Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tis the Season!

Well as you may know we got back late Saturday from our Thanksgiving in the mountains.  As you may also know I am a struggling good  adequate housekeeper.  It is not natural or easy for me to keep a presentable house.  And if you know me at all....you know I have laundry issues.  AND.... my dear sister-in-law Holly has recently helped me devise a laundry plan....HOWEVER....this trip to the mountains has somehow put a kink in the plans.....

I've been doing catch up.....even though I did 2 loads while we were away......So I did finally get it all done last night and I did make the kids put it away this morning....BUT before I can breathe a sigh of relief I must make sure to follow through with the load currently in the washer and the one currently in the dryer.  I'm getting stressed out!  I don't want to go back to my laundry mountain!

Why is it that normal stuff....like laundry, the holidays, errands, just LIFE can be so da gum stress producing???

I DON"T KNOW.....but I am starting to feel that slow escalating of panic that often proceeds a full blown...MOM'S GONE CRAZY episode!

It's not just the laundry....that is almost done (for a moment at least), it's not the house (it's not a disaster....just normal messy), it's not school....we are plugging away and somehow still relatively on track....I think it's just everything....

I think it's the CONSTANT dialogue...here is a 15 second snippet from my house to yours.....
"I'm hungry.  Mama I want a bowl of sprinkle cheese, I want a bowl of sprinkle cheese, I want a bowl of sprinkle cheese, Can I have a bowl of sprinkle cheese Mama?  Mama?  Will you please just get me a bowl? Just get me a bowl of cheese....."  (from an unnamed child age 4 of the female variety)

REALLY?  SERIOUSLY?  I don't even have time to process this request....much less articulate an answer....."YES!!!! GET SOME SPRINKLE CHEESE!"  I know....charming.

I think it is the demanding schedule....
school for a middle schooler, school for an elementary aged child with learning disabilities, Preschool, Speech, Grocery store, driving all over creation, going to the library to save money on buying books, Co-op, Church functions, cleaning dad's office, pulling medical files for Ruth, reminder phone calls.....

Cleaning Up messes.....from water paint and sprinkle cheese eating....which takes no time to make and quite a time to cleanup!

yes that is all "sprinkle cheese"  That is how they stay so trim.  They throw it all over the table, chair, and floor instead of their mouths :)

I think its all the fun extras....
trips to the mountains, decorating the house for Christmas, hosting people, Christmas Pageants, Basketball practices, Cheerleading, Guitar, play dates, birthday parties, date nights.....

It just adds up....it's not one thing...it's EVERYTHING.

I try to be very discerning about what we get involved in because believe it or not I really strive to leave margins in our lives for fun, rest, work, play, and doing nothing.....it just seems to somehow continue to be filled!  I think when 7 people are each involved in a little though....it very quickly becomes a lot!

So......what's a Mama to do?

I blog....it helps me sort it all out.  It helps my blood pressure return to normal.  It helps me realize we are all in this boat together....doing life, trying to figure it out.

I try to remember that this is a season of my life.  These messy, loud, demanding yet adorable, sweet, snugly little rascals, who often sometimes drive me bonkers, I have a sneaking suspicion are going to grow up and leave WAY too fast.  I try to drink up every bit of it and savor it and enjoy it.  I don't always!  I get mad.  I lose my temper.  I veg out....but I'm striving to connect, enjoy, and savor every moment....the good, the bad, and the messy.  My Mama promises me that one day my house will be neat.....and it will also be empty.  In her wisdom she assures me that our mess is evidence of life!  Well let me tell you there is a lot of life up in this place!

I also try to remember to turn to the Lord.  He really does give me rest.  He really does restore me when I am weary.  He really does lay out in his word what maters and how we are to live our lives.  He is so good.  He is so perfect.  He is THE perfect parent. 

