Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Danger! Crash! Bang! Boom!

It's really unbelievable that just a few months ago Jack was a chubby blob content to sit on your lap all the live long day. Truthfully, that's when him and Uncle Eli bonded like they did, and now it's true love forever. Between Gabe, a first born conservative rule follower, and Max, a first born conservative rule follower, I've always been able to send them off to play without any fear or hesitation. One will always tell on the other, one will always have a streak of caution rise up when needed, and they will obey all the rules... well except the be kind to your brother all the time... but that's a hard one for all of us! So between all of these factors, the ways of Jack are just never what I expect. I am never prepared and my heart won't ever beat steadily again.

On Saturday, I experienced a type of fear that I have never experienced in my life. It has led to numerous streaks of heart racing, hyperventilating, and crying... for both me and Max. I also felt the Lord's protection in a way I never had-- I just keep saying thank you Lord, thank you. Because this could've ended very differently. I could be telling a very different story.

I got Max up from his nap just minutes before he and I were heading out to pick up Gabe from his Mom. Max was dying to go because 48 hours without Gabe leaves him a little befuddled, and there were promises of picking out donuts and a cookie cake for Gabe's friend birthday party that would take place later that day. I realized on my way to the garage that my car was out of gas, so we decided to take Chad's truck, which was parked on the lower driveway so that he could unload some stuff into his man garage. I went to grab Jack some shoes and socks after telling Chad that Jack had to be watched like a hawk down there because of the retaining wall in the neighbors yard. I knew Jack would try to convince Chad that they should play outside after we left and Chad is easy when it comes to Jack... so my bets were on the outside play :)

Within minutes, we were all down on the bottom driveway. Jack was in the Cozy Coupe, Max was standing in front of him for fear that he'd drive away, Chad was unloading his truck, and I was making sure Max's seat was hooked into the truck properly. After about a minute, Jack had climbed out of the car, so I grabbed Max, Jack's personal protector and safety patrol, and put him in his seat, thinking that all was well... at least while I got Max buckled . I called out to Chad that I needed keys and he ran to grab them because neither of us thought to bring them down. He was back in a hot second, and climbed in the back seat to hand me the keys and snuggle the completely non-snuggly Max as is their tradition. It was at the second that I heard a noise...

Jack was in the Cozy Coupe hurdling down the ramp- he was picking up speed and heading straight for the wall. I screamed in terror, a sound that I'm quite sure I have never made before, just shouting "Chaddddddd"-- and then it happened. I watched him hit the edge of the wall and flip over and fall all the way down. He landed upside down. It felt like hours before I got to him-- being pregnant and huge I had to climb down the easy way. Chad had scrambled from the truck and jumped down the wall and got to Jack before I could get there. Jack was still inside the car. And he was fussing. We carefully got him out-- relieved that he was alive, but fearful of the state of his neck and back, among all his other parts.

Here is the garage and the ramp where he began...
He went across the sloped driveway, gaining speed...
He hit the edge of the wall and flipped over...
And plummeted down... that pile of leaves is where we found him. 
Here is a picture of Gabe below with arm up over his head... not even close to the top of the wall, to demonstrate how far Jack fell. 
The wall is taller than the monster truck tire (neighbors have weird hobbies?!?) and much taller than me as well.
Miraculously, Jack was completely fine, only showing us a little red spot on his finger. But the rest of us will never be the same. It took me a good hour to settle down-- battling between Hallelujah's and tears. Max was hysterical too. Although he was buckled in the truck, he knew exactly what had happened. But my thoughts haven't stopped haunting me yet. It is the first time I have truly feared death for one of my children-- and I watched it all happen completely helpless. It plays in my mind all the time, and still causes my adrenaline to surge. Chad later shared that all he could think about is broken bones. He was praying that everything was intact. I am so thankful for the Lord's protection over Jack- I am so thankful that he is still with us with no broken bones. And more than anything, I am so thankful for the wake up call. He isn't like the other boys. He's only going to get more adventurous and more inquisitive. And he's only 1... we've got a lifetime to go of this!

