Saturday, December 18, 2010
Wasn't a woman I'll tell you that much. At least not a woman who has ever given birth to a child.
If one of us had posed the characters, there is no way Mary would be kneeling like that. She wouldn't have that peaceful relaxed smile on her face. She wouldn't have her arms up in the air as if she'd just been surprised by someone.
She'd be lying on her back, eyes half open, face puffy, mouth hanging open, almost too tired to smile. That's how she'd look.
That's probably how she did look.
Joseph? Kneeling, hand on his chest, looking down admiringly at the baby?
He wouldn't even be there. He'd be out picking up a hamburger for Mary who hadn't eaten all night. And if he happened to make it back in time for the photo shoot, he'd just be sitting there looking really tired and awkward. After a night of helping his wife deliver a baby he'd be worn out. He'd still be a little leery about what to say. --Men never know what to say when the wife's in labor. Besides Mary was probably still upset that he didn't demand they give her a room at the hotel. Joseph was prolly on thin ice.
And ya know what piece everyone leaves out?
The cup of ice chips.
I'm convinced it's impossible to deliver a baby without ice chips.
I'm pretty sure Mary did NOT deliver her first baby in a stable with only three walls. With your first one, privacy and modesty are still very important things. Had this been Mary's second or third kid, I could maybe see it happening, but not with the first.
I think I might design and start producing "The REAL Nativity Set."
Email I'll put you on the waiting list.
Allison's eyes widen with her new found discovery. She looks up at her mom and declares:
"Mary had a little lamb and Baby Jesus."
Emily, my sis, was explaining to Ava how she and Claire were going to be in a live nativity.
"...and you girls will get to be angels or shepherds...".
Ava looks up and thoughtfully says, "...and Daddy will be a wise man."
Friday, December 17, 2010
Well, we moved again.
I don't know what we were thinking. At this point it doesn't make since. It seemed like a good idea a week and a half ago when we were discussing the possibility. When we had our third child it qualified us for a four bedroom house (on the base). But we didn't see the point in moving for what we thought would be 7 months more living in Abilene. Our PCS (moving) date changed when the doc in San Antonio disqualified Mike from pilot training based on his eyesight.
Then we've decided that since we aren't moving in Feb. that we would have my sis come out and live with us while working on her first year of college.
So that's why we decided an extra bedroom would be a really good thing.
Well. There is only one unoccupied four bedroom house (for officers) in the whole base. People PCS (move) over the holidays so we thought we needed to move asap or the house would be gone.
Friday night we started moving. The new house is on our same street, two houses down from our other one.
Mom and dad drove out, brought the crew and worked like dogs for 10-12 hours. We got most of it done.
Most of it. Do you know what most of it means?
It means there is still stuff to be done.
Stuff to be done. PLUS three small completely unuseful children.
= Impossible to do the stuff that needs to be done.
So for the last four days I've been trying to get the rest of the stuff out of the old house, set up camp here at the new house, keep the children in their clothes, food in their bellies and bottoms clean.
clean the old house.
Clean the old house. No big deal right? Not for someone experienced like me, who spends an average of 5 hours a day cleaning.
Nope, wrong. BIG DEAL.
After working for three days we had the inspection this morning.
Keep in mind this is not our first rodeo. This is the fourth time we've cleaned a house on base after living there. Each time passing without much trouble at all.
I've never seen anyone so anal.
When he walked up he looked at a ping-pong ball size spot of paint on the driveway and told us we needed to power-wash it.
Fail. Right there.
Next to the kitchen where problems were found.
While I was in there listening and watching the three men (one of whom was in training) scrutinize my work, I look back and see the boys drawing with chalk on the driveway.
Where did they find the chalk? Who knows. I thought I'd put it all away when I washed the driveway last night. You can't have chalk on the driveway for the inspection.
I take it away. Go back inside.
They are busy writing away.
I look back out and Ty is walking into the house, a track of muddy footprints behind him.
I shake my head. It feels a little lighter than normal. My brain is foggy from the 4 nights of staying up late cleaning. One night I was working till 3:30.
