Monday, February 22, 2016

No Coffee and a Drowned Cat

Days in the Life...

Monday was very standard. Honestly, nothing exciting happened, other than that we all agreed Cize 5 is not our favorite. 

This is my kind of winter!

Tuesday, Kate came nice and early. After breakfast, she helped me with some baking and then asked, using her little words and pointing, to dance. 

She took great naps, which allowed me to enjoy my coffee, Bible time, and get some school and blogging done. 

Several people were under the impression that I am addicted to caffeine. I decided to not have any coffee for a week and survived just fine. This week, I only had one cup, that being the decaf one above. The main reason for that, though, is our french press broke, and now we need to order a new one before I can drink coffee again. I've been mostly fine this week as well. (I also had one other decaf one at Starbucks.) 

She decided to tear up her bread and drop it on the floor. 

Happy to dance. 

Mom and the littles went to the orthodontist and then to bubble land with friends. 

Mom loved holding baby Audrey. 

That night, I made dinner. Nana, Grandfather, and a guest of their's came over for the evening.

Wednesday morning at 7:00, Sofia (the baby I went to care for Tuesday nights for a while in December) arrived. Mom offered to care for her for the next month while her mommy finishes up some things at work. The littles are beyond excited to have a baby in the house. 

I left to care for Calvin at 8:00 as usual. 

Very soon after I arrived he fell asleep on me. 

During his first nap I studied.

The idea was to keep him awake until his mom got back around 2:00, but at 12:30 I looked down at him in my lap and... 

So I turned on some music and stayed in my seat to rest with him. He slept for over an hour, and if I had not gotten some texts during that time, I would have fallen asleep too. 

Baby Sofia left our house around 3:30, after having a very good day with Mom and the others. 

I got home and showered, made dinner, and turned around again to leave at 5:30 with Christian. 

We actually left at 5:40, but it wasn't because I wasn't ready on time. On the way, we got gas, then we hit traffic, but we still arrived at our destination on time. I have no idea how. 

While Christian was at his guys' Bible study, I went to Starbucks to work on my own stuff. 

Chloe stayed home with the littles and they watched Star Wars (probably), while Christian and I were gone, and Mom and Dad took our car to be serviced in Dallas and went to dinner. 

Thursday morning, Dad and I both woke up having gone to bed with headaches, sleeping horribly, and then still having our headaches when we got up. Neither of us said anything about it until that night, though. I wonder if it was related to the weather..? 

I was dragging all day, and ended up even taking a little nap in the morning after taking painkiller, which only took the edge off. 

I finally finished another drawing. This one I ended up working on for almost two months. 

Dad took Chloe and Christian to debate that night. I took the littles to the library and then they ate dinner and watched Star Wars. 

Friday morning, Dad, Mom, Christian, and Ava all left at 6:30 to take Mom to the airport. She is spending the next 5 days in Virginia helping Aunt Amy, and visiting a friend. 

After they dropped her off, Dad, Christian, and Ava got breakfast and then went to the orthodontist. 

Meanwhile, I received Sofia for the day. I got the carrier figured out and she slept in it for a while. Ava and Gabe were up early too. 

Tummy time. 

She fell asleep when I wasn't looking. 

Milk drunk. 

Sofia had fussy moments, but was good for me for the most part. Ava was happy to take charge of her some in the afternoon so I could finally shower, as my workout took place before Sofia arrived at 6:45. 

The littles got to play most of the day, and Chloe and Christian did school. Dad tried to get his workout in several times but kept getting interrupted. I studied during nap times. 

Dad left for a meeting, and then went to go get our car at 2:30.

Sofia left at 3:30, and I went to get ready for the evening. 

At 5:15, Aron came to pick me up so we could go to a Holy Spirit Party. It's something you cannot prepare for, and can not predict, but you leave encouraged, exhorted, and comforted. 

His friend cooked us, and the 5 other guests, dinner and then we merged into whatever the Lord lead us to do. It was truly amazing. 

The kids were happy to watch more Star Wars while Dad and I were gone that night. 

Saturday morning, we were unable to have our girls' Bible study. 

The littles played happily all day with their legos, and Dad worked hard. The rest of us did whatever we needed to do. I know Christian went to help Aunt Cendei and made brownies to take to church. I had cleaning and writing to do. 

