Friday, January 30, 2009

The Lewis Day Care is now Open

No, we're not really opening a home daycare. but it has looked like that for a few days. My boys have loved it. I'm so glad that Leon is coming Monday to watch the boys during my ultrasound and Nana is coming to visit on Wednesday or the boys would be going through withdrawal after having several days of lots of friends here. I think people did more of this in the past- friends helping each other. It has really been good. It's amazing how the boys who usually seem to want lots of attention from Mommy- almost forget I'm here with friends to play. On top of having friends for the kids, we enjoyed dinner at a friend's house, groceries delivered here, and some homemade cookies. They were very yummy but I think Mary Kay is trying to be a bad influence on my health! Here's our little ones having a blast playing together- T even skipped his morning nap to play with his same size friend. Here's the four big kids driving the bus to school.5 of the 6 kids doing puzzles- T was still napping after his busy morning.I didn't get a picture of all our dressed up kids but here's Eeyore who wrote all the Lewis boy names on his etch-a-sketch.
So many other fun things I didn't get a picture of during our three days of constant playgroups. Thursday we got to play with the Pine Valley Playgroup and bring a friend home for lunch and playing. K was so excited to wake up from his nap to find more friends. They even stayed for dinner. If the friends brought sleeping bags, they could have just spent the night but instead of "goodbye" the kids all said "see you in 12 hours. " We couldn't all fit in one car to go to Fun Fridays so a friend came to pick them up. I'd have to say I've never ordered 6 happy meals at one time before today but it was nice having big helpers. After a good morning of meeting new friends, we headed home for good napping for all. (All this playing has been helping boys' naps too.)

Little T has learned that kisses make boo-boos better, but he thinks he needs a kiss not just from Mommy, but from each of his brothers each time too. Pretty cute. I'm so excited that in 7 weeks he can get a kiss from Daddy too!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Guess who got a haircut?

Any guesses? I know you're in suspense but you'll have to scroll all the way down to see! It's been almost a week since I updated the blog. I've had another good ultrasound since then- KG was very cooperative today- she did all her good baby things quickly so I even had time to run some errands by myself. It's amazing how fast you can get in and out of cars and places by yourself! Speaking of time by yourself- I went to Charlotte this weekend for a women's retreat by myself. It was wonderful- the boys enjoyed their day and a half with Grandma while I enjoyed it away! (Don't tell the boys but I even went to Friendly's for hamburgers and a yummy Reese's Pieces Sundae.) I've still been recovering from my lack of sleep- I had a great roommate who happens to be a nightowl and kept me up talking way past my 9 o'clock bedtime. I will have to write some of the great things I learned later. We still made it to church Sunday morning- C is enjoying being in his 3 year old class and tells me what he learned as we drive home. K loves knowing lots of friends in his class.

Yesterday we went back to K's speech- he's working on "ing" sounds now. He's gotten so much clearer- I'm definitely glad we're going. Then that afternoon K and C both went to the dentist. I was a little nervous as the hygienists came out separately to get them so I couldn't really go in with either boy but they said they both did great. The boys were happy and their teeth looked good-yeah!! We celebrated with a trip to the library. They were so excited to find another Daddy movie in the mailbox when we got home! All 3 boys loved watching Daddy read them more books.

Today we went to PWOC- I'm excited to start my Ephesians' Bible study by Elizabeth George.
So guess who got a haircut?

Was it A- our 4 year old?




B- our brand new 3 year old?



C- our curly 17 month old?


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Lessons Learned

Another good ultrasound today. This time she took her practice breaths right away and then didn't want to stay still for flow measurements. But the numbers were good again! Today I got to watch her wiggle her cute little toes. Then she showed off her flexibility by resting her head on her foot!
After my appointment as I walked into the commissary all by myself, I thought about just how blessed I am. Today was a beautiful day outside- we played out in the snow again this morning. We are blessed with wonderful family who are helping us. So many people don't have family who can or do help them. Leon came to watch the boys again today. They were very excited to see him (unfortunately a little too excited to get their much needed naps and then tired and grumpy.) Tomorrow Grandma is coming. Nana is planning to come up in February. Then James will be home in March!

These months of James' being away have given me lots of lessons learned. Here are a few:
1. Gas heaters (and stoves) work better when there is gas in the tank. gets used up much faster when it's cold out. When you let your tank go to empty, it's expensive to fill up!

