Friday, March 30, 2012

The Tubs Are Out!

Is it Summertime? I don't know. Probably not in most areas of the country, but Charleston summers are pretty much constant, so I guess it is Summer. In March. Blah. I'm trying not to get too depressed as I think of being gigantic and sweaty for the rest of the year. But, my 3 little munchkins love Summer. We found some tubs in the garage and filled them up with water today. It kept them busy for a while! Even Little Ya was lovin' it!

And just to make the activity stretch a little longer, I made them keep playing in it even when they were saying they were cold. Ruthie was not too happy about that. I had to though. I just couldn't take thinking of something else to do.
Anyway, I'm a bloggin' fool lately! Don't get too used to it. You never know how long these little spurts will last. But who doesn't like seeing these cute girls in their swimming suits?!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ruthie Ru

1 Peter 3:7 - "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."
2 Timothy 2:20 - "Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor."
I am so thankful for the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. These two verses kept coming up in my spirit this week and I believe the Lord is giving me some insight into Ruthie's life. I'm so thankful. It may seem like a strange set of verses, but to me it makes perfect sense.
In praying for Ruthie and thinking back through her short life, I am realizing something amazing about her. She is a fragile vessel! She was the baby who responded to teething in the worst way you could imagine. She does not react to change very well. When she is sick, everyone knows it. When she is frustrated, you better believe we know it. She is sooo super sensitive to things! Don't hear what I'm not saying. I'm not saying, "Woe is me because I have this difficult child." I actually don't think she's all that different from a lot of other kids and she is absolutely precious in more ways than I can count. But the Lord used these two verses (albeit one is talking about husbands and wives) to remind me that fragile vessels are still vessels and actually, we should treat them with greater respect! Ruthie has an incredible capacity for the glory of God to be revealed in and through her! In fact, if I am carrying around a china plate, compared to a block of wood, I am going to treat that plate with much more care and concern. I believe this is what the Lord is speaking to me about Ruthie. She is my little china plate. Think about training a kid to carry a china plate as opposed to a block of wood. You're going to spend a lot more time with them regarding the china plate. I think this is where I'm at with the Lord. He is having to show me so many special things about Ruthie so I am able to properly take care of her. Just as Russ shows honor to me, as the weaker vessel, I feel this for my children, in general, and this week I especially feel that for Ruthie. What an honor it is to take care of such a wonderful, fragile little child!
Lord, help me appreciate the fragility and beauty of your weaker vessels.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ridiculously Weak

Parenting is the most sanctifying thing I have ever been involved in. It is difficult. I am not good at it. I think I get a few sympathy points for having 3 kids so young, but regardless, I have not yet learned to constantly look to Jesus.

I can't remember what prompted it, probably just the normal things, but this week I yelled at Noa so badly and I knew my intent was to break her spirit and make her understand what a difficult day I was having. My sin was palpable in that moment and I did break her spirit. And then I cried. What kind of a mother does that to their beautiful, tender-hearted, 3 year old daughter? If I were listening to someone else tell the story, I might say, "what a terrible mom. Get a grip." Hmmm. That would be me. I have only started to see the depravity of my heart.

Ruthie is 2 years old. I have to remind myself of that when I expect her to think like an adult. She is not only 2 but has been waking herself up incredibly early and is just not getting enough sleep. It not only makes for very longs days, but super frustrating days. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, "if I just didn't have to take care of Ruthie today, life would be so much easier," or "Lord, why did you give me this child? I don't know what to do with her or how to make her behave." And my sweet Ruthie is unloved and uncared for in those moments as my thoughts take me captive and I long for comfort over responsibility. My sin is ever before me.

Lydia is still pretty sweet, for the most part, but as she gets older and especially now as she is mobile, she's requiring more and more supervision. I try and try to manage it on my own, confident in self rather than God. And I think all my plates are spinning and spinning perfectly until one falls and I am reminded of my sin of looking to myself for all the answers. Why do I still think I can do this on my own?

