Thursday, August 25, 2011

Smiles


Remember my post about choosing happiness? This right here is part of what makes that possible! His whole face lights up and I drink it all in. Since he smiles like that so often, my happiness cup is quite full, despite the challenges this little guy brought with him.

The support of friends and family also helps keep the happiness cup more full than empty. Mom loves having us live here because it makes it very easy for her to be here when I need her. I love it too. And then there's the helpful husband who takes out the garbage and puts the kids to bed (even if his methods take longer and are noisier than mine). On Monday friends poured on the happiness when Joseph and Hannah came over bringing dinner and games. We all relished the pizza and ice cream and the kids enjoyed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang while we played Forbidden Island and Oregon.

But the real reason I can choose happiness is because God is there. As Nancy Wilson said in a recent Femina post:
"God has promised to never leave us or forsake us; He has promised no temptation will ever be so bad that we can’t escape. But He never promised not to give us more than we could handle. In fact, He gives us more than we can handle all the time. If He didn’t, then we would not need to lean on Him for grace and strength."
Aunt Connie has said something similar before, which she mentions in this helpful blog post. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," is not some trite little platitude. It is a truth that makes it possible to choose happiness.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One Month


My handsome littlest man is one month old today! It's been a wonderful month full of a lot of sitting, nursing and reading and trying to fit in everything else around that. Definitely a day to day, hour by hour time of life.

I've loved having so much time to read, though! I finished a Leaders in Action biography of William Wilberforce (out of print) and Raising Real Men. Now I'm halfway through 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I have also managed to read several chapters of The Hobbit to Joshua.

Joshua at four weeks.

Here's a picture of Joshua at the same age Stephen is now. I think there's some family resemblance!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Living the Dream


I have four kids. This is what I always wanted to do and I'm loving it. In my rose-tinted version of this dream I didn't notice the crumbs on the floor or the challenge of getting enough food and sleep. It's definitely a challenging dream to live out, but I'm determined to make it work...and to be happy about it too!

[Excuse me a minute while I nurse the baby and tell the kids to stop playing with the cooking utensils.]

That's not to say there's no frustration or tears. [Why are there utensils all over the floor and I did not say you could get out 15 blankets to make a tent in the kitchen!] Right now, for example, I have (another) breast infection. At least my cracked nipples are healing, finally. No, I'm certainly not happy all the time, but times like these pass. [Sorry, kids, for yelling at you when you still didn't clean up your toys. Forgive me?] I prefer to focus on remembering those first milk-drunk smiles (even if they are at three in the morning). I may be laying on the couch pretty much in misery, but what I will remember is the two-year-old's concern ("C-ying, Mommy?") and the three-year-old's sympathetic hug.

My #1 priority is to coordinate naps and quiet time so I can sleep!

Folding laundry is pretty far down on the priority list,
but the other day I did get it done!
Stephen helped.

Three weeks old!

With my other babies I loved have the newborn excuse for laying around and letting housework and other responsibilities slide. But this whole past year I have really enjoyed the order and peace of clean counters and sparkling sinks. I was having fun doing "schoolish-type activities" with the kids. Eli and I had been going for walks together in the morning before the kids woke up (thanks to live-in babysitters!). I really want to get back to all these wonderful little day to day routines!


But between nursing for about six hours a day and trying for eight hours of sleep, oh yeah, and getting food for the other hungry people here besides myself, it's an accomplishment to get everyone dressed, keep them clean and make sure they have clothes to wear. And every time I think I'm feeling good and up to tackling something like school or writing the birth story, I go down with a breast infection...or the kids wake up too early and we learn about good attitudes instead of numbers and colors.

So in the midst of the feedings and the diapers and the naps and the meals and the messes, I'm determining to be happy, because I'd rather be happy than miserable. Every time he smiles in his sleep I tell myself that I love my life. When I catch him staring at me from the crook of my arm, I rejoice. When attitudes explode in the play area, I remind myself that educating their minds can wait, but training their souls will not. It's a great story I'm living, Praise the Lord for choosing me to be in it!


The baby is done nursing now (multi-tasking is the mother's secret for getting anything done) and I hear pans clattering in the kitchen. Somehow I don't think the kids are cooking lunch.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cuteness

Day 4

Almost 1 week

On his way to two weeks old and such an Evans!

Stephen's First Outing


I love the "first time in the car seat" picture. The baby always looks so tiny, but before I know it he will be filling out that seat.

Our four kids are all ready to go and we have a van they can all fit in! Off to church we go.
Welcome to the covenant, little Stephen Latimer Lionheart! You are now surrounded by a community of people who will pray for you, support you and disciple you.