Category Archives: Ava

Confessions of a “SuperMom”

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Since Isaiah has been born, I have struggled more than I thought with adding child no. 4. In fact, I have struggled so much, that I momentarily wondered if there might not be *some* kind of out for our procreational commitment to allow God to determine the size of our family, and the number of our blessings. Not that I didn’t think every child was a blessing, but that it became increasingly harder to smile sincerely and respond kindly when folks at the grocery store smirked and said “Boy, your hands are FULL!” while I walked past with my 4 children, Isaiah (6 weeks) screeching that newborn wail, Emma (4) whining for a drink, Sarah (6) making silly faces at Ava, and Ava (2) having a full on tantrum on the grocery store floor. Somehow, human nature allows these failures to leave a more lasting mark than the 5 successful trips for every 1 failure. During these moments, my policy has always been to leave immediately, but unfortunately, this does not curtail the smirking strangers.

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Our new normal

One example of a recent “failure moment” happened just yesterday. While taking Sarah to her tooth extraction at the Oral surgeon, my Mother graciously agreed to take my two middle children (6am not being a friendly time of day to leave the house with 4 kids under 6 AND retain my sanity.) and I went there with Isaiah strapped to my front snugly, and waited impatiently in the waiting room for my oldest to complete her first “surgery” and wake up from anesthesia.
Upon finding out I had four children total, during my nervous blatherings., one of the receptionists shook her head at me, smiling, and said “You must be SuperMom.” Here, I had a potential ego boost that I had to put in perspective. Just a few short months ago, with three impeccably behaved children, I would have responded to this situating with feigned humility while patting myself on the back privately. Funny how your pride becomes all too apparent after you’ve fallen on your rear enough times.
This time, I felt immediately inadequate to answer her, a little ashamed, in fact. Mostly, because, this “SuperMom” didn’t even change her 6 year old out of her Pjs for the surgery, OR her newborn baby out of his (Don’t worry I DID change his diaper! Haha!)  In fact, I barely slapped on some sweatpants, a t-shirt, sneakers, and stuffed my Lilla Rose Flexi Clip and Lipgloss  in my pocket for easy elegance that could be completed in the space of one stoplight.  Isaiah had also, in fact, had a blow out in his diaper while Sarah was being medicated, and I forgot to bring a change of shirt. So I was also covered in baby poo. I felt like anything BUT a SuperMom. I even felt a momentary twinge of sadness that the only thing needed for “Super Mom” status in this case, was the number of children I have.  I wanted to feel justified in being called “Super Mom, ” and as proud of that title as I had felt when I had three children, but considering the past 6 weeks, and how very hard it has been to get back to being just a Mom and a Wife, I had nothing good to reply with. So I lamely mumbled that I didn’t feel like SuperMom, and then gratefully rushed off when the nurse called out “Is Sarah’s Mom in here? She is awake!”

Thinking on that moment later, I felt like it was a missed opportunity. I feel this burden on my shoulders, one that grows with each child God adds to our family. A burden to not only appear to be perfect, but in so doing, to prove the value in large family living. So many people in our lives, strangers, friends, some family, think we are certifiably NUTS not to take Birth Control. In fact, I recently had an exchange with my OB that went like this:
Dr: “So, what are you doing for birth control now.”
Me: “I don’t do birth control.”
Dr: “Yes, I know, you just had a baby, so what will you do now?”
Me: “I don’t believe in birth control.”
Dr. (incredulous.) “So what will you DO for birth control?!”
Me: Nothing.
Dr.: “Well what will you DO?!”
Me: “Be the next Duggars?”

