Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oh Kid...

Jake started Kindergarten this fall.  He turned 6 in June, and was more than ready for the challenge.  He's a little bummed though...apparently Kindergarten is not as difficult as he was hoping for.  This kid kills me.  He's so serious...and shy, but his eyes and expressions say all that his mouth does not.  He's a thinker.  He's always...and I mean ALWAYS listening, and repeating what he's heard.  Even when I'd rather he not.   I tried to explain that right now his teacher is just reviewing what they'd learned in preschool, and soon he'll be learning new sight words and reading books.

His response:  "Mom.  We had to learn about a chair.  What good does that do?  I think they're trying to make me stupider."

Did I mention he doesn't always believe me?

Seriously, kills me.  Love that kid.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Necessary for Me...

This weekend I watched a documentary on Netflix (I'm a sucker for documentaries) called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.  It's basically about this guy who is, what the title says, and decides to go on a 60-day juice-only fast.  It's extreme, which is why it's so entertaining. 

The movie talked a lot about the food we eat.  It was sort of the nail-in-the-coffin sort of deal for me.  I've known for quite some time that I have a serious addiction to sugar.  I love me some caffeine, we all know that, but I can go off it it without any serious symptoms or cravings (I do it regularly, just to be sure.)  Regular or decaf, doesn't really matter...but sugar is a whole different story.  


I knew I had a problem, and I knew I didn't want to give it up.  It tastes so good.


My husband, the pastor, has also been preaching on idols...and how God hates them.  HATES them.  I'm always battling against idols...we all are...but this sugar/carb one has got. me. good.  


Back to the documentary.  Most people (including me) think this juice guy is crazy for doing it for 60 days, so he challenges them to 10 days.  So I thought to myself...ten day, huh?  The purpose of the fast it to get the junk out of your system in an attempt to re-train your taste  buds.  


So...I'm not on a juice fast...but I'm on a low sugar/carbs fast.  Ten days.  Today is day 2.  Yesterday, I thought about sugar and carbs approximately 500 times per minute.   My body kept saying to me...just a little bit, all you need is a little bit and you'll feel better...and I wanted to cave.  So very bad.  But every time my body whispered to me, it was just another sign of how desperately those substances are controlling me, and I am not designed and created to be controlled by anything other than my Heavenly Father.  


Today, so far,  is not much better.  Sad.  I contemplated drinking the maple syrup that's in the fridge door.  I'm crabby, irritable, tired and all around unpleasant to be around.  Lovely, no?  


Here's an interesting article I read here.    


I'll keep you posted on my progress...and, if you happen to battle an addictive personality...I get you.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Progress!

I like small spaces.  Small houses, small churches, small mini-vans, small cars, small towns, small groups of people.


Like Alan Jackson said in the 90's..."It's alright to be little-bitty"  


I adore little bitty.


But...I also like my personal space...I'm complicated.  :)

I think the addition to the parsonage is going to offer the best of both worlds...enough space yet cozy rooms. Sounds nice.

The addition project to the parsonage is coming along so, so well.  I can hardly believe it.  I like to stand inside of it and imagine actually having people over without hours spent rearranging furniture in order to make standing room.


When finished, the parsonage will definitely not be little bitty anymore.  We will have room to spread out...room for people.  I am excited about room for people.


Last time I  blogged about it (in June) it looked like this:






And Now...



You might notice it has two doors, right beside each other.  The plain one on the left goes straight into the laundry/mud room and a hall to the bathroom.    The door on the right, or as I call it, "The Pretty Door" (because I'm so in love with it.) will be the main entry.  With this set up, the kids will use the door to the mudroom to bring in their mud, thus keeping the other entry (into the dining/kitchen area MUCH cleaner.  YAY!































I'm super excited about this door.  I'm planning on painting them dark gray.


What amazes me most about the whole addition is the fact that it's being built by the guys in our church, who are sacrificing their time and energy to bless our family (and their wives and children are too!).  It's amazing.  And humbling.  And makes us so thankful for our church family here...not because they're building us this big house, but because their hearts and actions show such love and humility...it is truly an honor to serve with people like that.  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Playing Catch Up...

I hate playing catch up.  Do you?  It requires so much work.  Whether it's trying to catch up with people I've lost contact with (which I do, because I'm terrible at keeping in touch, unless you count Facebook as keeping in touch), or blogging...playing catch up is tiring.  And since my blogging in the past several months has been, shall we say, pathetic, I have a lot to catch up on.  And since "catching up" seems so not fun, I just do what I do best...procrastinate.  I'm like a professional at it these days.

It's impressive.  Except that it's not.

In blogging, and in life, I like to hit the ground right where I'm at.  I like to talk about what's going on now, not yesterday or last week...or months ago.  But I also can't leave this gaping whole in the last few months of our life in 2011.  After all, this blog...my blog is really for me.  To keep track of me...my life, my family, my God.  So I can process the now, and look back on the then and realize how good life really is.  It's a bonus when others join along on the journey...but I write for me...my grammar is hardly good enough to "write" for anyone else. ;)

So I don't forget:

The remodel/addition project started in June and is coming along steadily (it deserves it's own post soon), Noah played catcher on his 3rd grade little league team...and loved it, we went camping with friends, my family loved it and I didn't totally hate it, so we're good to go again next year, Lucy started walking in mid July, Noah went off to Jr. Boys camp for a week...and I survived., the first week of August was:  missionary friends from Brazil, Julie arriving back here, VBS, and missionary friends here to help for VBS.  We celebrated Jake's 6th birthday, and continued Eli's vision therapy (which also deserves it's own post)  We didn't get to the pool as often as we would have liked, but spend plenty of time there for swim lessons.  Eli being baptized.  Moved Julie into college just 15 minutes away. School started August 17th, and fall unofficially begins...for all practicality purposes.   My boys loooove AXE... Jake now calls deodorant "man smell"  and because of the awesomeness of that, the whole family calls it that.  All of that should have been about 45 posts.  But it's not.  And that's ok.

