Monday, February 16, 2015

Not How

As a mom of six, the last two who are twins, I am constantly getting comments about my brood when I'm out. From older women it's usually of the "better you than me" variety. Or the ever popular "My your hands are full."

But I've noticed a trend in the comments from my young momma friends and even the ones I meet while I'm out (twins cause quite the stir and we rarely get through a store without a few stops to chat with random strangers). These are the mommas who are living in the motherhood trenches of sleepless nights, diaper changes, cold meals that were supposed to be eaten hot, training and consistency, school work and home work, etc. These are the mommas who have less than five or six children and they all say the same thing. "I just don't know how you do it."

I honestly get totally awkward when I get this comment. I feel like I should respond with a list of my five secrets. But I have none. Not even one. Or maybe I should give my parenting book recommendations. But I only really use bits and pieces of any parenting book I've read.

Or I could show you my daily planner filled with tips on organizing your life. But most days I can't even remember where I put my planner much less tell you what I've written in it. I always leave those conversations wishing I would have had the words to encourage the mommas where they are in their journey.

I've thought about what I do that may be different or helpful because I want to be an encouragement. But really I just do what I need to do (or as much as I can).

The reality is that it's not the "how" in what I do. It's the "why." And I bet you know why I do all of this.

Because it's why you do all that you do. Because you love your babies fiercely and want the best for them just like I do for mine.

All that how business doesn't matter. Not when you put your mind to the why. When we remember why we do this motherhood thing we just do what needs to be done because we love our kids.

 I have to remind myself of this when I'm overwhelmed with the "how am I going to do this" feelings. Which, in full disclosure, happens often.

We are Super Mommas because we super love our kids. Not because we are always super at everything we do. We still yell at our kids, forget about the smelly laundry, and burn the dinner. We don't always get the how part right. But I bet you always get the why part right.

And we need to remember these two things.

1. Children are so quick to forgive. (Remember Jesus wants us to be like them for a reason)

2. 1 Peter 4:8 "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins."

And it does. And we love our children deeply. And they love us deeply. And that's our why.

I pray that this makes sense (because I'm writing from a very sleep deprived state) and that it encourages you in your journey. Because it is just that. Yours. And it won't necessarily look like anyone else's. You've got this.

Be blessed, friends.

Monday, January 12, 2015

On My Nightstand

I don't have many opportunities to read right now, but when I do this is the stack I'm working on.

Practical Theology for Women
I've read through part of this book and have wanted to finish. I don't quite know how to explain it, but I'm kind of feeling like I need a bit more "Why" behind my relationship with my Savior. I want to go from an emotional relationship to a foundational one. Make sense?

Mocking Jay & Catching Fire
I'm so late to the game with this series. Honestly, I had planned to boycott the whole thing. We ended up watching the first movie after it was out on DVD and I fell in love. I still didn't get around to starting the books until just before this last Christmas, though. I'm loving them! I usually like to read the book before I watch the movie, but with this series I feel like having watched the movies is bringing the books to life more for me.

People. Seriously. If you are totally in love with your normal, safe, comfy, American Christian life then DON'T read this book! But I'm in love and hooked. HH just shakes his head at me. And he's glad that 99% of our belongings are in storage because it makes it much harder for me to just give it all away to the poor. Which is good because, even though de-cluttering our home is a favorite past time of mine, those in need really have greater needs then my storage container of crap. And this book is helping me see that. Seriously. Read it. And then read her book 7. And then invite me over to de-clutter your house. Since mine is all packed away and unavailable.

Growing in Prayer
HH always says that if he didn't get married by a certain age he had plans to go live in the mountains and become a recluse mountain man. Thankfully I snatched him up before that happened. And if I wasn't living my #1 dream life my second choice would be living at the International House of Prayer in Kansas. Of course I didn't find out about IHOP until HH and I had met. Then when I went to IHOP for a six month internship we were already together and I knew I was gonna come back home and marry that hunk of a man and have a zillion of his babies. But HH and I both know that a piece of my heart stayed in the prayer room. The thing is I suck at praying. For me worship is how I communicate and relate to God most clearly. But I really want to have a stronger prayer life. This book is an answer to a desire I've had for a long time.