I take Ty out. Mud still on shoes and floor. I walked back inside. Jaw clenched a little. When will this nightmare end.
The guys are still in the kitchen. Wow. How long is this going to take?
Finally they moved to the dining room. Redo the blinds. "It will be easy. Just wipe them down."
That's a load of crap. I know cause I'd already done it once and it wasn't easy. Nothing is easy with three kids.
They don't have any idea.
He wrote down a page and a half of things we needed to correct. Just wipe up these spots here. With a rag. -I'd already scrubbed those cabinets. The blinds I cleaned? 9 out of 10 of them failed. He told me to go ahead and reclean all of the three bathrooms. When I asked him specifically what his reply was: "The toilet in the master bathroom, you can leave that. But redo everything else." I think they found a little grease on the side of the stove. I looked. Didn't see it. Scuff marks on doors. Light bulbs out. -I'd changed all of them. Reclean all the light fixtures.
You've got to be kidding me.
I lost it. The poor man felt bad, but what could he do? He seemed sorry that I couldn't accomplish the nearly impossible standards they have in place. He was sorry my children were messy and drove me crazy. He was sorry Mike worked lots of hours.
A week of busting my rear, way less sleep than normal, two houses to get in order... the children...
I came home and cried for a hour.
Now I'm going to nap.
Next time I'm going to remember that I can't do all the things I think I can do because I am already maxed out.
And if I forget.... ya'll remind me.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
If you send me one, and I know you, you will be up on my fridge all year. I will look at your face and smile.
I probably will pray for you at least one more time than I normally would have --that's really the best reason to send me a card.
Be warned, if you sent me one last year and you think you are good, you're not. Last year's photos come down. You're out. Hopefully your knew photo is in.
If you think you can't afford to send me a photo card, think again:
Go to this site. 24 photo cards for $2.49 --that includes shipping.
Go do it, upload a picture even if it's just an ok one.
Cause I want to see your smiling face.
It reminds me of how good God is to me.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I saw them as giving me a general idea as to the difficulty of the game.
They did, however, come in very useful when needing a reason why your little siblings couldn't participate in play with all the big kids.
"Sorry Lou.... It says you have to be seven to play. It's your bedtime anyway." Laura would then go off crying. And who would blame her. It's hard being the youngest of eight. We'd consider the problem resolved and continue on happily in our self-serving ways.
I do, I do feel a little bad about it. Lou, Chrissy, Grant... sorry. I was young and foolish.
Last night we had an "Ellis Family Game Night." I offered up the choices for games, trying to pick options I thought Jack and Ty would both be old enough for.
Jack chose, "Sorry!"
Good, that will be fun. We don't have to play something too babyish. I suggested that we play on teams so someone could help Ty count.
Ty and Mike verses Jack and Me.
Except that Jack and My union dissolved before we started.
Excitedly we began.
Ty drew a "1" and I drew a "2" the first round. This means we were out of start and off to the races. Five rounds later Jack still hadn't gotten out of start.
I rigged the cards.
Next turn he drew a "1."
Every time Ty drew a card he'd flip it over and exclaim: "Fourteeeeeennnn!!"
"No, Ty, that is a 5.... No, Ty it's a 7.... Ty, that's a 4."
Finally we told him there were no 14s in the deck. From that point on he'd just pick a number at random and yell it out. I've got to work harder with him on his numbers.
Mike had everyone watch while he counted out the numbers while simultaneously moving his pawn one space at a time. It amazes me what all has to be taught to kids. They aren't born knowing this stuff.
Jack drew the infamous "Sorry!" card. (Ya know, the one that has you take a pawn from your start and exchange it with another players pawn --which then goes back to start.)
It just so happened that Ty was the only other guy with a piece on the board.
Mike and I quickly decided how we'd spin this one.
We cheered and high fived Ty. "Yay! Way to go! Good job Jack, good job Ty!" Our kids are going to be so confused one day.
We were having a blast. I mean as much fun as you can have playing a game with kids who don't really know how to play.
The game really got out of control when Jack drew the "11" card. Let me remind you of the specific directions written on the "11" card:
Move forward 11
or change places
with an opponent.
