Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Next Thing

Sometimes a reminder is good :). Posted this time last year...

The next thing. Thats all.

I wrote about how this was my new favorite saying a while back, but God has been reminding me of it so much lately.

The other day I was in line at the store, the older girls were asking for everything on the display shelf, and Kinley and Raya were fussing over the fact that they couldn't reach that display shelf from the stroller.

(I hate those shelves.)

(I might just start letting the kids open everything on it, the stores can learn the hard way.)

(And check out lady, DON'T EVEN give me that look cause come 4pm I've been known to get that crazy look in my eyes. Know what I'm sayin'?)

I was tired, it had been one of those days, and I was trying to stay patient as they ran around doing things kids do.

The lady behind me see's the barely controlled chaos that is taking place, and she says "Wow, think you'll be done now that you have your boy? Cause this is kind of a lot to do you do it?"

And for the 1st time, instead of a fake smile with a humorous comment to try and dodge what she was asking, I said, "I just do the next thing."

She stood there with a blank stare and said, "well, I guess that's all you can do."

Yea, it kinda is all I (or any mom) can do. Because on this mom-is-so-worn-out kind of day, if I let my mind go to the fact that Eric is working late, and I have homework, dinner, baths, and bedtimes ahead of me, I might just bang my head against the wall...or cry...or both.

Just keeping it real, people.

Right now, I just need to pay for our stuff and get their sweet little behinds to the car. That's it. The next thing.

I think that's all God wants us to do, no need to worry about things that are further on down the line.

Yes, they wear me out. Yes, they are a handful sometimes. And yes, I never know if that next outing with all of them will push me over the edge. But the reality is, I'm the lucky one to be in their lives, not other way around. They are my greatest blessing.

I've recently adopted another saying from Ann Voscamp, "Life is not an emergency."

Goodness, that is so true. I think every mom should say it everyday.

Kids running down the aisle? Not an emergency.

They're fighting over toy I'm not even buying in the middle of Target? Not an emergency. 

Someone just threw up in the toy section? Not an emergency.

People are staring and whispering? Not an emergency.

One of the kiddos just had a meltdown in front of that perfect mom friend? Not an emergency. 

Your 2nd grader has started calling you "Dude"? (insert me taking a deep breath on this one, my sisters) Not an emergency.

They're little - I need to love them, train them, teach them, and forgive them. Because like me, they are also doing the best they can.

There are some battles worth fighting with the kids, but I have decided to not lose my cool or get super frustrated over the small stuff. They are such sweet little gifts, why get all upset with them mainly because I'm just overly tired?? It's just not worth it...

Because life, and mothering, is not an emergency. So for now, I'll just do the next thing. :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

While Lincoln Is Sleeping...

...the girls will be girls :).

Love all those little hands!

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Am More

Spring is almost here, I can feel it and hear it as the birds have started chirping again outside our window.

Time to clean out the closets, pull out some warm weather hand me downs, and see what clothes still fit those little bodies from last year.

And alas, the shedding of the clothes has begun. In the stores, on the magazine covers, and its on the face of every woman at the gym. Those comfy sweaters and sweatshirts have been replaced on the racks with wispy tanks and low cut camis.

I stand and look at myself in the locker room mirror before I head out for my daily run. I battle with the instinct to pick apart every imperfection I have. A run is something I always enjoy - it has become a healthy release, and a way to reclaim a healthy version of the body that carried 6 kids.

I remind myself when I walk away from that mirror though that I am more. More than the imperfections. More than that reflection. And more than any exercise routine or plan.

We can easily let a reflection and a routine consume our mind. But the saying, "true beauty is on the inside" is not just a saying, friends, is it something that He tells us in His Word is true.

I look over my shoulder at the small college girl running behind me in her intimidating teeny, tiny sorority shorts. And instead of comparing myself like us women often do, I smile. Cause that little figure trotting behind me has yet to even dream of the miracles that my baby birthing figure has housed...

