Thursday, 29 April 2010

Grown Up is Not the End

Although there are enough kids here at the house to keep me and a full time circus trainer busy, the last few days have been about the kids that have grown and left. There are eight kids whose laundry I no longer do. I think that's the best measure of grown, because out of the house certainly doesn't end the relationship in most other ways.

We drove across the state to pick up one of our sons upon his release from jail. He had a difficult time reentering this world as he heard the gate click behind him for the first time in almost four years. The ride home was long and he had apprehension and regrets to express. We dropped him off where he will be staying and I surrounded him in prayers for his fresh start.

While on the road we visited Jacob who lives three hours from here. Jacob has had some difficulties, but we were happily surprised to see how well he was doing, and left missing him again already.

While traveling we got a call from Kelly who moved out to "try and do things my own way" a few months ago. And just as we all figure out at some point, "our own way" is usually the road to disaster, she is finding her situation pretty grim. Although she isn't to the point of the prodigal son, she does want to come to church on Sunday and we are all anxious to hug her and not let go.

Upon arriving home from the trip we were shocked to find that nothing had gone wrong with the nine still at here and all was well.

Either that or they were all lying to give me a little peace and I accept!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Real Men Use Shovels

When a boy at our house reaches a certain age, he is given increasingly harder physical jobs. Often the work is outside as we have 3 acres to maintain. Recently David dug a fire pit for our campfires and that left four very large mounds of dirt.

And that's where Isaiah's work training began. He had a set amount of days to move the dirt to a new location and he was expected to work at it till it was done properly. Surprisingly, he had a great attitude - not a single complaint.

Yesterday was the deadline to have the job finished and he was still working when I called everyone in for dinner. He knew he would have to miss church and his heart was broken, as was mine, when we all drove away and waved him goodbye.

And yet, what quiet pride he had when we returned and he had accomplished his task. I see a good man in his future.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Fools in the Pool again.......

Once again the mass of super white, goose bumped bodies lined up for their moment of pain and fame. Yesterday was the ever popular, Fools in the Pool Day.

As always, there are no shortage of fools around here to amuse us wiser observers.

Emma was hands down our biggest fool. Not only did she jump right in, but she stayed and swam for at least ten minutes.

David, although much to old to still be foolish, made it his business to be first one in. His competitiveness won out over his wisdom.

So the pool is officially open but the temperature is 36 degrees as I write this.

I'm ready for summer!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

It's Who You Know

I started the the book of Matthew and dutifully read in the first chapter down through the line of Jesus. I was struck by the many big names in his ancestry - Abraham, Issac, Jacob - the "Big Three", and Boaz and Ruth (everybody's favorite girl) and Rahab (everybody's favorite bad girl gone good). But it doesn't end there! There was of course David, who was like the person in the Bible everyone would most like to be and his "oh yea, I'm the smartest" son Solomon. I wasn't really surprised by such a stellar lineage, I mean, after all, we're talking Jesus here.

But then the last entry in this family tree hit me.



Wait a minute, there wasn't a drop of this great line of people in Jesus' blood. All those good genes gone to waste on Joseph.

Then I got it. All those people of faith, all those blessed and brilliant and beloved people were poured into Joseph so he could raise Jesus.

Foster and adopted kids don't often have a lot of "Who's Who" in their background. You might find their great grandparents on a prison roster more often then on a commemorative plaque.

But God gives us an incredible spiritual heritage so that we can raise these kids. We can give them more than status- we can give them more than security or privilege or things. We can give them a hope for an eternity with God.

And their names can be added to a long spiritual family line as they tell their kids, and their kids and on and on.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Spic and Mostly Span

Last Mother's Day my kids got together and gave me a very large gift certificate for a one time house-cleaning service. It was large amount, because with so many kids, even if they all give a little, it adds up. Which as it turns out was a good thing because they charge per room and we have 8 bedrooms.

