Family PIc April 2015

Family PIc April 2015

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Different Perspective

Being a mother is a beautiful, wonderful calling.

It's an adventure wrapped in peanut-butter-breath kisses, handprints and nose prints on once-clean windows, "I love you"s, and success stories of watching little ones grow into young men and women...

And, done's also daunting, often thankless, full of fear and doubts, filled with crying and whining (that is too often my own), and it can also be downright depressing.

It's a life-long commitment to being selfless in a selfish world.

Sometimes, I wish I could see the future and see each of my children as they will be in 20 or 30 years.  Would I discipline more/less?  Would I focus differently?  Would I worry so much about having a clean house?  Would I snuggle more?  Would I feed them differently?  Would I teach them the same school curriculum?  Would I yell less?  Would I show love differently?

It's good I can't see the future...God knew today is enough for me to handle in itself.

Overall, I think we moms are often pretty tough on ourselves.  Now, don't get me wrong.  We have a God-given responsibility that should be taken seriously. 

But, in America, we expect so much from ourselves.  We want to do it ALL...and do it all WELL. 

As Christian moms, we expect to teach our children Biblical truths daily - in speech and in action.  We expect to never raise our voices and always apply consistent and gentle discipline.  We expect to give our children the world at their fingertips, and we expect to have a Martha Stewart home, and only the healthiest meals will do.  And we work outside the home - or create our own businesses inside our homes.  We cater to sports, and music, and dance, and a host of other activities.  We expect to balance it all with grace and beauty - all while wearing skinny jeans!

Gregg often tells me that I get down on myself because I have unreasonable expectations of myself as a wife/mother.  I think my children are wonderful, and I often write about the good things here.  But, the reality is...

Here at home, on a day-to-day basis, I have at least one child (which child I'm referencing depends on the day in question) that I wonder if/when he/she may wind up in the state penitentiary.  I wonder if I'm doing anything well.  I feel like maybe I need to wipe the slate clean and start over. of my children will do/say something that renews my courage and my strength for another day.  God knows I need this...I'm convinced He orchestrates it just for me.

This morning, I ran across this video, and I was reminded that we moms often see ourselves and focus on our negatives.  We're often harder on ourselves than we should be. 

Instead, we need to see ourselves through the eyes of our children. We'd have a renewed knowledge that what we do - failures and all - matters.

Yes, this video made me cry...and it gave me a different perspective for my day.  If you're a mom, I pray that you will find a different perspective today and that it brings you hope.

(P.S.  I know this video was geared toward Mother's Day...but I still think it's something we need to hear more than once a year...) 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Just one of the MANY perks of a homebirth/waterbirth...

Two evenings ago, Gregg came home from work and walked in the back door with a big grin on his face.  He had made a trip to Lowe's...

And he was carrying a large, heavy duty garden hose under one arm!

Gregg: "Hey, Honey!  I bought you a new waterhose!"

Me:  "Really!?!?  And it's GREEN so it matches the kitchen!  (I smiled really big back at him.)  Awww, that is so sweet...Thank you!"

Gregg poked out his chest and continued to grin like he was my knight in shining armor - my hopeless romantic... 

And, then we both burst out laughing!

Then, I told him I thought I'd finally figured out why he's REALLY so supportive of this whole homebirth/waterbirth thing - he gets a new garden hose out of the deal!  ;)  Meanwhile, I'M the one that gets to look forward to all the garden hose currently represents...

He agreed, and made sure he gave me a kiss...and thanked me for HIS new hose. :)

(For those who may be scratching their heads and wondering what in the world is up with the hose, let me explain.  In order to quickly fill the birthing tub for an impending waterbirth delivery at home, you must attach a NEW (for sanitary purposes) hose to your washing machine's hot water spigot.  You run the hose to the waiting tub...and voila!  Ready for action!) 

So, I didn't really think of it last time, but one of the MANY perks of homebirth/waterbirth, is that Gregg gets the excuse to buy a new garden hose.  :)

As you can guess by now, we're all getting pretty excited around here. Only a few more weeks to go.

I'm getting a little nervous...but I'm also getting pretty excited and anxious to hold Baby in my arms and kiss those sweet cheeks, and smell that new baby smell.  :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

We Have a Responsiblity to "Brainwash" our Children

We have been given such a gift and a responsibility...

To "brainwash" our children. 

If we don't, someone else will! 

A friend recently shared this video, and I found it interesting to think about.

We aren't Jewish, but many of these principles we try to instill in our children.

I pray one day they will be able to have a similar view when someone taunts them about their beliefs.  We pray that they will stand firm b/c they KNOW and EMBRACE the truth themselves - not just b/c it's the faith of their parents.

Stand firm, my that the world may know Him.

Stand firm.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bathroom time alone? Never!

