Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Career Day...

Every once in awhile, i get this horrible, squeezing panic rise in my throat at the thought of my children being prepared for post secondary - or even more so for future careers.
Neil, thankfully, is there to assuage my fears & remind me that our children are intelligent, capable & resourceful and they will all find their niche in the world when the time comes.
Even so, as my big girl enters grade 9 this fall - her future has been coming to mind more often.
"So, Cai," i asked the other day, "You sure you don't want to go to school? Y'know, just to make it easier with transcripts for college or university entry?"
"Nope. You tryin' to get rid of me?" She grins - & looks totally confident that i've got what it takes to make sure that the prerequisites are in place and that she will be more than adequately prepared for her career of choice, midwifery.
"i sure hope they get the courses you need at Mount Royal before you graduate..."
i can't imagine sending her off somewhere far away to complete her studies...
"Or maybe you'll change your mind in the next 3 years & want to do something different..."
She looks at me, chin lowered, eyebrows raised, "i doubt it."
Funny that she's more confident than i am, or ever was.
The next day, Sloanie and i were snuggling on the couch.
"Sloanie, what do you want to do after you graduate high school?"
"Mom, is it ok if i don't want to go to college?"
"Yeah, that's totally fine - but you'll want to be prepared in case you change your mind & decide to go at the last minute... or later on."
"Yeah. Maybe i could take a computers course or something & then that would help me no matter what i decide to do..."
"That's a great idea!"
Cai, hearing us talk about options pipes up, "Yeah, i need a computers course for midwifery too - just a basic one..."
"i think i already know a lot about computers though..." Sloan comments.
"Sloan," Cairo giggles, "Poptropica doesn't count."
"What about Neopets? Email?"
i know - i've got time, we've got time, they've got time. They're still so wee, these little wisps of womanhood - & yet if the last 13 years are any indication, when i next blink, they'll be packing their bags & claiming the vast, wide world as their own. i wanna have an open, running dialogue with them now, so i can facilitate their transition. i want to research their options with them, challenge their assumptions about themselves & their abilities, support their decisions & dream with them.
Just then Peyton traipsed upstairs, "Hey, P," i called.
She turned to me & i noticed how skinny her arms have gotten as she is starting to stretch up, up, up... (her too?)
"What do you wanna be when you grow up?"
She shrugs her bony shoulders, "i dunno. Nothin'."
She grins & skips away... & i'm left grinning too... she still has 3 more months till she hits "double digits".
It's spring - the time that most homeschooling mama's evaluate their year, think about the next one and plan accordingly.
i have a lot of these years left to go... these conversations will be here when we pick them up again, but for now, we'll put them on the back burner & let them simmer away.
Their fragrance might just awaken something beautiful.

Monday, March 29, 2010

what'm i grieving anyway?

i find myself vacillating wildly between feeling like my broken leg is no big deal - & feeling like it has completely rocked my world.
Today, i'll admit a small piece of what i have been grieving...
i was on the phone with my sister the other night, & i confessed to her - this thing - this small detail that has been picking at me since i ended up on crutches with my wee son only 5 weeks old. Speaking it aloud made me realise that this small thing - this tiny bit of life missed - matters to me. It's something that has affected the way i thought i would mother my little one, and is worthy of - just the smallest bit of - grief.
i have always loved this phase of motherhood - after delivery, feeling like you're getting your legs back under you, getting your household running in it's new manner with it's new occupant. i have always loved feeling stronger and lighter postpartum, better able to meet the needs of my other little ones and my husband.
i have always loved snuggling my little baby in a wrap or a sling - and in the midst of cooking, cleaning, schooling, parenting - looking down on my little love, snuggled close to my heart & planting a kiss on a precious downy head as my workday continues.
i had a brand new sling this time & it was Ephraim's second home up until my fall - which rendered babywearing practically impossible.
In a small voice, i confessed to my sister that although i felt like i was probably holding Ephraim even *more* than i would have, had i been mobile - i hate not being able to carry him up the stairs when he gets dreamy eyed... i hate that i can't carry him across the room, into the back yard. i hate that i can't get to him very fast when he starts to cry - & instead, i have to ask someone to get him for me... & i'm sad that his new sling sits, unused, while i wait out these long weeks for my bone to heal.
So there it is - my confession sits like a small sigh...
i'm snuggling my fresh wisp of light and life even while i type this post - & i find that in my regret, there is still room for gratitude.
As a mama of 7 - i shouldn't have as much time sitting on a couch, cooing and gazing at my sweet one as i have had. Our eyes have been locked much of the day - & his dimply smiles sustain my impatient heart as i convalesce on the couch.
i hear the petulant voice in my head, "But *i* want..."
& i know it doesn't matter what i want - *this* is where i am -
& as i shush my selfishness - i realise that this spot - with all it's limitations, pain and inability - is a beautiful place to be.
Big deal, or not - i'm going to enjoy the scenery of my new surroundings - finding every little bit of good -
& not being afraid to admit that there are a few things...
i am missing.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

