Friday, August 29, 2008

Reconciliation, Homeschooling and why I love Hallmark.

Okay, so pretty much sure today was one of the best days of my life.  I had breakfast with my daughter and my grandma at my new favorite breakfast place, The Broken Egg.  I found clothes at a consignment shop for the kids.  Great prices.  Great clothes.  Great time with my Grandma.

I had a great appt. with one of my doctors.  Thank you Jesus!  I had coffee with my brother.  Today is his birthday.  Happy Birthday Christopher.  We had the best conversation.  Literally it's been probably over 5 years since we've had a conversation this good!  Thank you Christopher for taking time out for me and for loving me and caring for me.  I'm so glad I'm your sister and I'm so glad God gave me YOU for a brother!

I spent over two hours in Hallmark with my mom.  We looked at cards and cried.  Can you say cathartic?  It was wonderful.

Reconciliation.  I feel like God is doing a new work in some very key relationships.  I'm finding Him changing me and my relationships and making them better.  Bringing me closer to Him and restoring that which was broken.  He is bringing healing to my heart and my wounded soul.  He truly is making all things new.

Home-schooling.  So I start home-schooling next week.  Can I get a big yikes. I told myself I wouldn't do it because everyone is doing it.... and I'm not.  I'm home-schooling because it's what God put on my heart.  Thankfully it's just pre-school.  Yes, we will have circle-time and snack time.  But mostly just play-dough, painting, and pretending to know what we're doing.  I'm looking forward to making crafts and teaching the alphabet and numbers.  Simple stuff.  But oh so fun.

Thank you God for days like today.  A day to remind me that life can still be good.  Okay, life is good, but today it felt like it.  I know i'm blessed... and I felt blessed.  It's nice when the emotions follow truth.  Often they are in conflict.  Often I am believing and trusting without feeling... I guess that's what we call faith.

I found a plate at Hallmark I want to rephrase, It said, "Life is Sweet. God is good."  I want it to say, "Life can Suck.  But God is GOOD!"

Oh blessings.  Blessings dear friend on your day.  Blessings of peace in the midst of confusion.  Hope in the midst of the storms and trials that face you.  And joy, not to be confused with happiness, but true joy- knowing that God is working in your midst whether your day be full of sunshine or rain.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What Libby Says

"Samuel.  Samuel Napier you come down here young man.  You are not kind.  You are being greedy.  Sam.  You come here now Sam!" 
(when Samuel was going upstairs and doing nothing harmful)

What she says everyday:
-"Are we starting school today?"
-"Is it my birthday yet?"
-"Am I going to see Austin?" (a friend of mine's adorable 5 year old)
-"Sarah is my best friend.  Alexis and Courtney are my best friends.... (and recently) Papa you are my best friend."  "Mommy you can be my good friend..." (ha)
-" you can buy that for me for my birthday"  (reference to anything princess- from umbrellas to "make-up")
-"On my birthday we're going to have streamers and chocolate cake"

From one of Libby's books she quotes a lot of...
"pata-killers" instead of catepillars.

"Ian you are so tiny.  You're my boy."

"Mommy, Ian eats from those.  I used to eat those when I was a baby.  Now i eat applesauce."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Excuse me, I'm wonderful.

Okay, I was thinking in bed two nights ago about the power of words.  I mean, God spoke and created something from nothing with words.  Our words can build up or they can tear down.  They can bring life or death.  They can encourage or discourage.  In fact James 3 speaks very clearly on the subject, v. 2 "For we all stumble in many ways.  And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.  If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.  Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.  How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!"

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." Proverbs 18:21  Do I want to eat the fruits of my words?  

Further more in Matthew 12:34 it says (Jesus is talking to the Pharisees), "You brood of vipers!  How can you speak good, when you are evil?  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." and later in v. 37 it says "for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned."  Did anyone else gulp?

It got me thinking about what I say a lot, especially regarding myself and my situation.  I usually refer to myself as crazy.  I say, "it's been a crazy day, I'm feeling crazy, Don't you think I'm crazy? Why am I so crazy?" Etc.  So instead I'm replacing crazy with wonderful or at appropriate times, busy.  I want to try and be more positive.  As a man thinketh and all... right?  And maybe it could also be as a man speaketh...

I was also convicted recently while reading the book, Words Kids Need to Hear, of how much I say, "I'm sorry."  It's not that it's bad to say "I'm sorry" it's good to say you are and we need to say we are sorry, when we truly are and at the right time.  I have found myself saying, "I'm sorry" over things that aren't my fault and it cheapens the words.  Sometimes one expression I need to be using more is "Excuse me."  I want when I use the word "sorry" for it to be powerful, genuine, authentic and true.  I don't want it to become some old, worn-out catch phrase, free-for-all expression.  

