I believe that three is the tipping point.
(Three kids, that is.)
Before three my kids were easily individuals and their actions were pretty much their own.
After three, not so much. It is super easy to let everything just sort of run together. Mostly in a bad way.
Some possible examples: (None of them ever happen around my house, of course.)
One child colors on their bed...and the others bear the brunt of my frustration of my having one extra thing to do, despite the fact that they had nothing to do with it.
Another child asks for a snack for the 13th time in 12 minutes...and I say "no" too harshly to the other child who simply asks for a drink of water.
A child asks to help make lunch and I shoot him down because I know if I don't all of them will want to help and then it will be a big mess and I just swept the floors, dag gone it.
Sound familiar? Yeah, not at your house either, huh.
I loved it so much I rushed through it because I couldn't get enough. I decided to re-read it, slower this time, and journal my thoughts as I make my way through it again. For me, re-writing something really helps me absorb it.
I was in chapter 10 this morning and her words were like a hammer to my head. It is like she has snuck a video camera inside my house or something:
One way to counteract the bulk effect and treat our children as individuals is simply by realizing that it is not their fault that there are so many of them.
When Scripture says to bring them up in the nuture and the admonition of the Lord, it is not talking about finding the most effective way to organize them.
The more children you have, the more you need to be pastorally minded. Look to each of their souls and their needs.
Be a pastor to your children. Study them. Seek them out. Sacrifice the thing you were doing to work through minor emotional issues.
While your children are little, cultivate and attitude of sacrifice. Sacrifice your peace for their fun, your clean kitchen floor for their help cracking eggs, your quiet moment for their long retelling of a dream. Prioritize your children far and away above your other work you need to get done. They are the only part of your work that really matters.
As their mother, I am responsible to see them individually, even when they present themselves to me en masse.
Fat souls are better than clean floors.
Most of the time children do not know that what they are doing is overwhelming. This is because they do not forget that they are individuals.
Your children are not a situation. They are individuals. Discipling an individual for a collective situation is a great way to alienate your children. It is not only unjust and unkind, but it is untrue to the gospel. Christ takes our sins; He does not load us down with someone else's.
I told you it was like she has camera's set up in my house.
I'm off now to go make a mess in my kitchen. With my kids...
It was a tie between these two photo's.
I couldn't decide.
Therefore, you get both.
Both, equally make me blush.
and 5 moves later.
he still has that power over me.
this is proof for all of you that think my house is never messy.
or my kids out of control. (oh, wait...nobody thinks that!)
yes, that is ezra in his underwear.
somehow his clothes got eaten by the clothes eating monster that lived under the blanket that afternoon.
As Zoe meets milestone after new milestone...rolling, first foods, crawling...
Eli has been coming to me frequently with questions such as:
When did I crawl? Did I have teeth then? Did I like pears as a baby?
I don't know.
I don't know.
I don't know.
I am finding out that there are more and more questions that he is asking that I just don't have answers for.
I don't really care about the medical questionnaires I have to leave blank because I just don't know.
But I'd give my left eyeball to know when he took his first step or what was his first word was. To know if he was born with hair or sucked his thumb.
And then it is easy to let my mind wander into territory it best stay out of...the unknown of what his early life was probably like.
I look at my sweet spoiled chubby Zoe and the abundance of love and attention and milk and clean clothes and love and attention and stimulation and milk and clean clothes and love and more love and sometimes my heart just breaks for the unknowns.
Our very first picture of "Chala.".
I know a day will come when he will be asking me much harder questions than these.
And I will be just as inadequate in having answers.
I can't control these unknowns.
But I can control what he will know from here on out...
He is loved.
By his crazy big extended family.
And by His Heavenly Father.
And I pray that is enough to equip him to deal with the unknowns.
I NEVER overreact to having a stomach bug introduced in my house.
Therefore I have not made all my children sleep with buckets at the ends of their beds.
I did not pull up all the miscellaneous rugs in and en route to the bathroom.
I definitely did not practice the quickest escape routes to the bathroom with them.
And my pantry is not stocked up with gatorade, ginger ale, saltine crackers, and lysol. Lots of lysol.
I did not rearrange my school science unit and swap learning about the skeletal system for the digestive system in an attempt to capitalize on not having to leave home for the field trip.
Jeremiah and I had a nice little getaway night early in the week.
It almost didn't happen because of that nasty dreaded straight from the pits of h-e-double-hockey-sticks noro virus hitting our babysitters. (So glad you are feeling better Rick and Janet!) Thankfully (I said almost) and one of my Via sister-in-laws stepped in and saved the day so that we could still go. (Thanks Kelly!)
We haven't been away overnight without the kids on a trip that wasn't mission or church related in a loooong loooong time.
A loooong time.
When we checked into our hotel we just laid on the bed and soaked in the quiet. Ah, quiet. So nice.
We almost didn't know what to do with ourselves.
I said almost.
Of course any trip we take that involves us being within a 30 mile radius of Ikea necessitates a mandatory stop. And we almost estimated the length of the box of Ella's new bed to fit into our car.
I said almost.
Good thing we had all that quality time driving to our destination.
After all who really needs to see their husband while driving home, eh?!
