celebrate them

Celebrate Them.

While pregnant with number 1, we were driving past ball fields full of aspiring cheerleaders, ball players, and soccer moms.  Keith looked at me, patted my giant belly and said “I can’t wait to go to ball practices, and games to watch this child play sports like I did.”  As we discussed these future practices and games we also discussed what if, Mr Never~Met~A~Sport~You~Couldn’t~Do, married to Mrs~Always~Chosen~Last~In~P.E., what if this child or future children do not *gasp* like sports, then what will you do?

We soon realized that #1 was not an athlete, we’d be with friends whose child could at 2 years could shoot a 3 pointer on a college gym floor {okay not really but he could hit a ball pitched underhanded at him with regularity} their child was wanting to shoot hoops while our child was involved in an intricate game of dinosaur rock, rules which I still do not understand.  He has excelled in the arts, singing, and acting, and has been in every production our school puts out, happily being an extra with no lines just to be on stage.  He shines and he is happy, this is his thing, we celebrate him when we watch him do his thing.  This weekend we will celebrate him by watching him as Agent 13 in GET SMART.
When number 2 was able to she eagerly joined any sport we let her, she played church league soccer, basketball and was on the city swim team.  She could hardly wait to be “on a real school team” and joined the school swim team during 6th grade {because we are inclusive k-4 to 12th grade we can have our middle school students compete at a highschool level} she enjoyed that time on swim and was thrilled to be playing middle school basketball in the winter.  The following year she choose cross-country, she followed it up with basketball and then with softball.  This year she ran, and played ball then took the spring season off {Thankfully because I was dreading softball again}  Watching her compete is how we celebrate her. 

We have discovered that all of our children can be celebrated in different ways number 3 ran cross-country he will probably never be the top racers for our school but give that boy a book and some information and he will glean all knowledge out of it that he can.  He has a natural desire for knowledge and especially spiritual knowledge and as he learns, he desires more.  We celebrate him by listening to the things he has learned, watching science fairs, and math fairs and races.  While J has played church league we realize that cheering him on in sporting events will be our way to celebrate him.  E has participated in our rec centers ballet classes for years, by watching her we celebrate her.  We have no idea how we will celebrate A but we know that what ever she chooses we will celebrate.

Things would have been so different if we had not realized how individual and unique each of or children were and had tried to force them into the mold of our dreams and desires.  How we celebrate them shows them our love for them.
Go celebrate your family this weekend each one is unique and individual and has their own victories that you can celebrate.
jen


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I don’t Do Mornings

I don’t do mornings.
 I never have enjoyed them.
Sure a beautiful sunrise on the beach, in the mountains, or even once in our yard was nice but in general I don’t do mornings.  Growing up my mom greeted each day as an adventure, if I was able to sleep in until 9 on a Saturday, she declared the day half over, sure she’d been up since 6 awake and ready to conquer the day and when you go full force from 6am then I guess 9am does feel  like a good portion of the day is gone.  She told me once I had kids I’d think that way too, and while she was right about a lot of things she is still wrong about this.

BUT
I have kids, I have responsibilities, I do mornings now.  Or more truthfully I fake mornings.

How do we do mornings???  Ugh they are not pretty in our house, I have a few morning kids who have learned to be quiet and not purposely bother the others.  But in a family this large with personalities this strong mornings, afternoons and nights appeal each of us differently.


