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Milk and Algebra

Nursing a baby and helping with Algebra.  Two things I never thought I’d be doing at the same time.  Okay, I should be honest here and say I’m not actually the one helping with Algebra.  It’s super helpful to be married to a man who gets excited over lower case letters jammed between parentheses.  I thought math was about numbers?  Anyway.  My expertise is milk production.  I do love having teenagers in the house, though.  Nadine is awesome with Harry.  They have a ton of fun together.  She gets some great pictures of him, too.

Then there’s this teenage scientist.  When he’s not building legos or playing with his brother… he’s thinking about what else to build.  One day I came home and he had dyed his hair blue.  It was a fun experiment.  Very thankful for our fantastic hair stylist.  She always has fun with his hair and does something different.  Elijah also has a special bond with Harry.  There is a precious gentle side that exudes when he’s around him, and he can’t stand to hear him crying.  They look so much alike!  The other day we discovered that somehow he is about an inch from surpassing me in height.  Every hug feels more and more like I’m hugging a young man and not a little boy.

Jack is extremely excited to have mastered a standing back flip.  And a round-off back handspring.  He is completely self-taught, with just YouTube videos to help guide him.  The gumption to do it is all him and isn’t something that can be taught.  He turns 11 this month and though his hands have been bigger than mine for a year or two now, his body is also swiftly catching up.  Matthew’s family rented out an ice hockey rink last week, to celebrate the April birthdays. He and Harry have a unique bond as well.  Today he read stories to him on our bed, while Harry played with his feet and listened intently.  It was precious.

Elsie is a great big sister.  She and Betty are pretty much inseparable.  I love their bond.  They’re always into building forts and changing outfits and planning great adventures.  She loved the VR headset Elijah made out of an old cereal box and duct tape.

The other day Betty came up to me and asked me if I heard her whistle.  I said, yes.  “Then why didn’t you answer?!”  I had to laugh.  “Um.  I didn’t know you were calling me!”  She says the funniest things.  Like, “On it!” when I ask her to do something.  Or, “No can do!” when she knows she can’t or shouldn’t do something.  She’s reading up a storm, and it’s so much fun to see the lightbulbs going off in her head.  I asked her to please not read my text that had come through and she looked at me with a very straight face and said, “You want me to learn to read better, don’t you?”  She loves her baby brother.  This was a for real conversation: “His head is the most touchablest.  Mr. Harry, you are the most cutest baby I’ve ever seen.  You’re so heavy because of all your eats!”  Elijah put it very well when he said this about her: “I’m absolutely sure there is no one else on this earth like Betty.  I mean, she is so unique.”

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Then there’s Harry.  He makes us laugh with some of his non-facial expressions.  He can be so deadpan!  He can also be hilarious.

We can hardly imagine or remember life without him.  He’s starting to sleep 8-10 hours each night which has been fabulous.  In fact, I need to capitalize on that amazing fact right now and go to bed so I can enjoy some rest!  I will close with this meme which cracks us up all the time.

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Happy Spring!


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This is Not a Normal Life

“This is NOT a normal life!” she exclaimed from the back seat.  I glanced back at the stop sign to see what she was doing.  She had a small notebook and pencil.  Her legs were crossed, the tips of her fuzzy boots sticking up almost to her knees.  “This is NOT a normal life.”  She was playing MASH. With herself.  I laughed out loud while Betty told me how she was living in a mansion with THREE children and driving a Ford.  Oh, and she was married to Toby Mac.  When something is interesting or exciting for her and she wants me to listen she will say, “Hear this!”  Such a herald.  She is doing fabulously in school, reading sentences like, “The path led to the shed.”  She recently celebrated her 6th birthday.

Elsie is a great teacher and when she’s not DOING school, she is PLAYING school.  She has a vim and vigor for life.  A shaker and a mover.  Literally.  The other day she and Betty rearranged their room.  A girl after her mama’s own heart.  She is our pancake-maker, and does a fine job of it!

