Friday, May 21, 2010


I had to make a last minute errand run for Shelby before she left for an overnight service project today, and while I was out I received several calls from home. They were the usual litany of calls: he's being jerky, don't forget to, hey mom can I, what was it you asked me to do again, etc . . . One of the calls was a request on behalf of Aidan and Keats, who both managed to earn privileges while I was away.

We have a board on our dining room/school room wall which is a combination of chores, responsibility reminders, and behavior guides. For every good act the kids are caught doing, they earn a touchdown (a bright green circle) to hang under their name. For every less-than-desirable act, they receive a penalty disc (a white circle with the universal "No" symbol.) Ten penalties, and you get to choose a chore out of the jar. This can be anything from cleaning the baseboards to sorting through the markers. Twenty touchdowns, however, scores you a privilege. These are serious treats which can be anything from a tattoo to choose favorite pizza toppings to a manicure to movie with dad.  Of course, in order for any good system to make a difference you have to make it happen pretty quick. So chores are usually done right away and privileges are redeemed as quickly as possible. Some are tough - like the moon walk Isabelle earned needs to have both a full moon AND a night daddy is home, so her privilege is still waiting. But others are able to be redeemed fairly quickly.

So anyway, Shelby was letting me know that Aidan had gained "Choose Favorite Snack" while Keats had gotten "Ice Cream Sundae." Would it be possible for me to add a stop to pick these up on my way home? Isabelle, Abigail, and I detoured to Giant in hopes of snagging both. Sure enough, we managed to find Aidan's favorite snack -- Natural Cheetos -- in the organics section and then we found individual Ben and Jerry's cartons over in the freezer section. One $1 carton of Strawberry Cheesecake later, we were at the register with both items.

We were in a hurry as we got to the car because we genuinely still had quite a bit to do this afternoon. (Obviously we're caught up or I wouldn't be sitting here writing.) As I went around the van to get in, sitting next to our behemoth vehicle was a ready-for-summer Jeep Wrangler. Now, we tend to notice Wranglers simply because they are Scott's goal car for once we are debt free. (Although, he is considering a Suburban-type so he can take all the boys and a big dog camping at once.) But this one in particular looked really nice. It was completely top free and it just screamed, anyone in me is heading for the adventure of their life.

Then I started to notice little things. Life the GPS on the dashboard. The docking station near the stereo.  The bag of gear casually flung in the back seat. The pair of brand new sneaks still in the box and bag sitting in the front seat. And this got me thinking.

If we really live in a society full of completely depraved and out-for-myself-only individuals, then this Jeep should already be stripped bare and the owner weeping into his hands. Don't you think? And no one would have witnessed anything because they would all be too focused on themselves. Of course, once someone did find out, the general attitude would be "Whatever, fool. You walked away with everything exposed like that. What did you expect?" And, when you get right down to it, then this guy should be sued for driving a beacon of temptation.

But here it was in all its glory. Trust. Trust that society would simply keep their hands to themselves while this individual ran some errands and then returned to a Jeep in the exact same state he left it. Trust that nothing would be lifted, stolen, or pinched. Trust that we as Americans are still a pretty great group of people.

As I backed out of my spot, I glanced again at the Jeep and grinned. I love being an American.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Which Are You?

Which Are You?
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

There are just two kinds of people on earth to-day;
Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.

Not the sinner and saint, for it's well understood,
The good are half bad and the bad are half good.

Not the rich and the poor, for to rate a man's wealth,
You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for in life's little span,
Who puts on vain airs, is not counted a man.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years
Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

No; the two kinds of people on earth that I mean,
Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

Wherever you go, you will find the earth's masses,
Are always divided in just these two classes.

And oddly enough, you will find too, I ween,
There's only one lifter to twenty who lean.

In which class are you? Are you easing the load,
Of overtaxed lifters, who toil down the road?

Or are you a leaner, who lets others share
Your portion of labor, and worry and care?

This poem was a part of Shelby's language studies this week and it struck both of us. And it has really made me think about the message over and over again, which is (after all) what good poetry should do. Truly, there are only lifters and leaners. But does it follow that you are always a lifter or always a leaner? And if you are always a lifter, then do you even give others the opportunity to become a lifter?