The student observer standing behind me snickered at that moment, giving some much needed levity to the situation. But the point is clear. We must be CRAZY. These kinds of moments have led to putting this burden on me, and admittedly, my children every time we go into public. I feel like we must “represent” for large families. Be a shining example of how great they are. My own daughter challenged that thought just before her surgery when she said to me, “But why must WE convince everyone it is nice to be in a large family?” Ouch. Ok, I really don’t know the answer to that one. And, I had a sudden epiphany that perhaps in trying to be our “best” in public, I’m breeding a sort of nasty hypocrisy. We don’t need to be our “best” and always present only one side of large family life. We don’t need to be ashamed either when we don’t measure up to a “perfect” ideal on our own steam. With one approach, we alienate others by our artificial perfection and obvious pride in our own work. With the other, we publicly negate God’s work in our lives, by an exaggerated sense of humility, or shame.
We need to be real. We struggle. At least, I do. It is HARD work being a large family, and I don’t even think we qualify yet! I think that officially is reached at 5 or 6 kids… technically, anyway. Maybe rather than teaching my kids we need to be a walking commercial, I need to teach my children that we need to be a walking example of God’s grace. Tantrums do happen. And they happen in stores. They aren’t ok, and they aren’t good, and they are VERY annoying to other customers, but maybe the example of handling it Biblically, and gracefully, even under pressure, is far more powerful than being “perfect.”

So here is my “Super Mom” confession. I struggle too, and by God’s grace, THAT is how I am a Mom of a “large” family. I am not super, Christ works despite my failure to BE “Super Mom.”

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

(Galatians 2:20, ESV)

Motherhood is Humbling

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There is nothing like the ahumilitypostavabandwrrival of a new baby to set your world spinning around and around until you are forced to realize: Motherhood is humbling.

My first jolt back to that reality was seeing my postpartum pictures. Cute kid, but who is that awful looking lady holding him?! Ack! THAT IS ME?! Yuck.

But there were more substantial reminders that while managing three kids had become a piece of cake for this Mama, God is NOT done with me yet! Sanctification continues.

I found the most humbling moments in these two experiences:
The other day one of my daughters had been especially exasperating in a new set of behavioral difficulties. I was frustrated, and at the end of my rope. Having a new baby is an adjustment for everyone, but adjustment or no, there was no excuse for her behavior! I was having a hard time reining her in. So I asked for advice from Moms I knew, My Mom, etc, and even some Mommybloggers. (Shout out to 4 Moms, 35+ Kids!) I still made no progress in helping her to curb her disrespectful behavior. I was getting rolling eyes, talking back, and exasperated rude responses. Then one day, this very child walks in while I was putting 2 of her younger siblings to sleep. She wanted to show me something she made. My immediate response was to roll my eyes and respond with “Well what is it? I’m putting your sister and brother down for a nap!”

Yikes.

It was me. How could I expect her to stop a behavior that I wasn’t even recognizing, let alone dealing with in myself? What a humbling moment. I felt awful instantly. I apologized to her and told her to please come back later.  It wasn’t a while until I was able to confess my full sins to her. It takes a lot to tell your child you’ve been wrong. I started half a dozen times only to put it off. Another sin of mine, pride, was staring me right in the face. Motherhood is truly humbling.

Then, yesterday, my husbaIsaiahnd called me on his lunch break, telling me “I forgot to pay some bills! And I never deposited that check… Could you handle it for me?” I was excited to show my husband I was getting back in my super prepped Mommy groove, and I could handle an emergency. Of COURSE I could handle it! “It” required a trip to the bank, and a trip to another bank to pay both bills. No problem, this was a piece of cake with 3 kids! Should be nothing with 4!
Wrong. Oh so wrong.

Instead: I grabbed some PB and J and…. uhm, what else is there? Carrots. Ok… whipped everyone into (semi decent) shape, and headed off into the sunset, wipes on hand for the inevitable peanut butter faces. We started the whole adventure off with an incident in the parking lot. Someone made a break for a puddle in a high traffic area, and I began the whole outing with a screech: “DON’T run there!”
There ended up being no cars in the parking lot, and the child in question responded instantly, and went back to her “spot”, never having been in any real danger,  and so all was fine, but I think this was the first indicator I was in over my head.  Before I had to juggle a toddler and an infant in exiting the car, she never would have even dreamed of making a move for that puddle.
Inside both banks the children ran around in circles or bounced nervously on the chairs while I signed papers. During the rest of our errands there was a lot of angst in the back seat, with everyone hitting the naptime wall, including me. We went home, nobody the worse for wear, but my pride having taken a few fatal blows, the whole drive home was dominated by Isaiah’s expressions of discomfort and disapproval after our long afternoon in the minivan hopping from place to place.

