25 November 2008

T minus 43 hours and counting

Yea! It's Thanksgiving vacation! I didn't have to teach today, and the boys are off starting tomorrow. Even John is taking tomorrow off, so we are officially on break!

Let the mad cooking and cleaning begin! On Thursday we will be 19 around the table (more likely two tables...or three). It is going to be so fun! I do love Thanksgiving and all the cooking, preparing, not the cleaning, and the great fun to be together. I grew up with big Thanksgiving celebrations, with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, and sometimes a few friends thrown in the mix. The only family who will be here this Thanksgiving will be my brother and his girlfriend, but I am so thankful that we can host so many other wonderful friends and friends of friends.

John and I will do a good bit of cooking tomorrow, but our friends are also bringing things (thank goodness!).
Here is what will be brought by friends (as far as we know):

Fried turkey
Sweet potatoes
Green beans
Cornbread dressing
Pumpkin cake
Great-grandmother's rolls
Salad

We will round out the menu with the following:

Glazed ham
Mashed potatoes
Cranberries in red wine
Whiskey glazed carrots
Jello salad (a Texas Thanksgiving staple)
Pumpkin spice rolls
Nutmeg Maple Cream pie (to DIE for!!!)
Honeyed Apple Pie

What am I forgetting? Probably something. So far the cranberries are done, and I plan to make my pastry crust tonight. Maybe the congealed salad as well. I've also got to iron the napkins and set out the china, etc.

I'll keep you posted on the progress. I am also hoping to actually sleep between now and then.

20 November 2008

Excuse me?

In the mornings, after all the men have gone off to school and work, Lucy and I sit at the kitchen table and eat our breakfasts.

Many days, she asks me to read the Bible to her, and I'll start reading whatever the day's passages are in my Daily Reading Bible (ESV, if you're interested).

Today she begged, "Can you please please please read the Bible to me?"

I'm not one to turn down an eager Bible listener, so I started right in on Ezekiel. I had read a few paragraphs when Lucy put up her little hand, closed it into a fist and said, "Beep! Time out! My turn!"

I just looked at her in shock for a minute, so she repeated, "Beep! Time out! Beep! Beep!"

I know I shouldn't encourage this, but I could not help laughing. I have no idea where she came up with this little method of interruption.

19 November 2008

Nemesis

Entropy is my enemy. I am doomed to a life of eternal frustration.

(Hyberbole, anyone?)

17 November 2008

Happiness is...

seeing your 10 year-old son and two year-old daughter contentedly holding hands while riding in the car on the way home.

15 November 2008

Nordstrom Crack

It's finally happened. Nordstrom Rack has come to our fair (and by fair I mean liberal) state. Are you acquainted with the Nordstrom Rack? It is Nordstom's discount cousin, the place where last season's or overstocks go to be snatched up by the likes of discount shoppers like me.

It used to be, when John traveled for work, that he would stop into the Rack if he came across one (like Seattle...hello, three Nordstrom Racks in the metro area...we've been to them ALL). He always came away with great deals on shoes, clothes for the kids and fun treats for him and me.

It opened the day before my birthday and so John took me there for a little birthday shopping. Oooo, baby. Two words: shoe department.

Mind you, I had birthday money to burn. This was no regular clothes budget shopping trip. And I was smokin', because I came away with three pairs of boots, two by Franco Sarto (one of my favorite shoe labels, I've decided) and one by Cole Haan. Cole Haan! I'm not going to tell you exactly how much I paid, as that would be uncouth. But let me just say that it was a deal, especially for boots.

So my birthday money took me a long way at the Crack. You can guess why we call it that. IT'S ADDICTING! And once you've been there, you want to go back for more.

Here are my Crack finds to date. Keep in mind this place has only been open one month. Ha ha!

1. black patent leather ankle booties
2. grey suede boots with heel
3. red suede flats
4. Joe's Jeans that fit me PERFECTLY!
5. cute red sweater, long but with short sleeves
6. four long sleeved t-shirts for layering
7. grey-blue cabled cardigan
8. cream-colored coat with fun details at collar and hem
9. a watch by Fossil with a fun red face
10. beautiful brown leather boots by Cole Haan (which I returned, as I'm not sure I need another pair of brown boots. But they were so beautiful!)
11. Lucy's red patent leather birthday shoes

Hmmm, I'm noticing some themes: red, fun, boots. What does this say about me?

