Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy...

Happy half-birthday, Piper! I can't believe she's 6 months old today!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 24

I'm thankful for Thanksgiving. That we have a certain special times throughout the year when "real life" is forced to stop and recognize that there are more important things. When we sit mesmerized by gigantic balloons floating through a city hundreds of miles away. When we celebrate abundant blessings by seeing how much food we can fit on a paper plate. When we visit with people we only see once or twice a year (or decade) whether we like it or not. ; ) When we reminisce about simpler times--times when we were smaller and the world was bigger yet some how vastly less scary. When our hearts recognize those loved ones who are missing and, perhaps, appreciate those still here a little more. Friends and family and food and blue skies and no worries and Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on TV and tucking tired kids into bed and pulling the cover up over my cold toes and being able to go to sleep content knowing that God loves me. Thank You, thank You, thank You.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Days 21, 22, & 23

I'm thankful that know one cares that I'm combining days because I've been so busy and too tired to write at the end of the last few days. = )

Monday Jathan finally got to see his cousins. Ha ha. I laugh because he talks about his cousins so often and had only really met one or two of them when he was a baby. Then then the night that we got here we ran into some of Jackie's cousins at Cracker Barrel and they had their little ones with them so I was like, "Look, Jathan! Your cousins!" Then Monday we visited with Jackie's brother and niece and great nephew. Jathan and Ryland were both just thrilled.



Jathan is definitely thankful for cousins! Wish we got to see them more often.

Yesterday we went to another flea market (my favorite) where you can always find good cheap junk. Mom and Dad treated me to a new antique table and the cutest old yellow egg basket as well as a scarf and another big ole' ring like I always wear. The boys got more toys. (!!!) Keeleigh got excited over a lot of things envisioning them in her new attic space that she's getting in Mom and Dad's new house but only bought a very cool old easel on which she'll display something and a couple of blank canvases for the attic and a peacock ring and some feather earrings.

After that flea market we took my poor dad home who hadn't been feeling well. It later seemed that he'd caught a stomach virus--YUCK! But he stayed home in bed while the rest of us headed off to shop in Chattanooga. Keeleigh picked out some Christmas presents at Forever 21 and she and I both got some cute new boots. After I don't even know how many hours there, we headed back to my parents' house with a quick stop off at Wal-mart to get Jathan another dinosaur egg. It's made of sand and you can use your excavation tools to crack it open and find the dinosaur. He loves them because he's going to be a pawee-entologist when he grows up. = )

We spent about 12 hours out and about yesterday--definitely not something the kids and I are used to. We've been getting into bed earlier than we usually do, though. Which is good and bad because on the one hand we do need the rest but on the other hand I'm missing the window of time when I can Skype with Jackie. We did get to talk last night, though, because he was up early to watch a sunrise. I'm going to pretend I'm not jealous right now.

Today my brother is coming to stay at my parents' house, too, for Thanksgiving and I think we're going to visit Eddie's, a very cool florist that goes ALL OUT decorating for Christmas.

Here's hoping I get day 24 up on time and don't have to cheat. ; )

Sunday, November 20, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 20

For the record Keeleigh and I planned on going to church today but we got out-voted and ended up at the flea market instead. Would it be bad of me to say that I was glad to be there? I definitely miss seeing a lot of people from our Alabama church but it is nice to get to poke around at the flea market and find some treasures. I'm so thankful for my mom and dad, who have made their living at the flea market for 20+ years and who definitely spoiled me and their grandkids there today! I think Jathan's nana bought every toy he touched as well as some shoes and a bag of cotton candy. I got a couple of pair of name-brand pants for $2 (!) a piece, some make-up, some new perfume (Bloom by Reese Witherspoon smells like honeysuckle!), a cell phone case, and some delicious popcorn. Keeleigh also got some make-up, some super cute new shoes, a new ear ring, and a cell phone case. Ryland got some new toys and Piper got a hat and some hair bows. Keeleigh and I could have bought a WHOLE lot of good old junk but Mom restrained us. = ) Flea marketing is definitely one of my favorite hobbies and something we'll get to do even more of later this week--woo hoo!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 19

