Superbowl 2014!

Five years ago I started this blog and one of my first posts was about watching the Superbowl. (Wow, five years!? And still I haven’t updated the calves’ photos on the side bar. Nor have I added #6. Note to self. Take care of this in my spare time. Spare time? What’s that?)

Anyway this year is no exception. The mood here inside Moose House here is electric. Snacks are (mostly) prepared. Calves have asked this morning no less than 74 times “When is the Superbowl?” (Answer: Three hours! Two and a half! Two and a quarter! GO PLAY IN YOUR ROOM!)

I’m especially excited about this year. Last year I spent Superbowl Sunday out of state with my youngest while she was in the NICU. The Bull and the kids were at home. It was hard for us to be separated for so long. And it is GOOD to be home with my family all together today!

We will be eating well, of course. This is one of our main Superbowl activities. Aside from the game, of course.

This is one of our all time faves. This year I’m making it a little milder for the Calves and me to enjoy. (The Bull likes really spicy foods!)

Two new recipes to try this year: a slight substitute for our old standby.  And a new soup to try. The Bull doesn’t really like soup, so when he requests one I try to oblige. I’m going to make it less spicy though (I hope!)

One thing VERY different for us this year is that I’m serving some dairy-free alternatives to snacks.  Calf #1 has had to avoid dairy for the past few months. (It started a year and a half ago but we then took a hiatus.) He hates it. I hate it. But I’m trying to make life as easy for him, and really DF is better than gluten free. . . .

Anyway, some families will just opt to go completely dairy free but that doesn’t work for us. So I made him a bacon ranch dip (made with plain ol’ mayo, dairy free cream cheese, and dairy free “sour cream.” It’s actually pretty tasty. I’m also making two pots of the soup, one DF (using rice milk) , one regular. We’ll see how it works.

Aside from eating, I’ll spend my time working on this project. I started it for The Bull almost two years ago. Then I had to put it aside while I started a baby afghan. It’s taken a while to get back to it. I’m changing the colors slightly to make it look more like an M1 Abrams (a blast from his past.)

I must admit that while I will (mostly) follow the game, I am more interested in the commercials. I have seen a few of the preview commercials and the one that strikes my heart hardest this year is the Duracell commercial. I guess one of the players is deaf? Wow!

Why? She is at risk for losing her hearing because of some of the extreme life-saving measures taken a year ago. . . so I am noticing all sorts of things about hearing loss, deafness, sign language, etc. (So far she’s doing fine! She LOVES music and is talking much better than some of her siblings at this age. And we are monitoring her hearing every 6 months just in case.)

Well, I’d best get back to the kitchen to finish snacks. Hope ya’all enjoy the game!

Superbowl, Three Years Later

Yup, another year, another Superbowl.  Great memories.  I ♥ football.

OK, sorry, not really.  This year, once again, I watched for the commercials.

And the food.

And hanging out with my friends.

(No crocheting this time, I was kinda busy.)

And the little people that joined us last time?  They are bigger now. (I really need to update the blog. . .)  And they had their friends too.

And afterwards The Bull and I had to rent a certain video. . . I don’t think I’d ever seen a certain movie in its entirety.  Well. . . . I can’t say that anymore.

And ya know what? It is fun to think of ditching reality/ real life for a day and living it up.

Let’s do that sometime, ok friend?  :)

I’m In!

It’s been a rough day.

A difficult, less-than-adequate night’s sleep combined with this vague feeling that I am constantly, continually pouring myself out for others without being replenished.

A sweet babe, about eight weeks old already, is asleep on my lap right now.  She has needed much of her mama today and my sleep-starved brain isn’t capable of multitasking.

Multitasking is essential with four little ones, ya know?

(I know this is all normal and part of the newborn package and will not last forever!)

But I’m excited tonight about thisAnn writes one of my favorite blogs and I am looking forward to receiving my book and starting in on it!  I’ve already read the first chapter and it is amazing.  Kleenex needed.

