Jimmy's 40th

My love Jimmy turned 40 at the beginning of this month.  We had a birthday weekend extravaganza.  Jimmy's entire family was here.  His parents, brother Jon, and brother Gary and family who are visiting from Israel.  (They stayed for four nights and the cousins had tons of fun!)

We started with dinner out on Friday night, no kids allowed.  Except Violet, of course, because she's little and cute and doesn't interrupt your conversation.

Our good friend Christopher flew all the way from the Pacific Northwest to party.  Woot woot!

Saturday we hit the park with lunch put together by Jimmy's mom (who worked like crazy all weekend to make everything happen) and an awesome kickball game with lots of preschoolers, 40 year old men, and everyone in between.

Happy Birthday, Jimmy!  We love you!

Photos only post (12/1-12/18)

The Crazy and the Unseen

I know I have said many times here on the blog that my life is crazy.  I hate repeating myself, but life really is crazy.  I can remember back when I had three or four kids and I'd babysit for a friend who might have two or three.  And my entire afternoon would be filled with managing 6 kids.  I'd be exhausted that evening and would think I deserved all kinds of credit for handling all that for a few hours.  Now, that is my normal.  Managing that number of children all day, every day.  It's no one thing, it's just all the little things together that make for a constant low level of chaos.

In the midst of all the life going on around here are some really cute and fun and wonderful times.  My fear is that I miss these times because I'm too preoccupied with the daily grind...just keeping everyone bathed and fed and somewhat educated.

Today Cash asked me for a snack.  A simple unsurprising request.  But, on my way to try and catch a 20 minute nap, it stressed me out.  Whatever I find has to be enough for everyone.  And if its not somewhat healthy, I suffer mom guilt.  I didn't want to give him anything, but knew nap would be easier for me if they were snacking.  I told him I would pop him some popcorn.  Sighing, I got out the popper to begin the process.  As I was plugging it in he said, "Mom?  What's for dinner?"  Ahhhh!  It never ends.  There is always a dish to wash, a load of clothes to fold, a belly to fill, a diaper to change, a book to read, or shoes to find.

You know what?  I have no idea what's for dinner.  Ever.

"Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  2 Cor. 4:16-18

I see a mess.  I see closets that need to be organized.  I see laundry, dishes, and dust.  But the unseen will be my focus.  The hearts and minds of these six kids.  The spiritual health of me and my family.  And Jesus.  Because I can't mother anything without Him.


Our Kitchen

This week I have been thinking about our kitchen, which in our house is the kitchen/dining room with the original wall between the two torn down.

We eat in this room.  We home school in this room.  We create in this room.  We edit photos in this room.  We listen to music in this room.  We pretend in this room.  We laugh in this room.  We fight in this room.  We color, cut, and paste.  We use play doh.  We spill things.  We trip over things.  We yell at the dog.  We get haircuts.  We play games.  We shave the dog.  We visit with friends.

It is where all 8 of us spend 90 percent of our time.  (Well, Violet spends a lot of time in her crib.)

We have 9 other rooms in our house.  We could choose to spread out.  Yet we always end up together in the kitchen.  The vast majority of learning in my children's lives takes place in the square footage of my kitchen.

When you are all together so much of the time, and your days seem to run together, time plays tricks on you.  Time seems to be slow one minute and racing past the next.  In my mind I know it is moving at exactly the same speed, but there is some kind of phenomenon that makes it seem to speed up and slow down.

Wasn't it just a few months ago that we came to see this house when it was for sale and talked about tearing down this load bearing wall to separate the kitchen and dining room?  My children ran around and Juliet sat in her infant car seat?  And today she is using scissors and writing and making jokes?

Time moves, and my children grow up without my consent.  It is maddening.  It won't be long and it will be a rare occurrence that all of us will even be in the same room.  I try to live in the moment and soak it all up because I know it is fleeting.  When I have the right perspective, I want the kitchen to last forever.  But in all honesty, it is a loud, crazy place that I prefer to escape sometimes.

