I am trying to celebrate the lasts and to stay focused on the blessing this season of my life has been.
My sister-in-law and family move tomorrow morning. Being next door neighbors has been so amazing these past 20 months. To have that support, love, and shared life has been so encouraging especially these last 4 months when we have gone from 3 to 6 children.
The Lord is writing our stories and I am trusting that something beautiful will come out of this but it still doesn't make it easier when you are in the midst of it.
Today I am sad.
But tomorrow will be better.
A new chapter has started and I am so curious what God is up to in our lives.
Yes I have joined that world. I didn't even realize that there was a support group for mothers of multiples...and I qualify with my triplets.
They have a huge garage sale twice a year here in town. A friend invited me to sell a few things under her name, so I took her up on her offer.
This was a well oiled machine event!
Seriously - these women had it down to a tee.
We all arrived at 7 am...set up...put of stuff out...we shopped early...and then they let in hoards of people at 11 am. They only run the sale until 2 pm. It was completely amazing!
(I was hoping that I sold enough things to buy our whole family nerf guns for a family nerf war. My kids would go crazy over something that like. And I just saw them on sale at Target for $10...shhhh!)
I interviewed Lydia last night because she earned the privilege of staying up later by cleaning the living room. (side note: She is the one telling me at night that I would really appreciate it in the morning if I cleaned up the house before going to bed. Oh - she is so much like me that it makes me laugh)
Lydia age 5
1. Playing with Jack 2. Special Dates with Daddy 3. Special dates with Nana 4. Winning prizes at RAD (Wednesday Church night) 5. Painting pictures 6. Riding horses 7. Looking at books 8. Peeling carrots and potatoes 9. Playing with my cousins 10. swimming at the lake cabin
Favorite place to go? Sauk Centre McDonald's Playland What do you want to be when you grow up? Mom Food? Mac and cheese Favorite books? Annie's apple farm and Usborne First Experiences Favorite Uncle? (I only asked this because my brothers always fight to see who is the favorite uncle of the day) "That's a hard one...I think it is Joel." Favorite Bible verse: The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold or silver pieces. Psalm 119:72
I've been mulling this post over in my head for the past couple of weeks. This Sunday it was brought up at our small group and it was again when I went to our MOMS group at church.
The topic was basically on meeting needs for people whether they just had a baby, are going through a crisis, or just being an authentic community of believers.
The one thing that I have learned along the way is this: I must be intentional on meeting the needs of people around me. I cannot say, "Call me anytime." or "Let me know how I can help." Because if I am really honest, when people say this to me I don't or won't call them. I am not going to call someone who I know lives a busy life (don't we all live busy lives?) and say, "Will you come and clean my bathroom?"
Nope. Not a chance. I will suck it up and clean my own bathroom - even if it takes me a couple of weeks to do it. It is my own sin of pride getting in the way.
I started thinking that if I feel and do these things I am probably not alone.
What I need to start doing and saying is this: "I have Tuesday night free. I am coming over to your house and I will do whatever you need done. I am bringing my cleaning supplies and you will put me to work." "I am making you a meal. When would you like me to bring it over, or would you like me to freeze it so you can pull it out any night of the week?"
I know this is a little too straight forward for some people, but this is what has been done to me in the past. I was blessed last fall when a group of women came to my house and did a deep cleaning. It was so wonderful because I was 8 months pregnant and the two boys just had come home and life was hard. They said they were coming and I should make a list of things I wanted cleaned; they didn't give me much of a choice. I would have never asked in a million years for help, but they met a huge need. (of course I could have said, "no" to them and missed out on God's blessing)
I have talked to some of my friends about how I try to live my life at 75% speed. Meaning that I don't want to be running around at 100% because I can not maintain it long term. If I keep it at 75% then I am able to make that meal at the last minute, run an errand for a friend, make a phone call, or when life throws some punches I am not dropping all the spinning plates because I have left margin in my life. (This means I have to say "no" to some really fun and cool things - Can I even say godly things? ...gasp!)
Isn't that what we all long for? Margin....space...breathing space.
Honestly, right now with a new baby and 2 new sons from Ethiopia I am running about 94% just because I have so many little people and they have an enormous amount of physical needs. But this season shall quickly pass and become a distant memory. I am looking forward to finding my new normal 75%. What does that look like? I don't know yet, but I am hoping to find out this summer.
We went to visit a friend at the hospital who just had a baby this morning.
All EIGHT of us.
It was great. The kids were good, quiet and respectful the whole time.
I sometimes forget that my boys are still experiencing new things.
We all get into the elevator to leave...no big deal...we all get off the elevator...
no wait...we all didn't get off the elevator. I realized that Titus was still on the elevator as the door closed and proceeds to go down to the basement. It was like in Home Alone when she screams..."Kevin!" If it wasn't for my fast thinking husband who ran down two flights of stairs to go and rescue him, I don't know what I would have done. Because he would have darted out of the doors as soon as it opened on a different floor.
All I could think about was how traumatized he was going to be, but he actually thought it was funny...not so much to me.
