Friday, April 30, 2010

One Year

It's hard to believe that an entire year has passed since our little Eben joined the family. Although it has been a tough year with moving and making the transition to northern living, Eben has lightened the way with his gorgeous and contagious smile. I think it is safe to say that Eben broke the mold, in more ways than one. Of course, the obvious....he is a boy...but also his personality is entirely his own. He's done just about everything he can think of to be different than the girls. He can be a stinker at times, and has completely deprived his mother of sleep, but Eben makes each of us laugh at least once a day. He's a cuddlebug, a prankster, and an enthusiast. We can already testify that growing up with Eben has truly changed our lives for the better. What wonderful adventures we have ahead with our sweet, sweet boy!
Click on the side panel to see a slideshow of Eben's 1st year.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Accidents Happen

We all know accidents happen, but it's why accidents happen that directly corresponds with how I react or pass judgement. I'd like to think I am a patient mom who doesn't over-react to an accident, but sometimes my little ones walk so close to the edge, it seems they are just asking for an "accident." Since my last post yesterday, our family has had more accidents than I can count.
Thessaly accidentally spilled her bowl of pretzels all over and under the computer desk. She then proceeded to spill them on the kitchen floor, followed by dragging the open container (which is practically bigger than herself) upstairs, to conclude with knocking it over on my bedroom carpet. Today she has spilled the crumbs from a tin on the living room carpet, followed by a bag of chips on the kitchen floor, a cup of water on her bed, and once again the open container of pretzels on my bedroom carpet. Judgement: Yes, they were all accidents, but couldn't they have been prevented by obeying mommy, paying closer attention, and eating her healthy snack of pear at the table instead of dragging out everything she could find in the cupboard?
Adela had several accidents herself. She accidentally hit dad in the leg. She accidentally poked Thessaly in the cheek. She accidentally knocked Eben down from the rocking chair, stomped on my toe, and bumped Jo over while playing TinkerToys. Judgement: Yes, many of these physical boo-boos were accidents, but had she gone out to play and burn off energy like she was told and followed the house rules, wouldn't she have been less accident-prone?
Josephine, bless her heart, has been plagued with accidents due to her helpful nature and desire for indepence. She accidentally knocked the bathroom washcloths into the open toilet while trying to gather the laundry. She accidentally spilled the orange juice while trying to pour herself a drink. She accidentally picked up the wrong cereal while filling her cart at Trader Joe's. Judgement: Yes, all of these were accidents that are training her to be more cautious next time, but had she been patient and let me help her as I warned, would they have happened?
Eben has a plethora of accidents, but do they really count since he does them on purpose? For a tiny example, let me list today's so called accidents: hit my coffee spilling it on the coffee table, poured his cheerios on floor, unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper, poured his water under the dining room table, dumped my makeup into the running shower, dropped cups in the toilet, and threw away his bottle in the trash can. And that's just since breakfast.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am accident prone. I have more than my fair share of trips, stumbles, and falls. After living in this construction site of accidents, I wonder how many of my mistakes and accidents come from not doing as I should. At the end of the day, what judgement will I receive? Yes, I may have slipped up, but was I obedient in the first place? Yes, I may not have intended to sin, but what was I doing walking so close to the edge? not listening and paying attention? not being where I should have been? relying on my own self and not seeking His help? or was I just testing my limits and boundaries? As I expect from my children, may I also expect from myself... learn from these mistakes and not have this "accident" again.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Little Luxuries

Little Luxuries I took for granted before having kids:
-Going from the door of the house to inside the vehicle in less than 5 minutes.
-Locking a door... for that matter, closing a door.
-Wearing outfits more than once without the need to have them laundered due to all sorts of child cruddiness and smears.
-Completing the laundry with only two loads (one whites, one darks).
-Going to the bookstore and browsing the grown-up section.
-Preparing dinner and sitting to eat it with only compliments.
-Dining at a restaurant without a drink soaking your lap.
-Hearing a lesson from start to finish.
-Opening a cookie package to find cookies (not stale, mind you) still left inside.
-Dry clean only clothing.
-Making a quick run to the store.
-Choosing my own soundtrack for a drive.
-Opening my purse without crumbs falling out.
-A schedule so empty that brainstorming was needed to fill it.

