Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Today's Dreams are Tomorrow's Reality

I recently read a great article from ParentLife Magazine about helping to discover your kids unique gifts. It can be tough to see some things our kids have as gifts. For instance, my KK talks non-stop about food. No, seriously, the child talks about food ALL DAY LONG. It drives me crazy! I want to say, "STOP TALKING ABOUT FOOD!" probably 100 times a day. BUT, if I look at it as God gifting KK with a talent to prepare and serve food I can more appropriately talk to and train her for the future.
Since Olivia was tiny she has wanted to be an animal rescuer. Now she's felt the calling to be a missionary, but her love for animals is still there, and if you were to ask her she would likely tell you that she desired both things. It's my job as mom to be sure to sharpen these interests, and give her time to see if it really is something she is called to. Can her desires for the future change, OF COURSE! She's only 8. BUT, I can see her love for people groups and animals as a God given gift, and remember the words of Paul from Philippians 1:6 "I am sure of this, that He who created a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus!" I believe that God is preparing amazing things for our kids. It's my job to be their biggest fan and PRAY for success for them. No matter what that looks like for them.
SO, how can you find some of your kids unique gifts even at a young age? I asked the following questions:
  1. Today, if you could do anything you'd like, what would it be?
  2. In high school(I said when you are a teenager), what activity do you most want to participate in?
  3. When you're 23, what do you want your career to be?
When I asked my kids these questions these are the answers I got:

  1. Be with Jesus!
  2. Color with a red crayon.
  3. A Monster Truck driver!
  1. Help someone that was hurt.
  2. First she said, "Experience a baby deer." when I asked her to explain what that meant she said, "ACTUALLY! I want to do big kid swimming!"
  3. Work at a doctor office. Take care of animals.
Emma Claire
  1. Go to Disney World.
  2. Draw a BIG picture on BIG paper. When I asked her to explain I learned she was talking about drawing murals.
  3. Working at LARRY'S PIZZA!!!!
  1. Take Palin(her dog) to a dog show and win first prize.
  2. Art
  3. Missionary work
Obviously, some of these answers are silly, but when I really stop and think about them I start to find the hidden truths of who my kids are. SO, here are my thoughts.

First of all, BE WITH JESUS!! Are you serious? I just melted when he said that. He desires to be good and please his parents. I think he will have a future being a bold Christian and leader for his family some day.
When he said color with a red crayon I thought of two things. Number one, red is his favorite color. Number two, he's NEVER still for long while coloring. BUT, then I thought about how passionate he is about things like red being his favorite color. He's like that about other things too. He wants to be sure you know certain things about him right off the bat. I think this statement more shows me about his passion than what he actually wants to do as a teenager.
Right now he is TOTALLY into monster trucks. He got that way because Manly took him to see them for a guys night. Bubby doesn't get a lot of time with just Scotty because there just isn't a lot of time right now for that, but it has shown us that he LOVED spending that time just hanging out being a BOY with his dad. This reminds me to be sure to block off time for my boy to be a boy with his dad. We need to be sure that we make time to train him to be a good dad and husband because he has a wild masculine heart that needs to be tended to.

I was a little surprised by some of Addi's answers. Mostly because you never know what in the world that girl is going to say. BUT, I think the common theme of her answers is that she loves caring for others. She's always had such a caring soft heart for others. She's my child that will stop in the store just to chat with an elderly couple because she knows they may just need a smile. She's the first to tell strangers to have a nice day. She'll tell someone at the cash register that she likes their shirt or that they are pretty.
I learned from this that her answer, "Do big kids swimming." that I need to be sure to include her in as many big girl activities as possible. I'm sure it's hard being the middle of 6. I'm going to plan to put her in swim lessons this summer to see if it's something she really likes. If so, we may continue to see if it's something she's interested in and maybe join our local swim team. She has the build for swimming, so it may be something she's really good at.
I also see her need to please others in her answers. She and Olivia have talked at length about how they'll work together some day to save people and animals. I don't know if it's more something that Addi wants to do or that she just loves Olivia so much that she wants to please her and be with her. I want to be sure to cultivate in Addi her caring heart by getting her involved in community projects where she can serve others. I think that will be a time when she can really shine.