I think a healthier approach would be to have a balance of lifting and leaning, although I realize that the facts of the case are that most of us tend to fall into one category or the other, rarely crossing over. Truth be told, Scott and I are both lifters. It is just our natural response when we see a need to extend a hand. We are working hard to raise an army of lifters, ready to assist others at a moments notice. And, for the most part, the lifting mentality does seem to be sticking on our kids.

My natural tendency is to serve. To see what needs to be done in order to make a road smoother. But reality means that occasionally I will need help for any of a dozen reasons. Should I feel guilty, then, for needing to be a leaner at that moment, or should I instead accept the help with a warm and gracious heart? I think that I am to be gracious, and to ask with a humble and thankful spirit.

I enjoy being a lifter. Not because I have a saviour complex so I can dash in and fix someone else's life and then feel tremendously good about myself. Rather, I enjoy the sense of peace which comes from the person you've assisted, regardless of how. It is such an encouragement for me to be a part of such a peace, as if you immerse yourself into a glimpse of Kingdom Living and are then strengthened to keep fighting the good fight for another day. For both Scott and I, this is the heart of being a lifter.

But, that being said, isn't it equally important to teach our children a sense of their own humanity? A realization that God created us for community, in part, because we need others in our lives to share our joys and lift our sorrows? There are dozens of verses in the Bible which talk about serving others. But, if I don't allow myself to be served from time to time, aren't I preventing someone from learning to serve?

Yet, the struggle for me personally is that, truly, I do not feel we (as a family) need help very often. We tend to run a relatively ordered life which is efficiently handled. Not boasting, just observing from my insider's perspective. But, let's also agree that most of our family and friends do not live in a family of 10, so their outside perspective is that surely we need more help then we let on. Scott and I both tend to balance one another's desires to serve with our very real daily obligations fairly well, meaning we rarely overextend ourselves. It does happen, but it is not frequent. How do we then convey to others that we truly are fine and we'll honestly let others know when we need that extra hand without seeming either arrogant or in denial? For us, this is a tough one!

So, perhaps the question shouldn't be "Which Are You," but rather "Which Are You Mostly?"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What Goes Around Comes Around

On Saturday, before our great We Lost The Twins episode, we enjoyed the annual community yard sale on my parent's street. The children loaded up baggies and wallets full of money to buy trinkets and we headed out the door for some yard sale fun. Before we could shop, though, we made a stop at Target for Shelby. She has been saving to replace her beloved camera which broke after years of hard use. (Definition of hard use: Treating the protective case as optional because it just took too long to put the camera away, resulting in numerous drops, bangs, scratches, and flinging which finally did her camera in.) She was having a struggle over whether to take money for the yard sale, thus pulling from her camera savings, or to hold firm and keep saving. We hit Target, and made straight for the Electronics Department where Shelby looked at various cameras, touched them, and finally decided that she did want a camera more than any deal she might find.

Once we arrived on the street, Keats, Aidan, and Abigail disappeared into the back yard, I settled down to visit with the sellers near mom and dads' house while taking care of Elias, and the older children headed off to shop buddy-style. Dawson immediately scored some football cards, which he brought back to the house triumphantly. He reappeared a few minutes later with some Hockey cards that he presented to his Papaw, who is a closeted hockey fan. Not too long after the hockey cards, he was gifted with a major Rambo-style knife from his adopted grandfather Chip, which flung all thoughts of shopping out of his head. As Dawson put it, "What could I find that would be cooler than this???" He left the knife safely in the house and headed out to play soldier games with some of his buddies.

Shelby, meanwhile, was content to window shop with Isabelle, who never really did find anything to her liking. Eventually, both of the girls settled for playing with their friends and just ignoring the whole sale.

Tucker, it turns out, it our bargain boy. He and Dawson had walked down the street together and moments later I looked up to see Tucker walking home with a large file storage box from Office Depot and a grin so wide his face was split in two. He brought it over, set the box on the ground, and proudly lifted off the lid to show his first deal of the day. Inside was an Easy Bake oven, all the accessories, and about 15 packages of Easy Bake food. Actually, considering how ridiculously expensive those little packs of food are, I was impressed because I knew Tuck hadn't brought more than a couple of dollars with him. He looked at me and said, "Mom! All this was only ONE DOLLAR!! I'm going shopping for more stuff!" (In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I should state that we used to have an easy bake oven, which I had sold at the community yard sale 2 years perviously. Seriously - what is the point of cooking with a lightbulb when there is a huge oven in the same room and you can actually make cake to feed everyone in this crowd of people! So, even though it was a good deal, I was already thinking: When will we be able to sell this one?)