We read the card then explained to Jack what his options were. First, he announced that he wanted to change places with Ty, but quickly decided it would be more fun to count to 11. But it was too late; Ty was already up out of his spot and walking around the table to "change places" with Jack.
Jack reminded Ty that he was going with the "move forward 11" option and didn't want to trade spots with him. Ty, who was all geared up for a new seat at the table, looked pretty bummed, so I told him he could play in my spot.
Jack saw how much fun it was to get a new view so he changed his mind (yet again) and went over to Ty's seat to play. Mike, formerly on Ty's team, but now ousted as Ty traded his franchise, decided he'd play with Jack's old pieces...
What started out as: Mike and Ty, red; Jack on blue; and Me, yellow
Had changed to: Mike on blue; Ty and Me, yellow; and Jack, red.
And that's just about where it all ended.
We played a couple more rounds before I announced:
Time for ice cream!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
He is being merciful to me by giving me a third child who has a very pleasant disposition --You are almost always happy. This week you are getting your 3rd and 4th teeth in. On top of that your nose is stuffy. It's obvious you are not feeling great.
You know how you've responded to me this week? Every time you see me your eyes get real big and you motion with your body that you want to be picked up and held. You want to snuggle close and bury your head into my shoulder. Any time I need to put you down to do something you strongly object!
When you are sick you just want to be held. You want comfort. You know that your momma is going to hug you, rub you, and help you feel better. You want to rest in my arms.
What if big people reacted the same way to our Heavenly Daddy when we are sick --spiritually sick.
When we mess up, what if we looked to our Daddy, held up our arms and said help me. What would the result be if we called to him, tears running down our cheeks, accepting no substitute?
I think I know what it would be.
I think our daddy would reach down with his strong arms, pick us up and cradle us in his chest. I think He would sit down in a rocking chair, kiss our cheek, wipe our tears and tell us that He's got us. It wouldn't matter what we'd done.
Austin, I think about how I react to you when you call me. Often my response is: "I'm sorry sweet boy. I'll come get you in a minute."
God never tells us, "In a minute."
Austin, sometimes I tell you, "I can't hold you right now. I've got to do something else."
God will never refuse you. He's never too busy.
Sometimes I don't know how to help you.
God always knows.
Sometimes I can't help you.
God always can.
Sometimes I'm not with you.
God always is.
Austin I think about how I want to able to meet every need you have, to have every answer, to fix every problem.
But I can't.
And yet you still reach out to me.
What a wonderful thing it is, that I (limited and sometimes powerless to help) am not your only hope. There is someone who loves you infinitely more than I do who is able and who will help you at every turn.
Austin, my prayer is that you will come to know all about the God who created you, that you would become His child and He, your Daddy. As much as you call to me when you need me, you would call to God so much more, He is there, ready and able, to meet all your needs and hold you tightly in His arms.
Praise be to the God of all comfort, He is so good to us.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Jack: "Mom, Chloe (name changed to protect the innocent) wasn't at school this morning. She was at the doctor.
Me: "Was she sick?"
Jack: "No, she was getting a shot and the doctor was checking her eyes. She came back while we were on the playground. When she came outside to us, we decided to attack her."
Sunday, November 7, 2010
That's where the Ellis family was on Friday night.
We packed [little of] the essential camping gear right before heading to Abilene State Park. On the way out of town stopping to pick up 8 or so small pieces of firewood.
I drug my feet Friday, in no hurry to load the van, not realizing the thirty-four hundred items needed to "rough it" for one night. Even after loading up the van --to the brim, it was amazing the items we needed yet we did not have. We arrived at the camp site about 15 minutes before the darkness. The moon, however, never showed up.
It's actually pretty cool camping during a new moon (moon not visible). The stars are so bright. What is not very cool or very bright is forgetting your flashlights.
All of them.
We are loser parents and decided to sort of intentionally not bring the bag Jack excitedly packed with his toys and magnifying glass and bug home and... his flashlight. In Mike's defense, he asked me if it needed to be packed. I looked over at the loaded up van and said, "Naw. We could leave it here."
That's what I get for being a jerk. Now we can't even confiscate his flashlight.
