having 4 kids, 4 and under can be exhausting, overwhelming, and frustrating. it can reduce a momma to tears faster than anything else...but the thing about these 4 kids is that they laugh, they giggle, they smile, they dance, they are goofy, they are wonderful. We have all been feeling pretty good over here for almost 2 weeks, now, and it feels like life has been one glorious beautiful fun day after another!! I had almost forgotten how much fun our kids can be when they feel good and I'm not exhausted from numerous sleepless nights. We still don't really get much done, our house is still trashed every night, we still don't get a full nights sleep most nights, but life has been so much more manageable and fun...I was so proud of myself the other day because for probably the first time since Maysen and Maelle were born I washed and put away a load of towels before we ran out of them and were drying off with washcloths or washing our faces with hand towels :) (it's the little things, people) :) It's those kind of things that have me marveling about our life, these days. I've always felt like our life will never get better, or it'll be extreme chaos and mess for the rest of our lives, but I'm starting to see that yeah, we're gonna be busy, yeah, we're gonna have days and weeks where our kids aren't on their A-game (or their parent's aren't) and are are sick and out of sorts, but that kind of "survival living" isn't going to define our lives and for that I'm so grateful. I know that we can find peace and joy despite our circumstances(and there is a sweetness in snuggling up and watching movies and reading stories all day with your kiddos), but it sure is a little easier when you have a sweet little respite from the storm of cranky kiddos and sick parents!!
Here's a few of the "new" things we're all learning:
Hailey is pouring herself (and her siblings) milk and juice
Jackson is putting his pants on the right way almost every day and getting himself dressed each morning ;)
Elli is going potty on the toilet without too many accidents (and a little bit of pooping on the floor...speaking of- shouldn't it be that kids are "afraid" to poop on the toilet because they like the security of a diaper?? not maelle...nope, this little girl refuses to poop on the toilet, but will squat on the floor and poop in the middle of the dining room)
Macy is getting herself dressed, most days and can put her own boots on
all the kids are putting their own clothes away
Hailey is helping me vacuum
Jack is feeding the animals each morning and night
Macy and Elli have a lot of fun helping me unload the dishwasher
Jack has been praying for God to help him obey and help him sit quietly during rest time
Hailey has been praying for Macy and Elli to ask Jesus into their heart
Macy is jumping "real jumps" off of furniture
Elli is starting to talk in sentences and be more understandable
Mommy has been trusting God more and stressing about life less
they have all been better at entertaining themselves and playing nicely together-sometimes that involves pulling all the toilet paper off the roll and into the bathtub or sneaking all the sprinkles out of the cupboard and eating them very quietly in their bedroom...but, it's been so fun to see them all play together better! I've been so impressed by Hailey. I always knew she was a born leader, but I love to watch her organize all her siblings to put on "shows" and dances and little singing recitals. It makes my heart happy to see her shine and use her God given gifts for good things- it truly shows that God is at work in my little girls life!!
One of the verses I chose to memorize this year was
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit"
I have found that this verse has been defining my life, lately. I've always thought it was "working harder and doing more" that was going to calm my heart and transform my mind, but what I really need is to trust in God, trust His gracious plan, trust that He can take care of my kids, trust that He will give us wisdom and strength, trust that He knows what will bring about mine and my children's ultimate happiness- even if it seems painful and overwhelming at the time. I have been learning to rely more on God's grace and allow Him to fill me up, so that I may overflow into my kid's lives. A quote out of the book I've been reading (Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick) is "It is only grace that is sufficient to sustain and transform us. Grace is stronger than all our work and all our weakness and it is made perfect when we humble ourselves before God's desire to glorify His Son and not our great parenting" (pg.64) We learn this in practical ways, each day...like when our son screams his way out of church on Sunday morning or our daughter poops on the floor or our oldest says mean and hurtful things to her brother or our oldest twin throws a little hissy fit in the grocery store (or, to be honest, just taking two 2 year olds and one 3 year old to the grocery store...if you've never done it you should- it's a very humbling experience) But, it is such a great reminder- that what I don't need is more great parenting, more rules, more lists and more organization- I need more of Jesus in my life! I need to say Yes to Jesus more and No to myself and my desires for an easy day, a clean floor, less laundry, no potty accidents, clean bathrooms, a day without fits or temper tantrums (or, to be honest, even just 5 minutes without would be nice), a trip to school without at least one kid crying all the way there...all these things are what I want and I desire for an easy stress-free day, but all these good things don't always bring glory to God- they bring "glory" to me- they elevate me and my "great" parenting, rather than making less of me and more of God! I guess that's why God gave me these 4 precious gifts- to continually remind me that I need to become less and He needs to become more. But, my favorite part is that God doesn't become more by me working harder and harder to make Him more- He becomes more by me trusting and resting in Him, so that He can overflow out of my life! Ahhhh....now that's a great plan that I can totally get behind- anything that calls for resting and trusting in someone other than myself is a perfect plan for this stressed out and often weary momma!!