Emma Claire
Oh, my silly KK. Her answers were a little different than I thought they'd be, but not much! Ha! Her first answer shows her desire to go and do things. That girl would love nothing better than to NEVER be home. She loves travel and going places and seeing things. I hope to be able to let her go and see more as she gets older and we have less tiny littles in our home. I'm much like her in this respect. I love to just get up and go somewhere. I love that spontaneity I see in her.
Her second answer was a little strange to me until I asked her to explain it to me and she said, "Like on Ramona and Bezus(the movie) where Ramona and her dad paint the big picture and take it to the class and everyone loves it so much!" I think that KK wants to please others and be the "cool kid." I think sometimes she suffers the second child shadow. This answer made me realize I need to be sure to cultivate in her a desire to let others see her for who she IS. I don't want her to do things to try to be liked. I want her to learn that being herself will allow others to be drawn to her because who she is is really cool.
Working at Larry's is actually a big step forward from working at McDonalds(which has been her goal in life since she was old enough to talk!). Bottom line. The girl is PASSIONATE about food. She really doesn't EAT a lot of food, but she just loves everything about it. The flavors of spices, the smells of food cooking, the colors of the food, the presentation, she loves it all! She can smell a food and know what is in it. I have NO idea how God is going to use this gift, but I know this. It's an OBVIOUS gift. I decided I need to plan a time to allow her to serve meals to homeless or help me take a new mommy meal. I think this would be a great way to show her how to focus her gifting.

My Livi had a hard time not answering the questions for everyone else. She has a need to control(which is a common trait for the first born). Once it was her turn she was sure of her calculated answers, and quickly put them out there for me. These three answers are gifts we've seen in her for the last several years, so I wasn't surprised by any of the answers.
I do want to get her some help in training her dog because it's something she's asked about and I know that she would be really good at training her if she had some help and I just don't have the time to do it(or the know how). She loves her dog and cares for her. It's TOUGH having a pet in a large family, but I've learned to just let her to the taking care of her and depending on her to be responsible for Palin. She's proved herself worthy of being a doggie owner.
She's taken art classes before and loved it. I think we may need to look into it again, or at least really spend some time at home allowing her to do different types of art projects.
Almost two years ago she told Scotty and I that she felt like God was calling her to be a missionary. At the time she told us she wanted to go to Alaska, but as she's learned more and more about different people groups she's felt a tugging for several different countries. I see her as a total Amy Carmichael type. She cares so deeply for others. Her sweet tender heart squeezes for children and hurting people. She always wants to help out on mission projects, and is a REALLY hard worker. Although it hurts this momma's heart to think about her leaving me someday soon for foreign soil, I know that she was given to me to train up and send out. I plan to continue to cultivate a giving heart in her. I want her to understand that having a tender heart is both a blessing and a hardship. I have to train her to guard her heart, yet open it up for others.

SO, what else can we do? We can learn as much about our kids interests as possible. Be sure not to confuse your own interests for theirs. Don't bulldoze over their interests because it's not something you are interested in. Rent books and movies from the library. Check out your local area classes. Read up on what is available in your area. Talk to your spouse about what your plan can be. Ask others for advice who may already be in a field your kids are interested in. Most importantly, PRAY that you will be ready for whatever comes.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Picture Post (AKA NO! The Baby Didn't Come!)

I've reached the point of endless comments about not having Eli yet. Strange, I haven't even reached my due date, but I guess I must be big enough that everyone assumes I should have had him by now. SO, to take my mind off of my uterus, I decided to do a picture post and update our recent goings on.
On Wednesday Olivia has piano lessons at our house. I have started letting the little kids watch a short video so that it's easier to keep them still and quiet for a few minutes without going to sleep! They always look so cute all lined up on our bed.

My beautiful family all pretty for our Valentine's date to the hibachi grill.

Bubby was fascinated by the hibachi chef! His face makes me laugh.

Olivia was in heaven! She LOVES Japanese food.

Mia was VERY cautious of the whole experience!

This weekend the kids went to their cousin, Ada's first birthday. It was a princess theme, and guests were asked to dress as princesses and princes. They looked so pretty/handsome.