Let me tell you: lesson learned.
We planned on using the propane powered cook top to reheat chili for supper. We failed to test out the cook top beforehand and couldn't figure out how it worked.
No big deal.
We'll just heat it up on the... hmm... the fire... Time to get on that I suppose.
It was 7:00 and the children were hungry. Ty hadn't gotten his nap. By the time we finally got dinner to the kids Ty was too tired to make sense. He didn't want to eat his supper and he was cold. He just wanted a marshmallow.
We talked him into eating 5 bites of his chili so he could qualify for dessert. We hated for him to miss the s'mores, we were only staying one night so it was now or never.
Another essential I forgot was cooking utensils.
All of them... EXCEPT for 6 flimsy plastic spoons.
I was a little worried by the thought of cooking chili over the open flame and seeing my spoon melt into our dinner. But that didn't happen. The spoons even held up through the bacon frying and egg scrambling of the next morning.
We slept well although I woke up many times during the night, checking on the kids, making sure they were warm enough. They were, at least through the night. By far the worst part of camping is waking up in the cold and having to leave your warm sleeping bag. Mike was a hero and got up early to start the fire.
I dressed the boys, who refused to wear their coats and then started making breakfast.
It was a constant game of "scoot the chair forward, scoot the chair backwards" as we tried to keep Ty's forehead from getting too hot and his rear from getting too cold. Poor kid. He has no fat on him. He loved the hot chocolate I made for him and I think that is what pulled him out of the whines.
We decided not to bring Austin's extrasaucer... so his spot was either in his car seat or lying on a quilt. He was a trooper and didn't seem to mind either.
The eight pieces of firewood didn't last but a couple hours. Mike was constantly hunting for firewood. He had to keep the family warm.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
If you are reading this, then I have succeeded in my life's work: taking little babies and shaping them into someone worth marrying. I hope you were picky when choosing a husband. I hope you have spent hours in prayer before agreeing to live the rest of your life with one of my kids.
They aren't perfect, and they weren't raised perfectly.
Not even close.
I'm currently failing in areas like nap time. The boys won't lie down and go to sleep without 30 minutes to an hour and a half of talking and playing. The most peaceful solution is for me to come up to bed with them, sit on the floor and monitor. It feels a little like standardize testing day --every day. And that's where we are now. Ty has disappeared under his navy blue covers. You won't believe the tossing and turning it takes this boy to get comfortable. While I've been typing this he has rolled around so much that he's fallen off the bed --twice. Oh and the beds they are sleeping in? Yes, they wet 'em last night and I haven't changed 'em.
Like I said, I'm not perfect.
Raising kids is hard work.
I'm not going to tell you about hard 4 days I've had.... cause I want grand babies.
You'll see what I mean when the time comes. Right now all you need to know is that God will give you whatever you need to raise your little ones.
And, I want to apologize for what your little ones will put you through. They say "You pay for your raising." Actually... It's you, as the mama, who will pay for your husband's raising. Cause it's you who will be around most all the time. Sorry.
You'll pay the price for things like:
The genetically passed down need to be completely naked when going poop.
It won't be a big deal except for on a few rare occasions. When you are in public and a child needs to poop, inconvenient but manageable. It's a little more of a situation when you are in public and TWO boys need to poop.
That's where we were today.
Thank goodness it was at Chick-fil-a and they have clean bathrooms, in fact, better there than at my house. Jack and Ty head into the stalls. I help Ty cause he's the youngest. I lift him up and set him on the seat.
"Ty, we are not going to take all your clothes off this time."
"I want two shoes off."
"No, we're going to leave them on."
"Noooooo! I want to take them off!"
"Not this time Ty, they need to stay on, we are in public, we don't get naked in public."
"Nooooooooooo!!!! Mommy, I wanna take them offfffff!!!"
"Ty, stop crying. We are going to leave them on.... Ok.... We'll take one off and...."
"Ty, you've got to stop crying."
I look over to see Jack's clothes in a pile on the floor. Nice. Why do we even bathe?
"Ty, I'm going to have to spank you if you keep crying."