If you haven't heard yet, the Crack is at Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers. Call me and I'll go with you!

10 November 2008

Update

10:58 a.m. All is quiet. Clayton and Mac are doing the sit and spin at the top of the stairs. Do you think that's safe? Water on the stove for an early lunch of delicious and nutritious mac and cheese. The girls are playing. Ben is reading, I think. He and Walter may still be sulking at all my "ruining of their fun".

11:07 a.m. Had to put Lucy in her bed by herself, as she is screaming at everyone. Uh oh, someone's crying. Clayton. Apparently Walter was kicking him. Shocking.

11:09 a.m. Lucy is quiet. Maybe I can let her out. Still haven't gotten my clothes on. Must...get...clothes...on.

11:29 a.m. Had a really sweet talk with Walter about his being a leader, why we have conflict with each other, why we need Jesus. I think he was really listening. Finally I am dressed. Mac and cheese is ready. Lucy has fallen asleep. Poor little thing is completely overwrought. It takes a lot of energy to keep up with one's idol. Louisa is Lucy's idol.

12:07 p.m. Ahhhh...peace. Everyone is fed, the big boys are playing football outside, Lucy is asleep still, Theo and Louisa are playing together with Webkins and I am making my own lunch. Yea!

Live blogging with 7 kids

Our good friends are out of town for a few days, and we are taking care of their three children for a time...two days and two nights. They came home with us after church yesterday and will be picked up tomorrow around lunch time. These are the friends who had our FOUR children for five days while we went to London. So this is absolutely the least we can do for them!

Here is a summary of how it is going. Just one word: CHAOS.

Okay, so now that I've gotten that out, I'm going to try to keep you updated on what is really, actually happening around here. Today and tomorrow are days off school, so we're just...hanging around.

Let's back up to this morning.

6:45 a.m. Lucy and Louisa wake up and start chattering. Loudly. Ben comes in and whispers to them to whisper and be quiet because the boys are trying to sleep.

7 a.m. Walter comes in to ask if they can watch television. We say yes, then snuggle in our bed with Lucy for about 15 minutes. Louisa comes in to tell me how hungry she is (surprise, surprise!)

8 a.m. Television is turned off but not before Walter gives me attitude about it. Breakfast is on the table: cinnamon toast, bananas, Cheerios, juice, milk. There are requests for hot cider but we are all out. Ben REALLY wants something hot to drink so we make french vanilla tea with milk and sugar. Yummy. But it all remains undrunk (don't think that's a word) on the table. Hmmm.

9 a.m. Is it snack time yet? No, not yet. Lucy is crying about everything. Ben and Walter are off by themselves, reading. Clayton and Mac are making a fort in the living room and Theo is getting in fights and annoying everyone he can.

9:45 a.m. Is it snack time yet? Not yet...Boys come in from outside covered in sidewalk chalk. I insist they change. More attitude from Walter. Now is it snack time? NO...I mean, no, not yet. Let me get the dishes in the dishwasher. It should only take me about 45 minutes, with all the fights, crying, request for snacks, etc.

10: 41 Walter and Ben want to do things on their own, but of course all the other children want to join in. I had to stop the jumping into piles of pillows in the living room because of excessive screaming from the two youngest. Walter just told me I'm ruining all their fun. I'm sure I am. Am I being too strict? I know that they have a physical need to hurl their bodies against things, but there has got to be a line somewhere. Where do I draw it? Isn't this what the outdoors are for? I think we've got to get out of here. Walter just already asked for lunch. Do you think I can get them to all take naps?

That gets us up to date. I think I need to pull myself together, have a powwow with the tribe (it's a mixed tribe) and make a plan. We've got to get out of here! Jesus help.
More as it happens.

06 November 2008

More on idolatry...isn't this FUN?!???

Here is a quote from Tertullian, one of the first theologians and apologists of the Church.  It is a quote referenced by our pastor in his sermons the past two weeks.  The idea here has really stayed with me, and given me much food for thought.

