Wednesday, 30 December 2015

My Locket Her Locket

 Having 21 grandkids is pretty much amazing. They seem to me to each possess remarkable character....some speaking eloquently at a young age, some with a sense of humor that surprises me, some are kind and sweet and some quiet and self assured and others are feisty and wild. I find it harder to not be biased toward my grandkids than to my own children. Maybe the freedom to just enjoy them rather than having to worry whether I  was doing everything right. Or maybe I'm getting old enough to worry a little less in general. 
All of this is to say that I really like them all - greatly.

 Leah, grandchild number 18, lives right across the street and we see each other every day.  She has always loved my heart locket and told me that she wanted me to get her one for Christmas and she wanted my picture and hers inside.

Okay - grandmother melting right there.  So of course I got it for her.

Merry Christmas to Leah and Grandma Kate.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

WOW Samuel - You Stink!

  Samuel, being the 11 year old youngest of this very long-large family, has the distinction of doing everything for the last time. This is the day he outgrew his car seat. His oldest sibling is 42 and so I am often very very very glad to see the end to a phase of parenting.
 Today while heading out to town we all smelled something. Something evil and wretched. 
It was Sam. It was B.O.

 I almost cried, both from the smell and the realization that my baby needed deodorant. 
Aahh. Another rite of passage.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Coming Clean about Going Gray

 So, truth be told, my profile picture is a lie. Not exactly a lie...I'm not really a 45 year old male plumber from New Jersey or anything.. it's just that the picture might not exactly represent how I look today, or yesterday, or for a while now. When turning 60 in March I decided it was time to stop dying my hair brown. 
  It was hard for me to make the decision to go gray. Being this old and having an eleven year old son can be a bit awkward - Jeremiah had a substitute teacher one day tell him that his "granny" was at the door when I showed up. Plus, inside, I'm still just this cool.
  The kids and I read a verse in school from Proverbs 16 that said, "Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life." I've lived a few godly moments and quite a few not, but apparently enough to get a really full head of gray.
  Now when this verse was written, woman started having their kids around age 12 or 13 probably.  By the time they were in their late teens they could have four or five toddlers running around the tent or cave or whatever they lived in. Which you can imagine changed the dynamics of parent teen relationships. You didn't have to worry about your daughter texting guys or secretly meeting them for the usual reason.  Your teen daughter's conversation with her husband would be more like, "Not tonight - I've been chasing Ezekiel, Daniel and Hosea around all day and the camel gave me fits and can I just have some alone time?" For these woman to get to gray hair stage was nothing short of a godly miracle I'm thinking.
So I'm embracing the real me. 
Actually, I just got sick of dying my hair every month and I'm getting used to my "crown of glory".

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Head Trauma

 Isaiah is the oldest boy in the house these days and so what he does  or loves or is into, holds great sway over the crowd. Which made his decision to have me shave his head a little worrisome.  
  His reasoning was that he's had a dent in the back of his
skull for as long as he can remember and he wanted us all to see it clearly.  He was also curious to see if there were still scars on his head from Elijah's teeth at some earlier time of their lives. I for one, have never thought about re-living my past by examining the nicks and dings on my body, but there are many things that he and I think differently about.

  Last night after a few deep breaths (his and mine), I shaved off all his hair. It was great entertainment for the night and although we could make out a few bumps and lines, the story of his head injuries was not nearly as exciting as the sheer courage of his decision.

  And thankfully  surprisingly, none of the other boys decided to follow his lead.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Not a Post for Vegans

  Last weekend there was a beautiful summer/winter day and we headed to the mountain house.  We got a lot of work done... well mostly James did,  and we played and hiked and enjoyed the get- away.  

But the cherry on top, the icing on our cake was stopping at the  oh so amazing 

Beef Jerky Outlet.  The sign has been enticing us for months as we drove by, and this time we headed off the exit into jerky heaven. 

  Not only was there jerky from most of the mammal class, hot sauces with names that indicated death, there was also every type of insect embedded into lollipops and candies and boxes of flavored dried crickets and worms.
  This is the kind of store you must experience with 6 boys.  It nearly brought them to tears of joy.

  I was impressed and disgusted at the same time by Isaiah as he casually munched his sour cream crickets.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

One Very Long, Very Good Year

I spent last evening with my daughter Molly ( the 3rd from the right with the beautiful smile) and an amazing group of people. A year and a day ago I dropped her off at a rehab center, after many months of watching her nearly destroy her life with drugs.  It was hard leaving her there, not knowing if I would ever have her back.
  Molly made a choice that day - a choice she's still making every day since and that is to stay clean. The dinner and meeting afterwards was a celebration of that.  
One year. 
She has had a large group of people walking with her in this hard won victory. These kids are literally fighting for their lives. I was struck by their willingness to share their pasts, their struggles, their hopes and fears. 
  As I hugged Molly I cried with gratefulness for answered prayers and for the sweet joy of holding my girl again and seeing a way ahead for her.
  A friend once comforted me when I was worried about my kids when he reminded me that they are on a journey that has years to go.  
This was a very very happy stop along that journey. I am so proud of you Molly.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

A Lot to Like

   A few weeks ago our family had our- not so easy to get everyone together- picture taken.  We managed to have 16 of our 18 kids come, which includes 18 of our 21 grand-kids.  

The wonderful photographer,Michael Viands , titled our album, "Acly Thanksgiving" because it was taken the day after. 
  Looking through the pictures, I realized that it was a thanksgiving picture. Never did I think that James and I would be so incredibly blessed to have this many kids to raise; to have so many grand-kids to love; to have my Mom and Dad living right next door our whole life. 
  There have been some really hard times, the kinds of hard times that make you feel like you can't do this any more. 
But I'm thankful. 
Thankful for James who is still my best friend after 43 years. 

Thankful for walking through the hard times and getting to the other side.
And thankful for the bad and good and joy this family has been.