Friday, May 27, 2011

Graduation 2011

May 26, 2011!  Isobel Claire graduated from Pre-K!

We have spent the week last nearly 5 years building to this great evening.  This week we went shopping in a "real" store and she picked out a brand new dress.  "Mommy!  I'm going to be the most beautiful!" has been exclaimed several times.  We have counted the days and made teacher gifts and eagerly awaited "graduation".  She has been so excited and un-Isobel this week.

She chose Buffalo Wild Wings for her celebratory dinner; nothing better than chicken fingers and french fries.  She excitedly opened her gift from mommy and daddy - 6 my first I can read books and her first sight word flash cards! 

And then it was time!  We must take our baby and allow her to walk and graduate and grow!  And she sang and did the hand gestures and not an ounce of fear or anxiety was on her little face.  I wish we could give her this confidence everyday and maybe it is coming.  She will always be my shy baby, slow to warm to new environments and hesitant to act, but strong and determined and growing into the best her little girl and developing her personality with grace and heart.

As I watched our girl receive her diploma and stand with her class, I saw visions of her future self, future graduations and future successes.  I cannot wait to see who she will become and the gift she will be to the world.  Her future self is for us to nurture and her to discover.  The overwhelming and ultimate task of parents to grow children into one who walks in the Grace and Will of the Father, so they can confidently leave our nest in His Love and give the gifts they have been given by Him to the world.  Isobel is such a blessing and has taught us so much.  As we grow together I am eager to teach and to be taught!

She proclaims a desire to be a ballerina!  This summer dance lessons are on order.  Whether she become a dancer or not, we as her parents pray fervently that we raise her in to a confident and loved Child of God.

My eyes glanced to her siblings "watching" her.  As Eloise did the splits and Finn fussed over books and goldfish crackers, as Sofia stood watching her little sister with a bit of jealousy that some things are truly just another's event, and Mathilde sat cradled in her simply struck me the differences we'll see as the years pass and we celebrate every graduation and success as a family.  There may always be a bit of jealousy, antsy-ness, and distraction, but love is why we stand together to support each other and become better.

 The classroom, the teachers, the love that has helped us shape and grow... Isobel!!!

 The girl!  Celebrating and growing!  And eating the sugar version of herself!

 Kindergarten here she comes!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Baby Bel

Almost done...

Well, I did it!  The pantry is done (except to determine spice storage)!  And I love it!  And it has a lock :)

I can't find the before picture...but the before was BAD!

The sorting.

 And after!  Just don't focus on the lower right shelf (the ugly box is spices).  And I'm so happy with results.

A Happy Pantry!
This week we are working on summer schedules and planning and registering for activities.  Sorting through Vacation Bible school weeks, soccer camps, swim lessons and trying to find a balance and calendar that gives us LOTS of free time to play and explore, but also provides the structure and learning these guys love.

Tears have already started welling as we wind down the school year.  Isobel graduates from Pre-K Thursday night.  How is she this big?  Wasn't it yesterday that we found out we were pregnant with her?  She has grown so much this year and her teachers have been such a blessing.  She has learned SO  much academically, but more importantly personally.  She is growing into a fabulous young girl with more confidence and excitement than we have ever seen.

Sofia is nearing the end of 1st grade.  She couldn't hardly read in September and is now reading chapter books!!!  She loves all things science and nature and dinosaurs.  I'm excited to have her home this summer.  She will challenge me in all regards and together we'll make it through!  I look forward to everything we'll learn together, but am at a loss as to where to start gathering materials to keep her active mind busy and out of trouble. 
Her creature she created in art!
So excited to show Daddy her work!
I'm looking forward to sharing Isobel and all her beauty tomorrow!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thoughts And Hopes Are Overflowing

I've noticed something recently, I think (and pray) as if I'm writing.  Not sure if this is normal or not, but I see the words on the page...correct thought patterns and even spelling.  And once those thoughts are processed, they are released and cannot be recreated in the exact same way.  I really wish I could connect a printer or hard driver to this brain, because if the adage is correct I'm operating at -25% capacity.

My thoughts recently have surrounded our many beginnings.  The last nine years have been filled with the blessings of our beginnings; new love, marriage, new baby (x's 5), new jobs (x's 4), and on and on.  "Beginning" is so exhilarating and so full of hope, even for those of us who hate change. We are finding ourselves at a new beginning this time in the work and financial sphere and it is so exciting.  The prospect will entail a lot of work and dedication and complete family teamwork, but with that comes a lot of freedom.  We are still exploring the option of this "new" with all the emotions that come with ginormous decisions and changes.

As our family grows and educations near completion and careers are flowing on the upward path; our lives seem to me nearing the end of these beginnings and the plateau of the middle's.  At moments I long for the middle...a long, stable and flowing middle.  One where our kids can grow, we live in one place, and while never perfect things flow smoothly as if traveling along a lazy  river.  And then I look down and just want to freeze Mathilde in infancy, keeping all the babies babies, where my biggest fear is them fighting with each other and bandaging a boo-boo and giving away hugs to eager preschoolers.  But as this middle approaches in the next few years, I pray that we will all be wrapped in the love and security of each other and our God.
Add caption
Lord, please guide us in Your will!

