Sunday, December 23, 2007

Here's some Ellisons

During our recent trip to Florida, we stopped through to see Scott's parents and grandparents on our way to my hometown. We didn't have long to visit and really missed out on being able to see all of our family and friends, but we tried to make the most of our short time.

Here are some highlights:

Caroline meets Papa, Scott's dad.

Caroline was named after Grandma's family, so we were so glad for Caroline to finally meet her!

Scott with his grandparents. 

Aunt Erica with Cousin Cody

Josh and Carter with Cody- the boys had so much fun with their cousin!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Sophie

Sophie turned three while we were in Florida. It's hard to believe she is already three, although most of the time she acts like she is 13. This little girl is such a blessing to us. She fills our home with a lot of laughter! Happy Birthday, sweet Sophie! You are God's gift to us.

Sophie with Grandma

With Mommy and Daddy

With her big brothers. Please notice the princess crown from Aunt Trish. Quite fitting.

I have never seen one of my children be so appreciative of gifts. Every time she opened a gift, Sophie would yell, "Thank you! I love it!" So much fun.

We have been out of town for an unplanned trip to Florida. My grandfather, who we called Pau-Pau passed away after a bad fall that broke his hip. Although he was ninety-six years old, I was not ready for him to die. He played a major role in my life and in the life of my little (or big, depending on your perspective) family.

My parents divorced when I was 12 years old, and my mother moved our family to the town where my grandparents (Gran and Pau-Pau) lived. Being a single mother to four growing children required a lot of help, and Gran and Pau-Pau stepped in and rose to the occasion. Pau-Pau dutifully picked us up from school for orthodontist appointments, attended school functions, and took us out for Sunday lunch at the Sizzler more times than I can count. He spent many hours landscaping my mom's front yard, which still bears the fruit of his labor.

I spent many hours at Gran and Pau-Pau's dining room table pouring out my teen-age and young adult troubles. They were always willing to listen, and gave me very sound advice about boys, college, jobs and countless other decisions I made. To a great extent, Pau-Pau filled in the gap left by my father and he made an enormous impact on my life. He was an instrument of God's grace to me during a very difficult period of my life.

I was the traveler in my family and I spent a lot of time in the car with Gran and Pau-Pau going back and forth the their house in the mountains. They would patiently put up with my musical choices and endless opinionated chatter. The fun thing about talking with Gran and Pau-Pau was that they were quick to share their thoughts as well- there was no trying to guess what they thought because they always had an opinion and always shared it!

Pau-Pau married into our family when I was five. He lost his first wife to illness and my Gran's first husband, (and my mother and aunt's father) died many years earlier, so Pau-Pau was formally our step-grandfather. But there was no mention of 'step' in our family. Although my mother and aunt honor their father's memory, and miss him very much, Pau-Pau always referred to them as his daughters and treated them as well as any natural father would.

My first memory of Pau-Pau was when I was four years old. My mother was expecting my younger brother and there was a large family baby shower being held for her. Pau-Pau was given the task of keeping a very animated four-year-old occupied for the duration of the party. Poor man! I still remember him taking me to Fort Desoto and showing me the conquistador armor.

Pau-Pau was a private man, but when questioned about his life, he would freely tell stories of growing up in Pennsylvania, attending Penn State in the early 1930's, and of his experience working as a botanical genetisist who developed new strands of corn. He was very bright and seemed to know a little about everything and a lot about a lot of things.

When Pau-Pau would get riled up, he would animately wave his hands in the air- which was funny as long as he wasn't riled up at you! He had strong opinions and could get very excited when he expressed them. As I got older, I got a kick out of our lengthy conversations about the happenings in the news and politics- Pau-Paul always had an opinion and as he got warmed up, his arms would start to rise and his hands would start to waive.

When I was younger, I just assumed that when an older person died, the grief was not as deep because death is an expected part of old age. Now that I have lost older people who were very dear to me, I realize that older people are just as much a part of our lives as younger people, so when they die the void is just as real. I will miss Pau-Pau very much this Christmas.

I will also miss him every time an issue of National Geographic comes to my house (he subscribed to them for me a my Christmas gift over the past few years), every time I visit the North Carolina mountains, and every time I visit my hometown which contains so many memories of him sacrificially serving my family.

My oldest son is named after Pau-Pau, who never had any children of his own. I will teach him many lessons I learned from Pau-Pau- about hard work and loving other people, about being a faithful husband and caring father and grandfather.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

It's been a while, and

things have really picked up around our house. We are settled into our new house and our routine is slowly taking shape. This summer and fall have seen a lot of change at the Ellison home. We have welcomed a new baby, Scott has changed jobs, and we have made a major move. Here's a brief synopsis of what has transpired and a little bit about why we made another big move so soon after our last change.

We moved to North Carolina in August, 2006 for Scott to attend seminary. The Lord blessed Scott with a full time job at an insurance office that was close to our home and the seminary. For the first year he was able to attend school full time as well as working full time, but in January we found out we were expecting a new baby (to our surprise and great joy I might add), and it soon became apparent that keeping up with a full time school schedule would not be a possibility in the future. Scott finished up the spring semester and we prepared for Caroline's arrival.

In the meantime, Scott received a job offer from another company. The job would require us to move away from the seminary, but appeared that it would allow him to continue his education on a part-time basis while providing for our family. Even though we loved the area where we were, loved our church and had made many new friends, we sensed that the Lord was behind this change.

