Monthly Archives: November 2007

Dumbledore's Line

Standard

A few months ago, a friend convinced me to try the Harry Potter series. Being the story-loving person that I am, I cannot stop in the middle of a good story. Thus I spent a month reading nothing but Harry Potter to finish the series. While I wouldn’t read them to my kids at this point – and they’ve still got nothing on Narnia! – I quite enjoyed them and have decided the entire series was worth the read for this quote:

"We’re in a time when we must choose between what is right and what is easy."

This really describes what I’ve been pondering and working through lately. Here’s one more quote for context (this one is from a great book a fellow blogger thankfully pointed me toward – Passionate Housewives, Desperate For God):

"Instead of learning to die to self and follow Christ wherever He may lead, many times we demand our own way. We feed the flesh until it has an uncontrollable appetite with a mind of its own – pulling us in the direction of whatever feels good for the moment – led by our own carnal desires. Ironically, it’s an illusion, because the closer we get to what is supposed to "feel good" the worse we actually feel, the more we want, and the more our character suffers."

I have been there so much lately! Somehow I’ve gotten so selfish with my time and focus, and it’s made me miserable! I think it probably all started with the exhaustion and post-partum hormones playing havoc with my emotions, which is certainly valid enough. But it became too easy for me to be lazy in that, and perhaps use it as an excuse.  Then I wake up one day and realize I haven’t had *time* to read God’s Word and pray, but I’ve had time to watch a dvd, shop online, or some other easier and "more fun" thing. I haven’t had the energy to excercise (which ironically, would probably give me the energy!), but I don’t discipline myself to get to bed earlier. I tell my girls to be joyful, yet I have been selfish and grouchy! I want them to love singing to God and hearing His Word, yet I’ve been doing it by rote.  Whatever little free time I have, I find myself wishing for more, so I can do something for me. Truly I have become so selfish, and my poor husband and girls have had to live with a grumpy wife and mommy! And what seems most ironic of all is that when I am trying to make life more enjoyable for me, it always becomes less enjoyable! Thankfully I have a Good and Loving Father Who doesn’t let me wallow in my selfishness for long. And He often works through my kind and loving husband who won’t let me either! Said husband wisely hid the dvd player for the time being, giving me a *gentle* push to spend that one free hour of the day in a much more profitable way. I realized you really need to know yourself. One thing I know about myself is that I am horrible at focusing in prayer, so it’s easy for me to not quite get around to it. About the only way that works well for me to stay focused is to write my prayers down, which is inevitably more time consuming, but such a refreshment to me. So I had a wonderful time of prayer this morning (which God made sure I would do by waking my daughter up nice and early!) and God was gracious to me. I begged Him to give me desire to repent, because in my laziness I didn’t want to repent of being lazy! He is truly good, and I’ll tell you why: because His Word is true and lovely and right and doesn’t make a bit of sense to my silly human mind!

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39

My sinful mind thinks that the more I do to please myself, the happier I will be – but it’s a LIE! Nothing was outwardly different about today. I still had one baby who wanted to nurse and one baby with a poopy diaper blowout just when we sat down to school; the fireplace still decided to spit smoke into the living room; I still had five little girls with sins to correct; and so on . . . but somehow, unexplainably except in the wisdom of God (which seems often like foolishness to mankind) I was filled with joy. I sang with my girls with a happy heart. I had little or no time for only "me", but I loved the time I had with them. I found joy and satisfaction in this good work God has given me, because He helped me to stop trying to get out of my work for a few minutes of "me-time". Don’t get me wrong – I have a wonderful husband who does bless me with times to simply rest and do something on my own. But my job, the sweet calling God has placed before me is more blessed. So, back to the quote at the beginning of this blog: it’s always "easy" to look to please myself. And the choice isn’t always between what is inherently wrong and what is right. But what is needed is to choose againt mere ease; the more difficult task of taking up a cross; that task which somehow becomes the lighter one, the more joyful one, the only one to bring the true joy of living. God, by Your grace keep me in that path!