So......from one Mama to another.....I say let's seize the day.....clean up the sprinkle cheese, pull out the Christmas decorations and the broom....(because you KNOW that special ornament....will get broken) and buckle up.....this really is just a season! And in the midst of it all I pray that my family and yours will remember the real reason for this CRAZY season!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekend on Snaggy Mountain in Boone, NC

As a family we have lots of holiday traditions.  I think traditions help build family bonds and give kids roots.  So I really like traditions and the holidays seem to lend themselves well to traditions.  However....as a family we don't really have much of a Thanksgiving tradition.  So each year we kind of decide what we will do this year.  Sometimes we stay at home and celebrate with my extended family or with Randy's family.  We used to go to Pennsylvania to visit Randy's grandparents but they've moved here.....This year....we headed to the mountains with my parents, my sister Stacy, my brother Matt and his wife Holly and their kids Joshua, Gray, and Julia.  We arrived Wednesday evening and woke up on Snaggy Mountain to this beautiful view on Thanksgiving Day.

My kids were delighted to start Thanksgiving Day off with "Pa" Cakes (aka as pancakes....but evidently Pa makes the best in the world and my kids are always thrilled to have them!)

After breakfast Mama, Stacy , and I got cooking (Matt, Holly, and her kids didn't arrive until later on Thanksgiving Day....Matt had to work that morning)
While we were working on lunch Pa and Daddy took the rascals out exploring. 

The highlight of their morning adventure was finding and climbing on an apple tree!  We even used the apples to decorate the table for Thanksgiving!  Way to go Daddy bear!

Next came lunch!

and boy did we eat: Turkey, Ham, Rolls, Stuffing, Crock pot Mac and Cheese, Deviled Eggs, Sweet Potato Casserole, Corn Casserole, Green bean Casserole, Gravy, Salad, Some Yummy Cranberry Dessert, Cream Cheese Pound Cake, Pumpkin Pie, Peppermint Bark, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake.....YUMMY!  UGH....a little too yummy!

After Dinner Mom and I took some of the kids on a walk around the neighborhood.....we were so full!

We met a sweet golden retriever.  Who reminded us of our Mindy!

she hung out with us throughout the trip.

More Apples!

The rest of the trip involved...lots of football for the adults (while the kids watched movies on the laptop)

Board Games

Playtime with the cousins.....which THE TWINKIE BOY loved! He gets so tired of playing Barbies with his sisters!  So they wrestled, played Batman and Robin, Trains.....lots of boy fun!

Lots of Stories...

While Nanny, Holly, and I took THE GIRL and baby Julia window shopping in Blowing Rock
Pa, Daddy, and Matt took the rest of the kids on a hike to "Bear Rock"

My crew headed home this afternoon.  We stopped at Krispy Kreme in Winston Salem on the way home!


A sweet ending to a nice weekend.

I love my family!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm so Thankful!

A (Big A)  I am thankful for THE BOY....he is thankful he is done with Spanish for the week!  The boy is becoming THE MAN. He is growing so quickly and I love seeing who he is becoming.  He is facing fears, making good choices, and learning and I LOVE MY BOY!  Our family would not be the same without him!

a (little a) I am thankful for THE BABY.  She is thankful for her new big girl bed!  She was the BIGGEST surprise of my life (I was nursing twins AND on birth control....I know TMI).....and although I was VERY overwhelmed (I had JUST had twins....they were 4 months old!)  She has turned out to be the cherry on top of our family.  SWEET, COMPLIANT (usually), CUDDLY, JOYFUL.....MY BABY DOLL!  So glad that God had a plan different then mine.  I cannot imagine my life or our family without her!

I am also thankful for
B The BABY'S Big Girl Bed.....THANK YOU MOM AND DAD your cleaning out to move has been a HUGE BLESSING to us!!!!

C I am thankful for Co-op

D I am thankful for DADDIES!!!!  My Daddy and my babies Daddy!  LOVE YOU BOTH!!!

and DRESS UP because they both make our days so much happier!

E I am thankful for Eternal Life....in Christ Jesus my Lord.

F I am thankful for FAMILY!  I am so blessed that ALL of my grandparents are still living AND Randy's grandmother's are both still living.  THE BOY and THE GIRL also are blessed that they got to know and love GRANDPA HALSEY (Randy's maternal grandfather) before he passed away.  What a gift to know 7 great grandparents and have them ALL living in the same city so you can see and know them!

and Friends.....awww....I LOVE my friends.  They are my sanity and my support and my encouragement.  Friends really do make life more bearable.