About an hour later, Chad sent me a text that as I as a pulled away, Jack hopped on the Mickey Mouse scooter and tried to ride down the ramp again. Chad was standing right there, not letting our precious boy out of his arm's reach, but still crazy nonetheless. Chad ended the text with "Sam!!" as in my brother who has lived a life of crazy ideas and thankfully has learned to bounce. Since then... like as in ONLY 3 days ago, while he's been sick and "under the weather" he's decided to start playing with the plug under his crib when he wakes up... hello electricity. And I just found him standing up on the desk digging in the vitamins.

I can't let this boy out of my sight for a moment. It is worth the time to take every precaution and purchase every safety device. We will be getting a fence for the side of the house, and Jack will be locked in places more times than he's going to like... when I shower, I shut him in the bathroom with me, literally. He's always going to need the safety belt, he's always going to need to have an adult watching him, and I'm so glad I got the chance to learn this over a terribly fearfully horrid yet uneventful situation. I'm so grateful that this is our story.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


This is a post I've been wanting to write, yet dreading at the same time. That's because homeschooling is one of those things that's so divisive! But as a product of the public school system married to someone who is a product of the public school system, I can assure you that our stance isn't "anti". It's just more of a difference in the ways of doing something.

Just like we are all called to The Great Commission (Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20) which may look like foreign missions for some, huge donations for others, and sharing Jesus with their neighbors for others, the bible is clear about specific directions for parenting too- "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:5-7.  The directions are clear-- but the method may look different for each person and family. For this family, the Lord has made it clear, that homeschool is the way to go about that command- at least for this time.

It all started when I was pregnant with Max. Actually it started before that.... you know back in the day when I thought I knew everything. Back when I said things like "I'll NEVER drive a minivan-- I'll drive a bus before that happens"... and know-it-all comments like "God created public school for moms to have a break" and "Homeschool kids are dorky-- that won't be my kids." Well fast forward and I now drive a minivan that I'm actually quite fond of... and we're homeschooling.... never say never :) So back to Max... he was growing in utero and Chad and I were on the way to church (in our super cool 4runner I might add...) and I reached over and grabbed Chad's forearm and said "I'm supposed to homeschool." He looked as me as only husbands who have been dealing with raging hormones for too many weeks on end can and said "ok, don't get upset, we have a while to figure that out." Small tears seeped out of my eyes- it was an encounter with the Lord for me- I knew what was being said and what I was to do, but I didn't know why and I didn't understand it.

Well over the last 4 years, that moment has been flushed out a bit. God has continued to open my eyes to my job as a parent, what it looks like to teach my children the way, and opened my heart so much that I don't even care if my children are dorky-- I just care that they're learning to love God with all their hearts, souls and strength. God has brought it to my attention that I can delegate tasks (like educating) and authority to others when it comes to my children, but I can't delegate responsibility-- I'll have to give an account for how I raised them and what I delegated. AND before you even think I'm attacking all teachers, I am NOT-- my grandmother was an incredible kindergarten teacher for decades, and I have many close wonderful godly friends who are teachers in the public school system-- and thank you Lord for that! But as with all government run establishments, there are not God-centered and Christ-like requirements for all personnel, and until God shows me that my children know His way well enough to fend off the "fools" that Prov 13:20 talks about, then we're going to own the task of their education, which by default, keeps them home with me and under own discipleship during most of their awake hours, instead of the opposite. Again... at least for now :)

We recently attended this really well-done homeschool talk by Jonathan D. Crumly, Sr (his website it crumsoftruth.com) and he asked 3 simple questions that I just love for our family in general:
1) Is God preeminent in our decisions about educations?
2) What goals do we have for when our children become adults?
3) What goals do we have for educating our children?
It really just gave us a great perspective for continually praying through this process of education, and listening to God as He leads us.

