30 12 2009

This post is long overdue but unlike many others that linger in my mind and then find a resting place in my soul without ever being published this one has to be shared. These are the photos from our snowy adventure in Asheville the week before Christmas.  I’m pretty sure Bradley will have memories of this and I’m so glad because I doubt we’ll see snow like this again for years.

It was night when we arrived that first day but I would never dream of depriving them from diving in and going crazy over their first experience with snow up to their knees. (or depriving myself of watching their delight)

With a carrot for a nose, eggs for eyes and branches for arms the boys were in love with their frozen friend.

This was the view from our window.

I was mildly obsessed with the trees. I must have taken 100 pictures of them.  I think I was afraid they would melt with the snow.

I think I was more afraid of the snow melting than the boys…and I ate bowls of snow cream every day just in case it was gone the next.

Dexter didn’t get as much time outside as the others but he did make one really cute appearance.

Some “big boys” made a gigantic snowman which was fun because the boys are into big, huge, giant, enormous and ginormous.

Not a sled was to be found anywhere in town so an under-bed storage box worked just fine until it broke and we realized the boys were light enough to go sledding down the hill without anything under them at all.

“There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow.  It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.” – William Sharp


The Economy.

29 12 2009

Thought this little incident was funny and a great example of how our economy works. If Bradley was a little older it would make a perfect object lesson.

The week before Christmas I went to Babies R Us to buy a replacement sippy cup for the one we ran over with the car the day before. I got the sippy cup and as I was leaving saw a 24 pack of play dough for $14 and with it came  a free 4 pack.  Even though we were totally out of play dough and really did need some I got home and had buyers remorse. I felt like I couldn’t justify spending that right at Christmas. I decided that I’d have our neighbor come over the next day to keep the boys while I went to return it. I went to Babies R Us, returned the play dough, got my $14 back and went home (and I got to keep the free 4 pack).  On my way back I wrote Rachel a $14 check for watching the boys.  It was a wash but oh well. When I walked in the door they were sitting at the kitchen table playing with play dough and I saw the same 24 pack sitting on the counter.  When Rachel had arrived I noticed she had a wrapped gift for them. Apparently it was the play dough.

Playdough 24 pack

So, I got my money back from babies r us, I got a break from the boys, Rachel got to spend some time getting baby sitting experience, she got her $14 back for the gift she bought, and the boys got their play dough. And just like we think we make out with a little something extra at the end, I ended up with the 4 pack of play dough but I sent it to Germany with Bradley and it was confiscated at the airport.

Also, just an update…I’m doing much better with my anxiety about Bradley’s travels.  I got to talk to him yesterday and he was having a blast. He told me all about his plane trip, his visit to the Sensapolis and then ended by saying, “I’m going sledding in Salzburg tomorrow.  Maria lives there. Do you know Maria Mommy?” Just then I realized it was “How do you solve a problem like Maria” I heard him singing in the car last week. Guess my parents are making sure he gets to see all the classics.

Bradley & Cousin Kaylen in Salzburg

And he’s off.

26 12 2009

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in over two weeks. There has been so much going on that I decided I would just have to take a break and then make one big “Year in Review” post once the dust settled…did I say dust? I meant fairy dust.  We just experienced the most wonderful and magical Christmas ever. The kids are at the peak of wonderment and we can’t help but to go there with them.

We visited the Billy Graham center a few weeks ago and when walking away from the live nativity our oldest, Bradley, said, “Oh man. I didn’t get to spend enough time with the baby Jesus.”  I decided at that moment to be intentional with the remaining weeks leading up to Christmas so I wouldn’t find myself saying the same thing once it had passed.  I’m grateful to have a husband and family that had the same intentions. I believe that in all the fun, food, gift giving and excitement that glory was brought to our Heavenly Father and that He delighted in our joy and that we are His joy.

Bradley & Bennett at the Pinehurst Hotel

This morning Bradley is going to Germany with my parents to visit my brother Paul, sister-in-law Cindy, niece Kaylen and nephew Baby Chase.  They are at the airport right now. Their flight should leave in just over an hour and I am afraid.  I have been excited for him to go. I knew he’d have a wonderful time and while I was sure I’d miss him I was also looking forward to some time to organize the house and focus my attention on the babies.  I was fine until we put him to bed last night. I couldn’t help but to wonder, “will this be the last time I ever tuck him in, kiss him goodnight or say ‘see you in the morning’?”  And as I said goodbye this morning I felt as if I had to make a mental photograph of his sweet face and recording of his precious voice.