"The principle crime of the human race, the highest guilt charged upon the world, the whole procuring cause of judgment, is idolatry.  For although each individual sin retains its own proper feature, although it is destined to judgment under its own proper name also, yet they all fall under the general heading of idolatry...(All murder and adultery, for example, are idolatry, for they arise because something is loved more than God - yet, in turn, all idolatry is murder because it assaults God, and all idolatry is adultery for it is unfaithfulness to God.)  Thus it comes to pass, that in idolatry all crimes are detected, and in all crimes idolatry."

I'd love to hear your thoughts.  
Let's just get personal.  What idols are in your life?  What good things are you tempted to make into ultimate things?  
Talk amongst yourselves.

05 November 2008

Bitter water

Our pastor has been preaching from Habakkuk the past few months, and so we've been discussing the passages in our community group on Monday nights. Both this week and last have focused on idolatry and how it manifests itself in our lives.

Most of us in our culture are not bowing down to carved statues, but I would posit that all of us are idolaters in one way or another. We are God's image bearers, and we are made to worship. If we don't worship the one true God, we will QUICKLY find something else to worship. Our pastor has made a point of saying how close idolatry is to the human heart, how quickly we will turn a good thing into an ultimate thing.

As we discussed this in our group, we learned that a good test of a good thing that may have become an idol is to examine what makes us angry. When our idols are threatened, we may respond in anger or defensiveness. With this as a litmus test, I think that some of my idols are control, perfectly obedient children, peace and a smooth schedule. Notice how all of those things are essentially good things! But my sinful heart wants to worship these things more than I naturally want to worship God. And I want to find my identity in them. So when they are threatened, I react in anger, anxiety and despair, because it is as if my very identity is as stake.

Something that I am praying for God to change in me is my reaction when things don't go my way. As a mom, things do not go as planned quite often. Much of how the family runs depends on me, but let's not forget that there are six distinct personalities in this house. So sometimes things don't run exactly as I plan. Tantrums happen, people don't get up on time, spills happen, things break, shoes disappear. You know what I'm talking about. I call this thwarting. I am thwarted at every turn. I have MY plan, and I constantly run into thwarting.

We were laughing about this thwarting in community group, but it points to a serious problem. The problem is that I am so reluctant to accept God's will for me, and I act like an orphan when things don't go my way. I have my own tantrum when I am thwarted, forgetting that I am a DAUGHTER OF THE KING and that He is looking out for me. He has things to teach me and things He wants to change in me AND He wants to take care of me (not necessarily make me comfortable).

This quote from Amy Carmichael (19th c. missionary to India) has haunted me for years. It's from her tiny book entitled If.

"If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted."

Sit in that for a while. Do you think it's too much? I don't. I think she has an amazing point.

O Lord, I am more often filled with bitter water and it all comes spilling out. Please fill me with sweet water, so that when I spill over, it is not in wrath and anger, but with acceptance and joy. You know what is best, and I don't.

04 November 2008

Let' s just hope it works.

Hello there and happy Election Day to you all!

As I mentioned previously, I have been sick.  And today I think I feel the beginnings of a sinus infection.  I really don't like to take antibiotics, so I'm doing everything I can to help my body fight off infection.  Of course, I don't think all the candy consumption since Halloween has helped at all.  Rats.

So here's my game plan.  Let's hope it works.

1.  Neti pot.  Do you know what this is?  It is a way of cleansing your nasal passages and comes from the yoga tradition.  All I know is that it feels like getting water up your nose.  But from past experience, it works.

2.  The most disgusting "tea" you will ever drink.  I can't remember who told me this concoction, but I turn to it when I need help fighting infection.  Squeeze a whole lemon into a large mug (strain out the pulp and seeds).  Mince one or two garlic cloves and put in the mug.  Add hot water.  Sweeten with honey as needed (you'll need a lot!).

Let me tell you, it is really not pleasant to drink.  And I'm sure I will scare off anyone within a fifteen foot radius with my garlic smells while I wait in line to vote.  But this, too, has helped get well naturally over the years.

If you have any other natural remedies, leave them in the comments.  I am SERIOUS about NOT taking antibiotics!

On another note, I can't wait to find out who our next president is going to be!  I think it is awesome that so many people are voting today.  No matter who wins, we should celebrate that we are free and safe to vote as we choose, and that so many people are choosing to exercise their voting rights this election year.  I'm planning on taking the whole family!