Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kicking The Habit. Again.

I have given up Diet Coke. This is important for you to know.

I tend to give up diet coke once a year for a period of time. And then after doing well for a while, I decide to have one every now and then which ultimately leads to me buying cases and cases and keeping them in every room to relieve the don't-ever-leave-me-again-diet-coke anxiety.

In foster training over the weekend, I was talking to this lady who sits next to me. I was telling her how I was kicking the Diet Coke habit and she said she had done the same thing recently. She went on to tell me that she would always pour her diet Coke out in the yard when she got out of her car and it started killing the grass.


(Thank you, foster care buddy, for confirming my decision.)


Yesterday I was trying to talk myself out of caving and opening a can to help ward off what was surely a caffeine starved headache, and I stayed strong. Walk away, I told myself, just walk away.

I literally paced in front of the fridge for a minute and debated over what to do. Which proves that I'm clearly not as busy as you might think.

I decided to make a cup of coffee at 3pm to give me that little energy boost I was looking for. So I grabbed the coffee maker and began to move it to a different part of the counter, in which the pot slid out of the machine and shattered.


After I fell to my knees and asked the good Lord why He would take away the only opportunity I had for caffeine (<--- I may be embellishing that a bit), I pulled myself together and decided to get myself a nice big glass of ice water. It was the choice I was supposed to be making in the first place, afterall.

By this point, I was cursing every article that has proven my Diet Coke to be bad. Under my breath, of course.

So I sat and let the tears flow as I drank my water.

Not really, but I might have of cried if the kids wouldn't have been around.

I'm only on day 3. And now I have no coffee machine. If you see me soon in the grocery store carrying 20 cases of pop to my car, just look the other way. Pretend you don't see it. Act as if I haven't given in.

And hug me, and then take me out for a carbonated beverage :).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Push It Aside

I worry, I get anxious, and I can let fear of the unknown consume my mind from time to time.

It's kinda funny, actually. Because for the most part, I'm a pretty laid back, go with the flow kind of gal.

Unless you're interrupting the flow of my sleep, then I'm more of a breathing fire kind of gal.

True story.

But the big things, the situations that are basically out of my control, those things that I can't change, the giant decisions we have to make, the leaps of faith we're called to - that is what I worry about, even though I am fully aware that we serve a God who tells us not to worry.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Making the life changing choices are always the ones that linger the most, even when you can see the hand of God so clearly. It's that decision to go back to work, to homeschool or public school, to go against what society believes to be normal, to add more kids, to not add more kids, or making those hard parenting decisions.

It's us facing a much more messed up county and system than we expected in our foster to adopt journey. And it's also us choosing to show compassion and grace to birth parents who are making really bad choices.

But when you feel something in your core that is so strong that you can't help but follow it, nothing else matters. I read somewhere one time that you are the strongest when you are the most afraid and press on anyway.

Don't let a bad seed grow.

The world in general will plant seeds of doubt and worry and fear. Especially when you are going against the grain or the strong opinions of people you may love and trust. I hung this on our fridge a couple weeks back after reading it during a devotion because I love the reminder...

It applies to so many situations in life, and it reminds me to pray for His strength and peace and certainty.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

He knows us better than anyone, and that's why it's important to follow His lead. Just keep turning the pages of the story He has written for you.

Turn the page, embrace the next chapter He's calling you to.

He doesn't want us to be fearful, He wants us to move forward with confidence, and embrace the desires and the passions that He has put on our hearts.

The passion we feel about the decision we made this past year has changed who we are - and passion trumps worry and fear and concern and the thoughts of what others will think.

Push Aside - the worry, the fear, the doubt.

Love that we are able to do that through Him.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Walk With Me Down Memory Lane...

4 years ago I started blogging.

This may seem like a small deal to you, but considering I have yet to really stick with many other hobbies other than drinking diet coke over crushed ice, shopping the clearance aisles at Target, and napping anytime the chance should arise, it's quite the accomplishment for me.

Now, the above might not seem like hobbies to you, but believe me, they are.

Back to the subject at hand. I was pregnant with these almost 4yr old sweeties when this whole thing started...

Could I love them any more than I do??

I can't believe it's been almost 4 years! This was the first post I posted...

"I'm going to give blogging a shot! I have always said that I won't stick with it, and I won't update, but it's time to give it a try :). In 3 months we are expecting our second set of twin girls, which will bring us to 5 savvy little women :)! I really want to blog to not only stay connected to people & keep our family updated, but so I can save the moments in this crazy season we are in :). It is so easy to forget to take pictures, or write down the funny things they say, and I have so many moments with my girls that I want to remember. So here we go! Enjoy!"