Around our house, it's pretty rare for this momma to use the bathroom alone. 

I'm guessing, any momma with little ones can relate. 

I've read books aloud, called out spelling words, wiped tiny tear-stained faces, cut miniature fingernails, applied Band-Aids, and a host of other things while I'm on the toilet. 

Multi-tasking at its best!  :)

Yesterday, my "private" time was interrupted by this little guy bringing me weeds flowers from our back yard.  It was one of the few times I just had to smile for being intruded upon.

And, then, of course, I had to snap a few pictures so I could force myself to remember this cute little smile attached to the face of my little guy with the biggest heart. 

I hope he'll always think to bring his momma flowers...because it's such a special treat.

Even if I FEEL like I might NEVER have bathroom time alone!  :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 2-6 of Our Family Staycation

For the sake of my sanity, and due to my lack of devoted time to blogging and memory keeping, I'm going to attempt to touch on the highlights of the final 5 days of our 2013 Staycation all at once.

I've reasoned with myself that documenting a few memories will be better than not documenting any at all... 

(To read about Day 1, click here.)

So here goes:

Day 2: Wednesday, Sept. 25th, 2013
* Slept late (have I mentioned how GOOD that felt?!?!)
* Played cards
* Listened to Caleb play piano
* Went bowling (most of our kiddos have been bowling 1-2 other times in their lives)
* Purchased The Lost Medallion DVD at the local Christian bookstore
* Ate a late lunch/early dinner at Golden Coral (we were all stuffed and Isaiah, Silas, and Kedesh each had ice cream from head to toe)
* Came home and watched movie (The Lost Medallion)
* Boys played MORE airsoft
* Early bedtime in preparation for an early Day 3 of Staycation

Day 3:  Thursday, September 26, 2013 
* Day trip to the mountains (included a little hiking, a "gourmet" picnic meal, and a little riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway)
* Grilled steak meal at home for dinner (YUMMY! One of my FAVORITE meals!)

Potty time...girls take a little more ingenuity than boys ;)

The guys were in charge of our "gourmet" meal -
chunky soup over rice with added cheese for those who want it.
Fruit and snacks for dessert.

Playtime/Exploring while lunch was being prepared...

Mountain roadside park picnic - Miller style :)

Day 4:  Friday, September 27th, 2013
* Airsoft battles, airsoft battles, and MORE airsoft battles - I've decided that if God ever calls them into military service, they will have prior training!  Eva, Kedesh, and Mommy got to be the "Princesses" this day.  :)  The boys split into three teams and each captured and hid another team's princess.  The opposing teams had to find and rescue their princess and take her to safety in order to win the battle.  I was the princess for Gregg's team...and Silas was my guard.  Okay...I admit it...airsoft is so much fun!!
* Made homemade ice cream (Gregg chose pineapple with coconut flavoring - REALLY?!?!  - He DID NOT ask my opinion...I'm vanilla, chocolate, or peach all the way!)
* Game of football in the back yard
* Started packing in preparation for a long day on Day 5 of Staycation
**** no pics this day...I was a slacker!  :(
Day 5: Saturday, September 28th, 2013 
* Clemson vs. Wake Forest home game - Since Gregg and I are both Clemson alumni, we take all the kids to see at least one game each season (wish we could do season tickets, but that would cost a large fortune for a family of 10! So, instead, we buy group tickets for a game and invite another family to go with us.)  This year, the game we chose happened to fall at the end of our vacation planning.  And, it was Homecoming, so we showed the kids around campus and onto Bowman field to see the floats. We always have the best time cheering for the TIGERS!!
*  Clemson won by a landslide...and we got 10 orders of FREE Bojangle's fries on the way home - YAY!
All ready to get to the game!!
Matching bracelets made for the girls and Mommy
A stop by Bojangle's to get chicken for tailgating

Two tailgating cuties

I had such fun making new outfits for the girls.
I'm learning to sew a little at time...

Family Photo Op -
Special Thanks to the kind lady who offered to take the pic for us

One of the 6 tiger tails I bought at a yard sale several years ago.
$0.50 each - well worth the cuteness!!

Isaiah - "Take a picture of my tail, Momma!"

Homecoming on Bowman field

So thankful Gregg was carrying her!
I'm always out of breath by the time I reach our seats,
and this year was no exception - and I just carried MYSELF!

Day 6:  Sunday, September 29th, 2013
* Caleb played in a 1-day baseball tournament (have I mentioned that I LOVE watching my boys play ball?!?!)  He played 3 games that day, so that was pretty much the entire day.  Afterward it was supper, baths, and bedtime to start a new week.  Daddy had to go back to work on Monday (Samuel appeared to be the most disappointed about this b/c the first thing he asked me on Monday morning was, "Where's Daddy?" - with a very pouty lip and sad face.).