One of my most common phrases has been, "I'm sorry I'm so crazy"  That is why I have jokingly called the title of this post, "Excuse me I'm wonderful".  It's not that I'm dwelling on me and thinking I'm something to write home about it's that I want the words I use to be appropriate and honoring to God.  I want them to be positive and not negative.  I want them to be encouraging and life-giving.  I know I will stay say my life is crazy from time to time, because it is a little wild, okay more than a little, but I want to focus on the wonderful things I have... the blessings, the joys, and the gifts God has given me.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yikes.

Okay, I have some moments in my life that just make me think, "Yikes!"  Here are some.

I just left my daughter's room.  Don't ask me how but the blinds came off the window and onto her.  Scary.  Samuel's currently screaming.  (they share the same room).  Yikes.

Last week caught in a storm while trying to leave Target with the twins.  Had to unplug Michael's alarms and cords and replug them in.  Got drenched.  Crying, screaming wet babies.  Yikes.

Ian came home and had a fever and was sick for a few days.  Yikes.

I got a little sick.  Yikes.

Samuel's asthma is flaring at the moment.  Yikes.

My friend Reaghan cut her foot at my house today and was bleeding profusely, Yikes, but is okay.

Had to hold Samuel for a while and comfort him.  Now he's back asleep after wrestling with the nasal syringe... trying to suck out the mucus so that he could breathe.  Well, I'm drinking some Yogi Sleep tea.  It's helped the past several nights.  Lizzy, I'm also going to try taking those vitamins/supplements you recommended.

BTW- for those who wanted to know my juicer is called the Breville Juice Fountain.  (You can buy it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $150.  Use a 20% off coupon from them.  Also, remember their coupons NEVER expire- my sister taught me that). It works like a professional juicer with very easy clean up.  I put the waste in a compost pile outside.

Okay, to bed... or should I just do a couple rows of knitting... hmmm.  Never mind, the kids are crying again.  I would say good night but it's almost good morning :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In my little world... otherwise known as daily happenings.


Michael is about 10 pounds!  He has chunky cheeks and a sweet disposition.  His smile looks like he is laughing and surprised.  It's really precious to watch.  He loves when I sing to him and is crazy about his pacifier. Ian is 14 pounds.  He's my chunky monkey.  He keeps getting more and more rolls. Every time I change his diaper I discover a new roll... I love it! He is sleeping through the night... can I get a praise God and pass the hallelujah!  I love putting the boys next to each other.  Whether on the bed or on their play mat it's a fun sight to see them near each other.

Libby is my dancing, singing, twirling, jumping ballerina princess.  She has an amazing imagination and tells wonderful stories.  She's quick to go and give the boys kisses telling them how cute they are and precious.  She woke me up yesterday and told me.  "Mommy, you are pretty.  You look like a princess.  I need to get you a crown."  Wasn't that sweet?  I can't get her out of her skirt except when she puts on her princess dress... and coat.  Yeah, the coat is a must.  Then she grabs her purse.  She has quite an assortment of dolls and babies which she refers to simply as her "people" or her "family".  I find them arranged in her room covered in blankets or put in a bassinet.  One of her babies has had several name changes.  The baby has gone from Ian to Egypt to  to England to Michael to Dash to Jack.  She was telling me about Jack and Ariel lately.  She loves to sing to them and rock them and occasionally discipline her children.  Right now when I ask her what princess she is she tells me that she's Belle.  Right now I'm Jasmine.

Samuel is my clingy little monkey.  He loves to hold on and hang on to me.  He doesn't want to be put down.  He's getting better at expressing what he wants and has done well in signing to me when he's all done or if he wants more to eat.  He loves when I tickle him and he loves playing with blocks, trucks, or anything his sister is currently  playing with.  We're working on sharing right now.  We're also working on temper tantrum stuff.  But he's precious and sweet and loves to love on the boys and give them kisses.

Mike has continued studying his Greek and is preparing for his last two classes for the fall.  They're going to be a lot of work.  More work than they should be.  He's going to take his classes through another seminary (online) and transfer it for credit to Westminster and then on top of that work Westminster will be assigning him additional work: papers, exams, and quizzes, etc. to make sure he's getting an academically rigorous education :)  Those crazy die-hard academic people.... Oh well, then he'll be done with his Masters!

Mike is getting browner all the time.  He's working outside a lot and using his muscles.  As he puts it, he's roughening up his scholarly hands.  He's been amazing helping me with the kids and caring for me.  He's great about doing dishes, laundry, changing diapers, giving medicine, changing out the feeding bag and ferrel bag, and listening to me and comforting me when I cry or am overwhelmed.  I feel like we're growing closer as a couple and I'm thankful for all the ways he cares for me.