Want to come along for the ride?  There’s still time to join us.

This Is The End . . .

. . . of the year.  Goodbye 2010.  Hello 2011!  Please be good to us, I beg of you!!

Remember this commercial . . . .

Or this one?

We loved these, though I preferred the ballet one. :)

This week I have read two blog postings of hope and ideas and words for 2011 and I liked both of them.  So I’m going to do my own Miller Lite-type combining.  If that’s ok and not a copyright infringement, anyway.  ;)

From the first, I get these words of wisdom:

I desecrate now when I dismiss it in my push for the next. There are snowflakes sticking to the glass of the window.Right there at the table’s edge I can see them clustering together, piling, melding on the pane. I almost missed it.

I miss living this moment because my head’s already moved into the next moment — the one that isn’t even here yet — and when I am not in this moment but trying to shove into a moment that doesn’t even exist — I miss out on living at all. I may bodily be in this space but I am not even alive.

Could I be walking through the years but not even be alive?

She goes on to talk about the pushing ahead to fear, the worry of what is to come.  Staying grounded in the here helps one to enjoy the moment and not get too upset about the what is to come.  Or should I say, what may be to come?

It strikes me that our LORD calls Himself  “I AM,” not “I WILL BE.”

(Nor does He call Himself “I WAS,” but that is somewhere I am not yet willing to go. . . the regrets and pain of the past have been huge for me and I can’t yet deal  with many of these.)

And He knows how much I am filled with fear over what may happen.  I spend far too much time planning and fearing the future.  I find myself miserable and afraid over things that,  honestly, may never happen.

On another level, I spend much time trying to get to the future.  There are so many items on the “to do” list that the loved ones often get pushed aside.  Sadly, these little people with whom I’ve been blessed, the very ones for whom I am often doing the “to do” list, are the ones who suffer.

No I can’t play a game with you, I am washing the dishes and making dinner.

No I can’t read you a book, I have to get the laundry into the washer.

No I can’t help with your chores, I am busy with my own chores.

No I can’t make you cocoa or play Legos with you or hug you or take the time to listen to your stories. I am too busy.

Sad, so terribly sad.  Calf #5 may be the one to teach me what I already know and have preached for nearly a decade.  These children grow up so quickly that I don’t want to miss a moment of their young lives.  But I somehow find myself missing their milestones all the time.  All three of the older calves first turned from their tummy to their back at a few months of age–and each time I was in the kitchen when it happened!

I don’t want to wait until tomorrow to start this.  Today I helped #3 put the silverware away.  This was her chore for the day and really, how hard can it be to put 50 pieces of flatware into the drawer?  And yet, she’s only three and a half.  Until a few weeks ago she didn’t know what “silverware” was, so when I asked her to put the silverware away she started stacking up the children’s plastic cups.

It took maybe two or three minutes of my time to help her.  I had other things I needed to do–feed the baby, eat my own breakfast, take a shower.  But I made myself stop and work with her.  I like to think that it helped her more than just getting the spoons and forks and knives to their proper places, that working together with her mama and not feeling the loneliness and despair of having to do something beyond her abilities all by her small self was good.

Two minutes.

The second post offers a prayer, and one little line of it stood out to me.

You’ve gone to measurable lengths in the last year to show me how the enemy of my soul operates in one specific area: he can’t block You from blessing Your children so he tries to block Your children from enjoying it.

Gulp.

See why I tacked this one with the first?  I get so caught up in the what is next that the now disappears.  And I rarely enjoy the blessing of now because I’m stuck on the difficulties of life.

We have had many good, difficult, rough times these past few years.  Lots of change, lots of stress, lots of hard things.

I’m learning, much like others who have gone before me, that the joy and pain of life is linked.  Rarely do we have one without the other.

(I’ve not yet read that book, by the way; though I do intend to. . . someday. . .)

One way I’ve learned to cope with the hard times of life is to cling to the promises given over and over in the Bible:  Despite our difficulties, trials, fires, and hard times the LORD is with us.

