Happy Birthday to Kyle!

We celebrated Kyle’s birthday on Saturday. I forgot to take pictures until after dinner, so I just have a few.

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What you get when you say: “Smile Paul!”

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Teaching boys to make music with the ROOT beer bottle.. :)

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Pre-crop.

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Playing Suspend with the younger half.

Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Trying To Be Realistic In August

So, maybe I wrote this list back in May. And maybe I bit off more than I could handle, or had the energy or organization for. And maybe I am ready to make an updated, more realistic list that can actually be accomplished before we officially start school on September 3.

1) Pray without ceasing.
2) Get back on the bandwagon with my Bible Gateway reading plan and enjoy it, not just read to check it off the app.
3) Make my relationship with Kyle a priority: Continue almost weekly date nights, figure out times to chat for fun and planning times.
4) Continue having LOTS of play and reading time with Paul. Help him weed his pumpkin patch.
5) Reading time with Isaac.
6) Write with John and have him teach me origami. Plan a great 10th birthday for him on the 13th!
7) Play outside with those boys every day. I’ve only been in the pool once this summer!
8) More talks with Rachel about growing up and fashion. Help her with her fall clothes.
9) Listen to Luke. Get to know that boy better. Enjoy him. Make his birthday on the 28th super!
10) Talking with Adam. Figuring out a plan for the school year.
11) Connect with my Good Morning Girls Bible Study group and decide about the September study.
12) Be a good neighbor–invite someone over for dinner.
13) Be a good church friend– ditto.
14) Help the children budget their mission money and write letters to our World Vision children.
15) Exercise daily.
16) Write a note–thank you, encouragement, birthday, etc. at least three times a week.
17) Write something every day.
18) Blog at least three times a week.
19) Update and organize our calendar for August and September with speech and debate, 4H and our new music and theatre classes, in addition to regular church activities and family fun.
20) Continue clearing out and scrub the laundry room.
21) Organizing the school room.
22) Help with and encourage progress with the bonus room renovation.
23) Continue making a simple, organized meal plan.
24)Finish my dad’s birthday project from last year.
25) Go to bed by 10 each night and get up at 6 a.m. daily.

AND, love, love, love my family.

Psalm 90:12 (ESV)
“So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Birthdays, Boys and Blessings: Hello New Week

I’m writing, for the first time, a “Hello new week” post and linking in the comments at Lisa Leonard’s blog.

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The new five-year-old telling me a story at the park in Virginia earlier this month.

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The will-be-17 tomorrow-year-old posing for me at the pool at the Homewood Suites in Virginia.

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Lifeguarding for my boys, minus the two oldest, plus two neighbor’s grandsons.

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Painting an antique thrift-store tool box this afternoon with my two youngest and a neighbor’s grandson.

Hello today’s birthday date with my five-year-old youngest.

Hello celebrating my oldest turning 17 (!!!!!) tomorrow. How in the world?

Hello meeting new neighbors yesterday (they came to introduce themselves–we are a lame greeting committee) :(

Hello continuing the major de-cluttering. We are very grateful for a gracious trash service and will be giving them a gift Wednesday morning as a thank you!

Hello lifeguarding.

Hello cooler temps, which make being outside wonderful, but the un-heated pool not-so-much. (Yea! Short lifeguarding break!) :)

Hello getting the children registered for our second year of speech and debate.

Hello going to the big city county fair on Friday for the first time in years to see the children’s first year blue ribbon 4H exhibits that moved on from our club’s small county fair. (That was a confusing mouthful!)

Hello volunteering with Rachel to sort new school supplies for the Salvation Army with new friends on Saturday.

Hello planning on enjoying the last month of summer before we start school after Labor Day.

And, Hello doing this again next week!

Psalm 135:5 (NKJV)
For I know that the Lord is great,
And our Lord is above all gods.