I've started juicing.  My mom bought me a juicer and I love it!  I've been juicing carrots and apples and cucumbers; sometimes throwing in some other stuff into the mix... raspberries and blueberries. I'm looking forward to trying beats, parsley, turnips, radishes and kale.  The machine I have is so simple to use and easy to clean.  I love it!  It makes juicing a dream.

Cloth diaper.  So I bought one bum genius to try out and I loved it.  When things get a little more normal I'd like to buy some more cloth diapers.  I really want to work it in slowly so it's not too overwhelming but I like the idea of saving money, caring for my children (not having them in chemicals) and helping the planet. I do recognize this might be overly ambitious... so if it doesn't happen... it's okay.  But I'd like to try.

Expanding my reading.  I've been listening to some books on CD lately and have enjoyed Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell and Freakonomics: A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything by Steven D. Levitt.  Both of them have given me something to chew on and mull over.  I've also recently read The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions by Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. De Vries and Words Kids Need to Hear by David Staal.

I just also picked up The Shorter Chatecism and Philosophy for Dummies as well as Helmut Thielicke's book How to Believe Again and am excited to delve deeper into these books.  I also just finished reading... which I don't know how you read cook-books but I looked at every page and all the ingredients of The Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma Cookbook: Simple Solutions for eating well.  I want to eat like that.  The food looks so amazing and nutritious at the same time.  In addition I love all the cooking and nutrition tips on the side bar of every page as well as the calories and nutrition content.  I also found Super Foods for Babies and Children- I am loving all the information I'm getting.  The importance of the different minerals, vitamins, and what food has what in it and recipes... it's a great book so far.  Now, in all fairness I must give credit to my Aunt Jo.  She had the last two books at her house and it piqued my interest.  Thankfully the library had these books so I haven't spent a dime but I am hoping for the cook-book maybe for Christmas? (hint, Mike :) )  Yes, I am already thinking about Christmas...I'm planning on what gifts to make, etc.  I'm weird like that.

Also one last book I am reading that I am really enjoying is Raising Baby Green: The Earth Friendly guide to pregnancy, childbirth, and baby care by Alan Greene (ironic name, huh)  Really great book.  Wish it was around before i had Libby.  Would have been nice but oh well. I love the tips, suggestions, products, etc.  It's really well-informed.  I don't feel like I need to do everything but I love knowing the options.  I do now have born-free baby bottles which are bisphenol-A free (Thanks Mom!)  My mom is the one who has been really concerned about aluminum use and also about plastic leaching into my food or water or my children's bottles.  So I have found some cool sites that even have sippy cups that won't leach (www.getngreen.com)  I am looking into getting water bottles that won't leach.  And those of you who know me know I have a water botle with me all the time.  The other thing I love that my mom introduced me to is my deodorant.  It's Arm & Hammer's Essentials Natural Deodorant (fresh scent).  It has no aluminum, no parabens... and best of all it actually works.  I'm the kind of girl that sweats too!  Especially chasing the kids around.  I love what's in it: coriander fruit oil, rosemary leaf oil, lavender oil... mmm.  it's nice.

Ginger thank you for introducing me to my other favorite new product.  I finally found it, girl!  Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellant.  I love the smell and I love that I can put it on my babies!  Isn't their stuff wonderful?!  I use their burt's baby bee hair and body wash and the buttermilk baby burt's bees lotion on my four babes. Simply fabulous stuff.  It works great, smells great, isn't hard on the wallet and also is safe to use.  

I know I'm a walking advertisement but when I love something I gotta tell people about it!

I finally finished knitting my cousin's baby blanket.  Took me long enough... but it's done! :)

Unfortunately, even though Ian is sleeping through the night, I haven't been sleeping well.  I'm struggling falling asleep and then when sleeping I have very vivid, troubling emotional dreams.  I wake up feeling exhausted like I haven't slept.  Someone is concerned that I'm not reaching my R.E.M. cycle so I'm not getting recharged.  Hmmm.... maybe I should try some melatonin?

On that note I should go to bed.  It's already after 10... and well, I have a feeling the kids will keep me busy.

BTW- if you actually got to the end of this post then wow.  you're really committed because this dear people, is a long post.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hmmm...

Wondering where I've been?  Busy.  Very busy.

Hmmm... where to start? The kids are ALL bathed, fed, and chill- for the moment.  So I thought I would drop a note.

Michael managed to clog his n-d tube on Saturday. We were on our way to CHKD when the doctor called and said for us to try some seltzer and it worked!  Praise the Lord.  But not good enough for him.  He managed to surprise us on Sunday morning.  Michael completely pulled out the tube... again.  But thankfully we called ahead and the doctor got us into radiology so we were a whole day early getting his g-j tube conversion done!

It's been a busy, fun, crazy, wonderful, sad, lonely, panicky, funny, and did I mention busy, week. How is that for adjectives.

