Happy Almond Joys for Mama Day!

I think I was 8 or 9.  Maybe 10.  Whichever it was, it was the Christmas that I got my Barbi furniture.  I remember because I opened my presents prostrate on the couch with my head halfway hanging in a throw-up bucket. 

And it stunk. 

There possibly is nothing worse than being sick on a holiday.  And I'm not talking Columbus Day or Boxing Day.  I'm talking the Holy Grails of Holidays.  The Big 5.  The Fiestas of Fun.  The Big Kahunas. 

1)  Nothing worse than being sick on Christmas.  Numero Uno Worse-o.
2)  Then comes Halloween.  Costumes and candy, man, c'mon.
3)  Next is Thanksgiving.  Because then your sister gets to eat your slice of Nanny's cherry pie...not that I'm bitter or anything.
4)  Then it's Easter.  More candy.  And a bunch of eggs that your mom won't let you hunt for the sake of the other children's health.  Bah.Hum.Bug.
5)  Then to make it an even 5....Fourth of July.  Because that usually involves swimming and fireworks and hot dogs, and it just stinks to be stuck in the house in the summer.

No matter how you cut the holiday ham, being sick on those certain calendar days just stinks a whole heck of a lot more than a normal sick day.  It just does.

Ask this guy....

Mr. I'm Losing My Lunch While My Brothers Trick or Treat.....


If you read yesterday's post, you know that I was going to give him until 1:00 to stop with the upchuck.  Then I was going to let him get duded up and let him stick his bucket out for a couple of Kit Kats then come back home.

1:00 came and went and we were looking like we were going to be suiting up.  Golden.

So I dragged out all the costume pieces and the make-up bag, and we got started.  Everyone was thrilled that Tate was feeling better, and I was the boys were beginning to salivate at the thought of all the candy. 

Tate was totally dressed.  Chaps were in place, boots were on, hat was fixed, holster was adjusted, and handle-bar mustache was drawn on.  He looked adorable.  Until he looked up at me with the biggest most sad eyes and said, "Mama, I just can't do it.  I can't twick or tweat."  And before I could say, "but the Kit Kats...", he was stripping off the cowboy gear and climbing back on the couch.

And I might have cried.  Because I'm pretty sure I've never seen anything so pathetic in all my life.  And I didn't even get one picture first....

I wiped my nose on my sleeve and turned my attention to the other brothers Darrel. 

And I do have to say, they looked GREAT.  I was so bummed that I wasn't going to be hanging with those characters at the festival.... 

Here's Keaton...a.k.a..Albert Einstein.  I think he looks very smarty!

And here's Sawyer....our Redneck that slipped into his character a little too easily.   My fave:  the chest hair.  Crack.Me.Up.

Kirk took the boys to the big festival downtown, and, from what I hear, they were not alone.  I think there was an insane turnout for the event which is great for our smalltown, and the boys were loaded down with candy.   Score.

The boys with a precious member of our K-Group from church.

Sawyer and his BFF Hesley :  Tuh-ruh-ble

I stayed home and snuggled with Tate on the couch...not too shabby of an evening...aside from that whole holding the throw-up bucket thing.

But, probably the best part of the whole night for all of us was when the boys brought home lots and lots of these:

Because when Mama's happy....
Everyone's happy.

Happy Halloween!!

Now....let me at that candy....


Smarts, Tresses, and a Big Case of the Upchucks

It's Trick or Treat day for us.

The day that I always dread, and then when it comes down to it, I get all kinds of excited because the kids are just so darn cute.

And in the days leading up to, I have especially been dreading this particular Halloween. 

And then the boys got their costumes.

And now I'm excited.

Because Keaton is going as this guy.....

He thought of it all on his own, and when he found the wig, he said, "Mom!  I can be one of my idols!"
Thrill this mama's heart.

Sawyer is channeling this dude.....

Well, not this guy in particular....he's just the feller on the package of the mullet wig.  He's actually more-so channeling our lovely neighbors.... *wink*


Only thing that worries me is that since we bought him his package of wife beaters last night, he has announced that they are his new favorite shirts.
I'm all about getting into character...but really?

