Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Character "stuffs"

    Sometimes people have trivial dislikes and pet peeves. By sometimes people, I mean me. One of mine is clothing and shoes with characters on them. I have some weird hierarchy of dislike and peevishness in my mind. Disney princesses and children's cartoon characters are the worst. Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie and gang  are okay unless Minnie is being all sultry (what in the world is that all about????) Superheroes are best if I like the colors and designs(not that far off from picking sports teams based on color and design of uniform).
  I used have a hard fast rule of no character anything.  No clothes, no shoes, no backpacks. The only exception was unders and jammas. I still really don't care for them; I find most of them tacky, but something made me lighten up and relax over something so silly. A little boy named Knox had a certain fascination with the movie "Cars."

   In the "Cars" watching zone. Totally checked out on life and I am sure drooling as a bonus. 

   After he was gone, I'd see all sorts of Cars stuff, and I'd think about how much he'd love it and wish I could get it for him. As a result, I let it go (no pun intended and I still have not indulged JK in a princess shirt but it may never know).  Yesterday, we were scouring the town for a size 13 pair of cleats for Creed for soccer and finally found one loan pair at Payless Shoes. They were having a b1g1 half off sale and lo and behold they also had these and I actually kind of think they are cook. Shhhhhhhh......

And I just had to get memory of a little boy mesmerized by Cars that would probably now be infatuated with super heroes.

 Elizabeth picked out his outfit; superhero shirt and superhero shoes.  I apologize for all those whose pet peeve of mixing universes has now just been activated.

 The smile on his face says it all. :-)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Some Sunday Thoughts

  During communion today, Jon was talking about how important the Sabbath is as a rest from our weekly struggles and what a provision it is to be able to take a step back from our struggles to come together in worship and communion.(this is very paraphrased I am sure) I was thinking how grateful I was for a church where our whole family can partake in this sabbath rest together. I love having my family in the pew beside me, and I have often marveled at how being in church seems like such a rest. Yes, there have been lot of times of wrestling babies and toddlers, and there are still some rough weeks of parenting in the pew. That may not seem restful and sometimes I'd be the first to agree it wasn't a restful service for me in particular and whatever child is disrupting the rest, but overall there is a tone of rest in our pew. There are no distractions; nothing competing for attention. The kids "usually" seems extra loving. There is a sense of peace and relaxation as we come to worship. I love that.
    It hit me as I was thinking about his words and savoring my own thoughts of being with my family and partaking of worship and sabbath rest together how much we need to do this together. After all, if this is a rest from the struggle of the week, we most certainly struggle together all week. One of the upsides or downsides, depending on how you look at it, of homeschooling is that we are together a lot...a whole almost all day everyday. We get each other at our best and our worst. We get each other when we seem to misspell every other word, when we can't find our workbook, when we can't figure out why in the world the letter "x" is a star player in math, when we really just want to read a library book instead of the current history book, when people are being too noisy, when toys are all over the floor, when Mr. Nobody is the most popular offender of all things. You get the picture. ;-) Sure it isn't all a struggle but there is plenty there and we are all in it together. It truly is one of the best and worst things of homeschooling.
  Worship together as a part of our sabbath rest is just what we need.  We struggle together and we rest together. A truly glorious thing.

** I hate writing anything related to homeschoolers as there is always a fear too much will be read into it. I can only speak from my on personal circumstances. I can't imagine the weekly struggles of dropping off and picking up(right in the middle of nap time!!!!!!), making lunches, cleaning lunch boxes, dealing with homework when everyone is tired after a long day,  and have mercy looking for shoes and socks at 7am! Non-homeschoolers, please enjoy and cherish your much needed sabbath rest with your family!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Some Spring Photos

Elizabeth took the following pictures at the Antique Rose Emporium. Emma took the ones of Elizabeth.
 Demonstration of pecking order.
 Love his freckles.

 Just a swangin'!

 I'd love to live on a house on a hill. Can you imagine their view of fields of wildflowers?

 Working on his kite.

 Two of my lovely girls.

 They love this swing!

