August 28, 2009

born again... again.

this is my lunch... i'm eating it right now... mmmm. this is my week. i've made lots and lots o' lists... this is my closet... doesn't it look nice?
and SIMPLE. my HOME is going on another diet. life is better every time i knot a garbage bag and write "pants size 6/8 $3"
yes. i think another garage sale may be in our future.
actually, my whole life is going on a diet.
well, it's not a diet, it's a LIFESTYLE. right?
Drew said to me last night. "Mom, I really don't want to play this game anymore."
Nope. This isn't a game... it's a plan. a GREAT plan of happiness.
i have many good friends who are Baptist, and i love them.
i remember a conversation i had with a sweet, sweet wife of a baptist minister in Michigan about being born again.
one thing i just don't agree with is that you are "saved" or "born again" just once...
for me, i am saved again and again... as i grow and learn and progress...
i can feel my Savior strengthening me and cleansing me and teaching me and saving me.
the first time i remember knowing without a doubt that God was real and that He loved me was when i was 8...
I was laying on my bed with my bunny, and i was singing "I am a Child of God"...
i felt a warm wash over me...
tingles from my head to my toes...
i felt a sweet hug from above and the thoughts... "I am here, you are not alone. I am your Father, I love you and I will always guide you."
That was real. and, it changed me.

but, there have been many times since then that i have been born again...
and, last week, i was born again... again.

i am a new person.
i feel healed and cleansed and saved.
i took some time to reconnect, to hear God tell me that I'm not alone, that He loves me and that He will guide my steps... and, it has changed me.
Like Martha, I had become "careful and troubled about many things" and i was reminded that only "one thing is needful." (Luke 10:38-41)
i love the scripture in Psalms 37:23 "The steps of a good [woman] are ordered by the Lord: and [she] delighteth in his way."
and, "The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children." Psalms 115:14
and, this sweet prayer, "Order my steps in thy word: and let not iniquity have dominion over me... Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes." Psalms 119:133, 135
i came home focused on holy ORDER...
God's ORDER.
I love that word- order.
It's easier to achieve ORDER than perfection...
i just need to know one step ahead, and i can have faith that even when what i am doing is not enough, HE will compensate.
He will turn my water into wine.
I know that we are saved by GRACE after all that we can do.
actually, i think we are saved by GRACE while we are doing...
So, I'm doing stuff... just one day at a time, one thing at a time, one step at a time... and, it's working.
I'm happy.
My home is orderly.
My life is orderly... and it's only been ONE WEEK.
i can't believe it.
specifically, here are some things i'm focusing on...

- Early to bed, early to rise ( i know!! can you believe it? i USED to be SUCH a night owl)

-First things first-- each morning i start by taking time for myself to pray, read, ponder and write an ORDER for my day (on a blank index card.) it is NOT a service to our children if we loose ourselves in their care. we serve them better when we are whole. (Note- someday I'll include exercise here... but, i haven't really figured this one out yet.)

-NEVER forget the ARMOUR... seriously. we are living in a world that is HARD. we need to protect ourselves and our children, to teach them right from wrong and to teach them where to look for knowledge... family prayer, family scripture study, service, forgiveness, work, exercise, etc... these things really do strengthen us and protect our family.

- Put away the laundry while it's warm (totally changed my life- i do wash every morning, just a couple loads and it is my PRIORITY-- i stop whatever I'm doing, fold it and put it away. do you know it only takes 4.5 minutes to put away a load of laundry... i spent longer than that feeling sick everytime i saw a clean load sitting in a laundry basket... just DO IT!)

- HEALTHY fuel for my body and for my family... grains, fruits, vegetables... you know, healthy stuff not chemicals and unhealthy stuff. when i think about NOURISHING my kids not just FEEDING my kids, i actually love mealtime. Do you know it costs over $100 a month for many anti-depressant medications? I would much rather spend my money on healthy, nourishing food and vitamins for my family.

-Morning maintenance... (my house had gotten so bad that i had to start a room at a time... so, monday i did the entryway, living room and kitchen. tuesday, i did morning maintenance of the entryway, living room and kitchen then good clean of my bedroom. wednesday, maintenance of entry, living, kitchen, master bed and good clean of girls bedroom... get it? seriously ONE WEEK and it's getting there.)