After praying about it and seeking counsel, we decided that this would be a good move for our family and would allow us to better build into our family and community.

So we now find ourselves living in rural North Carolina. After a lot of searching, we finally found a house that met our needs and that we could afford. Our house is an eighty-year-old farmhouse that sits on about 130 acres. We only own one acre, but are allowed to walk and hunt on the entire property. We see deer often and have an enormous gopher that lives under our barn. As long as the weather cooperates, the kids play outside in the yard for a good part of the day. We have good climbing trees- two apple trees and some friendly crepe myrtles that provide good fodder for their imaginations.

We are still homeschooling. Carter is in first grade this year. School takes up a greater part of our day now. We are using Sonlight curriculum, which involves a lot of reading aloud. This works great for our family, because Josh and Sophie can listen in on the stories and history lessons. I work one-on-one with Carter for math and language arts, but for the rest we can all gather together.

I love homeschooling, and this year has definitely been more involved than kindergarten, when we just focused on learning to read, learning to write, and basic math skills. Mornings around here are very busy but also very productive. By early afternoon, we usually have chores and school completed and we have rest time, more outside time, and time to just play. Scott works from home now, so he can watch the action from up close.

Living in the country has been a major adjustment for me. I have a lot more to write about that, but for now I'll say that I have had to really lean on the Lord for my joy and peace. I am so glad for that, because I want to know Christ more and more and I find myself praying and seeking God much more often when my earthly comforts are removed.

I find myself much busier since we moved, so my computer time has drastically cut down. I am thinking about posting on a more regular basis, maybe once a week. I would really love to write more, and have so many thoughts swirling around in my head, but rarely find myself with the opportunity to sit down and actually compose even an email.

Having four children is still a new experience and I still can't believe Scott and I are parents of so many (to us) little people! God has been so good to our family and as I find myself challenged every day with such a daunting task, I know he will continue to provide grace, strength, and wisdom. I love writing about God's goodness to us and what he is teaching me and what is going on in our family. Thanks for reading- I pray that you will be able to join me as I laugh, cry, struggle, and attempt to experience God in all of life.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


As a follow up to my last post, my anxiety did not immediately reside as soon as I started to pray and to try and trust God! Wouldn't that be great? But growing is a process, and our faith takes time to grow and our pride takes lots of time, effort, and trust in God to slowly begin to die. I can grow in humility before the Lord, but I won't ever reach full humility and trust this side of heaven. But I have hope in Christ, and one glad morning when this life if over, I'll fly away- oh Glory!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Out of control

We are 90% unpacked. The last ten percent feels like it is going to kill me! I have found myself fighting feeling overwhelmed and very anxious. I have a lump in my throat most of the time- there is always several things that need to be done that I can't get to. I do not enjoy that feeling.

At first glance it would appear that the simple solution to my anxiety would be to just get the job done- finish unpacking and peace will come. I keep thinking that if I could only unpack those last few boxes, everything will be okay and my heart will stop feeling so heavy. But I am wrong in this assumption.

The root of my problem is not unpacked boxes, my problem is my pride. What I mean is that I need things to go my way on my time schedule in order for me to be happy and have peace. I need my house to be the way I want it to be or I am anxious and worried. In order for me to stop sighing and smile, I have to have x number of things scratched off my to do list.

This is in direct opposition to what God has said is the way I should respond. He says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests known to God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Or how about when Jesus said, "Do not be anxious for your life...which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span"?

When I have been assuming is that I know what will make me happy. I know what is good for me. I know what makes my day go well. When things don't go according to my plan I get angry or worried or feel panicky. This is the opposite of trusting God, of abiding in Christ, of allowing God to control my day and to define what is good for me.

This move has been our hardest yet. I know there have been a lot things that have made it harder- having a newborn, buying an older house that has not immediately 'worked' (no washer/dryer hookups, few closets, no pantry...), having work done right away (washer hookups, etc) Scott was out of town for a week right after we moved, etc. But if God is good, and he plans my days and my every circumstance, then all these difficulties have been good and have been for his glory.

If I really believe Romans 8:28, "For God works all things together for good for those that love him and are called according to his purpose," then I will act like it! I will accept with joy whatever the day brings, because it is brought from God, who loves me and demonstrated his great love in the most magnificent way imaginable. ("But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.") Of course, I can't do this on my own, but God is a very present help and his grace is sufficient for me. It doesn't get a lot better than that.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

In our new house

Well, we are settling into our new, old house. Scott's job moved us a couple of hours east, and we bought an old farm house. Scott's new job will allow him more time for school, which he hopes to continue online as well as driving back to campus.

The house is proving to be interesting, but we are not surprised given it is almost (we think) 80 years old. The kids are loving having a lot of space, and it is fun to go outside and play with them. We liked our apartment on campus, but we were very quickly running out of room (we had 1000 square feet), especially after Caroline was born. Now we have more space inside and out, which we really needed. Of course, because our home is so old, we lost some closet and storage space but I am trying to be creative with where to put things!

I hope to write more as we get settled, and to post more pictures of the kids. Check back soon!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lights out?

The differences between men and women, or at least between my husband and I become more and more clear the longer we are married. As eight years have passed, and children have been added to our family, the 'real' Scott and Tami have come out. That subject could fill dozens of blog posts, but that's not what I'm really writing about tonight.