It’s taken me some time to realize exactly why this helps.  It was only cemented in my mind this week after reading this blog post.  It’s not that His presence takes away the hard times.  It doesn’t necessarily make them easier for us to deal with.  But knowing that He is with us, with me, is proof that He has not abandoned me.  The bad things in life are not happening because He has gone, is unhappy with me, doesn’t love me.  This is life and sometimes it’s not very pretty.

(So I guess, technically, that’s three blog postings not just two.  :D  )

I never cared for new year’s resolutions, I thought it was a clever disguise for my mom to try to convince us to fight less and behave better.  Besides, they are too easily broken and then what do you do? give up till the next year?  But I want to keep this thought in my mind.  Maybe I’ll stick it on the mirror.

When hard times come,
. . . because they will come. . .
I want to remember that He is near me.
He has not abandoned me and He still loves me,
no matter what is happening and how I feel.
I want to remember to look past the hard times to see the joy in them.
I don’t want to miss it.
And I want to do this where I am today,
here and now.

An observation

(Written 15 February 2010, then forgotten; found, edited, and published 31 December 2010.)

It was just a few minutes before bedtime but the children were clamoring for a movie.  So Mama popped in a vhs of short stories, intending to allow them to view one of these stories.  The children knew they would not be able to watch all of them, but the littlest did not understand all of this.

When the chosen segment had concluded the biggest brother jumped up and turned off the tv, doing his part to get ready for bed.

And littlest burst into tears and went boneless.  Her brothers busied themselves with getting themselves into bed, but she would not hear of it.

And all at once, I understood.  Her reaction, yes; but my grief, a bit, maybe?

It’s as if my Father has told me that I cannot watch the movie right now.  And I, not understanding His graciousness of allowing me to watch only one trimester, fuss and cry and carry on.

Indeed, I tried to hold and comfort and console my little one but she would not have any of it.  So focused on the movie she didn’t get to see, she wouldn’t come to me for love, didn’t hear me telling her I love you, but no more movie–it is time for bed.

After she had calmed and gone to bed, I read a blog of a woman who understands life-turned-upside-down grief.  Cancer, ugly and serious, discovered before her son was born.

Tonight, she wrote:

I guess the picture is that our opponents are always larger than we can handle.   I’m sure that’s how our enemy the devil likes to play it, make our battle big enough to totally overwhelm us.   I guess in some ways he’s as silly as Kate, not seeing the obvious outcome to getting out of bed when Mommy is sitting in the corner.  Doesn’t he see how Almighty God uses his strategy against him?   If we are just wise enough to see that we can’t fight it and run for refuge… we have such promises… assurance that these trials will strengthen and refine us.   The very thing sent to destroy us is used for our blessing.  Like Jacob wrestling the angel, blessed by his attacker.

I mentioned running for refuge, and I’m learning a new lesson… that sometimes there is no refuge in sight.   It never shows up.   The battle comes, and goes, and it seems that the reinforcements were never sent.   I guess that’s where Nathaniel and I have been the last  while.   I think before cancer I glibly thought that there was always a hero’s rescue before things got too dark.   Now I firmly believe that there are things that cannot be reconciled this side of heaven.  It doesn’t make God less the hero, it just reaffirms what I always knew, that His ways are not mine, but I WOULD choose them if I could see from His perspective.

“There are things that cannot be reconciled this side of heaven.” Sends shivers up my spine.  This is not a wealth and prosperity gospel teaching.  This is a deep-in-the-trenches-of-terror understanding.

Wow.

I don’t understand why our gracious LORD only allowed us to have only 16 weeks with our son, but I can trust that His reason was good and for our benefit and blessing.

Ugh!

This morning I learned that a woman whose blog I follow has recently miscarried with twins!!!  Such heartbreaking news!!

If you have a few minutes, please stop over and say Hi to Nichole.

It’s Tuesday . . .