So when homeschooling entered into our family a lot sooner than planned with Gabe last month, I scrambled, asking my discipleship leader from college for help, as well as a wonderful family that Chad and I both look up to, and really great lady from church-- all who I admire, all who homeschool their children-- for some help, direction and encouragement. Melisa, my leader from college, told me this and it's stuck80%+ of homeschooling is heart and character work. And not just the kids! And oh how true it is-- there has already been battles in my heart over "my" time and the way "I" like to do things... you know get out and about all the time, meet up with other preschool moms, etc... but that's just not feasible. God is working and showing me what gets the priority right now, and if I'm honest with myself and factor in the small people we have in our home now and to come in the next several weeks, this isn't just a short stage I'm in-- this is what God has called and is calling me to for the next many years. It's going to encroach on me time-- it's going to "hold me back" and keep me from doing other things I want to do-- it's going to limit my freedom and flexibility, and it's going to significantly cut into my social life-- but as Nehemiah 6 demonstrates, "I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down."

There are lots of others odds and ends questions-- like will my children be behind or ahead or the other children-- and that's just as in the air as any other child-- it depends on the child. Right now, Gabe is incredible at Math, so he's literally doing 2 math lessons a day and excelling. He's also struggling with Grammar which means we're moving slow, and actually, instead of moving forward, we've been going backwards for several days now. But he's the only students in my class at this level which means I can do whatever I need to do with him- it's all about him. And I can build in time to play with his brothers, time to read books he likes, time to build lego sets he loves, etc... and even chores and other household responsibilities. I say this to him all the time-- I'm worried about his whole person-- handling responsibility, his heart, his brain, his attention to details and following directions, his concern for others-- not just his grades. When I say it like that, it's a lot... but it's also so freeing too. With that being said, if my child is ahead or behind at a given time, I really don't care, because we can change the pace and direction as we see fit and catch up in no time flat... we can also complete a whole school day in 4-5 hours. Hello, awesome! And we do hope to enroll Gabe in one of 2 classical schools for a day or two a week next year, to still give him plenty of socialization- which he also gets on his sports teams and at church- but also to help his brain learn to explain and anallyze what's he's learning about be able to come up with the "so what does this mean" or "how does this change/add to what I already know and think?"

Last question- will we ever send them to school? Well the short answer is God led us here and he'll lead to the next steps too. For now, I believe God gave us these precious people and it's my job to shape their minds, hearts, and souls as God sees fit-- so when/ if we feel like they are ready for the big mean world-- hard and peer pressure, and that God is calling them there, we will send them! Whether that's middle school, high school or a foreign country to serve Him- they are His, we are just here to steward them and I want to spend my energy doing it the best way I can! My desire is for them to be strong, young men at every age, capable of being in the world not but of the world as scriptures call us to be.

So all that to say, I do not think this way is "the" way-- it's just a way and the way we've chosen for now. I don't think I'm a better parent than someone doing it in a different way, and I don't judge others for choosing one of the many other routes to education and discipling your children! I'm just oh so grateful that God showed me this and put it on my heart years ago, because He knew that if he sprang this on me when Max was five, I would've laughed all the way over to kindergarten registration! This has been a work of my heart and Chad's, and will continue to be as we look to the Lord for guidance in raising and training our children.

"The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth." R.L. Dabney

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dear Baby

You make me really sick first thing in the morning and right before I fall asleep but let me be during the day-- for that I thank you!!

But you've totally ruined my hair- its so dry and nasty I can't even run my hands through it, when normally I have very soft, healthy hair with very little effort. I'm not so thankful for that....

You've increased my joy and excitement surrounding all babies- who knew that was possible! And oh I'm in love with you!

But you've really given me quite the sniffer but unfortunately I live with stinky boys. It's THE worst! Not loving that.... Or the zitty chin of a 13 year old.

On the other hand, I'm sleeping pretty well as long as I'm eating well (well except for the potty break) and then usually a power nap during the day-- thank you!!