A realization came to both me and Scott this week. We have vastly different styles of managing the various happenings that occur in the middle of the night at our house. It is not unusual for both of us to be up at different times during the night- I handle newborn needs, and he generally takes care of the three older kids when they have a bad dream, need to visit the bathroom, or fail to visit the bathroom (this usually takes a team of two parents, though).

When I get up with Caroline, I silently make my way out our room, across the hall into her room. Then I feed her, change her diaper, burp her, put her back to bed, get a drink of water, and head back to bed. I do this all in the dark, not wanting anyone else in the house to wake up (especially not one of the other children). The next morning, Scott does not usually remember me getting up.

On the other hand, when Scott gets up with one of the kids, our house comes to life. First our bathroom light goes on- wouldn't want to trip on the way to our bedroom door. Then comes the hall light. (Right outside our bedroom door.) Next is the hall bathroom light (about two feet down the hallway from our room).

By now I am wide awake, wondering if Jesus has come back (and why do I feel so tired if the rapture has happened and I'm on my way to heaven and I guess the dispensationalists were right after all). When I come to my senses and realize that no, it isn't the rapture, it's only Scott taking Carter back to bed after a bad dream, I first fight the urge to yell, "Turn the lights out, what is your problem?!" and then I am really overcome with thankfulness that Scott has taken care of a child in the middle of the night without meaning to wake me up. Thanks, honey!

Even though I do wake up with the light pouring onto my pillow, Scott always pops right out of bed at the first sound of an older child, he seldom asks me for help in getting them settled back down, and the next morning he never complains about any of it, even though he gets up far earlier than I do and keeps the kids quiet while I feed the baby and fight for a few more minutes of sleep.

And that is why I love him.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


One day I'll write a post that doesn't revolve around life with a newborn, but for now my life is consumed with day to day mothering and just keeping up. Scott calls this 'survival'. I'm thankful for a husband with this kind of attitude.

Yesterday, I slept until 8:30 (Scott would bring Caroline to me to eat, and then I'd go back to sleep...). When I finally got up, I commented on how late I slept and that I didn't mean to let so much time pass with me still in the bed. He immediately told me, "You've got to give that up... right now, it's survival."

Today, when I commented that I shouldn't be as tired as I am, he again gave grace when he reminded me that I work third shift right now, and when you work third shift, you are always tired, no matter how late you sleep. (Sounds like being a seminary student as well.)

Of course, we don't want to live our entire lives just surviving. But when you find yourself in a particularly busy or difficult time, you might have to simply survive, just doing the best you can each day and relying more and more on God's grace to get you through. I have a husband who is constantly reminding me of that, and I couldn't be more thankful for living with that kind of grace.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Prayer time at our house

Sophie has now joined us for family prayer time every night. She is temporarily sleeping in the same room as the boys while Caroline is still getting up through the night. The boys love having her in with them, and she seems pretty keen on the idea as well. We have been enjoying having her join us for prayers. Here is what tonight's prayer time sounded like:

Sophie: "God is good, God is good, thank you for baby Caroline, who we got at the hospital. Amen."

Josh: "Dear God, help us to really do something. And help Uncle Ben to work hard. And help us Lord to do something, help Mama and Dad and me and Carter and Sophie and Caroline to do something. Amen."

Carter: "Dear Lord, please help the children of Uganda. Help our family to all get together and be really happy. Grandma Carter and Grandpa Carter and Uncle Ben and Aunt Erica and Cody and Uncle Richard and Aunt Amanda and Zachary and Granny and Papa and Grandma and Uncle Tommy and my whole family. Help them all to come to our house and get together.

Help my dad to find us a house. And help us to give the children in Uganda toys instead of weapons. And thank you Lord, and Amen."

Then Daddy prays and we all finish with the Lord's prayer. I love this time of day. Gathering around together as a family to beseach the Lord is such a gift. I am grateful for a husband who leads us to God. It also gives us the chance to see what is on the kid's hearts and minds. Sometimes I am brought to laughter, and sometimes I am brought to tears. But I am always blessed.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mama's little helper

Sophie was so proud of herself to help me wash dishes earlier this week. I had so much fun watching her! Of course, it got a little wet in the kitchen, and we had to change her dress afterwards, but it was totally worth the fun and experience.

Dishwashing is not one of my greatest strengths (I always try to keep the sink free from pileups, but exactly how clean the dishes are might be questioned- Scott has pulled dishes with um, leftovers, on them out of the cupboard more than once, which is fine unless we are serving company! Let's just say I love my dishwasher!) , so maybe Sophie will take over for me over the next few years...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Day one, down

OK, I've made it through my first day and a half completely alone with all my kids! Scott ended up being home most of Monday and Tuesday, so Wednesday was my first trial run and it went great! I told Scott that Wednesday was the day I've been wondering about for a long time: four kids, one being a newborn who has to be fed at least every three hours, after a night of getting up multiple times.

We managed to do a little baking together, as well as some reading out loud, Bible story/memory work, and basic chores. This morning we actually did school and visited a friend.

Of course, this is what my kids would prefer to do all day:
My older kids are baby-magnets! They can't seem to get enough of Baby Caroline.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Too good to be true

I am sitting on the couch enjoying the cooler fall weather. The breeze is coming in through the open glass door. I can hear Sophie playing with her dolly in her room. Caroline is sleeping in her bassinet. My boys are off with their friends, enjoying a Chick-fil-A play date. I had an entire conversation with a friend on the phone this morning.