This body has seen things that the little bride in my wedding picture hanging on our wall could've never imagined. My young mind and fit self wouldn't have been able to even scratch the surface of the grace that would grow inside me someday.

Our bodies were made to stretch in ways your mama never told you - all to grow a love that gives us a glimpse of how He loves us.

Getting healthy is great, letting it consume you is not.

Each time this body swelled with newborn goodness it changed forever. I bare tell tale signs of motherhood and have incisions that will never welcome a 6 pack again.

At least not that kind of 6 pack. He replaced mine with a much better version.

I have a body that I am commanded to respect and love, and I have a responsibilty to teach 5 young girls about healthy bodies, Godly images, and what is tasteful and not. Not to mention I'm also called to set a presidence for what my son will look for someday. It's a high calling.

I am more than the short shorts and the bikinis. I am more than the pressure of the season. I am more than the trap of comparison. And I am more than a fashion statement or fitness regimine (as are you).

I am more because He says so.

And that's all I need to remember.

Monday, February 20, 2012

You've Been A Friend

Monkey, I bought you when I was pregnant with Kinley and Raya...

And Kinley loooves you. You've taken many naps...

You've had a ton of hugs...

And you've even been to the pool...

But you are one tough monkey, or "monk" as Kinley calls you.

You are her little buddy - and what could possibly be better than that??

Oh Lord, please let me always remember that sweet smile, those snowman pj's, the fresh smell of the bath, and the way her curls fall in her face as she plays with the loose stitching on him.

He's a keepsake for sure. I think I'll save him and give him to her when she has a babe of her own :).

You have a treasure in your house like this, right??

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weekends At Home (And Homemade Chocolate Granola)

I adore lazy weekends. We usually have more on the calendar than we need, so a quiet weekend is always nice.

I packed the kiddos up and ran some errands yesterday. We went to Hobby Lobby to pick up some craft supplies and such. I was actually looking for a new frame, but by the time we got to that department we were in pre-meltdown mode. You know the stage right before the actual meltdown happens? Yea, that's where we were. They're little, it's expected.

I do love going to Hobby Lobby.

Except for that one time when one of the girls put a handheld fan up to her hair at the checkout, which resulted in an interesting hair cut. Ah, memories.

They've had fun with what we bought. You won't find decor like this in your latest Pottery Barn catalog :)...

They might not match our color scheme, but OH how they love them.

The kiddos are always a fun bunch to run around with. I might come home with a few more grey hairs, but I love 'em. Some of you might have seen this cell phone pic on Facebook...

I don't know why we make the employees so nervous. Ahem.

But anyway, we are just relaxing at home this weekend, soaking up some chilly sunshine in the trampoline, and making some of our homemade chocolate granola bars...

Oh, and little Lincoln will spend a lot of time doing this...

He loves to stand at those doors and look outside. I think he is just as ready for Spring as we are :).

Till later!

Friday, February 17, 2012

More Answers

It's Friday! I thought I'd answer some of those questions people asked a while back when I said, "go ahead, ask me anything!". Sorry for the delay :).

Oh, and I had a better mom day yesterday, hope you all did as well. I even put my yelling voice away and brought out my "inside voice". Can't you just imagine the children telling you to use your "inside voice'?? Ha, makes me laugh. Motherhood is an adventure, that it for darn sure.

Anyway. On with some questions...

Do your children do chores?

Yes, the older ones especially. We have a chore chart, nothing fancy, but it works. The older girls are responsible for putting their clothes away, clearing their dishes, cleaning up the basement (where we spend a lot of time playing and such), making their beds, picking up things in their room, and my favorite...listening the first time. That last one is a doozy. It's no necessarily a chore, but it is great that it is always on the chart as a reminder.

Seems like a lot of stuff, but in reality, it isn't. None of those things take them much time at all. And hey, there is a good amount of us, everyone needs to chip in :).

