August 21, 2014

I Believe In The Power Of Prayer …

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{Photo by Shane Hintze}

Life can be hard. Really hard. There have been some hard things in my life. I’ve had multiple miscarriages. Both of my father and my father-in-law have had cancer. I’ve had children with medical and emotional illnesses. My husband has been without work. I could go on. And you could add to the list with the hard things you’ve had to deal with in your life because not one of us will ever be exempt from hardship or trials. It is part of life.

During the hardest times of my life, I always seem to end up in the same place. It’s the one place I know I can go to find peace.

I go to my knees.

I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that God is a personal God who knows me as an individual. I believe that I can talk to him in an unscripted, intimate manner and that He hears me and will help me. He will give me comfort through the Holy Spirit. He will shoulder my burdens when they feel too great. He will give me inspiration to know what to do in hard situations. He will whisper truth to me and send me service in the form of other human beings who are His children and want me to know of His love for me.

Simply put, I believe that He is the Father of my spirit. I am His child. And when I pray to Him, I am a child sharing in conversation with Him because I need Him.

OH HOW I NEED HIM.

I have had too many experiences with prayer to ever say it doesn’t work. I have been given answers to my questions. I have watched as the uniting of people in prayer has lifted individuals from the darkest of abysses into a place of light and peace. I have uttered the most heart wrenching, spur of the moment pleas to God and had Him immediately succor me in my time of desperation.

Prayer is a lifeline for me to Divinity. It is my communication with a parent I know I will see again someday.

How grateful I am for prayer. How thankful I am for the knowledge that God wants to hear from me. Little old me. He really does love me.

Would you do me a favor? My family could use your prayers this weekend. I can’t go into details, but I know that the more people who pray, the more God will hear and answer. Your prayers matter to Him. And they matter to me.

{enjoy the picture of Ollie praying over our lunch today taken by a new photographer friend. My boy has the sweetest, most sincere little prayers!}

August 12, 2014

The Summer Bucket List …

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We made our Summer bucket list way back in June knowing full well that we wouldn’t be able to do any of the things on it until mid-July due to travel and various camps for the kids.

Speaking of camps, this little guy’s biggest Summer wish was to go camping . . . in the back yard. My kind of camping, because my bed is a mere sixty feet away.

The Hubby and Owlie set up the tent together and gathered the sleeping bags. He was so excited to get inside and just try it out. Turns out it smelled like sweaty Boy Scout socks, so we decided to let it air out for awhile and got started on to the next task which was preparing S’mores ingredients and preparing the firepit.

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It was a small fire whose only purpose was to give us the deep red embers necessary to toast marshmallows to a golden brown, gooey stage. Mission accomplished!

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RedDog by the red glow of the fire = happy picture!

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I got in the tent with the little boys who went to bed first. The big kids had Cross Country early in the morning so they got a free pass to sleep in their beds. After forty-five minutes of Owlie wiggling, RedDog rubbing his feet up against the side of the tent, random dogs barking in the neighborhood, cars driving by and cicadas humming at full volume, I decided that I’d had enough camping and called in the expert.

The Hubby slept in the tent and I slept in my bed.

This Dragonfly needs a camper trailer. I’m a little bit of a diva.

Just sayin’.

August 11, 2014

At The County Fair …

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We’ve lived in Loudoun County for twelve Summers. Each Summer the County Fair comes around and I think “We should go to that.” But we never do. This Summer I decided to take the littles to the fair. Hannie B tagged along with a friend.

It just happened to be the hottest day we’ve had all Summer and I was underprepared for the heat. I should have packed sunscreen and an ample supply of water. That didn’t stop us from having a great time though and the fair proved to be just as charming as I’d hoped.

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The little boys loved all the animals they had close access to. RedDog loved the tortoises and a small exhibit of snakes and large spiders (which I would not even get close enough to take a picture).

Owlie was more engrossed in the farm animals like the goats, sheep and gigantic pigs/hogs. It was such a hot day that many of the animals were sleeping, being hosed down or resting in shaded barns. This sheep was soaking wet from a recent hose-down. Ollie was concerned about where his fur was, but I assured him the sheep just got a recent hair cut so he could stay cool in the Summer.

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Of course Hannie B. just had to have a picture with the camel. Right after I took this picture it tried to kiss her. Or eat her hair. She freaked out and it was awesome. She’s already posted this on a Wednesday on Instagram. Humpdaaaaaaaaaay!

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We watched a very entertaining rabbit jumping competition, visited a prize winning sheep a boy from our church had shown at the fair and all agreed that we were glad we didn’t have a coat of fur in the 110 degree weather!

The fair had a midway full of carnival rides. The kids each got a few tickets and relished the small breeze the rides provided. Hannie B was the bravest and rode a ride that made me sick just looking at it. Owlie loved the truck ride.