2. Days go much better when I spend some time with God. I've started following our church's plan "Around the Word in 180 Days." It's been really good for helping me spend time reading. I just finished Genesis and have been trying to not just read the stories but to apply them.
3. Parents of small children in cold areas should be better paid because it is very hard to take on/ off all the clothes needed for cold weather. (But the snow is very pretty and lots of fun!)

4. Potty training is much harder (and messier) than just staying in diapers.

5. Coconuts are a lot of work to open. If you are going to open one, a hammer and screwdriver is the way to go.

6. 1 pm is not the best time for a dr appt- boys are tired but a little too excited to go to sleep without Mommy there. (but the glass half full side is that after no nap they eat very well and then they go straight to sleep!)

7. One recipe of waffles is not enough. Neither is a single waffle maker- I think we're headed towards one of those multi-waffle makers.

8. You don't need eggs to make waffles. I was very glad of this when I remembered we were out of eggs (and milk, fruit, oatmeal, nuts, ...) right before pouring the waffle batter.

9. When you wait a long to go to the store and eat almost everything from your fridge/ freezer/ and pantry, it's expensive when you finally go to the grocery store!

10. if you don't usually have caffeine, don't eat way too much (I can't say how much) late at night or you'll be wide awake and; finishing your blog in the middle of the night like I am!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fun in the Snow!



So last night a friend called and said something about her son's preschool being closed Tuesday. I had no idea why. Turns out she and the weather man were right. We woke up this morning to 3-4 inches of snow. C was so excited- he ran around looking out all the windows "Mommy there's snow everywhere!" K climbed down fast from his top bunk to go see it. T didn't know to be excited about but he definitely saw through the playroom windows that something looked different outside. I managed to keep the excited boys inside until T took a nap and even a little later as the boys did some toy swapping in their new, cleaner, warmer playroom.

K had a whole list of things to do in the snow- walk backwards to make me think he was going the other way, make snow angels, make a snowman, ... C's top things to do were throw snowballs and eat the snow. After lunch we all played some more, 4 " is much higher on an 18 month old so little T had to work harder to walk. All the good playing made for hungry boys at dinner and sleepy boys at bedtime which was really good because it tired me out too!
video

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hand Turkeys & Swimmy Rings

So I actually thought a little ahead of time for our preschool at home today. We did some crafts in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. They enjoyed reading an online book about Dr. King and coloring a picture of him. We looked at their baby quilts to see how quilts are made of all different fabrics that are put together and then each made paper quilts. We also made a wreath of hands- we traced the boys hands on several different pieces of colorful construction paper and taped them into a wreath. Then James called and I thought the boys could tell him what they'd done so they both proudly said we made "swimmy rings"- K wanted to make some to wear on his feet. I told him I'd done that as a kid and it's not a good idea bc your head ends up at the bottom of the pool and your feet sticking out. C said he liked our hand turkey.After naps, we made MLK Jr pudding- vanilla pudding with all different colored food coloring swirled in- which the boys were excited to eat after dinner. Then we read Elmo's "Red or Blue I like you" for a nite-nite book. I know they don't understand all of what today was about but K did ask to sing "Jesus Loves the Little Children" which is the most important part.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Black Eyed Pea Hamburgers anyone?

Since they were a huge hit at home tonight, I thought I'd share this recipe. (And no, I'm not joking- the boys loved them- they asked for seconds and there were none left.) We've been working our way through the pantry. It's not super full like it was when Janelle visited. I thought I'd restock right it before our baby is born.

So today I decided to cook the Black Eyed Pea Soup in a Jar- but I lost the directions sometime and WAY overcooked the black eyed peas- into mush. "Waste not want not" so I googled "overcooked black eyed peas" and found several sites including these which I somewhat used:
http://veganaddict.wordpress.com/2008/04/10/buns-of-soul/ and http://recipes.pauladeen.com/index.php/recipes/view/black_eyed_pea_cake/ (actually I didn't use the Paula Deen recipe at all but it made me feel a little less like a crazy vegetarian :)

so here's my version: I mixed the black eyed pea soup spices with the mushy black eyed peas, added homemade spaghetti sauce, pureed vegetables, and a little bit of AP flour, then baked at 350 for 30 minutes (I flipped once in the middle.) When they were done, I put on whole wheat bread with a slice of cheese and a little BBQ sauce- quite a hit!! (Of course, I also made tortilla surprise with the rest of the black eyed peas/ pureed vegetables for another night!)