Next on Tucker's must have list? A ceramic beer stein from Berlin, Germany. "Mom, now when I'm older I can drink beer with you! I only cost me four dimes, three nickels, and all my pennies."

The third item he couldn't live without? A small, wooden chest with an arched lid, similar to a trunk, painted and adorned with roses. "Mom! I finally have a treasure chest! I'm putting my stuff in it right now!"  Immediately he  put his money into the chest and then walked off in search of more items to make his life easier, with the chest tucked under his arm.

His next acquisition was a large, metal spoon. This one was a head scratcher until he explained, "It was so big I thought you might like it for our big family." Thoughtful, isn't he?

The final purchase of the day? A tacky, silver-plated, round candy dish, about the size of a softball. Again - why on earth did this particular object catch his eye? "Check out my crystal ball! I am going to tell everyone's fortunes with this! Now I don't need to use your bed! I have my own!" (A brief explanation: Our bed has large, round finials on the posts which, apparently, Tucker has been using as crystal balls. Huh. Learn something new everyday.)

We went home and, of course, Tucker was anxious to put his new oven to use. However, we had a bike ride scheduled for that afternoon so there simply wasn't time. (See previous post for how that turned out.) It wasn't until Monday, when we were doing our family French Cooking, that we managed to pull out  his oven and Tucker and Shelby settled down to cook together. Shelby requested that I find a place to preheat the oven for them which would be out of the way from all the Julia Child projects in the kitchen. As I lifted the oven to plug it in, I glanced down at the side and burst into laughter. There, in my very distinctive handwriting, was a masking tape yard sale sign marked $1. It turns out that Tucker had simply repurchased the very oven we sold two years ago.

What goes around, comes around.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saturday & Adrenaline Don't Mix

I never knew that it was completely possible to act on pure Adrenaline with no thought whatsoever of anything other than the mission at hand and the absolute necessity that: I. Must. Keep. Going.

Saturday we were heading on our first bike ride of the season. The first ride is always a little more cumbersome because we have to re-learn how to make bikes and gear for 10 fit on and in the van. Objects have to be pulled from storage and pieces have to be reunited. For instance, having the bolt to put the bike hitch on the back of the van is very, very important. It's a worthy process, but a long one, made even more challenging by the fact that 8 ping-pong balls are jumping around you squealing, "Is it time? Can we go? Are you ready? How much longer?"

Saturday found Scott and I gathering objects from hither and yon. Mom and dad were helping as our bikes are graciously housed in their garage, which  meant some items had been shuffled from last year and their location needed to be researched since we weren't the movers. The children were given the option of playing in the front under the watchful eyes of the three oldest Rutherfords (or OARs, as we call them. Oldest Available Rutherford) or in the fenced in back yard. One of the children's friends was coming along, so I was chatting with her mom about where we were going, times, exchanging cell numbers, collecting her gear, etc. You know: all that really responsible-parent stuff.

Saturday was a beautiful day; absolutely perfect for a bike ride. The weather was sunny and warm with a slight breeze. The children who would be riding on seats or in the bike trailer would actually need jackets, but anyone pedaling would be completely comfortable. The last bike was hung, the children we assembling in the van, and the excitement was palpable. As I climbed into my seat, we did a quick head count only to discover the twins were not in their seats. I did the customary grumbling about no one letting Scott or I know they were still in the back yard as I got back out of the van. The kids shouted their apologies and went back to giggles and one-ups-man-ship about who could ride the fastest and furthest. I quickly walked through the house and started yelling for Keats and Aidan even before I was out the screen door. No answering squeals of delight over the upcoming bike ride. No answering queries of "Is it time?" No anything.

Saturday is a busy day in the neighborhood. People are mowing their lawns, washing their cars, edging the flower beds. The gentle hum of a community outside enjoying a lovely day. But this yard was way too quiet. A quick perusal found the yard utterly empty. Frustration ebbed through me as I realized they not only left the backyard, none of the responsible older three even noticed! I let Scott know and we quickly checked the neighbor's yards, as the cul-de-sac is literally full of friends of the children who all flit from one yard to the next without much thought. It is truly a neighborhood right out of a Dick and Jane Reader. Again - nothing. We went back through the house, room by room, thinking perhaps they were visiting with Papaw upstairs. Nothing.