Little Luxuries I'm blessed with now that I have kids:
-Someone to hug day or night.
-Little giggles and belly laughs.
-Hearing cheery whispers from down the hall each morning.
-The smell of baby lotion and youth.
-Combing out someone else's tangles.
-Rubber ducks and Barbies greeting me in the bathroom.
-A reason to use the digital camera.
-Pink or purple walls and hearts or princesses.
-Never having an empty lap or empty arms.
-Four all-too-happy volunteers jumping at a chance to play on the floor with me.
-Hearing every single detail and secret of someone's life.
-Sprinkles on top of any food make it taste better.
-Sucking on ice makes any "ouchie" feel better.
-Someone believing there's no problem too big that I can't solve.
-"I love you" spoken multiple times a day for no particular reason.
-A heart so full that sometimes it hurts!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Parable of the Lost Socks

There once was a mother who did loads of laundry to keep her family in clean clothes. She washed all sorts of garments, but the socks tended to spread everywhere. Some of the socks stayed with the load, traveling from the laundry basket to the washing machine to the dryer and making it to their proper place folded together as a pair and placed in the drawer. Some of the socks strayed from the pile, falling on the stairs or on the kitchen floor while being transported to the laundry room, but she quicly retraced her steps and added them to the next load. Some of the socks slipped behind or under the appliances when being transported from the washing machine to the dryer, only to show up again after much heavy lifting or right before moving day. And still others disappeared without a trace, ....appearing at odd places and at odd times or never showing up again, perhaps never even making it to the laundry basket in the first place.
Now, here is the application of the socks. The mother is a teacher spreading the good news. She launders clothes, just as one teaches many different listeners. The pair of socks that makes it safely to the goal, is one who hears and remains obedient through all sorts of adversity in life to be treated with the reward of being joined together with our Maker safely in heaven. The socks that strayed on their way down to the laundry room are those who obeyed, but slipped through the cracks, falling when things got tough, but then got right back up where they belonged. The socks that slipped mid-load are those who obey, then fall into a tight spot, and only make it up again after much struggling and effort. Those who never surface or show up sporadically perhaps never really heard, or obeyed.
In case you are worried that I may have officially lost it, socks are on my mind due to a major matching session we just completed. The picture you are about to witness may be frightening, but it is much better than what the room looked like 30 minutes earlier. And yes, those are ziplock bags of mismatched socks!
May all of our socks make it safely to the shelter of their drawer. And may the Lord be patient with us who continually struggle to keep our pair together.

Big News--Thessy's Getting Married!!!

Great News! Thessaly's getting married!!!
Actually, my sister Shayla is getting married, but she asked Thessaly to be her flower girl. Thessaly is SO excited! She runs around the house telling everyone, "Guess what?! I'm getting married!" She tells the family, "I'm marrying Aunt Shayla!" She even giggles and says, "I'm even gonna kiss her at the end!" So, so sweet!
On another sweet Thessy I finally wrestled her pink blanket away from her long enough to sneak it into the washer and dryer. The whole hour it was missing was rather traumatic. When I gave it back to her, freshly laundered and smelling clean, she quickly walked away snuggling it, and said, "Oh blanket, I always need you!" So, so sweet!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quoting Scripture

It's always a joy for me to overhear my kids using something I have taught them. I'm especially pleased when I hear them quoting scriptures. We've worked on several memory verses this past year. I've been picking out ones that seem appropriate for their day to day situations. Lately, we've learned several on contentment, kindness to others, managing anger, etc. Sometimes, they take a verse and use it in a way that I didn't quite intend. Like yesterday Adela was being corrected by Josephine for doing something that Jo didn't want her to do; Adela's retort, said in a voice of frustration, was "Well, get the speck out of your own eye!" She may have gotten the implication of the verse and Jo caught her drift, so I'm glad they grasped that--It's just not said in the spirit I was hoping for. Another unexpected perk that has come from our verses is that lately there is less hostility in the competition of racing and games. Whoever loses just shouts back, "Ha! Ha! The first shall be last!!!!"
So, I guess in the long run...we all win:-)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's A Hard Knock Life

Yesterday marked our first off-broadway show. The kids and I took John for a birthday treat to the musical, Annie (how else would a grown man want to spend his birthday?! - wink, wink). What fun we all had! The whole family was able to get in for a great family price. We tackled the NYC traffic and cabbies and won a free parking spot near the theatre. John snagged us fantastic seats near the front. And the show truly was terrific. At first the girls were very hesitant due to the dark theatre and the pushy crowd, but as soon as Annie began to belt out her first song "Maybe", their smiles couldn't have gotten any bigger. All three of them sat on the edges of their seats the entire time, grinning from ear to ear. Eben was even enthralled. John and I just sat there enjoying the show; yes, the Annie show, but more the show of joy on our own kids' precious faces. During the intermission we were able to go backstage to meet their favorites, Annie and Molly. Both actresses were very courteous, kind, and inspiring. Following the play, the girls got to walk on stage to see the theatre from a different point of view. Adela walked right up to the actors and blended in like a natural; I half expected her to start her own chorusline. Josephine shyly explored and relished the moment. Thessaly smirked, giggled, and then walked right off the stage, literally...landing on her head and freaking out the entire audience.