A poem came out of my afternoon. That all of You

Our gorgeous mom enjoying time with her friend. 

Dad was pretty worn out by the time we all went to Costco and got to church. The service and time of visiting afterwards was exactly what each of us needed. 

The couple who lead worship that night were visiting America from South Africa, and were getting married the next morning. I found that incredibly special. Instead of going out to party, they came to us to spend the night before their wedding in worship. 

Sunday morning, we all helped Dad with a few chores, and then made brunch. Aron joined us for the day. 

Before we ate, Mia, Gabe, and Aron showed off their impressive pull-up skills. 

After clean up, "the committee" (Aka, Chloe, Dad, Aron, and me) departed to another room in order to form a plan for the reminder of the day that would allow Dad to have a quiet house to rest in. 

We decided to try to check off every idea mentioned, and do it all. It was a "risky UGS move." 

First order of business was to get everyone loaded in the car, to head to the Haslet park. We checked the weather, and although it was cloudy, there was little to no chance of rain, and it was suppose to be at least 70 degrees. 

On the way we told jokes and sang "The Eye of the Tiger" and "When Can I See You Again." 

Ready to leave the house. 

I think something was wrong with our phones... It drizzled on us the entire 35 minutes we lasted at the park. (I think Aron would have toughed it out and played disc golf a lot longer than we did, but the rest of us were cold, and he had only brought one sweat shirt, that one being for me.) 

The cute, wet, bedraggled, cold mess. 
Aron pointed out that he looked the same. 

We got on the highway and made a pit stop (118 seconds, the kids counted) at Aron's apartment to pick up a game for later. 

Then we arrived at Target. 

The boys went one direction, the girls another, and Aron and I went to the Starbucks inside to check off "sit in a coffee shop." 

Ice cream and hot chocolate were purchased for later in the evening, along with whatever the kids found to spend their gift cards on. 

At home some of us showered (others said the rain was enough), and then the littles watched tv and read with Dad before having some quiet time.

Meanwhile Aron, Chloe, and Christian (the ones who said showers were unnecessary) set up "Firefly," which is a ginormous board game with endless ways to win depending on which "story card" is selected in the beginning. 

It was only slightly complex. 

We started the game at 4:00 and took a break at 7:00 to eat dinner. 

As I was walking to the kitchen, someone with the initials Christian accidentally tried to run trot quickly around me and knocked the glass I was holding out of my hand. It shattered, going everywhere and I could do nothing but laugh. 

Aron, Christian, and I worked together to sweep, vacuum, and wipe up all the tiny pieces. 

Over dinner, we decided to cut short our game in favor of also squeezing in a movie before 10:00. Because of how we adjusted, Aron won, but I was definitely a very close third. 

Dad and the littles watched some Star Wars until the littles' bedtime. The rest of us got hot chocolate, ice cream, and settled down to watch "The Adjustment Bureau." I actually followed it way better than I expected to! It was really good. 

I've Been Pondering...

I find this picture incredibly precious. 
I know, I'm slightly biased, as this is my aunt and uncle
 introducing my little cousin to his new brother, 
but it goes beyond simply the capturing of a sweet moment.

  • Sweet Rowan has been handed a large bundle. He is unsure what to think, and it's clearly too large for him to handle on his own. The responsibility of supporting his baby brother is beyond his two year old abilities. 

    But whose hands are really holding baby Eli? And whose arms are around Rowan? 

    Their father's. 

    Uncle JC knows that the burden he is placing in his son's lap is far too heavy for him to accept. So it is his hands that he uses to hold up both Rowan and Eli. 

    Often times God will give us burdens we are unable to carry alone. But our good good Father does not leave us to struggle in confusion, defeated by the weight of something beyond us. He lifts us up in His arms and He places His hands under that burden and He carries both. 

    God never ever gives us something that He can not carry us through. Maybe it will seem like we are alone sometimes and His arms are not there supporting us, but they are. 

    Trusting, even when we don't see the big picture, is not easy, but it is simple.

That Moment When...

You almost fall on the stairs while carrying a baby. Heart attack moment. 

You wear shorts all day in February. 