Jack is back into wrestling season full swing.  When he’s not wrestling, he is doing pushups.  Hundreds of pushups.  I’m excited when I do 30 in one day.  He’s not satisfied until he does 300.  We also recently discovered a Ninja Warrior gym not too far from us.  He conquered the warped wall the first day there, and loves to challenge himself with the other obstacles.

Elijah is my right-hand man in the kitchen.  We can throw together supper in less than half an hour.  I love teaching him stuff in the kitchen.  He gets my style of cooking, which doesn’t lean on recipes as much as a hunch on how different flavors will work together.  Having an instant pot has made dinner prep SO easy.  He is a geometry whiz, and we are looking in to some sort of coding class, as he is bent in this direction.  Sometimes he explains things to me and I have no clue what he’s talking about.  He’s also doing daily pushups and slowly inching closer to my height.

Nadine is our baby-whisperer.  Harry and her have a special bond.  She is convinced he can say her name, and it does sound pretty close.  I honestly don’t know how I could manage this house without her.

Harry adds the most perfect element of sweetness, joy and delight to our home.  When he starts to talk, everyone comes running.  He smiles and the sun comes out.  He is two months old already!  He is the king of expressions, and makes so many faces.  2017-01-12-10-21-55-2We’re slowly getting onto a sleeping schedule.

Though we often pass like ships in the night (literally), Matthew is my biggest support.  Between coaching, working, and being an amazing dad to these six… 2017-01-09-19-12-48
He is also the one whom my soul loves.  2017-01-21-15-35-34-1
It’s not hard to love him, but sometimes lack of sleep and the demands of being needed by 6 people can sometimes push me over the edge.  He is so patient with me.  It’s not tear-free, anger-free, frustration-free or hardship-free.  But it is full of joy, forgiveness, humor, and faith.  Had we been thrown the life we are living now, I might have also exclaimed: “This is NOT a normal life!”  But it’s the perfect life for me.
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Horses, Blue Hair, Kisses, Fashion & Fall

“When will this stop?!” I exclaimed, as I peered at the sweet little ankles of our youngest daughter, no longer covered up by her pant legs.  As the weather has cooled, all of the jeans have come out of hibernation, and reveal what we all know is going to be true, but is still surprising year after year.  About three inches too short.  High-water pants, without the water.  The funniest part of this observation was when she came over to me, threw her hands up in the air and returned my comment with: “It will NEVER end!”  I just stared at her, both amused and surprised at her accuracy and hilarity.  My old soul of a daughter, who knows a bit more about life than I do sometimes.

Indeed, fall is upon us.  I spied frost this morning, and I think not being able to perform my usual putting our garden to sleep for the winter, has made me feel like it can’t possibly be here already.  Thirty-seven weeks pregnant,  gardening is an activity that has been scratched from my fall to-do list.  Baby Chip is strong and low and starting to make me long for the end.  I want to see these strong legs that make sweeping movements even yet, across my belly, and make me wonder if he has six legs, they are so active and everywhere.  I can hardly wait to see if his hair is straight or curly, and what color eyes he will inherit.  Will he have that joker smile Nadine was born with, or dimples and a cleft in his chin?  So much about which to wonder and wait.

The children have been incredible as they have a lot more on their plates than normal.  Keeping this nesting mama happy with a clean house, washed dishes, and delving into their schoolwork each day.

Nadine has been back in the saddle and doing such an incredible job riding!  She is learning to jump and is almost to a canter.   The other day at her lesson, this horse kept me in very close company!
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She is really into puzzles, and spends hours doing them in her room.  We’re also working on a big one on our dining room table right now.  So yesterday we were sorting through pieces, and I was messing around with a pile of similarities.  She sat down, grabbed a piece out of the box of a thousand pieces, and put it in a spot, first try.  Five seconds later, same thing.  By the fifth time of doing this, I looked up and possibly glared.  How on earth?  She just laughed and shrugged.  Talent, I tell you.

