Showing posts from December, 2011

Are they all yours?

Our first mothers day I remember the sermon in Church, actually when we were living in Linden Hills, was about forms of motherhood. We had decided to adopt before having a biological child, but I was feeling unsure about how to explain our choice. Sheff and I remember the message of acceptance. The message that all children are meant for a family, that God's plans are bigger than our own if we had the courage to trust in a greater plan. That children can be born of our hearts and born of our bodies and be loved and embraced equally. When someone asks incredulously, if they are in fact all ours, I know there are a plethora of questions behind the words. To me it is a chance to affirm all the children. To be proud in the declaration of family, to be territorial of my own, to teach them how our claim is as powerful a force as nature. Sheff often uses it for a chance of levity, humor. I love us as a team because his "Do you have another one for us? We sure love kids." Is

Christmas 2011, Sweet Gratitude

new slippers! Mom & Dad attempt a photo..together! Thanks James:) New scooter, new slippers the poise is all her:) Dino Box, a mommy Christmas creation that was a huge hit. Boys hard at work putting together Uncle Ty's Race Course. NBA Wii games, Legos and yo-yos were also hits for the big boys So mom REALLY liked her new Ugg slippers from Dad boxing gloves (yes a theme going here) and American Girl Doll Dog. Everyone showed gratitude and joy, although gifts are not the reason of the season, a lot can be learned with the giving and receiving of gifts. For children to be enthusiastic, sweet and genuine in gratitude brings great joy to the gift giver. Not every expectation was met, but in a quiet and loving way to remind the recipient that we need to be thankful for what we receive and enjoy the day with loved one is a valuable piece of this blessed holiday. Lucy entertained by all the flying wrapping paper! This year for grandparent

Our Book of Memories

Our Christmas Memories Book Since 2002 we have kept a Christmas Memories book. Each year has room for notes, pictures and recipes from the year. In 2002 We had adopted James, and were pregnant with Mickey. We were in a tiny house in St Paul near Nativity. We had worked so hard making that house ready. We had purchased as is. I cleaned the fridge, scraped jello off shelves and helped Sheff strip wallpaper on every surface. By Christmas time we were so ready to enjoy some down time. Not that James at 3 believed in down time. We figured out how to use fishing line to attach the tree to the ceiling so his tackling attempts remained unfruitful. One of the entries "I hope some day our Christmases are filled to the brim with children.." The entry from the year Mark was our Holiday gift 2005 Almost 10 years later the house is filled with Children, a new house that we stripped of wallpaper:) James is not tackling the tree, he is tackling his brothers. I made 32 cinnamon rolls

All I want for Christmas..Is my van back!

We miss you huge van,  get fixed soon! Well our Van seems to be broken. Things that are broken can be fixed, and my unflappable husband did all the right things and has gotten it to GMC dealer to get fixed up. BUT my van is broken and I feel vulnerable with out regular transport. Sheff left me his truck for part of the day so I can run and stock up on groceries and get ingredients for hosting Christmas. But I can't drive 8 kids in a truck, even a big truck! Yesterday I was having a hard time. Thankfully good friends picked up my eldest, stopped by with cookies and forwarded me a beautiful song by Amy Grant. Having a worry in my life reminded me how rarely I am given an opportunity to show our kids how to deal with fear and stress on a real level. I could take the low road and say "Why me! and this stinks!" or I could rise above. Yesterday I did a bit of the self pity and felt overwhelmed. It is really hard to ask for help. This stress is reminded me how essential

Staying Peaceful Amidst the Rush

As we enter into the rush before Christmas I am reminded how hard it is to maintain a feeling of peace. This is the time gifts are going to be discovered if not wrapped, everyone will bring Christmas cookies if you don't get the Christmas meal assignments out and those homemade gifts you purchased paint sealer for and about to get smeared. Avoiding the Mall, making Christmas Cookies! Today when I ran out to return a birthday gift that my 8 year informed me would be a wii duplicate for his buddy, I was amazed by the frantic feeling in the store. The desperate phone calls about color and type of gloves, the lamenting of lost coupons and confusion over type of Legos on the list. Its like we need a broken record playing along with Bing Crosby reminding people to take a breath and remember the meaning this time of year. Every faith back round has that need to connect, a need to honor loved ones and a desire to reaffirm a sense of meaning. I noticed one of the boys was seemin

Honoring the sadness in the season of light

Tonight the kids had their school Christmas concert and they did a wonderful job. After the concert children ran every which way finding family, racing off with friends and bee lining for the cookies. I saw a little guy crying, lost. He was a student I knew from volunteering and we made our way through the crowds to find a teacher who knew his mom. But as he held on to my hand and his eyes were so full of tears it reminded me of the moments of fear and sadness that can be present in times of celebration.  Recently a dear neighbor of ours passed away. She was such a warm presence for us, she bought baby booties for each of the girls born at this house. As the children and I made cookies and wrote a card, we talked about how her husband must be feeling. They really wanted to know what could they do? I advised we needed to show kindness, offer to help and to pray for Grace in times we are confused about the purpose of loss. This is a time of year for such joy. A time of year for th

Making time to work out together

From Mark's scrap book, after Daddy's first triathalon he did for his 30th birthday. My workout was wrangeling 6 under six while he did his thing:) Sheff and I are going to start working out agian. We is the key here. Sheff often gets in good grooves with his man cave of weights but timing it so we are both getting in shape at the same time proves difficult as I am usually pregnant or nursing. Whilst nursing I enjoy things like hamburger cheese hot dish and whole milk. If Sheff asks if I want to work out I take it as a personal affront, my lip gets all wobbly and I ask if I am too "hearty". This is our joke because he, being a bit socially moronic, decided in our courtship to call me hearty. We had just ran trails North of Duluth, in Encampment Forest and had stripped down to dive headlong into Lake Superior. It was a compliment, we think now he was going for tough or amazing, but out came hearty and so we had a stomping march back to the family cabin. Our f

Out the door without stress!

As I go to sleep at night I often design mud rooms in my mind. Sometimes these mud rooms come with built in maids who are also stellar Math tutors, but I digress. I do want a mud room, and having a contractor as a husband one would imagine at some point I will get one. On the optimistic side the lack of entry way space does teach stuff management skills. I am guessing that is not a correct term, but it is a thing! Being able to organize, keep track of and locate an assignment, a toy or a library book is a real life time skill. Having 10 people share a small entry way creates the need for "stuff management". The more organized any area of our lives are, the less stress seems to happen in that area. For example, we have shoe cubbies in our entry way closet. Each of the 8 has a spot. Shoes, a basketball, a favorite hat go into the cubby. We then have a container for shared hats, gloves and mittens. When kids come in the door they line backpacks up under coat hooks, put home

Flying Through the Air with the Greatest of Ease

Many ducks to be kept in a row! The Holiday season seemed to go off with a bang, like being shot out of a cannon. Flying through the air at mock 10 trying to get projects done, collect for classroom parent and Catholic Charities family, juggle 4 boys playing basketball, decorating the tree and attempting to fill the house with cheer. Actually, it has been wonderful! Busy yes, but I am grateful to be able to work hard, to help when and where I can and to treat the Holiday season as a chance to get a little better at efficiency. That said the blaring concern for me is making time for prayer. Making time for deep breaths and showing the children how powerful humility and grace can be in the midst of busy life. Seeing kids win and loose games, getting C and A+ work often happens at exactly the same time. I need to modulate my response, my encouragement, my firm resolve for trying harder and my praise for a job well done. In church this week we talked about St Andrew being known