What wonderful memories we made! Seven years ago, you wouldn't have found John and I celebrating special days at Annie; that venue just wouldn't fit. Seven years from now, you won't find us there either. But right now, this year, this moment, we wouldn't want to celebrate our special days any other way. These precious moments with our children are flying by...they come upon us so quickly, and then are gone. Yes, it has been a hair-pulling out month of illness, overloaded work, and frankly a hard-knock life, BUT all of these moments fit together to make us love, appreciate, and enjoy our times together. Annie (and my girls) have a theme song they sing again and again (only every other waking moment) that states "The sun will come out tomorrow!" God may not promise us a sunny tomorrow; we know that tomorrow will have worries of it's own. But He has blessed us so richly today and I'm sure loving the suns of today (no weather punn intended...okay, maybe just a little bit:-).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our Seven Year Old

Seven years ago today, Josephine was born into this world. Josephine is the kind of girl who fits her name perfectly, "Jehoveh adds". The seven years that Josephine has been a part of our family have brought more blessings than we can count.

Through Jo, God has added the tenderest of hearts to our family. He has added a sister with patience and acceptance to the ultimate degree. He has added a daughter who searches out ways to make life better. He has added a friend who brightens the days of all she meets. He has added a thinker who causes others to reflect and praise Him. He has added a spirit who finds peace and love in all situations. Josephine is more than I ever expected and definitely more than I deserve. Thank Jehovah for adding our sweet Jo Jo Bug.
For a glimpse of our Josephine throughout the years, click on the side picture.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Never Tired

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, in a distant land, a woman named Vivi slept through the night. Ahhh, I remember that sweet fairytale. One of my all time favorite hobbies has become a thing of the past. With four tiny ones, and esp. a baby who finds it natural to interrupt this wonderful hobby of sleep at least 5-10 times a session, I've not been able to practice it regularly. Oh for the nights when I would close my eyes in the dark, and open them only to see the sunlight gleaming thru the windows. I remember when the whole purpose of drinking coffee was for the delicious steamy taste, not for survival and to keep my eyes from crossing. Sometimes, I am so overwhelmed by this missed sleep, all I feel is TIRED.
The crazy thing is I may truly miss sleep, but I gladly give it up. I'm tired of a great many things, but then in the grand scheme of things, I'm never tired.

I may be tired of not having a full night's rest,
but I never grow tired of waking to that sweet little boy lying there needing me.

I may be tired of the droning call of girls having nightmares,
but I never grow tired of them calling for me in their time of stress.

I may be tired of the bickering and arguing over who had the longer turn on the swing,but I never grow tired of watching my kids learn how to become the best of friends.

I may be tired of the laundry basket that like Elijah's gift to the widow, never empties,but I never grow tired of supplying my kids with what they need to be happy.

I may be tired of the snotty noses, feverish foreheads, and cranky moods,
but I never grow tired of the snuggles that need to be given to make them feel better.

I may be tired of cleaning the plethora of toys, clothes, and misc. items strown around the house,but I never grow tired of those little tiny hands that tinker and caress.

I may be tired of the loud volume that permeates through the walls and vibrates the windows, but I never grow tired of the precious voices and conversations that come from their lips.

It may be one of the most demanding and sleep-deprived jobs of life,
but I never grow tired in the role of being a mom to my precious Godsends.

I know I'm not the perfect child to my Father either. I'm sure He grows tired of my doubtings, complaints, and limited vision, but He never grows tired in His love, forgiveness, and joy of being my God. Like my Father, may I never grow tired in demonstrating love for my children.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Unsolicited Compliments

For some bizarre reason I have been graced with several compliments from my children during the past 12 hours.  Normally, I am bombarded with critiques and complaints.  It's not unusual to hear "I don't like your hair like that" or "Mommy, your mouth stinks."  They don't tell me these things to be rude, but just put it out there to be honest.  Josephine has actually started curbbing her criticisms.  In fact, she let me go an entire day of errand running before telling me that I had black makeup majorly smeared under my eye because she thought I wanted it that way and because she didn't want to hurt my feelings by ointing out how ridiculous I looked.  Perhaps it is better to be told, even if the truth stinks.