Wow, that seems like ages ago. I was missing half of my babes in that picture!

So anyway, clearly, a lot has changed since then!

Ever since Lincoln was born I have longed for a new look around here, and mostly, a new title.

I love my savvy little women and one little man, and I love that that is the original thought that popped in my head when I first started this blog back in the day, but I feel like it's time for a change as our family grows and our journey takes on new things.


If you have any ideas I'd love to hear!

I'm thinking I want to keep the word  "savvy" in there or maybe in a subtitle somewhere, just cause that word feels like home around here.

I don't know, as you can tell from my rambling, I'm by great at redoing blogs :).

I'm off to play with my babes in this beautiful weather. Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

That Moment...

when you realize time truly does fly.

That moment when you remember kissing them on their first day of preschool...

That moment when you know that you blinked at some point over the Summer and the days have come and gone.

That moment when you realize your babies are growing so quickly...

(That moment when you acknowledge that your sidebar pictures are insanely outdated.)

That moment when you want to hold them and make them promise to stop growing so stinkin' fast....

That moment when want to scoop them up and hug them for an hour straight after their first day of school.

That moment when they're running toward you and your heart is so full...

That moment when you remember that the days are long but the years are short.

Yea, those mommy moments.

This week has been full of them :).

Friday, August 17, 2012

90 Days Of Summer

90 days of memories.

Summer is dwindling for us, the older 3 girls will be starting school on Tuesday. I can't for the life of me wrap my mind around the fact that I have a 3rd grader and two 1st graders.

Ella is using words like locker, and study hall - and I'm reminding her of the 8 things I want her to remember and telling her stories of back in the stone age when I didn't have a locker till middle school. She asked me the other day if they had phones when I was young.

Nice. I'm only 31, sister.

These past 90 days have been rich. They have been a breath of fresh air a midst the chaos of mothering. The time in the sun and at the pool and on the couch watching the Olympics till way past bedtime has been a gift. The Summer flees so quickly, doesn't it??

Charlotte waved at me from the diving board last week, she's so proud - and I wondered how many more Summers the girls will do that. Before I know it, they are laying out in lawn chairs with their friends instead of eating pb&j's with me.

Mine will be the one's in the modest swimsuits, btw. You don't want to get me started on the teeny swimsuits that the teenage girls are wearing, do you??

One of my favorite memories of the Summer was when Reese told me that she noticed that the notes from the tooth fairy were in my handwriting. Busted :).

Raya's hair has started to finally grow beyond that toddler stage and Kinley's spiral curls have soaked up the natural highlights that the sun provides. My sweet Lincoln has introduced me to the land of busy boys, and taught me that sitting down at the pool is a thing of the past.

Or in general. Sitting in general is a thing of the past.

Look at those guns.

He's running and climbing and pushing the trash can over. And there's also the bathroom problem where he squats down and looks under the stalls while I'm helping the girls.

Makes me laugh now, not so much though when I'm in the moment :). Love him.

In these past 90 days He has shown me that it is so important to embrace where you are and to embrace your unique journey. This Summer I think I struggled with doubt and comparison and fears of what people would think as God confirmed in my heart that we were going to grow...again.

But then I remembered that its not about me, or about them, it's about Him.

These 90 days have been SO fun, but I can all the sudden see Fall and spice lattes and pumpkin patches with our crew on the horizon and it makes me smile. I think Fall is a close second to Summer for me, I absolutely adore it.

So when can we start baking pumpkin goodies and break out the harvest candles?? Kidding. Kind of.

Hope you all are enjoying the end of Summer!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Next Chapter

Life is comfortable. Life is blessed. And He has shown us much grace as He has carried us through the highs and lows of parenthood.

Years back as Eric and I would talk back and forth about our family and what we predicted it to look like, adoption was just a passing topic. It was something we would talk about, but we never moved forward with.

But then, without telling a soul, we went ahead and started into our foster to adopt paperwork right before little Lincoln burrowed himself into my belly.

And a sweet detour was born :).

We settled in as a family of 8 and breathed in all that newborn baby boy goodness. Life seemed normal and our routine seemed in place when the topic came up again. Foster Care. Adoption. Really?

We talked and prayed and waited.

And then on a whim this Summer, we met up with some friends in Tennessee where we were able to get some insight and answers from a family just like us. After talking and laughing and sharing joys and fears about our already crazy (but grace filled) life, it all started to become clearer. It was time to move forward.

(On a side note, would you mind lifting them up in prayer? They have been through a month of heartache and I'd love for you to pray for peace and healing.)

There are almost 1000 children in our county alone who have no permanent home, no belongings, and no voice.