And what kind of  "cramming all things summer into one blog post" be without at least a few pictures?!?


Lucy's favorite shoes.
At the airport with Julie!



Lucy's personality keeps shining brighter and brighter ;)




Getting Julie ready for college.



Eli 3rd grade, Jake Kindergarten, Noah 4th grade...standing in the doorway of the new addition, because next year it will look so different!

There.  Caught up.  That wasn't so bad. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

New-Do...

Thanks to Jackie at Memories by Design, I have a terrific new blog-do!  YAY!


Apparently, I was so tired of looking at my old one, that I just couldn't blog the month of July. 


Or I've been busy.


Or both.


My kids start school next week...and I don't even care if it makes me sound like a bad mom, but YIPEEEEEE!  


They're ready and I'm ready.  Sort of.  I'll miss them, but they need structure and so do I.  Thank you public school system for providing us with a schedule, because for some reason I just can't do it on my own. 


Until then, I can't hear myself think...


See ya next week. ;)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

For the Love of Ponytails...

I have rekindled my fondness for the ponytail. 
High Pony...




For the past several years I opted for the bob.  I love the bob.  I miss the bob.  But sometimes, you just have to do something different because otherwise people get bored looking at you.  

Should I say that?  Maybe not.  Oh well.  It's true.  If you've had the same hair cut for more than a few years...people are tired of it.  Try something new.  Be fun.


So, in an effort to not bore everyone, including myself, I decided to grow it out.  And really, is there anything more fun than growing it out and then cutting it short?  I think not.  Super fun.


I did have an original point at the beginning of this post...oh yeah...ponytails.


I'm finding that they are WAY cooler in the summertime than my beloved bob. Cooler as in temperature, in case I was confusing you.  




And ponytails are fun...except when they're not.  But mostly fun...especially on this one:





Friday, July 1, 2011

Julie is Coming Back!

So, I forgot to tell you some big news.  Imagine that.


If you've been around awhile, you might recall that on August 1, 2009 our foreign exchange student from Norway arrived:  Julie.


The same month she arrived, we managed to conceive Lucy.  Not exactly the timing I was going for.  A teenage daughter was new territory for me...and so was a baby one.


I spent much of that year bewildered at God's timing.  I knew I couldn't see the big picture...yet that didn't stop me from complaining about how weird His timing was.  Incessant bewildered complaining about weirdness is not flattering. Trust me.


I still don't have the big picture.  I'm not meant to.  But I have more pieces of the puzzle, and when I look back on events from then until now I can smile at His way of weaving life together.  
Julie and I that November...I'm holding her stomach because her is flat and mine was not :)


Looking back, I can see Julie and I at the college visit we went to at a near by university.  We wandered around that campus that November day, joking about how she could come back here and go to college and of course meet and eventually marry the man of her dreams...her American dreams. ;)   We sat through the financial aid meeting, the question and answer time...ate in the dining hall (which made me want to enroll there and live in the dorms because the food was AMAZING...of course I was preggo so food itself was amazing.)


But I left that university that day knowing Julie would not be back here.  The idea was ludicrous.  College in Norway is practically totally paid for by their government.  And why would she come back to Iowa?  I mean really, have you seen Norway?!?  And if she was to come back to America for college, she'd certainly go somewhere new and exciting.


Looking back I see myself...overwhelmed.  One husband, three boys, one teenage daughter, one on the way, a dog, a ministry, and three bedrooms and one bathroom.  I went into survival mode, but survival mode doesn't often let you enjoy life fully...the way God intends.  


In early June of 2010, I remember standing in the airport with three boys and a 5 week old baby...saying goodbye to Julie.  She had to go through security and then sit on the other side of a window-wall.  We both sobbed.  And sobbed.  And sobbed some more.  I had such a feeling of wanting a do-over.  You know that feeling?  That feeling of knowing if you just could do it again, you'd be so much better at it.  


Late this winter, I got an email from Julie, sharing about how she was seeking out where God was leading her after she graduated from school in Norway.  She'd looked into all sorts of exciting adventures, but nothing felt quite right.  Meanwhile, God was lining up everything to fall into place for her return to Iowa.  


God does such weird things in such a great way, doesn't He?


Now...today...I am fully adjusted to the four-kid thing.  My 3 bedroom, one bath house will soon be turning into a 5 bedroom 2 1/2 bath house...and my teenage daughter is returning.  And this time, I get to be her friend...well a mom-friend anyway.  She's in charge of herself this time.  No curfews, no telling her who she can't date (although I'm sure to have an opinion ;) it's different this time...and I'm excited about that.  That year of craziness had a purpose...a purpose far bigger than me.



One month from today we will pick her up from the airport.  What an adventure.  I'm thankful for God's version of do-overs.








*and if you're new, and would like to read more about the time when Julie was here, you can click on the link titled "hosting" under "Stuff I write about"*