They don't always do every single one of those each day. They are pretty consistent but they are still kids. IF and WHEN they do all their chores everyday for a week, they get a treat. I bought a variety box of goodies from Sam's and they pick from there.

The younger girls (3yr olds) also help as much as they can, or as much as they understand for now. I have even had them take their clothes to their room and just lay them on their beds for me to put away later. They also help pick up and such.

Do the girls share a bedroom?

Yep, they sure do. The older 3 are in one room, Kinley and Raya are in another, and Lincoln flies solo.

Do we have a Household Binder?

No, but I can see the awesome benefits it would bring. Do you have one? I'd love to hear more about it if you do.

Could we see ourselves with another set of multiples?

Ummm, sure. Why not? Might as well pile on as much crazy as possible (insert sarcastic tone). You can see how we feel about adding more kiddos here.

How did I come to know Christ?

I grew up Catholic, went through all the main traditions and everything. I was invited to a college/career Tuesday night service at a local Christian church by one of my best friends back in 1999, I was a freshman in college. I continued going weekly and ended up accepting Christ in November of that year. My life has been forever changed by Him, he made all things new, that's for sure. That service actually became a church plant and our family still attends there. They just had their 10 year anniversary.

How did the girls react to Lincoln being different than them?

Well, we haven't had to explain a ton, because they can clearly see the difference - although I think it came as quite a shock that boys were that different :). The thing that made me laugh the most when we first brought Lincoln home was Kinley and Raya repeatedly saying, "Look! I used to have one of those when I was a baby!". I think they thought it would just fall off eventually? I would always reply, "Um, no sweetie, you never had one, they're only on boys."

Do we have a daily schedule?

Yes, absolutely. Actually, I've recently changed our routine up a bit, and added some more things. I'll save that for a different post :).

Soooo, there are some answers. I can always answer any questions about our family, not that we're super interesting :). I'm pretty open...within reason.

Happy Friday, friends! Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Cross (But Loving) Mother

Welcome to the land of no sleep. Population: Us.

My patience seems to have gone out the window, my friends. Along with my sanity. And my non-yelling voice. And my ability to not bury my stress and feelings in a bag of jelly beans.

I shouldn't be short with the kiddos. After all, it's not their fault I'm tired.

(Well, technically it kinda is, but I don't want to point fingers.)

We had a great Valentines Day, made upwards of 75 cards, and baked some goodies...

We've had enough red food dye to last us till July.

My tiredness has led me to the end of my rope where I tend to stand and yell things about deserving time to myself and such. When the reality is, even though a few minutes of peace would be nice, deserve is not a term I should use (even though this world tells us we deserve anything we desire). Everything inside these walls that makes up my job is grace.

Deserve is a strong and demanding word that we use, even after we've received SO much.

His many blessings are enough, motherhood is enough, new mornings are enough, those sweet kisses are enough, He is enough, and I need to be constantly letting Him be my refuge - my "timeout" to refuel.

His strength is the only thing that can pull you through on these crappy mom days.

I've been a crappy mom today. There, I said it.

This little family is grace in my life. Giving unconditional love. And filling the roles of the most understanding human beings I've ever known - no one would put up with me like they do.

Laundry, folding, sweeping crumbs, wiping noses, cleaning up the flu bug, giving baths, changing sheets, rocking babies, and making meals. Repeat. And then repeat again till you feel like you might collapse.

It's all grace. Redundant at times, but always grace. I'm trying to remember that.

I like to think I'm not losing myself in this calling as much as I am finding myself in this calling.

So I thought I'd post a prayer/poem that my mom gave me, she kept it close while we were growing up. I'm sure some of you have read it before. I like to look over it when I'm on a "mean mom" stretch. It's a good one...

A Prayer For Cross Mothers

Oh God, I was so cross to the children today. Forgive me. I was discouraged and tired - and I took it out on them. Forgive my bad temper, my impatience, and most of all, my yelling. I am so ashamed as I think of it.