Overall, we had a great week!! I'm glad we chose to stay home for vacation.  It was different for us, and I wasn't sure how it would really go.  But, for the first time in a long time, it was just our family - without a detailed schedule.  Anyone who knows me and my dear husband, knows that we are "planners."  It was really nice to just enjoy being together - no packing, no running, no long driving days...It was a HIT with the whole crew!! :)


Friday, October 11, 2013

"Staycation" - September 24-29

We try to plan at least a small vacation for our family each Fall. 

We typically travel to the Blue Ridge Mountains, because we just love it there.

This year has been a little different for us.  We took a couple short trips early in the year, and the "Vacation" line in the family budget was...ummm...low.

We had enough in our budget for our family to spend about 2 nights in a cheap cabin (hotels are typically way too expensive and inconvenient for a family of 10).

I really wanted it to be a vacation time of resting, spending time with the kids, and watching them play.  So I was looking for lodging that would give the kids room to roam safely and a place that would be secluded enough I wouldn't have to worry about keeping them quiet while they ran around like wild little Indians. 

The more we thought about it, what we really wanted...

Was already right here at home.

So, after searching a bunch for affordable lodging, and weighing in on the option of spending time at home, we decided to plan our first-ever "staycation."  We reasoned that we could afford to take a 6- day vacation at home or a 2-day vacation away.

I'll take the 6-day plan, thank you!

So, for about 6 weeks, we talked it up with the kids and started jotting down ideas for the special things we would do that week.  Some of  the kids weren't really sure about it at first, but soon they started getting pretty excited as we put things on the list we don't normally make happen. 

The idea was to keep it simple, focus on spending time together as family... and remember that Momma is quite pregnant, so she can't run around like a crazy person. ;)

This was our list of possible things to do:

* campout with tents
* take a daytrip to the beach
* airsoft gun battles
* roast marshmallows
* play cards
* watch a movie
* go bowling
* use the telescope to look at the stars
* eat off our good china dishes
* drink homemade hot chocolate
* shoot fireworks
* take a daytrip to the mountains
* eat icecream
* attend a Clemson football game
* go out to eat
* play in the pool
* lay in the sun
* karaoke
* play football and baseball
* put on a play or a puppet show

Next, we decided we better set a few ground rules.  Without them, Gregg and I could see how easily he and I could get caught up in the idea of "getting things done around here"...and it would rob our family time.

Here were the basic ground rules we set:

* No computer games
* No facebook or blogging
* No lawnmowers or any other type of yardwork
* No unnecessary mechanical work
* Only limited phone calls/texts/emails

As the time for our staycation approached, we planned out a loose schedule for each day.  We tried to base it on having a restful day, then a busier day, a restful day, a busier day type schedule.  Some of the items on the list were eliminated (like shooting fireworks...and a daytrip to the beach - just too far to go...)  We also ended up modifying it a bit to try and accommodate the pending possibility of rain mid-week.

Here's an overview of our time together:

Tuesday, Sept. 24th:

* Slept late
* Played airsoft
* Mother/Daughter crafting
* Reading time (just mom - during the games of airsoft)
* Set up tents and sleeping bags in the back yard for a campout
* Prepared a fire for roasting hotdogs and marshmallows
* Played card games
* Roasted hotdogs, cooked "hobo bags", and roasted marshmallows
* Finally settled into our tents around 10:30pm

Gregg was one of the biggest kids of all...

With all these boys running around, you could sense the clouds of testosterone emitting from each of them during their "battles"...

Our resident "thugs"...uh, I mean, soldiers ;)

Kedesh and I took a little time to smell the took her 3 times smelling the marigolds before she realized they smelled a little "ucky" least we took the time to smell them!

 Set up the tents...

 Nathan, our resident pyromaniac...maintaining a FIRE!

 Samuel and Silas doing an "Indian chant" around the fire :)

Now THIS  is how everybody roasts hotdogs, right?...Or maybe it's just our family...

Nathan enjoying his "hobo bag" - a mixture of beef, carrots, potatoes, and spices...

Samuel, getting ready to roast his marshmallow...

Yummy...but dangerous.  This momma was just a little freaked-out with all the little ones running excitedly around an open fire with long, pointed sticks. I tried to be calm - I really did. Only one injury that, fortunately, proved to be minor...

Getting settled for the night...5 in one tent...

5 in the other...

Two hours later, we heard the rain start!  The weather report had shown that the rain wouldn't arrive until almost dawn the next much for predictions!

Kedesh was the first one awakened and rescued...everyone else followed...Gregg and I were totally ok with this.  The kids were ok, too.  They had all fallen asleep in the tent and agreed that they had gotten the majority of the fun out of it by then, anyway. :)

Sleep tight...don't let the bedbugs bite!
Stay tuned for Day 2 of our "Staycation"...