Today I'm just thankful to have made it to Alabama in one piece. The kids were GREAT travelers. No one cried a bit, not even Piper. The only trouble I had was being so incredibly sleepy. Last night was kind of rough. I sort of waited until the last minute to pack and Piper wanted to be held. A lot. And the boys stayed up later than I counted on. Anyway, it ended up being midnight before I laid down then Piper got up at 3 to eat and Ryland woke up at 5 then went right back to bed. I wasn't able to go back to sleep, however, so I laid there tossing and turning until Piper ate again at 5:30 and Keeleigh rang the doorbell at 6 (she'd been at a lock-in). Fast forward to our trip. Warm car + road noise + really tired Traci = fighting sleep for 450 miles. I actually dozed off at one point and the van started to veer off the road! But, thank God, we made it! Thank You, Lord, for Your hand of protection over us today!

After we arrived we got treated to a Cracker Barrel supper--yea for chicken and rice night! Later I got a text from Jackie that suggested we Skype so I'm also very thankful that the kids and I got to talk to him face to face from half way around the world! How cool is that? Jathan was especially thankful to get to see Daddy. "I miss you, Daddy," he said several times. AWWWWW. Thank You, God, for technology!  It was great to be able to connect.

Friday, November 18, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 18

Tonight I am up late packing for a trip to Alabama and straightening up the house. I've washed two loads of clothes and am about to wash another dishwasher full of dishes after cooking three meals today. I've given three kids baths and gotten one kid out of the bath after he jumped into his brother's bath fully clothed (guess who?). I've done all of this alone because this morning I dropped Jackie off for his trip to Israel. I was missing him before he even left but I'm so thankful that he had this opportunity. I can't imagine the things he'll see and learn; it really is a once in a lifetime experience! It was a blessing that the seminary offers this trip for such a low price and also a blessing that God provided in a very special way financially for us to be able to pay for the trip.

Tonight I'll be lonely in our bed and I'll be waiting anxiously for his next text or call to hear that he landed safely.  But all the while, I'll be thanking God that Jackie is so devoted to his studies and to developing his relationship with God. I'll be praying that he's having fun and that the time passes quickly!

Now, I off to try to dig out the small lid that Jathan managed to get stuck in the sink drain!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 17

The SWAP shop is a wonderful on-campus ministry. The "SWAP" stands for surplus with a purpose. People (anyone--on campus or off) donate clothes and other items including food and people can come in and choose whatever the need/want free of charge. It is a bit like a free Goodwill store; there's often A LOT of stuff and if you have the time and visit often you can dig through and find some great stuff! Since we've lived on campus, I've visited the SWAP shop. A lot. Not only has it met many of our needs (and wants), I believe it also serves as a sort of "retail therapy" for the ladies on campus, without the big cha-ching at the cash register, of course!

We've gotten almost all of our children's clothes (and mine now that I think of it!) from the SWAP shop. We got our fabulous purple couch at the SWAP shop. We got Ryland's car bed (that match Jathan's which we bought off Craigslist) from the SWAP shop. We got Jathan's little TV at the SWAP shop. Time and time again the Lord has provided for us through the generosity of others. I remember one specific morning when I was doing laundry and remarked to myself that I really needed some more clothespins. Guess what I spotted first thing upon walking into the SWAP shop that afternoon? A whole gallon-sized freezer bag full of clothespins!

It has been totally amazing to me the amount of money that can be saved simply by sharing with one another. I truly hope that the things we've been able to pass along--our "surplus"--through the SWAP shop have been even half the blessing to others that the things we've received have been to us.

Luke 6:37-38 says, "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."

