Testing Patience

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on February 3, 2011

Today was a day that God used to strengthen me. To stretch me. To test my patience and my willingness to lean on Him.

You see, Noah is my little wild child. God knows I love him, but he tests and pushes his limits every.single.day. Just when I thought he couldn’t push me any further, today happened.

Noah is the reason why I wanted to pull my hair out today. Noah is the reason why a glass of wine  sounded so very good this evening. Noah is the reason why I was crying out to God for strength all.day.long.

Not a bad thing, crying out to God. I really should do it more often.

Just last week, I started a day of school with the kids only to see grumpiness, unwillingness to obey and get along, disgruntled spirits, and loads of contention.

I cried out to God for help.

That day not much math work was done, no spelling words were practiced, penmanship was put on the back burner, and no one learned about the early explorers. Instead, we spent an entire day – yes, hours – reading and discussing God’s Word. We talked about obedience and contentment, kindness, love and loyalty. We prayed for each other and we prayed for ourselves.

At the end of the day I was tired. My kids were tired. But, it was a day spent stretching and growing. A test, of sorts.  And, I think we all passed.

Today? I’m not so sure.

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I Know

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on March 18, 2010

I have a new life growing inside of my womb.
A precious baby to be added to our gaggle of children.

Soon-to-be-seven children for whom I am responsible.
To teach. To train. To guide. To love. To nurture.

AND

I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed.

BUT

I know that God has a perfect plan.

I know that God will provide.

I know that God does not give us more than we can handle.

I know that God works in me and through me in spite of my weaknesses.

soaring eagle
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

{Isaiah 40:28-31}

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There is hope for me yet!

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on January 2, 2010

Tonight, while Daddy was snowboarding with our twins (yes, on in to the dark), I decided that I needed some air. Of course I had to bring my youngest four along on my quest for this new air, but I HAD to get out of the house.

So, I did what any insane mom with four young kids should do when she feels antsy. I took my little darlings out for pizza and promised them ice cream.

Only my kids didn’t act like little darlings.

They squirmed and fidgeted. They crawled under the table and tried to crawl over the table. They chattered incessantly. Quite loudly, I must add. They filled their cups with root beer. And then pink lemonade. They spilled their root beer. And their pink lemonade.

And instead of enjoying this time out with my four youngest children, I grumbled and complained. I raised my voice and reprimanded them. I took back my promise of ice cream.

And now, after they have all been tucked in and are sound asleep, I feel bad.

After all, they were just being kids. Kids fidget. Kids are loud. Kids spill stuff.

But I was worried. Worried about what others may think. Worried about what the parents of the beautiful little girls, both sitting quietly as they played on their bright blue DS, would think of me – the crazy mom with four unruly, and very loud, little brats.

So often do I worry about how we may be perceived that I forget to enjoy my children. I mean truly enjoy them.

Too often do I shush my children from speaking their minds for fear that we, as parents, would be seen as too lenient. Or that we may believe that ourselves.

Sometimes I even squelch their feelings, because kids shouldn’t be allowed to dislike a person, or feel anger towards someone for not believing them, right?

I find myself, on occasion, feeling as though I am simply suffering through this season of child-rearing, instead of truly enjoying these short days with the amazing little blessings God has given us to love.

Childern-Playing

My prayer, in this new year, is that I would ::

listen to my kids more,
shush them less

see things through their eyes,
not force them to see things through mine

play with my children more,
make fewer excuses

laugh more,
worry less.

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My Big Family

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on December 10, 2009

Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth. Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3, 4

six little ducklings

Yesterday the kids and I stopped at Carl’s Jr. while we waited for a few prescriptions to be filled. Noah was asleep and it was just the kids and me. As we sat there eating, a woman came and sat down near us and just stared at us. Now, I’m not talking about just watching us, but she sat with her mouth agape, glaring at us. My kids were not loud and obnoxious, but quiet and somewhat docile. All of them.

That got me thinking… Thinking about my family. Thinking about my big family.

Are big families that much of an anomaly that people have to stare, or was she just captivated by my children’s charm and cuteness?

As the oldest of five, growing up with a very large extended family, I didn’t really think much about the world’s perception of us. Except for when I’d hear “okay, kids, get your coats on… time to go,” a time or two, from a tired hostess. Or, when my parents were complimented on their children’s “surprisingly good behavior,” as if it was shocking that a large young family could also be nice dinner companions.

Now, as a mom of six young’ens myself, I am struggling with everyone’s perception of our family. Simply due to the fact that there are SIX little ones in tow, I know that people see us sit down at a table nearby and shudder. I guess if I didn’t have so many kiddos myself, and I saw half a dozen young kids parade in, with only two (sometimes even just one) adults, I may too.

On many occasions Ray and I have also been complimented on our children’s ability to behave in a restaurant or other venue. By those same people who cringed when we walked in, mind you. Maybe people shouldn’t be so quick to label the large families they see as unruly and chaotic.

No matter how well behaved my siblings and I were growing up, my family was hardly ever invited to any other family’s home. Now I understand why, because the same is true for us. I’ve discovered that people think of the sheer volume of us and the noise and activity that encompasses the eight of us and shy away. That and most homes just aren’t big enough to accommodate five rough and tumble boys. Ha!

To be fair, many of our friends are more than happy to come hang out here at our place. Perhaps that’s because our floors are already sticky or we can send our kids to their rooms, but I’m cool with that. You may be surprised at how strangers react to us, though. Aside from the stares and glare, many people just point, count, and frown as they walk by us. On more than one occasion I’ve turned around, before an unsuspecting passer-by even had a chance to add us all up, and said with a smile, “There are six of ‘em and they’re all mine.

What do you do when you see a mom with more than a few ducklings walking behind her? Are you quick to assume they are a walking mass of chaos?

Perhaps you’re the mama or papa of a large family… How do people react to you and your brood?

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The day CPS came a’knockin’

November 10, 2009

UPDATE 11/30/09 :: Ray received a call from Ms. CPS this afternoon. She had not a single question for him except to be sure he knew of the report and her visit earlier this month. He was informed that the case has officially been closed. Praise God! UPDATE 2/16/10 :: We have discovered that the […]

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