I finally decided two days ago that I probably should use the certificate as we were rapidly approaching Mother's Day - one year later.

So now they're my house.

Okay, I've never done this before and it was difficult. My first thought was, "I've got to clean my house before they get here or they'll think I'm a pig." Then I decided that cleaning everything first was so...stupid and they would know that I cleaned first and think I was....stupid. So that left me with only one option. Clean enough before hand that they would think..."Well, this place isn't so bad for someone with all those kids" and yet leave it dirty enough so that my dear children didn't waste their money.

This all was such a fine balance that I had a slight headache thinking about it.

In the end, I had everyone somewhat pick up their rooms and then got so busy that I forgot to do much more than that.

I was at peace with it all until I saw her dusting around the 48 pairs of earrings, 6 books, one homeschool catalog and a bag of Easter candy that didn't fit in the kid's baskets, that was cluttering up my dresser top.

I'm hoping for a gift certificate to eat out this year - Much less stress.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Two of our Bigs

AnnaClaire and Grace.

Sisters and best friends and now they are thinking about their future. Of all the kids I have homeschooled, these two are the first that will graduate from the house to the world. Next year will be their senior year and the planning has begun in earnest.

It's exciting and scary and I love being a part of the planning.

Among the things that they are considering, is the possibility that they may go separate paths. Although some sisters would consider this a good thing - AnnaClaire and Grace do not. They share a bedroom, a classroom, a social life and a world and neither are sure who they are without the other.

Maybe this would be considered unhealthy by some. Maybe some, like me, see this as the way a family should be. I like the way the compliment each other, encourage and enjoy each other. This closeness is a wonderful dress rehearsal for other relationships that they will have as adults.

So the plans are taking shape. College for one and not for the other. Interests explored, options prayed over.

This nest will miss these two sisters.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Small Changes

Nobody will ever accuse me of going overboard with health foods. The cereals presently in my pantry are (in no particular order)
1. Cookie Crisp
2. Reese's Puffs
3. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
4. Lucky Charms
5. Trix
6. and just to ruin what could have been a healthy choice - Chocolate Cheerios

When I make pancakes or waffles, I don't throw in wheat germ - no - mini chocolate chips are what my kids prefer.

But lately I've made some moves in the "better for us" direction. One of the best changes is serving only water at dinner instead of Hi C faux juice or ice tea. Not only are we all getting nice and hydrated without all the sugar, but the kids are eating more. The water only policy has also saved us a ton of money when we eat out - drinks for 11 people can get expensive!

I'm considering weaning the kids from whole milk to skim. Maybe do a little mixing for awhile.
Where is all this leading? Who knows - I might even have them give up chocolate pop-tarts.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Mommy Merry-Go-Round

When I first saw my baby, Kirsten, 32 years ago, I had no idea that she was the start of this wild parenting adventure that James and I are on.

I did know that being her mommy felt so right- righter than anything else I had done.

Now all these years later, being a mom is still wonderful. There's nothing I would rather do....most of the time.
Sometimes things are crazy and I feel upside down...not an altogether bad place to be.

Monday, 5 April 2010

King of Stink

I've come to understand that any time you put a large group of young boys together there is bound to be some competition lurking around the corner. But this was ridiculous!

Sitting on the couch with Ezra last night after a full day of outdoor play, I smelled something. After sniffing around, I realized that Ezra had armpit B.O.. I explained to him what it was and also told him I was surprised that already at age 7 he had to start using deodorant. Elijah, age 10, overheard the conversation and came running. He insisted that I couldn't be right about Ezra and had to sniff the offending armpit for himself.
Well, now he was mad. How come Ezra at 7 already had B.O. but he didn't? When was he going to get it? How can you make yourself get it? Would Ezra now grow armpit hair before him and etc......

I tried to explain that B.O. isn't something that people are happy to have but he wasn't hearing me.
Somehow, in the male kingdom, Ezra, with his stench had just moved up a notch and that was that.