 And the last two are from this year's annual poppy photo shoot. They might be my favorite flowers.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cuteness Only Gets You So Far

  I have a good friend that over the years has always told me that my kids are cute; my response has almost always been,"Cuteness will only get you so far!" Especially, when they were being cute, but it wasn't necessarily a good thing!!!  I titled this post this way because I am getting ready to tell you how cute Knox was and at least at first it might sound a tad shallow.
   I think most people think their kids are the cutest so I guess I am not really claiming anything much differently, but Knox was captivating. I am not sure exactly what it was. He probably looked  like a pretty ordinary kid but there was something about him that turned heads wherever we went. If he wasn't in my arms, or holding my hand, he was often right ahead of me. He'd walk that way or run if he was allowed just a little ahead and then turn and flash a grin at me while checking to see if I was still right there. Where the girls practiced softball, there was a drive through the park where there wasn't really a road but the coaches would drive their cars with the equipment to the field. He loved to run down that road, stop and look back to see if I was coming, and then break into giggles when I came running after him.
   Maybe it was his clear blue eyes coupled with his shock of blonde hair that had never been cut that made him especially cute. When it was humid outside, his hair would curl just around the edges. He didn't say much in words; I don't really remember any more just what words he did say though I am sure he said some. I know he hadn't said "I love you" yet but his hugs and kisses said it for him. I remember Anne Michal saying after he died that she missed his hugs because they were the best hugs ever and if you were ever feeling sad, he always made you feel better.
   He was always a bright spot, always a joy. It wasn't just Anne Michal that felt that way. He had a way of parting all dark clouds and the sunshine come flooding in. It isn't exaggeration to say that at least once almost every day and probably more many days, I  thanked God for giving him to us. I remember a friend once telling me after one of her sons were born that they had to adapt to him being a part of their family; he still felt like a newcomer. Knox seemed as though he had always been. He fit in seamlessly and was adored by everyone. He fit...just right.
    It wasn't necessarily easy the day in and day out life with 5 kids, the last 3 three and under. It was hectic, and busy teaching the oldest 2 school(and starting with Emma) and getting them to their few activities with the little people in tow.  There were always naps and baths and meals. The house was a wreck and cheerios were always on the floor. (For some reason, all the kids all the way down to Jack, loved to feed him cheerios and they'd pour enough on his high chair for an army) I'd be lying if I didn't say that some days it got to me. Truthfully, though, most days it didn't matter.  A glimpse of the group of them playing together and loving on each other made it all dull background noise.
    Someone made a comment to Jon not long ago that they didn't get it at first(but understand better now). They didn't get how we couldn't get past it. And I didn't "get" the comment. I asked what he meant. I thought we had done pretty well. We continued to function day in and day out. I didn't have PTSD; hadn't been committed to a mental institute(I am being serious for the most part!). We hadn't lost our faith and could proclaim the goodness of God. Perhaps though I understand what he meant;  I remember being in the hospital with him when we realized that we were headed to taking him off life-support and giving myself a pep-talk like I often did when I had to do something I didn't want to do. I told myself, "You can do this. You can live without him. You didn't use to have him. You have lived without him before, and you can do it again." I was giving myself a peptalk because I knew it was going to be hard and was trying to convince myself it was doable.
    However, I had no idea how hard it was going to be. I had no idea how hard it was going to be to go back home, let alone live there. To walk in and see all his things; it was like constantly having the wind knocked out of me. You can't just get used to have an integral part of your life, a dear love, a joy, and even a work suddenly disappear. It would be like saying you could suddenly lose an arm and just bounce right back. The ache, the loneliness while still surrounded by people, the silence even amidst the noisy voices of children was all pretty maddening.
   Now, most of those things have faded to the background. It has been 7 years. He'd be 8 1/2 on the 27th and we'd be making half birthday cupcakes, a traditional that left us with him. The pain is more in the not knowing than what was though sometimes my arms still ache even though I know he'd be too big to tote around! I can even still feel him in my arms and smell his slobbery, little boy self. I watch Jack and Creed with the huge difference in their height take off down the street one after the other headed to "the pit" to explore and wonder what the 8 yr old Knox would look like between them. After all, they older four have grown and matured and we've added two more to the mix. What would that dynamic be like if he were still here? I imagine he'd love dirt, bugs, bones, and grossness every bit as much as the other boys despite the "prettiness" I remember. What would be his bent? Academics? Sports? What sort of kid would he be? Would he still be a mama's boy that could melt my heart with the flash of a grin? Probably ;-) I look at his pictures and he is so familiar, yet a stranger. He looks so young and unfinished; yet, his life is done and as Jon referred to in communion this morning, his sorrow is over and his joy complete, fulfilled. His pilgrim days are done.