And Tuesday (the day of the week) reminds me of Tuesday.

This is Tuesday:

Tuesday is the twin sister of Piper. The younger sister of Axel and Spencer. The daughter of Charlie and Jess.  A granddaughter and niece and cousin.

In July 2008 she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer.  They fought and fought and fought.  Hospitals and chemotherapy and CT scans and surgery and all sorts of stuff I can’t even pronounce or imagine.

She was brave, a fighter, a strong little girl.  But the lousy cancer was stronger and in January 2009, at home with her family, Tuesday died.

You can go here, to her family’s blog, to read more of her story.  There is also a short, sweet video there you can watch.

You can also go here, to the website her parents are starting.  They hope it will be up by Sunday, which will be Jess’ second Mother’s day without Tuesday.  This will be a place where families who are affected by pediatric cancer can find support.

But more than anything I’d like you to go here.  Some of Tuesday’s friends have rallied this week to raise money for families who are living with pediatric cancers (via http://www.whatchagonnado.org) and it would be wonderful if you would consider helping.  This week, dozens of blogs have rallied together to auction off neat and fun items and a donation of $1 (for most) gives you a chance at them.

I don’t really like the idea of children dying, but it is a sad reality of our world.  And we can do something to help families who live with this reality.

(* photo from here.)

It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To. . .

The giveaway is now over!  Congrats, Denise!

OK, sing it with me: Happy blogoversary to me, happy blogoversary to me, happy blogoversary to meeeeeeee, happy blogoversary to me!!

Balloons!  Noise makers!  What a hoot.  Thank you, thank you very much!!  You know how to celebrate with a gal!  Even if it is all in my head.  ;)

It’s been a year now since I started this here blog and I thought we could take a moment to review the past year briefly.

We started 2009 with sad news that a little girl named Tuesday, for whom our family had been praying for several months, had passed away from neuroblastoma.  Such a rare cancer . . . certainly not the outcome for which we had been hoping.  (Later in 2009, her family started on an RV tour of the US to raise awareness of pediatric cancers.) (Please go to Debi’s blog and leave a comment, she is donating $1 for each for pediatric cancer research!)

Not quite two weeks later, we heard of the death of another baby from the same rare cancer!!  Absolutely heartbreaking.  (A happy update to their family: just over two weeks ago they gave birth to a little boy, Levi!  While he brings them great joy, they also are still mourning for their dear little girl, Cora; it is a bittersweet time for them right now.)

February and March also brought us a bit of excitement in the form of our little volcanic friend that threatened to make life messy for us for a few months, but basically blew over without much damage.

There was another little baby, Stellan, and his heart.  Dear LORD, how we prayed for that boy!!  Several times in 2009 he was hospitalized for SVT, a potentially deadly heart condition.  (A thrilling update is that his latest surgery in October after his first birthday destroyed the extra node that was causing his SVT and today he is a healthy, happy little boy.)

March brought more sad news, that my dear sister-in-law, Mel, had endometrial cancer.  After a summer of chemo and autumn of radiation, we received very exciting news in December that they had done their job!  She is now a cancer survivor.  Thank You, LORD!

We survived chicken pox and thankfully, it really wasn’t too bad for the little calves.  We’ve done some school work.  (Actually, we’ve done lots, I just haven’t blogged about it much.)

I got an award and a button and played tag.  We went on a vacation.  And who could forget the hunting trip??

The happiest and saddest events of our year, interestingly enough, were related.  We found out in July that I was pregnant.  After several weeks of debilitating all-day nausea, I had just begun to get back on my feet.  And then . . . in October we miscarried.  This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced.  Despite only having him with us for about four months, our baby boy Shelomith has been a very big part of our year (and no, I can’t even type that sentence without tearing up.)

Along the way we’ve had some good times.  We’ve relived sweet memories through Baby Picture Sunday and Wordless Wednesday, had a bit of a reality check with Not Me! Monday, and “set our minds on things above” with Thankful Thursday, Multitude Monday, and (a brand new one to me) Walking With You.