I had been at that place most of us go to when we’ve been “successful” in our christian walk. We begin to (erroneously) assume our hard work is paying off. But we forget
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
(Galatians 2:20, ESV)
We begin to trust in the law alone, and forget the all important work of the Holy Spirit in our heart, our home. Without God’s all consuming work in us, the law does nothing.  As I’ve heard said before (I think Rushdoony said it) ” The law does not justify, it sanctifies.” I had forgotten that truth, and began to feel as if I had conquered my sinful nature, and was fully capable of addressing my children’s shortcomings as well. But I’m not sufficient on my own. If anything, my knowledge of the law should inform me of how very deficient I am, and how much I need God’s righteousness. (Romans 7:7)

And so armed with this new dose of humility, I am reminded of many things. Firstly, without God’s Word, change is impossible, and without the Holy Spirit, lasting, sincere change is a lost cause. Time to get back to the Word of God with a humbled spirit.

humilitypostmomandemmasnuggling  To know wisdom and instruction,

to understand words of insight,

to receive instruction in wise dealing,

in righteousness, justice, and equity;

to give prudence to the simple,

knowledge and discretion to the youth—

Let the wise hear and increase in learning,

and the one who understands obtain guidance,

to understand a proverb and a saying,

the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1:2-7, ESV)

I can’t make my chilhumilitypostsarahemmadren wise on my own, I can’t make my children well behaved on my own, and I can’t cause them to be their best, but I can introduce them to the God who sanctifies me daily, changes me as only he can, and provides me with the wisdom to meet many things head on. I can’t claim any of that goodness for myself, but I can lead them straight to the wisdom from God’s Word that does not return void. I can obey God’s command (Duet. 6) and teach them daily as I walk with Christ. And I can trust in his ability to bring lasting change to their hearts, minds, and lives. In the end, my failure riddled parenting isn’t enough for them, but the sufficiency of scripture in informing their wisdom and decisions, and the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and lives is something I can trust in to overcome my own sins and shortcomings.

Birth Story- Ava

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Birth Story- Ava

My last birth story is a bit shorter than the others, clocking in at roughly 3 hours overall. There is a pattern here that generally ends in every woman hating me. But every time, it was preceded by 3 weeks of miserable “false” labor.

Miss Ava came into the world in a HURRY. I woke up, 3 days past due date, at 7:30 am, thinking to myself. “I’m staying in bed, this isn’t it, because I feel NOTHING.” 7:45, a pretty big contraction hit. A bit nonplussed, since labor hadn’t ever made itself noticeable before I went into the Hospital before, I began to time them. By 8:15 I’d had quite a few contractions, and had timed them. Some were 10 minutes apart, some were 12 minutes apart, some were 7 minutes apart, but they were really spontaneous and erratic. My Doctor told me to come in to the office to be sure it wasn’t false labor. I knew it wasn’t, but I humored him.

At 9:00am my Mom showed up to take our two girls with her. My husband and I arrived at the Dr’s office at 9:15. I was panting and laying on the receptionist’s desk, telling her over and over “Can I just please go straight to the hospital?” She recognized how far along I was, and told me
“Honey you SHOULD be going straight in! I’ll tell the Dr. you’re here.”
The Dr. saw me, he ordered me placed in a back room, hooked up to a monitor, and told me
“We’ll let ya cook awhile…”
My husband was fuming, but I told him
“You know they are pretty erratic, maybe he’s right, lets just chill out.”
We sat there 30 minutes, by which time I was doing labor breathing. It HURT. My husband went out and told the Dr. to see me NOW.

It took him 15 minutes to come my way, at which point he discovered I was 7 cm dilated. He told me to head to the hospital NOW, and that he’d be along shortly. The hospital was only 15 minutes away, but with traffic and all, we didn’t arrive there till 10:15am. My husband thought we would have Ava in the car and was shouting at the traffic. Little good it did us, but it helped him out!

We got there, and I was about ready tackle someone for a bed and some painkillers. It HURT! We stood at the reception desk, but the lady was on the phone with the ever important “WAIT!” finger wagging in our direction. I was doubled over with contractions, and my husband was ready to take the phone out of her hand when she FINALLY said “Well… Someone is here, I guess I GOTTA go. Ahem, Can I HELP you?!”
My husband informed her I was in labor, and needed in the maternity ward NOW. She let us into the maternity ward, and we were given a bed quickly.