We’re all taking bets as to whether or not we will have another teenager or a new baby first, since both events are due to happen the same week.  Elijah hopes Chip comes first so we’re all home together, and I agree.  Recently, he had the urge to dye his hair blue.  With permission (while I wasn’t home, because that’s just easier on my nerves), he gave it a go.  It was pretty hilarious, because his hair didn’t turn blue as much as his scalp and forehead did.  Eventually it all washed out.  During our family vacation, he was so much fun to photograph, jumping off the pier into the lake.  He is also such a patient teacher and helps me a lot with the younger kiddos during school.

Jack continues to grow like a weed.  He is involved in a pretty intense wrestling league twice a week.  A few weeks ago he got work out with and meet his favorite wrestler of all time: Olympic champion, Jordan Burroughs.  He inspires me to not quit, and I told him he will need to coach me back into shape after baby is born!  I love watching him and Elijah interact.  Elijah recently converted Jack to the love of hot sauce.  Now we will probably go through two bottles a week instead of just one.  This past night at wrestling practice, I stayed to watch him until Matthew could meet me there after work.  It was especially packed out, with more than thirty kids practicing.  I was just leaving and almost to the door when Jack came running up to me and gave me a kiss goodbye.  I think I left part of myself melted on the floor right there.  I don’t take it for granted that my ten-year-old son wouldn’t be the least bit ashamed to show his mama some love in a room full of tough boys and adults.  That’s the type of guy he is.  And yes, he still eats lots of apples.

Sometimes I forget that Elsie is just eight.  She’s incredibly capable and strong.  Her love for life and new adventures is hauntingly familiar.  She loves fashion, and I’m always amazed at the outfits she comes up with, because she certainly never asks my opinion about them.  She dreams of gymnastics, and we hope to be able to say yes to this soon, now that her arm is fully healed.  When she’s not doing her schoolwork, she is playing school with Betty.  She told Nadine the other day that she wants to be in eighth grade.  I realize I don’t take enough pictures of her.

Betty loves school.  She is reading and doing math.  The other day she was writing words with “X” in them.  She wrote “Tax”, then drew a picture of money and a sad face.  When I asked her what it was, she said, “The person has a sad face because they have to pay tax.”  Where does she come up with these things?  She is such a good sleeper, and fell asleep on the stairs the other night.  A dress, hole in the knees of her leggings, and sweetly crossed ankles describes her pretty well.  She brings us so much joy!

Tomorrow is a big day for us!  Matthew and I leave bright and early for a quick trip to Texas!  I’m pretending like our suitcase is being packed, when in reality my bed is unmade, the suitcase is just there, and I’m seriously pondering a second cup of hot tea.  We are so excited to get away and be with some dear sweet friends.  It is a business trip, yet also a retreat.  We need this time to connect and dream and plan before our lives completely change the next month.  God is so gracious to gift this to us, and yes, I’m praying we do not have a Texan baby.  2016-09-02-22-34-52
Stay tuned for more!


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Flare-Ups, Squeaky Brakes, and Thankful Hearts

Fall is doing its steady march toward winter, and Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  I know time does not in actuality move any faster each year, but the feeling of it moving extra swiftly is real.

