At the grocery store

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This morning I took all five of my kids (by myself) to the grocery store. I was stopped within the first five minutes by an older couple asking if all the children were mine. I said yes with a smile and they replied that our family was beautiful and God bless. Not too long after that an older man inquired about all the kids being mine. I replied yes and as he walked away he said, “Good luck when they are all teenagers.”

I know what he said was just to poke a little fun at how full my hands seemed now and how over flowingly full they will be in the years come. Believe me, it terrifies me to think how much harder parenting the heart issues are than parenting the behavioral issues.

BUT, I wish I could have responded that when my husband and I decided to have (what the world deems as a lot of) children, we were not just having them for the chunky, squishy, adorable part but we knew that the road would be long and probably painful and most definitely tiring. But we also knew that children are in fact gifts from God and we wanted a large(ish) family because we knew it would be full of love, laughter, learning, fighting, time outs, discipline, heartache, and tears.

The best gifts in life are usually the ones that take the most out of us. Each day we are trying (although far, far from perfect) to pour the love of God into those little beings. We pray hard for them each day. We want them to be productive and respectful and kind and compassionate teenagers (and of course, adults). We want them to love God above everything else. We want for them to be faithful. We pray big prayers for them because we have a God who can do big things.

While I might complain that the day are really stinking long sometimes, these precious gifts are never anything less than gifts from God above. We love children. We have our work cut out for us. But you know what, I’m already praying for those days because they will be here before I know it.

REAL mom Wednesday

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You know you are a REAL mom when…

*You have to remind your kids not to lick the ketchup bottle or salt shaker at restaurants.

I seriously am in awe of some of the things my kids are willing to lick. I can’t count the number of times we’ve had to tell a server about a ketchup licking incident or salt shaker “mishap” (if you can really call it that).

Seven wonderful years

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On July 5th we celebrated being married seven years! Oh my how time flies! Seriously! I can honestly say that it has flown in the most wonderful sorts of ways possible.

How did we celebrate? By going to church and eating DQ in the car as we drove two and a half hours to family camp – it doesn’t get anymore romantic than that, does it?

Earlier that morning Eden and Ella were discussing our anniversary. Ella asked where the celebration was. Eden chimed in, “Ella, it’s just an ordinary day.” And of course she was right. There was no big celebration, no big announcement on Facebook that we were having an anniversary, no photo of us remembering our big day seven years ago. It was just an ordinary day.

You know what? It’s those ordinary days that I live for. They are wonderful. It’s in those ordinary days and moments that I realize the gift of a husband I have been given. I fall in love with him more and more each day (to think I thought I knew a little something about love when we got married). It’s those moments where he picks up where I left off or understands my frustrations or takes the kids somewhere just because he loves them, are the times that I understand just how intertwined my heart is with his.

So what if my seven years of wonderful have been filled with more puke and poop than I care to remember. These years have been great. Truly wonderful. And I will take seventy more years with this man because holding his hand in the car on the way to where ever God takes us will still be enough to make my heart skip a beat.

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Door to door sales people

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I get it. I really do. My husband is a salesman or something like that (his title is something cooler than that but that’s just semantics I bet). He goes into dental offices and sells them new things that their offices need – tooth brushes, dental chairs, new cabinets, etc… You name it. He sells it. So, believe me, I get that selling your product is your livelihood. It’s our household’s livelihood too.

But what I don’t get is why you have to come to my house during the day, inevitably while my loud sweet children are napping and resting. It is my hour of peace and quiet. It is the time my brain gets to gear itself up for more loud conversations about birthdays, friends, games, ponies, dolls, underwear, toilets, hand washing, and farts. It’s my time.

I am sure you would say that I don’t have to open my door but considering that my husband is a salesman, we get tons of packages of samples of toothbrushes and toothpastes and rubber gloves and random (usually not useful) papers. The mailman knows me. We have our polite “hi” and “bye” down. So I always answer my door because sometimes I need to sign for packages.

BUT my main issue is this (I hate to point out the obvious but I am sure this is part of your tactics) the majority of people who are home during this time of day are stay at home parents, most likely women. And it just seems kind of fishy that you ask us personal questions about our homes and family. I don’t feel comfortable telling people this kind of information. I haven’t even gotten real deep with our Jehovah’s witness ladies because, even though they come weekly and wear prescription shoes, I don’t feel like they need to know intimate details about the comings and goings or our security system.