Thank You, God, for those who have so generously given to this ministry! May Your blessings rain down on these people--pressed down, shaken together, running over! And may we never forget what a blessing being an Acts 2 sort of church is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 16

Did you know that my family's income is below the national poverty line? It's true and yet we live in a nice apartment which is comfortably furnished and delightfully decorated. Tonight we'll sleep in that apartment and we'll be safe and warm (or cool, rather, since its still warm enough to run the air conditioning). Our closets are full of nice clothes and the boys had to clean up their toys several times today so that no one would trip over them.

We have reliable transportation at our disposal any time of the day or night. Jackie is able to drive to work without worry. Today I used our van to drive to the grocery store where I chose several meals for our family---diverse, easy-to-prepare, healthy foods. We can prepare those foods with clean running water and will probably throw away left overs.

I'm able to communicate these things to you right now because we have high-speed Internet. Even if we didn't, I could call you up on my cell phone or Skype with you on Jackie's Xoom.

Yes, we are "poor" and yet live in excess. Only in America, I suppose.

Today I also drove the van to buy some presents. Those presents were put inside a small shoe box which will travel to some part of the world unknown to me. Some little girl will open that shoe box and find some trinkets to treasure...colored pens and a notepad, some stickers, a purse, hair bands, lip gloss, a glittery pink hairbrush, a toothbrush and tooth paste, and a bead craft kit. I'll never meet her (this side of heaven, anyway) but I've seen the pictures of children opening similar gifts. Oh, their smiles! The joy at receiving such small somethings to call their own! What I gave was nothing. God please make it something. Use my tiny service to Your glory. Thank You, Lord, for all of the blessings You've bestowed upon me. Help me to be ever thankful. May I see the world through Your eyes and look not to tending my selfish desires but to doing more, giving more, loving and caring for Your people. I want to be like You.

"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." Deuteronomy 15:11


"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 15

Late last night I logged onto Facebook and saw that one of my friends had posted a grim status update: her 6-week old nephew had died earlier that day apparently a victim of SIDS. I absolutely cannot fathom losing a child. I get sick to my stomach just thinking about the possibility.

I told Jackie about what had happened when we were out walking later last night. I told him that it made me not feel so bad about Piper waking up so often at night. It was as if she somehow telepathically heard me and decided to put my commitment to having a thankful attitude to the test because she woke up at 12, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Each time I went to her crib and gathered her little body next to mine, I thought of that poor mother who was likely awake with grief and suffering from breasts full of milk for the child she'd never nurse again. I wished I didn't need sleep and could somehow hold my precious baby all night.

Piper finally slept just as it was time for me to get up. And she's slept all morning just to mess with me more. I've been checking in on her off and on, holding my breath until I see her little chest rising and falling steadily, thankful that God has given me another night and day with her.

Monday, November 14, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 14

Last week Piper experienced her first stomach virus--a milestone I'd rather put off for a few more years at least. She was a little trooper through it, however, never so much as crying! The next day Ryland got his turn at the battling the bug and was, like Piper, a happy puker who could throw up then immediately resume playing. After a full day without sickness, I thought the rest of us had dodged it but then one evening Jathan started complaining that his stomach hurt. It was so crazy. He had played all day long just fine and then just said very matter of factly, "I need to go throw up." And he did.

It's been another day and no one else has gotten sick. I'm hoping and praying and begging and pleading to God that the rest of us will not catch this bug especially since we all have travel plans at the end of this week. And especially because I'd pretty much do anything else in the world besides throw up.

Going through sickness even one so small as a random stomach bug makes me immensely thankful for good health!

Exodus 15:26
And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer."

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 13 (A day late)

I am thankful for a hardworking husband who has a job!