You give up and decide it's Spring. 

You want the smallest brownie at church and so start getting one of the middle ones and then realize you are using your used fork to serve it. 

You realize you were actually holding your fork in your other hand.

The Herd: Quoted 

"Did I say something funny yesterday?" -Me

"We are stuck in traffic in Denton. We are not pulled over somewhere making out." -Mom via text Wednesday night.
"I didn't know baby Sofia would be so fussy. I don't like it." -Mia 
"This does not make me want to have another baby. I remember this very well." -Mom 

"I had no idea we would be out so long." -Dad, making a classic UGS comment.

"I think I'm growing a beard." -Gabe 
"Just close your eyes." -Gabe 
"Yeah, because that's why we have eyelids." -Mia 
"Are you going to eat?" -Dad 
"I could live without something, but then I'd be super hungry tomorrow..." -Gabe 

"I didn't have a crush on him, guys, I just liked him. I've never had a crush. Well..." -Mia 

"I feel like a drowned rat." -Gabe leaving the park. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

So this is Love and Ninja Parenting Skills

Days in Life...

Monday morning Mom was recovered enough to workout again. We did a week of Cize review, starting with the first one. Compared to the other routines that one is rather boring, but definitely still a good workout. Dad has gotten back to his normal weight lifting regimen and did not join us. (He is a body builder.)

I did not have small group to babysit for so Mom, Dad, Nana, and Grandfather went out that evening. After dinner the others watched more Star Wars. 

Tuesday Kate did not come. 

In the afternoon I did all the baking I could for the week and put white chili in the crockpot. After 3 hours with music and a whole bunch of dishes we had baked oatmeal, granola, muffins, banana bread, and snickers cheesecake bars. I finished a lot faster than I thought I would (that only happens once in a blue moon), but it wore me out! 

I got to go finish school before getting everything ready for group. 

The final head count was something like 26 people this time. 

Dad took these pictures of food preparation in process. 

Aron was making grilled cheese sandwiches 
and Kristina was baking brownies. 

There were two babies at our group that night and I was so happy. I was told I could not hold both at the same time. 

Being in community with other believers is so important; sharing our needs, praying with and for each other, watching those prayers being answered (sometimes even as soon as they are spoken), and praising God together for what He is doing. Except for the fact that we meet on Tuesday nights so people have to go home and sleep to be ready for another weekday, we would talk all night. The ending time of 8:30ish is very loose. 

Wednesday was full for me. I nannied starting bright and early, snuggled and rocked Calvin to sleep, studied hard during his nap time, and arrived home mid afternoon in time to leave again. 

This captures productivity. (Hopefully.)

Aron took Christian and I to play disc golf, me for the first time. I opted to "learn as I went" and Aron and I played as a team taking the best shot for each throw between us. There were 5 shots of mine that ended up being better than his and Christian is definitely better than me. I really enjoyed it, and the weather was beautiful! 

Aron and I won. 

Dad and the littles were gone when we got back. They were out purchasing fish for Ava's new fish tank. She saved more money so she could upgrade her system for a larger one that holds more fish. 

Aron and I made dinner and then he took Christian and the littles to Dollar General to purchase hot chocolate for us to enjoy while viewing "Cinderella." 

I love the days that I crawl into bed completely worn out from hard work, and exercise, and fresh air, and being startled so that I jump 27 times. When I know that I have been productive, been a blessing, and enjoyed time with other people. 

How do you find joy in the ordinary?

Thursday Kate came for the middle portion of the day. 

Because I love her, I fed her cheese. 
I do not like cheese. 

That smile!

When she realized I was taking her picture. 

Of course dancing was involved in the day and this time for well over an hour. 

I took Kate, Ava, and Mia to the library, bank, and to get gas. They all rested very well after that outing. 

Chloe drove Christian and I to debate where Grandpa met us. I then went to Starbucks to study until they finished. 

Meanwhile, Mom and the littles met Aron at the Denton Dollar Theater to see "In the Heart of the Sea." 

Friday morning I must have turned my alarm off in my sleep because it was not 7:00 when I woke up, it was 9:00. Thankfully I was not babysitting until 11:00. 

I got to care for all three Reed children and it was so much fun! After two of them fell asleep on me, I got a start on school. 