And lastly, you have made me a hot mess. I cry daily. Over nothing. For no reason. So far, I've cried because I'm fat, because Jack got his haircut, because of a commercial, looking at babies, reading Facebook, looking at Max's baby picture, because I wanted to talked to your Dad but he didn't answer, and because the day ended with a "y". I'm so emotional, I just hope your Daddy, our family, and my friends still love me after your birth!

You are sure making me wonky, little bean-- changing every normal I've know-- but I'm loving the adventure and I'm proud to have you in my womb... For better and for worse :)

Mommy Dearest

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Ways of J

**This post didn't get posted when I wrote it because it said something about costing to post pictures or something and it was almost Christmas and I barely had time to brush my teeth, so finding out what was going on didn't make it onto my to-do list. BUT this was the beginning of Jack really busting into his full self... you know 100% trouble, 100% wildman, 100% adorable, and 100% sweet. I do understand that that math doesn't add up, but I'm serious, the child is all of those all the time. Or else he's sleeping.

This morning was Jack's 18 months appointment... you can tell 2nd child syndrome is setting in because I always took Max within a day or two of his exact month day and Jack, well, we're barely squeaking in before he hits 19 months. Poor #3... he/ she's going to be lucky to get there within the right year!

Anyway, I'll follow with an all things Jack update and his stats here soon, but I must share a story... mainly to ensure I laugh instead of hanging him upside down by his toenails. While at the appointment, the doc asked if I was concerned about anything having to do with Jack's behavior and I just chuckled and said I was more concerned about my sanity because he's into everything all the time, has octopus arms, climbs anything and everything, has no fear, and generally makes messes 24/7 even when I think I've removed all possibilities or that I have my eye on him. The doctor laughed-- he has many children of his own-- and I think I even saw a smirk on his face as he compared my Jack to his Jake.

So after the doc, we ran a few quick errands, dropped some things off for Chad at his job, and then came home. The general game plan was to get the boys outside so I could work on my bible study for about 30 minutes, eat lunch, and then naps. We got everything out of the car, I got the boys into their coats and hats, sent them out on merry way, and ran upstairs to get my bible stuff. Then I heard "I have to go poopy." Which means Max was inside. Which means Jack would be inside in 3, 2, 1...  bingo.

I picked up a few things, making use of my time until I heard the dreaded words "I'm dooooone" which would be my signal to head up stairs and clean a booty. Jack noticed I was semi-occupied and began pulling ornaments off the tree which is a no-no that leads to discipline and then a huge fit. I was certain that would take up enough time for me to take care of Max and ran up the stairs into the bathroom. I was in the bathroom with Jack out of sight for merely a few seconds... just long enough for me to wipe, help the boy step into his undies and pants, when Jack came into the bathroom with this in his mouth:

That is an empty bottle of brand new toner that I had just won last night at a Christmas cooking thing I went to with my mom. It was part of a kit that was fancy and all natural and smelled delicious-- the bottles were sealed, it was al wrapped in tissue and in a pretty gift back on the bench by our front door. Initially I felt fear-- my baby drank a bottle of toner-- then I noticed he was dry. Asking Jack to not make a mess is like asking him not to breathe, so I knew there was no way that he drank something without wearing it.

So I ran down the stairs to find this:

In less than I minute, he had ripped into the bag, dumped out the contents, gotten his hands on the toner, broke the seal and got the lid off (I found the lid with busted seal under the bench), and poured the entire bottle out all over the floor... and right onto our Christmas tree skirt.

Our floors are now refreshed and rejuvenated-- smelling quite lovely-- meanwhile the dark circles on my face and the gray hairs on my head are increasing by the hour. Ohhhh, the way of J. Look at this angel face (eating the nativity)... but don't let it fool you!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The New House

As I mentioned earlier this month, we recently moved into a new house. Now it's been quite a feat just to keep people fed and clean while slowly and surely unpacking and organizing. The last time I moved, I didn't have kids which means 1 of 2 things-- for of all, I got to work and pack and unpack distraction- free-- I could unpack until the wee hours, sleep until I was rested and get up and start again. This time, oh no no no no no! I have to keep normal hours AND work steadily so as not to go into pre-term labor. Secondly, after having kids, your amount of stuff quadruples for each child you have-- our rate of increase has been dramatic!