School mornings start out at 6:45, I wake each child with song, and each room has a different morning song, I start with C he moans, covers his head and begs at me to stop.  I keep singing until his light is on and he is sitting up and looking at me with both eyes open.  {He used to be my biggest morning fan, he’d bounce out of bed ready to talk, sing, play, read anything and everything, so thankful that it changed when he became a teen, I have let him sleep until 11 on more than one Saturday, jealous of the sleep he is getting}  After he is sitting upright I move on to the boy’s room, I sing them the Good morning George song from Veggie Tales,  changing the words to fit our family since we do love chocolate but do not work in a chocolate factory.  I sing only the first verse before both of them are awake and sitting up in bed.  After I greet both of them I walk past C’s room and either tell him good morning or start to sing his song again.  When I have sufficiently annoyed him into getting out of bed I head upstairs to the girls room.  I start talking to them as I walk up the stairs when I reach the top I start singing, O almost instantly opens her eyes, but she is a light sleeper, and E is always in some sort of acrobatic position on her bed, this morning she was egg~shaped.  She is more difficult to wake up and I have had to sing her the song more than one time through to get her moving.  Every morning she tells me she is too sick for school and every morning I tell her of course you are sick it is morning.  She usually follows me down stairs with her clothes and climbs in my bed while I start to get ready.
C was a morning person and honestly once he gets moving he is ready to go and wide awake, but nights are when he is alive.
O is not a morning person, she never has been, nights always were her favorite.  Once up she fakes her way through the morning.
R is not a morning person, afternoon, evening he is at his best.  He will stand for minutes staring if we don’t prompt him to move.
J is a morning person, he is up early and ready to go, evenings and nights are not his thing he is tired and needs to go to bed.
E is an afternoon person, she loves to play hard during the day but evening brings grumpy tired tears.
A is a morning person she starts talking as soon as she opens her eyes.  She sleeps long during the day, she loves nights too.

Around 7:15 I begin my time to leave count down.  I make E a cup of hot chocolate, every~single~day.  The rest of the kids get their own breakfast, some have cereal, some have a smoothie {our favorite is 1 carton of frozen PURE yogurt strawberry, a handful of frozen strawberries, half a banana, and chocolate milk to fill in the gaps, blend in my Magic Bullet and we are good to go} and some only drink a glass of chocolate milk.  We are not big breakfast at breakfast time people.  I also throw their pre~assembled lunches together during this time.
Starting at 7:25 O starts the 1 minute warnings.  The big scramble begins, and daily we leave with someone carrying shoes along with lunch boxes, backpacks, practice clothes, pe clothes and the stray project.  Our goal is to start getting in the van at 7:30 pulling out at 7:35 for our 2 minute ride to school.  My middle/high schoolers have to be there for class at 7:50 but since they do not like to move and rush we need to give ourselves plenty of time to get to their classes on the 2nd and 3rd floors of their buildings.  J and E do not have to be there as early so I take those few minutes sitting in the parking lot to brush hair or tie shoes.  After J runs out to join his friends on the playground I dress the baby, and then do hair, bows and shoes in or standing next to the van in the parking lot.  We walk E to her class common area and wait for teacher to come claim her class.  She is easily stressed so we wait outside her playground until they line up.  This makes an easier start to her day and lessens her stress.At 8:05 the day is ours!  we try to get our errands run before the need for nap sinks in, I get my energy bursts in the afternoon so until then I just plug along.  Oh for the record Keith is a night person, he will easily stay up until 1am and then sleeps in when ever he gets a chance, because I cannot sleep in {the morning people need me} I have to go to bed at a decent time. 

What I left out was the grumpy, crying, mean words that come out of our mouths some morning, the lost shoes, the forgotten signed note, the socks that don’t feel right, the milk spilled, the cereal left out.  We try to make mornings easy 3 of the kids plan their clothing for the week on Sunday night, laying out clothes, socks and undies, having lunches prepped and homework in backpacks helps but when you throw different children into that morning mix, things go wrong. 
Leaving early for school gives us time to run back into the house, and search of the forgotten item.  I want to send my kids off to school with a sound mind, so I try not to pick morning car ride as the time to correct some big deal, I will correct a tone or word but I save true correction for another time.
Honestly about once a week it is a rough morning but mostly the kids stick to routine and things go as smoothly as possible.
I always tell each child I Love You as they get out of the van, while they are reminding me of their afternoon activities.

