Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 23-29

 A (choke-hold) hug from a freshly bathed Owen.
For the most part I have packed up the majority of items we have in the boys' room.  You kind of would never know that though . . . 
But the Legos will stay out, until the very end because it is THE VERY MOST FAVORITE THING and keeps them busy for HOURS ON END. 
 The living room . . . filling with boxes, randomly placed furniture, a chalkboard still sporting its Christmas design . . .  I kind of hate that nothing in life feels very organized right now--like there is no pleasant spot for my eyes to land.  Every room is slowly getting dismantled, and while I know this is part of the moving process, I admit, it is hard for a person who has suddenly flown into "nesting mode" to for the most part be "un-nesting."
 The temperature may have hit 70 degrees briefly this day, but it really didn't feel it, due to the crazy wind.  Never-the-less the boys thought it was SO HOT and decided to set up the slip and slide.  They quickly discovered their folly.  I think each took one (maybe two?) turns.  
 My little bed buddy while staying at Grandpa and Grandma's.  The kids and I made a quick trip back for my appointment, and seeing as I would have an entire king bed to myself I didn't see the point in pulling out the trundle for Owen.  He was happy to keep me company (such a snuggly little fellow he is . . . ).  
 Because my days aren't entirely filled with boy shenanigans--there is a lot of sweetness too. ;o) I am so thankful for my big girls who have been such good help as bending and lifting and things of that nature get tougher and tougher for me.
Off to prom! ;o)
Signs you are officially old:
1. You want to rush around to all the girls saying "Bless your heart!" and hand them a shawl.
2. You only recognize about three songs during an hour's worth of music.
3. You move away from the speakers because you fear for whatever hearing you have left.
4. Your date patrols the dance floor making sure there is "enough space" between dance partners.
5. You call it a night a 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 16-22

 Emmett received four Lego kits for his birthday.  Before we had even served lunch on Sunday three of them had been built (the 4th he opened on Monday, otherwise I'm sure it would have been built too). I'm almost certain we said something about "only opening one" and waiting on the rest until we got back to Arapahoe . . . hmmmm.
A "cheater" picture . . . Monday was so busy, I had my midwife appointment in Lincoln, we packed up, we drove to walk-through the acreage we will be renting, we had supper with my friend Tiffany and her family in Shelby, we toured the high school (we saw Curtis Tomasevicz working out in the school gym . . .) and we got home at 11:00 that night.  So many picture opportunities, but alas, I didn't have my camera handy.  The next day I noticed how green the wheat field had gotten while we were away.  I'm certain I would have snapped a picture of it on the 17th had I arrived home before dark . . . right?? ;o)
 Reuben Sandwiches for supper.  We had to delay our "St. Patrick's Day" feast until we were home.  It wasn't a whole lot of a feast (corned beef, mashed potatoes) but I just didn't have time this year for green punch or anything like that.  Maybe next year? ;o)
 Marissa got Owen out of the bath and followed his request to "wrap him up like a burrito and carry him around like a barrel." And being the good big sister that she is, she humored him.
 Owen decided to get his old (cobbled together) bike out of the garage and what do you know, he can ride without training wheels!  We had seen last summer that he could keep his balance but he was too scared, so we didn't push it.  But you know, now he is four and fearless.
 Really, the cats are outside most of the time, regardless of what pictures show you.  Part of Emmett's morning routine is waking up and rounding up a few cats to snuggle/wrestle/vigorously pet.  Oddly enough, I think they like his attention.
Isabella and Owen made cupcakes.  Earlier in the week Marissa had made cupcakes.  Extra bakers in the family are doing nothing for my waistline . . . *ahem* 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

All I have needed Thy Hand has Provided . . .

When Josh went back for his 2nd round of school so that he could become a teacher (I believe it was the winter term of 2009?) I began praying at that point for a job for him.  And if we want to get specific, I prayed for a job that would be in the Lincoln area, so nothing in my life would really have to change.  God did provide a job, but that job took us three hours from where I wanted to be.  Since we moved here I have prayed God would find a way to bring us back.

Of course, during these going-on-three-school-years, God has worked to change us.  We have learned to enjoy life in a small town and grown accustomed to long commutes.  We have seen what we just couldn't replace (our Lincoln church) and learned what we could do without (daily errand running for example).

Last fall when I learned we would be adding a 6th baby to our family I crumpled a bit inside.  Not because this new life we are expecting isn't a blessing, but because I just didn't know how I could do things like "Kearney days" with an infant (and the five others in my care . . .).  And then Josh's brother died.  The desire in our hearts to be back closer to family intensified fiercely.  In January, there was a job posting for science in Auburn, Nebraska.  It was a bit further than we had looked before, an hour outside of Lincoln, but at hour sounded better than three hours.  Josh applied.  We waited and waited.  They took the posting down . . . and we hoped for a call that whole week for an interview.  It didn't come.  I had some very low moments.  Even though I knew it was early in the hiring season I just felt so very sad. The weekend came.  A new posting was up for a job in Shelby, Nebraska--which just so happens to be a place a good friend from high school, Tiffany, lives--a place where her husband is middle school principal.  I contacted her and she gave me "the scoop." When it was all said and done Josh ended up with two interviews Monday, February 17th, one in Auburn and one in Shelby.  The very next day, the evening of February 18th, Josh got a phone call while we were walking around the track.  Shelby was offering a job.  We went home, crunched numbers, talked it over, and then officially accepted.