Once there and settled, I told the nurse, on no uncertain terms (remember, I’m a rude laborer… some shirt grabbing, shouting, and maybe a bit of teeth baring and growling was involved.) that I needed an epidural NOW! She told me she’d put me on fluids first. Within 15 minutes she came back to check on me to find me pushing. She delivered the baby halfway til the resident came in. (3 pushes really) The resident did the rest of the work, at which point the anesthesiologist waltzed in and announced “Guess you don’t need me!” and wheeled the table back out.

At that point, I did NOT care. I was holding a beautiful baby within a minute. Miss Ava was 8 lbs even, with BROWN hair, like me! Finally! A little Sicilian baby! All told, this adventure clocked in at roughly 3 hours overall, and resulted in a sweet little Ava Grace. The best part? Recovery was a cinch compared to the other two! I’m thinking the epidural isn’t so great after all!

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Sibling Conflicts From Matthew 18 Weekly Goals: Part 2

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Sibling Conflicts From Matthew 18 Weekly Goals: Part 2

So since I got a bit long winded yesterday, I turned this into a 2 parter to discuss this week’s goals. This past week, Raising Olives had a question and answer post. In this post she linked to another, older post of hers, on solving sibling squabbles. This is an issue that grows as they grow! And I was beginning to wonder, if like in many other areas of life, I’ve allowed bad habits to form. I have it much easier with Ava, and Isaiah, because with these two, we are starting from scratch. I don’t have to break a bad habit and replace it, I just start a good habit. This has been proven in Ava’s response to things which I found terribly difficult with Sarah. When you expect specific things from a young age, children have a way of rising to the occasion! When you expect it suddenly at an older age, they (as we adults sometimes do!) have a much harder time of making it a normal behavior. Change is HARD! But, in this case, change is necessary! Sibling squabbles can’t continue as they have, or things will deteriorate as more kids arrive into the Sacks Brood! Must. Get. A. Handle. On. This. NOW!

Now, second lesson I’ve learned is I never have a handle on ANYTHING! This is where God comes in. First thing to do? Get on my knees. I know the particular passage that Raising Olives mentioned in her post: Matthew 18. In fact, I’ve quoted it a lot myself in other quarrels with adults, and issues within my extended family. My husband and I have discussed it at length in solving issues with others when it comes to disagreements over life choices. (and believe me, we have PLENTY of those! Lately we’ve become quite a lightning rod for that. But that is another story!) I never, oddly, considered it as a principle to teach my young children. This is where I find I failed in the early years of mothering. Applying scripture correctly, on their level, and faithfully. But at that time in my life, scripture was only referenced when it was useful, and inspirational. Time to roll my sleeves up, and apply scripture liberally!

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So how can we apply Matthew 18 to our little girls, 6, 4, and 22 months?

Well. First we read it. A friend recommended ESV for little kids, the language is clear, concise, and doesn’t lose its weight in trying to be simple either.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Matthew 18:15-17

We break it down, often right when it is most applicable. I started this week, and am already noticing an uptick in peaceful negotiations! 🙂

It goes like this:

Sarah: BUT I WANT THAT TOY!

Emma: But I want it TOO!

We stop, separate, and often, I encourage some kind of positive physical contact with somebody. Me, or the other child. If it is especially heated, they are encouraged to hold hands with me. This might change as they get older, but when they are little, it has an instant calming effect. The toy in question is set in a neutral place until the argument is settled. It acts as a motivation to settle.

We start with confrontation. “What is your problem with your sister?” Each child takes a turn stating their issue. The other child is asked to consider it in terms of selflessness, not selfishness. If we’re still resisting, often we quote this scripture at this point: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

If there are other sin issues, a stolen toy for example, those are also dealt with immediately, the offending child is asked to state what the Biblical law is on that point. Should we hurt? Should we Steal? What does God say? Often, this reminder is enough to solve the issue on the spot. The offending child hands the toy over, apologizes, and they are encouraged to hug or otherwise comfort the other crying sibling.

