Thursday, February 27, 2014


It's math time and Abby and Jeremiah want to be a part of the action.  In fact, they are the only two who want anything to do with math this morning.  Not having any math of their own, they took out some counting bears.  And since Abby is learning patterns in her school time, she lined up different colored bears to "take turns" and asked Jer which bear had the next turn.

There was no response on his part.

Enter Hannah.  She is a bit annoyed that she doesn't get to play with counting bears and must work on subtraction flashcards instead.  Oh, those growing pains!  Finding an opportunity to revert back to easier concepts and show off her knowledge, she made a pattern for Abby.

It went something like this:

Red, red, purple, yellow, yellow, yellow, green, blue, purple, purple, red, yellow, orange, green.

"Okay, Abby.  What color comes next?"

Confusing much???

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Snapshots: Claude's 50 Mile Race and a Brief History

Two weekends ago we were excited to help Claude celebrate a huge accomplishment - finishing a 50 mile race!

Just after Hannah was born, Claude and I trained together for our first race - a 5K.  We pushed "The Purple Chariot" - our $25 Craigslist find jogging stroller - loaded with two kiddos up and down the big hill across the street.  Each running in opposite directions we would pass off the stroller whenever we crossed paths.  Claude definitely took it more often and up more hills.  He was pretty insistent that running wasn't his favorite way to spend his time, but somewhere along the line he got hooked.

It wasn't long before he was talking about "ultras" - races that are longer than a marathon.  As if 26 miles isn't long enough!  And here he is now, two 50K's and a 50 Miler under his belt. 

Praise the Lord for enabling Claude to keep putting one foot in front of the other all the way to the finish line!

Lord willing there will be more races in the future.  We even (half) joke about getting the rest of the Crew involved when they are (much) older.  Hey, even I would like to try for one of these...well, the idea sounds nice from the comfort of our living room.  ;)
Here are a few photos, since we actually made it to the finish line this time.  ;)

It's a bit of a trek to get to the state park where this race was held,
so by the time we arrived the kids were begging for snacks.

Eating some oranges.

More oranges.

They had the signs ready pretty early on.

Believe it or not, Rachel and I were really there.
She spent most of the time under a nursing cover, but she is actually in this photo -
a little mint green hood behind Hannah's orange to complete the Crew. 

Jer was our lookout man.  He kept pointing and saying, "Daddy's here!"

And then he was actually "here".  :)

He did an awesome job!



Monday, February 17, 2014


The girls are going to sleep.  At least they are supposed to be going to sleep.  Usually Abby goes to bed first and then Hannah will head to her bed once she is asleep.  Tonight, because of some changes in bedtime, they are both together in their room.  And they are very much awake.

They are singing (very loudly) songs like Amazing Grace, How I Love Jesus, and Joy to the World.

They are also having some theological discussions.

Here is what I just overheard as I walked down the hallway to remind them that they really should be quiet.

Hannah, who had been singing: Abby, get down from the ladder!
Abby: But I want to tell you something.
Hannah, continuing to sing: I once was lost!
Abby: Stop singing!
Hannah, still singing: But now I'm found!
Abby: I want to tell you something, Hannah.
Hannah: Okay.  What is it?
Abby: Jesus is the "sauce".
Hannah: No, He's not.  He's the source, not the sauce.
Abby: That's what I said.  He is the "sauce".
Hannah: No, He isn't, Abby!
Abby: Yes, He is.  Daddy told me.  He said that Jesus is the "sauce".
Hannah: Abby...He is the source not the sauce!
Abby: I know. I already said that.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Breakfast Conversation

Joshua: You're heart beats a billion million, billion million, billion million, billion million, trillion, billion, million, trillion, trillion, thousand, billion, million, trillion, thousand, billion million, billion million, *GASP* billion million, trillion billion, million thousand, five hundred billion, million, trillion, thousand, eight hundred, ninety nine million, billion trillion, thousand, hundred, eighty five, ninety, million trillion billion times in your life.  And then it stops.  And you're dead.

Hannah: Yeah, that's how it happens.

Abby: Why?


Today was a big day.  A big, messy, tiring day.

According to Joshua it was the "most fun day" he has ever, ever, ever had in his whole life.

That's saying something considering most of what I remember was getting frustrated, yelling a bit, and apologizing for getting frustrated and yelling.