G I am so thankful for God's Grace. I am also thankful that God has begun to give me a tiny understanding of just how much a gift grace really is.  THANK YOU JESUS! Now I pray I can extend grace cause boy has it been extended to me.

H I am thankful for "HALSEY K"  (not his real name just a funny nickname) aka TWINKIE BOY (also not his real name :)

This boy is my snuggle bug!  He loves kisses and hugs and talking and has NEVER met a stranger.  I could eat him up!  LOVE MY TWINKIE BOY!  He is very laid back and go with the flow.
He is squishy and lovey!  Our family would not be complete without him!

I I am thankful for In-LAWS.....particularly mine.....They love me, they love the kids, they raised an amazing son.  They are WONDERFUL to us!  I love them all Randy's parents, siblings, their spouses, and kids, grandparents!  The whole crew!

J I am thankful for JESUS!!!!

K I am thankful for Kids!  They keep me laughing... like when I discovered our stairwell had been redecorated in magnetic letters or our ficus tree had been mended with bandaids!  Hmmm....I wonder who did this?
L I am thankful for..........
THE TWINKIE GIRL!  She is spunky!  She is FUNNY....she is NOT shy.  She LOVES people and loves them without strings attached and holds nothing back.  She will tackle random preachers at church (sorry Marc and Shay) and will love on EVERYBODY.  She feels EVERYTHING deeply.  She loves deeply, she is wounded deeply, she is offended deeply.....she is going to keep us on our toes and our family would not be the same without her special spark!

M I am thankful for Mama!  She has taught me so much!  She has been a mentor to me.  She is AMAZING!

and of course N
These Grandkids have NO IDEA how blessed they are!
and one more N

This is Mrs. Burch....my neighbor growing up!  She is the original mom to 5!  I loved living next door to her and loved growing up with her kids and she is what I will miss most when my parents move next month!  I love you Mrs. B!

O I am thankful for the Ocean.  It is my most favorite place to go!

P I am thankful for Pastors!  Pastor Chasteen, Al, Shay, Marc, Jason!!!!  I am thankful for how you guys have spoken into MY life and encouraged me to grow in Christ.  I am also thankful for how you have spoken into MY MAN'S life and been not only his mentors but his friend.  AND I am THANKFUL for the prayers, the intentional love, and investment you've made into my kids!  I LOVE YOU ALL!  I am also thankful for your WIVES who are AMAZING and whom I am honored to call friends.  I love your wives and they have each (Scarlet, Jean, Linda, Joan, and Charity) blessed my life and I am a better person (and cook....thank you Linda for ALL your recipes!) for knowing and loving them.  I am also thankful for your families what precious people they are and I smile whenever I see or hear or think of them!

Q I am thankful for Quesodellas. (sorry can't spell)..especially Peter Lilje's YUMMY!
R I am thankful for RIDGECREST....cause it ROCKS!
S I am thankful for......

THE GIRL!  She may be one of the kindest and gentlest soul ever created.  She is a treasure. She is soft spoken and she is tender hearted and she is tough.  My girl is a hard worker and she is so loving....she finds it hard to express her feelings sometimes but if you take the time to know her she is a GEM!  Our family would NOT be complete with out her gentle, sweet spirit.

T I am thankful for TENTS and Tea Parties because they are just FUN!

I am thankful for U
UNBELIEVABLE technological advances.....so when THE BOY goes on a middle school retreat......

and is faced with his biggest fear....heights....and high ropes courses and zip lines which he has spent his entire life avoiding
and decides to take an UNBELIEVABLE RISK and face that fear!
I don't get to just hear about it.....I get Nathan Smith to email me photos just moments after!!!!!

V I am thankful for Vacations! In fact I think I could use one!
W I am thankful for Washing Machines!  I can't imagine my laundry issues without one!
X I am thankful that I don't have one!
cause I do have the BEST man on EARTH!!!!