It just has to be. Privacy will happen when more people can wipe their own little bottoms.
The bathroom is a great place for conversation and talking about life.
Pretty much it is a happening place around here.
Tonight, brought it to a whole new level.
I am being honest about the chaos that is pretty much a constant around here.
Adie was busy on the toilet. If there is one thing I have learned, it is hard to hurry that girl along. It must be her idea that she is done.
Titus came in doing the potty dance. He pulled down his jammies and pulled off the cloth pull-up and waited with happy feet. Adie was NOT finished yet. I pleaded with her to hurry up because Titus needed to use the toilet. I looked over and he was starting to go. So with one quick motion I swooped him up and let him pee in the sink. Gross and disgusting, I know. But it was better than watching him pee all over. To make this story even better, I was holding a screaming Jack in my other arm while I was doing this.
If there were Mommy Olympics...this event would have won gold.
We love it when they come back from Montana to visit.
I am thankful to spend two days with them while Carl is gone on business because it makes my life a whole lot easier.
The "big" kids (everyone except Jack) got to go to the bakery this morning with Nana and Papa. mmmm...mmmm This place is my weakness. I LOVE their chocolate covered cake doughnuts. I am thankful it is an hour drive here ...it makes it much easier to say no. I would be addicted if this bakery was down the street.
Someday my kids will not scream and cry over everything.
Give the dirty jobs (ie: sorting the potty cloth pull-ups for washing) to the 6 year old. Why didn't I think of this sooner? When you have 5 kids that wet the bed ...not including Jack...that is a lot of potty pull ups. (I don't give them water after supper and we make them all go to the bathroom before bed...they are all heavy sleepers. This too shall pass)
I detest clutter. Yuck. It makes my brain cluttered when my house is cluttered. We just took out the spring attire and can't put away winter stuff knowing that it will more than likely snow at least one more time this year. Snow boots/rainboots...winter coats/spring coats...winter hats/sunhats...the volcano has erupted at my house. This doesn't even compare to the craft cupboards....don't even open them - they are scary!
Titus is an Ethiopian with a Texas accent. It is hilarious when he says, "Whatcha dooooooo (pause) aaan?
The girls are having a sleepover at Nana and Papa's house tonight and then I will go there tomorrow with my boys. We love it when they come back from Montana to visit.
Tomorrow I meet with the accountant for taxes. I am glad that she can hold my hand and tell me that it is not that bad. The "good student syndrome" in me doesn't want to be audited and find that I made mistakes somewhere. I guess I should check my pride off at the door and admit I really don't know what I am doing when it comes to Quickbooks - but I try.
Sunshine is one of God's amazing blessings of spring. It has been rainy and dreary all week and that was the condition of my heart - blah! But today, oh my, I heard a great sermon at church this morning that I will be chewing on for the rest of my life and when I walked outside afterward, the sun was shining.
It was one of those moments where you stand and take a deep breath to take it all in.
We spent over 3 and a half hours outside this afternoon riding bikes in our driveway and enjoying the beautiful day. I am praying it stays like this for 2 months. If there was ever a year that I need spring to come early, it would be this year.
Last night Carl and I were able to go out on a double date with some friends.
Oh did I need that!
It is amazing how you can not realize how much you need something until after you do it. (a run, a phone call with a friend, night out with your hubby etc.)
I was starting to feel like a caged lion with it raining the past week and having no place to send the kids more than 15 ft away from me. I paid a babysitter for 3.5 hours of peace and great conversation with my husband and friends.
One of my dreams would be that we would someday have a home where I could have an extra bedroom where a college girl would be able to live rent free for exchange of so many hours per week of help around the house with kids. Then I could run all those errands that never happen, clean my bathrooms more often than I do now or I could be fun and do those science experiments that Grace really wants me to do with her.
I have to keep my perspective...I live better than 99% of the world. I have running clean water, electricity, a dishwasher, and the internet. I am not complaining...just dreaming - maybe someday. Until then, I will just do my best with God's current blessings.
Many people think that just because I have six small children that I have a lot of patience.
Nope. Not really. I get frustrated with my children. Sometimes I yell at them...many times I do it in my head but something nice and sweet comes out. Even with this, I have still sinned because I am not letting the Holy Spirit work within me. Usually as soon as I think that I have handled a situation pretty well, (a proud heart) I am humbled quite quickly with another opportunity to exhibit patience.
Today 3 kids had shots - Lydia, Silas and Titus. I took Jack with too (well, because I never leave a nursing baby until they can take a sippy cup) Grace and Adie went to play at the cousins.
First I must say how proud I am of my little Liddy bug. She received 4 shots and a finger poke without so much a tear coming from her. She was so brave and strong.
Now there was a constant circus going on with Silas and Titus. Touching, jumping, running, switiching lights on and off, leaving the room etc. I wore Jack in a sling becuase I knew that I would need two hands available at all times for those two. I am so thankful that I did because I could have used a third hand today. I had to answer all these questions to confirm that Lydia is indeed working hard to learn and has no major developmental delays.