-FINISHi've been trying for awhile to figure this out and finally it "CLICKED"

-Make one big project 3 smaller projects... i do this by storing big messes to work on later. (for example, because our house is small and we don't have a play room, cleaning the kids' room is awful. i usually spend all day making hundreds of piles... shirts, pants, socks, dress-ups, dirty clothes, kid books, baby books, paperback books, hairbands, barbie shoes, doll clothes, etc.... i don't really finish before the kids get home then they mess my piles and i feel completely frustrated. this time i just threw all the toys in a big pile... to sort later. my objective at first was just to ORDER the room... even if a pile of toys didn't seem clean, it became the place i put toys so it was orderly... i felt finished in a short time and the next day i could go back and do "toys" as a job.) same with closets... you take everything out of the closet. you have one bag labeled "Goodwill" one labeled "Trash" a basket of "stuff that goes somewhere else" and a basket of "stuff i want to put back into the closet." so. In ten minutes i could be "DONE" with a closet. I stick the basket of stuff to go into the closet, into the closet and shut the door. Tie a knot on the Goodwill bag and stick it in the trunk of my car, put the trash in the trash pile for the boys to take out when they get home and put the basket of stuff to put away... away. IF i have time, i might decide to actually organize the closet I just sorted. IF the kids are almost home, i can still have an orderly home and do that smaller project another day. Get it? seriously... changed my LIFE.

-FORGIVE!! i LOVE this one. One way we can forgive is through our words... speaking is using our agency and our faith... kind, forgiving words can change our heart and help us to get rid of negative emotions that consume us... anger, hurt, fear, frustration, guilt. SAY IT. Say, out loud... "I forgive myself for spending too much money at that store." or "I forgive Ellie for being sassy this morning." Get it? Even if you have to say it over and over for the same negative feelings... and remember, you don't forgive for the other person, we forgive to change OUR heart. It's a great way to get rid of negativity. seriously. i've tried to forgive before but, i didn't know how. i really think there is healing in WORDS. now, i make my kids say it. along with I'm sorry they say, "I forgive you Mom for getting rid of my play shoes." and, it changes their heart. LOVE THIS!!

-Write it down so you can think instead of remember... seriously. do you know how many things i can think of at the same time? A LOT! but, i don't need to. i cleaned off my little desk. i put a calendar there and started some permanent lists... to buy, to do, to make... as i cleaned out the kids' closet i took a minute to write down a list of what each kid needs... as i got rid of my favorite pink shirt with a stain on it, or my favorite black dresses that are just a bit too short, i wrote down a list of "things i want..." when i write these things down in an orderly place, my brain is free to think about other things. and... i don't just have random lists floating around... it's orderly and simple and i love it.

-Be STILL so you can hear. although this is last, it was actually first. we checked the INPUT around our home and decided it was too much. We needed more time to think and BE. So, we turned off the TV, banned movies, gameboys, computer games, etc. It's just a 30 day fast. a cleansing. i'm afraid that my children have forgotten how to play outside or ride their bikes or be creative... too much input... too little living... i don't miss it. even when i'm trying to clean and leah cries to watch a movie... do you know it is just as easy to sit her at the table with a place-mat and a container of play-doh, or a coloring book and a bowl of crayons, or on the couch with a stack of books, or turn on a Wee Sing tape and let her dance. seriously. she can entertain herself with those things just as long as she did watching a movie. Is Dora bad? nope. but for us, this month, it's just not best. my life is calmer, i can feel more and breathe easier without all the noise. love it. so, these are the things I'm working on today. life is good. now, i'm going to take a nap. then, i'm going to make bread and pizza dough for our Family Game Night tonight (it's replacing Family Movie Night.) Have a GREAT weekend!(sorry for the book... you knew i was just waiting to spew forth everything going on in my brain!)

August 24, 2009

boo hoo or YAHOO!!!