Some baby Alyssa pictures:

Cutest baby ever (one of five, anyway!)Cutest hat ever! Thanks, Noel!Ever gone for a brisk bike-ride-in-the-snow-while-packing-a-baby? Quite lovely, I must say!Closer-up shot of cutest baby in the world!

Can't Resist . . .

Standard

Yet more goofy sayings of my children. Someday, when my brain begins to function normally again, I shall actually write something myself!

************************************************************

We were eating dinner the other day, and Isabelle was particularly chatty. I’m not sure how she ate whilst keeping up such a running commentary on life, but she managed. She was telling us something about an elf in Lord Of The Rings, I believe, in incredibly great detail. The problem was that I had a horrible headache, and her words were all running together as one pounding sound in my head. So when I could see that Hannah wanted to say something (on the other side of the table, where perhaps it wouldn’t hurt my head so much), I attempted to stop the flow of words from Miss Isabelle. After convincing her that Hannah wanted to join the conversation, we all turned expectedly to see what profound thing Hannah would utter:

"Mommy, my nose and lips can wiggle – like this" (she proceeded to demonstrate, then sat quiet and contented, having made her observation to the world).

*****************************************************************

Hannah has recently decided that she likes to draw and color. It’s very fun, of course, to see her create toddler art, and to see her concentrate so hard on it. Here’s a conversation we recently had about one of her pictures:

Me: "What a pretty picture Hannah – what is it?"

Hannah: "It’s a house . . .

Aaaaaactually, it’s sharp teeth . . . with a tongue.

Aaaaaactually, it’s a house.

No actually it’s sharp teeth. . .

I don’t know what it is. . . "

****************************************************************

One of my girls, who for privacy’s sake shall remain nameless:

"Mommy, I need to go poopy. I need to go SO really bad! Mommy, I need to go TWENTY POUNDS of poopy!"

*****************************************************************

Last, but not least, "compliments" I never thought I’d hear.

My girls can be quite sweet, and say such lovely things to mommy when they put their mind to it. But sometimes, while I’m sure their intentions are sweet, their compliments don’t quite have the same effect.

Tonight at dinner I made some faux pas or another and said "Silly me." Isabelle, with a look of great concern upon her face began attempting to make me take my words back:

"Oh no, mommy don’t say that; you’re a perfectly wise mommy . . .

and a perfectly kind mommy . . .

and a perfectly little clumsy mommy"

I don’t know about the first two, but the third one sure is true!

***************************************************************

Isabelle before church on Sunday: Mommy, you look so pretty – you look just like a clown. (You can bet I checked the mirror to make sure I didn’t have on too much blush after that!)

***************************************************************

Hannah, while I was putting lotion on her little cheeks: "Mommy, your hands smell so nice, your hands smell just like an Appaloosa!" (In my defense, I do believe she meant apple lotion, and the wrong words came out . . . at least I hope that’s the case!)

***********************************************************

My little lady

"Snow harder, snow more, snow blizzards galore!" 

Tackled in the snow. . .

Still loves her shopping cart – no snowballs for me, thanks!

Impromptu snow play in church dressies

Another little lady

My littlest lady

Love those Narnia books!

 All my silly girls!

Babies And Pictures

Standard

My babies amuse me – I mean the two littlest ones. They’re so small, yet they have such strong personalities that are already quite different from all of their sisters. Alyssa is my first baby with two distinct idiosyncrasies: she LOVES having her diaper changed (not just the end result- she actually loves the process, smiling and practically laughing the whole time!) and she cries when she wants to be talked to – literally. Occasionally she’ll just cry and cry, so I instinctively feed her, change her, attempt to put her to bed,etc.  Finally I’ll put her down on her back in exasperation, and say "what is so wrong?" At that point, and only at that point, she’ll look up at me, smile and start talking in "baby coo". And as long as I continue to talk (or goo-goo) back with a smile, looking into her eyes (that part is essential to her), she’s happy. If I look away or stop talking to her, she cries and cries yet again. Somehow I forget this each time, and still go through the whole process when she’s moaning only because she wants someone to talk to her!