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After about two hours of animals, rides and HEAT, we cooled off with a soft serve cone and some time in the sheep barn with a giant fan. The walk back to the car seemed much longer than the original walk to the fair and car A/C never seemed so wonderful.

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We’ll definitely be making the County Fair a Summer tradition (as long as the temperatures are a little lower). It was good old fashioned fun for the boys and we all had a great time!

August 6, 2014

The Man Child …

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I had to be stealth to capture this shot from inside a house where he couldn’t see me. There is a pane of glass between us and he was busy watching his uncle fly a GoPro helicopter camera, so I got lucky.

He is insistent that I not take pictures of him. It’s a shame because I think he’s a great looking kid and I want to remember him when he’s gone in a few years.

I can’t handle that last sentence I just wrote.

Big C will be a Junior this year. You remember your Junior year, right? It’s “the one that counts”. It’s the one colleges look at. It’s the one with Chemistry. It is the longest, toughest and most stressful year of high school.

And then it’s over and he’s a Senior.

GULP.

This being a parent thing is heart wrenching. I am not prepared. At all.

August 5, 2014

Horrible, Awful, Stupid Jobs . . .

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It has been radio silent for too long on this blog.

The exciting part of our Summer is over and most days I don’t feel like writing another post about how much my kids fight or how I’m a bad mom because I just want them to leave me alone for two minutes.

Luckily, I did come up with a way to keep them busy for just a little bit. It’s called horrible, awful, stupid jobs. Yes, I actually named it that. It is a list I wrote up one night when I was feeling overwhelmed as a mom, wife and chief housekeeper. The list contained all the things I never seem to have time to do and I decided that I’d have my worker bees help me while they are home this Summer to get it done.

I’m sure you can imagine how thrilled they were.

What kind of jobs am I talking about?

Things like wipe down all six kitchen table chairs and the two bar stools, which are white and have the spills, grime and finger smudges of a thousand years on them.

Or take all the white pitchers off the shelf above the sink in the kitchen (there are 20) and wash and dry them so they no longer have the grease from eleven years of cooking on them.

Or sand down the teak table, chairs and bench on the back porch and seal them all with teak oil so they don’t look like back woods hick furniture anymore.

Or scrub down the entire front porch with soap and watcher so I don’t ever have to see or walk through another spider web for as long as I live.

Or wipe down every single baseboard in the entire house with a damp rag so I can’t write my name on them with my finger.

Or Hannie B’s personal favorite, using baking soda, vinegar, Q tips and toothpicks to clean all of the window tracks in the house. (see above and below photos for evidence)

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Horrible, awful, stupid jobs are AMAZING!!!!

And to be fair, I am doing jobs too! But mostly the kind of jobs I usually do, like laundry, cooking, basic house cleaning, and my favorite (seriously) organizing.

The rule is first we work, then we can play. The kids have plowed through the list until we are almost done. As a reward for the day they resorted all the Legos by color, I have been rebuilding Lego sets that had long since been destroyed. I’ll do one set a day. It is very relaxing for me, almost like putting a puzzle together and the little boys are beyond excited to have another completed set to play with.

So, that’s what’s happening around here. Big kids have Cross Country every day. Little kids have quiet time in their rooms because they fight too much. We have one last little get away to Ohio to see my sister before Summer comes to an end and then it’s on to another school year.

Let me know if you need any more horrible, awful, stupid job ideas.  I’ve got loads!

July 21, 2014

At Five …

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It’s been a whole week since he turned five. Wow.

In that week he’s learned to ride a scooter, eaten a fully loaded taco with sour cream, picked his nose in front of our entire church congregation and told me with absolute finality that he does not love me and doesn’t want to be a part of my family.

Can we go back to four, please?

Granted, the last bit had more to do with the fact that I threw him into an ice cold shower because he wouldn’t stop screaming in anger at the top of his lungs at me that he didn’t want to and wasn’t going to go to bed. So he got a cold shower. It’s what we call “shocking the crazy” out of a kid.

I totally loved on him after he’d calmed down, rubbing his little body warm with a towel, but he’d have none of it. He just kept telling me how mean I was and that he didn’t love me. I don’t care how funny a situation it is or how strong a mom you are – those words hurt.

It told him that it hurt my feelings when he said that.

Mistake.

We had a great day today – lots of loves and snuggles, a few good rounds of Go Fish, Old Maid and Animal Rummy, homemade chocolate chip cookies and lots of play time outside. But then at the end of the night when I went to kiss him and tuck him in and told him I loved him, he told me he needed to share a secret with me that I wouldn’t like.

“Momma, I don’t love you.” he whispered with an impish grin on his face.

What am I going to do with this kid?