We had a good day back at church for the first time (despite a phone call to poison control for a little eaten hand sanitizer- everyone is fine.) And a cold rainy afternoon- I'm ready for Spring! And even more ready for James' return- 60 days or so!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

and K elephant & C elephant ate their yummy jello...

who knew that that short sentence could cause TONS of tears after such a nice day. We started off the morning enjoying only slightly burnt gingerbread muffins (I won't be making that recipe again although burning them and setting off the smoke alarm many times yesterday could be why they didn't turn out so well.) By 9 am, we had picked up the bear family and were headed to Marbles museum in Raleigh. K told me he'd been dreaming about going to the museum since I told him about the museum pass (a wonderful birthday gift for the boys!) We got there and the kids had a great time- driving fire engines, planting vegetables, dressing up like fruit, caring for livestock, seeing canned food statues (even if we had to have a museum worker explain Peter Rabbit), playing on the pirate ship, what a great museum! We like Fayetteville a lot but it sure would be nice to have something like that here! We went to Roly Poly for lunch and the elephant kids ate all their food + some of the bear food. Then back for more museum fun- this time building and racing cars, playing drums, weaving rugs, building a tall tall tower, ice fishing. A great trip!
After a short rest at home, we headed to Home Fires (a wonderful ministry through a Methodist church which hosts monthly dinners for spouses of deployed soldiers.) I enjoyed a yummy dinner and a good evening with great women while the boys were well care for in the nursery. They made cute snowmen and (I thought) they all made jello. That was (not my first) mistake- as I told their nite-nite story about the fun day the elephant family had today, I ended with "K elephant and C elephant ate their yummy jello." I'm now guessing that only the big kid room had jello so little C heard that his elephant counterpart had some jello but he didn't have any. Pretty upsetting when you're barely 3 and missed your nap! But a pretty good day when that's the roughest part of it. Thank you James for your prayers for us to have a good day and God for giving us one!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Too Busy,

too tired, too sick, ...
that's been me so far this year. We were all sick for the first part of the New Year. Just last night a friend called and I said I haven't been reading my Bible much so far in 2009. I said the boys have been sleeping until 7 most days so there's really no reason that I can't get up and read before then. (or a reason that I couldn't read last night before bed) but I HAD to watch the end of Gil Grissom's time on CSI, then the book that I started reading yesterday was hard to put down, before I knew it it was well past my bedtime. so when C woke up at 6, reading the Bible was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to sleep a little longer. We both fell back asleep- I could have gotten up to read but didn't. Then I HAD to clean up the kitchen before we went to Fun Fridays which of course I couldn't miss. Somehow we had a rough morning there- the boys were sure they were on the brink of starvation. But I couldn't make myself pack them up and head home like I should have done. We stayed and then when I got home, I HAD to check email and update my blog. Hmmm... as I keep thinking about the poem I read somewhere about always making time to read, maybe I should get off the computer and go read my Bible now!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pecan Picking and Puppies

I had my second of 8 weekly ultrasounds today. Kayleigh looked great again. She didn't want to do things on the doctor's (or my) timeline but she finally did all the things on their checklist- she didn't feel like any practice breaths until 45 minutes into u/s. Her blood flow in her brain and fluid levels were good- the main things they're checking. hopefully next week she'll cooperate sooner :)

The boys enjoyed their time while I was at the doctor. Leon came over; T napped the whole time again. K and C had a good time visiting and eating. I hear that K somehow tricked C into giving him some of his treats from Leon. After a short nap for C and a little quiet time for K, we headed to Walmart to return the heater that I bought. Then off to pick pecans and see puppies out in the country. We got to see lots of cows, horses, and sheep along the way which made for a good drive. The family is so nice. They invited us in to see the 3 week old German Shepherd puppies. T thought about climbing in the kiddie pool with the 10 puppies but settled for petting the puppies I held. His big brothers weren't so sure but K did hold a couple puppies in his lap and C nervously pet them. They were so sweet. I left my camera in the car so we will definitely have to make another trip!