And then there's Tate....

Who right at this minute is doing this....

Bless his baby heart, he started throwing up in the middle of the night, and he can't seem to quit. 

And he switches between periods of looking absolutely pitiful to periods of looking even more pitiful because he's crying about not getting to trick or treat tonight and wear all of this stuff.....

My sweet Marshal of Dodge City is out of commission.  And I'm so so very sad for him.

So...I've come up with a plan....and I'm only telling you all my plan so that you stay clear tonight if you see us....

If he can stop puking by 1:00, I'm taking him tonight to trick or treat.  We'll keep our bandanna up over our face and he'll wear his way cool chaps and marshal badge.  And then we'll come home.  
Because I CANNOT say no to this face...

....when he says, "All I wanted to do was dwess up and be a cowboy fo twick or tweeting."

You got it kid.  Stomach virus or no.

***NOTE:  I really am one of those moms that is considerate of the health of others around me.  I promise if you see us out tonight, we will not breathe on you, touch you, or even look in your direction.  Scout's honor.



Ancient China has been our topic of study this week in school, and my lesson plan suggested that we make our own Chinese food at home.  I gave myself quite a bruise when I fell out of my chair laughing at even the mere thought of that ever.happening.  So, I did what any other resourceful teacher would do.  I loaded the children up and took them to a Chinese Buffet.  And we dove into the culture headfirst....  Well, actually, the boys only ate fried shrimp, jello, and ice cream...but still.  It was the fact that I didn't have to cook a meal at home the educational experience that matters.  I did, however, come out with a fortune that filled me with a bit of anticipation....

All I found when I came home though were 14 loads of laundry that need to be washed.

Some fortune.


We journeyed into the wide world of tackle football this fall.  Sawyer was so excited to play, and though I had my reservations at first about sending my 8 year old out to be pummeled, I soon realized that at this age, tackle football is more of an exercise in bear-hugging.  Not so much with the hard tackles.

Our little team wasn't the best, but they had an amazing set of coaches, and the boys learned a lot about the fundamentals of the game.

Plus...they're just cute.

The principal and I have decided to move to a year-round schedule for school.  Right now it sounds absolutely fabulous that we have several little 2 week breaks scheduled in to our school year.  Love the idea of that.  I probably will be rethinking my decision come July and we're still doing fractions. 

Our town has this fun festival coming up to celebrate a not-so-much friendly rivalry between the two colleges in our town.  The football game between the two is this Saturday, so the festival is including some fun activities for the kids who are supposed to come all dressed up in their Halloween costumes.  Um...our costumes are still MIA.  And it's Wednesday.  And the festival thing is Friday.  Just call me the Queen of Preparation.

I've been debating about posting this picture, but I've just decided that I can't not.  It's just too good to keep to myself.  Brace yourself...this might just be the most fascinating thing you've ever seen.....

It's totally for real.
My favorite is the slide coming off of the back deck.  Totally resourceful.
And since this picture was taken, the good people who inhabit this funland have added an upholstered couch and chair to their roof.
Yes.  I said roof.



Here's a Story.....

Faith journeys are hard. 

I do love the ones that are relatively neat and tidy.  Maybe a red ribbon tied around it just for kicks.  Yah..those are the good ones.

But I don't like the hard ones.  The ones that are so difficult of a road to even step out on, and the process is painful and achy and just all-around a miserable experience.  And those are just the ones that have an ending that my pea-sized brain can fathom.  I really don't like the ones that are just hard and painful, and that leave me wallowing in a puddle of confusion.

Don't get me wrong.  I love the sovereignty of our Maker.  It's actually one of the things I love most about Him (if we're even allowed to "pick favorites").  I love that His plan is bigger than me and bigger than my circle of friends and bigger than my flesh and bones can comprehend.  I really do.  I love it.

But it drives me just a little bit crazy. 
Okay...a lot crazy.

Because I'm a visual kinda gal.  I gotta see it to believe it.  Or to stick with it.  Or to keep on keepin' on.