From their house I went to go have dinner with a lady from church. That time blessed me 100's of times over. 

The others ate the dinner I'd put in the crockpot and watched a movie. 

After my dinner was over I went to Aldi to get groceries for the next week. 

Saturday morning Chloe and I went to the Gerlach's house for Bible study. We did not stay quite as long this time because I had to get home to get ready for church and leave to go to another nannying job interview mid afternoon.

While we were gone Aron came over to help Christian with some stretching as disc golf made him very sore. Then Christian went with Grandpa to some sort of fishing thing in Dallas.

Mom, Dad, and the littles ran errands in Denton. 

In between my interview and church I went to Target and then Starbucks to breathe for a little while. 

I met everyone else at church. Grandpa brought Christian back and stayed for the service. 

After church was over we went to Rosa's for dinner with a few other families. 

I drove Chloe and Christian home by way of Fort Worth. No, it was not on our way. Yes, there were times I didn't really quite exactly know precisely where we were. 

Sunday, Valentine's Day, Mom and Dad took us to Celebration in Dallas which is the restaurant they met for the first time 20 years ago Valentine's weekend. Us kids had never been there before. 

So this is love. 

My parents' love and their example of a godly couple are two of the biggest reasons I have desired marriage one day since before I can remember. I've watched them go through trials and triumphs in almost every area of life and they have never let anything come between them and the Lord. Their union is strong because Jesus is woven through every fiber of their relationship. Each of them models sacrificial love in its most beautiful form. They honor, trust, and respect each other. When I see them, I see a stunning representation giving me a glimpse of what Christ and His church will one day be. 

After our delicious lunch meal we went to Costco and then home for some rest time before preparing our normal Sunday brunch meal to share with Aron. 

We finished our sweet, memorable Valentine's Day by watching "Sense and Sensibility." 

I've Been Pondering...

I so appreciate the wisdom of my parents in so many ways, but one being how they have raised me and the experiences they have given me and responsibilities they've placed on me so that when they send me out, I will be prepared to live my life as an adult and not a child. 

A phrase they like to use is, "we are raising adults, not children." Their job is not to protect us and care for us so much that by the time we have reached the age of 18 we are still completely dependent on them. They are called, as our parents, to teach and train us and place us in situations and give us experiences (based on our age and level of maturity, of course) that will cause us to learn and grow and come to an understanding of what is expected of adults in a world that is so self-centered and in desperate need of a Savior. 

We have never been given an allowance. Each of us were given jobs to do daily and weekly, based on our ages and abilities, that we were responsible for and knew we needed to do without being constantly reminded. Payment for those tasks was measured by our attitude while working, our thoroughness, and our initiative to complete the jobs without reminders. 

We never knew that you could actually get toys not on your birthday or Christmas. Mom and Dad rarely, if ever, bought us something just because we wanted it. If we saw something we wanted, we saved our own money and bought it, or waited until gift receiving occasions (our birthday or Christmas).

Around the age of 10 we began buying our own clothes for the most part. Shoes and clothes needed for special events were not on our dollar, but most everything else was. We learned to shop at thrift stores and consignment shops to get the best deals. We learned to budget well and take care of the clothes we had because we were the ones who had to replace them if they got ruined for any reason. We also learned to appreciate the times Mom and Dad blessed us with extra clothing money or decided to give us a new outfit just because. 

Not too long after we began buying our clothes, we also became responsible for our personal care items. 

Once we became teenagers and had some form of a job (yes, a job whether that was a business we started, or something else) we no longer were paid for doing things around the house. Our responsibilities were ours to complete as contribution to the family. 

Another "experience" I am currently being given is menu planning, shopping, and cooking all meals for the family for the month. I began cooking when I was really, really little because Mom was often sick during pregnancy and I could do some things to help. Several years ago I was "officially" in charge of lunches for a school year and I've made dinners regularly as well. Working in the kitchen and knowing how to prepare healthful meals is something I'm very grateful I have been trained to be comfortable doing. 

This month has really not been nearly as time consuming as I thought it might be and I would not say it has been at all challenging. I know I will be even more excited when I live on my own and find that cooking for one is so much easier after cooking for eight. 

