The little ones are always happy to have the older boys home. They make time for them, I'm so grateful.
Baby on one of our hikes, doing her own walking for a little bit.
Cold to hot, warm to cooler, then cold again and then hot. That is our fall weather.
An October Sunday afternoon by the river. . .
October is lots of football for us (fun and tiring too) - wondered why Christian seemed to be running funny on this play,
then realized through my picture it was because he had lost his cleat along the way. . .
Season over for Christian's team - my son is the one still mad over the loss! ^
Scott is the one squashed under #67. Scott's team still has two games to go before season is over. They have done well.
Plenty of mud this month too with more rain then usual. . .
Mud, yes, which reminds me October was Robert's big event too, the Tough Mudder. Don't know what that is,
look it up online. Amazing race.
(Not my photography - a friend of a friend took these.)
And I wonder why my kids gravitate to dirt? Haha, no, I've never wondered.
Christian had an ankle injury for a week or two this month and here he is keeping it on ice, er, I mean
surrounded by cold water, not on a warm day. Each evening he had his ankle in a bucket of ice,
which turned into ankle-in-ice-bucket competitions around here - which was hilarious. Even I did it. Brutal.
October held a get-together for some guys the boys invited from school - fed all them BBQ
sandwiches and watched them play hours of team dodge ball in the dark all over our yard and around our house.
Crazy fun. Tons of food just disappeared all night long too.
Here is Lake's idea of a good football game and Baby's idea of a good tasting rock. ^
Morgan, as usual, wanting to keep up with the boys. Brighton using everything for gymnastics.
Brighton dressed up as a "princess." The girls have talked all month about
what and how they will dress up for the church festival this month. It can't come soon enough in their minds,
in the mean time they have been practicing lots of dress up. :)
Morgan decided a few weeks ago she wanted to be a Native American for the festival. Blonde and blue-eyed, I wasn't
so sure she'd be a very convincing Indian. . . but who cares! She has been creating her costume all month
and was so excited when the other day I had a bit of time to take some pictures of her in what she'd come up with.
Which I'll post soon - they are so fun!
October has given us some good weather to be out in in between the cold and the hot.
Morgan and Caed do school in the mornings but then after lunch we usually have two hours before
Christian has to be picked up in which to get out and play and go places together. I am constantly
reminding myself that the younger five need the experiences my older three received, despite that
I don't have the energy I did with them!
So here are a few random pictures from some explorations we took this month together:
This picture is awesome. Poor Bub surrounded by the girls 'til the boys get home. Lake is a trip.
Baby is just all over the place and would rather be outside then anywhere.
This month she has been jabbering away in her own little language, getting into everything,
and as of last week, no longer a nursing baby. A big milestone for us both.
Caed being the Bub that he is. Looking for good crawfish hideouts. Or maybe just good hideouts in general.
And whaddayaknow, our kids have parents. Tired ones, but yeah, here we are in October-
Sunday afternoon park time mid-month or so I think - chased the kids all over the park that afternoon
and it was a blast and a beautiful day.
I caught this shot one afternoon of the girls in the trees - not sure what she was attempting, but it was beautiful.
This is my best blurry picture of October I'm just in love with it and now it's my desktop picture.
Ah, and this one -- she had been dancing all about that afternoon with these feathers in her hands.
She reminded me of the Native American that Morgan wants to be. . . her black eyes just full of life,
her dark skinned arms swinging, feathers waving. Then the older ones were allowed to go off and do something she couldn't
and she sat down in the leaves, all dancing gone, and pitied her age.
Here is Bub demonstrating to me how to teach a duck how to sit. Makes me laugh every time.
"Mom, can you cook these crawfish for supper tonight, please???"
It feels like forever since I've signed into this blog here. I'm sure it couldn't be all that long, but it seems like forever because the days are so full - like two days in one.
I have not even thought of writing, but then it's October and this is probably one of our busiest months of the year, and I'm not sure I think about much of anything but just doing the next second. It's been a good month and hard to believe it's going to be over this coming week. I posted random pictures above here, just little glimpses of life along the way.