Haste thee on from grace to glory,Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.Heaven’s eternal days before thee,God’s own hand shall guide us there.Soon shall close thy earthly mission,Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,Hope shall change to glad fruition,Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

Monday, February 17, 2014

An Alternative to "This Too Shall pass"

   There was a point in my life where I'd have not given much thought to the phrase "This Too Shall Pass" but over the past several years, it has left a sting each time I hear it. I know how it generally is used and quite possibly have said it at some point in my life. We use it when someone talks about a child who won't sleep through the night or we don't think will every be toilet trained. We use it when someone has a hard class to get through. We use it when we are dreading going to get a cavity filled or even worse a root canal. Those are all things that do pass, but even still knowing the difficulty will come to an end doesn't always ease the discomfort or pain of the present.
    Then there are those things that don't pass. The grief of losing a child doesn't pass. Chronic illness doesn't pass. Infertility and the pain that comes with it doesn't pass. This too shall pass cannot always be applied to this lifetime. I am sure that I personally take it a bit too sensitively when I hear it spoken and often it is said in a flippant, just pull-up-your-bootstraps tone and believe me I am normally one of the most unsympathetic person around for normal things...just ask my kids. However, it is hard not to think of those things that shall not pass when I do hear it. My own voice echoes in my head, "No, it is never going to pass. Thanks for reminding me that my difficulties are not in the passing category." Then I chastise myself for a pity party.
    The reality is that there are things that will pass, but it often doesn't make it easier to go through. I remember having 4 small children and the many nights that all 4 would make a nightly appearance waking us from sleep. Knowing it was going to pass was some solace, but it sure didn't make us any less tired or help us to function from day to day or add any joy to our days. Then there is the reality of those things, some of which I mentioned before, that will never pass in this lifetime. "This too shall pass" seems like a taunting jeer, a bad joke oft repeated.
    What if instead of saying "This too shall pass" or wishing we could say it, we said, "You are not alone. You have the Everlasting Father, the Comforter, the Man of Sorrows, the Bright and Morning Star, the I Am, the Redeemer, the Prince of Peace and He will never leave you or forsake you. He is in the midst of this and you, you are in the palm of His hand. Look to Him; He is faithful."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Anne Michal Runs a Half-Marathon

 Sometime last summer, Anne Michal set a goal to run the BCS half -marathon in December. She trained throughout the fall with a number of running buddies. A big thank you goes out to all who ran with her and gave her rides home!! Thank you!!!

 The banner over the finish line.

 The freezing cheering section and some of her running buddies.

 Our good friend Robin came into town to run it with her.
 Heading to the finish line...they ran about a 10 min mile.
 After the race with her medal and a well-deserved one (just in case you have read my thoughts on trophies and awards ;-))

With Robin after the race. They look like they could go again, right? I was so thankful for Robin coming and running it with her and super proud of Anne Michal for setting such a goal and following through with all the hard work it took.

 Robin brought a cutie or two, or three or four along with her. :-) Fun times in the Anderson House!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Post Dedicated to Boys!!!!

 They are always hungry which makes them always want to eat so they want to learn to cook!
 Love surprises and surprising!

 Get so excited they just can't take it!
 Love their baby sisters!
 Can leap tall bushes in a single bound!

 Always need a haircut!

 Love to play with bigger boys!
 Love to create things that go!
 Love to take risks!
 Love to show their strength!
 Say, "Hey Mom! Can you stitch him up with dark thread so he will look like he has a scar?"
 Love legos!

 Run into Gates!
Run into trees!!

and melt their mama's heart!