Tuesday, June 28, 2011


our anniversary is this weekend. i know this because facebook reminded me. 11 long years.... just kidding :) i know ten years is supposed to be the big one, but if you recall, theMr was just getting out of the hospital last year and was still using a walker! needless to say, there was little celebration and more focus on him learning to walk and being able to work again! so this year, we have a fabulous date planned and we'll (hopefully) enjoy it much more than last year... with no chance of getting pregnant!!!

i wanted to write this post for him. because he gets lots of laughs on this blog but at the end of the day, he's awesome :)

dear elijah,
can you believe we've been on this ride for eleven years? not to mention the five babies... i've thought hard about what i could give you for our anniversary. while i wish i could afford to get you a new trailer or designer sunglasses or even a new truck, i can't. i can't even offer a wife who's not moody or laundry that's always caught up or my wedding day body. all i have to give you is me! stretchmarks and moods and all! when i took those vows eleven years ago, i had no idea what i was agreeing to. i understand fully now... and i commit them to you for as long as i live...

i, theMrs, take you, theMr, to continue being my husband.
to have and to hold, even when i don't feel like it.
in sickness, health, and all the kids getting the stomach flu,
when there's extra money for pizza or when we're using change for iced coffee...
through good times, bad times and all the mundane in between...

i vow to always make your favorite dinners
to iron your t-shirts even though i think it's silly
to watch superhero movies and not criticize them (too much)
to wear more jewelry since you like that
to not delete your shows from the DVR to make room for mine
and to comment on your six pack every time you take your shirt off.

i will always be the president of your fan club and your biggest cheerleader.
i will love you when you are old and saggy and will probably be both before you are.
i promise to always dream big with you and to always believe it can happen.

this is our time now.
we've hit our stride.
but you still can't get a motorcycle.

love, affection and all the banana cream pie you can eat,

your adoring wife

Friday, June 24, 2011

flashback friday!

*Editor's note: I chose this repost as an encouragement to all the moms out there that i know are struggling. i wrote this a little over a year ago. there were many days i felt like i was sinking. can i tell you how relieved i am to read it now and see that my days look nothing like this now? not that i'm living the easy life now or anything, but just having kids one year older makes my life so much less intense. so this is for all my friends who are pregnant or have a new baby (& a toddler!!) i promise it gets easier :)
<3, Abby

i'm having one of those weeks no one tells you about before you have kids, especially five of them. you can read all the books and websites and magazines and no one will tell you. maybe because the future of the human race is dependant on not scaring women out of having children? i debated even blogging this because, honestly, alot of the mommy blogs i read are very hearts and rainbows. but real, day to day motherhood is not that way. there are moments of pure bliss sandwiched in between days of frustration, exhaustion and feelings of failure. we started the week with news that we have to purchase a new van (not welcome news!) followed by many, many days of a screaming baby and a terror of a toddler.
this baby, adorable as she is, is making me crazy. i don't know what's wrong with her. is it teeth? gas? schizophrenia? who can tell??? trust me, if i had any idea how to make it stop i would. add to that the fact that i spend every day from noon on alone with them and you get a very exhausted mother. then there's the little guy.

he may very well be the child who puts me over the edge for good. here's a typical scene in our house lately: i'm walking the screaming baby while three other kids are arguing/talking/singing/whining or otherwise demanding my attention. while this is happening, the little guy is getting a brand new bag of espresso out of the cupboard and pouring it in each of the burners on the stove. then he's pouring chocolate soy milk on all of that. when i tell him he's getting spanked for this? he laughs. it is a true miracle that child is still living. keep in mind that while i'm disciplining this little angel and cleaning up the mess, i'm still holding the screaming baby. in a typical evening i alone am responsible for cooking dinner, feeding five kids, cleaning up from dinner, facilitating the lunch packing, bathing five children, cutting a total of 100 nails (holy moly!), getting clothes out for morning, making sure homework and studying are done for three kids (this includes spelling words and scripture memorization for one child who is ADD) doing at least two loads of laundry a day, folding and putting away these loads, nursing a baby every three hours, and getting them all to bed by myself. notice that does not include the heavier cleaning needed or any kind of "quality time" with the kids such as reading to them or playing. people frequently ask me "how do you do it?" my reply is usually "how do you know i'm doing it well?" this is one of those weeks when i don't think i am! after a frustrating evening last night, i cried in the bathtub. and when i got out, i checked to make sure each little body was sufficiently covered up in our old, cold house. and as i kiss their little foreheads, i'm reminded that it's worth it. even on weeks like this.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

motherhood is a mission field

(this is amazing... i couldn't have said it any better!)