After so many times of doing it, it's funny I can never really remember all that I go through when weaning a baby. . . now I've done it again and coming out on the other side I feel like I've crossed another divide, another point of no return that is strangely kind of sadly sentimental and happy all at once. Or maybe that's just the hormonal craziness I'm feeling from it - who knows. All the changes once more!
Hair falling out, face breaking out, and the good stuff like wondering if the side affects of re-constructive surgery in certain places (all places?) really wouldn't be all that bad, gulp, or worth saving for (that's a joke by the way) combined with the other side I'll call feelings. Thoughts. Heart stuff that seems to take place along with all the changing.
Like identity crisis of sorts. Nothing major, tragic or weird, just a, "Wow, who am I apart from a constant-pregnant-or-feeding-baby-person?"
A chapter is officially closed for me with pregnancy and nursing - for real, for good, and I am okay (little dance in my chair okay-with-it-type-feeling!) - at the same time, kind of feels strange realizing how much in a way one can get caught up in the cycle of motherhood and all that pregnancy/baby/etc. stuff and seek her identity (giving someone, idea, or thing the power to control/direct your life) in it even without realizing it.
Or maybe realizing it all along, but. . . what can I say, it was me - so very much "me," what I did all the time.
I start thinking all spiritual now about identity and how my identity is to be in Christ - and it was, but it wasn't, but really I don't know, probably depended on the day, the hour, the minute. Because if you have been pregnant or nursing much, you know what I mean here. You want your identity to be in Christ, but the you you thought was you isn't you anymore and you aren't sure who "you" is, or was, or will be and so you just cling to what you know which is simply that God is God and understands you as a hormonally changing woman when maybe no one does, including yourself.
. . . . .
It's who I am right now, it's who I've been. . . the ever-changing!
Now I am in a new chapter - for the first time in 15 years I am not going to be pregnant or nursing and I have the challenge ahead of me of trying to get back to normal once more, whatever in the world that means. Normal hormonally, physically, no more prep for baby times so maybe more order and future goal setting type stuff. I don't know.
So I kind of started last week really thinking all about this. The new me (or is it the old me? the older-new me?), the non-pregnant or non-nursing me, and I went before God one morning and said, "Where do I start? My body is tired and worn out and I feel used up and my skin is stretched out in all the wrong places and I have eight wonderful kids to show for it and I am happy and grateful, God, but where do I go from here for Your glory? How can I get myself physically and spiritually ready to take on the next 15 years You have for me? How do I move on from what has been somewhat my identity, the position I was in, to this new position - to finding out who this new me is in You?"
I wanted an audible voice to boom back the answer to me right then and there.
I'm not sure my question to God even makes a bit of sense, but I'm pretty sure God knows what I mean. He knows I want energy to pour into my husband and children He so graciously gave me. He knows I want to be my best me, not for me but for them. And yea, wait a second, for me too -- because every single one of us women know when we feel yucky about ourselves, we kind of pass that attitude out on those around us even without realizing it. . . as shallow as that is.
I remembered my sister talking about a cleanse (health/diet/fast of sorts I guess) she did a while back, thinking maybe that is what my body needed after all it's gone through. I started last Sunday. I've gone all week. Somehow people are suppose to like stop their lives when they do this type of thing because you're suppose to not have energy to deploy. . .
But like no, I can't stop my life. So, on I went this week and the first two days or so I thought I would die. I kept going, third day - felt better. Fifth day I felt considerably better. I text Robert and said, "This is the first time I have felt this good since before I got pregnant with Haven, like I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I want out of the tunnel bad and I'm going to work to get there."
All this is great and I'm excited because I've got a challenge in front of me and I'm fighting for it. . . all the while as this is going on -- there is the spiritual side. Which cannot be separated and is probably, no quite certain is, the much bigger thing that God is after.
For fifteen years, my forever-constantly-changing-hormonal-baby years, God has seen fit to bring me into some very difficult trials. Besides over 20 different residential moves, there has been deep disappointments, devastating decisions, deaths, deceptions, divorces, dark times, despair, destructive people and relationships, disbelief, dissolved churches, dashed dreams, damaged health, let's see -- any more "d" words I can think of, haha. . .