2009-2010 School year...
breakfast at home with the gang...
Ellie, first grade, Ms. Teague
anna, second grade, Mrs. Payne...
drew, 4th grade, Mrs. Alexander
jakob, 5th grade, Mrs. Kittley
so.. today was the end of their vacation and the beginning of mine. i love our school. i love their sweet teachers really, love them.... and, except for jakob, every one of my kids are in a class with a teacher who has had one of their siblings. it's so fun that they get to see just how similar and how different my kids are. this is going to be a GREAT year. and... i think i'll love the quiet life at home. next week. AFTER i'm finished playing catch-up. today was NOT restful, it was catch-up full. For family night Todd gave each of the kids Back to School blessings. They were so sweet. I take notes as he prays, and type them up so the kids can refer back to them throughout the year. I really want to start a "lesson's we're learning" binder where I can keep a record of the little ways that we see God's hand in our lives... starting with these blessings. It was a great way to start our new year. i have so much to tell you about my trip... it was GLORIOUS. seriously... why don't we do things like this more? I mean... you are NOT qualified to work as a mother unless you take at least one refresher course a year. :) And, although the classes i attended were amazing and inspiring and helpful... I'm certain that just having the evenings ALONE to pray and ponder and study and set goals and plan out my year... just this, has made all the difference. It's like I'm starting the year with a full tank. and, although this summer was lots of fun... i'm afraid by the end i was running on fumes. Trust me... I'm definitly home and in 5th gear. I'm loving my life... taking time to sing itsy bitsy spider and so ready for tomorrow. my advice... JUST DO IT. pretend your appendix has ruptured and you need to spend a weekend in the hospital... rent a room, be alone, and REST... because, if you don't... you may actually end up in the hospital with a burst appendix. so today was a welcome home and a go forth... both were necessary and great. life is really good. no?!

August 18, 2009

Lily Stands Up! (sort of)*

*Disclaimer: This is the professor's first attempt at blog posting. There will be no fancy font, picture editing, cute "..." or all words in lower case. Once blogmaster Jen is back in the house from Education Week, all of the cute, endearing Jen-ness will return. It looks like all it takes is a little motivation (aka, Loving Family action figures) and Lily will choose to stay in an upright position. Once she knew that her favorite toy was on top of the ottoman, she cried and struggled to pull herself up to no avail. Thanks to loving sisters she grabbed the prize and continued to stay standing for about 3 seconds--a new record! Stay tuned for more professor posts as Jen continually requests visual updates on all happenings great or small. I love you Schatz! :)

August 16, 2009

miss me...

see you in a week... i'm off to byu education week. it's one week full of enriching classes about parenting, scripture, the Savior, gardening, finding joy, etc.... excited seems too mild a word. i hope i come home full and rested. i hope todd has a great week here with the kiddos... miss me!

so grateful...

leah cried for 20 minutes when grandma and grandpa left. i did too... seriously, i love my in-laws. we had a rocky start, but the past 12 years have been good for us. before i had kids i would look at other moms and take notes on the kind of mom i wanted to be. now, i look at grandmas and take notes of the kind of mother-in-law i want to be... i'm grateful for the grand models that i have. as Mom and Dad Moss were pulling out of our driveway, we looked at our lawn... mowed, fertilized and sprayed for weeds we looked at our vacuum... handle securely attached we looked at our kids' room... holes all caulked we looked at the kids' bikes... tires filled, oiled and chains ready to ride bathroom door squeak free, a new fan for white noise, a box of red river in the pantry... the girls had smiles on their faces and mocha painted nails... and could quote every cute romance movie made in the last 10 years. lily makes funny grunting sounds every time she picks up a plastic animal. there is a sweet peace in our home... there is order where there was chaos... when i grow up, i want to be just like them... i'm so thankful that they made the trek south when they heard the professor was going to be out of town... love them. and, when they get old and immobile they have an open invitation to live in our guest suite...

August 15, 2009

fun in the sun...

grandma and grandpa moss came for a visit... SO FUN!! this is a little splash park in Brownfield... about 30 minutes from Lubbock. i think the kids are going to have raisin fingers and toes till October (we've been in the pool so much this summer!) All the big kids are super swimmers... Leah makes me laugh... she thinks she's big. With her little frog floaty she swims all around with the big kids... she jumps off the diving board and even goes down the water slides... Lily gets compliments on her tan wherever we go! She's a golden, glowing baby... and super easy to have on all of our adventures. As long as she can kick and play in the water, or sit with a snack on a towel, she is happy for hours at the pool. we LOVE the water. what a fun summer this has been. AND... it is especially fun when we have grandma and grandpa to share it with.

August 14, 2009

enjoying the climb...

I was laying in bed thinking and the girls were watching this music video... it seemed to say what i needed to hear the most. thanks miley... (and, i LOVE that her real name isn't Miley... that's just what her parents called her cause she was such a smiley baby... isn't that cute?!) so... here are the words that i loved...
There's always gonna be another mountain I'm always gonna wanna make it move Always gonna be an uphill battle Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose Ain't about how fast I get there Ain't about what's waiting on the other side It's the climb The struggles I'm facing The chances I'm taking Sometimes might knock me down But no, I'm not breaking I may not know it But these are the moments that I'm gonna remember most, yeah Just gotta keep going And I, I got to be strong Just keep pushing on Cause there's always gonna be another mountain I'm always gonna wanna make it move Always gonna be an uphill battle Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose Ain't about how fast I get there Ain't about what's waiting on the other side It's the climb!! Keep moving, keep climbing Keep the faith, baby It's all about the climb!!
I KNOW... life is good even though each one of us is climbing our own mountain. It's the journey not the arriving. I'm thankful for the times that I can look up and see the horizon. I'm thankful that I'm not climbing alone. I know that we are always loved and that "all these things shall give us experience and shall be for our good." Today. I'm thankful for the climb.