This doesn't seem right. It is my first day 'on my own' with four kids. My mom is back in Florida, and Scott is at work. And it has been a great morning.

Thank you, Lord! I was a bit worried about how today would go. Of course, I will not take away the fact that I've had help with the boys. And a friend is bringing dinner tonight. And my bed is not made yet (I'm hoping for a short nap while the older kids nap this afternoon). But I am blessed. And today has been a great day so far.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Settling in

We have been home for four days now. I guess I should say four nights, because life with a newborn revolves around how the nights are going. And our nights are going very well. We are so blessed by this baby.

Carter, Josh and Sophie are loving Caroline. One of the greatest blessings of having a larger family is watching your children interact with each other. Caroline's older siblings are constantly hugging, kissing, and asking to see her.

Mama is recovering well. I am continually thanking God for a safe delivery of this beautiful, 9lb 6oz baby. We have been blessed by lots of help from our families and lots of meals from our church family.

Once again, God has visited us with one of his greatest blessings, and we are abundantly thankful.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Still waiting

Well, I am almost 41 weeks pregnant, much to my own surprise. I know babies come in the Lord's time, but I had not given even the slightest thought that our little girl would arrive after her due date. Now here we are almost one week after the day we looked forward to for so long.

When the 31st came and went, I gave into depression and pitying myself. I was of no use or service to my family on Friday night and Saturday morning, much to my shame. The Lord rescued me out of that sin through prayer, scripture, and a simple word from my old friend Elisabeth Elliot, "Do the next thing." (here, as well).

I was stuck on hold, waiting for an event I have no control over. I had stopped cooking dinner every night (what dollar menu can we raid tonight??), and was just getting by every day with other chores. The neat thing is that after I spent time in prayer on Saturday morning (thanks to my husband who took the boys off for donuts so I could spend some time time with the Lord in quiet), Scott came home and gave me some encouragement in the same way. He admonished me to keep going, staying occupied and busy.

Sitting on the couch staring out the glass doors was not displaying trust and hope in God, and was instead passing on my restless mood onto my family. By the time I had given my despair to the Lord, repenting of my lack of belief and trust in God's plan for this baby, I was ready to do the next thing, which for me was grocery shopping, meal planning for this week, and then relaxing in the kitchen while I baked some treats for my family.

Then, on Sunday at church, our pastor continued his way through Colossians, preaching from chapter 1. He reminded us that Christ holds all things together. All things. Every atom and molecule in the universe and beyond is held together by our incomparable Christ. What a life-changing truth! Nothing is out of Christ's hands. Including babies, including how this baby will arrive (I want to avoid an induction but as the days pass, pitocin is getting closer and closer), and of course when she will arrive.

I'm hoping and praying that my next post will be a birth announcement. But if not, I'm praying for more of God, more satisfaction in Christ, and a deeper understanding of His loving control of my life and of all things.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

WFMW, restaurant savings

I got this tip off Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood, and it worked for me so quickly I had to pass it on...

Sign up for free email updates at your favorite restaurant and you can receive free or discounted meals. I just did this at a few restaurants, and I already recieved an email for half off one entree at Johnny Carino's, and a free meal at Red Robin (our five-year-old's favorite place to eat).

Some places have birthday or anniversary clubs, and it only takes a minute to sign up. I googled the names of our favorite restaurants, and then found the newsletter links on their websites.

One more thing, I used our juno email account, because I don't want misc. emails in our regular email that comes in through Outlook.

A no-hassle way to get free food: Works for me!

For more wfmw, click here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Family Wrestle Mania

The children and I were enjoying some quiet couch time this evening while Scott went for a walk. It was peaceful, and I enjoyed sitting with all three kids- even Josh, our little wiggler, was quietly sitting in my lap. We talked about their day, how much they enjoyed 'playing tennis' with Daddy earlier at the park, among other things.

After Scott got home, I took Sophie back to get her ready for bed and within 30 seconds heard what I would refer to as chaos coming from the living room. It took no time at all for the peace and quiet to disappear to be replaced with screaming, wrestling, and the sounds of general bedlam.

This is a normal occurrence with Scott and the boys. All three of them seem unable to resist such scenes when they are all together and I am not in the room. If it happens to start when I am still around, I make my exit as quickly as possible, due to the fact that my mothering insticnt does not take such scenes well.

It is almost like a magnetic force- as soon as they see each other, a sly smile will spread across one of their faces, soon to be followed by some sort of aggravating behavior- flicking, elbowing, or smacking and running. All this action is done to the background of a lot of screaming and very loud laughter.

It is true that these sessions often end with someone crying. Such is the cost of Family Wrestle Mania, and the cost is apparently not high enough to deter a new round at the next available opportunity.

Such is life with boys and their dad. I love it. And I also love that Sophie and I get to go back to her room to rock in the rocking chair and quietly sing good night songs.

Friday, July 13, 2007

My favorite iced tea

This is my first time participating in Favorite Ingredient Friday. Today is the healthy eating edition.

One of my favorite drinks is tea. Of course, since I live in the South, it goes without saying that when we say 'tea' we mean sweet and iced.

