Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Life with 4

Two weeks ago we added the most amazing, most precious, most absolutely delightful addition to our family- Mercy Elizabeth.  She of course is the main attraction around here and the kids cannot get enough!

It's so strange...I know that 3 and half years isn't that much of an age gap in retrospect but for some reason I feel like Mercy is light years younger than the others.  It must be because I had the other three so close together that now she and my youngest (Ezekiel) seem SO far apart!

That being said, there are some things that I forgot about newborns...or just chose to block out.  :)

1. It's sleep deprivation at its finest.  I think all moms must block out the lack of sleep and zombie like state that we walk in when we have newborns...otherwise, I'm not sure how we could want more.

2. Having a newborn makes you want to do nothing else but stare into their little beady eyes, and therefore, not getting anything else done.

3. "So when are you due?" Yup, I still look at least 5 months pregnant.  *sigh*  I think I must have blocked that one out too...note to self: actually having the baby does NOT mean that you will look like you still don't have a baby cooking in there.

4. I begin to talk like I am fluent in a new language that no-1 but me and tiny little people can understand. (ie.. "Ohhh you sweet little thing!  That's right...it's your mommy...." then preceding to make bird coos and other sounds unknown to the rest of the human race.) this of course would fine until you realize that you just spoke this new language to the Target cashier.

5.You begin to experience what cows must feel like....enough said.  :)

But besides all that, life is great! haha

Ezekiel definitely is having the hardest time adjusting to Mercy. He absolutely adores her but he can definitely tell that something has shifted, even if his little 3 year old self can't quantify what it is.  He comes home from preschool and won't leave my side.  "Mommy, play with me....mommy, sit with me...mommy, don't fold laundry.." and then repeat that 30 times a day.  I have been trying to be very intentional about setting aside time with him and I think I feel, even today, that he was starting to feel a little more secure in mommy's love.  :)

Annabella of course is in mommy heaven!  I've had to scold her a few times for trying to pick her up and carry her around like a doll (hard wood floors+newborn+ inexperienced baby holder...yikes!).  She has also learned the new "language" of talking to babies and is quite fluent in it as well.  I have to remind her that she can talk normal because Mercy is asleep  :)  It's so cute though watching her talk to Mercy when no-1 is watching..."Oh little Mercy, one day your gonna be big enough and were gonna have lots of tea parties together and I'm gonna introduce you to my two best friends, Ana and Leah, and then all four of us can be best friends!!!!"  **melts my heart**  :))

Malachi is definitely the biggest surprise.  I mean, I knew that he was going to be excited about her and that he would love her....but I had NO idea that he would adore her this much!!  :)  The other two kids will try to wake her up and put hats on her and make her "clap" her hands....but Malachi is perfectly content just holding onto her hand and stroking her hair and singing her a song.  When she is in her swing, he will just sit and watch her and will protect her from any intruders (Ezekiel..haha).

Charlie and I, of course, are in love.  She truly is such a picture of mercy!!  As I look into her eyes I really do feel like God is speaking his mercy over our family and over the body of Christ!  Being in a season where life can be really tough at times, I am forced to cry out to the Lord for His mercy daily...and she is such a sweet reminder that His mercy is new EVERY morning!!!!

P.S You can see pictures on my other blog:  http://www.photographybyfrances.com/blog/

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The rewards of motherhood

So I thought I would tell you about our dinner time banter tonight.

To give you some background story- I was trying to get dinner ready in the midst of a very dirty house (weekends lend themselves to that) while trying to get the boys to clean up their mess.  All the sudden I hear a crash and the lamp falls crashing on the floor and pieces of glass fly everywhere.  

So far this is but a typical evening.

Lets fast forward to dinner time.

We are all sitting around the table now. I made beans and rice and cornbread.

Charlie- "honey...this looks a little different than last time you made it." 
Annabella- "Yeah...It looks like POOP!"
Ezekiel and Malachi- "Yeah mom...yuckkk!!"
Me- **sigh**
Charlie- "guys don't talk like that...be polite..."
Malachi- "mom, next time you make this can you make it taste.......good?"
Annabella- *silently spitting out her food on the table*

And this is when Charlie and I just bust into laughter.  I mean, what else are ya gonna do?! 

The next hour is spent with me cleaning up our messy kitchen but my eyes are drawn to my charming husband and three little munchkins all on top of him laughing.  