Juliette (though I should probably stop thinking of her as a baby) amuses me with her independence. The two sisters preceding her could not well be described as independent (though Isabelle was), so she’s quite a novelty right now. She seems to think she controls her destiny, and she’s politely insistent about this. I’ll tell her it’s time to come inside from playing, and she responds "No dee-doo" (her version of No, thank you). I tell her it’s time to tidy up the toys, and she responds "No dee-doo". I tell her to give back a sister’s toy which she snagged and of course she responds "No dee-doo".  Sometimes, when I’ve told her something that she REALLY didn’t want to hear, I get the extended version of "No, dee-dee-dee-dee-doo." In the end, her path is still determined by what I said, but somehow I always get this phrase first rather than "yes, mom". Hmmm, I think I need to work on this, whilst trying not to be so amused by it.

Tonight was her night to claim the ever-coveted role of "Dinner Helper". After donning her favorite apron (the sheer blue one that actually stays up on her little torso), she proceeded to "help" me in the kitchen in whatever way she thought best (I sort of "gave her her head" on this one). She was quite convinced that she was doing what needed to be done. She unloaded the dishwasher: each time she grabbed a piece of silverware, she’d open some random drawer and toss it in with a look of utter satisfaction upon her face. One fork in the utensils drawer, one fork in the knife drawer, one fork in the measuring cup drawer . . . I’m not sure a fork ever ended up in the silverware drawer! Typically, I suppose, I would correct this, but it did keep her so happy for quite awhile tonight. Next she "helped" set the table – I’m so used to the older girls setting the whole table by themselves, that by the time I walked in to check on her she had about a million forks and plates on the table! Lastly, after "stirring" my enchiladas with a spatula she had found, she occupied herself quite nicely for ten minutes "opening" a can of olives. When daddy came down for dinner, she proudly showed him her apron and pronounced herself the dinner helper (or di-di me-mer, or some other little pronunciation). I may not have gotten too much dinner "help" tonight, but she was certainly quite pleased with herself!

And here are a few pictures from the week:

Bubble Baby

Last minute carnival "costumes" from the dollar store – four beautiful butterflies for $2.24!

Oops, I mean five

Love snuggling that baby! Alyssa doesn’t look too sure about this though . . .

Juli was such a trooper with big smiles even though she was sick and feverish here.

Matt just read through a couple of the Narnia books yet again – have I ever mentioned how much we LOVE those stories?

Yummy, fingers . . .

Naomi hefting a big library book. We’ve so enjoyed "new" books each week as I’ve rediscovered the joys of a library.

My wonderful husband turned this . . .

Into this. Isn’t it pretty?!

One last picture of Naomi – just because she looked so cute!

Funny, Funny

Standard

Well, I have a few more "amusing comments from little ones" stories. The capital letters are to express Hannah’s very confident tone of voice 🙂

We were pleased to discover that Isabelle retained quite a bit of the sermon from church this week. She’s been walking around telling everyone that they aren’t just their parents’ children – they are God’s children, as God is our great Father.  I’m not sure how clearly she understood that, as I think I overheard her telling Hannah that Matt wasn’t really her daddy (don’t worry, I corrected that!). Last night she started to tell all of this to Matt over dinner. She got as far as "we must remember that it’s not just you that are our parents" when Hannah broke in confidently with "That’s right, we are GOD’s parents, too!"

Apparently at least some of what we read about Animals And Their Worlds is sticking with the girls as well – even my little three-Penny (as she likes to be called since she’s three). Today I was helping Isabelle with her Frog notebook page, and trying to hint as to how frogs get their food. I asked her if she remembered what kind of animal a frog is (even though it seems funny to me!) Hannah piped up (correctly) with: "It’s a predator – like a LION!" Yep, frogs and lions – two peas in a pod.