Now I know that heaping cup of sugar added to every pitcher may disqualify my tea from the "Healthy Eating" category, but the sugar does not cancel out all those antioxidants found in tea, right?? And you can always drink your tea unsweetened (although I have no idea who would ever want to do that).

When I was pregnant with my oldest son, I became enamored with iced tea with mint. I discovered this perfect drink at our favorite deli, where the standard iced tea came with mint. Needless to say, the deli became my favorite place to visit even if I wasn't hungry. Then I found out how easy it is make.

Next time you make a pitcher of regular iced tea, add one mint tea leaf bag to the other tea bags. Let the tea steep just like normal, and you will be blessed with one of the most refreshing, delightful drinks you have ever enjoyed. It's slap your mama good, I promise.

To read some of the health benefits of tea, click here.

For the health benefits of mint, click here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Drama queen

My daughter Sophie is clearly a drama queen. I could write pages and pages about her ups and downs, highs and lows- there is rarely a middle ground in her range of moods.

Today was a prime day for Sophie's dramatic expression. She was dressed in her 'princess dress'- a hand-me-down dance outift from a friend, complete with sequins and tulle skirt. She had on her candy jewel ring, which she kept handy in case she needed a sugar refill.

This morning, Sophie did not feel it adequate to talk in normal tones of voice. Instead, whatever she said, she did so in loud, sad, song-like voice. I'm sure all mothers can easily hear the voice I'm talking about.

Anyway, her sentences went something like this, "THE BOYS WON'T LET ME SIT ON THEM!!"; "I WANT MORE ORANGE JUICE!!!"; "CAN I GET DOWN??!!,"; "WHERE IS MY PLAY PHONE????!!!"; "YOU TOLD ME NO!!!"; "WILL YOU HOLD ME MOMMY????!!!"

Finally, I told her, "Sophie, stop the drama."

To which she replied, "MOMMY, YOU TOOK MY DRAMA!!!"

If only it were that simple.

Works for me Wednesday, making the bed

As soon as I pulled up the 'new post' box, my mind went completely blank. No helpful thoughts to be found. Could be a side effect of all the cable I've been watching.
It took me a few minutes of staring outside, but then it came back to me. Here is the life-changing tip that re-entered my mind:
When I am making a bed, especially our queen-size bed, I make up one entire side, including pillow shams and throw pillows, before I move to the other side. That way I am not going back and forth several times, and making the bed takes me less than a minute.
I heard Elisabeth Elliot give this idea several years ago, as help for homemakers, and I tried it immediately and have not gone back. It took a little practice, but makes making any bed much easier and faster.
I am much more likely to make a bed if I know it won't take me several minutes. Even if a bedroom is not picked up in other areas, a made bed makes the whole room look done. Works for me!
For more WFMW tips, click here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Another reason I love cable

I've been in a cooking slump for a few months. I usually love to cook and can't wait to get in the kitchen each afternoon to start dinner. This affection for cooking naturally spreads into grocery shopping, because a big part of cooking is having the right ingredients.

Anway, since we got cable back yesterday, I of course have been tuning into the Food Network (that is, of course, when not watching tv with my husband), and I think lack of cable may have been to blame in my whole cooking aversion.

I was blaming this phenomenon on being nauseous, then tired, due to being pregnant. But now I think I've found out the truth: I was lacking inspiration.

Now I am dreaming of making bread pudding with Rum sauce (thanks, Paula Deen), gnocci with gorgonzola sauce (thanks, Sandra Lee) and let's not forget farfalle pasta with mushroom-walnut sauce (thanks, Giada De Laurentiis).

So maybe my family will be eating something other than frozen California Pizza Kitchen pizzas, chicken and yellow rice, and meatloaf. Nothing wrong with any of those, but only cooking those dishes has been sucking the energy out of me. (This has to be the source of my lack of energy- it couldn't be the third trimester of pregnancy or caring for my other three little people, right?)

Thanks again, sweetheart, for the cable. The whole family thanks you. I might even watch a little Steven Segal again with you tonight, while we eat our bread pudding.

And no, I have not yet exhausted my store of writing about cable.

Pregnancy update

I realized that I announced our pregnancy, took several months off from posting, and then started up again without mentioning how things are going in the whole new baby situation.

We still have until the end of August before our little girl will be here. We have named her but will probably wait until she is born to make an official announcement.

I am feeling much better. I was sick for about 18 weeks, then I hit a good spot and felt better in the nausea department as well as not too uncomfortable.

I am not sick very often right now, but I'm having a good bit of back pain which I think is my sciatic nerve. I have mildly strong contractions throughout the day.

The baby is growing well. I am very excited about her arrival. I guess I had thought that by the time #4 arrived, I would be used to having babies and would just be ready for life to continue. But I am as excited as I have ever been to meet our new little one. Scott mentioned the other day that he feels the same way, and is actually looking forward to my going into labor.

My older three are so sweet about our new baby. They all feel my tummy and Sophie loves to give the baby kisses through my shirt. Josh seldom prays without mentioning "Mommy and the new baby", and Carter has already told me that if we need him to, he'll let the baby sleep in his room and get up with her and give her a bottle.