Motherhood is a Mission Field
Rachel Jankovic

There is a good old saying, perhaps only said by my Grandfather, that distance adds intrigue. It is certainly true — just think back to anything that has ever been distant from you that is now near. Your driver’s license. Marriage. Children. Things that used to seem so fascinating, but as they draw near become less mystical and more, well, real.

This same principle certainly applies to mission fields too. The closer you get to home, the less intriguing the work of sacrifice seems. As someone once said, “Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help Mom with the dishes.” When you are a mother at home with your children, the church is not clamoring for monthly ministry updates. When you talk to other believers, there is not any kind of awe about what you are sacrificing for the gospel. People are not pressing you for needs you might have, how they can pray for you. It does not feel intriguing, or glamorous. Your work is normal, because it is as close to home as you can possibly be. You have actually gone so far as to become home.

Home: The Headwaters of Mission

If you are a Christian woman who loves the Lord, the gospel is important to you. It is easy to become discouraged, thinking that the work you are doing does not matter much. If you were really doing something for Christ you would be out there, somewhere else, doing it. Even if you have a great perspective on your role in the kingdom, it is easy to lose sight of it in the mismatched socks, in the morning sickness, in the dirty dishes. It is easy to confuse intrigue with value, and begin viewing yourself as the least valuable part of the Church.

There are a number of ways in which mothers need to study their own roles, and begin to see them, not as boring and inconsequential, but as home, the headwaters of missions.

At the very heart of the gospel is sacrifice, and there is perhaps no occupation in the world so intrinsically sacrificial as motherhood. Motherhood is a wonderful opportunity to live the gospel. Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Motherhood provides you with an opportunity to lay down the things that you cannot keep on behalf of the people that you cannot lose. They are eternal souls, they are your children, they are your mission field.

Faith Makes the Small Offering Great

If you are like me, then you may be thinking “What did I ever give up for them? A desk job? Time at the gym? Extra spending money? My twenty- year- old figure? Some sleep?” Doesn’t seem like much when you put it next to the work of some of the great missionaries, people who gave their lives for the gospel.

Think about the feeding of the five thousand when the disciples went out and rounded up the food that was available. It wasn’t much. Some loaves. Some fish. Think of some woman pulling her fish out and handing it to one of the disciples. That had to have felt like a small offering. But the important thing about those loaves and those fishes was not how big they were when they were given, it was about whose hands they were given into. In the hands of the Lord, that offering was sufficient. It was more than sufficient. There were leftovers. Given in faith, even a small offering becomes great.

Look at your children in faith, and see how many people will be ministered to by your ministering to them. How many people will your children know in their lives? How many grandchildren are represented in the faces around your table now?

Gain What You Cannot Lose in Them

So, if mothers are strategically situated to impact missions so greatly, why do we see so little coming from it? I think the answer to this is quite simple: sin. Discontent, pettiness, selfishness, resentment. Christians often feel like the right thing to do is to be ashamed about what we have. We hear that quote of Jim Elliot’s and think that we ought to sell our homes and move to some place where they need the gospel.

But I’d like to challenge you to look at it differently. Giving up what you cannot keep does not mean giving up your home, or your job so you can go serve somewhere else. It is giving up yourself. Lay yourself down. Sacrifice yourself here, now. Cheerfully wipe the nose for the fiftieth time today. Make dinner again for the people who don’t like the green beans. Laugh when your plans are thwarted by a vomiting child. Lay yourself down for the people here with you, the people who annoy you, the people who get in your way, the people who take up so much of your time that you can’t read anymore. Rejoice in them. Sacrifice for them. Gain that which you cannot lose in them.

It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive.

God loves the little offerings. Given in faith, that plate of PB&J’s will feed thousands. Given in faith, those presents on Christmas morning will bring delight to more children than you can count. Offered with thankfulness, your work at home is only the beginning. Your laundry pile, selflessly tackled daily, will be used in the hands of God to clothe many. Do not think that your work does not matter. In God’s hands, it will be broken, and broken, and broken again, until all who have need of it have eaten and are satisfied. And even then, there will be leftovers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

trip to the zoo

we bought a zoo membership this year.

it was esme's first time. she was a big fan.

we took the orangutan boat ride. also a big hit.

the aquarium was her favorite. when she saw the fish she turned and looked at me and said "wow"

i was afraid my kids would be the first ones to jump out of the boat into the monkey area!

leave it to esme to be the only kid to now cooperate with a picture. she doesn't cooperate with anything that wasn't her idea!

it was a good day :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

how to tick off your readers...

let's get back to laughing... what better way than to laugh at yourself!!

top ten ways to tick off your readers!

