Friday, May 30, 2014

Goodbye Perfectionism

Hello, Friends!
It's been a while because I've been doing a LOT of work on my home. We are in the midst of a complete remodel. I made the mistake of buying an AMAZING new sectional at IKEA back in April.

That, in turn, got me in the mood to pull up the "we've had six kids in 10 years" carpet. After a weekend of tack strips and the most disgusting dust you've ever seen, we were carpet free!
My nasty finds under the carpet on the stairs.

Manly doing his "we just pulled up the carpet" dance. Yeah, be jealous!

Then I decided to paint. Turns out they were having a buy one get one free sale on paint at Ace(who in my opinion is the best place to buy paint in our little town). We went back SEVERAL times over the weekend to get all the paint we needed. 22 paint cans later we were SET.
Manly finishing up the scary high wall on the stairs. When I tried to lean over and paint it made me dizzy.

Next comes the sanding, removal of wall paper, and taking down cabinets and drawers. Needless to say, every waking moment that isn't spent loving on the kids, changing diapers, or cooking meals is spent trying to keep this project in motion.
A barricade I made to keep tiny tot out of the kitchen while the paint was drying. I finished this up at naptime, and didn't want him to get in there. Again. It worked for about 2 seconds.

Here is proof of the little turkey being present in the kitchen. Don't worry, it's dust from sanding, not paint spots.

Manly does all the tight spot painting. I come behind him with a roller and brush.

One of our first after pictures. I love how they look. They'll be open cabinets and look so nice once they're loaded with pretty dishes.

The boys LOVE to help their dad. I walked into the bathroom where Manly was working only to find this sweet little hammer amidst Dad's tools.

This is my crazy paint face. Only see this one after 10pm.

Of course the end of the school year has brought with it lots of activities for the big girls. We've been to award assemblies, a talent show, taken part of a fund raiser, toured the (GASP!) Middle School, and gone on several field trips. Due to the crazy cold winter we had with lots of snow, our kids still have a few days left of school, but they are SO ready for SUMMER!!
KK with her three awards. The other two girls have their award assemblies next week

The crazy poses I got when they told me they wanted to take a picture with an Indian...I have NO idea!

At the Memphis Zoo. They LOVE that place. It's WAY better than our local zoo.

Silly KK walking like an Egyptian.

Jonesy and Momma. He loves his momma. Poor boy doesn't get to leave the house much thanks to his immunity issues. We're hoping after a few more months of good health he'll be stronger and able to fight off more sicknesses.

The "big kids."

Addi with her friend from school having a playdate.

Livi and her friend from school after they sang together in the talent show.

The girls went to see Snow White the ballet at the Children's Theatre with Aunt Em.

Lulu did a presentation on volcanos for Addi's class. The little kids and I came to watch. Here she is with her volcano.

Here she is right before her presentation.

Our "we're crazy for remodeling our entire house with six kids under ten" pose.
With all that's been going on I'm learning to let go of a LOT of things that I used to really work hard to keep. It feels good to not be so worried about if the kids have on matching clothes, the house is in perfect order, or the dinner is ready right on time. I'm learning to say goodbye to perfection. I say learning, because I'm not fully there yet. There are still things I like to have done. For instance, it still makes me glitchy if the bed isn't made. Ha! There are a few things that I still try to keep up with because it's the way I like them, but it's been pretty freeing to be able to loosen up a little more in the last few weeks and let my house be covered in dust from the remodel without going nuts.
Stay with me, things are about to get fun around here!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I Need You.

Sitting here listening to music for Sunday, and it hit me. I. Need. You. Yeah, I've posted about this song before. It's probably my favorite for the last year, which is saying a LOT because I have a lot of "favorite songs." BUT, the truth of the matter is, friends, we need Him.
Parenting is tough stuff. Not for the faint of heart for sure. There are days that by 7:30AM I'm beat. I feel like throwing in the towel, going back to bed, pulling the covers over my head and crying myself back to sleep.
There are lunches to fix, towels to wash, beds to make, booboos to heal, tears to dry, porches to sweep, husbands to respect, hearts to mold, minds to teach, lessons to learn...the list goes on and on. It's so easy to get "all up in your head" as a friend of mine says, about parenting. You start thinking too much about yourself  and what YOU are doing. You can have a good day and think to yourself, "Heh! I did it! We had a good day!" only to be followed by the worst day of your life and think, "What did I do wrong?!" Why? Because this little life isn't in our hands. Good thing too, because I'd be dropin it like it's hawt! Ha!
It's the days where I feel weak and cry out to the Lord that I look back on and think, "How in the world did I make it through this wild crazy day?" that really make me feel courage to get up and do it again tomorrow.
Read this, friend. There is NO WAY to parent in these current times without leaning on the Lord. There is too much badness. Too much sadness. Too much tolerance or intolerance-depending on the issue. Our sweet tiny littles are surrounded by "the world." Our MOST IMPORTANT job is to turn them toward Jesus. Teach them to rest in Him. Teach them to love Him. Teach them to rely on Him. Teach them that they NEED Him. Oh, and that goes for us too.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Few Tidbits on Mothering