(Side note: Jack weighs 14.5 lbs and was 2 months last Friday - I told you he was growing)
We survived an hour in the room with everyone getting their shots, but we still needed to go to lab. Whewwww! Lydia needed a hearing check, finerger poke and urine sample. Everything went great until the last one. Trying to get a nervous 5 year old to pee in a cup is a difficult task. She just couldn't do it. Honestly - I don't know if I could either if I had to watch and listen to Silas and Titus run all around the bathroom, have your baby brother screaming and your mom holding a cup between your legs. It was quite the sight.
But I kept my cool. I was patient.
Now, we needed to go pick up the sisters and Lydia was able to spend some special time at the cousins because of her bravery.
It was lunch time. I needed to nurse Jack first.
I manage to get leftovers on the table and Silas threw a fit, so he needed to leave the table. Adie didn't make it to the table for 30 minutes because she needed to clean up a mess of hair bows/ribbons/ties/pony holders etc that she threw all over the floor. She finally made it to the table only to yell and scream about everything I put in front of her. After 45 minutes of this drama I realize that I am yelling at my kids and completely impatient. I wanted to eat Adie if she screamed at me one more time. While this was going on, Titus broke a glass out of the dishwasher.
Did I mention that Jack has another cold? and I am so nervous that he will have to do back to the hospital. So, I have been sleeping with him in the chair so that he can be almost upright when he sleeps. I am also wearing him most of the day. All this being said, I am a little sleep deprived.
BUT, I quieted my spirit and prayed for God to grant me mercy over the next hour. I could never do life without him. Seriously, I am only saved by his grace and mercy. It is nothing that I have done or could possibly do on my own. I am not patient, loving, kind, merciful, generous, humble etc. on my own. It is only Jesus working in and through me.
I am sure that I will have many more opportunities today to be patient. I am praying that I can.
Oh yes, he is doing the very thing that he is trying to get this brother in trouble with.
I don't know if you can tell but English is coming along very well.
Silas was actually talking in English in his sleep the other night. Granted he was yelling at Adie and telling her to get off of him. Funny kid.
When I walk into the room and I know that there has been mischief, the three of them point to one another. Adie to Titus, Titus to Silas and Silas to Adie or the other way around. There is always a triangle of finger pointers. At this point I shake my head and put the toys in time-out instead of them.
I have been honestly struggling with the three of them with discipline. The Lord really put it on my heart that I need to spend more time in prayer for them and less time being frustrated with their behavior.
One thing that has been going well around here is that I have been giving chores before a meal and that is their ticket to join us for that meal. For example, they all need to clean up the living room before they can come to lunch or they might have to put away all their clean clothes. If they choose not to help or do the task then they have chosen to skip lunch. All I can say is, WOW because for this season of life, it is working really well.
When I look at Jack, I mean really LOOK at him, I swear I see him growing. Maybe it's like when the farmers say they can hear the corn grow in the middle of July. He loves to eat and I guess naturally the consequence would be adorable chubby little fingers. Jack is a messy eater. Can you believe that nursing baby can be messy? He sips and spits, so the top part of my pants are always wet. This is not a violent throw up, but more of a lazy, "I'm going to let the milk dribble out of my mouth," kind of spitting. Oh my little Jack-man, how I love thee.
Today Jack is really 2 months old. We take pictures of each of the kids the first year of life in the same chair. It is really fun to watch them grown from this little itty bitty baby to a chuba buba by the time they are a year. I know that he is over 13 lbs. I am scared to think how big he will be by next year.
He was wet from head to toe. Actually his boots are still wet and these were taken two days ago. Silas cried when I finally took him in the house because it really wasn't 80 degrees outside and much as he thought it was - maybe 38 degrees - just enough to melt the snow.
I could never do what I do without his help and support. I would seriously go crazy. Well, some days I feel on the brink of craziness but then everyone goes to sleep and God's mercies are new every morning.
Carl gets up with the kids in the morning and he lets me come out around 7:30. He always has a glass of orange juice waiting for me. (If you know me, that is my coffee. I am completely addicted to it. I need it every morning or my day is just not right.)
He comes out of his office to rescue me when total chaos falls upon the Larsen home.
He plays rough the kids. He is funny. He makes us laugh and captures all our fun moments on the video camera.
He gives the kids their baths at night and blesses each one of them as they fall asleep.
He provides for our family.
He brings out the best in me and our children. I am so thankful to be his wife!
As you can see from the pictures below, Jack is smiling and cooing. It is so sweet to hear him talking. He is also one big boy! 13lbs plus some and still growing. I can't imagine how much food he will eat in a few years. It reminds me of when I was growing up with 4 brothers and two cousins that lived with us - 6 boys. They would eat a pan of bars in a nanosecond - wham - gone! I would pull brownies out of the oven and they would all grab spoons and a gallon of milk. Imagine the sight of mouths wide open and all of them breathing through their mouths to cool the brownies off before swallowing them. I know for a fact that they burned the inside of their mouths a few times just because they were "famished."
gotta run...Silas and Adie are screaming at each other.