The next several weeks will be spent resting, getting the room finished (we are hoping to do that this weekend, actually), and enjoying the rest of summer. Even though I am pregnant, I am thoroughly enjoying the warm weather. I really am a tried and true Florida girl, but I had to move to North Carolina to discover that!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A night of torture, I mean togetherness, I mean cable tv

We recently signed up for cable tv. We have considered this decision for a few months, beginning with the four months I spent in bed from exactly the time Scott got home from work until the next morning, otherwise known as The First Trimester of each of my pregnancies.

The in between time since then has been well spent reading in the evenings, talking, and watching network tv a couple of nights a week. Now that summer is here and the networks are full of horrible judging programs showcasing the best of the best in the worlds of dancing, singing, comedy, and making stuff no one wants or needs, our options have been limited.

Also factoring into our decision is the fact that I am becoming less and less productive and energetic, if that were at all possible (those of you who know me know exactly what I'm talking about). My couch time is on the increase, and is showing signs of a continual upward climb.

In other words, it's time to provide the pregnant lady with some wholesome quality entertainment, which includes watching men with mustaches cussing each other out while they make motorcycles, all eight (or 15) years of Law and Order, or the life cycles of pond-dwelling animals such as frogs and salamanders (had to spell check that one- see what too much tv does to your brain?).

So, in light of all this cable goodness, why would my husband subject me to watching Steven Segal do karate on bad-guy cowboys, on this our inaugural evening of the loveliness which is cable tv?

We could be discovering what kind of weather the fine folks in Lincoln, Nebraska will be enjoying tomorrow, or ordering new pots and pans designed by a celebrity chef, or finding out the answers to the important questions in life, like how are Jolly Ranchers made.

But instead it looks like I'll be enjoying watching an aging, pony-tailed man in a tight all-black outfit karate chopping in slow motion while dodging rattlesnakes. And let me tell you, it is riveting. Of course, it could be COPS reruns. And I could be by myself instead of relaxing with the man who is the love of my life and whose decision it was to get me cable in the first place.

I guess I'll suck it up and enjoy the show, or at least pretend to.

The Fourth, in a few words

BBQ Eating

Cake Baking

Steak Grilling

Salad Making

Sweet Tea Drinking

Dogs Panting

Kids Laughing

Water Splashing

Shade Sitting

Football Throwing

Sun Burning

Off Spraying

Family Hugging

Nap Taking

Flag Flying

Declaration Reading

History Remembering

Thanks Giving

Deep Sleeping

A great Fourth

Slip and Slide fun. Carter called his moves, "Slip and surf". Josh's momentum would leave him about 10 feet shy of the end of the slide. The big boys were able to annialiate the entire slide, ending up in the grass.

We spent the Fourth at my brother and sister-in-law's house. It was a day full of eating, playing, splashing, slip-and-sliding, and just relaxing. So much fun! We went to see fireworks the night before, so we just stayed at Tommy and Melannie's last night until after dark and lit sparklers and a few 'fireworks' Scott had bought for the kids.

No reason the dads couldn't cool off in the pool. 'Cool off' would be an understatement, though. The water was freezing!

Melannie, Bobby, and I spent most of the time watching all the action, which was immensely enjoyable. I highly recommend this method of celebrating.

The adults all had a big laugh as we discovered that every firework in the pack was exactly the same. The packaging was varied, but as soon as they were lit, the fireworks each revealed the same brightly dancing white-ish stars. So much for judging a firework by its cover...
Josh loves bugs, so the day did not disappoint him as we found this enormous, shiny beetle climbing up a tree. He quickly declared it 'a dinasour beetle.'

I'll be posting photos as soon as our camera makes its way back from Scott's office. We had three sleeping kiddos when we pulled into home late last night, so all of our belongings didn't make it into the house until this morning, and some apparently not even then. I was thankful to have made it home safely after such a long, full day.

Note: There is a little redhead missing from the photos, I sadly realized after I finished downloading them this afternoon. Sophie was napping through a good bit of the afternoon, although she did get in the pool with Daddy and Uncle Tommy after she woke up.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Baseball fun

Our little man had his first baseball game tonight. On the way home, Scott said, "Can you believe we are already going to t-ball games?" It is hard to believe that this little boy, who we were just bringing home from the hospital and worrying about when he was going to sleep through the night, is already reading, playing on a ball team, and learning to tell time.

Here are some photo highlights of our evening (click on the picture to enlarge):

Carter played shortstop. Try to ignore the fence!

Carter's team, the Wildcats, is a coach pitch team. The players get three pitches from their coach and then they can use the tee. Carter used the tee once and hit off the coach his other two times up to bat. (These details are for Carter's Papa and Uncle Richard. Everyone else, if they are like me, are mainly interested in the photos. I am learning a lot about baseball, but still have a long way to go. You'll pick up on that whenever I try and describe any aspect of the game...)

Little brother Josh has his own fun playing on the bleachers. During practices, he has made up the game of See How Many Catepillars I Can Catch and Put in a Hole. Tonight there were a lot more people in attendance, so he pretty much just stayed close to Mom and Dad. I had been concerned about Josh's reaction to Carter's playing ball while he sat out, but he is content right now to let Carter be a baseball player and he will be a 'baseball fan'.
Last, but not least, Sophie hung out with Daddy during the whole game. Daddy is much more fun than Mommy, who asks Sophie to sit in her stroller or on the bleachers. Daddy is more involved at the games, so he is walking around, encouraging Carter while he is in the dugout, and talking to other dads.
Sophie asks most days if we are going to 'baseball practice', and as soon as we get to the ball park begins asking for crackers, pretzels, bananas, 'bink' (drink), and 'nak' (snack). We have survived each practice by keeping a steady stream of refreshments coming her way. She is content to sit in the stroller as long as the food keeps coming. After we run out, she likes to follow Josh around, sqealing at the catepillars and yelling, "I saw a lalapillar!!!!" Tonight, due to the large crowd, she mostly hung on Scott's legs or asked to be held.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A litttle patchy

My posting will be a little patchy for a bit... I'm still feeling a little out of sorts most days, so I'm concentrating on caring for my children and home. I find myself thinking about posts as I go about my day, kind of like narrating in my mind. The problem is that when it's time to actually write, I'm all out brain power and energy.