May I love the crazy and choose to turn up the music of my life.  And embrace the kitchen for the wonderful chaos it is.


Dear Violet

Dear Violet,

Your first month of life has passed already. I cannot believe how fast time moves when you are watching a newborn baby grow.  We are ready for bed and you are asleep on me, but even though I need sleep I don't want to lay you down...

I feel as if I could hold your sleeping form on my chest forever. And that in doing so, time would stand still for us. And me and you, Violet, would become a statue in front of a building or in the middle of a fountain at a park. We would become worn by the elements. We might tarnish or chip or fade, but our position would remain. You, a newborn baby, and me, your mom, doing nothing but enjoying each other. 

People would see us. Some would walk by, not really interested in our bond. Some would steal a glance. But some understand us. They know we are knit together, mother and daughter, in every possible way. They would feel for a moment what we feel right now. 

I don't want to take a picture. I don't want a video. I don't want a birth announcement or photos posted into thin air. I want a huge iron statue of you and I,  as we are right now, sculpted in my mind forever, to be on display in my heart until the day that I die. I never want to forget the feeling of you asleep on my chest, your breath filling me with affection every rise and fall. Your features always beautiful, no matter your expression. Your being alone making my life more full. 

I love you Violet. We all love you. You are our daughter, our sister, our baby. You are welcome in our family. 

Forever yours,


Costumes 2014

Costumes 2014
Jackson: Captain Kirk (old school)
Libby: a Bride
Cash:  Spock
Penelope: Elsa (Frozen)
Juliet: Anna (Frozen)
Violet: a violet kitty
Elise (my niece who came to FSU this fall): inspired by Captain America - Winter Soldier


Joy has a color

Well, it has happened.  I am on the other side.  I actually delivered the baby.  Nearly a week late, but she is here.  When you click off day after day post due-date, you wonder if it's ever going to happen.  Your mind plays tricks on you and you truly begin to believe that you are going to be eternally pregnant.  But that's impossible (thank goodness) and it has happened and I am done.  The birth story will have to be told on the blog another day.

Currently she is asleep on Jimmy's chest while we enjoy the solitude of the hospital for a final night.  Although I would prefer my own bed, I am soaking up the quiet and lack of children and questions and chaos of our normal world.

The chaos of our kids descended yesterday and they were all SO excited to meet their new baby sister.  Juliet got to hold her first, since Juliet was a big sister for the first time.  She was very excited but the best part of Juliet to me was when she asked me to hold her.  She has missed my lap and my ability to hold her against my chest these last few months.  We happily had a lap reunion in my hospital bed.

The rest of the children held her, youngest to oldest.  They also brought me endearing notes and flowers.  They had mismatched clothes, dirty faces, and messy hair.  I loved it.  It was all just as it should be.  My wonderful dad had been waiting on me (for six days!) to have the baby so he could be THE ONE and be there for my kids while mom, Jimmy, and I were in labor.  I appreciated his willingness to wait and then be an amazing Pop-Pop.  Nice clothes and clean faces are totally optional.

Today Jimmy was looking back at some old photos of our last two babies, to compare the looks of these last three.  Trying to see who looked like who.  Because of this, I came across some old photos of our kids, some of me pregnant with previous children...and the immense happiness and blessing I felt was almost overwhelming.  (I am, after all, post partem and thus emotional now.)  My children are healthy, wonderful, amazing, and they just keep being more fun, more exciting, and more full of life every day.

This pregnancy was not fun, exciting, wonderful, or amazing.  It was challenging, hard, and miserable at times.  Yet God kept reminding me that I was full of joy.  (Psalm 16) I had a life inside me.  I was literally filled with joy.  I knew this, but because of the difficulties I felt this joy was cloaked in uncertainty, obstacles, and pain.  Cloaked in suffering, but still one hundred percent joy.

So her name is Violet Joy.  Violet is an interesting color.  It covers a range of emotions.  It is not a color clear in message.  But it is now.  Because Joy has a color.  And her name is Violet.