10. write a post about how they spend their money. throw in the insinuation that they will have to answer to the Big Guy for those choices!

9. write about potty training. who knew people had such sensitive feelings about potty training?

8. a post about discipline is always a sure fire way to get anger. every mom thinks she's doing it the right way. tell them that's not how you think it should be done and look out. whew!

7. any post written tongue in cheek. there will always be someone who doesn't get your humor/sarcasm. it's hard to communicate that in writing.

6. talk about politics. no explanation necessary.

5. write a list of the kinds of moms who drive you crazy. that one is bound to bring out the anger...

4. discussing facebook NoNo's

3. post about your love of twilight. often.

2. the minivan nazis.

1. you can't win em all. some posts will be one reader's favorite while another is a furious. it's the name of the game. i figure if i'm not occasionally ruffling a few feathers, i'm not really saying anything!

p.s. stay tuned... a cool new feature coming in the next few days!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

where your treasure lies....

*disclaimer: this post is written to my christian readers. all are welcome to read it, but if you are not a christian, it doesn't apply to you!

*disclaimer part 2: this may offend you! i'm open to any and all discussion. fire away!

i've debated talking about this for awhile. mainly because i think it will make people angry (what's new?). however, it needs to be said. or at least, i need to say it. the topic i'm alluding to is where our values lie. what things are important to us. "us" being the body of Christ. the Bible tells us that where our treasure lies, there also our heart will lie. so i ask you, where does your treasure lie? your career? your children? your clothes? a sports team? your bank account? now most of us would say "of course not! my treasure is Jesus!"... but does your life reflect that? or at the end of the day do you end up looking like everyone else?

specifically, the scripture says this: Matthew 6:19 "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy and thieves do not break in and steal. where your treasure is, there the desire of you heart will be also. "

so again, i ask, what are your treasures? here's what's bothering me: i look around at a lot of the christians i know and on the surface they look like everyone else. they drive really nice cars. they live in big houses in wonderful neighborhoods. their kids wear pricey clothes and attend the best schools. they throw their money in the offering basket on sunday and that's the extent of their sacrifice for the Lord. they look like everybody else in this world. their toiling away at the rat race and they're winning! they make good money and have a 401k and their kids will never have to wear clothes from walmart. so is church attendance enough to separate them from their non-church attending neighbors? obviously i'm making a generalization. i know lots of people who have a heart for the Lord, who love Him dearly and truly. as long as they don't have to give up too much of their comfortable lifestyle in the process. they can't afford to go on a mission trip or stay home with their kids or be in ministry because they don't want to give up their standard of living to do so. they will tell you all day about the things they can't afford but don't worry, they'll never miss paying their $125 cable bill or their very large car payment. what would happen if all the christians lived in the "good" neighborhoods? what i wonder is what would this world look like if everyone who loved Jesus sacrificed their own creature comforts and put all of their treasure towards reaching the lost? towards feeding the poor? towards building churches? how would that change the face of this earth?

i'm not saying that all christians should be poor. i'm not saying that things like a nice car or home are bad, in and of themselves. what i'm saying is how much are you sacrificing for Jesus? and i don't mean sacrificing like putting some canned goods in the bin for the food pantry or serving in the nursery. i mean painful, stretching sacrifice. sacrifice that you can only stomach through faith. sacrifice that hurts. stepping out of your race for the american dream and stepping in to path set forth for you from the Lord. maybe that's giving up your expensive house to live in a lesser neighborhood and stay home with your children. maybe that's sacrificing vacations and nights out to adopt a family-less child. maybe it's controlling your spending in order to get out of debt and go into ministry. maybe it's just cutting out all your eating out each month and giving that money away. i don't know what your personal sacrifice is supposed to be. that's between you and the Lord. what i do know is that the majority of american christians i know are living a really comfortable lifestyle and i can't help but wonder if we're missing it? if on the glorious day, when we stand before our Lord, we will feel confident to say "I didn't do much for the poor Lord, but i never missed a cable bill"

a little problem i have...

we need to have a talk.

there's something i have to tell you.

i know this is going to come as a bit of surprise...

i'm a little tiny bit of a control freak.
i know, you're floored by this shocking information. you never would've guessed. but alas, it's true. i'm working on it though. in fact, until recently i thought i had made huge strides in this area! i let my kids put their laundry in whatever drawer they want now! i almost never re-mop the floor when they finish. and i haven't nagged theMr about what he feeds the kids in months! yet lately, i've realized that may not be true... like the other day when theMr very tentatively asked if he could please eat the piece of chicken in the fridge. i'm so controlling that people are afraid to eat leftovers? or when my son tried to negotiate how many ice cubes he could have in his ice water. um, that's totally normal right? to monitor the number of ice cubes your children use? in my defense, he has a habit of using the entire tray and then putting it back in the freezer empty. ok, i'm justifying. but in my defense, my mom is a control freak. i totally got it from her. ok, that's not really fair either. but in my defense, i just know better than all of these people!!! i can't help it if my way is the right way. you just have to play the cards you're dealt! *sigh* can you see how much progress i've made?