Bubby in his prince gear. He wanted "Flynn Rider hair.

Bubby with the birthday princess.

Eating their fill of party treats.

Addi and Daddy.

Mia liked EVERY speck of icing off of her cupcake before she actually ate the entire cupcake.

They all made their own princess hats. I asked Mia to smile at me so I could take her picture and this is what I got. Ha!

Another try at getting all the kids to smile together.

THEN, I gave up! Ha!
I tried to get a better picture of this, but didn't get it in time.
Manly looked so sweet holding her little baby princess hand.

There are several outfits I have in several sizes so that when the girls fit into them they will match. These two LOVE to match.


Love these two little sisters!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Home Brewed Smittle: Week 39. 1 to go.

Seriously? I really only have ONE week until my due date?! I can't believe it. I've hit all my goals. Now we're just coasting. I've had contractions just about every day, but nothing big and not enough to be actual labor. I'm fine with still being pregnant because I keep telling myself that Eli just isn't ready yet and the longer he's inside the more likely it is that he'll be fat and healthy.
My diaper/giftcard shower was wonderful! The shower was for my friend Susan, who just had her baby yesterday, and I together. It was so fun to share a shower. We had several friends come and we had a nice time chatting and laughing. We were blessed with tons of diapers, wipes, and giftcards.

My mom started a tradition of getting each of the kids a special gown and outfit to wear home from the hospital. Now that we birth at home that outfit is usually worn on their first Sunday at church. I'm in love with this little gown for Eli. It's Ralph Lauren and OH so soft and sweet.  I have it laying in the bassinet waiting for him and every time I look at it I just can't wait to get it on him!
Every night when Isaiah goes to bed he says, "Momma! I can't wait for Eli to be born!" Such a sweet boy! My Mia seems to be starting to understand a little about what is going on. She's still clueless, but as "baby things" start popping up around the house she's starting to point to my belly, point to the items, and say "day-dee"
My midwife gave me "Parents Emergency Birth Instructions" yesterday with things to do if the baby starts to come before she gets there. As long as I call her at the first signs of labor that is unlikely to happen, but just in case we got instructions of what to do. I read through them with Manly, and we both laughed out loud at the last one, which said, "Get the mother something to drink. You will probably need one too." Ha! Yeeeeeahhhh. I think Manly would be needing a drink if he just delivered a baby on his own! Ha! In reality, I was very glad to get them, but hope to not use them!
Babycenter doesn't have much to say about Eli's development other than he's just hanging out putting on a layer of fat and waiting to meet us! They have him at about 20 inches long and a little over 7 pounds-about the size of a mini watermelon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thankful List: Pregnancy Edition

I've been  known from time to time to think of random things I'm thankful for. This morning, as I was trying to take a shower I came up with a list of random items I'm thankful for especially right now. I am ALMOST 39 weeks pregnant. I've been pregnant 229 weeks in the last 9 years, so being pregnant is something I know a LITTLE bit about. Now, I'm no pro because every pregnancy is different, but here are some of my thoughts of thankfulness.
  • I'm thankful for the bar in my shower. For without it there is no way I'd be able to shave my legs or, at this point, take a shower at all.
  • I'm thankful for maxi dresses. They are the ONLY thing that feels comfortable right now and doesn't make me feel like I'm being cut in half.
  • I'm thankful for my husband's grey hoodie. I'm sure he'll be glad to have it back, but there are some days when pajama pants and that hoodie are just the right thing to keep me cozy and warm.
  • I'm thankful that we homeschool and I don't have to get kids ready and out the door by a certain time. I'm pretty sure the kids would be kicked out of school by now!
  • I'm thankful for my Livi who makes lunch for the kids every day.
  • I'm thankful that all the kids still nap(or at least have rest time).
  • I'm thankful that my husband, with a little nagging, will trim my toe nails for me.
  • I'm thankful for vitamin B complex. Without you, I'd still be in bed. You give me enough energy to make it through the day. Well, at least until naptime...
  • I'm thankful for the barstool I drug into the bathroom to sit in while I get ready. It makes that time so much more doable. 
  • I'm thankful for the kind of friends that know they can touch my belly and I won't get mad.
  • I'm thankful for friends who know they aren't the kind of friends who can touch my belly and they leave me alone.
  • I'm thankful that strangers haven't tried to touch my belly this time. I think it's because I look older and meaner. HA!
  • I'm thankful for cooshie seats.
  • I'm thankful for lots and lots of pillows that help me sleep at night.
  • I'm thankful for the stop watch on my phone to time contractions.
  • I'm thankful for friends that buy diapers as gifts.
  • I'm thankful for friends who give me hand me downs.
  • I'm thankful that in a few days I'll be finished with this season.
  • I'm thankful for the crockpot and the easy meals that come from it.
  • I'm thankful for netflix and the mind numbing hours of tv I have watched this pregnancy after the kids are in bed.
  • I'm thankful for friends who gave me a baby shower even though this is our SIXTH child.
  • I'm thankful that I'll be able to sell/get rid of my maternity clothes in a few weeks.
UPDATE!! I forgot two!
  • I'm thankful for peppermints. Without them I'd be crying from heartburn and nausea.
  • I'm thankful for kefir for the same reasons...
I think that's it for now. I could go on, but it's naptime and I'm sleepy!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ashley Gets Married!

