Wednesday, August 15, 2012

looking into my heart

tummy time!

Mr Blue Eyes
God has been showing me so much about my heart lately.  And instead of excusing, justifying, hiding, I have matured enough to welcome it.  Admitting my sin relieves guilt and makes me so very thankful for my Savior!  So here's a look:

On moving day from Anaconda, I took one last look at our maple tree, and actually had the thought, "I wish I had kept a bucket full of all the neighbor dog's poop that we scooped up for the last 6 years, so we could go dump it in their yard now."  (You'd think one would let the dog out in their own fenced yard to do business... but no, the dog would happily trot down to our grass where we specifically didn't have a dog ('cause kids and dogs and small yards don't mix)... and on many, many occasions we caught the dog using our yard for a toilet).

So instead of continuing to feel revenge that day, the Holy Spirit whispered, "that is really in your heart, Anna?"  I was convicted, so I prayed for the neighbors instead.
flowers picked by our girls to display at grandma's funeral

arrangement by ella for grandma

better than a florists' bouquet!

The last two weeks and 3,800 miles have also taught me something.  During the mundane ... the dishes and laundry and sweeping, bathing and clothing and feeding and breaking up fights, I tend to look AHEAD to the next plans, the next company, the next trip... 'cause that will be fun.  But then when I am on a trip, mingling with other people, living out of a suitcase, on cruise control, passing snacks and drinks to the back seat, I then wish I was just HOME where I could do all this a little more comfortably.  So if I'm always looking somewhere else for my satisfaction... when will I be satisfied? Paul said, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" (Philippians 4.11, NIV).  It's not automatic; it's learned to be content.  But I'm thankful for the experiences that make me realize that there's no place I'd rather be... than home with my family.  And when I look around and see the teens, the singles, the retirees, the elderly... it becomes easy to say, there's truly no other life I'd rather be living than this one, with an amazing husband and 5 little blessings!!

this is how Aaron plays

We are a road trip family.  In 2010 we were away from home 16 weeks.  In 2012 I drastically lowered that number.  But in the past 2 weeks, we found ourselves on some unplanned trips to three different destinations 600+ miles away, and home again.  The children do MARVELOUS.  Someone said maybe its because they are living life in the moment... while I am sitting in the drivers seat, thinking about all I just did, and all I am going to have to do in the next few days.  Here are just a couple of tips that might help some mom out there, if you haven't already thought of it:

*For us, a DVD player is a lifesaver.  Whether on a scenic vacation or not, the dream of having everybody enjoy the scenery together only lasts a few miles.  Our kids don't get too many movies at home, so they stay intrigued in the car.  And you'd be surprised how much repetition they ask for.  You only need a couple of movies to keep em happy.

*Potty chair is the next lifesaver.  Because kids always need to use a toilet right after you've just passed the last rest stop for 86 miles.  We simply stage it next to the sliding door of our mini van.  A child can use it with the door shut for privacy, and then climb back to their seat.  We usually opt to toss waste into the weeds, since we are most often in remote places.  One friend suggested lining the potty bucket with a gallon ziploc bag (if it fits over yours).  Sealing it blocks odors, and throwing it away at the next garbage stop isn't much different than discarding a diaper.

*snacks.  I try to pack healthy, protein filled snacks without sugar to travel with.  Granola bars, crackers, cheese, raisins are favorites.  The kids also love the pureed veggie pouches we find at Target, a squeeze pack that is no mess and healthy.  We also always have a gallon of water along to refill our own water bottles; this could also help in an emergency!

*make sure the gas tank is full at a time you might think the baby/kids might sleep, because stopping for gas will always wake them up!

*if you are only staying one night somewhere on your way to a destination, its really nice to pack an "overnight" bag for everyone.  This contains pjs, tomorrow clothes, and toiletries.  Our overnight bag is getting larger every year, but we still find it nice to only have to grab one bag (well, plus the diaper bag and swim bag) when we are staying for a short time!

*probably my current favorite trick is to bathe the kids the night before travel, and dress them in loose fitting, comfortable travel clothes to sleep in.  In the morning, we simply carry sleeping kids to their car seats, and go.  I've found this really beats getting dressed later in the car or at McDonalds.
photo collage I made for grandma's funeral

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