/> Raising Angels: July 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vacation Moments

There were moments during our vacation last week when I was holding my screaming baby who was viciously fighting sleep of any kind, that I wondered why God was doing this to me. I know that's hardly fair - after all, God has been so good to me. However, I'm human and I asked the question just the same.

Why would this happen on my vacation? Why was my perfect baby being so imperfect in front of everyone? How can I be a good witness of family life and Godly parenting when I feel so frustrated? Why did I choose to do this all over again? Little sleep equals lots of questions.

Then Thursday came and Max figured out his new surroundings and started sleeping again and all was right with the world. It wasn't the best vacation ever, but considering the infant combined with the construction, it had some really wonderful moments.

There were moments when I watched Dawson learn how to swim on his own. Moments when I watched my new 5 year old brave the waves with no lifejacket, do his first flip into the pool and golf with his dad for the first time ever (and boy oh boy was he a proud camper). Moments when I watched Mackenzie take the time to make friends at the beach and take care of her 1 year old cousin better than most of the adults in the place. Moments when Max fell asleep in my arms and I stared at his little face and saw the future.

So vacation was not a perfect picture...but then again, neither is life. We all survived it and even had fun (the big kids actually had a grand time). And you know what? Next year's vacation will be better.

Back After a Computer Crash and Burn

Ah, it's so nice to have you back old friend. I have missed our time together. There is so much to catch up on. But for now I am happy just to see you again.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On a Brighter Note

Dawson started swimming yesterday - real live, kick your feet and not touch the bottom swimming.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Murphey's Law

So we're on vacation. Our first vacation since we've finished the house. Our first vacation with Max. I'm currently sitting on the couch looking out the back windows. Guess what's there... a construction crew building a deck and putting on siding. Guess who's not sleeping...Max.

It's not the dream vacation. Can you imagine? You've spent the last three years enduring a constant state of construction and then you finally finish and go on vacation to find the very same thing.

Yeah...pray for me.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday Aiden!


Can it be that you are really 5 today? If I've learned anything, it's that there is a lot of life that can be lived in a very short time.

I chose the music for your video because it provides a pretty good picture of you at this age. I do indeed have to steal my kisses from you these days because of, in your words, "Ewww...make-up!" I don't know why you've suddenly become so germ conscious that you refuse to eat or drink after anyone else, especially when you will dig in the dirt outside and come in and eat pizza with those same dirty hands. Maybe it's just other people's germs that concern you. I will have to say that although I miss your affectionate, kissy days, I appreciate your kisses so much more now that you withhold more than you dole out.

The other song is your favorite one from VBS. I love the way you sing it with total abandon. I love that you call it your very favorite song. I love that I can watch you doing the motions in the rearview mirror. I hope you always approach the faith with such abandon.

The thing that stands out to me more than anything else over the past year is how much you've grown. There are moments where I can literally see you getting bigger. Somewhere over the past year, I lost my baby and got a boy in his place – a boy who is smart, curious, talkative, funny, scientific, adventurous and heading off to kindergarten in a few weeks. I know you're not going far, but I am going to miss you (and boy, oh boy is Dawson too).

You have a wonderful future in front of you. You have so many talents that we have yet to discover. You already have a personality that is magnetic and a smile that is going to have the girls swooning. As you know, I pray that you will always be your sister and brothers' best friend and defender. You are the oldest boy and, whether you like it or not, it's your job.

I can't think of a better person to get the job done.

I love you so much,


like when you have a boy turning 5 today and you're leaving for vacation tomorrow and the baby had go to the doctor's, there are just not enough hours in the day.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Um...Don't You Mean Ignore?

Tonight as I was tucking Mackenzie into bed she asked if she had been good today. I assured her she had but encouraged her to be kinder to her brothers, even when they aggravate her. I explained that she is the oldest and sometimes she should just walk away from the situation.

"So," she reasoned, "tomorrow when they do things like that I should just annoy them?"

Brotherly Love

This morning while Aiden was playing peek-a-boo with Max and had him laughing so hard it could be heard throughout the house, he leaned in close to him and whispered, "And THAT is why you're the cutest baby in the whole world.”

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Different Way to Get There

Tonight I was driving across town and had to brave the section of I-20 that feeds into 520 and is currently undergoing major reconstruction. We're actually going to have our very own spaghetti junction. Anyway, I was driving down roads that I've driven down for ...well, a lot of years. They are roads that are very familiar to me.

Tonight however, I felt like I was in a different town. Nothing looked the same and I was unsure how to get off on the exit that leads to my house. I found my way because the stores and restaurants were the same, but I couldn't believe how something so familiar to me suddenly looked like something I’d never seen before.

In that moment God showed me something about my life. There are periods in our lives when changes happen. Our surroundings stay the same, the direction is the same but the way we move forward makes everything look different - it changes the way we see things around us.