As much as I would love to read these books in the next few months, most likely it will take me at least half the year. I'm trying super hard to devote my days to my kids and hubby and reserve my time for reading, computer, and tv for the evenings after the kids are asleep. But that only works when the babies cooperate. ;)

Are you reading anything interesting? What's on your nightstand?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Pajamas



2014 Christmas Extravaganza at our church. Our first good family photo. Everyone is looking at the camera and smiling...except that all you can see of Jackson is the toes of his shoes peeping under Hazel's dress. He hid and wouldn't come out. Good gracious. We tried. And, Thank you, Karyn for the photo!

Thankfully we convinced him to let us get a picture before we left for church. It's the only one we have of him in his new suit. We had to tell him it's like the one Superman wears over his costume in order for him to consent to wearing it. And then we had to convince him to let us button the top button and put the bow tie on. The only reason he's smiling in this photo is because I asked him if he was going to kiss me before HH could. He's slightly ornery. But, oh what a heart stealer!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! From our family to yours!

Monday, December 22, 2014

'Til My Sides Hurt: My Christmas present to you

This is my present to you. The gift of laughter. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!


When counting:
"One, two, thawee, fo...six...five...seveneightnine!"


What he tells me every morning when I haven't given them their vitamins, "But we'w die without our bitamins, Mom!"


A Christmas question: "How does HoHo get hew?"


A few months ago Jackson came home from church telling me all about "the gurl with dots on hew face" and how she helped him. HH and I couldn't figure out who he was talking about. Was it a girl with freckles? Was there a teenager helping in the class who had acne? Does someone have moles on their face? I was a little nervous just because I hoped that he hadn't said anything about these mysterious dots to their owner.

A few Sundays later he pointed this girl out to me and I was relieved to see that it was indeed a young girl with freckles. Well one day after this particular little girl came and visited us before church service Jackson was talking about her again. "She has nickles, Mom."


"Nickles. On her face. The gurl with dots on her face."

"The dots on her face are nickles?"


"You mean freckles?"


We were watching Sound of Music and when Maria hit the high note at the end of the DO RE MI song Abiah asked, "Why did she hold her head when she sang that?"

Jackson quickly answered, "Because see didn't want it to fall off!"


"Sometimes my pinky starts to fuzzle and tries to go to sleep."

Amelia was  disagreeing with me about something and HH said, "Mommy knows everything, Amelia."

Amelia disagreed, "Nuhuh. She doesn't even know what's 100+2!"


About this picture of her and Oliver, "Naybe Oliver looks like baby Jesus."


On picking out her own clothes:

"We need to go back to Target to find those jeans that you haaaaaaaardly let me try on!"


To Amelia while coloring make-up on a My Little Pony in a coloring book:
"We don't want it to be grey because that would be insulting."


This last weekend we celebrated Christmas with just the 8 of us. The in-laws were out of town and the next week was booked so it was perfect timing. We had spent most of the week baking and getting ready for our little celebration. By Friday we were all a little short on grace and joy.

As we were trying to get the house picked up before dinner the girls got into a tiff about something and Hazel was yelling at Amelia. When she came into the room I was in she could see from the look on my face that I had heard the argument and yelling. I sent her to her room so I could finish feeding one of the babies and take time to find some grace and patience. After about 10 minutes Amelia came down and handed me this letter:

"Dear Amelia, I your sister is going to say I am leaving. Bye (something I can't decipher and she couldn't remember). Good bye everything. I have to Amelia. Love Hazel"

I sent Amelia to fetch Hazel and HH and I laughed over our first runaway letter. But I was also a bit perplexed. I hadn't even yelled at her and there have been plenty of times when I actually yelled and she never threatened to run away.

When she came down to us her eyes were red from crying and she said she felt bad for yelling at her sister. After she apologized to Amelia she decided not to leave after all.

The whole situation was this crazy ball of drama, laughter, and the sweetness of a little girl who was sorry for the way she'd treated her sister.



HH had Abiah do some extra school work and Abiah admitted to me on the second day, "This is actually the easiest week I've had in a long time and I'm doing extra work."

I asked if he would be sharing this info with HH and he said, "NO! If I tell him that he'll want me to do this much all the time!"

During a conversation with the girls: "I'm never gonna put lipstick on because I'm not a boy."


We were watching the Sound of Music Sing Along on tv and the first song we heard had foreign subtitles so Abiah was trying to figure out if we were on the wrong channel. I realized that the song song was in Latin and he said, "Oh. It's because they're Nims."

"They're what?"

"Nims. Or Nums or something like that."

"You mean NUNS?"

And the finale. His birthday letter to HH. This kid is so sweet. At every birthday or special day he gets up and writes a little card for HH and/or me. They all have his signature pictures and are filled with spelling mistakes and his own special Eeyore vibe.