There is something scary about making that decision to "leap."  Even though we had prayed and prayed and prayed, we had gotten used to the "no" answer.  What do we do with the "yes?"  There is a safeness staying where you are and knowing what is expected of you.  In Arapahoe Josh loves his teaching and coaching jobs, loves the students.  We have a suitable place to live.  We know what our life looks like.  But what would life be like in Shelby?  And then there is the whole relocating a family of soon-to-be-eight.  Let's face it--there aren't a whole lot of homes available to fit us all!  When I looked online only one house popped up for sale with a Shelby address.  That made me nervous. I did the only thing in my capability to do--pray.  Josh (of course!) wasn't worried a bit, "Would God really provide a new job for us and not give us a place to live as well?" he asked me.  It's not so much that I thought we would be homeless but I figured where we would end up would be a less-than-ideal place we would have to make work for a year until we were ready to buy.

But Tiffany got to work (really, I think she should have been a realtor!), finding all these houses that are not advertised anywhere.  One in particular I loved, but we just aren't ready to buy this year.  And then March 5th she texted me a whole bunch of pictures of a 4 bedroom acreage she had found outside of Shelby.  There was a barn.  It had chickens (and *ahem* turkeys and rabbits . . .).  It was for rent and it was affordable.  On the 17th we walked through it.  It is an old farmhouse that has been updated here and there throughout the years.  There are parts that are great and parts that could "use some love." But will it work perfectly for us? Yes.  In fact, in my prayer journal I have this list of things I pray about for the house we hope to buy one day:
"Front porch . . . porch swing
Character (thick wood work)
Yard big enough for garden, pumpkins, sunflowers
(In the country if possible)
4-6 bedrooms (the more the merrier)
Shady spot for hydrangeas
Yard big enough for animals?
Chickens, etc."

While it does lack a front porch (it is actually set up to have one though, just hasn't been built!), and perhaps the woodwork could be a little thicker for my taste, I am shocked to discover it has every last one of my criteria--down to the chickens it comes with!  I have prayed about these things for the house we would own--never in a million years did I think God would provide them in a rental.

And that friends, makes me teary. Far too often, I sell God short.  Of course He could give me chickens at a rental. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5,6

I cannot help but notice how straight this new path has been--from the initial posting, to getting the interview, to being hired within a day, to having found a house within a month.  So simple and easy, and particularly at a time when I need simple and easy and needed to have a plan in place with this new baby coming.  So very much is changing for us in the next few months.  We are hoping to be situated in our new home come the first of June.  In the meantime I keep growing this baby, packing, decluttering, and planning for a new life so much closer to our families and friends.  We are excited!  And yet, I greatly would covet your prayers.  I've never packed up a house in the last trimester of pregnancy.  Box wrangling, taping, and stacking is a bit tricky with a big ol' tummy.  I hurt and I am tired.  I know it will all get done.  But I also know it is going to be crazy around here for awhile. I know I will have the summer with Josh around to recuperate--it is just getting to that point! ;o)  Overall though, I see God's hand in all of this and how perfect His timing is.  This house was the house our landlords raised their family in.  Even though they have gone onto build a bigger and better home up the road they didn't want to part with their old home place.  Until two months ago, their son and his family had been living there but he got a new job, relocating them.  It has sat empty and they weren't actively searching for someone to live there.  It has just been waiting . . .
"Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 9-15

 Seeing as we would be back in Lincoln for IHCC's pinewood derby Josh asked who wanted to make a car, and of course everyone thought the idea sounded grand. Here they all are sanding their cars smooth.
 Since Owen's splashing puddle dried up he thought he would just make his own, this one more along the lines of a mud pit.  I may not have been so pleased to discover mud went flying everywhere (clumps on van, house, muddy hand prints on doors . . . not to mention the laundry).  Never-the-less, I pulled out the camera, because you know, this IS what life looks like now. ;o)
 Discovered a "medieval soccer game" (or so I was told) going on in the boys' room.  I'm thinking the team there on the right might have a slight advantage . . .
 Emmett came home from Awana on cloud nine because he had managed to lose his first tooth on the van ride home--pulled it out all by himself (just in time for that 7th birthday--our kids are late losers).

 Isabella's colorful fashion sense--she likes to try new things. ;o)
 Completed cars!
(Jackson's, Owen's, Bella's, Emmett's, Marissa's)
Happy birthday Emmett!
Emmett and I made a donut run to HyVee for breakfast, then had to do some car tweaking, spent all day at the derby, and that evening headed out to Papa Roy and Granny's for hot dogs/hamburgers and ice cream sundaes. A very busy day!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Happy 7th To Emmett James!!!