I want to kneel down by each of their beds, wake them and ask them to forgive me, but I can't.

They wouldn't understand. I must go on living with the memory of this awful day, and my unjust tirades.

Hours later I can still see the fear in their eyes as they scurried around trying to appease me, thinking my anger and raving was their fault.

Oh, God, the helplessness of children. Their innocence before the awful monster - the enraged adult.

And how forgiving they are, hugging me so fervently at bedtime, kissing me goodnight.

All I can do is straighten a cover, touch a small head burrowed into a pillow, and hope with all my heart that they will forgive me.

Lord, in failing these little ones that you have put in my keeping, I am failing You. Please let your infinite patience and goodness replenish me for tomorrow."
-Majorie Holmes

Hoping someone else out there needed to read that as much as I did :).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Our New Favorite Crockpot Dinner

Ahh, a new week. I am thankful for a fresh Monday :).

Eric was actually out of town all week last week for work during our 2012 Flu-fest. I was so happy to see that man walk in the door Saturday...and the kids, they were just as happy as I was.

Well, maybe not just as happy.

Anyway. I tried out this new recipe over the weekend and I must share it because I believe that it is a total crockpot win. WIN, I say. It's called Cream Cheese Chicken Chili...

Here are the ingredients from the original recipe. This is the single recipe, I double ours...

1 can black beans
1 can corn, undrained
1 can Rotel, undrained
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 8 oz package light cream cheese
2 chicken breasts

Drain and rinse black beans. Place chicken at bottom of pot, then pour out whole can of corn (undrained), rotel, and black beans. Top with seasonings and ranch mix. Stir together. Place cream cheese on top. Cover with lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir cream cheese into chili. Use 2 forks to shred chicken. Stir together and serve.

Just FYI - My chicken was frozen so I cooked it in a separate crockpot, shredded it when it was done, and added it to the rest of the chili in my big crockpot. And I added more corn and beans.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can change it a tad according to your tastes. It is so good, and I highly recommend making yourself a double batch and freezing it. Perfect for busy days.

 Above is the pic from the recipe, mine looked a little thicker. Try it, its a crowd pleaser!!

Hope you had a great weekend! Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

We're A Pretty Good Fit

We've been sick with the flu here, as I already mentioned. And in our house, like yours I'm sure, it spreads like wildfire.

I have it. The kids have it. And it's ugly, sisters.

BUT, today is better than yesterday so that's a huge blessing. I've graduated to sprite and graham crackers. God is good.

You know those weeks when the hubby can't take off work cause of a big project and that whole "he has to work cause you need a roof over your head" thing takes precedence over the sickness. Well, that's this week for us. Of course.

But God always teaches in the ugly moments (as well as the good moments).

Its been amazing to see through these achy eyes how He has created our family to work together like a well oiled machine. That our "normal to us, big to everyone else" family was put together like a puzzle. Everyone has a place.

Everyone brings something unique to our table that we all need.

This group, this crew, this rowdy bunch...we need each other.

Ella. Oh my sweet Ella. How she is growing fast. I've said a million times that she's ahead of her time, an old soul, and was kind of thrown into a leader role because of how fast our family grew. There have been moments when I've even felt bad about that.

But that was Gods plan to put her first in line. I cant help but think of my miscarriage before I got pregnant with her that devastated my 22yr old heart - but ultimately led us to Ella. She is specifically wired to be my oldest. She's a gift.

In a really bad flu moment of mine, I turned around and saw Ella standing there. I swear she could feel my pain. And when I looked at her I guess she could see it in my eyes because she said, "I know, it's ok...".

Melts my heart that she said that.

When did she start comforting me? When did she pick up that motherly vibe that came out of her so naturally?

Kinda brought tears to my eyes when I thought of it later :). I guess even on our worst parenting days, something is going right.