But alas, it's time for some pictures to display our new digs... there are still lots of piles and there aren't any adorable pictures of my cute men on the walls, but maybe by 2014 :)

Here's a little tour to give our out of town family and friends a peek:

Here is the baby room- it's Jack's for now and once the baby sleeps through the night and is moved out of our room, it will be the baby's and Jack will move in with Max. It already has curtains but my handy man hasn't gotten to this yet....

Max's room is huge with a HUGE closet. Oh how this makes me so happy :) The boys share a closet, there is a dresser in his closet, and there's still lots of room. He's still in need of a head board- I found a cute baseball one-- his room is obviously sports themed. AND his dresser I got for $45... and painted it and added those knobs... I LOVE IT! (Oh and by "I" painted it, clearly I mean Chad did.) And in the bottom right hand corner, there is still tons of room for Jack's future crib and there will still be floor space. Oh happy day!

This is Max and Jack's bathroom and the one visitors use... which means we don't let them brush their teeth in there, ha!

Next is the master bath... as you may remember from before, our last bath was so tiny that we literally couldn't both fit in it.... now our whole family can have a party in there :)

Chad re-did all the bathroom cabinets and kitchen cabinets, as well as painted the whole house. The cabinets were all good solid fine and dandy pine but now with his hard work they look brand new and fancy fresh. So fun to feel like you got a brand new kitchen, but without the big money!

Here's the kitchen...

Here is our living room with no knick knacks... mainly because I'm knick knacked out, and not books on the shelf or anything fun or Bowman-ish, but you can see the direction it will head eventually....

And here's Gabe's bathroom:

Also, a delightful thing... a HUGE playroom, with plenty of play space plus even more play space... we clean up every other day or so, and it's amazing because I don't have toys stored in my living room anymore, wahoo... I'm a big girl now!

Lastly, we have the craft room (aka heavenly) that also doubles as the perfect laundry folding space which you'll see in the pictures... it's also our school room as well-- right now Gabe prefers his desk in his room, but this is hear as he needs it, along with all the boys craft stuff, my craft stuff, and even a gift wrap station... ohhh la la!

And it has this little secret storage closet... the only downside is that I haven't had any time to organize it and make it my happy place, for now it's the catch all, but what woman wouldn't die for this closet??

As I mentioned, it's all a work in progress... there are piles that have to find a home, boxes that need unpacked, and of course lots of pictures need to be hung on the bare walls. I also didn't include any pictures of the master bedroom because the bed isn't made and I'm about to go crawl in it.... or Gabe's room because his bed frame is still in storage at my parents from when we outgrew our other house about a year ago... it will be retrieved by the end of the month, for now, the boy has a mattress on the floor... but he told me this make bed making a lot easier :) And lastly, I didn't include any of our garages... not the big double one that fits my mini van and Chad's big ole truck along with storage shelves and we can fully open our doors and not come close the the walls and big pregnant ladies can walk all around it while carrying babies and such... and then another full garage with a second driveway off the other side of the house that is organized with all Chad's tools and work stuff, all his fishing and man hobby stuff, all the bikes and swim/ beach stuff, with room to spare. 

If you can't tell, there are many things to love about this house but the thing that pushed me right on over the edge is the storage... it's unreal :) Thank you Tracy for making this home ours-- the Bowmans love it and are so grateful for you!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Double Digits

Valentine's Day doesn't really get the place in our lives that Hallmark would like it to get. That's because Chad is the most loving and romantic man ever and he's always sending me flowers and chocolates, leaving me cards, and taking me on fancy dates. Oh wait, that's not it....

No, actually, Hallmark is rather sad that we don't particularly participate, but that's because we're busy celebrating a birthday and this year, it was a big one... Gabe busted in to double digits on Valentine's Day! So naturally, we started off with a trip to Krispy Kreme for breakfast. This made everyone's day, and I especially loved that the donuts were heart shaped.