Big news around these parts for the last two months or so has been your upcoming birthday.  There may have been a daily check on how many weeks (and eventually) days remained.  It is possible you asked daily to see what was on your Amazon wish list and brainstorm about other things could be added (all Lego kits of course).  I think I can accurately assume that this seventh birthday has been MUCH ANTICIPATED.  
And so my dear, sweet, quirky little Emmett boy I do so hope that your special day lives up to your expectations!  
At seven you are not so much into things of the scholarly nature (your mama is holding out hope that will change . . .).  BUT you do adore a good board game and I don't really think there are a whole lot of 7 year olds who play chess like you (I mean really, I don't even know HOW to play chess). You are always looking for someone to play a game with.  The unfortunate thing about being the youngest player is usually you lose (and you really, really passionately hate losing).  I know how frustrating that is right now, but I'm quite certain some day it will all pay off--those older siblings are only helping you sharpen your skills!
You love to laugh.  You love all things silly.  I think you might be a bit of a flirt. You were telling me the story this week of how you loved grossing out the little girl in Awana by showing her your very wiggly tooth and threatening to pull it out in front of her.  You thought it was hilarious.
I can just see you in high school . . .
You love Legos but are not so much of a direction follower--you are more of a free thinker.  I am always amazed at the creations you come up with all by yourself--I see symmetry, working parts . . .  you are good at that!!  You are excited to be a big brother again--you are a "belly rubber" and enjoy talking to my stomach.  Sometimes you like to come up and "jiggle" my stomach to try to wake the baby up.  I don't enjoy that so much. ;o)  You love your kitty cats and are constantly sneaking them in the house.  You like to draw pictures of crazy (mostly exploding) stuff and they delight you so much that you laugh to yourself the whole time you are creating and then can't even explain it to me because you are laughing too much! I can't imagine life without your infectious giggle.  Sometimes all Daddy and I can do is join in even if we don't know what we are laughing at.  You are just high on life and if makes us laugh to see you so happy.
I am thankful that God blessed us with you seven years ago--we love you to pieces!
May God work in your heart so that He is what brings you the most delight.
Happiest birthday my Emmers--may seven be absolutely grand!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 2-8

 After a full day of church in Lincoln, packing, and driving back to Arapahoe I fed the kids popcorn for supper and called it a day (although they had all filled their tummies quite thoroughly at a Valentino's lunch, so I don't really feel bad about the popcorn).
The peanut gallery sitting on the couch.
 I have been getting a kick out of Jackson's very thorough coloring jobs.  He just might be my very best "color-inner" taking his time to make sure not a stitch of white paper shows through (so very dark and vivid!). 
 Owen was overjoyed to finally try out the rain boots I had scored for him at Goodwill.  (Well, in truth, he has been wearing them around town a lot lately, but finally he got to use them for what they are meant for!). ;o)
 I found these hooligans traipsing through the mud in the back yard--bare foot!  Spring fever has officially hit!
 After recalling the "Stir Crazy" popcorn popper he had as a kid, Josh was delighted to discover Amazon still sold them.  Now we are the proud owners of a "Stir Crazy." I think I still like my air popper better, but traitors that they are the kids have joined Daddy's side and have been making popcorn daily with the new toy.
And my third picture this week that deals with popcorn.  (Really, our diet IS a bit more varied . . .) ;o)

Monday, March 3, 2014

February 23-March 1

 We woke up to a beautiful blanket of snow--perhaps the most snowfall we had gotten all winter long!  It was perfectly fluffy and I got a kick out of kitty cat Sebastian dashing through it.
 It's never to early to introduce the littlest brother to "Risk."
 A little more snow on Tuesday caused a huge flurry of activity at the bird feeder (pretty much just finch visitors).
 Discovered Owen in the kitchen keeping himself busy washing dishes.  While a lot of water ends up on the floor this mama is not going to discourage any voluntary dishwashing (and particularly when I think back to how Jackson kept himself busy at the same age--drawing full scale wall murals in oil pastel!!). ;o)
 Needed a freckle fix. ;o)
A full and busy day back in Lincoln--appointment with midwife and glucose screening, errands, took the oldest three to the Lied to watch the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra perform and ended the day at my parents' home for supper.  While Josh and my dad were discussing moving blankets my dad recalled a good deal he had gotten on some and sent us home with 8 moving blankets.  The funny thing about this? My parents in all their 36 years of marriage have NEVER moved!  My dad likes a good deal. ;o)
While the older three kids got to take part in the dodge ball tournament at our Lincoln church I took the younger two thrifting--they have quite the eyes for helping me find all the pretty silver. ;o)  I was happy to take home three more platters and an adorable sugar/creamer set.  Owen helped me polish it all up pretty.