Wordless Wednesday...Late!

Monday, May 16, 2011


If you are going to have a table cloth...make sure it is one that matches the mess!

Happy Monday!  Mondays are for motivating and planning and rebooting from the weekend.  Mondays around here are not lazy, but there is not normally no visible sign of productivity.  I spend the day tidying and reading and making a mental program for the week.  And it is NOT good when Mondays are, well, sabotaged.  I was supposed to meet a potential babysitter at 12:45p today.  As I was doing the normal run through of email, facebook, ebay, blogs...she did the unthinkable; emailed to reschedule due to being sick.  While being completely ok and I'll happily reschedule, it completely opened up my time...I don't "have" to clean the bathrooms or sweep or finish the breakfast dishes...I can read a few more emails.  <pause>  Notice - Eloise is in the family room, Finn is somewhere in the kitchen...ACK! I didn't go clean up the water colors before Eloise moved away from the table...and yup! Finn was painting himself and the table!  Thankfully, we still have the Easter Egg tablecloth on our table and water colors are washable :)  (Didn't stop to get a pic of my painted boy :( )

But back to motivating.  I'm going to think smaller this week and motivate toward a goal (outside of surviving and accomplishing routine duties) that I can accomplish by myself!  And no our bedroom is not done, better - but far from done.  We are on track to get our furniture by new deadline has been set and it will likely be finished the night before we go to Ikea :)  But we are getting there and the mess is getting shorter (literally).

This week the target of my attention is the pantry!  I'll share a pic before I start.  This poor pantry!  We hadn't had a pantry before and when we moved in I had no idea how I wanted to organize it, so everything just got dumped in there.  And since then, after every shopping trip and meal things have just been shoved in ANY open space.   Well, I finally came across an organization method that makes sense, and we are way overdue to go shopping for snacks and pantry staples so the inventory is low, so this IS the week.  Pantry here I come...tomorrow.  The idea for the concrete challenge creating Motivating Monday is from the Happiest Mom.

But on to more fun things, like things my littles may care to read about in 5, 10, 25 years...i.e. one of the main reason to write here!  We had a most wonderful and fun weekend :)  After much blah-ness the end of last week and wanting cancel everything, Mark kicked me out of the house Saturday morning ALL BY MYSELF to go have coffee with mom and Heather.  Thank you all!!!  Coffee and quiet are so good :)  I may have to escape for an hour or so more often (maybe weekly...hint hint)!

And then Saturday afternoon we all went to the Imagination Movers concert in C'ville.  Thanks so much to for picking us in the raffle!  We had a fabulous time.  It was a bit different watching an outside show, the kids were a little slower to warm up and start dancing.  I suspect because the lights were far less danc-y and focusing.  Love the Movers!!!!  Mark printed out "mini movers" name tags for all of us to wear.  And while I felt a little silly...Eloise got a shout out from Mover Rich and Mover Smitty :)   And we all got to hug and/or high 5 at least one Mover as they moved through the audience...yeah!
Waiting for the show to start!
Watching Choo Choo Soul
Smitty :)

Mathilde's 1st Concert
After the concert, everyone was of course starving!  And where did they want to go eat?!  Daddy's work!  And we'll take the enthusiasm while we can get it...relatively cheap to feed littles, no wait (empty actually) and close by!  So off to the hospital we went for spaghetti and BBQ chicken.

And Sunday was a day of rest (and cleaning) :)  Much needed after three weekends of traveling and activity!

**WARNING!**change of thought pattern**

Through some reflection on our existence and activities and behavior recently, it became obvious that our fun was - well, far less than fun for everyone.  So with very little effort, we turned our focus to fun activities and away from shopping.  It is amazing how much a cold winter can effect perception.  It is really not "fun" to go to Target or thrift store or antique mall shopping with 5 kids!  But it is SUPER fun to get out and play!  Two weekends in a row we didn't step inside a store :)  And with the money saved we bought the tickets for Mark and Finn to go to the concert, too!  The weekend before we went to Chesapeake to visit family, and during our downtime we wandered the trails at a visitor area in the Great Dismal Swamp!  The kids got to play in dirt, and see weird tree roots, and RUN!!!

 They are growing way to quickly!  Fia popped in while I was getting ready this morning, she needed to wash her hands. And without step stool or tip toes, she STOOD there and very adeptly washed her hands.  And while I knew she could, I never stopped and watched her do so...must go research how to stop time now!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Excuse Me!


