Monday, August 24, 2009

if you gang up on mom...

You'll need stitches.

God doesn't give four boys to just ANY mom.

I just need to know when to contain my super-human strength.

My entire brood of men (including my beloved) joined forces to gang up on me tonight and pin me down, except one of my freakishly strong legs broke free and pushed one of my small men into the corner of a dresser.

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Quite a headache.

And a lesson - I hope, for all of us.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

wish a wish to catch a fish

P1040613Our boys have been wanting to catch a fish this summer and despite our one lame attempt their dad's best efforts, they have not experienced reeling in a fighter.

Thank God for friends.  Our friend David has his dad's fishing boat for the summer and offered to use one of his few days off of his orthopedic residency to take Kenyon and the older boys for a day of fishing.

David picked up my three sleepy men at 4:30 in the morning and they spent the day on a beautiful reservoir about an hour away.

They had a great day and caught a bunch of HUGE fish.  That night we had their entire family come up for a fish feast and lots of fun.

Thank goodness that David's wife Darcy had a good recipe because I stink at cooking fish.

Here's an early morning catch:

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The boys had a little too much fun driving the boat, if you ask me.  In fact, The Hunter looked at my beloved while driving and said, "Dad, this is the life!"

It sure is buddy, you have no idea.

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When they got back to our house, our little stream came in handy because they just took all the fish down and cleaned them in the freezing cold water.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

a great birthday present

On opening day of bow season...  on his 35th birthday...

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And with his eight year old hunting buddy...

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

the big 3-5

dublinstation

Happy Birthday my beloved!

Are we really hitting 35?

Weren't we 22 years old and newlyweds just, like, yesterday?

Amidst all the chaos we have going on in our lives right now, I'm stopping to appreciate the man you are on your 35th birthday.

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Although I find it hard to top last year's birthday post, it all still holds true.

You are an amazing man and you never cease to impress me.

Even now as I write this, you are out in the woods with Hunter trying to fill your deer tag and build a better relationship with our boy.

You are such a great example of a man to our boys. Although no human is perfect, I feel you are a perfect example to them for so many reasons.

You are such a hard worker at anything you do, whether employment, chore, relationship, or hobby.

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I love that our boys see you take the responsibility of providing for our family seriously. They know that just as you work hard, you also play hard and they get so excited when you pull in the driveway.

I was so proud to watch you walk across the stage as you graduated with your MBA in May. After all the nights and weekends you invested in getting through school, it was a great example of sticking with something until you complete it - even when it is hard.

You hold yourself to such a high standard, even in relationships. You are always looking to help our marriage grow, to love me more, and to grow closer to our four boys.

I love that you are constantly keeping yourself in check to make sure your priorities are holding true. I have so much respect for your honesty and vulnerability in life. I rarely get to apologize first after a disagreement, and in the moment I hate that, but it is really a quality that I want to adopt in my own life.

Again, what a great example you are to our boys that you consistently apologize to them when you are wrong. You are showing them that no one does life perfectly, and it is o.k. to make mistakes. They trust that their dad cares for their hearts and will work to make your relationship right in the end.

Thank you for being The Man that leads my world of men.

Happy Birthday.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

halls of knowledge

P1040603 Our school supplies arrived last week and I finally have them all organized and ready to crack open. We start back up with our virtual charter school in just two more weeks and although I will be sad to say goodbye to summer, I am slightly ready to get back into a regular routine.

I can't even count the number of conversations I have had with people about home schooling.

The comments are usually along the lines of, "I could never home school, I don't have enough patience." Or maybe something a little more flattering like, "You are a better woman than I am, I can't wait for my kids to go to school in the morning."

Believe me, there is very little about home schooling that is easy for me. Ask those in my inner circle about my natural patience level or my desire for time to myself.

I'm as impatient and selfish as anyone else.

I've told the story many times about how we decided to try home schooling.

From before the time we had our first son, we always seemed to be surrounded by families that home schooled. I balked at it, saying all the things that people say to me now.

Only I didn't know the full measure of love that I would have for my
own children.

These families had children who were a joy to be around. They enjoyed their families, were good friends to other kids and related well to both adults and younger children.

In short, we considered them to be a blessing to those around them and we both said we would like our future children to be like them.

Still, and I will quote myself here, I said to those very friends, "God would have to do a huge work in me to ever get me to home school."

Be careful what you say about God.

Fast forward to two sons, one of which is at preschool age. We had worked very hard to train our boys to have good manners, be respectful, and act appropriately in public.

Although far from perfect, I felt that we were starting to see the fruit of
our labor.

Then my eldest son, at a mere four years old started to be characterized by finding the "naughty kid" in every crowd and idolizing him. He put that misbehaving boy on a mental pedestal and followed him off any cliff of mischief that he was led to.

It was a frustrating time and we really felt like it was an area he needed guidance and time to mature in. We discussed the possibility of home schooling and decided that it would be easier to try it first and then put him in school later rather than the other way around.

So, I guess I would say that character training was our main motive.

Little did I know there was so much more waiting for us.

Check back for part two of this story.

And may I make a disclaimer here? I am not AT ALL saying that only home school kids are well behaved and a joy to be around. There are plenty of public school children that we enjoy friendships with. I am recounting our experience with our children, not claiming a general rule of thumb.

Friday, August 7, 2009

hidden treasures

I was so pleased to find out that I don't need to buy napkins anymore.

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This is what I get when I actually get down on my hands and knees to clean the kitchen floor.

And look up to see the underside of the breakfast bar.

Just another thing I NEVER thought about before having kids.

OK, I never thought about it until this exact moment!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

still brushing the sand off

I am sitting here at seven a.m. with my cup of tea and my L.O.N.G. list of things I need to get done. You know that kind of list, the one that feels nearly impossible to complete amidst all the normal responsibilities of the day.

Unpack, do the laundry, grocery shop, pay bills, return phone calls, find the missing overdue library books all sound like simple tasks until you have meals to make and clean up and those kids who actually want me to interact with them. The nerve!P1040338

But, a blog post about our vacation is one of those list items that I don't want to ignore.

We just returned from a ten day vacation and reunion with my parents and siblings. One week was spent at my dad's little slice of heaven of a beach house on Lake Michigan in the very southwest corner of Michigan.

He and my step-mom graciously gifted us a week at their home that is rental property the rest of the summer. What a gift, it was exactly what we needed to de-stress us from our normal busy schedules.

It's hard to live so far from family. We are the only ones on both sides of our families that live out west and it takes major effort, time, and money to spend time together.

Thankfully, this year we were able to overcome the obstacles and come together with all the parents, siblings, and cousins to spend a week soaking in the sun and sand.

We were so content to just "be" at the beach house. We had lazy mornings and gradually made our way down to the private beach, where we would spend the rest of our day until someone noticed that it was getting close to dinner time.

We rotated who cooked dinner for everyone and it worked out great.

My sister Amy, brother Jeff, and I (and our families) got along famously and cherished our time together. We literally didn't leave the beach house for five days until finally some of the guys went to play par three golf.

On day seven we went out for ice cream. Those were our major outings.

As an added bonus, my two BFF's from college live in the region and each came to the beach for an afternoon to catch up on some girl time.

When our week was up at the beach, we went back to my sister's house in the Chicago suburbs and spent a couple of extra days seeing the sights that the boys had never seen.

The highlight was a train ride into downtown Chicago for a tour of Millennium Park and a day at the Field Museum of Natural History.

Sorting through pictures was a nightmare. There are too many! I put together a little slide show to give a taste, but had to leave so many good pictures out!

About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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