This morning I came downstairs wearing a skirt...GASP!..."Where are we going? Is there church services today?  Why are you wearing a skirt?"  Truth be told, I have pretty much worn pants for the past 6 months (even under dresses and skirts) due to the chilly temps. Now that it is warming up, I'm loving my skirts, and apparently so are my girls.  They followed me around the house for a good 10 minutes throwing out comments of "princess," "pretty," and "wow!" (I'm choosing to ignore the one about "step-mother").  Needless to say, I'll probably be keeping up this new attire thing.

Eben surprised me by giving me a big squeeze right around my neck and making the sound to go along with the bear hug, "Mmmm-Mmmm!"  If that's not a baby's compliment, then I don't know what one is.

Then tonight while I was fixing dinner, Thessaly motioned for me to come down to her level so she could tell me a secret.  In her precious noisy whisper she said, "You know what, Mommy? You are the best Mommy!" I think I heard angels singing I was so thrilled.  She wasn't bribing me, or buttering me up to ask something, or even saying it because of some big happy announcement I'd made.  She was just telling it like she sees it.  If only we would tell others of their importance to us just because, think of how smiles would be contagious.

But the one that really got me, came this evening before bed.  Adela challenged the family to some pretty strenuous and dare-devil flips, but quickly made the side comment, "Except for Mommy, she can't do this kind of thing."  After her dismissal, I jumped right down there and flipped away.  She smiled from ear to ear, and we continued to compete in several jumps.  After the game, I heard her tell Jo and Thessy, "Wow! She really can do it! And she's good!" Her smile was stretched from ear to ear.  It's sad to think that she was so shocked, but frankly it's because I don't get down and crazy with them nearly enough.  Boy, did it feel good to see her thrilled like that. 

I could definitely get used to these kinds of unsolicited compliments.
Now, all that I need is a new wardrobe and a chiropractor to fix this aching back.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bad Dreams

Many a time I've been called in the night to come and comfort one of the kids after a bad dream. Usually, I hear what the dream is about, explain that it's just a dream and won't really happen, we pray, and after smoothing their hair and kissing their cheek I rush back to my pillow to try to catch another hour before little Eben wakes AGAIN. However, last night at 2 a.m. Adela broke the routine. She mumbled something about someone coming up the stairs and taking her. I assured her that she was safe, no one was coming up the stairs, and mommy and daddy were here to protect her. We prayed and I hurried back to bed, hoping I wasn't too awake to not fall back into oblivion immediately. Then 3 a.m. rolls around, and once again Adela is hollering in her monotone middle-of-the-night voice, "Moomm-mmmyy!Moomm-mmyyy!Mooommm-mmmyyy!" (I am convinced that this form of waking is almost equally as disturbing as the horrid alarm clock that buzzes from the bedside.) Once again, she had a bad dream of being taken. I listened groggily, and explained that no "bad guy" was going to take her. She corrected me that she wasn't afraid of a bad guy, but of a giant duck that came in and swooped her up, carrying her off from the family in it's menacing beak. To me, this was much less frightening and definitely less likely to happen, but to her it was terrifying. She ended up coming to my room, and sleeping peacefully the rest of the night knowing I was right there to fight off the winged-bandit should he pick the front door lock, climb up our creaky steps, and pluck her up from under her blanket.
As ridiculous as it appeared to me, it was a valid and very real concern for her. I wonder how ridiculous my "bad dreams" may sound? What kind of fears do I bring to God that are so unrealistic? How much worrying and fretting do I do that God looks at me, shaking His head, knowing that I am terrifying myself for nothing. I may obsess over something as Adela feared the duck burglar, but isn't it a relief that I can bring that concern to Him, knowing He'll hear me. I can turn it over to Him, rest in the comfort of His love, and know that He is right there to shelter me in His arms. May I demonstrate His patient and ever present love to my little ones even in the middle of another wakeful night!

Monday, April 5, 2010


Josephine likes the song, "Climb, Climb Up Sunshine Mountain" although she is very troubled by the ending. Here is her interpretation:
Climb, Climb up Sunshine Mountain, heavenly breezes blow.
Climb, Climb up Sunshine Mountain, faces all aglow.
Turn, Turn your back on evil, Look to God on High.
Climb, Climb up Sunshine Mountain..You All Die!!!
One of Adela's favorite songs is about The Lost Blind Girl. She wonders if Jesus put mud on her eyes:
Amazing Grace, how sweet your face
that save a wretch like me.
I once was Lost but now I'm found,
Was Blind but now I see.

Thessaly is a Taylor Swift fan. In particular, she likes her song Romeo and Juliet because in it the girl has to go potty:
See the lights, see the potty, the bathroom...and I was begging you "I've got to go!"
(true lyrics: See the lights, see the party, the ballgowns...and I was begging you, "Please don't go!")