The past month has been full of life.  I’ve been staying up late at night, finishing projects that require silence, as silence is hard to come by around here before 10pm.  So naturally I’ve been sleeping in a bit later as well.  Yesterday, Betty came to snuggle with me.  She convinced me it was time to get up, because, “Look!  The sunshine is awake!”  She has been full of so many funnies, I don’t even write half of them down.  Yesterday there was a spider crawling on the ground.  Not a normal sight in our house, and she was more freaked out than I thought she would be.  After awhile of being on the couch, she starting dancing up and down and said how she had to go potty.  She didn’t want to leave the couch because of the spider (which was long gone by now).  She even tried to talk herself out of being scared.  “Spiders don’t live in houses.  They live on spider webs.”  It didn’t work.  “I’m scared of spiders.  I don’t know where to go.”  Elsie had the perfect solution: walk on the floor all around the carpet, and don’t touch the carpet where the spider was last seen.  Problem solved.  Their cute little feet tip-toed all around the carpet and walked to the bathroom.  She also loves to sing.  Sometimes she pulls out my guitar and sings all about Jesus.  At the particular moment one of these was taken, she was singing a song about Jesus and rock-climbing on a mountain.  2014-11-16 15.01.54 2014-11-14 18.23.40
We were looking at pictures yesterday, and Betty kept thinking photos of Elsie were of her.  We determined it was their hair that seemed so similar.  She looked at Elsie, stroked her hair and said, “I know.  Now your hair is growed up!”  I’m not the only one amazed at how time is passing.

This weekend we went to see some friends in a ballet of Snow White.  I took the girls, and it was absolutely hilarious sitting next to Betty.  She followed the story really well, but her ongoing commentary was a hoot.  At one point, she was watching one ballerina, who was supposed to be a bird, doing some flying leaps in the air.  She whispered loud enough for everyone around us to hear and chuckle, “How does she do that?!  You know, mommy, birds can’t dance.  They fly.”

Elsie is an avid reader.  Her favorite place to read is the top of the stairs, after everyone has gone to bed.  We can hear her voice, drifting down the stairs, and it usually gets louder the longer she reads.  She is keeping track of how many hours she reads, and I believe it is up to fourteen hours.  She certainly keeps us on our toes.  She is my faithful companion when it comes to running errands or tidying the house.  She has been reading a book about astronomy, which led us to a discussion about how the earth is floating, and she said in an awed voice, “God is just doing His powers right now!” 2014-11-20 14.36.13
Jack is wrestling again.  A few weekends ago, Matthew took the boys to a wrestling tournament and Jack got third place.  Elijah wrestled as well and got fifth place.  Jack has decided to stick with it for the rest of the season, and it’s fun to watch him.  He is also becoming more of a reader.  He even brought his book to the grocery store last week, and was seen reading in the cart.  This was a first.  Jack takes up a lot of energy, but his heart is solid.  2014-11-15 14.50.29
The blur that is Jack, pretty much sums up how he lives life.
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Elijah just turned eleven!  While the boys were at the wrestling tournament, the girls, Matt’s mom, and I all worked hard to switch up bedrooms to surprise them.  Nadine has her own room again, the girls came downstairs, and the attic is now a boy haven.  The exclamation point up there is the drum set we got Elijah for his birthday.  He is a gifted musician, and it’s fun to hear him improving on the piano and drums.  He is pretty sure his voice is changing, and though it’s scratchy some days, I’m not convinced yet.
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Nadine claims she is constantly hungry, which could be the contributing factor to the extra inch in height she has seemed to procure lately.  Yes, she is taller than me.  She loves to write, and is currently working on a fabulous chapter book for kids.  She babysits regularly and gets a lot of practice with her own siblings.  She is currently taking a small break from horseback riding, but is excited to get back in the saddle soon.  I love her zest for life, though it often makes me feel exhausted.  Much of what she says and does makes me chuckle, when I remember how similar I was at twelve.  2014-11-05 12.55.44
Matthew had a scare at the beginning of the month, which sent us down to Jefferson Hospital.  Turns out it was not as bad as we were thinking, but there was enough inflammation to get our attention.  Then this week his voice started to take a downhill turn again.  After today’s appointment with his Rheumatologist, it was determined he will begin Rituxan infusions again to see if we can nip this in the bud before it gets to be where he was a year and a half ago.  We are thankful.  When he talks and I hear his voice catch and sound hoarse, I immediately give my fears back to the God who knows exactly what’s going on inside his body.  Every day is so incredibly precious with this man I love.2014-11-04 16.54.17
The snow forecasted for today has started to fall.  Our van is in the shop, getting its embarrassingly squeaky brakes fixed.  I actually have gotten wide-eyed looks from people as I pull into a parking spot and come to a stop.  They look like they would like to throw something at me for the pain I’ve caused their ears.  I pretend like I didn’t hear anything.  Squeak?  What squeak?  Last month our friend did some body work on it.  I am embarrassed to say, but I backed into a boat trailer one September afternoon.  Thankfully, the trailer suffered only a broken tail light.  Oceanus was worse for the wear.  On top of that, I could barely get gas in the tank because there was a small metal flap that had broken off and was hanging in such a way so the pump nozzle would get stuck.  So, one night Matthew was trying to fix it.  He had a pencil in his hand to hold up one side of the piece, while he tried to bend it with some pliers.  It was dark.  He was holding three things with two hands.  It happened.  He walked in the door and I said, “You did not.”  He did.  The pencil dropped into the gas tank.  It was actually kind of funny.  Even more funny was explaining it to our friend.  He actually was able to fish it out for us.  Now we have a pencil-free and dent-free van.  Oh, and hopefully a squeak-free one soon as well.