I’m still striving for the same destination, but over the years, the way I go to get there has changed. Once the change happens, I can't really go back to the way things were. However, if I figure it out, if I can still find my way, I may get there even quicker than before.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Great Compromise

She picks the game (haircuts) and they pick the style.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer Fun!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

At the End of the Day

Lately, at the end of each day I sit and ask myself, "What did I do today?" I am exhausted, things are a bit disheveled here and there and I haven't sat down at all. What did I do? Where did the time go? I sit there a bit disappointed in myself.

And then the rational part of my brain kicks in if only for a moment to whisper in my ear, "Remember, you have a four month old who eats every three hours or so. When he doesn't need you, the 3, 4 and 7 year old do. It takes time to take care of kids. It won't always be this way. They will be gone before you know it."

Every once in awhile, I have to give myself a break.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

You Know You've Made the Right Move...

...when you come home from Sam's with a crying baby and two little boys...and you open the trunk and half the groceries fall out...and the neighbor across the street, who is out in the 90+ degree heat laying bricks for his driveway shouts, "Hey Amy, do you need a hand?"...and, before you can decline, he is at your side unloading your car and carrying the groceries into your home.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Not Quite

Today the idea of tithing came up and I asked Mackenzie, "Do you know what tithe means?"

"Oh," she said thoughtfully, "you mean like 'tithings' of comfort and joy?"

Saturday, July 05, 2008

More or Less

Dawson came in to ask me if he could have another turn on the computer. "Mama," he whined in an attempt to sway me, "Aiden is having a longer turn than me."

"No Dawson," I informed him. You had 30 minutes on the computer and Aiden is having 30 minutes."

"Well," he thought for a minute, "Aiden's turn was 20 minutes and I ONLY had 30 minutes."

"Um, Dawson," I ventured, "30 minute is more than 20."

"Well," he thought again, "I mean Aiden had 12 minutes for his turn and I only had 20 minutes."

"Bud, 20 is still more than 12."

He shuffled his foot and twisted his lip. "Really Mama, I mean Aiden had 60 minutes for his turn and I only had 40."

"Okay," I giggled, "now you're on the right track.”

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Note of Thanks

When I was hired to teach high school, one of the courses they asked me to take on was American History. Me? History? I was an English Major who hadn't had a history class since my freshman year in college. How could I possibly teach the subject?

Long story short, over the next 5 years, I learned to love American History because I had to work so hard to learn it. Since I've had the children, I have tried to teach them the value of being an American. I have gone out of my way to teach them that the men and women who serve in the military are true heroes who sacrifice so much to keep us safe. When they see a soldier, they have been trained to say, "Thank you for keeping us safe!"

Lately I’ve realized that although I prompt my kids to say these things to express our gratitude, I rarely do it myself. So, a few months ago I vowed to change that.

Last week as we sat down to eat lunch at the pool, another mom with two young children joined us. We chatted for awhile about swim lessons, vacations at Disney and the like. As I got up to go, she mentioned that her Disney tickets were free because her husband serves in the army.

I looked her in the eye and, although I thought she may think I was a little crazy, I told her to thank her husband for me. I told her that I was grateful for his willingness to put his life on the line for us. I also thanked her because I know that when her husband is deployed it is a tremendous sacrifice on her part.

I tried to walk away quickly, but her gaze stopped me in my tracks. She had a tear in her eye and said that NOBODY had ever said that to her before. I was so grateful that on that day, I got over my self consciousness and said what I was thinking.

From now on, I will do that more often...and I hope you will too. This weekend let’s all go out of our way to thank someone in the service. Regardless of your politics, these men and women have given their lives in the name of all of us. The very least we can do is to thank them.

To all of you who have served our country over the years to make it what it is today as well as all of you who are currently serving, I say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

So Far, So Happy

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Let Them Be Kids

Yesterday we spent the day with Nelson's cousin and his family. They live out in the middle of the country, so to speak, with lots of space for the kids to roam.

We spent a few hours swimming and after that it was Katie-bar-the-door. Aiden drove around in the mini John Deer tractor, Mackenzie splashed in the hot tub and Dawson chased the rooster.

We managed to wrangle in the troops for some burgers before we lost them to the great outdoors again. They were shooting across the zip line, climbing the tree house and jumping on the trampoline.

They finally trickled in when we told them they just could not zip into the total darkness. The five "big" kids settled in on one double bed and quieted down to the tune of a Veggie Tales movie.

I sat in the living room with the cousin's wife talking about motherhood and children. In today's society I'm always amazed that I can still find people who think like me. We talked about letting our kids be kids. So far we have managed to escape the never ending activity schedules that most mothers have their young children on. Yes, we know that those days are fast approaching, but for now we are relishing in the simplicity of life.

Yesterday the kids got more than their fair share of exercise. They learned about the things they discovered outside. They experimented with the things they found around them. They are smart, well-adjusted, totally content children.

I imagine that Einstein grew up much in the same way. He probably was not drilled with flash cards, signed up for two sporting teams and taking piano lessons all at the same time. He probably spent his early childhood outside catching bugs and playing stick ball with the neighbors. I think he turned out okay.

Don’t get me wrong, as the kids get older, they will play on athletic teams, take music lessons and probably be drilled with flash cards. But for now they will play - and…they will play hard!