That is how we do mornings…
we start our day with a song

go hug your kids they need your love
jen

 

 

Today I was crabby

Today I was crabby.
I had more to do than time
I had a great start

The house needed a good scrub so after squandering a few minutes on Facebook, I got right to it.  Sweet baby A came looking for something to do, someone to play with, some one who would listen.  I was dusting the bookshelves, moving some books around, making a yard sale/donate pile.  I handed her a tiny ball to play with while I worked.  She must have dropped that ball behind every book on the shelf, I would pull them out she would laugh as though she had preformed a great magic trick and then drop the ball onto another shelf.  It was fine in the places I had yet to dust, but a bit annoying where I had already been.  After she tired of that game I continued rehelving, she pooped, of course I had to stop to change her, and then came the fussies.  She asked for another bottle, and then for a book.  All my kids have loved the same book, MY GOODNIGHT BOOK by ELOISE WILKIN, and honestly I have no idea why, it is a sweet soothing book written in 1981 a hand~me~down from the children I babysat.  But it is not a great work of art, a masterpiece of picture book, it is just a sweet story of a little girl getting ready for bed.  We read that book 10 times this morning.  She wanted to snuggle so we took a nap together.  I love napping with my kids, they almost all have napped with me at one time or another, some quit as little babies and others still like to nap with me.  After our nap I finished the bookshelf, then it was time to collect the rest of the children.
I had so much to do and I was out of time, there was laundry on the couch, dishes in the sink, trash to take out, sheets to wash, floors to sweep and I was out of time, This made me crabby.  My house made me crabby it was not my childrens fault I had poorly managed my time.


MY house is still a wreck but I have great family and friends who encouraged me to leave the house and make memories, so THAT is what I did today.
And every so slowly with each splash in the pool, each laugh, each squeal in delight my crabby began to fade away.

I did manage to sneak into the house to sweep the dining room while they were in the pool, so that room was dusted and swept.
I had to cook around a pile of dirty pots from last nights dinner.
BUT we made memories we went swimming we laughed and we talked
There is a mound of  clean laundry on the couch, we had to sit on the floor tonight to read books
BUT we made memories.

The house and mess will be there tomorrow but I can never get today back with my kids.
I’m so very thankful for the wise advice from friends and family.

go hug your kids they need your love
jen

February Pictures… a little late

February Pictures
So here it is mid~March and I am just getting around to putting up my February pictures.
Remember my resolution, a picture a day, every day of the year???
Well here are some of my February favorites!J and the pillow he made all by himselfLove those blue eyesGlitter showerR’s awarded Science Fair projectYou are my sunshineA true Valentine giftWhy must we do this EVERY TIME we have spray whipped topping?Bonding over the stomach bugFinding a quiet spot to studyE J and A doing money mathWe love balletC the electricianR helping with the demolitionBefore running the half mile during elementary olympics

So that is just a sample of our month, I am still close to getting a picture a day, some days I completely forget, other times my battery has died in my camera, I can’t find my camera or life gets in the way, but for the most part I am getting pictures.  So, I am not completely successful with that resolution I am close.  And sometimes close is good enough for me!  How are you doing on your resolutions?

Go hug your kids, they need your love!
jen

 

Pink Shoes

I don’t know why getting ready for worship is such a challenge.

{almost} EVERY ~ SINGLE ~ WEEK

Nearly every Sunday, the little ones have their entire outfit laid out {to speed up the dressing process}, they are bathed and in bed at bedtime.  The big kids are in bed at bedtime.
We are in bed at a decent time {except during March madness}

But almost every week we are attacked by satan.  Satan knows we are getting ready, I am sure he takes pleasure in the spills of milk, or a whole box of cereal dropped on the floor, or the pink shoe lost in the princess costume box.  While we use up precious minutes cleaning up the mess, or use time searching for the shoe, the Bible, or the Sunday School paper, he is laughing and rubbing his hands in glee at our inconvenience.  Our attitude has changed and we are getting grumpy.

This week it was shoes, pink shoes.