Saturday wasn't quite a normal day in the neighborhood as it was the annual street yard sale. There had been a lot more walking up and down the street than usual. Had the boys gone further down the street than we thought? It was also the first day we allowed Dawson to go to the park with two of his friends without an adult. Had the twins followed the boys back over to the park after hearing all of Dawson's adventures? I hauled Dawson out of the van to jog to the park with me (he knew the short cut through the back yards) to check while Scott ran down the street. I should probably admit here that I haven't been running, no matter what it still says on my Facebook page. I got pregnant, had a baby, and quit running. I was winded way before Dawson, but pushed myself because I could not stand the idea of not knowing where Keats and Aidan were.

Saturday at the park usually means baseball games and picnics, so I was praying as I ran that the park wouldn't be so crowded that I would have trouble spotting the boys. We rounded the corner and Dawson's buddies jumped out of one of the trees in their camo gear and called to Dawson. His reply was quick: "We can't find the twins. Have you seen them?" They hadn't seen the boys, but they started looking, too. I scanned the lightly populated park and my heart fell when I realized that not a single child playing there was mine. My mom's car came down into the parking lot, which meant Scott hadn't found them either. I told Dawson to stay with his Nana and kept running. There are several entrances into the park from the neighborhood behind my parent's house, so I aimed for one of those and just kept running, yelling Keats and Aidan's names as loud as I could.

Saturday used to be my favorite day to run because it felt so free to not have the normal daily schedule around you. I was free to start and stop when I felt like it. But nothing about this run felt free. I was aching and my body was screaming that it wasn't conditioned to be used like this any more. I mentally scolded myself into submission and just kept running. I called out to everyone I met: "Have you seen twin boys, almost five years old, wearing . . ." The answer was always the same. "No." Their reactions were always the same, too. Everything was dropped and they began looking for those precious boys. Scott rounded the corner in the van. He had dropped Isabelle at home in case they walked there and he was following a neighbor's tip that Keats and Aidan were last seen heading into her backyard. Could they have just kept going and ended up in the neighborhood behind their house? Scott convinced me to get into the van with him and we began to drive, scanning everything on both sides of the van trying to see a glimpse of their brand-new Buzz and Woody shirts, continuing to call their names as loudly as possible and asking everyone we saw if they had seen the boys.

Saturday now felt crowded as I realized there were people everywhere I looked. Kids playing in yards would make my heart leap into my throat with hope only to realize they were not my boys. The five minutes I spent in the van were agony. It was too slow. Too stationary. Too much sit and wait. I couldn't take it any more. When Scott stopped to ask a mailman, I jumped out of the car, prepared to run through the backyards we couldn't see from the street. Cars were stopped on both sides of the street while we help up traffic and several concerned voices asked what was going on. I asked if they had seen our boys and gave descriptions. Each and every car sitting there turned around and started looking as well, crawling the streets while watching for two boys in  Green and Black-Camo Toy Story 3 shirts.

Saturday in May is a great day to set up a backyard pool, getting it ready for the summer months to come. As I ran through backyards calling for the twins, I was struck at the number of pools I saw with covers removed for cleaning and filling. My heart tightened as I pushed my body harder, thinking of the swimming lessons the boys still hadn't taken because of the tubes in Aidan's ears. Every thump of my foot onto the uneven ground brought another prayer. God be with my boys. God protect my boys. God watch over my boys. God please. God please. God please. I ran through yards, hopped fences, pushed through arborvitae, always calling their names and never stopping. Eventually I wound my way back to my parent's house. My heart was thudding as I again searched the familiar house and yard, hoping they had somehow been overlooked or wandered back or were napping behind a sofa. More silence. Scott came in to let me know the police were on their way & he had picked up Isabelle. All I could think was "They'll need a picture. I have no picture. I don't carry pictures and I empty my cell pictures all the time. Where am I going to get a picture? And what picture will convey what those boys mean to me? What they mean to our lives?" I eventually thought to grab our family picture off a table and, finally, walked slowly out of the house.