That Moment When...

You can either parallel park or walk a long ways. 

The Herd: Quoted 

"Gabe and me's worst favorite part was..." -Mia using the worst possible grammar. 

"I will try not to kill us driving home." -Chloe 

"Are you taking us to Denton?" -Chloe Saturday night while on 35.
"No, there's an exit for Ponder off this highway. But I thought we should go ahead and check out Oklahoma while we are at it since we just left Fort Worth." -Me 
"Please. No." -Chloe  
"Come on, where's you sense of adventure?" -Me 
"I left it at Rosa's, we have to go back!" -Chloe
"No, because then we'd end up in Dallas." -Me 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The definition of "angel juice" and Created to Worship

Days in the Life...

Monday morning Chloe, Christian, and I left about 10:00 to go meet Aron at the Denton park. He and I had a one-on-one basketball game. (I enjoy occasionally participating in battles that I know I have little chance of winning.)

I lost. 

It was a fun, and very fast game. We won't mention the fact that I didn't score. 

Chloe and Christian said they enjoyed watching, counting Aron's goals, and eating the giant cookies he brought them. 

Next we played doubles tennis and Aron and I beat Christian and Chloe. 

Mom was feeling up to bring the littles for lunch. When they arrived we were still deep in our tennis game so Ava, Gabe, and Mia volunteered to be our professional ball runners. It was really nice! 

Christian was our knight in shining armor. The ladies room was out of toilet paper. The men's was not. We were very grateful to him. 

Eating lunch gave us a nice break before we dispersed into the field to play "All It." 

Then we played a team basketball game and then Ultimate Frisbee. Yes, we were there a long time. 

We called that PE for the week! 

At home people showered and went to have rest time and work on school. 

That night I babysat for the small group. There were 12 kids. It was a busy night. 

Tuesday Kate finally came back!! She didn't come until closer to 9:00, though, so I actually got to sleep in a little. 

She is officially walking!

After "helping" me make lunch, Kate "helped" me make baked oatmeal and granola and then went down for a nap and left me to a pile of dishes. It's a good thing I don't mind them. 

Enjoying her goldfish after her nap.

So photogenic. 

I sort of braided her hair. 
(Can you tell I missed her? Lots of pictures...) 

Kate loves music and dancing. Everyone likes to dance with her when she comes, usually after her afternoon nap. 

She left and I went to make dinner, promptly spilling dry lentils all over the kitchen floor. All I could do was laugh at myself.

They went everywhere.
(They kind of blend into the floor too, though.)

It was about 2/3 of a cup. 

Some of the kids had colds that day, Christian stayed in bed most of it, if I remember correctly. 

Wednesday I left early for a nanny job again. 

Calvin is a huge snuggler. 

That's all he wanted to do while I was there, snuggle, get his food all over me, and take naps. I was more than thrilled. 

Angel Juice any number of substances ranging from drool, to tears, to baby food, etc, etc, you can imagine the rest without me spelling out all the less pleasant details.

By the time I was leaving, I was sufficiently covered in angel juice. Something I never mind in the least.

Christian explaining his health by text:

I arrived home with 30 seconds to throw down my backpack, toss items into a purse, and run back outside to jump in Aron's car with Mom and Christian to go see "Caged No More." 

Wow. That was a very well done movie. The focus was on human trafficking and although it was not a movie I could view in a state of relaxation, it was not nearly as intense/scary as I thought it might be. I would definitely recommend it. 

Mom's pain killers made her feel tipsy so we didn't want her driving and when we stopped at Walmart on the way home, Aron and I walked on either side of her. I'm sure she felt well supported. It was about that time that I realized I'd eaten pretty much nothing all day, despite the fact that I'd packed both breakfast and lunch to take to work. I just forgot to eat. Completely. 

Aron was spontaneously invited to dinner then offered to help me make the chili because it beat "sitting around doing nothing." We established that I have had a lot more vegetable chopping experience than he has. 

After dinner, raiding any random dessert leftovers we had in the house, and cleaning up, Aron chose (by popular vote) "Night at the Museum 3" for further evening entertainment. (Just having him around is entertaining.)