And then there's this new life inside me. Most days I don't feel good. I'm frustrated. I'm tired. I'm hormonal. And I think of all the doctors appointments and all the diabetes stuff that goes along with pregnancy and I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I kind of explain away this child, saying things like, "Yeah. We're so crazy. What were we thinking?" because that would be the culturally acceptable thing to say when you find out you're having a 4th kid in 4 years. People think it is crazy and I collapse under that pressure. Not all the time, but sometimes I look for people's approval rather than thanking God for giving life. Truth is, I can no more make a child grow in my belly than I can stare at the ground and make a plant grow. God gives life. I want to live in that place where I am excited about all that God is bringing to our family and our lives. But sometimes I question Him. I question His plans. Sometimes I don't want to be a part of them. And I am painfully aware of my sin.

So, this week I am feeling ridiculously weak. And today He reminded me that from that place I am miraculously strong. Rather than serving a God who requires me to do everything perfectly to gain acceptance, instead the Word says that His power is perfected in my weakness. If I did not have these kids, I wouldn't need to look to Him so constantly throughout the day. If I wasn't being sanctified and stretched, He wouldn't be a good Father. If I knew how to do it all, I would totally miss Him (and others) in the process. Perhaps then, my glory is my weakness. When I am weak, there He is strong. Miraculously strong. I am ransomed. I am forgiven. I have been set free. I have been redeemed. It is from this place that I will live.

It bothers me when people think the crux of the Christian message is to behave perfectly and think Christians are hypocrites when they don't. And sure, I guess we do fall into that trap from time to time, I mean, who doesn't want to do things better? I do. I'm sure a lot of other people do too. But really, the center of the gospel is that we totally suck. And then, in his love, Jesus came to save us. I don't fault those people for not knowing the "correct" message. Maybe it hasn't been told to them or displayed for them. But, I'm here to tell everyone that I am terrible! I am a frazzled parent, a preoccupied wife, an unavailable friend, and really just a selfish person in general. And Christ still saved me and actually thought I was worth saving! That is the gospel. Only through Him can I hope to change any of these things about me.

Thank you, Lord for making me aware of my sin this week. When I am weak, you are strong and from that place I remember what you did for me on the cross.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


We were blessed to celebrate our 6th Anniversary by taking a 4 night cruise to Cozumel, Mexico! When we got married we decided that every 5 years we would take a bigger trip than normal to celebrate. Well, we celebrated 5 years last year, but Lydia was just a month old and we both opted to NOT take a newborn on a special anniversary trip, so we waited another year. Anyway, I had never been on a cruise before so it sounded like a fun, different option from the types of things we normally choose to do.

After a few days of doing the normal cruise things like:

...relaxing and reading by the pool,

...dressing up for special dinners (plastic surgery face? yes.),

...and towel animals (had to post this because I feel like somehow you're supposed to), we made it to Cozumel and little did we know the adventure that awaited us there!

We got off the boat at about 10 a.m. or so and it was blazing hot already. For those of you who know me, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but HOT, HOT, HOT would not be my first choice.

We were trying to make it here, the west side of the island, with its crystal blue water and gorgeous beaches. I've really never seen any place like it. It was spectacular. More on that in a moment though. We decided to be adventurous (not typical for us) and rent a scooter to get around to the other side of the island. Miquel, the guy we rented the scooter from, said it would take about an hour and a half to get around the whole island (one continuous loop). No sir! No! No! No! There is no way! I think the loop must be about 35 miles. Anyway, I'll spare you the details, but it was a trecherous and frightening ride and even though we looked great in these helmets,

we wised up after about 2 hours of trying and turned the scooter in for this Jeep. It was like heaven. Look at Russ smiling! We would've never made it to these awesome beaches if we hadn't gotten the Jeep.