August 13, 2009


Isaac Mizrahi... that Target designer... says every girl should own a tube of RED lipstick. i don't know? what do you think? (when i tried it on for this self portrait, leah said, "Oh Mom look... you bleeding")

August 12, 2009


hey. thanks. i've been thinking a lot about friends lately and... i'm grateful for you. all of you. thanks for being a part of my life. cause, we all need lots of different kinds of friends. the family kind, the church kind, the neighborly kind, the same age kid kind, the smile at the store kind, the roll your eyes and laugh kind, the love across the miles kind, the kindred spirit kind, the same stage of life kind, the i used to be there kind and the someday i'll be there kind... the we must've been sisters in heaven kind, the you make me laugh kind, the i love you but you don't know me kind, the i want to be just like you kind, the talk to me while i clean toilets kind, the i love you cause you love my kids kind, the if we had more time together we'd be friends kind, the i read your blog and feel like we're friends even though i don't know what to say when my husband asks who you are kind... thanks. cause when i kneel down at the end of the day, i'm grateful for you and the big impact your little touch has had on my life.

August 11, 2009


the boys have gotten really great at cooking lunch... drew made these spaghetti hot dogs... jakob likes to make nested eggs... of course they are pros at mac n cheese, pb&j, ramen noodles and frozen corn dogs... oh, and can i forget the cinnamon toast? i love food i don't have to cook... most of the time!

i'm gonna miss this...

Summer is ending.

I can feel it in my bones. The slow, lazy days of summer are fading and my clock is getting faster. My calendar is filling. My kitchen table is covered with school supplies. I LOVE school supplies. I've begun to label my activities "this is the last time we will..." or "we really need to do this before..."

My closets are cluttered... i have piles that drive me batty... leah is ready for some one on one time... my kids are ready for structure. But, i've loved this summer. I'm ending the summer in awe of my brood. They're good kids. I like them. I like having them with me. I'm going to miss them.

No. I'm not a home school mama. I like sending them away. And, I like getting them back. I'm definitely a mama that loves the seasons. I love summer. and. I love fall. Fall is in the air and I'm ready to wear cardigans again. I'm ready for Tuesday folders and soccer practice and spelling words and the structure that school day brings...

But, when I hear them laughing in my trunk on the way home from the pool. When I hear their seat negotiations.... I call by the window... I call front middle... and leah, "I CALL CARSEAT." I know, I'm really gonna miss this.

August 08, 2009

my job...

Today the professor is in Chicago... he's at a conference and will be interviewing for jobs all across America. Today my thoughts and hopes and prayers are with him, and with those who will be interviewing him. In this day, in this economy, I don't envy him. We have a large brood for him to provide for. Today. I love my job. I'm grateful to be the one at home... cooking mac-n-cheese... cuddling... comforting... teaching... reading... in my jammies. I'm grateful I can head to the pool this afternoon... and enjoy the sunshine with happy kiddos. Nope. wouldn't rather be anywhere else. Someday I may join him in his executive world. But today, today, I love my job. and, I'm so thankful that he is doing what he is doing so i can do what i love. Thanks honey. Thanks for being there so i can be here. Thanks for worrying about money so i can worry about paint colors... Thanks for waking to an alarm clock so i can cuddle awake... Thanks for wearing a tie so i can own 10 pairs of flip flops. really. thanks. Good Luck. I love you and i'm with you. we're all with you...