Good news is that her bed fits in her room and she loves it. It's a loft bed that allows plenty of room underneath for Zoe's bed and dresser. Both girls are excited. Ok, Ella is excited...and Zoe just is always excited. This weekend we will move both girls in together.
i love i love you day.
i mean how fun is it to tell those you love i love you on an entire day devoted to love.
and so, of course i'm not going to give you just one photo for this special day.
photo overload is more like it.
for us it started with a path of hearts.
that led to a special decorated breakfast room.
full of (simple) love and surprises.
we interrupted our regularly scheduled school for some fun lessons on graphing, patterns, sorting, and estimating.
thanks to the wonderful invention of candy hearts.
and who says pepperoni has to be round.
heart shaped is the way to go on heart day.
and the evening ended with a very special date for two special people.
And as wonderful as it is to spend a day loving those placed in my life. I am most thankful for the love of my Jesus.
He loved me first.
Not based on my worth.
Not because on anything I've done.
Or anything I would do.
But because of who he is. HE IS LOVE.
He is my hope when I don't feel lovable.
He is my example when I don't feel like loving.
I love love love love love love love love love this stage, this girl, this time right now.
Zoe is a bundle of wonderment and wants to be into everything. She is crawling folks. Yes, crawling. As in she is now able to get into the kids toys and scare me half to death by hanging out near the top of the stairs crawling. She is not yet fast or 100% coordinated (thank goodness!) but she is moving.
She is starting to eat some big girl food. Just little bits of what we are eating and some mashed up fruits and veggies but she is really enjoying it.
I like to call this her serious banana face.
She keeps her mouth open about 50% of the time. Especially if she gets excited about anything.
I'm pretty sure she is going to have a fly in there come summer if she keeps it up.
She goes to bed around 7-8pm most nights and wakes up anywhere from 6 - 8am. She is very inconsistent with her wake up times, which makes the rest of her day vary a lot...but she generally eats upon waking, is up for 2 hours then sleeps for 2 hours, repeats that cycle again, then up for 3 hours before bedtime. Rinse and repeat. She takes her paci at nap and bedtimes but won't take it while awake for more than a second or two. She is starting to be able to find and put it back in in the middle of the night which is making mommy and daddy very happy.
She makes her brothers and sisters happy pretty much all the time. They fight over who gets to sit by her in the car. They fight over who gets the first smiles from her in the morning. They fight over who gets to go get her up when she wakes up from her nap. For a little girl to be this loved is just incredible.
I think she is thriving from it all.
She weighs right under 18lbs (75%) and is in the 95% for her height. Still no teeth yet. And her hair is really coming in thick now...still dark which makes Eli very happy. And her eyes are definitely going to be a lovely dark brown.
I know I've mentioned a time or two about how loud she can be. Nothing is changing there. We can't wait to see what that first word is. Will it be mama or dada?
After doing this a few times or two I know that I don't have the power to freeze time. Therefore I am truly truly trying to soak in and enjoy every second of this stage with her.
i'll take my man.
who empties the suitcase as soon as we get home from a trip because... he gets me.
and is always willing to help.
and understands that i can't relax with an unpacked suitcase looming in the shadows.
and still loves me.
by the way.
we are home now.
and it feels oh, so good.
I learned right alongside my kids the whole month of January as we studied the solar system.
Which was really needed as my knowledge base of the solar system was embarrassingly low. (Right, Addie!) I think I must have been sick that week in elementary school because I knew nothing!
And, who knew?
The whole thing is amazingly interesting!
Not to brag or anything, but our dining room is so big it can hold all of the known planets....
A planet match game. Played many many times.
This web site.Among many many others.
A felt craft.
This book.Among many many others.
A lesson on acronyms as a memorization tool. (I think it really sunk in: Next time you see Ella ask her to name the planets in order from the sun.)
We were able to work the theme into several other subjects as we graphed the average temperatures on all the planets, used stars and planets as manipulatives for our addition and subtraction problems, and finished up the week with a written report, painstakingly correct in grammar and punctuation.
I think this is one subject that we will delve into on another month as there was so much we didn't even get to cover (moon phases...) and so much we only scratched the surface on (gravity...), but overall I was really excited with what we were able to learn.
Ok, maybe I was really excited with what I was able to learn, ha! But the kids really enjoyed it too.
...and this one was my runner up as Zoe's preferred mode of transportation today is up high. or
rather it is now my preferred method of transportation for her because she can't crawl and eat her brother's lego's when she is in this...
Zoe is such a snuggler.
Best part of my day today was her snuggles this morning.
My pre-coffee face for your viewing pleasure. See, I told you I don't look like a super model all the time.
And then she spit up all over me.
Oh well. It was still the best part of my day.
I think I am going to do one of those photo a day challenges for the rest of February. I saw this idea on another blog and thought I'd try it as I've been quite uninspired lately in the picture taking department. Maybe this will force me into some photo creativity and out of my slump.
Feel free to join in.
I'm still not sure how it is already February 2nd already?
Somehow I made it to and through January...the month I couldn't wait to get to for the whole second half of 2011. I wouldn't say January was boring, but it was definitely much more manageable. I actually feel as though I got to take a deep breath.
I hear tell that the groundhog saw his shadow this morning. I think we are supposed to actually have had a winter in order for us to have 6 more weeks of it? Not that I'm complaining.
And I don't usually do birthday shout outs on here for my family because I could pretty much write one every day with as big as my family is, ha! However, I have a certain brother that is worth giving a birthday shout out to as he is super special in my kids life...
Happy Birthday Uncle JoJo (or Jofus as they love to call you)!
You joined our family 6 years ago...and we (especially this little boy sitting atop your shoulders) are so glad you did! We love you.