Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I'm gonna miss it.

When the baby stuffs his chubby hands in his mouth and smiles back at me, these are days I'm gonna miss.
When the kids run in circles in the yard trying to catch the season's first warm rays of sunshine, full of the happiness of childhood, these are the days I'm gonna miss.
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Friday, April 26, 2013

Blessings Flowing

Good things can happen when you talk to strangers. I found that out after I struck up a conversation with a lady at my neighborhood pool last June. The kids splashed in the water. I was probably in the water with them, too, wearing my maternity suit. Lori was there with all her kids, and her ever-sunny, attractive disposition. After chatting for a while, Lori invited me to join a semi-monthly mom’s group at her church. I liked this lady. And her group was similar to MOPS, and I loved MOPS. I missed MOPS. So, I said yes.

I knew when I walked through the doors of Lori’s church last fall that I had made the right choice to come. For starters, the smell of coffee permeated the building. There’s nothing that screams “welcome” more loudly than a freshly brewed pot of coffee. But even better, there were so many other moms who were there with smiles on their faces and open hearts—not perfect women but women who wanted the same thing I did. Transparency. Growth. Consolation. Empathy. Encouragement. Time to learn. Time to laugh a little. Space. A place where I could stop working and striving and just be. Just be me. Just be me, and be accepted and loved.

The year before, I had weekly homeschool group. But that didn’t cut it. That was different. Homeschool group serves its own important place, to keep you accountable in your work teaching your children. It’s not a place to relax and be loved on for two hours.

At this mom’s group, older women made us a hot brunch and came to speak to us, and encourage us, and help us recharge our batteries, so we could go home and be better moms.

Last year, I felt so depleted, I cannot adequately explain to you, even after all this time, space, and distance, how depleted I was. I don’t think of myself as a perfectionist but when I think something is important, I will give it 100%. Homeschooling took over my life. I wasn’t able to find balance. All the forces in my life collided together and took me to the brink of desperation.

It is hard for me to write when I am still trying to process my thoughts. In a way, writing helps to distill my thoughts. But, ultimately, I need to ruminate for a while, before I can put it down on paper. I’m still not sure I’m done processing everything that happened last year. But I am starting to get more clarity. In fact, a friend sent me an article (I will repost at some point) a few months ago and suddenly more lights went on. I think I am almost at a point of feeling recovered and like I can put my finger on exactly what happened, where I’m at, and where I want to go from here.

A gal can plan her way, but God directs her steps. I know the things that happen in my life all happen for a reason. All of life is about adjusting and adapting to new situations and new ideas, as we live and read and gain experience.

In any event, I am thankful that I meet Lori at the pool last summer. I am thankful for the very timely mom’s group I have participated in. I am thankful for the love that has flowed down into my life, because of the investment of others. I want to give back more, too, and help others, too.

Here are some cards Clara and Sophia made today for their teachers at this mom’s group. Clara’s teachers are two very sweet, teenage homeschooled girls. Sophia’s teachers are an older mom and a dad who is currently unemployed and enjoys working with kids. They loved their classes so much. They were as blessed as their mom! These volunteers didn’t have to give of their time. They could have been doing other things on those two Friday mornings a month. But they did give of themselves. And we are grateful.

Thank you God that you provide our daily food. And it’s not just literal food. Sometimes the “food” we need is smiling faces, offered friendship, and fresh coffee.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April Laughs

This year for some reason the kids were ALL really into April Fools Day. Kevin says, "This is your fault Amy. I blame you!" What? I have no idea what he is talking about ...

In any event, all the jokes that were played this year just so happened to be performed on Kevin. And one of them wasn't even discovered until later in the evening. We had to call Clara, who was in bed at her grandma's house, to find out where daddy's gym shorts had been hidden. She immediately revealed the location of his shorts and several other articles of clothing which she had creatively stowed away.

Yes, I really, truly love all my girls. They have a zest for life that makes them simply endearing.

Here are some April Fools Pals, with our annual dirt cake we make.

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Easter 2013

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Spring at Conner Prairie

I have never known a kid who loves baby animals so much as Sophia. In fact, she reminds us all the time, "I love baby animals." So, getting to hold these 4-day old goats at Conner Prairie was, in her mind, probably the best day of her life.
Spring is a fun time to visit Conner Prairie, a local living history place. They had a "scavenger egg hunt" for the kids where the kids had to find eggs at different houses and other places throughout the village and then write down the location. At the end of the day they turned in their papers for a prize at the general store. It was much more fun than those crowded public park egg hunts where you wait in line for an hour and then all the big kids railroad the little kids to get the eggs first. Can you tell I have experience in this? :)
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My Two Cs

As I go through photos, I just have to post these of Clara and Carson. It has been really fun to see all of Clara's maternal instincts surface. This girl has a special gift in her ability to nurture and love small children. I have enjoyed watching Clara blossom in this way, with a baby in the house. She is always the first one to offer to feed Carson his bottle and she is really good at taking care of him.

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Smiley Boy

Carson is at that golden baby age right now, at nearly five months old.  He has chubby cheeks, bright blue eyes, and a deep belly laugh and we are all pretty much enamored with him.  He is very easy going and patient for his mommy to meet his needs (unless he has a burp)!  

Carson is huge!  It's hard to believe he ever had trouble putting on weight.  He is 17 lbs. 8 oz. and just now getting into 9 month clothing.  I am really thankful for a local kids' consignment store to help me keep this growing boy clothed!!  I have a soft spot for little boys' dress clothes, which I think are simply adorable. Today I ironed some of Kevin's dress shirts and also two for Carson. Those little collars and sleeves just made me smile.  Could anything be more cute?  Of course, I don't know what the point of ironing baby clothes is since it just wrinkles when the baby goes in the car seat, right?  

Anyway ... We are all enjoying our little boy!

What did I say about those dress clothes?!
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