But we have a voice, and we're ready to use it.

"Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of the orphans. Fight for rights of widows." Isaiah 1:17

I read that truth, but I'm scared.

But not as scared as a child who has been pulled from their home, and not as scared as a baby laying in the hospital with no mother to hold them against her chest and rock them.

I cry when I think of it. In fact, if you're planning on talking to me in person about it right now, you may want to bring some tissues.

My heart. It's literally aching for these orphans.

I'm emotional as God continues to reveal this new chapter in our life. I'm broken as He opens my eyes to how my ordinary life is actually pretty extraordinary. And I'm embarrassed at how so many of my mountains are actually molehills.

Are we ready to give back a child that we have fallen in love with because the court orders us to? No. Will that be really, really hard? Yes. And are we clinging to the hope that sooner rather than later, we'll meet the babe that is supposed to be with our family forever? Completely.

But that's all part of the journey of foster care. And just knowing that God is already in the tiniest details of our journey gives me peace to take the next step.

He knows who is supposed to be in our home, and He knows that every time I do my kid count in the store, or at the park, or just to make my babes laugh, that I always feel in my heart that there could be more - that someone is missing.

There's more to the puzzle, and more to the story. And because of that, we're already well into the process of being able to foster to adopt.

Do we know exactly what this is all going to look like? Or how it will all play out? Or if there will be a handful of downs before there is an up? No. But I really hope that you will pray for us if you feel led, and I'd love for you to join us for the journey that lays in front of us. We're going to need you.

So here's to a new chapter. And here's to His plan, His story, and His vision for our little family.

Friday, August 10, 2012

If Laundry Was A Sport, I'd Be In The Olympics

I'd also qualify for the "how quickly your kids can get to the bathroom door after you shut it" event.

Alright. If you see these pictures and still come back around here, you're a saint. And a great friend, please move to our neighborhood so we can drink coffee and walk to the bus stop in our pj's.

(we don't really have a bus stop but that's neither here nor there.)

I'm a big stay-on-top-of-the-laundry kind of gal. Although, the past 90 days of sweet, sweet Summer has left me a little more relaxed on the housework scene. And while I don't believe that everything should be perfect all the time (or any of the time), I also hate when things get to a point when I can't even find MY OWN clothes.

Motherhood is my sport. The laundry is where I go for the gold.

Life is busy, and the kiddos are very demanding of my time, so a lot of things in my life have taken a back seat to being an insanely full time momma. It's not a bad thing, its really all I want to do - kiss their sweet faces, help them on the swing set, and play Uno with them on a rainy day. Ahhh, its a good job, and all those things sound a lot better than folding clothes or scrubbing the toilets.

For the love of all that is holy, someone invent the self cleaning toilet.

But when I can't find things, or there are so many baskets of laundry that I don't know what is clean and whats dirty, I can start to feel really frazzled and overwhelmed - neither of those things look good on me. True story.

Once upon a time, I hit my breaking point when I was trying to do laundry to quickly because I was so behind, and I washed a pull up. People, have you ever seen the inside of a washer after a pull up has been washed? I have, please don't make me go back and re-live it...

It's too soon. Just too soon.

And while I know we have 6 kiddos and the house is not always going to be running smoothly, I like to feel the accomplishment of being able to run this place like a well oiled machine.

I will, however, still embrace the saying, "Please excuse the mess, the children are making memories"...

What? You're play room never looks like that? Well then just close your sweet little eyes and think happy thoughts. Find a happy place.


My system is simple: I got all the laundry done, there is not one basket in any room with one piece of clothing - it took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get to that point.

Mostly tears. And weeping. Lots of weeping.

So now I lay a basket in the hallway, and at the end of the day everyone puts their clothes in it from that day. When all are in bed I take it down stairs and throw it in the washer, and switch it to the dryer before I head to bed. Then the next morning I have a clean load in the dryer to fold and put away and that's it - we're back to an empty basket in the hallway. It feels like Christmas.

Does this just sound like a lot of jumbled words? I hope not. It has changed my life, people.

So I tell you all this so you can pop in sometime soon and say, "hey, remember that laundry system you had going? You still doing it? No? Well get back on it, woman!"

You don't have to use those exact words, you can be more gentle.

And that, my friends, is my event. Envision me standing on our tallest laundry basket singing our National Anthem while wearing a gold medal the kids made.

Maybe there should be a Mommy Olympics, yes??

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

We Like To Party (A Very Girly Party)

Remember when I used to post pics of birthday parties right after they happened?? Remember when I was on top of things?? Yea, I don't either.

I just had to post these pics so I don't lose them somehow. Ella turned 8 a few months back and wanted to celebrate with a Spa Party.