Shortly after the beaches, we got in some little tiff though, as married couples do, and we probably should've stayed a little longer on the nice side of the island. My fault. It was really windy though, and it had already been a long day of scooter riding. Anyway, you know how women get. And, might I remind you that I am pregnant (which we knew already on the trip).

Anyway, after a long, adventurous, beautiful day in Cozumel, we got back on the boat and I think we ate dinner and saw a show that night.

Picture with the cat for the girls. I don't think they cared about it though.

Waiting to see "In the Air" or whatever that show was called. Pretty cool and weird at the same time. Lots of acrobatic stuff and singing. Entertaining though...

Matching! This is before Saturday Night Fever, which was incredible! We were both amazed by how good the show was. Unfortunately, I was feeling pretty bad on the last day due to choppy waters, motion sickness, and baby #4. But, all in all it was a great show.

The best part of the whole trip though was spending time with my wonderful husband. I am honored to be married to such a loving, caring, moped-riding, perfect-for-me hubby. I look forward to many more years, and many more celebrations with you, Babe!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hooie, come back!

So here is "Hooie," Ruthie's best friend and beloved little horse. Last week we went to the Children's Museum and in a bizarre series of events, somehow lost him. Russ and I aren't sure if she left him there, dropped him on the street, or even stuffed him in something here at home and we just haven't found him yet. The last option seems highly unlikely, since we've looked everywhere for this little guy, but I guess it is still possible, as neither of us remember seeing him when we took the girls downtown.

Anyway, I'm sure it is just the pregnancy, but I am so sad for Ruthie! She was with Hooie more than she was with anyone! When I see his picture, I feel like I've lost one of my kids. Yes, I'm sure it is the pregnancy.

Ruthie always loved to turn Hooie upsidedown and rub her face with his tail. So his bum was always in her face. :) We told her that a new Hooie was coming in the mail, but he's still not here yet. I spent all day figuring out what BRAND he was (since the tag was all rubbed off) and then trying to find a replacement Hooie. The best I could do is one that looked like Hooie's crazy uncle or cousin or something, but he's on the way!

When I showed Ruthie the picture of "New Hooie," she wasn't quite sure at first, but now that she knows another Hooie is coming, I think she's o.k. with the whole thing. She keeps saying, "Hooie, come back!" and "I'm sad be-tuz Hooie is wost." And of course we pray for him to come home every night. Funny how all of these little thing affect us, but they do! Especially if you're pregnant.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Morning at the Park

Well, since we fount out that Baby #4 (yay!) is coming in October, this is how I've been feeling lately:
Tired and cranky and nauseous and crazy and well, just tired, tired, tired. Blaaaaaah. I have little motivation to do anything. I wish I had motivation to eat, because that it always fun, but few things (if anything at all) excite me in that department either.
So, Russ let me have a morning off this week after he went out of town for a few days and here's a few pictures of the girls at the park. He told me that Lydie smiled freely, while the others were reluctant. Boo. Even though they are just 2 & 3 years old, they are reminding me of teenagers more and more these days. How does that happen?
Lydie is absolutely in love with Noa. She likes Ruthie too, but Ruthie can be a little rough, which scares all of us.
Here's the little wild woman! Side note: She has recently started to care about her outfits just like Noa does. It is a battle that I don't have energy to fight lately, so we leave the house in all kinds of weird things, definitely to my dismay.
Sweet Baby Ya! This little girls has chunked right up! She's already in 18mo clothes and now that she's walking (and stumbling a lot), her belly enters the room about 3 minutes before the rest of her body. Don't you wish you could get away with those proportions?!
Totally fake smiles. Dad! Give us a break! We just want to play!

All in all, it has been a good month. I still have to post pictures of the cruise, which I have yet to download from my camera. Sigh. But one of these days, I'll hit a productive stride again, and you guys will know every detail of our lives again. Maybe when the kids are 10, 9, 8, and 7 years old... I can't believe I'm even typing that.