I woke up with a headache, wondering how I would ever make it through and then before I knew it I found myself in a quiet house taking a hot shower, reflecting on a day that seemed impossible to me.  Praise God for getting me through.

Praise Him for getting our kids through.

Praise Him for getting Claude through.  (He woke up at 2:30am so that he could run 50 miles today.  A post with pictures is in the works.)

Praise Him for giving our children a positive perspective.

And praise Him for these same children who jumped in to take care of things I was not able to do on my own.

As I was attempting to get through on my own strength, I thought I should inform the Lord that He must have gotten the wrong girl for this job.  I can't raise these children.  I can't handle their energy levels and noise.  Today I couldn't even keep them fed at regular times.  Praise the Lord for a firstborn who knows how to both take initiative and make peanut butter and honey sandwiches!

Then I remembered that saying.  You know the one that is supposed to make you feel better even when you may be stumbling through the deepest, darkest valley imaginaeable?

"God doesn't give you more than you can handle."

Yeah, right!

I have given my life to God.  I have made myself available to His plans.  And He is in the midst of taking me up on the offer.  Giving more than what I can handle seems to be top priority at the moment.

I need to learn to rely on Him.  I need to be reminded that I don't have it all together - that apart from Him I can do nothing.

This life that I surrendered is no longer mine.  The plans I am currently living out are not my plans.  So how in the world do I think that my limitations and strengths should be carrying me through?

God has most definitely given me more than I can handle because He wants me to throw in my towel so that I will finally ask Him to do this work for me.  It is, after all, His work to begin with.  I have merely offered myself as a willing vessel through which the work can be accomplished.

Today that work was rounding up a group of incredibly excited kids to see their dad complete an ultra-marathon.  And let me tell you, it is NOT because of my mothering prowess that we managed.  Normally I can organize a day like this without much trouble.  Today I literally could not put two coherent thoughts together.  And this list-making fanatic stood, pen in hand, not thinking of a single thing to pack for the afternoon.

It was discouraging.  It was frustrating.  But mostly, it was humbling.

Praise The Lord for days when I recognize that I without Him I am the wrong woman for the job.

And praise Him for a son who reminds me that bad days are sometimes all about perspective.

I thought it was one of the worst days ever because I couldn't get my eyes off of my own shortcomings.  Joshua thought it was the best day ever because we were working together to celebrate a huge accomplishment for a man who has given everything for God and for his family.

Today was a big day.  A monumental, exciting, grace-filled day.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Potty Training

This guy has been Abby's potty training shadow for a few weeks now.  We've had little success with the girls' potty training. it is successful but it's painful.  And slow.  And I feel like a complete mothering failure as a result.  Kind of...

Anyway, our main success with potty training was with Joshua and that happened through something called infant potty training.  You can look it up, find a million websites and forums about it, and then feel like you're behind on the potty business when you're 5 month old still needs a diaper change.

This, however, did work for Joshua as an older baby and by the time he was 1 year old we almost never changed a poopy diaper.  Once he was 2 years old he was already completely dry during the days.  Of course, this was due in large part to two parents who sat him on the potty at regular times during the day.  But he was dry and we haven't had day time issues since.

The girls...not so much success.

They are humbling me.  And God is helping me to learn patience and self-control as I work with them.

So, back to Jeremiah.  He has been enjoying sitting on the little red potty once a day while Abby uses the big toilet.  She goes many times, but he has this one potty practice time.  When he hears the timer and I make the announcement that we're going to the potty he does a little dance and then runs to the bathroom, sits down, and enjoys a little video.  Sometimes this or this or another "school" one like this.  But the first one was this, which is a classic.  It does have a lot of inappropriate English subtitles out there, so be careful if you're checking out the related videos.  It is a bit strange but has sparked a lot of interest from the Abster and that is exactly what I was going for!

As a result of this fun practice, Jer is becoming very aware of his bodily functions.  He tells me when he needs a diaper change, brings me the necessary supplies, and even likes to apply aquaphor (our diaper cream of choice) on his pajamas.

Last night after his bath, Jeremiah was wandering around naked.  He came to get my attention and started pointing to himself.  He was obviously concerned and/or perplexed about something which I became aware of when he grunted and showed me the floor.

Where he had just peed.  It is not the first time this has happened, and certainly not the last. This part is not what made me laugh.

The thing that cracked me up was how Jeremiah handled the situation.

What does a toddler do when he finds he has peed on the carpet?

He grabs his brothers shirt to clean it up.  And clean it up he did!