What a lovely Mother's Day we had yesterday. It was very different than those in the past, but as I was lounging on the couch after the kids were in bed, eating Chili's takeout I thought to myself, "I've had a really nice day." That's a god feeling. It's easy to get dreams in your head of what the day will be like, only to have those dreams be blown to smithereens when reality sets in say, oh, around 5AM Sunday morning. While I was thinking last night a few things came to me that I've learned in the last ten years. These things are in no way intended to make you wiser, but you might just get a kick out of them. I'm listing six things. Not because I don't have more, but because that's the number of children we've been blessed with, and it seems like a perfectly good number to me!
  • Never leave an unattended beverage. Never. I don't care if you put it on the counter and think there's no way little Timmy is going to climb up and get it. Know this. He will. Little Timmy has climbing powers that are likened to those of Spider Man. He will get on that counter, drink your beverage, and as sure is I am living, Timmy will THROW your beverage container(generally glass) on the floor just to see what happens.
  • Don't assume because you close the door it'll stay that way. This goes for bathroom AND bedroom doors. This is a behavior that must be trained. Doors will be opened, and resting mothers(be it on the bed or on the "throne") will be spotted.
  • Know that if it's not nap time, and it's quiet, there's something going DOWN in your house. No, seriously, get up and FIND THOSE KIDS. First place to check if you have kids under three-THE BATHROOM, next place-the pantry. If in doubt, seek them OUT! Mine are generally stuffing something in the commode, unrolling paper towels, or squeezing out toothpaste. These are only examples though, don't be thrown off if you've got your own battles.
  • If you are ready to go, someone is going to have an accident. This may be an actual "I needed to go potty and waited too long" accident, or they could fall and scrape their knee on the sidewalk, spill milk all down their dress, be wrestling with dad and loose a hair clip, or in my recent case, be "trying to fix a stapler" and staple their own dag blasted HAND! Oh there will be blood, sweat, tears, feces, you name it. If you're ready to walk out the door it's GONNA happen. Mark my words.
  • Don't use open ended words like "maybe," "we'll see," "we might," or "in a minute." These only allow your children to question you again, and again, and again. I promise. Try words like, "NO," and "Are you out of your mind," or my favorite, "Not on your life!" But seriously, leaving things up in the air can really get a momma nutso in a heartbeat. Try to be decisive. If you can't, know that you're going to need some distractions...QUICK!
  • Go with your gut. I mean, the Lord gave it to you. He wants you to use it! Well, for more than digestion and all. This is one of the most important pieces of advice my dear granny ever gave me. You may have been told there's nothing wrong with Susie, but if you feel in your gut that Dr. is wrong, you go with it. Mother Gothel is right, Mother really does know best. If you've got a feeling, don't ignore it. Go with it!
So there you have it, folks. Don't say I never taught you anything. Ha! Now, you didn't think I was going to leave you without pictures from our day did you!?! Well, here you go!

To say my cup runneth over would be understating it to say the least. I'm so blessed by these littles who call me momma. Each day they make me smile. I'm gushing with pride that they are mine!
People always ask me how we get them all to smile so nicely for pictures. THIS is how! I promise them that if they'll smile for me I'll let them take silly pictures. All of these were taken with the camera timer and tripod. Hysterical.

Oh this little boy of mine is a MESS, but OH SO SWEET!

My big girls being...themselves.


Sweet Mia Jane.

Face of an angel, I tell you, but she's got the will of an OX!

These two are probably the closest of all my kids to one another. They miss each other so much when Addi goes to school. They are buddies, and friends, and I love that they are so close to one another.

Here's another set of buddies with Livi's new bunny, Ms...something or another. I can't remember.
Here's my big boy playing with his truck. This boy LOVES to play.
And here is my sweet boy just sitting next to his momma taking a break. He loves his momma...and Sprite.