I love that Max is copying Gabe and flicking us all off in the process, ha!
At the end of the day, we did dinner with Gabe's close family-- us, his mommy and Kimbrel, Granny and Papaw, and Grandma Bernice, his great grandmother who is just a gem. When I was talking with Gabe about where he wanted to eat for his birthday, he suggested Steak n' Shake. Umm....?!?!? So I gingerly pushed for something a little nicer. Next, he suggest Chipotle. You know, a little bit slower than fast food mexican. So I pushed again, explaining that it was his birthday and he should pick something he really loved, where we could all sit together at a table. He decided that it had to be mexican... which led us all to 7 Tequilas in Woodstock, GA to celebrate. Hilarious. The kid is easy, what can I say?

His celebrations will continue all weekend, with a Monster Truck Rally with his Mom and some friends, a family birthday dinner on Sunday with the Noblitts, and then a fun friend outing next weekend that involves cosmic roller skating... this totally speaks Gabe's language!

Gabe is a special young man, on the cusp of manhood. He's at the age where he bounces back and forth between the two... we all did it, you know where you want to be treated like a little kid but have the freedom of a big kid. The child eats more than Chad and pregnant me at every meal. I'm serious. And he's a great eater-- I'm pretty stern on protein and veggies and he'll eat it right up. I got him several new pairs of jeans for Christmas and they're borderline too short already. His long skinny feet have by-passed mine already and his hands are close. His skin is still baby soft and his bright blue eyes shine just like that did when he was a tiny tot. His curls are getting tighter and he's proud of them, which is awesome, but like most 9/10 year old boys, he prefers to spend about 17 seconds in front of a mirror, total, each day, so we're having to keep the curls cut shorter until he's ready for the full deal... that's a lot of hair and a lot of responsibility, people!

He's adjusting well to homeschool and recently told us that he wants to do it next year as well. Of course, I've never stopped bragging about his ability as a big brother-- he knocks that duty out of the park, and his brain is something as well! His best subject is math- he loves it, and he's an avid little reader if you set aside time for it. His imagination runs wild and he is REALLY into Ninjago and the lego sets right now. He's a great picker upper and likes things in it's place, which is nice. And of course, he has soccer in the blood, so we're weeks away from starting his spring season. 

You are an incredible man and I love how the Lord is shaping you. I know my expectations are high for you, but I'm going to be honest and let you know that isn't going to change... but that's because I believe in you and I want the absolute best for you. My prayer is that God will stay at the center of who you are and draw you closer to Himself with each passing day. You are a blessing to us and we thank God for you! Happy 10th Birthday buddy-- so glad we all got to celebrate you! You are SO loved!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Here I Grow Again

Welp, believe it or not, I'm standing here 29 weeks pregnant with baby #3. I canNOT believe how fast this is going. If this baby is like Max, we have 11 weeks to go, but if it's like Jack, we only have 6 weeks to go- yikes! Honestly, I'm hoping for some middle ground, a little closer to Max's timing but not quite full term. Pre-term babies aren't fun, even if they are precious and adorable.

29 wks and ?? days pregnant with baby #3
Here is an old post that shows me pregnant with Max and Jack at 28 weeks... dare to compare... I've yet to do pregnancy the same way twice, ha!

I'm carrying much different this go around- everything has been different actually- but I'm not sure if that's because it's a girl in there or if it's because I've spent 4+ months in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 pregnant.... I think that could do it to ya too! It was Chad's choice this go around not to find out the gender and it has actually been a lot more tolerable than I expected... even almost fun! I have a small stack of pink clothes and a small stack of blue clothes washed and ready for baby (obviously the pinks are borrowed since we own no such thing in this Bowman boy house!) and now we just wait for him/ her to show it's little face ( well booty, but you know what I mean!)