Saturday and the police for us have always meant that we are at the Annual Safety Days at the local police and ambulance station. We watch the demonstration of the K9 units and see all the equipment in the ambulance while going for rides on the stretcher. We have the safety talks and practice stranger awareness. Yet here we were watching the police cruiser coming down the road on a Saturday because we had failed miserably to keep our sons protected. They had been missing for 60 minutes. An entire hour. Eternity. As Scott began talking to the officer and I was working my way over with the picture, a golden car pulled up alongside and from the back seat climbed the most amazing sight I will ever see in my life. My boys. My Keats. My Aidan. Together, unhurt, unafraid, and completely and utterly within my sight. The relief was instantaneous. The next several minutes for me blur together. I know they were found almost 2 miles away by road. I know the woman who found them was one of the concerned drivers over by the mailman. I know the police talked with the boys about never wandering again and made Scott and I feel like completely unfit parents, which is their job so I don't hold it against them. I know that there were details given for the police report and that the road beneath my body was warm. But mostly I remember what it felt like to hold those boys in my arms, to breathe in the heady scent of them both, to touch their solidness and to feel their breath on my neck.

Saturday for us turned into quite the party. After Scott made me eat sugar and drink lots of water, we gave up on the idea of a bike ride, corralled all of our children in the fenced-in backyard where we could see them, and invited everyone we could on short notice to celebrate with us. Pizza, soda, and ice-cream became our Prodigal Sons' fatted calf. I never really understood before the idea of throwing a huge celebration when the wandering son returned home. I always felt it was kind of over the top and a little ridiculous to celebrate in such an exuberant matter. The naughty kid came home. Great. Put him to work. Now, however, I totally get it. Absolutley there were talks about wandering and how they were to NEVER do it again. And you can believe that they were lectured like crazy about getting into a stranger's car. But all of that came later, after we celebrated the simple joy of having them home.

They were, it turns out, chasing a bird and by the time they stopped to really look around, they had no idea where they were. So they just kept walking. When asked if they were scared they looked at us as if we were daft and said "No. I had my brother." Oh. For the record, we told them that having their brother wasn't good enough. They must be with someone at least a foot taller then they are in order for it to be considered an acceptable buddy. Aidan's thoughts on that? "Aw, man!"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Blues of the Game

Overtime at the hospital is not as easy to come by as it once was.

Like everyone else who was a part of the great recession of 2009, we have learned we can live on a whole lot less. Which makes it difficult to not look back at the gravy train days of double and a half over time and not wonder: "How come we aren't debt free yet?" I know the answer - we really thought we had trimmed down to the basics. The basics now make the basics then seem luxurious.

So, now Scott signs up for whatever overtime he can manage. And if it falls short of our 24 hrs/week goal, we then get to play the "Call-In" game. The basics of the game are this: In an effort to keep costs low, hospital overhead is keeping staff to a minimum. However, hospitals being what they are means they usually do need more nurses then scheduled. So, Scott calls in, offers his services, and they accept. Usually. The upside? More overtime. The downside? Nothing predictable.

I hate to knock our blessings since we know many, many, many people who would be thrilled to have the problem of playing the game. But I am, quite frankly, wishing for the easy days of scheduled overtime. It was easier, somehow, when we knew ahead of time if it would be an evening with Scott or an evening without. I am finally feeling the Dave Ramsey adage of "Live like no one else so you can live like no one else."

Ah, I know I am just singing my version of the blues. I'm only sorry there wasn't a great sax in the background to really jazz it up.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lots and Lots of Littles

Tonight finds me sitting at the computer waiting for the washing machine to quit its job so the dryer can then begin its job so I can then do what my body is longing to do - sleep. I spent an enormous amount of time cleaning the front loader five days ago and I refuse to waste my efforts and resources by beginning the process of dirtying it up again, which an entire load of damp laundry sitting inside the drum overnight will do.

So here I sit, trying in vain to find some productive way to use my time which doesn't require extreme concentration (Elias's sampler will still have to wait), noise (no home repairs tonight), or a lot of energy on my part (no one needs to know that I didn't do Yoga or Pilates today. Or yesterday.) A movie would work if I wasn't convinced I would find myself drooling as the credits begin to roll and then having to schlep my way up the stairs after putting the afore mentioned clothes in the dryer, collecting Elias out of his swing, and still managing to wash my face and brush my teeth. I finished "The Time Traveler's Wife" last night (it was eh) and I just don't feel like getting involved in another story quite yet. So I've managed to catch up on the news, cleaned out my email, done the little bit of filing in the pile, and the house is managed. But that washing machine has a solid 57 minutes to go. Sigh.