When we got home I took off Eli's clothes because he was dirty, and I put my Mother's Day shirt on him to take his picture. He WOULD NOT be still for me, so you'll just have to deal with these instead. He's such a HAM!

He was saying, "Go! GO! GO!" And throwing himself backward trying to make the chair rock! Ha!

Monday, May 5, 2014

International Midwifery Day

Today is International Midwifery Day! You all know that two of our littles were born at home using a midwife team. These ladies are like a part of the family now, so I wanted to dedicate a special post to them. I'm so thankful for the support they give to families. If you are interested in having a midwife I HIGHLY suggest you get their information from me. Choosing to use a midwife was a big step of faith for me, but it was one of the best decisions we ever made! There care was spectacular, and they put our entire family at ease. Thanks to my "dream team!" Love you SO much!!
Holly, Kim, and Mary on Eli's birthday.

Here they are doing their thing and walking me through delivery.

Inspecting Eli. Can you tell they love their job?

Love this picture of Kim, and I love how she cherishes every moment of doing what she does!

This lady is a rock star! One of the most amazing people I know.
If you ever get to be under her care you'll agree!

Mary has so much experience and wisdom in child birthing.

Thank you, ladies for being AMAZING at what you do.
Here's to many more babies born into the world under your care!
Love you!
(Thanks to Paula Bean Photography for these wonderful pictures from Eli's birth.)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, Moose!

Today we celebrate three years of Amelia Joy Smittle!

My Mia has proven herself to be one of the sweetest children on the planet. She's quick to give compliments, tender hearted, and such a little mother with her baby brother(who she called HER baby up until about 3 months ago.). She's feisty, sassy, and opinionated-all traits she got from her mother, I'm sure.

She's got the most precious smile, and bright eyes that sparkle with excitement. When she smiles her whole face smiles with her. She has some of the cutest expressions. She reminds me so much of Olivia as a toddler.

She's silly, and loves to make us laugh. Although she was PAINFULLY shy this time last year, she's started to come out of that a lot since the big girls went to school.

She's a really fast runner, and gets away with being sneaky with her brothers and sisters because she can make a quick getaway. She loves being the baby girl, but is quick to add she's also a big girl.

Mia also has several nicknames: Moose is the most common name I call her, but I also started calling her Mia Jane or Janie or Jane Jane when she was a baby, and that has also stuck. Other names she'll answer to are Moo, Moo Moo, and Mooskie.

She loves her momma through and through. She's probably the one child out of the six that would be pick me over Manly. That's not to say she doesn't also love to wrestle with her daddy and brothers too though.

She loves her big sister, Olivia. They have a very special bond because since birth she's been Olivia's buddy. Olivia has helped to care for Mia, and in turn, Mia loves her fiercely.

She still hums or moans or whatever you want to call it when she eats. It's weird, but we've gotten mostly used to it. We still have to quiet her down sometimes when she starts getting loud at the table.
We are so glad the Lord decided to bless our family with our Mia Jane. She's brought so much JOY to us these last three years. We can't wait to see what God has ahead for her.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Sweet Mia!  

Her favorite things right now are Frozen, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, All things princess, and...FROZEN. Did I mention FROZEN!? Seriously, Mia, LET IT GO ALREADY! It was only fitting that we had a "Frozen party." I say that loosely because if you know me, you know I LOVE to throw huge parties. I just wasn't able to do that this year because of some health related issues, but that was all well and good by Mia. Big crowds of people giving her undivided attention aren't exactly her thing anyway! We had my parents meet us at her favorite place, Larry's, and we had pizza and cake and lots of Frozen themed gifts! It was perfect for her and she didn't even cry when we sang, which was a huge step forward from last year.
Eating her birthday breakfast. She asked for chocolate syrup and biscuits. YUM!
The cake I slaved over picked up at Kroger! It looked great until Mia tried to pick it up to look at it right before we ate. It was still perfect and SO much easier than making our own!

Birthday Girl! Isaiah said, "Mom! I don't really think she turned THREE!!! She still looks TWO!" 

SO happy to get her beads from KK, and her Elsa dress and crown from mom and dad.

Checking out the gift Addison gave her.

Nana and Pop got her the Anna dress and doll! I couldn't get her to lay down for a nap without promising she could wear the dress the rest of the afternoon after she woke up. She's SO excited!

Listening to us sing to her she just looked down at her cake and half smiled.

After cake blue smile with Nana.

This little MESS after eating his cake. He's still laying up in his bed trembling and talking after all this sugar!!!