I’ve gotten meals organized with Meal Plan Monday and even blogged about housework with Tackle It Tuesday (oh, the depths to which we have fallen!!)

It has been a wild ride, hasn’t it?!

When I started this blog last year, was hoping to be able to connect with people, make new friends.  And I cherish the new connections I have made with folks from Montana and Idaho to Illinois and Pennsylvania and even clear across the world to Australia.   I’m so glad to have had a chance to connect with some sweet, caring people.  And there has been an unexpected benefit to participating in the memes:  somehow, having that little bit of accountability has helped me organize life and household.

As I look ahead to the coming year, I am both excited and afraid.  Excited, because of all the new possibilities!  There are plans to be made and goals to be reached!!  Afraid, because our world view now includes things such as cancer and childhood death and pregnancy loss.  I am grateful for the love, support, and encouragement to continue to cling to the LORD I’ve received from you, my friends.

So we thought we’d give a little back. One of the things that has been on my heart for some time is to find a way to honor our little boy, Shelomith.  we’ve been thinking about this for some time and finally (literally, this evening!) decided to donate in his name to help the children in Haiti through Compassion International.  I’m sure you’ve heard about the horrible situation after last week’s earthquake in Haiti; it is astounding to me how destitute the people are.

As we were discussing this over dinner tonight, Calf #1 said that he wanted to help, too.  He’s been saving up for some cool Star Wars Legos but he thinks it would be better to use his money to help kids in Haiti.  :)  Calf #3, who has been known to say often these days “’bout me?” (meaning “What about me?”) also wanted to pitch in.  “Me too!”  she said. And that makes their mama’s heart swell with joy.

‘Bout you?  Would you please consider donating with us?  There are many reputable organizations who are working in Haiti; here is a list from Charity Navigator.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have much to give.  If we all put our $5 or $10 or $50 together, it really does add up.  You can also leave a comment on Angie’s blog or on Kelly’s blog and they are adding in money for each comment.

And, oh yes, I want to give you something too. Maybe you, anyway, if you are the one whose name is picked!  I am giving away a box of some of my favorite purple things.  The box contains:

  • one bottle of Olay Quench body lotion
  • three hand made* metallic purple note cards “imagine,” “believe,” and “dream”
  • five Home Inspirations pomegranate mango tea light candles
  • six packets of Bigelow Pomegranate Pizzazz herbal tea

(do i need a disclaimer? approximate retail value is $15 and I bought this all myself for this contest)

*handmade = I bought stickers and cards and stuck the stickers on the cards.   :)

So there it is, my blogoversary gift to you!

To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling how you met me or found this blog.

I will use random.org to pick a name from all those comments sometime on January 27th.

Moosey Win!

I won the contest, 50580 words!!!, but the novel isn’t done yet.  Dear me.  I have a new hobby.  Sorry, moosey honey baby!  ;)

(It is a good thing, right?)

I suppose now I’ll need to finish this monster. I don’t know what I’ll do with it from here.  I do have a spare drawer that needs to be filled.  ;)

It’s Time To Pray!! Again!!

UPDATED!!!  Glorious, gracious God Who has given us marvelous gifts!  Stellan has come through surgery and is doing . . . great!

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

As I write this, baby Stellan has just gone in for his ablation.

He’s just had his first birthday.  Sadly, the actual day was spent in the hospital in his home state.  Because of how quickly he got sick at that time, the doctors have decided that they can no longer wait to do this serious, scary medical procedure for him.

He’s already had one ablation that was not successful.  They had hoped to wait to do a second ablation until he was bigger, older, as that can make for a better outcome.  But his heart will not cooperate with medications, so they can wait no longer.

So MckMama and Stellan are in Boston right now.  Prince Charming should be in Boston soon.

Let’s join them in praying for peace for their parents, and for a successful surgery for their son.  (a little attempt at alliteration for MckMama here!)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.