Ty continues to wail. Someone walks into the restroom, patiently waits as they witnesses the stars alignment: my kids having to poop at exactly the same time. I don't know why things like this surprise me any more.
"Ok Ty, we'll take off your shoes."
As he calms down I head out of one stall, look up and explain to the lady who is about to head in there that the toilet is still occupied. I enter Jack's stall, nearly slip on the liquid on the floor.
"Jack, what's on the floor?"
"Jack, did you pee-pee on the floor?"
"Jack, your underwear and pants are all wet because you peed on them."
He looks up into my eyes as if trying to get a read on my temperature.
I start unrolling the toilet paper and placing it on the tile floor below when Ty calls me:
"Mommy, I done! Mommy! Mommmmmyyyyyyyy!!"
"Ty, I'm right here. Just a second."
Exit stall, enter stall.
I examine the toilet contents. Don't be grossed out, it's just something you do when you're a mom. The condition of your young children's stools is information that you need to know. What's in the toilet? I know, you're curious now. A tiny, itty-bitty little poop --hardly anything.
I wipe his hiney.
I redress the boy: underwear, shirt, blue jeans, shoe #1, shoe #2.
Exit stall, enter stall.
"Jack, are you done?"
I peek in. Much more warranted trip to the potty than Ty's. I wipe, explain to Jack that he must go commando since his undies were all wet. But he still had to wear his pants. I wasn't sure how he'd take the news of having to wear wet pants. Just the day before at MDO he spilled water down his front and began to strip down in the middle of his pre-k class. He had a cow when his teacher told him he needed to keep his pants on. It ended with a trip down to the "principal's" office.
Thank goodness he didn't fight me. He put on his pants. We go out to wash hands. I scrubbed those twenty little fingers till they turned bright red. Then we left.
Sweet girl, I'm sorry...
When you have rough days and need someone to blame, call me.
But remember, like you, I just work here...
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
With all the ghosts and ninjas that showed up this year, it was nice to see the good guys.
My boys decided to be:
Ok, so maybe he didn't have much choice in the matter. But why not? I mean, Piglet is OBVIOUSLY a male character, it's breast cancer awareness month, and I happened to find a great deal on this costume last November at a garage sale. --NEVER BEEN WORN and I got it for $3. Boo-yah!
"So you're telling me a baby platypus bit you on the lip?"
Me: "Ty, you are getting so big."
Ty: "Yeahhhh, I is.
Soon I gunna be biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggg. And my head will stick up, up there [pointing to the ceiling].
And I will be a daddy.
We will have two daddies."
Me: "Who will be our other daddy?"
Me: "Who will be the other one?"
Ty: "Jackson. [thinking] ...And we will have FOUR daddies!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
This is what I woke up to Monday morning.
And it wasn't just the kitchen. It was all over the house.
And the amazing thing about it is that the house was relatively clean on Saturday.
Seems God has gently been bringing up an issue in my heart. That's right, the Sabbath.
- I stumble across the article I posted a few days ago about the Sabbath.
- I called my sister Friday and she mentioned that she and her husband were "Sabbathing" (apparently it's a verb too).
- A sermon on "The seventh day He rested" --I heard two years ago, keeps coming back into my mind. Who remembers sermons from two years ago???
It's an issue (yes, now it's become an issue) that has been a struggle for me for a long time.
More specifically deployments with babies.
How can I:
I decided that Sunday I would take the day off. I did as little as was possible. Quickly made breakfast for the kids, made coffee, picked out the kids clothes. We ate out for lunch, came home and napped. Woke from our naps, went to night church. Ate out again.
Then Monday morning came. It would be a day of recovering the house and doing laundry.
And it was.
I started the first load of clothes and ran the dishwasher at 0630. I had most of the work done by 1600.
By Monday night, I was beat. Tuesday morning, still beat. Tuesday night: ...beat.
I'm wondering if it is worth it. One day of rest = two exhausting days.
But I think, it doesn't matter if it's worth it. I think I need to do it because God says do it. I need to trust that God will either provide me with more energy or will teach me something through my exhaustion.
Through my own personal experience I know that:
- God's laws are good and are for my good. This one should not be an exception.