And God doesn't usually do things my way.  Okay...God rarely does things my way.... Which usually means that I end up on the backside of crazy more days than I'm not.

And backside of crazy is where I sit today.

Because I'm walking a road right now that didn't come with GPS.  And to make things even more interesting, God heaped on blinders, eye patches, ear muffs, and made me leave my seeing-eye-dog at the house.  I'm blind.  Totally walking blind....

And I'm ready to just quit.

To Cliff's Notes an intensely long story, I'll just tell you that for a very long time now (exactly 6 years...but who's counting?) I've felt like my family wasn't complete.  I felt like someone was missing out of our picture.  That there was room for somebody else.  But, the husband was adamant that we were closed for business, and we took measures to close up shop....if you catch my G-rated drift.  And I had to agree with him...somewhat.  My cup was running over.  My blessings were abounding.  But yet....unsettling in my spirit remained. 

Someone was missing.

I sat on my thoughts and masked them behind endless hours at ballfields, homeschooling, and just the upkeep of my sanity.  My cup is running over.  Three is enough. 

Someone was missing.

Then the Lord decided to step in and do His thing.  He used a dear precious friend of mine to shake me into reality and show me the answer for my missing someone. 

It wasn't that we were to have another biological child.  It wasn't even that we were to adopt.

The someone missing was actually a lot of someones.....

After falling on my face before my Jesus in sweet relief, I began the process.  I studied everything I could get my hands on, talked to everyone that knew anything about the matter, and made endless phone calls to begin the process of...


Yes.  This was the stirring in my soul.  I knew with everything in me that I was being called to not only fill my home with that missing someone, but I was being asked by Jesus to take care of His precious children.  I knew that our family could provide love and security and attention to a sweet child that didn't know it could exist.  I knew that we could be Jesus' hands and feet.  And I was elated. 

Sure, I knew it would be hard.  I would have to figure out how to homeschool and deal with a new baby or toddler.  I would have to juggle 4 kids now...not just the 3 that were already causing me to prematurely gray.  And, I would have to be able to handle the horrid task of letting them go when the time was up.  But, I knew that I could do it.  I would have the strength of the Lord behind me, and He would provide the resources that I would need, and the salve for my broken heart.

Another answer to prayer was that the husband and the kids were all for it.  Everyone seemed excited to walk this journey of reaching outside of ourselves to help those in need. 

And then it happened.

The rug was ripped totally and completely out from under me.  I landed hard on my back, and I'm still trying to find a way to hoist myself up.

Kirk and I can't be foster parents.  That's right.  I said "can't."

Because we live in a 3 bedroom home and there isn't adequate square footage in one of the bedrooms to meet state regulations.

Square footage.

We aren't going to get the chance to love on these kids because of square footage.

Square footage.

I keep saying it over and over to myself because it seems so bizarre to me.  Square footage.

So our process has been totally halted.  Our paperwork has been shoved to the bottom pile on a desk somewhere.  And we aren't becoming foster parents.

And I just want to scream.

I know that God is sovereign.  I know that His picture is infinitely massive, and that mine is ridiculously minute.  I get all of that.  But it doesn't take away the confusion and frustration that has come.

Because I feel totally safe and secure in my relationship with Jesus, I've told Him just how frustrated I am.  I've told Him that it's not fair.  I've told Him that I would have rather He had never laid fostering on my heart.  I've told Him that I'd rather go back to feeling the way I was feeling just a few weeks ago....like someone was missing...but that I didn't know who/how/why.  I've told Him that ignorance, in this case, would have been bliss.

Is He preparing our family for the future?
Was He testing our willingness to be obedient?
Is He laying groundwork for something that is just over the horizon?


But I'm tired.  And I'm hurt.  And I'm confused.
And now I find myself grieving for all of those precious babies that I'm supposed to be rocking and loving on.

I love the Sovereignty of God.  My God that will not be bound by regulations or contained by checklists or...

squashed by square footage.

Pigs Must Be Flyin' and Fat Ladies Must Be Singin'

Go on.  Pick your jaw up off of the floor.  I'll wait.....