Manners are a great thing and I so love to hear polite little voices say "peas", "dank you" and "escooze me".   It is the last that has been greatly used by a certain 3y.o. recently.  She uses her magic words well and always has.   But a few weeks ago, we were in the grocery store and in a very clear and loud voice, she looks up and says "That was my butt.  It farted!"  It took a bit of mommy composure not to laugh, but to reintroduce her to "excuse me!".   Being Eloise she quickly adopted this new phrase and it has been used A LOT :)

There is a dilemma with "excuse me" though!  It must be used for those unpleasant bodily functions and for interrupting and gaining attention.  So we're working our way around this :)  Trying to avoid...small voice says "excuse me!"...Mommy says "yes, do you need something?"...small voice should not say "I'm otay mommy, I just urped!"  So the question of the week, how to pose the response without getting an undesired answer???


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My First Love, My True Love

Eight years ago today I married my love! 

He has been my constant and my strength.  
The ride is just beginning full of hope but going way faster than I'd like!  
We have nearly quadrupled our family with our five little loves. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Accepting our weaknesses...

Most of my life it has been my mission to be self-sufficient and completely capable.  This is a good thing and a bad thing.  When it comes to marriage it can be a very bad thing.  It leads to an unwillingness to let go and let your partner in.  It has always been an effort and a duty I have placed upon myself to be able to do everything that I couldn't cheaply pay someone to do for me should any calamity (God forbid.)  ever happen to Mark.  There is a dangerous balance though to be able to do it, while not actually doing it ALL by myself.  And there have been many periods of time I've failed to be a good partner.  But yesterday, I was reminded that it doesn't matter if I can care for the house and barn and kids and stuff...there are just somethings that send me to the floor more helpless than a small child.  Thankfully, the Lord blessed me with a man that truly is my match.  While it is easy for me to notice his shortcomings, at least as far as I see them and they are truly trivial...he leaves his socks everywhere, he can fall asleep anywhere at anytime, and if I don't ask for help...yup, he'll let me do it by myself (anything! and everything!).  But he is strong and caring and when I fall, he stands and supports everything and makes the world right.

I wish my baby hadn't gotten hurt to remind me of this again!

Hamming it up for the camera!
Last night, I was bathing the four bigger kids in the garden tub while Mark went out to mow the grass.  It was time to get out and we always go oldest to youngest as an exit strategy from the tub.  Well, I called time to get out and both Fia and Finn stood, Finn lost his footing and slipped into the water banging his head on one of the molded jut outs...there was a gash in his forehead.  Scooped him out and Fia ran for Mark...we were both standing in the driveway screaming for Mark.  I couldn't even look at Finn.  All I knew was he was breathing (and not screaming or crying?!) and there was no blood, there is supposed to be blood lots of blood with a head injury?!...  Got Mark, the naked wet Fia and Finn back in the house.  All I could do was sit on the bed and hold him, Mark checked him and determined that the ER was necessary.  So as I became completely frozen gathering insurance cards and storybooks, Mark dressed him and got them out the door to the hospital.  I curled into a ball on the bathroom floor trying to compose myself enough to get the other 2 girls out and dressed so I could call my mom!  You see despite being able to birth and care for 5 kids, move feed and hay, start a fire, etc etc etc...I can't CAN NOT handle blood and injuries.  Haven't ever been able too, I always thought it would be different with my kids, but nope.  So with renewed appreciation for my husband, I must change 2 things ASAP...1st bathes will now only be taken in the small tub 1-2 kiddos at a time with Mark in the house and second I'm buying bubble wrap and that is what they will wear until they leave our house!

Finn is doing fine, still seemingly un-phased by the incident and "super glued" back together!  It is going to be a week of "be careful" and "watch his head"...but we are on the mend.
Lord, please help me to let go and more readily appreciate my husband!  Please protect our babies!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Reinventing Us!

The last 18 months have been a blur of job changes and moving and upending everything.  The last 18 hours have been the start of our new beginning.  The Roanoke house is empty (ginormous sigh of relief)!!!  And we are freed to move forward, to decide our direction and just be.  We still have A LOT of purging of "stuff"...the physical kind that has somehow overtaken and for one reason or another made this move with us.  Mark and I are both looking forward to this purge, the opportunity to let go of the physical baggage and create a better existence for us and the kids to grow in.  I'm hoping one that requires less sorting and organizing and way more playing and exploring.  We are both "we might need that one day" types so this is going to be a huge undertaking and I fear painful at times.  But we have the motivation toward creating more time and adventures with these little people.  There are always going to be things and events in the way of peace and time, but we are seeing a huge opportunity to make it easier to have both peace and time! 

It is Monday and Monday's are for motivating...we will again renew our efforts in the dreaded master bedroom (still aiming for completion by next Tuesday) and maybe plan a fun outing or trip as we unpack, post things to ebay, freecycle and craig's list and find the joy in less stuff, for more us!!! 

That is our master bedroom!  I hope it makes you feel better about a space in your house!  And now you know so I MUST prove that this is not us and go clean it and organize and make stuff leave this house...say a prayer as we enter...