he thought it would be a good idea...

He stole Charter's rollerblades out of the closet & thought it would be a good idea to put them on, & demand to be taken to the "part" (park). Sloanie, being the most susceptible to his cuteness was his primary target....
He didn't think it would be so hard to stay upright...
Or that Mollen's princess helmet would look so darn good on him...

He was horribly disappointed when mama said he can't go anywhere without pants on...

i told Charter to hide his rollerblades better next time... i'm not ready for this boy to be on wheels.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

i know, we're long overdue for this...

So, while we have to sit around anyway - might as well have Gagey sit around on one 'o these...
i know, it seems crazy, but all my other little ones potty trained before they turned 2!

So, you've gotta be ready sometime, right buddy??

Here's hoping!

Friday, March 26, 2010

art lessons

Mollen was working diligently on a portrait of her Gammie.
i glanced over her shoulder, reminding her to include eyebrows, earrings, bangs...
When she was done, she showed the picture to Gam, (Neil's mom) proud of her sketch.
"Oh, Mollen!" i exclaimed, "i noticed one thing you missed..."
Cutting me off, Mollen said, "Oh, are you talking about all the wrinkles?"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Finishing "Strong"

i had this plan in my head...
ok, i had a ton of plans in my head...
Plans for this spring - i had a few niggling, 'things to get done' that needed to wait till after the baby, i had some personal 'fitness' plans, i had homeschool plans, music plans & housekeeping plans.
Plans, plans, plans...
My homeschool plan was at the forefront of my mind as my pregnancy progressed so much farther than my due date & as i seemed, for the billionth time, to be 'cutting back to the basics' - instead of branching out, lighting the fires of their minds & "Finishing Strong".
i know, it's only the end of March...
But i have already come to terms with the fact that this homeschool year, i might have to settle for 'finishing', rather than finishing strong... i wanted to complete our unit of History - & have the time to delve into latin, greek, logic and more writing. i wanted to get Mollen interested & incorporated into our homeschool so that when grade 1 hits, she's ready to *fly*. i wanted to finish early, confident that each of my September goals had been met - ready to face a summer full of learning in the outdoors, without the burden of mother-guilt looming over me. 'Did i do enough? Are they competent learners? Will X ever come for this child & Y for that child? Am i ruining my most precious gifts by trying to do something i'm obviously ill-equipped for?'
& now?
My insecurities are threatening to overwhelm.
If anyone even mentions their music lessons, i might just have to break down and cry.
But, i'm still determined that in one area...
we will finish strong...
& by strong - i mean soft, weak, fragile, broken, ready - & teachable.
Our hearts - in their weakened state - used by the Master Craftsman - to create what is lovely in His sight... i'll teach my children - by example, to be malleable. Broken, yet whole... put off, but not forgotten, working towards goals that might not be completed - yet not thwarted...

Oh, little ones... mama might have let the reigns of a perfect education slip from her fingers a little this year - but let's finish strong - with patience, perseverance and joy - towards His goals for our lives. They're worthier than anything your mama ever thought up anyway.

Philippians 3:12-14 (New International Version)

Pressing on Toward the Goal
12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If only i could get things done...