August 07, 2009

our list...

ok. my time on the computer is up. i WAS going to spend the morning cleaning and the afternoon at the pool, but then ellie handed me this great list... so, here's our today. Ellie's List 1. Suimen (swimming) 2. Sckatene (skating) 3. Plaen owtsid (playing outside) 4. Blowen bubose (blowing bubbles) 5. Plaen a gam (playing a game) 6. Luch (lunch) 7. Pliloo fise (ooh... this is a good one, can you figure it out*) 8. Lrnen tim (learning time) 9. Drinr tim (dinner time) *Did you figure out #7? I'll put the answer in the comments after someone guesses right. Ohhh... a little blog quiz. How fun!

babies of mine...

i want to tell her to stop.
to stay my sweet, chunky, perfect baby. forever. my heart aches to keep her...
and yet... i love her cute little teefers...
(two teeth is my FAVORITE!)
i still remember when my little brother, Matthew, had only two teeth...
he left the cutest teeth marks in all of his soft blocks.

it's hard not to laugh when lily bites my finger as hard as she can and grimaces.
even though i know it won't be funny much longer.
she's learning attitude.
it's different. but, it's so funny.

she tries to tantrum when she doesn't get what she wants...
and we laugh at her efforts.
but, sometimes she wins-- especially with her siblings who spend the day trying to keep her laughing.
her cry isn't sad, it's sassy and crumple-nosed cute...

lily and leah are funny together...
leah is sweet and maternal,
but she is the only one that will whack lily on top of her head when she steals a toy.

everyone needs one sister who'll do that.
leah and lily,
they really play.
the peek a boo game,
the throw a toy game,
the yell and laugh game,
the bounce up and down and laugh game...
it's a sweet, sister dance that they do.
i know they'll be friends.

the big girls and the big boys play sweet with her too...
it's more the mama and papa in training game...
"say BaBA" they say as she yells at them to giver her bottle back to her...
"say UP... uuuuu PPPP" they say as she jumps forward into their outreached arms...
teasing, teaching, laughing, and play by play commentary...
"that was funny, did you see what lily did? i said say puuuuullleeeez and she said ppppp and threw her fork...
did you see that?"
"MOM!!! She's crawling, she's really crawling!!"
"I know, I saw it first yesterday."
"Uh uh, i just taught her that."
"Well, I taught her how to say UP. Didn't I mom? Lily, say UUUU PPP."
"Come here Lily, crawl to Ellie."
"Lily.... Lily.... want this book?"
Oh the joy a baby brings.

So, I want to keep her small...
but i love to see her grow.
We grow with her.

Is it possible to add to fullness?
My wedding night... my joy was full. I thought.
Having my first perfect baby... my heart was full... it was bursting.
then drew- daring, feeling, independant, experiencing life drew.
and anna- thoughtful, sensitive, orderly, maternal anna.
and ELLIE- adorable and exhausting and full of life, full of joy-Ellie.
and leah- my friend and companion, a smart, gentle soul, an old, younger sister. then baby lily...
Who can describe the fullness that Lily brings?

The stretching that comes with adding makes your fullness bigger.

and so, today i am full.
i want to say-- stop.
keep it here.
life is good.

but i know that tomorrow brings a fullness all it's own.
a new step, a new growth, a new joy.
so, my sweet lily... it's ok.
you can grow.
and all of us, we'll be watching, and cheering, and growing right along with you.

but today. i'm going to cherish every minute of the baby i still have left.
(and the 2 year old and the six year old, and the seven year old, and the nine year old, and the ten year old...) today.
i'll cherish my moments.

August 05, 2009


Anna- "Mom, what was the best day of your life?" Mom- "I don't know, how about you?" Anna- "The day we got the bunnies." sweet. i think tomorrow is going to be the best day of my life. how about you?

August 04, 2009

just me?

Today, I'm lonely. Isn't that funny? 6 kids a husband a bunny many who love me. I'm never alone... but today, i'm feelin' a bit lonely. (maybe i'll snap out of it if i try to spend a few minutes on the toilet... that seems like a great place for me to remember... I'm NOT alone!)

fun food...

I KNOW that I'm weird like this.... When I go to the grocery store I just LOVE to buy weird stuff and let my kids "EXPERIENCE" different foods. Thank Heaven for google so I can figure out how to cook or peel them. This week we tried Jicama and Plantains... Jicama is kinda a mix between apple and potato... Plantains, kinda like fried bananas... :) No, my kids don't scarf down the food. But, it's not about the food... it's about the experience. Someday they'll be able to say, "Yeah, I've eaten that."

August 01, 2009

coupon codes...

So... Anna wanted a messenger bag for her backpack this year. I found one for $15 that she loved at Children's Place. I LOVED the price. Plus, I found some cute jammies for lily. (Don't you all LOVE Children's Place jammies??) Anyway, before I pushed CHECKOUT, I opened another internet window and googled "childrens place coupon codes" and TAH DAH-- the code for 25% off. I LOVE THAT. So, just a tip, before you order ANYTHING online, look for a coupon code... I almost ALWAYS find them.
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