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There is much to be thankful for today and always.  Happy Thanksgiving!


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When Sparks Fly and Cracks are Backed

It’s two o’clock, and I am finally eating lunch.  The quiet scribble of one person doing their writing homework is like music to my ears, while the hot tea is like medicine for my harried brain.  Outside, the boys are reading on the trampoline.  You know, between jumps.  This morning was full of dictation, reading out loud, and lots and lots of math.  Math four times around each day has both enriched my  brain and caused it to temporarily shut down for the day.  A few facts I have learned today:

The moment I have to use the bathroom is the moment everyone has a need of great importance.

Informative speeches are impossible to write.  (That fact is up for debate.  Maybe the person claiming it should write a persuasive speech to prove their point.)

It is not difficult to make deodorant, and it smells amazing.

I often wipe my nose on my sleeve without even thinking.  Please tell me this is something moms with small kids often do.

Receiving a big box with a smile on the side is a huge reason for celebration.  Especially when the box contains a new heating element for the stove.

Ah, the stove.  About a week ago, I was testing out some recipes for my first ever cooking class.
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As I preheated the oven for some grain-free corn bread, I noticed a small flame dancing inside the oven.  This would not be a problem if we had a brick oven, but ours happens to be electric.  I tried to blow it out, because this has worked in the past.  When it seemed to get bigger and start spreading, I called Elijah to grab the fire extinguisher.  I ordered everyone outside, while we unsuccessfully put out the sparking flames.  Finally, I told Elijah to run get our neighbor, while I called 911.  Fortunately, I was able to tell the dispatcher never mind, as our neighbor ran over with a big fire extinguisher and the grand idea of flipping off the breaker connected to the stove.  The second he did that, the fire fizzled into nothing.  What a bunch of excitement.  And mess.
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Of course my cooking class was in about ten hours, and I was now without a stove.  Enter: wonderful neighbors again.  Thankfully, their stove was just fine, and the classes were able to go on as planned, with just a little extra walking.  I also paid double to have someone overnight a new heating element.  How exciting it was to receive the box.  The thrill died about as quickly as a blown-out candle when I pulled out a completely bent element that would not work at all.  Thankfully, you can return things in this country.  The box we received today with the smiley face on it contained a just as happy part, which will be responsible for much delightful baking this fall.

Now, seven hours later, I can hardly believe another day has passed.  Often you can find out what filled my day, by glancing at the open tabs on the computer: Aromahead Institute, Patchouli, Artemisia, DIY rope rug, Amazon, Crockpot Bacon and Goat Cheese, Elderberry Syrup, Hillsong Acoustic Sessions.  The other way to find out what has filled our lives the past couple of weeks is to dump some photos from my phone:
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Winter clothes turnover day, many Betty faces, our own William Tell, walking Toby the rabbit, school planning squeezed in during piano lesson time, late night Bible studies, and lots of tea.2014-10-18 17.14.27
This week we also saw our whole Weldon family, including our Italian family and the college boy, which was a huge treat!