It was BEAUTIFUL - & i have been for the most part - cooped up in my house since my tumble. i decided to take my pitiful other end outside to sit in the sunshine & get some vitamin D.
If only i could get things done...
Cai brought out a hot set of curlers & asked me to do her hair - i did that & then asked her to bring me the laundry to fold.
As i folded i thought about all the things i needed to get done.
Peyton brought me out the scissors and a comb & reminded me that i was going to give her a trim...
i trimmed & wished that i could be working...
Cai put away the folded laundry & Charter called through the window how to use the spell check on his new blog we set up earlier...
i walked him through it from my seat & then examined Mollen's artwork & admired the ladybug she had adopted that was sitting on the end of her golf club.
Gagey needed a ball thrown to him.
Peyton brought me her math & we worked through the harder problems & then through her corrections.
'But', i sighed...
'If only i could get things done'...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


The doorbell rings again - it's another friend dropping off oranges, apples and muffins from the farmers market. My littles devour the fruit - & i don't even make it downstairs to the door to say, "Thank you" - Neil says it for me.
Other friends dropped off cinnamon buns, lasagne, banana loaf, flowers.... even pants, cd's, books and chocolate...
i have hardly cooked since i hurt myself. & it's such a huge burden lifted.
i have to kind of put away my independence & pull out my gratitude.
Kindness & thoughtfulness are not my strengths - Maybe my Father is showing me - so gently - through the example of His servants - how much these gifts lend strength to the people who are in need.
Kindness.... thoughtfulness... Yes... that sounds like Him...
Maybe He is using these days to strip away another filthy layer of selfishness... and pride. Maybe i should be grateful for that, too.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Lemme tell you, Mollen had no trouble finding dancing partners...

i spent a teary day in my pj's.
i think it was called for under the circumstances.
The pain (i'm sick of that word) is still pretty bad - & i keep hoping that the next time i move, it won't hurt quite so badly... Everything is weighed against the pain... 'i'm thirsty... but it can wait...' 'boy, it would be nice to get out of my jammies into some real clothes... boy that would hurt... '
That night, Friday night, was Cairo's barn dance put on by her fiddle group. i had so been looking forward to watching my girl on this night - but night comes & i feel weak, tired & so, painfully, sore...
"Are you coming mom?" She asks...
i wouldn't miss it...
i can tell that Neil's exhausted from, "Taking care of ALL of my babies..." He says pointedly.
But, i tucked my greasy hair into pigtails, slipped into a big pair of pants & put on some lipstick.
When we arrived, all the seats were filled & the old people in them looked at me with my crutches & tiny baby & fairly clutched their seats nervously. We stood at the entrance for awhile - Neil scoured the room for an empty seat & picked it up & carried it back for me.
i feel like i'm inconveniencing everyone... & it makes me feel oh-so-uncomfortable... but for whatever reason, i'm in a season of helplessness, & there's just nothing to be done about it.
My girl played.
She played, she danced, she held hands with her girlfriends.
My camera battery died.
*(Keep an eye on her blog for a more thorough description of the evening.)*
When we finally arrived home, i hobbled into bed...
Time for a game plan...
Tomorrow, i decided, i'll figure out how to take a bath... i'll get myself dressed & put on make up. Tomorrow, i'll figure out how to do better than to cope. Tomorrow, maybe it won't hurt quite so bad... & i'll be able to get up and down a little easier - with a little less pain...
& so each day will bring a little victory - maybe a little more get up and go, maybe the thrill of an outing to watch my little ones do what they do, a visit from my bundle of energy sister, an inspiration from a good book...
& eventually i'll be able to look at these 6 weeks as living rather than a little prison sentence...
Day4, 38 days remaining.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

We've had better weeks...

We've had weeks with less tears...
Weeks with less helplessness...

Weeks with less surrender, less clinging to Jesus, less desperate prayers....
So, i'll take this week, Father - with all the good, the bad, the pain, joys and snuggles...
May it serve to draw us all closer to You...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

hey, Neil?