Thursday afternoon Grandpa met Chloe, Christian, and I at talking and arguing I mean, speech and debate. Nothing very interesting happened that I can remember on that day. 

Friday morning I ran errands for Dad, came home to make lunch and get dinner in the crockpot, took care of another mountain of dishes, and then did some much needed writing until 2:50 when Aron arrived to work on a project with me until dinner time. 

I spontaneously needed to go babysit that night and ended up getting lost because the GPS on my phone messed up. That's an experience I'd rather not repeat. I made it home just fine afterwards, though. The parents made sure I knew where I was going. 

Saturday morning Christy and Joe came over so Christy could do our Bible study with Chloe and me while Christian and Joe went exploring down the hill. 

In the afternoon I blogged and then we all got ready for church. Mom was very glad to be able to go with us. 

I greeted and had sweet Alathyia as my helper again. 

Gabe accidentally spilled his cup of communion grape juice down my leg and Alathyia started fussing. When I came back into the service after wiping my leg off, he had spilled my cup on my seat. I was glad I saw it before sitting down as I was wearing a black and white striped skirt. I just moved up to the seat in front of me. Funny incidents are hard to get upset about. Strive to see the funny side, whenever possible.

Sunday after brunch Mom, Dad, Nana, and Grandfather went to look at another little house for sale in Ponder. 

All afternoon I spent officially getting my personal journal caught up. I write in it (usually) every night, but I got behind weeks ago and had about a week's worth of writing to do. By the time I finished I felt so much more on top of things. That's part of the reason the blog has been behind.  I hate being behind.

Mom won this game of Rummikub this time.

The boys went next door to watch the show about the amazing dish, 
I mean, they watched the Super Bowl, with Grandfather and Nana.

I've Been Pondering...

This is who I am. This is what I was created to be. This is the meaning of my name. This is the thing I delight in. This is me. 

Lydia Elisabeth, consecrated worshiper of God. 

I am designed to give all glory and honor and praise to my Father. I am created in His image to point back to Him in all things. I am all that I am so that I can worship Him with my everything. 
And nothing gives me as much pure, exuberant joy as this. I can't wait for Heaven.

I want to live out worship. I want to walk through my every day and know that I am worshipping my God. I want every word I speak and every move I make to give Him glory. 

Worship is not dependent on a specific setting, or a special song, or a particular mood. Worship is not something that only happens at certain times. Worship is not a formula. 

Worship is a lifestyle. Worship is something we do all the time by living out our walk with God in such a way that we are reflecting the glory of God and directing those around us to Him and not ourselves. Worship is being what we were created to be. 

I was made to bring glory to God. You were made to bring glory to God. All of us were made to bring glory to God. 

And we do this by glorifying Him in our everyday life, in the simple tasks and the complex irregularities. Each of us, by being who we are, is a manifestation of the creativity and wonder and glory of God. Our differences and our similarities, our likes and dislikes, our passions, our unique personalities, our physical attributes, our personal preferences, our special gifts and talents, our individuality, everything that goes into making each of us who we are is a splendid, combined masterpiece that honors the Creator. 

He formed each of us with the specific purpose of being worshippers. Worshipping in spirit and in truth, in our every step until the day we reach Heaven to truly fully embrace that destiny for all of eternity.

That Moment When...

Chloe locks her keys in the car at work while it is still running. 

Kate puts her finger in her mouth, then in your mouth, then in her mouth, several times, before you realize what she is doing. 

The littles sing "It's a Hard Knock Life" while sweeping the kitchen. 

You start dinner preparation by spilling 2/3 of a cup of dry lentils all over the kitchen floor. 

You get downstairs in the morning to discover your two brothers arguing over whether or not your hair is long enough to touch your pants. (It is.) 

The Herd: Quoted 

"I am just growing up too fast." -Gabe 

"She is causing distress on me." -Mia 

"Nobody is helping me!" -Christian
*Moments later*
"Just let me do it myself I have a plan for it." -Christian 

"Aw, that means I have to get dressed." -Mom
"No, you can just stay in your room." -Me

"You just hit me full in the face with your hair." -Chloe to me.

"You just dragged your hair through my food." -Ava to me. 

"Can I quote y'all?" -Me
"Nooooooooo!" -Mom and Dad together.