We’ve also asked each child to apologize when sin is present. I have been told many times in my teaching days that forcing a child to apologize is wrong. But the Bible has a different standard than the world. In some cases of law, apology isn’t even enough! Restitution is needed. If a child repeats the offense of stealing, in some cases, they will be asked to provide restitution. (You took her toy, now you must give hers back, AND one of yours.”) If that doesn’t stop the stealing in its tracks, we take time alone together to address the heart issue, maybe it is envy, covetousness, and I try to be aware of what that child is doing constantly.

Part of the apology process is the healing. A quick hug, a word of forgiveness, and all is over, and everyone happily returns to play. If we still have some petulance on one side or another, it still isn’t resolved, and we move back to square one. Oddly enough, Although Ava needs constant prompts, and nudges to properly complete an argument, Sarah and Emma have caught on quickly, and do attempt to solve it themselves in some cases. 50% of the time I am not asked, and don’t need to intervene. If they can’t solve it on their own following these steps, they come and get me, and ask me. (Getting a third party, as per verse16) Usually then, before I go and intervene, the child who approaches me is confronted on her sin. “What happened?” The child may tell a tale of woe where the other child will not give her a desired toy. “Are you being selfish, and putting your wants before hers?” Sometimes, that even makes my intervention unnecessary. If the problem is really a heart issue with child no. 1, it can stop there, and they play on happily.

Although every situation, every argument is different, what really blows my mind is how scripture has a principle, a word of wisdom for each one of them. It reminds me of that moment in Matthew 22 where a young lawyer tries to trap Jesus into a disregard for some portion of the law, and fails:

“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 22:34-40 ESV)

Everything depends on loving God first, and loving your neighbor as yourself, putting their needs on par with your own. Oddly enough, almost all (in fact, I might say all) of the arguments we confront in our home have to do with either selfishness or pride, or a combination.

(Mom, you might be laughing right now, because as I type this, I can hear you saying that to us as we all sit in the back of that big van, arms folded across our chests, rolling our eyeballs at your latest mention of selfishness and pride!)

Arguments are by no means gone, or as well handled as I’d like yet (after all, we’re only a week into applying Matthew 18! Although we’ve been using restitution as a consequence for a year now, and apologies have always been expected.) We aren’t perfect, and kids struggle, just as adults do, with selfishness and sin. But using this goal as a working point, and teaching the children to meet this standard is making a difference, and I am hoping with perseverance and hard work will become a life long habit.

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Pregnancy Update: We’ve reached the Halfway Mark!

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Me and my girls

I’m not meticulous enough to do weekly updates on this current pregnancy, pregnancy number 4, but every now and then big stuff happens, and who am I to ignore it? Blogging is the way to go! So get comfortable, you’re gonna hear a pregnancy update!

We all know Pregnancies are pretty much one big development after another, so, today’s big development number 1: We’ve reached the halfway mark! 20 weeks! Yay! You may now pull out your togas and umbrella drinks and celebrate with me briefly. Don’t worry, I’m against party hats, so you can forego that ridiculous discomfort…

Part of the whole halfway mark is the biggie: The lets-see-if-we-can-tell-the-sex-ultrasound! Unfortunately, my husband and I really had issues with this particular milestone this time around. He didn’t want to know, and I did. Why?

Let us just say in our not so distant past, prior to, and part of the culmination leading to a huge change in our hearts regarding God, his Will, and his Word, we had a bit of a control issue with our whole procreation thing. I constantly wanted to NOT have babies, and my husband wanted to keep trying for that elusive boy. When we found out that Ava was a girl, it was difficult. He was disappointed that his prayers for a boy were not answered, and I was desperate for him to not be disappointed. At one point our marriage hit such a low point that I was sure it would not survive it. But by God’s grace, it was this that pushed us to a turning point. When you see a sinful, selfish person looking at you from the mirror, you realize the need for change. He blessed us with a beautiful and *very* delightful and vivacious Ava! 🙂 We have been SO blessed! It took that moment of bottoming out, however, to show us that our idea of family was very very short of a good family, and that on our own, we could not be perfect, or even good. Sin always kept us from contentment, peace, victory. When we sought God’s Word, his Will, life changed into something we never knew it could be. It became GOOD, satisfying.