The boys had a good time picking pecans. C held the bucket while T filled it up. K picked his up all by himself. Next time Becky said she'll show the boys the chickens and horses- how fun! Once T filled his bucket, he was ready to go. C is still learning what it means to wait and didn't quite get that we don't have a nutcracker so we can't eat the nuts. He managed to get one half eaten with his teeth! You can't tell from this picture but T was doing a happy dance he was having such a good time helping pick pecans.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Success!

Yeah! We had a big party here tonight (well, if an M&M for a 3 year old boy & several attempted phone calls to family to tell our big news counts as a party- I'm really glad C thought he was talking to Uncle B instead of his voicemail. Yes, C pooped in the potty tonight! I won't include any pictures of the event or his descriptions. But he was so excited & K was almost as excited for him so a good night!
This followed our yummy dinner- I actually cooked meat tonight for the first time in a long time. I remember way back when I thought it was harder to plan & cook vegetarian meals- don't worry James I'll cook some meat when you get home & the chicken was the boys' favorite part of dinner. I cooked the chicken in the slow cooker & the boys helped me cook the cauliflower & make the mashed potatoes this morning as part of preschool. I did learn that cherries should be on the list of foods not to give children until they're at least 3- because it's a lot of work to pit cherries for lots of kids. I started out pitting K & C's too but just couldn't keep up.

We had a good stay at home day. The boys did a sea cow show this morning- "swimming" in our big bath tub. If I'd written a "Not Me Monday" today I would have to include that I did not give my 4 year old a bath for the first time since I can remember. (although if I had waited that long, I think my icky cold would have been a good excuse + everyone knows Americans bathe too often.) I had another impulse buy yesterday at Walmart- maybe I am turning into a spender- just this week I bought some salad toppings (bacon bits), a broom, a heater (which I'm returning tomorrow), and a $4 puzzle. The boys are very excited about their new Buffalo Soldiers puzzle- they ask to do it with teamwork and I loved hearing them help each other & applaud each other's puzzle success. They asked me to take a picture to show Daddy when they finished. I put more pictures on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaklew/

Monday, January 12, 2009

So I know at least one of you is in great suspense waiting for me to reveal my new recipe & my surprise purchase but you'll have to get to the end of my rambling to read them. We had our first non-doctor outing since New Year's Day today: PWOC. We all enjoyed it- good playtime for the boys & time for me. I did have another of my many reminders of why we miss James here. As much as I love shopping :), I try to do it quickly so today I bought a hot touch heater for our playroom- not exactly what I meant to get.

Yesterday I got to see a friend's beautiful newborn baby . You forget just how little and sweet they are- I guess we'll see soon- 10 weeks until Kayleigh's born. I also got a reminder of how quiet is not always good. I was getting C ready for bed, K was getting ready, and T was quietly playing. I had this fleeting thought that it was a little too quiet but it was so nice I didn't go check at first. A minute or two of quiet and I knew I should go check. I walked into the bathroom and found my sweet little baby boy in his PJs all ready for bed except he was soaking wet from head to toe. And what water source can a 17 month old boy reach?
time to start over getting baby boy ready for bed.

I was tired from the day, pregnancy, 3 boys, getting over a cold, ... so I sat down in front of our TV which I was so thankful to Brian for connecting our digital converter box and turned it on to see that digital doesn't work well here. I think that's God telling me I don't need to watch it. Although I think He meant I should do something more productive- maybe spend time in His Word, get stuff done, ...

I could ramble more but I know you're dying to know my big surprise:
I bought a broom! My friends have all looked for one when they came over so I bought one. Pretty crazy huh? And now the recipe.

Cowboy Casserole (we had it last night & K said "Thank you Mommy for making me the yummy dinner" and today C asked if we "could have that cowboy dinner again."

Mix Baked Beans (one can or so), with cooked beans (I used lentils this time), appropriate leftovers (I added red beans & rice, you could add any cooked meat, rice, pasta?) and veggies (I added carrots, mixed veggies, and peppers). Put into 11x13 pan. Cover with uncooked corn bread mix (from the box or I used an allrecipes recipe.) Bake at 350 for 45 min (or until cornbread is baked.)




Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Three Year Old Boy!