Yes, if I am willing to see beyond the mess...beyond the chaos...beyond the noise... I find joy.  :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

"Dont feed the bear" :)

I get huge with all my pregnancies. I'm not sure why..okay maybe I have a slight idea why.. :) but in my defense it's like when my body starts creating a little life all of the rest of me just shuts down including my once very fast metabolism. at least that's what I tell myself. :) but then again it's mainly my belly that gets huge... It's like my baby's come out as small people rather than infants. Maybe you think I'm over reacting... Let me give four scenarios that have happened on the last 2 weeks

1. We were at chick fil a and the sweet little Chick-fil A worker asked me when I was due... actually I think her exact question was, "You must be due any day??!!" I smiled and said I still had 3 and a half more months.  She looked mortified but I reassured her that she really isn't hallucinating..I just get huge.  And no, she doesn't have to be worried about having babies someday cause I'm sure she would be in the majority of cute pregnant people that don't like 9 months pregnant at 18 weeks.  haha  :)

2. We were at the park and a mom of twins and I started chatting it up.  We started discussing children, potty training and your typical "mom park talk"...but it just had to be addressed...like a giant white elephant in the room (no pun intended...hehe)..she then said, "You must just be sooo ready to pop that baby out already?!"  I laughed and told her what I tell everybody... she then looked stunned.  She clearly could not hide her astonishment and blurted out, "and you're SURE you're not having twins??!!!"   Pretty sure lady!!  :)

3. And this last one is just a reaction from most people in the grocery store, Library, and everywhere else I go.  "Oh when are you gonna have that baby?" Then I respond.  "Oh you poor thing!!!"

4. I went in for my doctors appointment and first thing they make you do is weigh yourself.  Of course I practically get half naked in order to shed off as many ounces as possible. :)  I was pretty discouraged by the number but forgot what I was last time so thought I was maybe doing okay. But when I walked into that doctors office, his expression said it all. "Hmm..surely this is wrong." hahaha  never something you want to hear.  "It said you have gained __ pds (hey a girls gotta be discreet hehe) in 3 weeks...yes, we need to weigh you again..that just can't be right."  Of course...it was right. :)

So now that I am finally getting farther along I feel like a little more justified in my hugeness...that or I just have come accustomed to it.  It definitely helps now that little bit is moving all the time and the joy of knowing she's inside me absolutely out ways everything else!!!  Really though, it just makes me laugh.  Mommy-hood is such a precious, crazy, exhausting, and rewarding gift and I feel blessed (even in my hugeness) that I get to be apart of it!

This picture was taken around 20 weeks.  I tried to get my "good side". haha  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Annual Family Beach Trip

 This post is a little over due..(the next several will probably be).  We've just been busy and now that summer is in full swing I can barely find time to juggle laundry and dirty floors let alone being on the computer.  *sigh* Well, before the craziness of summer time we went on our annual family beach vacation with Charlie's family. This was our second year to Rosemary Beach in Florida and it was beautiful, of course! And as always be prepared for lots of pictures! :)

 This was one of our first nights.  We all went down to get pizza for mothers day and let the kids run around outside.  Silly pictures were the product :)

 I heart them.

 We went to get ice cream and somehow all of the other kids managed to keep clean but Ezekiel.  Oh Ezekiel. It's like he doesn't even feel it on his face.

 I guess we hadn't been to the pool in awhile (the mountains of North Carolina don't really lend themselves to year around pool weather) so Ezekiel was petrified to get near the water at first.  He would just sit on the stairs and watch; but when Charlie would try to carry him in, even with floats, he would begin to have a panic attack.  Poor kid.  I am very happy to say that from then until now he is WAYY better and actually loves the water!

 Malachi and Annabella were a different story.  They loved the pool from the second they got in and wanted to learn to swim right away.  Annabella was still a little un-sure of doing it all by herself but by the end of the week Malachi went from totally having to using his floats to pretty much swimming by himself!

 The boys insisted that Charlie teach them Trivial Pursuit.  What can I say?  Geniuses.  :)

 Annabella and her cousin Latham showing each other the latest cool apps. #TheNewGeneration

 Grandpa is always being attacked by all the kids..usually at once. :) 

 Ricki, Jaime and I.  My little belly is just starting to poke out! 