Later, when we were playing outside, our neighbor’s cat came for a visit. Hannah was grabbing the cat’s tail – for some reason this cat doesn’t mind such things- when she started shouting excitedly "Mommy, Whimsey has a BONE in her tail – it’s a BONE, mommy!!!!" Not quite as excited about this piece of information as she apparently was, I said "Oh, is it a backbone?" Hannah replied that it was actually a tailbone, but the cat had a backbone too (a few days ago we read that mammals have backbones). Once Hannah figured this out, though she didn’t remember the term "mammal", she was so excited that she started crooning happily to the cat "Oh, you have a backbone, so you’re a backbone animal. Did you know you’re a backbone animal?"

Lastly, the funniest of all, though I’m sure I won’t do this story justice no matter how many clarifications I add! We’ve been working with Isabelle to make sure that she answers and doesn’t ignore it when someone asks her a question, especially if that someone is mommy or daddy. I was at the stove getting some food out of the oven while she was in the tearoom eating with her sisters. Suddenly she jumped up from the table and came into the kitchen (typically they must ask before they get up to get something). I had my back to her at the stove, but asked something to the effect of "Isabelle, why are you not sitting down?" A moment passed with no response except her walking back to the table, so I said "Isabelle, is there a reason you didn’t answer mommy?" At this moment, Matt walked in and in a shocked and stern voice said "Isabelle!".  It took me a bit to figure out what happened, but I finally understood. We’ve taught the girls that if someone asks them a question while they have food in their mouth, they may hold their pointer finger up to indicate "One moment . . . " Apparently Isabelle got up from the table with her mouth full to get some ketchup, hence why she didn’t answer me right away. She must have held her finger up and I didn’t see it with my back to her, so when I asked again she held it higher up in the air. The punchline is that for some reason she tends to point with her middle finger instead of her pointer finger. So poor Matt walked in to hear me asking Isabelle why she had not answered me, and he glanced over to see what looked for all the world like my five year old was not only flipping me off, but doing so blatantly and high in the air!!!

PS. I must add this little disclaimer: It was definitely an inadvertent and innocent action on her part – but it did make for a funny moment, and reminded us of the need to redouble our efforts to teach her which is the pointer finger!

Stories From Grandma

Standard

My girls are blessed with such wonderful Grandmas who love them so much.  Juliette’s been pretty sick this weekend (better now), and her Grandma Karen sent this to her to cheer her up. The girls all loved it! I thought it was a great idea for anyone who’s far from the little ones they love.

Dear Juliette, I’m so sorry you don’t feel good and that you had to stay home today.  I wrote this story for you on the plane to cheer you up.  I thought your sisters would enjoy sharing it with you J  I love you all J J J
Grandma Karen

 Juliette was a tiny little girl with a tiny little smile and a tiny little curl. She wore tiny little shoes, tiny little dresses and carried a tiny little doll. The only thing about Juliette that was not tiny was her sweet, huge heart. It could not be tiny because it held all her love for her mommy and her daddy; her four sisters, Isabelle, Hannah, Naomi, and Alyssa; her grandmas and her grandpa; her aunties and her uncles; her cousins and all her friends from church. And most of all, it held all the love God gave to her and all the love she had for God!

Juliette had fun playing each day in her happy home. She had fun sharing a bedroom with her sister, Alyssa. She had fun sharing a bouncy horse with her sister, Naomi. She had fun sharing toy food with her sister, Hannah. She had fun sharing crayons and stickers with her sister, Isabelle. She had fun dancing with her mommy and her daddy. And she had fun going to church on Sundays to learn more about God. 

Juliette enjoyed taking long walks in her country town. She enjoyed crunching brown, gold, and red leaves in the fall. She enjoyed making snow angels in the winter. She enjoyed watching the first red tulip pop up in the spring. She enjoyed playing in the puddle pool in the summer. And she enjoyed telling God how pretty His world is.

Juliette loved going to sleep in her tiny little bed each night. She loved to kiss her mommy, her daddy, and her sisters – Isabelle, Hannah, Naomi, and Alyssa – with tiny little kisses. She loved to snuggle up in her soft, furry, tiny, little blanket. She loved to cuddle close to her tiny little bear. And she loved to say goodnight prayers to God.