I know I haven't posted in a long set of Tuesdays, but it hasn't been for lack of trying.  I've opened the lid of my laptop and logged on to Blogger so many times in the past month or so, but just end up shutting the lid.  Not really for lack of things to say, really.  But more for lack of the heart to say them. 

This has been a period of time that has sent me soaring one second and then left me reeling the next.  Roller coasters are way-over-used analogies, but I can't think of anything better to describe the journey that my emotions have taken over these last few days and weeks.  It's a bizarre feeling to climb up steep faith ladders the are full of anticipation and joy only to roughly have the rug ripped out from under you.  But more on that another day.......

For today....a catch'em'up.

-- Having 3 boys is nutso.  Having 3 boys that all play sports is nutso magnified to the 38297492th degree.  For the past what-seems-like-a-million days, we have been at one ball field or another Seven.Days.A.Week.  We thought we were really giving ourselves a break and exhibiting excellent parenting skills by making the boys choose TWO sports each for the fall season.  Um...not so much.  All 3 boys chose baseball, 2 chose soccer, and 1 chose football.  And between all of those, we've had practices or games every.single.day.of.the.week.  No Sabbath for the sports mongers.  Needless to say...my cheerleading uniform is tired and ready for winter hibernation.

-- School is going really well.  Aside from 5th grade math kicking my tail, we've really experienced rather calm seas for smooth sailing.  The boys are all really happy, and though I'm still working out the kinks in our daily schedule (yes, I realize it's October), I've seen true fruits of our labor.  And I still have all of my hair....

-- Every Monday and Wednesday afternoon, I sacrifice my ritual naptime to take Tate to Speech Therapy.  He's getting his Fudd fixed, and though it makes me extremely weepy to see it go, I've realized that him saying, "Will you mehwy me?" one day to some gorgeous girl will.not.be.cute.in.any.way.  So, Fudd-fixin' it is.

-- I've become absolutely obsessed with Razorback football this season.  I've become one of those girls that discusses plays and stats with the man-child, and I actually cried real tears when I had to watch on tv the game against the Aggies in the new Cowboys Stadium.  Because I should have been there.  I just should.have.been.there.  But I didn't have an extra spleen to sell for the price of tickets.

-- Along with my new Woo Pig Sooie! infatuation, I'm now one of those people that tweets and updates their Facebook statuses with nothing but football related verbage on gameday.  I know...annoying as all get out.  You're welcome.

-- I've started that Couch to 5K program, and I'm convinced that it was spawned in the bowels of Hades.  But, my friends want to run a 5K, and I'm one that is prone to peer pressure....so I'm Couching my way to Raceday.  But it hurts.  And I'm tired.  And I'm only on Day 4.  Lord, help me.

-- I cleaned out my closet the other day.  Seven bags to charity and one bag of trash later, my closet is refreshed and organized.  Although I'm still wondering how in the world someone can have one full garbage bag of TRASH in their closet???  I guess I thought, though, that hanging on to the paint-stained Aaron Tippen concert teeshirt from 1992 would come in handy one day.  You never know when the dress code might call for that kind of thing.....  Ridiculous.

-- I'm thrilled that my tv has returned to Regular Scheduled Programming.  Loving that my shows are all fresh and new each week, and that my DVR is fat and happy.  My numero uno favorito (insert shuddering Spanish speakers here) show, gLee, is confusing me a bit with all the raunch and over-thinky-politically-correct episodes, but I'm hanging in there.  Because I love Mr. Schue.  And I love any show that promotes busting out in song and dance in public. 

-- Halloween is this weekend, and I'm trying very hard to keep a smile on my face about it.  Halloween is my least favorite holiday, and it would suit me just fine to nix and null it altogether.  I wish that I had some huge conviction against the holiday, because then I could use that as a reason to fore-go the whole dress-up/candy-gorging binge.  But I don't honestly see anything wrong with my kids dressing up as pirates and cowboys and getting a Snickers bar from their pediatrician.  So now I'm in the dilemma of having waited till the last minute for costumes and having to fake my way through the whole Smile-Be-Happy-My-Kids-Are-Drunk-On-Sugar weekend.  Halloween = Blech for me.

