our house that have resulted in nearly 3 weeks of stomach bug/flu. All 4 kids have had it. It comes and goes. But mostly comes. In three weeks, I think we've slept through the night twice without waking up to puke...or um, the other.

We are exhausted. Running low on patience. And I've cried plenty a "I must be a terrible mom" fit into my pillow. But that isn't going to be where I stay in all of this. This stinkin' bug remains, but it doesn't get the victory at our house. If it lasts another day or another month (PLEASE LORD JESUS NOT ANOTHER MONTH)- it doesn't win. satan (with a little 's' even at the beginning of a sentence) would like nothing more than to use this trying time in parenting to rob me of my confidence, joy and purpose which is from The LORD. I'm convinced that sneaky rascal would like nothing more than to let this be about more than just a stomach bug.  he'd love to see a real battle.

As I kneel beside my children while they hug porcelain AGAIN. Or worse, as I kneel on all fours to clean up where they "missed". that conniving devil meets me there. he's whispering in my ear those age old lies to moms about being inadequate, not trying hard enough, failing, not employing every possible tool, comparing to other moms, etc. And today I'm choosing to remind myself...

Because I believe in a God who is bigger.  One who may love to surprise me, but is never sneaky or deceiving. One that doesn't have to meet me in the bathroom. He doesn't meet me there because He is consistent.  Walking with me all along. He is the one already with me as I've laid hands on my children each night, as I've begged Him to cleanse our home, as I've cried out in my sleep (or lack thereof), as I've spoken scripture over them, as I've longed for understanding and direction. And He's the one who is with me when I don't feel like doing any of it.

I feel quite certain that many of you have some genius ideas about how to fix this ole nasty stomach bug for us- and I'll assure you... I've tried (or at least googled) 99.9% of them. But even if I haven't. I'm gonna ask you to refrain from any "tips" on fixing this. Be mindful of my fragile Momma state and instead, today, will you simply join me in the REVOLT.  Join me in choosing hope in parenting, even over silly things like the stomach bug.

Join me in choosing laughter in these down and dirty Momma moments.  The ones you know will pass quickly (gross pun intended), but you still gotta work hard to find a bright side. Today, my silver lining is this:
If it could be cleaned, washed, thrown away, scrubbed, sprayed, or has been.
More times than I can count.
Yet, those stinkin' germs persist.
So at least we've got this going for us:
My kids (or at least their germs) are top notch-
in the top 0.1% of the whole wide world.
And now I have proof.

Hooray for us.


ps- stomach bug, you are now free to leave. officially.