 

 

Road Trips And Croquet Mallets

Standard

This is been such a busy week that I’ve not had a chance to sit and type down any stories. This is too bad, as I know I’ve forgotten some of the funniest comments by the girls!  We decided to take a day off of school and have a little road trip down to a town with some stores we don’t have. We needed some space heaters and a couple of other odds and ends. Wondering if I was a bit nuts, I packed up my crew of girls – all five of them – and headed down south. This was our first outing, just the six of us girls, and it was a rather big outing to start with. I ended up being pleasantly surprised, however, as the girls did quite well (Daddy’s done some nice store training for me!), and we all really enjoyed the day. We listened to stories on cd in the car while we drove and while we stopped to feed fussy Alyssa in the middle of a grainfield. We went to the three stores I was needing, and I noticed that my little "row of ducklings" (that’s what I call it when I walk with the girls all holding hands in a row) is distinctly longer now. We definitely block an aisle, but it’s worth it for the amusing/amused comments people make! After our errands, we finished up the outing at McDonalds. I sat with the little ones and watched while the big girls got to release some energy in the playland. We had a quiet drive back home while mommy got to listen to a "story" (a Trinity Fest talk by David Field) and attempt to keep the girls awake so they’d sleep at home. Thankfully it worked and we made it home in time for a late nap – hooray! I love coming home at naptime so I have a chance to unload the car and such.

The rest of the week we managed to finish up all the little school stories we’d missed so we’re still on the right place in our schedule. I’m really pleased with how school is going this year. I was talking to a friend about how it’s nice to know I can easily skip it if I have to, as the girls are so young, but we all love it. It gives the girls a routine they look forward to, and keeps them from mischief. And we’re all learning interesting things together. Isabelle is reading more and more, and I don’t think I can even take much credit for that – it just seems the pieces have fallen into place in her head. She made me chuckle the other day when she came up with a clever solution to her problem. She was doing her Animal Notebook page in which she was writing down some things she learned about elephants this week. In the place where she was to write down places where elephants are found living, she had written grasslands, and also wanted to write square (one of our books talks about a small "square" of African Savanna, and she knew there were elephants there). I usually let her spell things out phonetically unless she prefers help, but this time I had to go out of the room for a minute. I came back to find her missing, and upon looking for her, I found her rummaging through our toys. I started to inquire as to what she was doing, but she returned a moment later with a look of triumph on her face.  She sat back down to her animal paper holding a piece of a chunky wooden puzzle. "What are you doing?" I wondered aloud. She answered "Well, I wanted to spell "square" right, and I knew it must be the word on the square puzzle piece, so I had to find it." She did indeed spell square right . . . clever girl!

I’m sure this is getting to be a long blog entry with very little point to it, but I have to tell you one last thing. If you’re ever in need of some amusement, I highly recommend giving a croquet set with four mallets and only three balls to a bunch of toddlers! Our friend passed a set along to us, and the girls have been begging to try it out. So while dinner was baking we headed out in our puffy jackets and attempted to set up the little wickets. A moment after telling the girls we were supposed to hit the balls through the wickets, I abandoned the attempt. I realized they’d never seen anyone play croquet, golf or anything of the sort, so I had all these girls holding their mallets in every which way you can imagine (except, of course, for the correct way). One handed, baseball bat style, wrong end up, you name it. And any time they did make contact with a ball, it just knocked a wicket down. So we put the wickets away and spent a hilarious half hour playing "croquet" on the sidewalk. We used sidewalk cracks and tees to hold the ball still, then I attempted to wrench their little hands into some semblence of the actual way you hold a mallet, and they gleefully whacked the ball as hard as they could. Then, of course they took off after it, squealing the whole way. With so many little girls, our sidewalk was a whirlwind of croquet mallets and croquet balls flying about, and little puffy-jacket girls running around squealing and laughing chasing the balls (as well as occasionally fighting over who’s turn it was for which color ball, since, as I said, we were missing one and ducking to avoid being hit by someone else’s ball and mallet). It was great for a laugh, that’s all I have to say!