Y I am thankful for the letter because it is how you say (although not how you spell) one of my favorite words.  I love to ask why!

Z  I am thankful for Zebras.....I guess....that really is a hard one....but they do show how creative God is...
And I am thankful for so much more!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving week.  We really do have sooo much to be thankful for!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bloggers Block

I have not written in a while.....because.....I don't know what to write about.  I have a case of bloggers block :).  Life has been clipping right along here.  Nothing extraordinarily exciting to post and nothing overly weighing on my mind, which is rare being the mental case that I am :)

So.....I  do feel like I should post something......

This past week was a little different because our school load has been lighter.  Not doing any grammar, reading, writing, or spelling with THE GIRL has freed up a LOT of time.....so we've read more books and I've been training in her new tutoring program and we've snuggled more and been working on my laundry issues....

OH.......Now I am excited!!!!  I think I may be on the verge of a laundry breakthrough....This is what I'll blog about.....see I knew if I started rambling something would break the bloggers block!!!

Friday....my WONDERFUL sister in law came over with her 3 little ones to have a play date.  The kids all played so nicely and I had so much fun chatting with Holly that I forgot to take any pictures :(  and she has REALLY cute kids!!!! 

This is her oldest with TWINKIE BOY (but it's from a different day)

This is her Baby whom my GIRL adores!

We were just hanging out chatting about the important issues in life and of course my constant laundry problem came up as we talked and do you know what??  She helped me develop a plan!!!

It is sooo simple....get ready....this may change my life....Here it is....

Is that a plan or what?  I knew I had all these kids for some reason!  So when Holly left I put the plan into action......after sorting Mount Foldmore into piles for each of the kids....I made them all (except THE BABY because she was asleep) carry their baskets up and I made them put their clothes away.....which THE BOY always does and THE GIRL always does her fold up clothes.....but Friday.....thanks to Holly's encouragement I tackled the problems that have kept me in laundry bondage.
1.  THE GIRL and THE TWINKIES can't reach their hangers.....so THE BOY now is in charge of going to each of their rooms before laundry put away time each day and getting down hangers for them. 
2.  THE TWINKIES can't hang up their pants (they can't get the little clippers open on the hangers)......so I'm going to move all their pants to their drawers which will solve not only the hang up pants issue....but also the get dressed by themselves in the morning issue (because they could never reach their pants.....and now they can!)
3. THE MAMA likes things to be in the RIGHT category and hung neatly.....the best I can come up with on this is THE MAMA is going to have to let this go.....or spend my life in bondage to the washing machine.
4. THE laundry is never done.  While I think it will still never be done...my sister in law did suggest that I get the kids their own hampers and let them put their dirty clothes in that instead of always having a huge pile for me to look at in the laundry room.  That way it is not always in my face. 
5. Holly also suggested making sure they are putting only dirty clothes in the hamper.  Which I think may not be what is always happening.  Several of my children have been known to change several times a day....dirty or not!  Guess they will get more practice hanging!
5.  To eliminate THE PILE that is always in my room my sweet friend Emma, who is in my co-op, says to get a basket for each child, unload straight from the dryer to their basket and then send them to put them away.....which as Holly pointed out will take some time.....and that means....I get a break! 
6. To make sure they do a good job.  I'm going to sit in the loft and fold towels and socks while they hang up their clothes and I'm going to check and make sure they do a good job and they are going to keep at it until they do!
I am liking the plan....
So today I caught up on hanging up our clothes and matching up a million pairs of socks and when THE BABY gets up from her nap today I'm going to teach her how to hang up clothes.

Then....I need 6 laundry baskets for their rooms (we own no hampers) and 2 more laundry baskets for them to tote their clothes in (I already have 4) and then I need to get down all the little ones pants and put them in their drawers and then I must be VERY consistent and DAILY about making them put them away.  I think this laundry thing may end up being MISSION POSSIBLE!!!!   THANK YOU HOLLY (and Emma)

Laundry....may have just turned from the bane of my existence into a blessing.....I will let you know.....I do have hope on the laundry horizon.  I will definitely keep you posted!