This past weekend my BFF of 12+ years got married! I'd been praying for that day for such a long time, and it was almost like I was the one getting married I was so excited for her. Ashley has been such a fantastic friend to me over the last several years. She's brought me chocolate when I was sad, been there for me when all my babies were born, stood beside me at my wedding as my maid of honor, prayed for and with me, stood up for me, laughed with me, taught me new things, called me just to vent and allowed me to do the same. She's constant when the rest of the world is unstable. We've had our ups and downs, but I KNOW I can always depend on her. She loves me for who I am and I know she loves my family too.
When she first got engaged I was a little worried because I knew I'd likely be HUGE pregnant when she tied the knot, but it all worked out just fine. I was a bridesmaid and Manly and I sang. Here are some pictures of her bachelorette party and special day.

The beautiful bride-to-be. We went to a place where you paint your own canvas print.
It was a lot of fun and cool to see how they all looked different in the end.

They made Ash all these cute signs.

See? So cute!

Two of the other lovely bridesmaids getting ready to paint! Serena and Khristina

Two more smiley bridesmaids. Jennifer and Leigh Ann. Did I mention there were 7 of us!?

Khristina taking a little sip...

Ashley and her mom.

Ms. Cathy turns out to be an artist!

Ash and me.

My painting half way through. I ended up hating it in the end, but what are you gonna do?

All of us with our paintings. We were short two bridesmaids here.
The only picture appropriate for my blog from the gift part of our time together. Ha!

After opening gifts we have a wonderful time talking about what we loved about Ashley.
We each prayed over her which is what this picture is.
Leigh Ann doing Ashley's make-up.

Ashley arranged for two stylists to come to the church to do our hair. So much fun!

Ms. Cathy getting her hair done.

Me. In my dress. With Eli making himself known.
Leigh Ann(who I think looks like Adele) and me. We've been friends for a long time too!

Ash's cake was so so pretty! It looked like packed snow(her wedding was a winter theme).
She made the cake topper herself. So so pretty!

The girls with Aunt Ashley. They love her so much and were so happy to be at her wedding!

Olivia took this one of Ashley.

She also took this one of Ash and me.

And this one of Manly and I. He looked so handsome!!

The view from where Livi was sitting. Ha!
Manly singing while we walked down the aisle.

The bride and groom saying their vows.

Ashley getting ready to throw her bouquet to the bridesmaids.

By far my favorite picture of the day. The bridesmaids fighting it out!! HA!

Khristina wins! She was sad because they broke the bouquet.

The best pic of the day of our family. It was past nap time, so this was as good as it got!

The pretty bride and me.

LOVED her pretty blue coat! They had "snow" for us to throw. It looked SO pretty!!

The brides parents after they left. Such a FUN couple.
Loved them like second parents while I was in college.

Ms. Cathy living it up!!

KK sporting the Brides veil.