What we have is magic.
One day, when we are old, tired & still in love...
What will we say - when we look back on these days?
Will we remember the sleep deprivation? The sheer volume generated by a house full of little people? The way we made sure to touch when we passed each other in the kitchen?
Will we look back on these years - the way we now look back on our first years - shaking our heads in wonder, "Did we really do that?"
One day, when we are old, happy and still in love...
i wonder if we'll remember the children that wrote on our walls, climbed between us in our bed, interrupted us in our conversations? Or will the memory of those little ones be eclipsed by our grown children, who continue to fill our lives?
Hey, Neil?
What we have is magic...
i wanna remember sneaking off to capture a second or two in writing...
i wanna remember how much i missed you - while you worked 13 steps away in the garage.
i wanna remember the way Ephraim's arms flailed when i picked him up, and his feet turned to touch soles.
i wanna remember Peyton reading to Charter, Gagey sharing a bagel with Mollen, Cai and Sloan telling me decisively that they don't need my help with school just now...
These years are precious...
Magic, even...
i want to remember them with you.
& when we're old, tired, happy...
& blissfully still in love..
We can pull them out like jewels and admire their beauty.
The flaws and the difficulties - only lending to their uniqueness...
The familar smooth sides - and the rough corners that mark them as *ours*.
We'll remember the ouchie days, but the beautiful years...
'Cause what we have?
It's magic.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Living with Pain

Most of the last couple of months, i have been living with some degree of pain...
Those last tender weeks of pregnancy, those first tender weeks post-partum...
Breastfeeding, combined with sleep deprivation...
& now this.
i thought once we got the cast on (full leg, ankle to thigh) that i would be in less pain, but, man, i’m still feeling it. Also, my big scab underneath keeps adhering to the cast & then ripping off every time i move. i can’t carry my little sweetheart and walk with crutches, stairs are really hard & so is getting dressed. i’m having a hard time taking care of myself, let alone all the little ones who need me.
i have been examining my heart - & i want to learn now - to rejoice despite the pain... To smile despite the circumstances, to talk about beauty rather than agony.
But the agony keeps creeping in...
Isn't that just how it is?
& so, today - i'm choosing to let the agony in... i'm gonna cry & it might get ugly...
No, i'm not gonna whine - i'm gonna cling.
i'm not gonna be angry - i'm gonna cry out to Him.
i'm not gonna fake a smile - i'm gonna worship my Father - who is worthy.
He's not there only when it's easy... He sees this little mama with her seven precious little ones - He knows how very weak i am.
& in my weakness, He supplies the strength.
He whispers words of compassion and love that speak to me in my vulnerability...
i hear you, Father.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

lookin' for silver...

oh, stormclouds...
The medi-Center called today.
i knew it wouldn't be good.
i fractured my patella.
i have a cast (horrible blue & white 'cause those are the only colours they had...) for 6 weeks.
Six weeks.
& no running after that for at least 2 more weeks.
i guess that's why it hurt. so. bad.
Of the clothes that fit me post baby... very few fit me now - post baby, post broken leg.
& i know that i have some big kids - who are amazing - but everyone still needs mama.
Neil needs me.
My attitude has been, *ahem* less than stellar.

This is such a silly thing for me to be fretting about... i know it.
If you're trying to teach me something - i gotta admit - i've been looking at myself too much to find it... instead of just asking you to show me.
So, teach me.
i will put aside my frustration, my cabin fever, my wants & desires, my overwhelmed heart, my... 'how'm i gonna do everything i need to do now?'
You know everything i need to do... everything i need to be - for all the people who are needing me.
& only You know what i need.
There is a silver lining on this stormcloud...
Help me - see You.

big girls don't cry...

except when they do.
& honestly?
They sometimes cry 'cause they fell and hurt themselves.
Especially if they're me.
i didn't even breathe a word that i was ready to lace my shoes again... but i was ready. i had my first run under my belt & was ready for my second...
Halfway through the run, i was killin' it. (For me... a month post partum...) & i thought, 'i'm gonna totally take at least 4 minutes off the time of my first run!!'
But no, i'm a huge klutz & i wiped out... yeh, hit both knees, both hands, an elbow & believe it or not, a shoulder. If you were the person driving past me, i don't blame you for not stopping... especially if it's cause you were laughing too hard.
If you know how much i hate doctors, then you'll know how much pain i had to have been in to go to the walk in clinic. i haven't been to the doctor in over 2 years. They sent me for x-rays & they don't think it's broken - but she said i can't walk for 2-3 weeks or exercise for 3-4 weeks. i have no idea how i'm gonna take care of the small fry - from the couch?... i can hardly walk - can't climb the stairs... maybe tomorrow will be better. It's hard to see the funky swelling & the bruising juuuuust beginning in the pic, but enjoy a small taste of my bitter disappointment.
i guess exercise will have to wait another 3 weeks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My girls talk about their future husbands sometimes.
i think it's kind of funny to imagine the boys that they'll someday marry...
Cairo's husband is gonna 'live off the fat of the land in a house he built with his own hands. He's gonna want a big family and have a good sense of humour'... Neil says, "Good luck finding him!"
One day, i was driving with Sloanie & she stated, "i bet i get married before Cai..."
"Why's that?" i asked.
"Cai's way pickier than me."
i almost pulled over into the grass in the middle of the traffic circle.
"Sloan Evelyn True Beselt! If ever there was a time in your life to be picky... it's in making THAT decision! You will be picky too, trust me. AND, i hope you're able to find someone worthy of your sweet tender heart!"
"oh. ok."
Yeh. i thought so.
Peyton? Peyton might not ever get married... & if she does, it would be nice if he worked at a fast food restaurant & brought home free burgers.
& then there was my conversation with Mollen...
"When i grow up, i'm gonna marry a boy who didn't pull down his pants when he was little."
Good. We gotta start somewhere.