Also, HH turned 35.

 These kids are great. I hope you enjoyed these treasures.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

'Til My Sides Hurt: Jackson Funnies

Our children are are very passionate in their hugs and kisses to the #beefyboys. From a stranger's view point it looks like the kids are about to hit, choke, or bite the babies when in reality they are just so overcome with joy and delight that they can hardly contain their affection. I know. It's been my response to babies since I was little. Like, still a baby myself.

Can we say, "Destined to have a bazillion children"?

Anyways, I've been training Jackson to give the #beefboys soft kisses and hugs and to save the big hugs and kisses for Mommy.

Win/Win. ;)

The other day after he had knocked me over with one of his kisses he told me, "I give da babies tiny kisses...and tiny punches."

Before I could get a correction out he added, "Der boys! And dey beed in your tummy all da days!"

3 year old logic: Tiny punches on boy babies are okay because:

#1. We can hit boys but not girls
#2. We can't give babies real punches


When he pinches the #beefyboys cheeks: "I'm not pinsing dem. I'm dust chubbing der cheeks!"


We were doing our advent reading and when it was Jackson's turn to list his blessing of the day he said, "Going in your woom." (climbing in bed with me in the middle of the night)

And then he flashed the "Momma's Boy Smolder."




A few months back I cut HH, Abiah, and Jackson's hair while my in-laws were out for the day. When they got home FIL was commenting on their hair and said to Abiah and Jackson, "Where'd your hair go? You got buzzed. You're Buzz Lightyear!"

At that point Jackson, who is laying on the couch, starts pulling his pants down. FIL goes, "Hey! Whatcha doing?!"

"I'm showing you my Woody!"

FIL and I half gasp and giggle and, as we're both starting to tell him to pull his pants up, we realize that he has his new Toy Story underwear on and he was just trying to show FIL the picture on the back of the unders.

Laughter for days, people. I tell ya.


The kids and I went blueberry picking with MIL this last summer. As we were picking I was talking to the kids about not eating too many of the berries while we were picking them because that would be stealing from the farmers. Jackson had a different solution.

"I'm dust hiding 'tween da boosses so dey can't see me."



About sleeping on a bunk bed:

"I don't like bonk beds. The wood bonks on me."


On getting too close to Emmett:

"He was twying to eat my cheek for brefest, but it's not achooly his brefest."



Speaking of Emmett's "brefest"...

The #beefyboys were due to be born during hunting season in September. I'll never hear the end of it.

That meant that we couldn't go on the Arcouette family annual two week hunting trip. That HH had already gotten time off for. I was a favorite of all this year.


While we waited for babies MIL and FIL went with SIL#1's family. MIL and FIL came home the day before induction to be here for the birth and the day after the #beefyboys were born they went back to camp and took Abiah and Jackson with them.

On the way back to camp they had car troubles and ended up at a little auto shop. When they walked into the shop the receptionist greeted them and Jackson immediately says, "Mommy had babies."

MIL explained that her DIL had just had twins and then Jackson added, "And dey dwink milk outta Mommy's boobies!"

Monday, December 8, 2014


Apparently Rest and Hope for this year looks like not blogging for almost a year. Oh! And these things that have happened since I last posted:

We found out we were pregnant.

We found out we were pregnant with twins!

The Krooked Kastle sold.

We moved in with HH's parents until we find a house.

We found out that our babies were boys.

The kids and I spent most of the summer at the park, wadding pool, my mom's pool, and the dollar movies.

I survived the 5 million degree weather while being ginormously pregnant.

We didn't go hunting.

HH barley survived.

Then I was induced and we finally got to meet our boys.

They are now two-and-a-half months old and we're so in love.

And we have six kids.

We are still at HH's parents' house waiting to find a place of our own. I have lots I want to share and I hope that, now that things have slowed down a bit, I will be able to.

I read through some old posts about the kids and was just in a fit of giggles over their cuteness. It also made me sad that I didn't keep posting this last year. They are so cute and the time with them flies so quickly. I just want to bottle all the memories up so I can revisit them. And the kids love for me to read the stories to them. Which makes it even more fun.

Here are some favorites I read:

'Til My Sides Hurt: The Telephone Guys

'Til My Sides Hurt: A Trip to the Dentist

'Til My Sides Hurt: When Daddy's in Charge

One of Those Videos

Hazel's New Friend

For more funnies click on the 'Til My Sides Hurt label.