- When I follow God's laws, I receive blessing.
- When I disobey, I (or someone around me) experiences pain.
I just don't know how to practically live this one out.
Does this mean I prepare Sunday's meals on Saturday --because we can't keep up this eating out?
Should there be special Sunday afternoon activities for the children that will keep the house from getting messy?
I don't know.
Here are some things I've observed about the Sabbath --in case anyone else out there is wondering how they can make it happen.
The Sabbath was observed starting at sun down on one day to sun down the next day. Which means, you can do work the first day (before sundown) and the second day (after sundown). It is a 24 hour period.
I don't think there is any problem with picking any day of the week to Sabbath. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work." Doesn't say which day.
God says the Sabbath is a "sign between me and you...". This makes me think that with our rest, we should spend time thinking about God, worshiping God, remembering God. Putting aside our worldly drive. House cleaning? A worldly drive when my goal is a clean house as opposed to an opportunity to serve God. And honestly, my goal is, almost always: a clean house.
We are to celebrate the Sabbath. I need to look at is as a gift and not as more hassle.
We are to remember, by observing the Sabbath, that God sanctifies us (makes us holy). By
And lastly, is not a recommendation God makes. It's not a suggestion on "How to get more out of your week." No, it's a command. In fact, under Old Testament Law (before Jesus was born) people who failed to observe the Sabbath were put to death. -Ex.31:14
He must be serious.
This wasn't the priests coming up with legalistic rules for the Israelites to follow. This was straight from the mouth of God.
With Jesus came freedom from the penalty of the law. Jesus came he was often accused of working on the Sabbath. His reply was that He was the Lord of the Sabbath.
The following weeks will be experiments on how I be obedient to this command.
If anyone has any suggestions, let me know!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
And this is only when it's done correctly.
Well, within the last week we've done three.
What's gotten in to me?
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
We're still looking forward to that day, but probably I will spend my time keeping little ones from running onto the field, wiping noses brought on by the cool air, keeping sippie cups and cheerios in stock all while bouncing the newest one in my arms. Mike will probably knock people over to get the job as coach so that he will actually be able to watch and enjoy the game.
And we won't be cruising to the game in a hybrid SUV --I'm sure of that.
Besides this out of reach dream of ours, Mike and I have had a few discussions about how involved we want our children to be in extracurricular activities.
As much as we both LOVE sports and even find lasting value in them, we must be able to find a reasonable limit.
My previous life as a high school coach revealed the ridiculous expectations that have been put on our coaches. Win or go. Coaches who enjoy a paycheck must make sure their athletes are in top physical shape. Practice, practice, practice. Remember two-a-days? The week before school starts where football players and volleyball players are up at school twice a day to practice? Now try 2+ weeks of two a days. In some cases coaches hold three-a-days.
It's a bit much.
These days, to be good enough to be considered for a college team, hours and hours and HOURS must be spent preparing --years worth of hours.
Is a free ride to school worth it?
Do we teach our children to work hard and give their all to an activity that holds "some value" When there are many thing the Bible says, "has value for all things." (1 Tim. 4:8)
A friend shared this article on Facebook, I think it will be worth your time to read it.
Guarding Sabbath for our Children
In case the link doesn't work, copy and paste this:
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
That's Jack, third from the right --not batman.
Jack has been looking so grown up to me lately. I love my little boy. I want him to stay this age forever. He won't. I'm glad I got to be there with the boys. I'm glad I didn't miss this opportunity. I mostly just visited with grown ups, and let the kids do their thing. They did great. They didn't need me. Sometimes all I want is to not be needed. But I really don't. I like being needed. I like seeing glimpses of my children functioning well without me. Isn't that my goal as a parent? To raise children into responsible, capable adults?
whatever. This is more true to life anyway.
After leaving the pumpkin patch, Austin and I went grocery shopping. I'd been inspired by my morning activities. A story had been read to the group about how a farmer takes a pumpkin from a seed to a jack-o-lantern. I walked by the pumpkin display and saw a 49 cent pie pumpkin. I bought it.
Four eggs. No Ty, we've got to crack 'em first.