C slept in his own bed until 6 this morning (yeah!) Then slept another hour with me. When he woke up at 7, I told him Happy Birthday. The first thing he said was "Can I watch Daddy singing me Happy Birthday" (James emailed a movie of him singing to C). A beginning to a good day!
T napped while K & C continued to work on their decorations- C was having a turtle cupcake cake so they took down K's Superman Birthday decals (yes up since July) & taped up pictures of turtles, fish, and stingrays on our windows & put up the Lewis Family Art Gallery.Grandma & Uncle Brian got here in time to play for a while before our C requested birthday lunch of hotdogs, BBs, potato salad, fruit from Grandma, and of course turtle cupcakes and ice cream. K convinced C that birthday boys listen instead of singing Happy Birthday to themselves. They were all very excited about the birthday plates, sunglasses, & noisemakers in the fun party box from Aunt Janelle. C was very excited to open his presents- T was just as excited to play with them. We were all happy that James got to call & tell C Happy Birthday. A great party followed by good naps by all. At dinner, K shared some of his brainwashing (I mean learning), he said "Mommy, we can wash a movie tonight without our brain since it's C's birthday." So here we are watching "Elmo learns to potty." Maybe C will make it- "I'll be potty trained when the new baby comes."

Another great part of today was Brian hooked up our digital converter box AND fixed my printer. Yes, it really did have paper jammed in it since Oct. Now, if I just had paper I'd be all set to print! I did get to scan in an ultrasound pic from Friday. So here's another pic of Kayleigh.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Quiet

I was so blessed today when Jenean called to see how I was doing. She offered to take the big boys out to play so I could rest. I started to say no, but I'm so glad that she offered & I didn't say no. The boys were so excited to go play with a friend especially since we've been so homebound lately.
And T cooperated by taking another long morning nap so I spent almost 2 hours doing nothing but sleeping some on the couch- what a good morning. Then happy boys came home ready to nap (after playing with C's birthday moon sand) so T & I had a quiet afternoon to nap some more. Exactly what I needed today!
I do think that God uses times like this to teach us things- like to be a little more sympathetic when others get sick- James, the boys, friends, ... I hadn't been really sick in a long time and now remember it's not fun & doesn't feel good. I'm also reminded that people don't usually ask for help. Lots of times, I've told people to call if they need anything & they don't often call for help. Now I'm reminded that doesn't mean they couldn't use help, it's just hard to ask.

C was so excited to get an email video from James- Daddy singing Happy Birthday. K's been helping count down the days to his birthday for a week now. Tomorrow's the big day- I can't believe C is almost 3. tomorrow I'll put pics of the birthday boy & his turtle cupcake cake.

Friday, January 9, 2009

God is so good!

Last night at the end of our Family Time we sang "God is so good" by candlelight. The boys were super excited to be up a little later than usual & to get to use our new battery powered candles. As we sang, I thought it's really true. Even if I've hardly slept for the last few days, am pretty sure I coughed up a lung yesterday, & I've wiped more eye gunk & runny noses over the last few days than I would have ever imagined. We are generally healthy, we have great friends & family, James is alive & well & coming home soon, and the list goes on. I think Day 7 of being homebound had just gotten me a little down- I was actually looking forward to my doctor appointment today not just to see pics of little Kayleigh but to be out of the house for a little bit. But singing that simple song reminded of some of the little ways that God is good. Like yesterday I was getting frustrated with the kids when K & T walked in the room holding hands, or when K & C told me about the new game they made up (wrapping up presents from the playroom to give to T), getting a couple phone calls from friends/ family when I was pretty sure I had forgotten how to talk to another adult, having Leon come watch the boys today for my appointment, having K come tuck me in the couch & then play quietly by himself for few minutes this afternoon, ...



So I'm stopping the brief pity party I had for myself & going to be thankful for all the good things we have & that are coming up. I would appreciate prayer that Kayleigh she stays healthy & my weekly ultrasounds are just a precaution. And a good night sleep would be great too!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Groundhogs Day

Day 6 of our staying at home from pink eye & colds was okay but it does feel somewhat like Groundhogs Day- wake up, breakfast, clean up, play, preschool at home, lunch, play, nap (prayerfully), play, dinner, get ready for bed, email James, update blog. of course, add some refereeing & lots of diapers, cleaning, reading, coughing, wiping. repeat