The thing is, you pick a time of day when there are fewer adult bodies in a house to speak with me. When I don’t want your product (I don’t care how good you think your all natural carpet cleaning powder is or how superior your security system is to ours) and my answer is a firm but polite “no” you need to step away from my door and go about your merry way. I don’t like pressure tactics. I don’t like to make decisions without my husband or invite strangers into my home even if you have a badge to prove whatever or a fancy clip board or an iPad. I just don’t. And I shouldn’t have to justify to you that even though your product/service sounds great, my husband and I are a unit and making money decisions is typically a “couple” thing. And $99 is a lot of money for me to try and see and “fall in love” with your product. And no my husband would probably not be mad at me if I made this decision without him, but I hate to say it, I would probably be mad at him if he made this decision without me. If that is the case, I like us to make decisions together out of mutual respect for one another.

So, the next time you come to my door, I will probably answer and I will try to seem less annoyed at your persistence (the Lord is still helping me with this one folks). I will also probably give you a bottle of water because it’s freaking hot outside and doing what you do is tough and making it in this world ain’t easy. But the truth is, I really (reeeeaaaalllly) just don’t want your product…probably ever.

Family Camp

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This week we had the wonderful opportunity to attend Family Camp at Village Creek Bible Camp. We aren’t really camp people but it was offered to us for free (plus some friends from church were going, so it was even better). And if you are a member of our family long enough you know the word “free” is synonymous with “yes” and we never turn down free opportunities even if it means doing something we aren’t sure we will like.

Anyway, it turned out to be the best vacation we have taken our family on maybe ever! As I was getting dinner on the table last night and completely exhausted, I told Garrett that that was one of the most refreshing (even though the sleep was much less than I normally desire for myself and all my little people) vacations we have taken as a family and that we have to do it again!

The thing that rocked my socks off about the whole experience was having two staff assistants (camp counselors) assigned to our family. They were with us from about 7:45 to about 9pm each night. They watched our kids on the playground while I got to fellowship with other women and not worry about counting heads. They held the baby when I needed to run up to the cabin and grab something and held her just because she is so stinkin’ squishy. They took our kids to stuff while other kids napped. They cleaned up our table after every meal and were just pretty awesome if you ask me! By the end, our kids (especially, Cooper, Garrison, and probably Nora too – she was loved on by all the baby loving girl counselors that could get their hands on her) had fallen in love with every single counselor there (and they maybe tried to join other families as well). I’m not going to lie when I say that everyone pretty much knew Cooper and Gary by name and chanted it when they shot off their rockets the last day.

I’m sure going to Disneyland would be awesome and maybe some day we will have the money and time and energy to take our small army there but this just seems like an amazing vacation that our kids are still talking about!

Anyway, I didn’t have much of a phone signal and didn’t really care. I did try and keep my phone with me to be aware of times and stuff so I was able to snap a few crappy photos to share with you:-)

Driving into camp. Not really sure what we signed up for.

Driving into camp. Not really sure what we signed up for.

Our lovely, modern kitchen/living room. I am thinking I might remodel our house to look like this.

Our lovely, modern kitchen/living room. I am thinking I might remodel our house to look like this.

Exploring.

Exploring.

Front porch swingin'.

Front porch swingin’.

Our kids LOVED this park. They played there as much as humanly possible and never got bored.

Our kids LOVED this park. They played there as much as humanly possible and never got bored.

Nora went exploring underneath the beds.

Nora went exploring underneath the beds.

My little hiking companion.

My little hiking companion.

Who knew Iowa could look this beautiful!

Who knew Iowa could look this beautiful!

I'm sure there is a story with these boats.

I’m sure there is a story with these boats.

Creek.

Creek.

Creek.

Creek.

Arts and crafts and random names my kids chose to paint.

Arts and crafts and random names my kids chose to paint.

We came home and I told everyone to take off their shoes...Garrison brought quite a little bit of camp home with him!

We came home and I told everyone to take off their shoes…Garrison brought quite a little bit of camp home with him!

REAL mom Wednesday

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You know you are a REAL mom when…

*The UPS guy comes and needs your signature for a package and you are completely naked.

I don’t shower every day folks. Gross to some but I call it healthy skin:-) Anyway, today was my shower day and the two babies were safely locked in my room while I took a five minute shower (five minutes – that is all I ask for every two to three days to feel clean). I heard the door bell ring but was just drying off, so I figured no harm, I wouldn’t answer it. EXCEPT Cooper told the man I had no clothes on (the main door was open to our house but our screen door was shut and locked) and proceeded to just wait for me to get dressed. All I can say is, UPS guy, maybe, just maybe, you should have just left instead of listening to a four year old. Needless to say I am sure I had a peeved look on my face while signing for my husband’s work stuff.