Since I seem to lose brain cells with the birth of each child, maybe I should get used to this current dilemna. As a former honor student, I now find it difficult to read an entire chapter of any book that doesn't include fictional characters (ranging from Beverly Lewis' Amish characters, Francine Rivers' first century Christians, or Nate the Great and Curious George).

My husband is taking a theology class this semester, and his syllabus drew me in... discussions on the nature of salvation, the current SBC debate on speaking in tongues; reading Jonathan Edwards, John Stott (my favorite in college), Wayne Grudem, and Athanasius. After I read the syllabus, I told my husband I would love to take the class with him.

Now, my husband is a kind and generous man, and these qualities kept him from saying the obvious, "Who do you think you are kidding??" I am sure that even if I had the time to take the theology class, I wouldn't make it through one of the several books and certainly not through the required research paper.

For now, I am happy and content to research important topics such as menu planning, first grade curriculums, and how to nurse a newborn while teaching first grade, pre-K 4 and pre-K 3. I think I have my work cut out for me, theology class notwithstanding.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wracking my brain for Works for me Wednesday

Ok, it's Wednesday. I love to participate in Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in My Dryer. The problem today is that I do not have any great ideas that will revolutionalize anyone's life. It takes all my energy to keep my kids fed, clothed, and safe lately!

Maybe I should think of some great ideas for making it through the first trimester of pregnacy when you are have three kids five and under, one who is being homeschooled, and a husband who works full time and is in seminary full time! When I come up with how this is happening in our house, I'll just right on over to Works for me Wednesday and let the world know...

Really, I know how we are doing so well right now- God's grace is new every morning, He is overwhelmingly faithful, and He gives strength for any providence he brings into our lives, morning sickness included.

And I must also mention my incredible husband, who every day asks several times how I'm doing, and when it's not so good he puts his own list aside and takes over for me. Love him!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Quick question

Has it already been a long eight weeks of morning sickness when your two-year-old asks to sit on the couch and watch, "Baby Bach"? Just wondering.

"I am from..." writing contest

The post below was written for a writing contest hosted by Mary from Owlhaven. Check out the other entries and try it yourself! While I wrote my piece, I laughed and cried and remembered so much about my blessed childhood. Contest aside, this was a very worthwhile excercise that left me so thankful for all God has done for me.

It does our hearts much good to stop and remember and give thanks. We take the counsel, given to the Israelites and recorded in Deuteronomy 32:7, as our own, "Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you."

Remembering is important because we must not forget the goodness and kindness of God toward us. In our remembering our faith is strengthened. We see what God has already done for us and in us and we anticipate what he will also do in the future.

As we remember and look back, we then look forward to the grace we know to be coming in the future. This serves to quell our fears of the unknown and to give us strength for obedience, no matter how difficult the task may seem.

I am from

I am from plaid school uniforms, from wheat germ in my cereal every morning, and woody-sided station wagons .

I am from muggy Florida evenings and my mom seeking relief at the beach where she would watch the sunset while all four of us kids made giant sandcastles, from swatting mosquitoes while watching fourth-of-July fireworks and being stuck in traffic for hours trying to get home afterwards.

I am from the yellow stucco house with too many add-ons, a long driveway perfect for learning to ride a bike, and a perfectly pink upstairs bedroom that my mom decorated special just for me.

I am from the two oak trees in the front yard that my mom planted and dreamed of watching grow taller as she grew old with my father, from the rows of green onions they planted in our suburban garden, perfect for dipping in salt while we waited for dinner.

I am from a broken-hearted summer when my father moved out of our house and in with another family, from a strong-as-steel mother who lost the love of her life but not her faith in God and showed us that He never leaves us, fails, or makes mistakes.

I am from summertime revivals and candlelight Christmas Eve services, from four Ruths and a Zula and three Josephines.

I am from absolute truthfulness even when it doesn't seem to matter and giving in instead of fighting when sometimes a fight would have been better.

I am from "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "my daughters don't call boys".

From getting grounded for calling a boy behind my mother's back, from a mother who found out everything, and was gracious and strict at the same time.

I am from Methodists- then Baptists, from church three times a week, from listening to my mother play old hymns on the piano and listening to Charles Stanley on tv when someone was sick and we had to stay home.

I'm from an unknown ancestry due to a closed adoption, from never feeling adoption was negative but instead that it was the greatest blessing, and from never understanding what my friends meant when they asked me if I ever wondered about my 'real' parents.

I am from real stuffing in the turkey at Thanksgiving, and hidden liver in the hamburgers because my mom heard liver was good for us and she knew we could never eat it without a disguise, from Aunt Zula's chicken and dumplings and from my grandma's baked ziti. I am from Gran's homemade Mexican brownies and chicken divan and from-scratch lasagne.