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Sleepy head Betty, and her outfit of choice this Sunday: red silk and black velvet Christmas dress, blue cotton tights with pink flowers on them and black patent leather shoes.  She has been asking a lot when Christmas is coming.  She asks in such a way that makes it sound like a person is coming to visit us very soon.  My week has also been full of aromatherapy school, pumpkins and the chiropractor.  Whenever we go to the chiropractor, Betty grins, gives a big sigh, and says she loves getting her “crack backed”.
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This year, the four bigs have also been involved in a homeschool co-op.  Their science teacher took these great pictures of them in his class as they were learning about density.

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This was the scene around the table tonight.  We’ve got four readers, taking turns reading around the table.  It is one of my favorite parts of the day.   As is this time: hanging out with my man.  Good night.


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Memory Lane Colliding With Today

Today I’m feeling nostalgic.  Eight years ago, what was going on?  Well, Jack was five months old and a crawling maniac.  Elijah was into drinking tylenol, and wasn’t quite sure what hospitals were for.

Four years ago, we had recently moved.

Three years ago, we couldn’t imagine life without Betty.

Two years ago I publicly confessed my dislike of showers.  I am also reminded that it’s time for another secret invitation soon.

One year ago, a baby was born.  The pictures into my children’s personalities are still so similar, it is uncanny.

Today, these five keep me overwhelmed with joy to be their mama.

This year we decided not to do Awanas.  The little girls were disappointed, and all on her own, Nadine initiated starting a “girl’s club” with Elsie & Betty, where they will memorize verses, do crafts and study the Bible together.  She has it all planned out, and I’m excited to see her organize something like this!  Tonight she even sewed a little vest for Elsie to wear during club.  She will be starting her first steady babysitting job tomorrow, and is also involved in a Bible study/horse club with girls her age.
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Elijah has definitely hit a new phase of life.  Between moodiness, possible changes going on in the voice department, and a little more moodiness, he is growing up… and sometimes that can make one unsure of themselves.  One thing is for certain: that boy can play the piano!  Only three weeks into starting lessons, and he is already grasping it in a remarkable way.  I’m really proud of him.  His musical talent doesn’t only lie in his fingers.  He memorizes songs like no one’s business.  In his own words: “I know this song like I’m breathing.”  He also knows how to tell jokes and make us laugh.
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In looking back at pictures, I noticed that Jack is still wearing the same orange shorts he wore about three years ago.  He keeps growing taller, but his waist stays the same.  He can more often than not, be found upside-down.  Today I gave him a chair to carry out to the trash, since it had broken beyond repair.  Not too long after that, I found him, armed with spindles.
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Yesterday he came up to me and asked, “Mom, has my voice changed?”  I told him, no.  He said, “Oh, good.”  Then Elijah piped up: “We already talked about that, Jack.”  His reply: “I know. But not with Mom.”  He also asked me if I could see any hair on his chest yet.  I hugged my little boy with the smooth, beautiful face and feet as big as my own, and wanted to bottle up his boyish ways forever.  When I asked him to vacuum off the front porch the other day, I noticed the sound of the vacuum was going on for a lot longer than the task required.  I peeked outside to see him doing this, using the front door as a mirror:
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I love the dirt under his arm-pits and the sweat and grime covering his body.  He is one-hundred-and-fifty percent boy.