These pink shoes.
To match her new dress from her grandparent’s cruise to Mexico.  She was dressed, A was in a matching one, they looked so sweet.  BUT that shoe!  It was not to be found.  Until that point we were right on schedule for being only 5 minutes late.  But right in the midst of our happily moving along we hit a bump.  The routine screeched to a halt as every
available person helped search for the shoe, we looked in both shoe baskets by the front and back doors, under furniture, in other bedrooms, and the laundry room.  I finally searched the treasure box of princess costumes in E’s closet.
VICTORY!!!
So even though I found the pink shoe we had used up precious time, Keith needs to be there to teach the high school class, E has to be checked into her class, and we all hate walking in late.
But here we are again late.
We have to take time to adjust our attitudes to prepare for worship.
This is exactly what satan wants, he wants us to think about ourselves, and he does not want our hearts focused on Christ.  We cannot always prevent the shoe from getting lost, or the milk from spilling, but we can prevent our hearts from the grumpiness that gets in when we are inconvenienced but life’s problems.

How did you do yesterday morning, could you feel satan attacking your spirit as you prepared for worship?  Sure some weeks we are not on his list of people to attack, those weeks I get to church feeling refreshed.  No one is crying, everyone is wearing shoes, the stress wrinkle I put on Keith’s forehead is not there, those are my favorite Sundays.  I wish we had more of those… but since I have a family of 8 the only thing I can control is my attitude.  So next week I will prepare for worship and pray it goes easy but I will also pray for my attitude as I handle the inconveniences that we will experience.

go hug on your kids they need your love

jen

the bathroom… stage 3

The Bathroom.

The bathroom has won.
I admit defeat…
I need floaties and probably a life-preserver I am sinking not swimming.
It was a sad few days for my ego.  I really honestly thought I could do it.  I had read all the information I could find about bathroom remodel, but not a single thing I read told me what to do when the roof started to fall in.  No information or articles told me an easy way to deal with termite damage,  or rotten chippy board, or crooked walls.  I did talk for a bit to our contractor who did our 2 story addition on our house, talked to our neighbor whose house is as old as ours and I used my common sense, to realize that this was bigger than I could do.  So I am saving the lighting and the ceiling for Keith with he gets home.
He knows and he understands…

But still I am disappointed.

I measured the length of the ceiling and took the furring strips to the neighbors to have her cut them for me.  After letting the wood set up in our house, we started attaching the furring strips to the ceiling.  It was quite ease after C showed me that I was drilling OUT not IN.  We worked fast, he had youth group to get to.  She also cut the ceiling bead board {that has to be cut again I measured wrong, and the walls were more crooked than I realized}.  There was also a little trim that I could not reach before and when I pulled the trim off the wall the termite poop came down the wall in sheets.  ALL OVER ME YUCK!!!

Drilling buddies.
We laughed a lot and dropped a lot of screws working together.
I am amazed at how much he has done in this job for me.

 I called a plumber who was wonderful and fair in pricing, fast and clean!  He examined the lines, fiddled with a few things checked out our toilet and said the plumbing problems we had were from our toilet… Not the plumbing lines.  So he took it to the curb for me, BUT they charge by the hour, so I had a list of questions for him, I had him for 20 more minutes.  He was so very helpful with all the things he explained to me.  After throwing out the toilet I learned that our city offers a toilet voucher if you get a low water toilet, I will be looking into that ASAP.

Yesterday I realized that I had not measured the ceiling for lighting and air conditioner vents.   Which was fine since I had measured the width wrong, very wrong.  In the pictures you cannot see how very wonky the ceiling is, how much the wood dips and bumps but it does, and I think that the bead board would show it.

My neighbor offered to cut and help hang the bead board for the ceiling for a little while yesterday.  While he was over and showing me what exactly I needed to do for the ceiling, we decided to do the walls instead and that the ceiling was beyond my skill level.

G.S. and C started to measure and take the wood over to his garage to cut. While they cut pieces to bring back to our house I started sanding the floor in preparation for the paint.  There was a lot of dust, I wore a mask but still was eating dust.  They were able to cut 4 pieces of  bead board I have 8 walls in the bathroom that need bead board.  And I was able to get the floors sanded for the paint, and the door and trim scuffed for their application of paint.

Thank you G. S. for your help!
The cuts were a bit of a problem since our walls were so crooked.