Yesterday was Sunday but Jackie was scheduled to work so we stayed home from church. I'll admit that I am always sad on Sunday-workdays and sometimes even a little resentful but I have to remember that there are so many people who aren't blessed with jobs right now. And this job truly has been a blessing to us. When we moved to New Orleans, Jackie didn't have a job lined up and he put in at least 10 applications over the first month with absolutely no reply. Then one day I wanted to check out Educator, a school supply store I'd heard about, and buy some flash cards for Keeleigh since we'd be homeschooling for the first time. Educator is a little bit like heaven for me; I could spend a million dollars there buying all of the workbooks and educational games but I'm pretty sure we left that day with only the flash cards and a job application. See, in the window they'd displayed a "Help Wanted" sign. Later that week they called him and, without so much as an interview, they asked him if he could start on Monday. We thanked God for work!

Since then his employers have been good to him and our family. They have gladly worked around his class schedule and have given him time off for vacations and when our babies were born. He's not exactly raking in the the dough, but they pay him fairly. At Christmas and throughout the year they've given our kids GREAT gifts including our Melissa and Doug easel and the phonics pad that I'm using with Jathan for preschool this year. I'm also totally jealous because it seems like they quite often have cake and doughnuts in the break room!


I joke with him often about how he's forever in his school bus shirt--it's shown up in a lot of our pictures over the last 3 years! But the truth is that he's either at work or in class 6 days of the week.



I know they must recognize in Jackie a hardworking attitude. He has such a good work ethic and is a natural leader. I'm proud that my husband works hard to provide for his family and that God has blessed his efforts with fruitfulness!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 12




She is 12 years old going on 30. She is the epitome of the term "free-spirited." She sings opera in the shower and can ride a bike with no hands and her eyes closed. She can beat all the boys at football at PE. She has her own style and isn't afraid to show it off.



She dances for His glory. She can stand on her hands.


When she laughs everyone laughs with her. Sometimes I look at her and my heart aches for the years past when I didn't always know what a treasure I had. She is growing--I get to see her maturing a little each day, growing not only in stature but also spiritually and mentally. What a treat it is to sit across from her each day and see the wheels turning in her head! She is the prettiest mad scientist I've ever seen.


She is artsy and crafty.




She is big sister extraordinaire! She bickers and complains but without a doubt she loves and that love is returned.  She holds them close and asks for hugs and kisses. She makes them laugh. She is a tremendous help.







She is a gift from God and I'm so thankful that He chose to share her with me! I am a better person because she exists.

Friday, November 11, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 11

It was chilly when I woke up this morning! I'm so thankful for sweater weather (finally!) and a hot cup of coffee. I'm also thankful for petite pants--if you're not short, you'll never understand! = )

Thursday, November 10, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 10

I'm thankful for friends just one flight of stairs away who welcome my children in with open arms. I'm thankful that my children love them and their kids so much that they ran right in and never looked back. I'm thankful for a night out with my husband (and nursling), for an impromptu visit with friends experiencing the first weeks of parenthood, for blooming onions and steak with mushroom sauce, for strawberry lemonade, and for a cooing baby that makes everyone in the room swoon. I am thankful to get to come home to children who had a wonderful time and couldn't wait to tell me everything they did just as soon as I'd torn them away from their playmates. And I'm thankful that Mrs. Ashley sent home brownies with the children. (That sort of sets the standard high for babysitters, huh?) : )

Thank You, Lord, for this wonderful life!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 9

Today Keeleigh called me into her room excitedly. She had a big orange balloon in her hand and said, "Look! The light is passing through it and it's just like our eye. The image is upside down on the other side of the balloon." Indeed it was. And this made me so excited.

I am a big-time homeschooling advocate. I love it (98.5% of the time). I believe in it but I don't always believe in myself. Sometimes when the doctor asks Jathan how old he is and he replies, "I don't know," I leave out that part about us homeschooling. Sometimes when Keeleigh sits staring at her language book for an hour claiming to have no idea how to form simple sentences, I wonder if it's me. Am I screwing them up?

But then! Then we have glorious moments when they see science inside of a random balloon! There was also a shining moment in math the other day when I understood the rule but not the concept behind the rule (it had to do with decimal place value). Keeleigh and I sat and studied it for a moment and then she said, "Oh, I get it." Then she proceeded to explain how it ties in with exponents and the fact that 10 to the 0 power equals 1. It was kind of awesome.