Elsie still likes shoes, still likes to work hard, and is still enthralled with hair.  On Sunday night, she came downstairs after being tucked in and asked if she could “tidy up a bit.”  I thought about it for about a half second.  She proceeded to pick things off the floor, put them away, sweep the kitchen, wiped this and that, and made a huge difference in the outlook of the downstairs.  She voluntarily pulled out each of her baskets and folded all of her clothes just perfectly before putting them all back.  This girl is my inspiration for organization and cleanliness.  She is also a singer, and often sings Betty to sleep at night.2014-08-29 17.08.49
Betty loves to learn.  She can read, “I am Betty.”  She often adds an “H” somewhere in her name, because she just loves to write H’s.  She can also sing entire songs, and I am amazed at her memory.  Don’t be fooled by the frilly shirt and patent leather shoes.  This girl can climb.  In fact, the entire time she climbed the eight-or-so-foot fence, she sang: “I’m a climber, I’m a climber…”  Yes, yes, she is.  September Phone Photos1
It’s been awhile since I put together a sleepy collage.  I love to sneak pictures of my beautiful babies when they’re asleep.  Just looking at them is making my eyelids droop.  The only one who sleeps pretty much the exact same way every night is Nadine.  One morning, Betty came downstairs and giggled, “Mama, Elsie’s head was on my tummy when I woke up!”  They are so funny when they sleep.
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200-ish Miles and At Least One Shower

I mean to take showers every day.  Really I do.  But I often tell myself that it will happen after I exercise.  It’s a lovely treat to wash away all the stinky sweat after a good run.  But when I forget to shower… I mean, exercise… I will usually be reminded by my sweet 6-year old.  It’s pretty bad when she looked at me yesterday afternoon as I stretched my arms in the air and said, “Mom!  This is like the fifth time I’ve told you… You need to shave your armpits!”  Oy!  My oldest sister used to remind me to take showers.  Now my daughter does.  As I’ve said before, it’s not my favorite thing to do.

This little girl is the queen of pull-ups!  She can do three dead-hang pull-ups in a row, and at least a dozen times a day I see her going down to the basement to practice yet again.  She is a funny girl.  The other day she said to me, “My life is changing.  Everything I used to like I don’t like anymore.”  I think we were just having a meal she wasn’t too fond of eating, but from her point of view, it was much more dramatic than that.  She loves to sing and dance and do one-handed cartwheels.  She is growing out her hair and can hardly wait until it’s down to her waist.
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“I don’t want my hair in a pony any more,” Betty said to me.  “I want it in my ears.”  I think she meant “behind my ears”, but that’s ok.  I understand her sweet three-year-old vocabulary.  Which is really quite astounding.  She is a precious girl with a lion’s heart.  She can count very fluently until about ten, then she says things like, “Eleventeen, twelve-teen, thirteen…”  But she is improving daily on her school work, and sits for HOURS at her little desk.  She isn’t afraid of bugs.  “Real bugs fly like this!” she told me one time, flapping her arms like a bird.  “I really like ants and lightning bugs.”  Betty reminds me to use special things every day, because every day is special.  Like when she wears her most beautiful dress.  It’s a creamy butter yellow with tulle all around it.  I used to think it should only be worn on very special occasions.  Now it is worn to ride bikes, climb trees, and during sword-fights, because every day is special.

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Our week was short but very full.  The boys find reading much easier dressed in soldier gear.  On Sunday, we had the privilege of meeting Jay, from Kenya!  He was a graduate from Compassion International, and we heard his story last week at the mobile experience.  Nadine has her boot off at last, and this morning the stitches came out too.  She isn’t up to running yet, but not having crutches or a big boot is a huge blessing!  Getting back onto a horse, bareback, was a huge highlight for her this week.
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This weekend, Matthew and I will be running in a 200 mile relay with other people from his work.  I am runner #2 of 12.  Here is a look at my three legs of the race:2014-09-10 15.20.15
I’m a little bit nervous about it, but excited too.   This weekend I got my longest run in that I’ve had since March… so I hope I survive!
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Nadine told me to take lots of pictures of this weekend.  I’m mostly excited to be with Matthew for a a couple of days, even if it is doing something rather crazy.  And in honor of Elsie, I’ll be sure to get at least one shower.