Bradley napping with his new friend the Snowman

Could something happen? Of course.  Will it? Likely not.  Am I in control of his destiny? No. I know my fear is completely irrational and unproductive but I do think it’s normal.  I know I’m not alone in this type of struggle and that is comforting. My prayer this morning is that I will not try to play God or try to figure him out, that I will believe the truth and not fall prey to these fears that keep me from moving forward with what is next. It’s so tempting to think that God has prepared me to deal with a tragedy just because we are on the heals of a wonderful Christmas. My sweet sister was also engaged yesterday. I am ecstatic for her…out of control excited, but it just further plays into my fears that things have been too good and that something bad will happen now.  I say all this knowing and believing in my heart that God does not operate that way but I hate that I am tempted to doubt. I am fighting the thought that I will look back and see how God laid the ground work to prepare me for “what is to come” with the knowledge that it is not my job to prepare myself.

I sent an email out to friends last night to pray for me because I know they will. Lindsay replied with this piece of wisdom that will be my mantra for the next week. “Your fears are because you are vulnerable and NOT because you are prophetic.”  I struggle with the wrong belief that God & I are in some sort of partnership so naturally I give myself too much credit when it comes to the question, “who is in control here?” I don’t discount prophecy in its place but I have peace that this is not it. Friends thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. God thank you for your sovereignty, goodness to me, and patience with me.

I am weak.

8 12 2009

After my  Donna Reed  post about our messy boys and even messier meals I got tons of feedback from those who watched our little video.  Most people enjoyed the humor and I’m sure some were disturbed by it while others were in disbelief that such a thing could really go on in my house three times a day.  One friend told me she could not imagine her girls even spilling one little drop of food without having to wipe it up immediately. I wish I could say what you saw in that video was the exception, but sadly, it represents the norm at our mealtimes. So then I started to think, “some people really do have it easier.” I already knew that but I began to feel frustrated with God, not because he gave me three extremely adorable, messy, high maintenance, dramatic boys, but rather because having them makes me needy.  I’m tempted to think it’s not fair that I have to work harder, have less time to myself, can not give as much, or have to take more from others. And then I do think that. And then I have to change my thinking because if I dwell there I become bitter.

Strength and self-sufficiency has always been one of my ugliest characteristics. As I mentioned on my “me” page I have a rather “healthy” self-image and it’s no secret that I consider myself competent, bright and very capable. Can you believe I have the nerve to say that? I’m also quick to make disclaimers about the areas I lack competency, lest you think I’m not aware of my weaknesses.  Having difficult pregnancies has been one of the hardest things I’ve passed through because each time there is so much I physically cannot do. Taking naps because I’m exhausted beyond self control and crawling because I can’t stand upright aren’t things that go well with the image I have of myself or that I like to present to others.

Perhaps the reason I never gave much thought to having children or being a mom is because it’s just not very glamorous.  I’m sure some of you will relate with this but when I’m in a situation where a group of people is introducing themselves for the first time I’m always so relieved when they say, “tell us your name, where you’re from and what you do or used to do before you were a mom.” I think, “Oh good, I’m so glad I don’t have to admit all I do is wipe tables, floors, faces and butts all day. Maybe someone will be surprised to hear that I’m not just a typical stay at home mom, or better yet maybe they’ll think I’m really interesting.” What would be wrong with someone thinking I was just a SAHM? Maybe it’s because I know I’m not so good at it.  A long time ago I believed I was super-girl but super-girl didn’t grow up to be super-mom.  Instead she morphed into out-of-control-spastic-thank-God-for-my-husband-who-is-great-with-kids mom.  I’m not saying I’m a terrible mom. I’m not. I do a lot of things wrong, some of which DSS would be knocking on my door about, but I love my kids and I really do try to do what’s best for them. But most importantly I’m learning to shift my dependence and it’s so hard.  I don’t like having headaches and being tired all the time. I don’t like looking like a mess and feeling out of control. I don’t like asking for help when I know I can’t return the favor but I’m becoming more comfortable with surrendering to the real me…the one who is week and needy. The one who says, “actually I can’t do it” instead of  “Let me”.

What I am learning (and it’s been rather painful) is that God really wants me to let Him be God. There are so many areas of my life where quite frankly I just don’t think I need Him. I am a producer and a taskmaster. I do a great job of getting things done and doing them well. I can complete a project with ease but people are not projects and I’m learning that love is not efficient. Being a wife and a mother has been very different. It has revealed weaknesses I never knew I had but God has met me in them and it’s wonderful.

Not everyone cleans a messy kitchen all day long, or has laundry piled higher than Mount Everest. I bet some can talk on the phone without interruption and others get to sit down once or twice and eat a meal that makes sense but if being in a place of weakness is what it takes to let God be strong I am happy to be here.  I struggle with the thought that I might always be in this position and may never be anyone’s savior again. There is still too much pride but I hope I can be ok with that one day.

“We live in a world full of people struggling to be, or at least appear strong, in order not to be weak; and we follow a gospel which says that when I am weak, then I am strong. And this gospel is the only thing that brings healing.”

-N. T. Wright, For All God’s Worth