I'm not complaining- there's been less refereeing while we've been home & some pretty neat craft & preschool projects (well- at least least for those of us who are craft challenged- not say for people who make too cute pillows like this one we got for Christmas.)We did spend a while this morning cleaning our playroom. K was very excited that we put labels so we know where things go. I don't think he was very impressed with my drawing but I told him Daddy might help draw better pictures when he gets home. I'm not sure that the younger two shared his enthusiasm for organization but it's much easier to find things. K thanked me lots of times tonight for putting labels so he can find toys better. They have been super cute playing- today we had two lions & a penguin. Then all three did a Veggie Tales puppet show. T has even started taking his plate to the sink after he finishes eating. If only boys only copied the good things! :)
We also were very excited to get the mail today. Here's C proudly wearing his Officially 3 badge from Grandmollie. He was also super excited to get his birthday coloring book from Nana & Papa, birthday supplies from the Coles, and can't wait for Grandma & Uncle Brian to come celebrate on Sunday. We're thankful for the prayers for us to get well and think we're headed towards getting well. And we're down to 10 weeks until James' return & 11 until Kayleigh's birth.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pink Eye and Potty Training

When you're given lemons, make lemonade.
When you're given a week+ at home due to pink eye, start potty training!

I wish I'd thought of that last Friday when our homebound days began. To be honest, it took C crying in the middle of the night to think now might be the time. Well, it wasn't exactly the crying, it was the scene I found when I went to check on him. There was a completely boy sitting crying on his soaking wet sheets with his completely dry diaper sitting right beside him. If in the middle of the night, he can think to take off his diaper before going to the bathroom, I think he's about ready to start potty training. Plus he's been saying for months, he's going to "be potty trained when the new baby's born." And based on T's gunky eyes, we're probably homebound for a good many more days. Today was his first time standing up on the scale- 25 pounds & 31".

T's gunky eyes haven't seemed to slow him down any. He quickly joined the big boys in their costume party last night. I think we had every super hero & every Hundred Acre Woods character present- T copied his brothers bringing me costumes to put on. Now I have to listen really well to tell who is calling since T often says mama or mommy instead of crying for me.

Our days at home have been better than I thought they might be- especially considering we just got home from a fun trip, all 4 of us caught colds, & it's been pretty rainy out- so we haven't been able to get out that much. Yesterday we made boats for Jesus & his disciples. Today we made Paul & Silas' jail cell- the boys loved when their "earthquakes" knocked down the cheese & pecan walls so they could eat them.

video

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

After an trip to Florida, we came back home to our routine so we've had fewer exciting things to do but also less arguing. I think the amount of arguing among boys is directly proportional to the amount of sleep each day- it's been a long time since I took a math class so that might not be worded correctly but they generally act better when they nap/ sleep more) We celebrated New Year's Eve at times that fit my schedule just right. James IM'd at 4pm (midnight in "Dagbad" as C calls it) and then we went to a New Year's Eve party where the ball dropped at 6 ish- the boys were all very excited to stomp balloons & do the noisemakers. What a great idea- pick a time zone that fits your schedule & potluck food from there- this was Italy- lots of yummy food and fun with friends.We spent New Year's Day with Grandma. The boys were very excited to see Grandma & Uncle B. We also visited Great-Grandma but she was taking a nap. New Year's is a great time to reflect on all our blessings. God sure has been good to us. We have 3 healthy boys, wonderful families, good friends, a home & neighborhood that we really like, a terrific church. I have a wonderful husband who is a great friend & daddy- yes, we'll all be much happier when he's back home with us but he's well and should be home in 10.5 weeks (but who's counting? :) While James has been away I've done some things that I wouldn't normally do (like assemble a pirate ship- that is definitely a Daddy task), removing the door knob since I couldn't get it unlocked, ... I'm not sure those are the things meant by "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" but it's been true- God has helped us get through time of being apart. It's also a good time to think about next year- we have lots of big things coming up- did I mention James' return in 10.5 weeks? and Kayleigh's birth in 11.5 weeks. I've also been thinking a lot about being intentional- I used to listen to a radio broadcast on intentional living and really think that's important even if it's in small steps. Like my intentionally decluttering the house can be done one drawer at a time. Enough rambling, maybe I'll go clean a linen closet. Sometimes it feels like I've done stuff all day but haven't gotten anything done- then I remember the email that floated around about the man who got home from work and wanted to know what happened- everything was a wreck. the wife said "you know how you're always asking what I do all day, today I didn't do it." And then some days I hear one of our little boys sing a song about God, say a Bible verse, or do something else good that makes me think- maybe something did get done today.