So this time around, Allen said something like “I will not spend my time obsessing over what I want, I will wait and see until baby is born, and fall in love with him/her then!” But, I had a feeling it was a boy, and I felt we needed to know, considering that 3 daughters later, we are just shy of painting our house Barbie pink, as we pretty much are up to our eyeballs in that color. Boy things do not exist in this home! I needed to know so we would have what we need, and know what we don’t have! We agreed that I would find out, and he would not know.

Today was the big day! I would find out, tell the world, but keep the secret from him. We were agreed on this point. I went to the ultrasound with Brooke (the best moral support a friend can be!) and all three girls. We waltzed in there 20 minutes early (not like we were anxious to know or anything…) and FINALLY they called us for the ultrasound. The tech told us the baby was healthy, good, measuring well, good, and….. A BOY!

I was so excited I could have jumped out of my skin! The girls were so excited, and there were quite a few “Can we keep this secret after all?” dicey moments. We went out for a bite to eat, and to acclimate ourselves to this lovely new realization that God was blessing us with a son, brother, and whatever else God has planned for this precious little boy’s life. We hope it is to be a man of God, unafraid to speak God’s Word. It is fitting then, that we had chosen the name: Isaiah Allen. The girls were still jumping out of their skin at the prospect of having a brother. They were so excited that Brooke had to take them outside to do somersaults so they wouldn’t do them in the Doctor’s office, or just cause they were energetic, but I’m positive it was the excitement!

Nonetheless, we finally got home. Allen walked out the door, and I couldn’t help myself. I smiled.

Whoops. Now he knows! I smiled!

And so he does know. No secrets around here! I was too excited to keep it under wraps! That smile did me in! 😀 But we are excited beyond belief, all of us, to invite little Isaiah Allen in March.  As part of a count down to his very exciting birth, I will be sharing birth stories of each of my little ones, and I’d love to hear all of yours! Feel free to link yours in the comments below. 🙂

 

The Joys and Heartbreaks of Motherhood

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Tonight was more of a joyful night, and yet a little heartbreak occurred.  Motherhood just isn’t Motherhood without a little heartbreak.

I was surprised by my husband showing up at work to sweep me off my feet (proverbially, I’m not that light…) and then carrying me off in his magnificent chariot (i.e. his rusted purple diesel Volkswagen Rabbit) to pick up our three princesses. (No lie there, they really are princesses!)

After our quick (read; frenetic) pick up of the children, we spontaneously chose to visit the park, just to make today special, cause we felt like it.  As we arrived, and Sarah got out of the car, she said, “HEY! I’ve been here before! This is the park we saw Uncle Dennis at! I love my Uncle Dennis! He looked like Papa Wheelie! He was so fun and nice to me! I wish I could see him again, so we could talk. I liked talking to him!”

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At this point, Allen and I looked at each other, and then reminded her that Uncle Dennis is now in heaven.  How happy we are for him, and how much we love him.  She replied with a sigh, and then ran off to play.

We had such a wonderful time, playing, and chasing, and talking, and swinging, and climbing.  It was a great afternoon, and a precious bit of family time we don’t get so much of during these busy days.

After we were done at the park, we got home, and I popped inside to make supper.  The girls stayed in the backyard with Allen.  At one point, I went outside to find Emma nude, wearing my high heels, and drawing with sidewalk chalk.  I rounded the corner to inform Allen of this development, only to find him perched in a lawn chair, directly in the center of our vegetable garden, atop the rows, holding a content Ava, doing his facebook/farmville on his Mac laptop.  I took a picture of this hilarious sight, only to have him extract a promise not to post it.  So, I merely paint a picture with words…

Supper was ready, and so everyone came in to enjoy the Salisbury steak, buttered noodles, gravy, and corn. Sarah reminded us that we forgot to pray, and so I invited her to pray over supper.  This was the whopper of a prayer she composed:

“Dear God, Thank you for the dinner Mommy made, and can tomorrow be a Grandmom day? I love going to her house! I want to go to Grandmom’s every day! Can you do that God? And sometimes God, she makes me nap. Can that stop? I don’t like napping…”

Allen and I enjoyed a grown up chuckle over this very entertaining conversation with God. Sarah interrupted our little moment with a question:

Mom, can God bring people back from heaven?”