Since we were unable to work on the walls anymore we began painting.
I used VALSPAR clean air Low VOC in Gray Flannel.
We LOVE it!!!

After 2 coats of paint we shut the door on the bathroom.  Today my F~I~L is coming over to see what he can do for me.  He and Keith added 2 rooms onto our house, I know he can do what I want and need, but could not help earlier, they were on a cruise.  {And honestly before I realized I was in over my head I kind of wanted to do it all~by~myself, a pride thing}  We are hopeful that he can cut the rest of the bead board for us today and we can paint that and the door trim.  I still have to purchase the floor and ceiling trim but since the ceiling is on hold I will wait for the floor trim and paint that before attaching it.  Tomorrow we will apply the first coat of floor paint, then wait the 24 hours before the 2nd coat of paint, then wait 72 hours before walking on it.

Stage 2 goals
measure the wood strips for the ceiling
 measure the bead board for the ceiling
learn how to use a table saw to cut the measured woods
paint the bead board white {I cheated and bought pre primed board so happy about skipping that step}
attach the wood strips
attach bead board
touch up the bead board
call the plumber
paint the floor {I will be using a porch paint for the moisture and high traffic of that room}
measure the walls
cut the wall bead board
paint that bead board a high gloss white
wait for the electrician
STOP and BREATH {The goal is to get all that done in the next 3 days.}

SO… my new goals before Keith gets home

have my F~I~L cut bead board
have my F~I~L hang bead board
paint bead board
paint door trim
paint door
paint cupboard
paint 1st coat on floor

AND CLEAN MY HOUSE
AND REMOVE POOL COVER
AND TAKE C FOR HIS PASSPORT
AND TAKE E FOR SOME BLOODWORK
AND…
all before late Wednesday night.

Don’t forget to hug and love on your kids they need the love.

jen

the trip of his choice

 

Off to Vermont

Years ago we decided to take each child on a trip, on their trip.  They could choose any place, any time and any parent to go along on their trip.  C choose DC, he picked Keith, they went one 4th of July and had an “epic” time according to C.  They went to museums, the zoos, and their favorite the Spy Museum, they were there for the parades and the fireworks.  My sister and her friends were in DC at the same time they ran into them a few times, and they ended up seeing friends from church while waiting for the parade and C played in the fountains with their kids, trying to keep cool.  I took O to Chicago to the American Girl Experience.  We loved it, the luncheon was delicious, the atmosphere was so sweet and the musical made me cry.  The trip was amazing and watching her enjoy it all was “epic.”  We went with my sister and friends, they teased me when I double packed my suitcase but who was laughing after all our shopping???  The trip could have been a little more fun if I was not having Braxton Hicks contractions almost the entire time, and if my skin did not itch constantly, I drove them crazy with the scratching.

We look forward to these trips and the time we can spend with each child alone.  But R had a very hard time choosing.  He was not sure where he wanted to go and with whom. He loves the civil war history and is fascinated with Abe Lincoln, we thought he might pick a tour to go on,  At one time he thought about going on a Disney Cruise but knew he’s have more fun if the rest of the family went along, and then it would not be his trip.  Then he began to consider Vermont.  He did 2 state reports on Vermont and was constantly giving us facts about the state.Vermont became his obvious choice, he just had to choose when he wanted to go and with which parent he would go.
It worked out nicely to go during our spring break, he would still see snow but it would be close to sapping season so he could see that too.

He chose Keith and they began to plan their trip.
The things they are going to do look random and quirky but they are exactly what he wants to see and do.

Last night bags were packed in anticipation of their early morning flight.
I prayed for calm nerves for him while flying {the last time he flew he was 4}
I gave him extra hugs and kisses,
falling asleep was hard he was so excited.
This morning at 4:30 am I said good~bye to R and Keith.
He has called me 3 times already having so much fun.
The last phone call was him shouting “MOM IT’S SNOWING!”

I will miss them while they are gone, but know that this time will be “epic” for him.

Go hug on your kids, the need the love.
jen

P.S.
I will have another post on the bathroom soon, we had a major delay BUT we are still planning on it being done by the time they get back!