I read a quote from someone's FB status update last week that said, "True leaders don't create followers; they create more leaders." They asked, "What about your children? Are they merely following you, or are they passing you?" When Keeleigh got that math concept, I told her, "You're smarter than me!" That's a great thing! I hope I always empower my children to surpass me and my abilities and to be leaders themselves.  A friend told me a while back that she didn't want to home school because she looked at the homework her daughter brought home and didn't think she could do it. I tried to explain that I certainly don't have all the answers. I don't have a natural passion for math or science. But I do have a passion for my children. So sometimes we figure things out together. I've also been eager to see some good results come from our new curriculum choice. I felt like I was going out on a limb this year not using text books for science or history but time and again I've seen evidence that it's working! 


I am so thankful that we have been blessed with the opportunity home school! Thank You, God, for these affirming moments!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 8

The first time we visited campus for preview weekend we toured the apartment building where we would be living. I could have cried (I might have, can't remember). It simply was not what I was expecting. It was small and felt cramped and I couldn't imagine it being home. That first visit I had my eye on a different building. One setting on the street corner near the middle of campus with a cute little playground out back. Benches flanked the playground and moms sat talking watching their children play. I even took a picture of it!

That building is now my building. When God blessed us with Ryland, He also blessed us with the opportunity to move to a bigger apartment. We have absolutely loved living here. Here we have the room for a school room, somewhere to store the dishwasher, a private balcony where I can grow my plants, and double the living space of our old apartment. We also have a playground right outside our door and now I'm one of those moms hanging out on the bench. I'm very thankful for that playground!

Of course my children love going out to the playground to climb and slide and run and get dirty and I love the fact that they can wear themselves out on it but I think I'm most thankful for the fellowship I've found out there. I'm not the *most* outgoing person in the world (an understatement if there ever was one) and if it were up to me I probably wouldn't get out much but because my children beg and beg to go outside to the playground, I've been forced to suck it up and talk to people I don't know. Being on a seminary campus has made it even easier because you get to use the same "interview questions" each time you meet someone new: "So, where are you from? How old are your kids?" and so on and so forth. If there's any chemistry there between you and that person then the conversation evolves, if not it's not so awkward. = )

Thankfully, I've gotten to meet and know a lot of moms and have gotten past the "interview" stage. Some of us have moved into the stage where we're completely comfortable talking about everything from our kids' poop to day-to-day frustrations to life-altering revelations. Sometimes we talk about what we're making for dinner; sometimes we talk about our husbands (shhh! don't tell them!); sometimes we talk about fears and disappointments; sometimes we rejoice with each other over successes like potty training and homeschooling; sometimes we just vent. These things--they are at the heart of a woman, and I'm so thankful we've found a place that feels safe to open up our hearts. And that is called sisterhood. 

Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:25


Monday, November 7, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 7

God is great, God is good, Let us thank Him for our food...

Yes, it's Monday in NOLA and I'm thankful for red beans and rice! It is one of my favorite meals ever. Click here for a look back at how I make it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 6

I am so thankful that I've gotten to be a part of my church family.

We became members at First Baptist New Orleans a few months after we moved here and I must confess that I didn't really want to join. I just wasn't feeling it and didn't know why Jackie was but he was certain that's where God was leading us and I trust his judgment completely so we went for it. That was almost 3 years ago and over the past 3 years it sure has grown on me.

This morning I sat in the pew looking around at all the people around me. There's no way I'll ever know all of them and their stories but they are beautiful to me none the less. I love the diversity: young, old, and in-between; red, brown, yellow, black, and white; rich, poor; dressed up, dressed down; fancy french twists next to purple dread locks; hymns and electric guitars. We all come together, blending perfectly into a picture of worship.

