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Thursday, December 31, 2015

So long, 2015!

And just like that, it's a New Year!  It has been a good year, and I am excited to see what 2016 has for us.  Frankly I am too darn tired to write cute, quippy things about the past year or New Year ahead, so let me just stick to what I wanted to accomplish with this blog post:  To show pictures from our last month, maybe share a little of what we did, and wish you a Very Happy New Year!

December, 2015
This is a regular occurrence in our house:  dressing up!

This is a what snuggling in the morning watching TV looks like when we don't have to rush to school or work.
Everyone still fights to sit on Mommy's lap!

This is the kids' preschool class, as they sang Christmas songs for the parents.
Yes, you counted correctly.  Our kids are 1/3 the class!
Grandma had the kids get in the Christmas spirit by making these cute Christmas Trees with them!
This is L-R: Tyler, Lauren, Hannah & Tanner
This was me getting the kids in the Christmas spirit by making homemade Gingerbread Cookies.  The whole process took the entire day, but it was so much fun & the kids loved making and eating their cookies!
This is how I get my kids to eat vegetables.  Ask them to help prep but NOT eat them.  They are shelling edamame here.  When it's on their plate they barely touch it, but when they shell it they eat it like candy.
Especially when I ask them to NOT eat them.  I can play that game, kiddos! ;)

 These are washcloth puppets made by Grandma & Grandpa Thorson.  So cute!

This is Mimi as a Grandma Angel on the Christmas Eve Church service.  If you look closely, you will see a sweet Tanner perched under that Angel's knees!
This is Christmas morning finding the presents under the tree!

This is Tyler receiving big boy underpants in his stocking.  I decided to potty train the boys the day after Christmas, they were more than ready! (the girls have been potty trained for almost a year now).
Spiderman Squared (a.k.a. Tyler & Tanner)

This is Christmas with family.
We hosted Christmas for both sides of the family this year.
It worked well and was nice to stay put for the day!

Look at that smile when Jenna found money in a card from Grandpa Ted & Mimi!
This is Grandpa Ted, Julia & Anna looking at a calendar with Hannah
Auntie got the kids these amazing magnetic blocks.  Fun for all!

So much joy from a... flashlight!

Jenna picked out this ornament for Grandma all by herself.

Silly Tyler!
Uncle Steve & kiddos
Aunt Cindy & Kayden 

And THESE are two boys who did AMAZING with potty training!  It literally took 3 days and I have not had an accident ever since.  They are truly super!
And what big boys they are!  They no longer rip up books (or walls... or carpet...).
Phew.  Maturity is a wonderful thing!!!

"Mom, I gotta go potty!"


~ Goodbye 2015, hello 2016 ~
Wishing you and your loved ones a very blessed New Year!



Monday, November 16, 2015

The Good Stuff

Here we are in the middle of November already, the time when I find myself settling into the groove of the school year and planning what gifts might be nice for loved ones at Christmas.
It has been a mild Fall so far & the kids are getting bigger and more interactive every day!
Lauren, Tanner, Tyler & Hannah's "CHEESE" faces


 ~So much love!~

Before I go any further, you might think this post will be mushy and cute and borderline aw-ing my life.  While I have lots of pictures that do indeed show the good stuff in life, please hear me loud and clear:  I need to remind myself that this is indeed the good stuff.
Far too often I bumble through my days knowing deep down that my children are blessings, but feeling in the moment that they are more like burdens.  Parenting is NOT easy (can I get an amen?).  It's constantly serving others.  Serving other demanding, unsympathetic, messy & temperamental selfish little cherubs.  I'm just being honest.
Andy and I were just talking about this.  In those moments of "poor me", it is so easy to get frustrated and discouraged.  Trust me, that leads to not a good place.  I've been there more times than I can count- it's called Meville and no benefits come from there.  For you or anyone else.  Only by the grace of God, when I start heading in this direction a soft whisper tells me, "It's not about you."  That soft whisper reminds me to stop focusing my eyes on me and to turn my eyes up.  Up towards my family, my friends, co-workers, acquaintances, strangers, and God.  That soft whisper reminds me that on His last night before he was executed, Jesus decided to spend his precious last moments washing the feet of his friends, even the one He knew would betray Him (see John 13: 1-17; Matthew 26: 14-39).  He served others.  The Son of God, who could call down angels and perform miracles and do whatever he wanted, chose to simply and quietly and humbly serve others.

Taking advantage of the warm weather last week.

It's not about me.  Are they cute?  Absolutely.  But are they always un-doing what I am doing, pushing the rules, making messes the moment I clean up, giving me tantrums and sass and demonstrating little common sense at times?  Absolutely.  Is my chore list never-ending?  Always.  Do the little ones act 3?  Yep.  Does big sister sometimes act like a hormonal pre-tweenager?  Yup.  Do I sometimes lose it?  You betchya.  It's not about me.  Clearly.  It's just not.

I have these 2 sticky notes in my kitchen right now.  I need the reminders.  Daily.  I need to remember it's not about me.  I need to remember what an honor it is to be called "mom (even if I get called this 12,597 times/day).  I need to remember my goal is to raise 5 adults who love well, respect well, give lots of grace and mercy, forgive easily, fight for justice, and know God.  My biggest prayer is they choose to love God with all their hearts, all their souls, all their mind and all their strength, and I feel the best thing I can do is to demonstrate that for them and create an atmosphere of love, respect, grace, mercy, forgiveness, justice, knowledge, and love for God in the intimacy of our far from perfect family.  And.... by humbly serving them well.  That is much easier said than done.  

As I re-read the words above, I have a fear you might mistakingly think because I typed all this I do it.  I don't!  Sometimes I fail miserably.  Many times I want it to be ALL ABOUT ME.  I want a break.  And I get tiiiiiirrrrreeeed.  So dang tired.  Tired of always "serving" them.  Tired of it all.

But this is what I strive for.  I don't get there as often as i would like, but I strive for this.  I strive to serve them well.  I strive to raise them well.  I strive to love them well.
Most days.
This is what happens when Daddy comes home at night!
~Baking cookies~

For this post, I will celebrate my children & remember 
the giggles, the snuggles, the learning and the laughter...

The Good Stuff.