In this house where kids are around every corner, birthdays are a big deal. Since we do have an ever growing brood, I try to make birthdays really fun, and I celebrate the birthday kid(s) as much as I possibly can. 

Yes, I have been known to go over the top and spoil when possible. You may remember the popcorn drought I caused for Lincolns 1st Birthday.

So when she decided what she wanted to do I got to work looking for deals and searching Etsy for things to bring the party to life. I love Etsy, it is truly an essential piece to the party. Easy on the budget, creative, and oh so cute.

I bought a lot of my theme goodies on Etsy. They send files so you can print signs, invitations, cupcake toppers, etc. These toppers were $6 I think...

So easy, so cute, so great.

At the door we had a table and sign, nail polish, and a bucket of flip flops...

I bought the flip flops at Old Navy for the girls when they were running one of their sales. It was such a fun party favor, they all wore them to school that following Monday.

At the table I set up each place setting which included a mirror, brush, nail files, and some candy. We had cake pops at Lincolns birthday and Ella loved the way they looked so much that she wanted something like them on her table - so we made Oreo pops. They were super easy and a huge hit, I can post the recipe if anyone would like it :).

We popped some music on and did Mani's and Pedi's on tv trays, you can see one in the background in the picture below. It was actually cracking my helpers and I up because we really felt like nail techs with all these little hands to paint. It was quite a job, but totally worth the memories.

Last, the girls put cucumbers and a "mask" on, it was actually just organic yogurt but they thought it was the coolest thing ever. And we thought it was hilarious...

I love those girls.

I love their joy and innocence and laughter.

And I love celebrating my girl. Not that I don't rejoice over them daily :).

So anyway, just wanted to post this for the memory books. Hope you are having a great week!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Friday Link (The Mommy Sermon)

The mopping the floors, the ins and outs, the making of the meals, the attitude I have in stressful situations, and if I'm more indulged in a news feed rather than His word.

It's my sermon.

It's the way I listen, the way I don't listen, the way I speak, the way I spend my time, and the way I love others.

It's all my mommy sermon to the kids.

Just wanted to share some words of wisdom that I came across over here. I've been trying to constantly remind myself lately that my daily routine is my sermon to my little loves. Love these words of wisdom...

"Children are mirrors. They do what we do. They don't listen to lectures or sermons. They watch our sermons, which we preach - often without saying a word - in places like kitchens and cars. And even though I had told her a hundred times to never scribble in her books, she had seen me "draw" in my bible over and over again."

The whole post is great, but that specific paragraph is going to stick with me for awhile. They truly are like little mirrors, and are the best accountability I've ever known. So I'm going to keep working on my sermon :).

I needed that reminder this week.

Anyway, just wanted to pass it along. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

If I'm Being Honest...

I've been a grumpy mom today.

Whew, it feels good to admit it :).

The kids laugh and play and chase each other loudly around the house. I adore them but it's just one of those days when I'm stressed. You know the days.

The day to day doesn't always paint a pretty picture of this beautiful calling, but it seems that the mommy days that teach lessons and make history in your book are the ones that take the most work.

It's that unexpected bill and that relentless child and some decisions we're trying to make and the fact that the housework isn't going the way I want.

When do I stop and remember that my focus should be on what He wants in my home, not what I want in my home?

Messy floors and wet beach towels and playdoh under the kitchen table are all signs of a full life. Full of wonder and joy and people I don't deserve. Full of energy and love and exhausting memories.

Charlotte sits and reads to the younger girls, the others are playing and things are quiet for a minute. Calm and peaceful just for a moment so I can catch my breath and remember that this calling is full of crazy and full of grace. Lincoln sits at my feet in the kitchen as I stir of pot of mac and cheese and my mommy spirit is refreshed...

Oh, Lord let me remember these sweet moments in my frustrated times. Help me remember that they are little once and You are always in control and that Your plan is best. Remind me that my worst days are the days You teach me most and sometimes you have to hit a mommy low to remember the mommy high.

If everyday was perfect then you'd have no need for Jesus. Motherhood is a journey of abundant joy, growing pains, and a constant need for Him.

And so I go and kneel by their beds and kiss those worn out babes. I pray to be the mom tomorrow that I wanted to be today.

Patient and attentive and not so busy with my own things.

Tired but thankful tonight that He uses motherhood to mold us. Thankful for those 6 gifts and the chapters He has waiting for us. Thankful for his mercies that are new every morning.

And thankful that He doesn't ask for me to be the perfect mom, He just wants me to be their mom.

Those sweet kiddos can be exhausting, but He always refuels your mommy heart just when you need it :).