I love the heart that these people have for the city and for the world. Never before had I been witness to a church going out and SERVING--answering the call--like I have had to pleasure to witness at FBNO. There are so many ministries meeting physical needs each and every week. It's so awesome to see God working to feed people the bread of life through people who are willing to go out onto the streets and into the schools and feed people food. Our church really and truly cares for this hurting city. Our church is also working "to the ends of the earth" giving, loving, serving, and praying for a certain group of people in Africa who has no one else. We won't know until we get to heaven how many lives have been changed because FBNO exists and I can't wait!

We also have an amazing group of ministers working within our church especially with our children who I'm very thankful for. Children are highly valued there and it shows! I've loved working in the one-year old class over the last couple of months because not only have I gotten to love on some sweet little ones and spend some extra time with Ryland, but I've also gotten to know some of those special people who work behind the scenes in a way.

It has been an awesome experience being members of this church. I know we won't be in New Orleans forever but I will always take the things I've seen and learned with me. I hope that when Jackie is a pastor that we will be able to implement some of the same programs that I see our church implementing and meet the needs of the people around us!

Thank You, God, for placing me exactly where I needed to be even when I didn't understand why I needed to be there. Thank You, for this body of believers who've chosen to live at the center of your will. Bless them, Lord, and bless this city! May we all turn our hearts to You.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 5

Tonight I am thankful that LSU and Alabama are playing each other. I'm not a football fan--I really could care less about it--but I am a big fan of my husband who is an Auburn fan. So an intense game between two Auburn rivals is a good thing because no matter who wins the other team loses. It's a win-win situation really and makes for a happy house and fun time around the TV tonight. = )

Plus there are nachos which are always something to be thankful for! Ha, ha.

Friday, November 4, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 4

I'm thankful for stolen moments like tonight when at 8:30 it was quickly becoming apparent that there would be no bike ride. The three little kids were awake (though one was crankily making his way to bed after a no-nap day) and Keeleigh had asked to have a friend spend the night. It has been a few days since Jackie and I have gotten to exercise together, something that we try to do every other night. For me it's about so much more than exercising, it's about having a little time alone doing something just for the two of us. Our lives are so busy right now. I take care of our kids, homeschool, and manage the home and piddle around with my crafting addiction  hobby and Jackie is taking a full load of masters level classes while working 33+ hours a week. It's a lot and when you have professors and bosses and children demanding all of you it sometimes seems like there's not much left to give to each other.

By 9 p.m. only one child was in bed. I asked Jackie, "What are we going to do?" as we both glanced at wide-awake Ryland and Piper. "Let's just take a walk," I suggested. So we loaded the little ones into the stroller-- bundled up, of course--and set off into the cool night. I love being outside with him. Maybe it's simply because that's such a stark contrast to the rest of my day when I--the lone adult--sometimes feel very cooped up in the apartment, but being beneath the big, big sky walking step in step with my husband just feels perfect. We walked. We talked. And I thanked God for that stolen moment. May there be many more to come.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 3

Today I held Piper on the couch and she made it known that she was ready to eat. Now that she's older, she hugs me and her little mouth searches around making the cutest little excited inhale/exhale sound until I oblige her.Then her little body relaxes and half the time her eyes close as she prepares for her mama's sweet milk. Other times those big beautiful eyes lock with mine and I sit in silent awe of this amazing creation. It was then that I knew what I'd write about today.

I am so very thankful that I'm able to nurse my baby.

I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. It is without a doubt the best food you can feed your baby. The health benefits are innumerable. Breast milk helps to protect your baby from everything from SIDS, disease, and infections as infants to cavities, obesity, diabetes, and allergies as older children and adults. Studies have even shown that breastfeeding your baby can help them have fewer behavior problems as children. It simply produces healthier people! It's good for moms, too; breastfeeding reduces our risk for breast and ovarian cancer. It helps protect us from diabetes and postpartum depression. It literally fills us full of feel-good, just-relax hormones! I believe all of this is true because I know that God designed this liquid gold and it is one of the few foods left untouched today by preservatives and chemical additives. I really could go on and on! Have I mentioned that I'm a huge breastfeeding advocate?