Monday, March 15, 2010

trusting God

A friend & i were talking about our Father one day.
She was telling me how she was learning so much about Him - & that she didn't realize before, how much more there was to know about Him.
She's writing a beautiful book right now & it's like a tall glass of water on a hot day when she offers to let me pre-read a chapter.
Anyway - the sermon at church yesterday was about our unwillingness to trust God... & it struck me - if only we could all be introduced to the loving Father my friend writes about in her book: the Author & Finisher,
the Creator of the mighty & powerful...
& also of the weak and the frail...
The One who commands the winds and the seas,
but whose eye is on the sparrow...
The One who assigned kings
& yet saw the tears of a desolate woman in the desert, & had compassion on her...
If we could all be introduced to *that* God... How much easier would it be to trust Him?
How much of our inability to trust comes from a false view of the One who loves us most?
How much of what we believe about God comes from tradition, or misunderstanding... or lies?
In knowing Him, it becomes easier to trust Him...
In knowing Him, it becomes easier to love Him... because we see, despite His vastness, His greatness, His Holiness...
how much He loves us too.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

a month... 4 weeks...

Having a baby in February is hard because then...

Your baby hits the "one month" mark -
when they're a mere 4 weeks.

We should be given a couple of days grace.... (Am i boring you, baby?)

28 days?

Really February? Is that all you could come up with?

& so it is with a sigh of resignation, that i admit - that this glorious first month has reached it's end.
Happy one month birthday, Ephraim... You're draggin' mama kicking and screaming into the second.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

spring toys...

Daddy bought Gage a new weapon bat. He has been enjoying chasing the girls playing with it a lot.
Almost as much as i have been enjoying chasing him around taking pictures of him with my new camera.
Thank you daddy for our new toys!

Friday, March 12, 2010

darling baby...

Maybe you didn't know this, baby, but i was that picked on kid on the school playground who always got asked, "Do you have a staring problem?" because i was always... staring...
You give me good reason to stare - with your tiny ears, exquisite nose & the ever present hope that i might catch a glimpse of your one elusive dimple.
But, in these evening hours - you won't even let me catch a peek of your sweet hair - your dreamy, milky doziness or your brand new nursing blister (that only makes those little lips even more kissable).
You tuck your downy head right into my neck & breathe heavy, baby breaths on me - letting me feel the weight of your seamless little body...
& only making a peep when i lean you back to stare into your fresh little face.
Then your little mouth turns down in the most pathetic way,
your little chest starts with those little hiccuping sobs,
your tiny hands clench into sad little fists,
& i'm forced to nestle you once again into the groove of my neck...

So *fine* baby, you win.
i won't look at you.
i'll even close my eyes if you want me to.
i'll let my fingers be my eyes as i feel your little toes & pat your tiny back.
i'll let your scent feed me, as i fight the urge to gobble you in one mouthful.
i'll listen intently to your wee gruntings and feel your gentle clawings on my neck.
i can live without staring....

for a minute or two....

But be warned delicious boy -
The moment your body grows heavy with sleep -
and the scritchy scratchy fingers stop their trailings on my neck-
The instant your gruntings change to heavy breathing & you're lying limp in my arms -
i will lay you across my body & enjoy the beauty that is -

my darling baby.


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