I'm sure there's more to discuss. 
But it's time to pry myself from my chair and start the day.  There are dishes to wash, and laundry to sort, and little people to teach, and 5Ks to run....

Bwahahahaha....I almost got through that last part without spitting my coffee all over my computer screen.

Have a blessed day.  5Ks and all.


There's Manna in Numbers

EIGHT -- the number on the clock that the little hand points to when I'm sitting at the soccer field on a Saturday morning.  On a Saturday morning.  Wait...did you hear me?  On a Saturday morning.  Whoever had that brainchild must be one of those weird morning people, and they probably do other stuff before the roosters like eat dinner...or...laundry.

ONE -- the number of tattoos that my cherub-faced stinker installed on himself while I wasn't looking.  Our family is all about some ink, but choosing to mimic thugists...not so much.  And I'll show you the picture...as long as you promise not to say, "Aw...he's so cute."  Because, y'all...he put the stinkin' thing on his neck.  The thing that holds his head on.  Which he obviously wasn't using when he inked himself.

SEVEN -- the number of nights that I've slept with the windows open.  Keep in mind that 3 of those nights were with the husband 239,382,392,823 miles away....and the beauty of sleeping chilled to the bone in the crisp fall air beat out the fear of the BoogieMan.  That's some amazing fall air, I tell ya.

EIGHT -- the number of months that it took our walls to get all dinged up from one too many hallway soccer games and swashbuckling pirate attacks.  We remodeled in February.  Today, I spent the afternoon repainting what we just painted.  

NEVER  -- the time in which the husband and I will finally be able to have nice things (and walls that don't get dinged up).  Dadgum boys.

SEVENTY-THREE -- the number of minutes that the offspring member of the red headed persuasion stared at his language book the other day.   He had to write four sentences about what he did this summer.  That's it.  Four.  And you would have thought that I asked him to translate the Gilgamesh epic into Latin.  On minute seventy-four, he caved.  Score = Mom: 1, Kid: goose egg.

FORTY-ONE  --  the number of Pez Dispensers in the oldest rascal's collection.  He wants to make sure that I clarify that the forty-one does include one giant talking Yoda Pez Dispenser and a box set of 8 Star Trek members, which leaves 32 individual Pez Dispensers.  You think I'm kidding.  I'm so not kidding.  I'm also not kidding about the Excel spreadsheet that is worked up on these said 41 Pez Dispensers.  Because we're wild and crazy like that....

SIXTEEN -- the number of days that I've eaten nothing but junk.  With the husband in and out of the country and baseball/football/soccer seven nights/afternoon a week, I've been ingesting mad amounts of fast food and frozen-food aisle edibles.  My innards screamed out for vegetables the other day, and I managed to wolf down a can of cold mixed veggies before heading out to the ballfield.  Go ahead...judge.  I'm sixteen steps ahead of you. 

TWENTY-FOUR -- the number of Words With Friends games that I have going on right now.  Because I have an infinitesimal amount of spare time on my hands.  What?  I'm not playing with you?  My user name is RascalRaiserAmb.  C'mon..you know you want to feed my Scrabbalized habit.

ONE -- the number of precious husbands that I have.  It looks strange to me that I just wrote the word "husbands"...plural.  Speaking of plural...have you seen that new TLC show, "Sister Wives"??  Bizarro.  I'll keep my one man all to my self, thank you very kindly. 

ENDLESS -- the amount of blessings that I feel and have felt from the onslaught of prayers, support, and love showered on us by our friends and family.  We've had some issues that have sneaked their way into the crevices of our lives and have pitched tents in some very uncertain deserts and valleys.  We've dealt with confusion, misunderstanding, and the unknown.  And yet, we remain remarkably at peace.  Because prayer is manna in the desert.  Support is manna.  A "just checking on ya" email is manna.  A facebooked "how ya doing?" is manna. 

And manna is FOREVER, friends.