We've picked out 2 names, too... but it's funny not calling the baby by a name like we have with the others. I knew them by name for half of the pregnancy and their name was normal in our language, but not this time! It definitely adds an element of mystery to the whole thing! If it's a boy, baby will be Sam Joseph. Sam because it's cute yet manly and strong for his later years, plus it goes great with Gabe, Max, and Jack with it's "a" sound. And yes, it's just Sam, like it's just Max, and just Jack. My brother is actually Samuel- so it's not technically after him, but it's not not after him either. Clear as mud? And then we always do a family name for the middle name, so Joseph is after Chad's grandpa Joe whom he just adored. I never got to meet him, but I've heard stories, that's for sure!

If baby is a girl, her name will be Lila. I fell in love with this name about 6 months before I became pregnant and just no other name could compare. Her middle name will be after Chad's grandmother- Ruth Mae-- so it will either be Lila Ruth or Lila Mae. We have good reasons for choosing both and just haven't finalized yet. Lila Mae is just adorable and if that's her name, she'll probably get called that a lot,  and a good double name is always appreciated here in the south. But Lila Ruth is great too-- Ruth after Yang Yang, Ruth like my BFFA Ruth who has a heart and a kindness any mother would love to see in her daughter, and then lately, after so deep studying in my BSF bible study of Genesis, just learning how Ruth, a Moabite, let her faith in the Lord lead her away from her pagan culture, and her love for God eventually led her to be in the line of Jesus-- if we have a Lila, I'm praying for a faith like that, even when the world around her goes the opposite direction. And just for a quick note on Yang Yang, she's Chad's grandmother who passed away last year- she was just a dear part of all of our visits to Texas, she's such a hard worker, and an admirable, beautiful woman. Chad was a great post on her here.

I have no idea if this is the last time I'll be pregnant-- somedays I'm certain it is, and then other days I find myself hoping for one more. Chad is in the same boat. He was originally adamant that this would be our last one- which after this baby, he will have fathered 4 wonderful children, can you blame him? But it still grieved me to make such a call without feeling like the Lord led us there. Well without me saying anything, seriously, it's rare, I know, the Lord made it obvious to Chad too that it's God's plan, not ours. We're waiting for that tender moment when we have all our babies in our nest and hear a whisper from above that says "You're all here". Then we'll know we're done!

Until then, I regularly lament about my many chins, my ham hocks for arms, the sciatic issues I'm experiencing this go around and the fact that this baby thinks it should use my bladder as a pillow, literally, and my diaphragm as a foot rest. If I'm not peeing, I'm out of breath. I still feel really strong about the fact that your pregnancy it what you make it-- it's hard to grow a human and carry another 25+ pounds around, especially while taking care of lots of little people and moving, and still keeping up with normal life. But what an honor and a blessing it is that God saw it fit to grow children inside of my body-- children that I get to birth and then love and raise-- so far, it's been the thing I've adored most about my life here on earth. And unfortunately, I'm surrounded by many women praying and begging for such a moment as this, wanting to feel knees and elbows slide along inside their belly. So even with the hardships, and the exhaustion, this mama is filled to the brim with joy, and isn't taking these blessings for granted.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Breaking the Silence

When the New Year struck, the only goal I gave myself was to blog more. The main reason is that I'm raising seriously hilarious people, and one day, when they're grown and gone, I'm going to need these stories to read and cry over to keep me company! And really, I just don't want to forget this stage... even though it's hard and crazy and takes everything I've got, it's oh so fun and rewarding, and I get to see Jesus in my everyday, everyday! So here I am, February 5th busting out my first blog of the year... what an over achiever I am :) But really, I have an excuse... one that I'm going to share with you and then promise to put it all behind me and move on like the diligent, disciplined blogger that I am, so that antics of the Bowmans are forever saved in cyber space and in my printed blog books for centuries to come!