“Yes Sarah, he can, but often he doesn’t. Why?”

“I wish Uncle Dennis could come back from heaven.  I miss him.  I really liked him. Why can’t God just send him back?”

Wow. How do I answer a question like that? She is so young, and yet she’s experienced death in such a personal way, several times. How can I answer a question we all ask secretly, and sometimes publicly? Another look was exchanged, I said a little prayer and dived right in. At this point, she was pushing the noodles around her plate aimlessly, chin in her hand, looking sad.

Well Sarah, Uncle Dennis was such a great man, and God loves him so much, that he needs him up there. Uncle Dennis has served God well, and loved Jesus, and they are happy to be in heaven together.”

“Oh.  Ok, I still wish he could come back.”

“I know. We all do. But God needs him more.”

And there it is. Motherhood is joy, but it is also heartbreak.

Locusts and Destruction: The Facebook Posts Entry

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This morning was a bit of a mishmash as my life usually is.  I chose to use my traffic on Facebook today to inspire, and pad out this post.  Because to be completely honest… I’m seriously busy, but I still love my blog.

I awoke to my two year old bouncing happily on top of me, her face stuck right to my back “I want to hoooooooooooooooooooold you Mommy!  hooooooooooooooold yoooooooou!” She yanked my hair, and went for a horsey ride.  I was too groggy to fight back against the onslaught of all this youthful energy.

So I did what any sensible Mother would do… I woke up, and I went for a run.

I felt unable to leave Ava to the devices of my two hellions at home, now in full regalia, Emma in her diaper only, and Sarah carrying a purse, wearing a track suit, and asking anyone who would listen: “Do I look like Napoleon Dynamite?”

Ava went along.  I packed her in the jogging stroller, and we ran like our lives depended on it.  my husband stayed home to wrastle the herd.

I will take this moment to say, I love running!  I’ve lost weight, felt better about myself, and overall, I love the built in alone time!

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So, in the interests of keeping this weight loss up, despite the lack of energy, and the difficulty of pushing a jogging stroller full of baby pudge up the hill, I did it!  I felt discouraged despite myself, because this should have been an easy run, I had motivation (Emma’s jumping) experience (I’ve run this route before many times) and good reasons (health, marathon, alone time.)  But it was somehow difficult.  The only things that kept me going?

  • I must get healthy, I must stay healthy, I must get healthy, I must stay healthy.
  • If I wanna run a marathon, how can I justify quitting after one mile?
  • Crap, everyone will see on Facebook that I only ran one mile.
So after about a mile of struggling with the stroller (Say that five times fast.) I headed back home, handed Ava over to her Daddy, and went on my merry way.  I got in one more mile and change.  And it was totally worth it. The best part? Facebooking my miles and having my friends cheer me on. 🙂 I have great friends!
I returned home to find a despondent husband bending over a pile of broken crayons and bemoaning our children’s destructive powers.
He likened our children to locusts.
“Look at these crayons! they were WHOLE crayons an hour ago, even a HALF hour ago! Now they’re in pieces! Our kids are like little locusts!”
The definition of Locusts: Insects that swarm throughout an area, leaving only destruction.
Yep. Those are my kids.
He then left for the grocery store with some of the children, leaving me in relative peace. Depending on how you define peace.  If its less screaming; I had peace. My neighbor reminded me of the cat…erm… chinese food I left in her fridge after our *wild party* last night. (read: the kids watched ice age while we talked grown up talk over good food.)  I have great neighbors! Chas and Chris are by far the best neighbors I’ve ever met!
I retrieved the cat.
When I returned home, rabidly excited at the thought of leftover chinese, and unable to control myself, I dug a spoon into the cold rice on its way into the fridge. In my haste, I made a bit of a little known chinese delicacy. Farflung Rice. It landed ALL over my countertops and under the little nooks and crannies. Who knew a spoonful of rice could go so far?
A productive day by many standards.  And yet, barely lunch time.  I look forward to the remaining adventures in today, and will enjoy them with my mischevious hellions.