Reese is a words of affirmation kid and also has the most tender heart I've ever known. Char is strong and a huge cheerleader. Kinley and Raya keep us laughing with their 3yr old humor and innocence. And Lincoln is a constant reminder of the fresh grace of God, and that a drooling grin can help cure a bad case of anything.

All of them are pieces of our puzzle.

All of those characteristics are things God knew this family needed to make it run as it should. I'm not sure there is anything more important than cultivating a strong family unit inside these walls, one that works together like a team. I hope by God's grace that we are somewhat on our way to that.

We sat around the table tonight eating chicken noodle soup and talking about our day and how we hope that we all feel better tomorrow. Sometimes I'll ask, "Ella, what is your favorite thing(s) about Reese?", and so on, and so on with each kid. It is such a great dinner convo, I love it. They eventually get silly with it and we have some good laughs.

This little tribe is a breath of fresh air even in the midst of a chaotic week. A sweet reminder of His love during a few ugly days.

We aren't a perfect puzzle, but I'd like to say we're a pretty good fit :). I'm just hoping we're all on the mend soon!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I'm On A Mission...

To clean the whole house in hopes to wipe out every germ that is lurking around here.

I'm gonna pull out the big (disinfecting) guns around here, my friends. I'll be on a Clorox Wipe binge if you will.

As soon as I get better, that is. It's no good when mom is sick too.

My poor little ladies. They have just been passing the bugs back and forth. Ella is the only one who hasn't caught anything (knock on wood!!).

Poor Reese hasn't had anything to eat in over 24 hours, except for some Gatorade.

Could someone send me a memo next time we're sick and remind me that RED Gatorade is just as red coming back up as it was going down...and that it stains carpet...and that its also not easy to clean off the bathroom wall? Was that to much info? Sorry.

(Oh and this is random but I spilled a huge candle FULL of hot wax on our carpet. RED wax oddly enough!)

(Help a sister out, how do I get that out of the carpet??)

(Red is now my least favorite color.)

Oh well. Just small things in the big picture of life, I guess :).

So anyway, needless to say, I have a lot of disinfecting to do around here. And I have some little loves to hold and rock till they feel better. I am willing to do that whenever they need it.

Here's hoping everyone starts to get better soon, and I can start playing catch up on everything!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Random Thoughts, It's A Gift

Formally titled, "Friday's Aren't For Forming Full Thoughts".

-It's been insanely unseasonably warm around here, I'm assuming that's the case in a lot of places. On Wednesday Eric and I went out to dinner and I wore flip-flops. In February.

-We've been eating some of these, they are new around here. I never have had them before and they are wonderful! Blood Oranges, anyone?

-Flash cards and word searches. That's all Reese and Char want to do right now. And it makes me smile so big because I am a word search nerd. Like I buy the giant books of them.

-I gave up caffeine. I know. It's almost like giving up Target. So I've been making my water fancy and I love it...

-I'm also kind of on a smoothie kick. Green smoothies that are just so great for you and taste yummy too! I'll share our favorite recipes soon.

-Lincoln. Is. In. To. EVERYTHING.

-We made some of our homemade salsa that we adore, you can get that recipe here!

-Laundry. Need I say more??

So I guess that's it for now :).

Hope you have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


we have done mission work...

we have seen 6 loves on ultrasound...

we have heard 6 first cries...

we have lived in 2 homes...

we have laughed loud...

we have made mistakes...

we have we traveled near but not far...

we have been through good times...

we have been through bad times...

we have sought marriage counseling...

we have fought for each other...

we have seen each other through...

we have braved 2 sets of multiples...

we have spent many wee hours rocking babies...

we have had many birthday parties...

we have picked many pumpkins...

we have chased after Him...

we have lost 2 pregnancies...

we have stood outside the social norm...

we have re-modeled a house...

we have made that house a home...

we have embraced a journey we never imagined...

we have had many Saturday night dates at home...

we have laughed...

we have cried...

and we have rejoiced.


For 9 years today.

Here's to many more. Happy Anniversary, babe :).