I know, however, that there are some moms who flat out cannot nurse their children. There are some moms who did not have the support or information they needed and gave up. There are some moms who've been deceived by society to believe that formula is just as good and never tried to nurse their children. All of these situations are sad to me not only because I know all of the wonderful health benefits that come along with breastfeeding but also because I've had about a gazillion of these intensely special moments between me and my babies. No, it doesn't happen every feeding and there have definitely been times when I've considered giving up but I can't even describe to you how it feels to have a sweet baby curl into your arms with such need, finding nourishment and comfort. It's as if you become one again. Time stands still when hearts are so close.

Thank You, God, for blessing me with the opportunity to nurse three of my four babies. Thank You for allowing me that extraordinarily special bond with them!

P.S. An interesting link: http://www.drjen4kids.com/

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness: Day 2

I was really hoping that today I could write about how I was thankful that the three little kids took a 2-hour nap all at exactly the same time or maybe how Keeleigh finished all of her schoolwork in record time and asked to do more or maybe how a maid service stopped by and said I'd won free cleanings for a year. But guess what? None of those things happened. Not even close. In fact, pretty much the opposite happened.

It was nearly 9 o'clock before we got up and going this morning and after 10 before we even started school. Our first subject--language--took forever because we had to make a preliminary outline for Keeleigh's research report and that involves writing--Keeleigh's least favorite thing--and I'm a mean mama and made her write in cursive. Plus I had to be really involved in helping her so I tried to get the boys to play in their room while Piper slept but all they want to do is be with us. They ended up sitting at the table doing school, too, until they decided they wanted to graffiti our soon-to-be-disposed-of pumpkin. I sat it in the floor and let them draw on it and poke holes in it with a pencil for as long as it entertained them, ha ha!

Then came lunch. And that's where I feel like melting down every. single. day. I hate lunch so much! Why, why, why must we eat? And right in the middle of the day when we've just gotten into the swing of things! And then there's nothing good to eat. Sandwiches? Yuck. Soup? Can't find my favorite in the store anymore. Salad? Sure if I want to be hungry again in an hour. Everything else? Takes too long and we've gotta get back to work! These are the thoughts running through my head and I'm pretty sure my eyes are crossing and my lip is twitching and steam is starting to come out of my ears and then I've been thinking too long because now they're all saying they're hungry including Piper who needs me NOW. Yeesh.

Then the boys decided not to take a nap. That's all I have to say about that.

But we made it through the day and ended up having plenty of time to play on the playground and enjoy a great supper--so much less stressful than LUNCH! And now the boys have fallen asleep early. Here's hoping they aren't just taking a nap and wake up at midnight feeling refreshed.

All I can think of right now is that I'm thankful for mercy. I'm thankful that I don't have to be perfect or have perfect days. "It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23) I would never describe this life as easy but I am not consumed! I get to get up in the morning and do it all again and yes, I think that's a good thing. = ) 



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

24 Days of Thankfulness

I was inspired today by a friend to celebrate 24 days of thankfulness. Another friend is going to do 30 days of thankfulness but I figured I should start slow. ; )

Last night was Halloween and the second night of Trick-r-Treating for my kids so, needless to say, we have a lot of candy. A lot of GOOD candy. Not a cheap bite in the whole bag. Nope. Chocolate candy bars and peanut butter cups galore! Do I ever wish I'd dressed up. Don't laugh! I'm short, and I believe that with the right mask I could totally pass for a kid. Eh, there's always next year.

But this year? This year I'm THANKFUL for a certain sweet-spirited little boy who peers into his bountiful bag and brings me Snickers and 3 Musketeers saying, "You like these, Mama?" (Is it wrong that I think it's funny that he refuse's to share with his daddy? Ha ha!) He's so often my little ray of sunshine--the one to come up to me with a hug and an out-of-the-blue "I love you". Thank You, Lord, for my mama's boy!