My three children, ready for the next adventure. Sarah is trying to look as angelic as possible, Emma, eyeballing her next opportunity, and Ava, calm as a cucumber. Watch out. Those Sacks are on the loose!

Mud and Other Good Things

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What a slap in the face, I thought today was Friday, and I am incensed to find it is not.  It is merely Wednesday.

So, I picked up my children and came home.  Simple enough.  Its the beginning of the evening.  The “quiet” time. (ha!)

Ensuing activities included:

  • Emma tromping through the mud in our newly hoed flower bed.
  • Emma stripping naked to change into her bathing suit (SO appropriate for the weather.  If it was more warm, I’d send her outside to go mudding some more, and then hose her down to top it off!)
  • Sarah got everybody grapes.
  • Emma attempted to feed Ava the grapes…
  • Ava drooled.

This is shaping up to be a fine evening in our cozy little cabin.  Which I need to clean, like mad.  I’d be ashamed to have the my mother’s dog see our living room right now.  It looks like a great big toy monster vomited all over our living room.  My kitchen looks like an army came and went, and the dishes make the leaning tower of Pisa blush.

So now, I shall peel my bathingsuit clad two year old off of my smiling infant and wash wash wash!  Here’s hoping Sarah gets caught in the spray so she’s not so *pink*

Happy Work Evening everyone!

God Works In Mysterious Ways

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I’ve had a great day.  Spent time with my kids, something I’ve not been able to do much this week.  Not because the time was not there, but because I was not all there. Its been one of those weeks.

Meanwhile, some opportunities have come up, all at once, and all for the same kind of deal, and all life changing.  So I’m thinking, and praying, and hoping God puts us right where he wants us. Lets see how that goes.

Meanwhile: here are some pictures of our beautiful day today!

We spent time outside, going for a walk, chasing a Tractor, riding bikes, digging, the girls were making “soup” in our watering containers (my cheap husband puts them out, rain barrel style, for the garden.)  It was a wonderful time, and we were all so pooped we went back in for waffles and oranges. 🙂  Today, I loved my life.

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It is Truly The Little Things

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Tonight, as I carried each one of my exhausted babies up the stairs to their bedrooms, I thought over the day.  One thing stuck out to me, the word celebration. Today was a celebration of family.  There was no party, no decorations, nothing spectacular or particularly memorable, but a cluster of little things that mattered.  One of my friends said to me, on facebook:

“i love how you celebrate everything. it makes my heart happy!”

We did celebrate everything today.

Ava rolled over all by herself today, so we made cupcakes to celebrate!  As we were making them, Sarah begged to help. Since all the ingredients were mixed in, Sarah put in the one ingredient I forgot.  She sprinkled “Love” into the cupcakes.  I know it sounds corny in print, but it was the most adorable thing to see my four year old, on her tiptoes to reach over the counter, sprinkling “Love” into each cupcake. She was so proud of herself.  She declared them extra tasty too. She and Emma took turns making the icing, stirring, pouring, stirring, pouring, until it was just right, and then topped each cupcake with a sticky spoon in sticky little hands.

Emma and I enjoyed a sweet moment while watching the little mermaid, dancing together to “Under The Sea.”  I will not forget the sparkle in those blue eyes while she hugged me tight saying “Dance with me Mommy, dance with me!”

Then I carried Sarah up the stairs, through the dark hall, and into her bedroom, I sat down on her bed.  I just couldn’t put her down yet.  Holding that sleeping child was a precious moment I cherished.  How soon it will be when I won’t have that chance anymore to hold her in my arms like I did when she was a baby. I celebrated her growing up, and I celebrated all those little moments when she was a baby, holding her tight, then I tucked her under her covers, soft and sound, and heard her sigh.

I carried Ava up next, kissed her chubby cheeks, her chubby hands, her chubby toes, and her soft little head, and put her to bed. How soon will she be four, like Sarah?

Last but not least, Emma, still going strong, climbed up the stairs before me, tutu crinoline bouncing with each step of those chubby legs of hers. she crawled into bed, smiled lazily, and asked for her favorite hymn.  We sang “It Is Well With My Soul” together, and I marveled at how she knows EVERY word of it.

It is bittersweet that sometimes it takes a loss to remind you of what you have to celebrate.

I am so blessed.