Blessed With Good News: Out Of The Blue On Thursdays

Last week my youngest saved the day with a cuddle .
On Monday, I received good medical news, the kind that makes you overflow with relief. The kind that, before you received it, made you stop, think about the what-ifs and re-evaluate a few things.
Why did I get the good news, while I am sure there were others in the same office, on the same day, that did not? A gift of grace for my day. For my life. My week was changed, my attitude changed, I hope my life from here on out, changed.
I have struggled this summer with a self-diagnosed lack-of-joy. Tired of the mundane, daily, repetitive chores. Tired of referring sibling squabbles. Just tired.
This week I have felt a relief, a refresh, a recharge.
I hope this feeling is not a fluke, but will transform me into a better Jesus follower, wife, mother, daughter, friend.

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Taken at the St. James Park on Monday a few hours after my good news: Pretty proud of himself, cramming his big-boy body into a baby swing and expecting me to pry him out! And the socks, the wrong size bought by a friend and given to him the day before. He had to wear them, not his no-shows, in the 90s heat. Pulled up–all.the.way! Mr. Slick!

Psalm 30:11-12 (ESV)
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Five Minute Friday: Fall

Joining in to write another Five Minute Friday post.

The rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Fall

I worked so hard to make everything safe when they were little. Rubber edges and corners for the fireplace (still have them), the “Slow downs!,” “Be careful!,” “Watch where you’re going!”‘ and on and on.

Then those older three decided to become teens, and the next one almost 10, the next just turned eight and the baby, well, at almost five, he’s not a baby anymore.

I learned that I had to prepare for their fall. They were going to come. Only one broken arm, and that was the girl on our brick kitchen floor, trying to catch her baby brother seven years ago as he started to fall. One set of stitches to the head and one to an arm, one trip for glue to the head.

They fall, I learn to relax, we are getting through this wonderful life together.

They climb trees, I sometimes can’t watch. Skateboarding, bike riding, all good, all scary for mom.

I want to not fear the falls, I want to help them try to avoid what they can and recover from what they can’t. I love my six.

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The older three on an outcropping at the South Rim of The Grand Canyon.

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The younger three with Daddy, waiting for their big sibs. Some things you have to say no to. That would have been too far too fall!

Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Five Minute Friday: View

Five Minute Friday

Writing again for Five Minute Friday.

View
GO

The view gets a bit fuzzy some days in the tired.
Thinking yesterday afternoon when the blog engineer wanted to cuddle me and our youngest came in and talked and talked and asked so many questions in a 30-second period. These days aren’t going to last long.

Listening to a podcast yesterday evening, while adding up the last two month’s grocery receipts, I heard the encouragement from two mamas with children in their 20s to slow down, don’t wish these days away, have more fun with your children.

Thinking-how in the world do we eat so much? Well, there are eight of us. Two teen boys, a teen-ish girl, tween boy and two younger (can’t call them “little”) boys. It won’t last forever.

I am so going to miss these days. I don’t want to miss them now.
The view is clearer here in the early morning with a quiet house.
I’m going in a few hours to take my oldest to get his driving permit!
STOP.

I didn’t do well with five minutes this morning. I added three minutes to the timer, in one minute increments (Not recommended for optimum concentration!)

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This gift was on my photo stream. I found it early, while looking for inspiration before starting the timer. These two boys, the type-a twins separated by 11 years and 360 days and their triplet sister who snuck in, while on a walk in the neighborhood with Daddy last night.

Psalm 90:12 (NKJV)
“So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 4, Accomplishments Big and Small


“We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you’ve made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small – think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.”

In the 8 years and almost three months since John’s diagnosis, I would say I have accomplished a few things:
1) Taking a “one for all and all for one” approach with our new normal. We had always eaten the same thing, so I couldn’t imagine singling John out and making him eat differently. Not gonna happen in this house. (This approach was tested in 8/07 when John’s #2 brother was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.)
The real world will be upon him before I know it and I want to give him a good grounding with lots of healthy food (and a few treats thrown in) in our family setting, with his favorite five friends and his favorite parents not only cheering for him, but being on the same team.
2) Embracing carb counting, in a big way, early on. My preferred method is weighing, second would be measuring, and only as a last resort will I guess. I know people that do, and I can, but it is not perfectly accurate, and since diabetes throws so many curve balls, for no apparent reason, I feel that I should be doing everything I can to keep The J healthy. I think I have bordered on being obsessive about it, so am trying to still be very precise and accurate, while a little less uptight ;)
3) Caring for John while he was a baby, then preschooler, while being pregnant, then having his two younger brothers (5/05 and 7/08).
To be honest though, I am sure that is the reason for some of the downs I experienced with the older three children and homeschooling. As I said in Monday’s post, no one can do it all.
4) Learning from #1 and through much prayer, learned to juggle a little better and began resurrecting/rescuing my relationship with the older ones, who had been expected to “keep on and carry on” while I was so busy with the younger guys + diabetes. It took years, but we are in a good place now. Well, most days. ;)
5) Starting per John’s request at about age four, to turn small areas of his care over to him. He wanted to start with testing and when he started on a pump at age 5 (11/05), he took to that like the jr. engineer that he is! He now can do everything for his site changes, except the actual placement. We are currently working on carb counting.
His nurse practitioner told us when he was tiny that he would get interested in taking care of himself, but I was really surprised when he did at only, age four. Of course, he was a veteran by then.