Friday, June 10, 2011

blah blah blah part 2

is anyone else ready for the kids to head back to school yet? anyone?? as we wind up week one of summer vacay i'm just about over it already. i love these kids. don't get me wrong. i adore these kids. but if one person fights about whether we're watching phineas and ferb or little einsteins, mama is gonna start drinking. it doesn't help that the weather is just not cooperating with our plans. it's either blistering hot with 100% humidity or a tornado. we've now canceled our zoo plans four times. these kids are gonna revolt if they are not at the zoo in the next five days. they are going to tie me to the luggage rack of the van and take themselves there. i can't blame them. the first day we planned to go, we realized it was high of 97 that day. uh, no thank you. that may not be quite as detrimental if not for the fact that we don't have a/c in our van. you cannot visit the zoo in those temps only to drive an hour home with no a/c. miserable. the next scheduled trip was rained out. then we were planning to go this monday (just me and the kids, fun, huh?) but wouldn't you know that my dear friend who i'm a doula for went into labor sunday night! (specifically? her water broke in the middle of her son's birthday party... which was consequently in the middle of my son's birthday party too!) so i got very little sleep on sunday night. not quite the best mood for taking five kids to the zoo alone. soooo.... we rescheduled for tomorrow. do you know what the forecast looks like for tomorrow? storms. all day. the little guy is gonna lose his marbles if he doesn't see some "real monkeys and goats" soon. (i have no idea why he wants to see goats there. he wants what he wants!) sunday the weather looks perfect, however, we have three other events that day. three. i'm not sure what we're gonna do. play it by ear i suppose. cause it's not like there's any planning involved with taking a family our size to the zoo for the day!

moving on... my kids figured out how to turn on the hose. while you're probably thinking "that's not rocket science!" let me explain. last summer, theMr dismatled the the handle since they wouldn't stop turning the hose on and spraying each other at the most inopportune times. but alas, they've outsmarted us again. world domination is what these kids are shooting for...

last night i was lecturing the bean about being passive aggressive. (and telling her not to be!) the little guy walks up, all serious, and says "and never put toothpaste on your eyes" and walks away. deep words of wisdom from a four year old, lol

the summers are always a catch 22 for us. the kids are home, the schedule is more relaxed, however it's the busiest work season for theMr. we don't see much of him. he's gone right now from about 6am-9p during the week. It makes for very long days for both him and i! it definitely makes me even more thankful for our weekly date night. i think without it we may go a month without actually having a conversation!

i think that's all i have to ramble about today. what's going on with you?

Thursday, June 9, 2011


i changed a few of my sidebar photos today. specifically, esme's. i replaced the one of her having a fit (because she was being asked to do something she doesn't like... cooperate) with one of her grinning (because she was doing something she's not allowed to do!) she's, how do i put it, multi-faceted! you really never know what side you may get with her, at any given moment!

she may be happy because she has stolen her dad's sunglasses...

or because she has a snack (only if you give her the snack she wants, otherwise, watch out!)

she may smile and lean in to give uncle adam a kiss...

only to be furious two minutes later at his nerve to try and get her picture!

she is thrilled with the chance to climb into a lovely planter downtown...

to steal their american flag!

and don't get me started on the torture that is the sprinkler!

you just never really know what you're gonna get with this girl..

other than cute :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

10 things i can't live without

my dishwasher has been broken for two days. this is dire folks. i'm no "roughing it" kinda girl. i have five kids. i need things to run as smoothly as possible around here! in honor of this crisis, i bring you the top ten things i can't live without...

10. texting. i could actually live without being able to make a phone call before no texting. i'm lazy. it's easy. sue me.

9. a cd player in every area of my house. what can i say? i love music. and i pretty much need to be listening to it all the time. it keeps me sane. (well, as sane as i'm capable of being!) on a side note: can you believe a person who loves music so much doesn't own an MP3 player? yeah, that would be because i dropped mine in the toilet about six months ago :(

8. google. it is my source for everything. don't believe me? in the past month i've googled everything from "inner diagram of a dishwasher" (duh) to "v-bac with breech presentation" to "itchy white bumps on feet". i find out everything from google. cause everyone knows that if it's on the internet it's true!