So I made my decision on January 1st to blog more... and on January 2nd we flew home from a week in Texas visiting Chad's family, getting the luggage in the door and the kids in bed just moment before I collapse in slumber myself... only to wake up on January 3rd and be slammed in the face by life.... I'm not even sure how to start, so we'll just start with first thing that morning:

Upon waking up, I got a call from Gabe's mom that unfortunately she and his stepdad were splitting and due to scheduling and all the instability and craziness in her life as she walks this out, could Gabe stay with us full time. Um, of course! We always want him full time, whether it's good timing or bad, and I've shared my thoughts on this before, children are HARD to share and I wish there was a way that we could all have him all the time. But alas, that's not the way it is, and that's why divorce sucks and that's one of the reasons that God's plan is for marriage to be forever. (Hello runon sentence!) But thanks to Adam and Eve, sin entered the world way back when, and so we all live in sin now. Thankfully, Jesus already won the battle- we're just waiting for Him to come back and rectify it all and in the meantime, learning to live and love more like Him. Easier said than done, but God is so big and so kind and so caring. He's walking with us every step of the way.

Unfortunately, this terrible news also included a terrible conversation with a little 9 year old boy that was enough to leave us all sobbing and praying for God to heal all the brokenness. I must say, he's a strong little booger though, and does pretty well picking himself up and moving forward. And his story continued to get crazier that day...

A few hours later, Chad headed out to take care of some business stuff and give someone an estimate, and I sat on the couch just processing... I was supposed to be buying bunk beds for Max and Gabe, as we had decided back in November to stay at our little but quaint house, despite our growing numbers, but instead, I was sweating what these changes means for my everyday-- how to get Gabe to and from school, how it effects nap time for Max and Jack, how is effects our teeny tiny house, etc... and so I just ended praying that God would open my eyes and heart to His ways in all this... and I totally forgot to buy the bunk bed!

Once I moved past the details, knowing I wasn't going to find all the answers today, I discovered that I had missed several calls from Chad... who when giving his estimate had discovered the perfect house for us. You know, the one we spent months and months trying to find, and prayed for God to drop it in our laps, but never found it, so decided to stay put? Yeah, that one. Well the homeowner's name is Tracy, and I worked with her for several years at North Metro church, and I loved her, and well, by 7pm on our first day in GA since Christmas, we had also fallen in love with her house and it's floor plan and it's perfection for our family, and had made an awesome deal with her to rent her house as she was embarking on a new journey of her own in CALIFORNIA! The house itself is perfect (pictures to follow) and the location is even better- so near our church and all our wonderful church friends, which I've been yearning for for a long time, and it still keeps Chad close to all the main roads since his work is all over the place. 

NOW back to Gabe... this new house was too far from his current school to let him finish the school year there-- so we thought of 2 options, called his mom, Angela, who said she trusted us to make the decision and we had our 2nd major conversation with the 9 year old that day: He could either switch to the elementary right around the corner from our new house or he could homeschool with me through the end of 4th grade and then we'd get our plan together this summer for what's next-- he IMMEDIATELY wanted to homeschool, was in love with the idea, and was excited. Now of course he was also worried about friends and lots of change and such, but loved the idea of being home, doing bible stuff for school work, escaping his dumb bully that was harassing him at school, etc....

SO God gave us this house we weren't looking for, lined up everything, set it up so we got Gabe out of the school and out of the situation without us even knowing it needed to happen or manipulating details, and got us in our ideal area without us even knowing "making" that work either. All of that to say-- we're elated and overwhelmed and as of Saturday, we're officially living and sleeping in said new home-- despite being pregnant and all the other major life changes that struck us on January 3rd, 2013. But let me just say, that during this time of unknown and new and hard and excitement, God's hand and provision has been so evident. We are so blessed and so thankful, and seriously just relishing in joy. I'm tired and achy and hormonal, but to say 2013 is off to a great start is seriously putting it lightly!

So here's to our new wonderful home, all of our boys big and small, our marriage that God continues to bless, the wonderful, beautiful, anticipated baby that's growing in my belly, and all all other things 2013 will hold for us.... now for reaching my goal and blogging consistently.... let's see how this goes :)