(Of course in the midst of all this there was awesome things, people, events, and times! But there is no doubt that the testing of my faith was constant and fierce! If only I had known so many of those years that when another person makes you suffer, it is because he/she suffers deeply within himself/herself, and their suffering is just spilling over on you. . . they don't need punishment; they need help, maybe truth told, maybe prayer, maybe to be left until God reveals Himself to them.)
I've asked God, no more like yelled at Him at times along the way, "How can I possibly respond to all this now God when I don't even know what to think or feel? I don't even know who I am but a hormonal and very sick pregnant woman who hasn't slept in ages?!" -- or "God, I don't know who I am or what I really feel, think, know; I think what I feel is real, but I don't know because I don't feel like me, but I don't know who me is, but maybe that's just all my feelings. . ."
I look back now and I see God's hand every single minute, every single day. He never let go of me. Never did. He was there. I marvel ~ in complete awe because I was a complete mess, I just was. Because pregnant women are, and if you aren't when you are pregnant then you are when you are nursing, or you are when you have little ones (as in multiple little ones, close in age) because you haven't slept in weeks/years. A mess.
And though I'd completely convinced myself I wasn't a mess because I wasn't ever weepy, wasn't much frustrated and I loved my husband and kids, truth is, I wasn't my "normal" self.
And yet God knew it and drew me to Him through it. It was a tunnel in so many ways! But He kept my head up looking for light, wanting light, pursuing light, yearning for it despite myself. He would give me light! Reveal things, that as I look back, I know without a doubt it was just HIM and none of me! When I lost hope that there was light, He held me even then, bringing the hope back, brighter then before.
Christian was struggling with something last week and he came in and laid across our bed, head in the pillow. I sat down beside him, wordless, and just started rubbing his back - his all time favorite thing for me to do, maybe even over cooking him food! His love language is by far physical affection. I can always count on hugs from him every single day - he asks for them, he grabs them whenever possible! Then after a bit I just said, "When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. . ." My voice trailed off. He hesitated and then said, "What did you say, Mom?"
I quoted it again. He remained there and I kept rubbing his back. We just took it in together, that Light in our tunnel. We don't have to wait until we reach the end of the tunnel to have the Light.
There is a letter that got me through the baby years. The letter is God's Word and it gave me hope when all seemed lost, when I felt lost, or when every one around me seemed lost. It was written to me from my Father. There were times when all I had in my tunnel was that letter. It was meant for me to read in tunnel times, in mountain top times; in any times.
It's for now too, in this new time, this new stage of life. It is where I will find my identity; who I am to be, what I am, why I am what I am, why I am here. It is unchanging and oh, how awesome that is to know considering my ever-changingness that I have faced. . . and will continue to face as life goes on.
Verses that come to mind tonight:
"Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow." James 1:17
"When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. . ." Ps. 34:17-20
"For I am the Lord, I do not change. . ." Mal. 3:6
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears (this means that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit wherein we desire to please God and would dread to do that which would separate us from Himself because we love Him, it does not mean to be afraid of Him) the Lord is to be praised. . ." Prov. 31:3
I would walk through the last 15 years all over again to be where God has brought me today. . .
To have the husband that I have - to be where God has brought us no matter how it took us to get here. And where He is taking us together spiritually! I am simply amazed at all He is doing right now. ~ "Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places." And I add: to the right person. Or so in my case. And how glad and blessed I feel to know God is that BIG. Every single day I see him, hold him in my arms tight, I am reminded at how amazing God is. I am in love with Robert and I am thankful for all that God has done. It is miraculous to me.
To have the eight most amazing children I could never ever have imagined. I would trade my time, sleep, health, years, youth, energy, skin, hair, every body part the world says is vital for beauty lol! for them all over again. I am so glad they are all here. They are more than just children. They are my friends, comrades, playmates, my gang. They are who taught me what it really meant that it is better to give then to receive. They have shown me what it feels like to have my heart walking around outside of me. They have taught me more than anything in the world.
When my heart is over whelmed lead me to the Rock that is higher than I ~ the never-changing, always constant, solid, consistent, strong forgiving and compassionate God who holds me in my weakness and knows me when I can't figure out myself and wants me for His own and desires relationship with me no matter what stage of life I find myself in and no matter how changing I may be.