Whew, this has been an interesting week. Lots of brain, memory and emotion dumping.

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From yesterday’s post, playing at home, just before diagnosis.

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From Tuesday’s post, John testing prototypes of The Testeroni 5000.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 3, Memories

I wrote the following as a comment to this post back in February.

“I really appreciate your thoughts, Emily. I think a lot about a diabetes diagnosis (February) this time of year. My son’s to be specific, 8 years ago next Friday. He was 18 months old and I was 6 months pregnant with baby #5.
His diagnosis was not as traumatic as yours sounds, his blood sugar was “only” 350 when he was tested at the pediatrician’s office after I noticed his increasing thirst and diaper wetting.
He spent two nights in the hospital and began taking four insulin injections per day.
I truly did not appreciate a nurses’s prophetic words that it would not be so bad because he wouldn’t remember life before diabetes. She was right, but I remember it and mourn for those simpler days.
I am a blessed mama and though I would drop diabetes in a heartbeat if I could, I have never felt angry at God, as I do know that he has a plan for my kind-hearted, beautiful-blue-eyed boy. He has diabetes, he is not a diabetic. We don’t let us define us, though it has definitely refined us.
Thank you again for sharing.”

I thought I would add to that, and I probably will someday, to tell the full story, but I can’t think about diabetes any more today, except of course in real life. :)

I am editing this post on Thursday…
Yesterday, I had included Emily’s reply, but kept thinking about it and didn’t have a peace about posting it. It wasn’t a private reply, but I didn’t have permission to post it here. It is on the post I linked to at the beginning. I know that was a long and rambly explanation. That pretty much sums up what’s going on inside my brain ;)

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Playing at The Discovery Center on February 15, 2005, a week before diagnosis.

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Playing at home, also before diagnosis.
He wore these slippers during his two-day hospital stay, along with the baby blue hospital gown that came to his ankles. (I couldn’t even imagine taking any pictures then–those hospital images are burned into my brain. Maybe John would have liked to see them though.)

Psalm 46:1-3 (ESV)
God Is Our Fortress

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”

Five Minute Friday: Broken

Linking up again with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday.

Broken

Start

I feel broken some days, less than satisfied others, spending way too much time dwelling on what isn’t instead of learning to thrive in what is.
Some trials come with poor choices, some like illness and loss, just seem to come. There is a plan in those circumstances, it is just not mine. It is a God plan. It takes me time to grasp that and I still don’t always understand or find joy, much less peace in His plan.
Then, there is Jesus, the man who went through multiple trials and he submitted to them. It was His Father’s plan. The plan that I don’t always understand. He submitted to, to the ultimate…death.
Instead of feeling broken, I need to feel grateful. Especially today.

Stop

Five Minute Friday

Luke 23:46 (ESV)
Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

For the complete account of Jesus’ crucifixion, death and burial, please read Luke 23:26-56.

Sunday Smiles and Scripture

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Paul, aka The General (For today, anyway!)

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General Paul flanked by his officers, Captain John and Sergeant Isaac

Ephesians 6:10-18
New International Version (NIV)
The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Yes, I do realize that combining the goofy pictures above with Bible verses may be cheesy to some, but I thought of it during my search for children/boy-type verses, as the middle guy, (pictured above), almost has this passage memorized. Go Isaac!!