From Aunt Mildred showing me how to make homemade paper dolls from the Sears catalogue after I complained that I was bored, from my grandma buying me a Trapper Keeper every year before school started and being admonished because I would write on all the paper in my Trapper Keeper before the first day of school.

I am from a new dress every Easter, from Hello Kitty and the original Cabbage Patch Kids and waiting and waiting for my first pair of real Keds. From roller skating parties, using a full can of Aqua Net hairspray every week while I was in middle school, and knowing every word of the first Paula Abdul album.

I am from formal family portraits and paintings lining the living room walls, my grandmother's sewing machine in the den, and never getting rid of anything that had once belonged to a close family member.

I am from blinding movie camera lights on Christmas morning, from watching the squinty-eyed children in the film on a reel machine on the living room wall while the sound of the film rhythmically click-clicked and my dad narrated the silent movies.

I am from kisses and "I love you" and more kisses every night before bed, from "sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" and "Mom, will you come check me before you go to bed?", from fresh sheets that spoke of care and a mother who always gave the best to her kids and taught them to do the same for their kids.

Simple wishes

Carter's school assignment this morning asked him to imagine what he would do if he had a bag full of gold. His "if I were rich..." dream?

"I'd buy a lot of gum."

Sure, I was hoping for "Bibles for the world" or "I'd feed all the hungry children", but I think I'll keep his simple wish for gum for now.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Family altar, conclusion

Ok, last post on family worship. If your family is just beginning to think about implementing family worship into your days, I think the most important thing to remember is that it will take time for this to become habit. Relax. Start slowly. We are not able to practice family worship every day. We aim for most days.

Being free from rigidity on this has been a key factor in our family's ability to make family worship a regular part of our life. This has been difficult for me. I love a rule. But the problem with rule-loving is that when you can't perfectly obey your self-imposed rule, you tend to throw the principle out altogether.

I know I'll have some people disagree with me on this. In my first post, I mentioned that Elisabeth Elliott's father led their family in worship twice a day. Before I was married, I thought without a doubt my future family would adopt the same practice. Of course, I didn't factor in my husband's background, leadership style, and preferences. I also didn't factor in my own personality and our unique situation.

Fast forward several years, and here we are, far from ideal but striving to gather our family as often as possible to sing, read, and pray together. (Actually, maybe that is the ideal!)

Family altar, revisited

Before my unnanounced Christmas hiatus, we were talking about family worship. I wanted to give a few pointers that have really helped our family in our desire to make family worship a regular part of our life.

1. Keep it simple. Donald Whitney suggests three elements: Sing, read, and pray. We vary the order, but usually open up with a hymn (our church gives out hymnbooks for this purpose, but Christian bookstores usually sell them for under $10.00), then my husband reads a short Scripture passage.

Right now we are reading through John. The kids are finding this book fairly easy to follow. During Advent, we read through several texts in Isaiah. These were harder for the kids to 'get', but deep understanding of the text is not the only purpose of family worship, so we didn't see this as a problem. Just keep on plugging away. The words of Scripture will become familiar over time.

2. Keep it short. Fifteen minutes is adequate. We sing each verse of the hymn we have chosen (sometimes one we have sung the past Sunday at church, other times a hymn that is particularly meaningful to Scott or me at the time, and then there is always our kid's favorite, "Holy, Holy, Holy"). Then a very short Scripture reading, followed by a short prayer.

3. Keep the kids close. Right now, Scott sits with one child on his lap and I have two on either side of me. Our family is growing, so we will rearrange, but it is much easier to quietly direct the youngest child's attention to Daddy or the hymnbook if we are already physically touching.

I'll be concluding with one more post. I'm saving what I think is the most important thing for last, so don't forget to tune back in!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Snowy day

Our first snow of the year fell last night. Scott got me up (way too) early to tell me the exciting news. Josh got to see a few minutes of snow before he said, "I want to go back to bed," and Carter could not be roused. We would never dare to wake Sophie up for any reason other than our house being on fire, so she had to wait until daybreak to see the fluffy white covering the ground.

After a hot breakfast of oatmeal with brown sugar, the kids and I headed outside to play for a while. I am a true born and bred Floridian, so I struggle with the cold. The seventy degree weather we had on Monday suited me just fine. However, the kids had such a good time, I almost forgot how cold I was. Here's a couple of photos:

My boys may be from Florida, but I didn't have to teach them how much fun it is to throw snowballs at each other. Carter requested that his hat be allowed to stay askew so he could hear. In lieu of long underwear, they kept their pajamas on underneath their play clothes. Gotta love that orange hunting cap, Josh!

Sophie wasn't too sure of the whole thing. She couldn't decide if she wanted her gloves on so her hands wouldn't freeze or off so she could feel the snow.

The haitus is over

Ok, after many requests from my fans (I mean fan, which is my husband), I am officially coming off my unannounced blogging hiatus.

I took a break because we were a little busy at Christmas, we traveled to Florida after Christmas, and I've been feeling a little under the weather for a few weeks now.

Also, I've had nothing to say.

I still don't have a lot to say, but when I get desperate, I'll post pictures of my kids, which is what most people prefere anyway, I'm pretty sure.

Speaking of which, we had our first snow this morning, so photos are coming soon...