7. a fan blowing directly on me when i sleep. no matter what the weather, i have to have a fan. even in the dead of winter, i'm hot when i sleep. maybe it's hormones, maybe it's my inner "B" coming out while i sleep. either way, i need my fan!

6. some sort of chocolate, every single night. i've tried to quit, i swear. but i just can't! i've headed back to the gym this week, determined to finally lose this weight, but i still have to have my chocolate. i just have to.

5. my DVR. oh how i love thee, let me count the ways...

4. my favorite sweatpants. they are a men's size large, cut off on the bottom, covered in paint stains, and downright hideous. they are the most comfortable things in the world. theMr is most likely plotting how to dispose of them as we speak.

3. my dishwasher, of course! seven people produce a lot of dishes. i hate washing dishes. hate it. i spent most of my early years without one and i hope to never have to again!

2. my keurig. i know, i know, i talk about that stinkin coffee pot all the time. but i love it so much i can't help it! there is nothing better than a fresh cup of coffee whenever you want it!

1. air conditioning! it was 92 degrees here today. i honestly don't know how people manage to get by without it. it's bad enough that we don't have it in our van. an overheated mama is a very grumpy one!

what can you not live without?

Friday, June 3, 2011

yada yada yada

i have a lot of random things floating through my head today... we'll just go with it.

i was reading a blog earlier where she was writing about an impromptu weekend getaway their family recently took. i cannot even wrap my brain around an "impromptu" getaway. do you know how much preparation it takes me to simply go to the grocery? the amount of forethought and packing required to take this family away for an entire weekend is anything but impromptu. i wonder if i'll ever have a life where that kind of thing is possible?

my middle child graduated kindergarten this week. i've never been the mom that cries and i always feel guilty for it. all the other moms are a mess and i got nothin. do they love their kids more than me? am i just emotionally stunted? is it because this is my third child to graduate from kindergarten? maybe when it's my last i'll cry?

notice how red her face is? yeah, the next morning we found out she had strep!
(even though my mom, the school nurse, said that's not what a strep rash looks like!)

last week was our town's huge memorial day parade. this is a big tradition in my family. we all go and make a full breakfast at the parade. pretty much all of our traditions involve attaching meals to significant dates. we like to eat. what can i say?

miss esme is finally moving out of our room this weekend! hallelujah! normally it would've happened way sooner but this house is just too small. she is moving in with the two other girls. she goes to bed at 7pm so we'll see how it goes. i'm just looking forward to never sharing my room with a baby again!

that's it for now. i know, it was totally worth the time you spent reading.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

pearls of wisdom...

when you get to the ripe old age of 33, you learn a few things along the way. of course, people are always expecting me to impart wisdom to them that i've picked up from my many, many years on this earth. equally of course, i'd like to share a few of these gems with you, my dear anonymous internet readers. because what good is all of this knowledge if i don't share it with the ones i (don't) know?

~ when you buy a package of fudge dipped oreos, it's a good idea to tell your husband for accountability. otherwise, you just may eat the whole package with no one the wiser.

~ the phrase "there is no safe sex but no sex" is not only a catchy slogan, it's 100% true. trust me.

~ you can tell a lot about a young girl's relationship with her father by the way she's dressed.

~ your haters really can be your motivators!

~ toddlers covered in baby oil will not come clean with soap.

~ you can lead a husband to the trash, but you can't make him take it out.

~ i have the right to have opinions about everything, i do not have the right to always share them.

~sometimes in marriage it is better to act the way you want to feel as opposed to the way you do.

~your mother is the person who knew you before you knew yourself. be nice to her.

~ never judge a book by the movie made about it.

~ never judge a woman by the type of music she listens to.

~ always tell a pregnant woman she looks great. that is the only acceptable comment on her appearance.

~when looking for a husband, choose a man who is strong enough to let you be yourself.

~ water will fix almost any grumpy toddler. just throw em in the bath. they'll be happy in seconds.

~ true friends will tell you the truth even when it's the last thing you want to hear. hang on to them.

~fashions come and go, but a tattoo is forever. remember that, lady at walmart with the giant winnie the poo on her chest.

~ everyone has a story, you just have to be quiet long enough for them to tell it.

~ and lastly, take everything you read on this blog with a grain of salt. i'm just a regular mom who doesn't really know anything. this is purely for entertainment :)