 Okay, so doesn't this kids look JUST like Ezekiel from the back!?!  It was so crazy!  I kept thinking it was him 

 The cousins collaborating to make a sand castle

 Now Uncle Nick and Grandpa join in :)

 My mom's good friend also has a house in Rosemary Beach so my family was there a couple of days while we were there as well.  We got to see my sister and meet her fun boyfriend Josiah.  The kids loved him right away cause he knew how to throw them across the pool...I guess that's a kid's love language.  :)

 Resting time  :)

 The boys chasing the waves

 Annabella very content enjoying a little quiet

 Charlie teaching the boys a little frisbee

 The two oldest cousins
 The daddies and grandpa took the kiddos in the water so us mamas could relax on the sand

 Lookin good as always :)

 One of the many attempts as a cousin picture..

 and then there's Ezekiel...


 he just can't ever be like everyone else...always has to stand out.  I love him.  

 We were out getting some ice cream and next thing I know Annabella has made her way to a table with a mom and her two daughters and was just chatting away!  I'm pretty sure she would have gone home with them. ;)
 My precious Malachi looking out to see if he can catch a glimpse of a shark.  On one of our last days we went to Gulf Marine Park- a fun place with dolphin shows and other fun things

 Ezekiel wanting to jump in but being held back against his will

 he will settle for a touch..  :)

 Malachi was having a hard time reaching one but with Charlie's help he finally could reach far enough

 the dolphin show

Another attempt at a cousin picture..it just doesn't seem to be in the cards this trip :)

As always it was so fun being able to hang out with Charlie's family at the beach!!!  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The American Dream

"Mom, what do you want to be when you grow up?"  This is what Annabella came home from school asking me the other day.

"Well, Annabella...believe it or not I am already all grown up and I am doing my most favorite thing...taking care of you and your brothers."   She then replied with a sigh, "I know, I know...but what do you really want to be? You could do anything!  You should go to college!!  Grandma could watch me and the brothers and you could go learn something!"

 I then started to laugh.  I couldn't help it.  I thought she was attending Kindergarten but apparently college prep and goal planning starts early these days.  :)

But she wouldn't let it go.  She then started again, "Well I am gonna go to college!  I want to be a scientist...AND a teacher!"  "What about the dream you told me about a few months ago about having a big orphanage and lots of children?  Do you not want to do that anymore?" I asked.  She shrugged her shoulders and thought a moment.. "Hmm..I know!  YOU could watch my kids!!"   Hahaha

I knew then that we needed to have a little talk.  :)

Everywhere our children are bombarded with the American dream...we can be anything we set our minds to!  We can do anything!  We just have to press onward..work harder...dream bigger.   Now I am all about challenging my children and letting their little minds imagine being the first astronaut to live on Mars (my boys current obsession).  But I think it has gone far beyond that and I don't think I agree with any of it.

I started out by telling Annabella that a lot of times God gives us dreams and desires and tucks them away in our hearts and that is because He has a calling for our lives and they will be used to glorify Him and help others see Him.  BUT our question should NEVER be, "what do I want to be?" or what do I want for my life?" But always asking what the Lord has for me.  I then told her sometimes it may not seem like it's the most fun thing to do or not really what we want right then but we can ALWAYS trust Jesus that He knows what's best for our lives. That this life is soooo very short and one day in heaven God promises us a GREAT reward (she wanted to talk about that for awhile  :)  ) but in this life sometimes things might be kinda hard and we might not always get what we want or what we feel like we should get...but that is not what this life is about and there is JOY in that!!!  God is still soo amazing and gracious and lets us have such wonderful blessings in this life BUT this is not our real home.  We are HIS..we are created by Him and for HIM. Even still... He loves us SO much and really does know what is the very best thing for your life and whatever that is..a scientist or a trash collector...if you are trusting the Lord and saying YES to Him then one day it will all be worth it!!!!

At first I didn't know if maybe it was too heavy for her.  But she seemed to get it.  I don't ever want to crush her dreams or to discount all the amazing things that the Lord has instilled in her; but, as her mother and as the person that God has chosen to raise her I cannot sit back and minimize who God is.  Yes, sometimes (okay, maybe more than sometimes) I wish that I could just do what I want when I want and make my own plans. But there is never life in that and that is never what the Lord designed.  "In the presence of the Lord there is fullness of JOY."  I want ALL that the Lord has for my children and I know that they will start having to make their own decisions...but with LOTS of prayer and- by God's grace- some sort of wisdom to offer them... I have faith that they will be and already are becoming little lovers of Jesus who say yes to Him!  :)