My poor little ones have been eaten up by mosquitoes.  Samuel has them on his face.  Libby all over her legs. 

It's wonderful to see Michael's face clear and free of tape and tubes.  Well I'm off to go make some amish friendship bread.  Yum.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Truman Show... no, just my life.

Sometimes I wonder if my life is really like the movie The Truman Show.  You know the movie where Jim Carey plays the character, Truman Burbank, an insurance salesman/adjuster who finds out his life, whole life has been a tv show.  yeah, that's what my life feels like.  Except it's not a tv show... but if it were it would be pretty funny.  That ow, that's rough and I'm uncomfortable so I'm going to laugh because I don't know what else to do.  Like  my friend who laughs at funerals (don't worry J. I totally understand the response). 

 If certain aspects of my life were to be publicized it would definitely be interesting.  Maybe if I would just watch John & Kate plus 8 I would get it of my system.... I mean everybody and their mother tells me to watch that show... and no, still have yet to see it.... but it does sound cute.... and it sounds like her life is a lot tougher than mine.  I mean twins is enough... 6 at one time?  Sheesh.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this life of mine feels very surreal at times. It's a mixture of joy and sorrow, laughing and crying, and inhaling and exhaling, and surviving while being hopeful.

Currently it's pleasant.  I was just blessed by a group of sisters who came over and helped me by cleaning and caring for the kids.  I also had someone come over to give Samuel specific TLC.  He really needs the extra attention right now.  Libby is quick to get it with her talkative personality and at times demanding behavior, the twins are just cute and needy and just pull at your heartstrings... so it's easy to focus on them.... and my dear little Samuel with his frustration at not being able to communicate and the combination of being "really 2" (throwing tantrums) and getting his 2-year molars can be a little more challenging at this point.  

So Katherine, thanks for snuggling my boy and loving on him!  And Chelsea, Laura, and Mary- thank you... the house looks amazing!

My mom also came over and not only did she bring some much needed soymilk but she also kicked Mike and I out of the house for a few hours to just catch up and relax.  We went out to dinner and grabbed some Starbucks.  The highlight for me was just getting to listen to Mike talk.  He really shared some things that were on his heart and it was a blessing to know him more and to converse and share on a heart to heart level without kids screaming in the background.

So I'm sitting on the bed with a full tummy.  My two oldest are in bed.  My two youngest more content than not....


Okay the discontentment struck and I was gone for a few hours.  I need to wrap things up so I can hopefully get some sleep- ha ha.

I found myself checking blogs and was struck by the sadness and pain that so many people dear to my heart are going through.  One of my friend's husbands was in a motorcycle accident.  Another two friends just had miscarriages.  And i thought i was the only one suffering.
Okay, so let's correct the beginning of this post okay?  It's not about me.  It really isn't.  Although there are some semi-comical aspects to my life there is so much more out there than what's happening in my small little world.  
So to those out there who are suffering, who wonder if they can bother taking another breath- Hold On.  Hold On To Jesus.  I was struck by the lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman (there's another one with serious heartache....) song Hold Onto Jesus

"If I have come to this ocean
And the waves of fear are starting to grow
The doubts and questions are rising with the tide
So I'm clinging to the one sure thing I know
I will hold onto the hand of my Savior
And I will hold on with all my might
I will hold loosely to the things that are fleeting
And hold onto Jesus
I will hold on to Jesus for life
I've tried to hold many treasures
They just keep slipping through my fingers like sand
But there's one treasure that means more than breath itself
So I'm clinging to it with everything I am
Like a child holding on to a promise
I will cling to His Word and believe
As I press on to take hold of that
for which Christ Jesus took hold of me"

Friday, August 01, 2008

A very quick abbreviated update seeing as we're headed out the door to go spend the day with my family at the beach.  Michael is going to get the g-j tube conversion hopefully next week.  We're post-poning the nissan fundus-plication surgery for now.  We're hoping to get his cleft palate repaired and then try the video-swallow study to see if he's aspirating or refluxing into his lungs.  We'll see.

I've been sad to see my friend Sara go but thankful for such a wonderful time together.

Highlights:

-surprise baby shower for her on Monday evening (they don't have baby showers in Sweden)
-getting coffee together and huge cinnamon rolls at Bean There coffee shop.
-playing with the kids and reading books in Swedish
-shopping
-taking all 4 kids out to Babies R'Us and then to Starbucks.
-lots and lots of pictures

Well, yesterday my pants literally fell off.  Walking out of Barnes and Noble my very loose pants decided to make a dive for it.  That was amusing.  The fridge has also died and so everything in it is bad.  Isn't that fun.... no, not really.

Anyway, I better go help Mike.  We're all close to our wit's end.  sigh.