Tuesday morning, we welcomed sweet Sadie Sue for a visit. She joined us that morning and didn't leave us until today. We all truly enjoyed her visit, and honestly were disappointed when she had to go home. As we were out this week, we began referring to the "Boy Twins" (the real set) and the "Girl Twins" (Sadie and Abigail, who are only three months apart.) She and Abigail sleep side by side in their crib/pack&play with their matching keep-them-in-bed-at-all-costs-crib-tents, whispering and giggling for all of 5 minutes before collapsing into an exhausted slumber. And I get to be Aunt Tacy, which (let's be honest) is always a fun break from "Mooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!" My charming qualities are still enough to spur Sadie on to doing all things good and pleasant, unlike my children who know every button I have and delight in pressing them occasionally to make certain they still work.

Then, yesterday we welcomed the Three Little Brannons into our midst. We have all been looking forward to their visit as well since Evelynn is a perfect match for Tucker, Keats & Aidan, while Caelan is buddy-buddy with Abigail and Sadie. Then there is sweet, rolly-polly McKenna, who is only two months older than Elias so the two of them are able to entertain each other with burbles, coos, and crawling all over one another's faces. It's a great set up for extremely happy Littles.

The flip side to the extremely happy Littles? Extremely tired everyone else!

We made the decision as a family to take on four extra girls all under the age of five at one time. It only seemed fair to discuss it as a group because it would absolutely without a doubt impact everyone. We agreed that these days would simply be "God days," which is code in our family for focusing more on others than ourselves. In our case, it meant something different for everyone.

Shelby sat in a bedroom with a Book Wedge and "Little Men" until 11:00pm last night to provide incentive to stop whispering and go to sleep. She has been the primary bath giver for all these little bodies and the stand-in-mom when my arms are already full. She buckles car seats like a pro, can maneuver shopping carts full of children with ease (yes, we did go run errands) and has the eyes of a hawk when she needs to. Shelby also met most of Sadie's needs while she was here, so she had quite a full four days!

Dawson gave up all thoughts of daring accomplishments in the backyard today in order to provide a safer example to four pairs of very watchful eyes. He helps at meal times, encouraging everyone to "Eat for Energy!" He patiently feeds Caelan to make certain she isn't hungry within minutes of leaving the table because they are all just so excited to play together. He is my vacuum/mop/clean at the end of the day guy.

Isabelle has taken on the majority of McKenna's 11 month-old needs by default - McKenna adores her! Isabelle will sit and feed McKenna while cuddling Caelan on her lap with Elias standing at her feet. She changes diaper after diaper with almost no complaining and can get either of the youngest two to stop crying by just a soft whisper in their ears.

Tucker has become the go-to guy: jammies, diapers, bath help, meal prep, dishing up meals, swing-pusher, milk getter, movie changer, TiVo programmer, dirty diaper gatherer -- he can do it all.

Keats and Aidan are in charge of the floors. With two crawlers who put EVERYTHING into their mouths and LOTS of bodies dropping stuff, it's a recipe for impending doom. So every hour or so Keats and Aidan give the entire first floor a once over to make certain nothing choke-able is left where McKenna or Elias could discover it. They also, being quite the gentlemen, gave up their bed for Evelynn and Caelan and are currently sleeping on their own floor of their own accord. "Mom - they're girls! They shouldn't sleep on the floor! That's a man's job! And we are men."

It has been a great four days and I know that while I will enjoy the quiet tomorrow evening after the Brannon three return home, I will miss the girls. I will miss the hustle & bustle, the extra laughter, the extra cuddles, the extra kisses, the extra singing, the extra prayers at bedtime. I will miss the unfamiliar clothes in the laundry, the unconventional sleeping arrangements, and having 9 car seats in our van. I will miss so much that is impossible to put into words when you have the opportunity to watch four very different little girls come to stay with you bringing their very different personalities.

Already we are missing Sadie, who only went home a few short hours ago. I miss hearing her call to Abigail with the unique-to-Sadie pronunciation of Abigail's name. I miss catching her eye and seeing her smile. I miss seeing her eyes widen as she watches all the craziness around her. I miss feeling her little hand in mine as we say bedtime prayers together.

I won't even begin to try and convince you that these God-days of ours were easy. They are an awful lot of work. But there is something about really hard work that makes you appreciate the outcome so much more after its all finished. And, if all that happened in these few days were that our children learned to live life outside of themselves just a little bit, than I'm a happy woman.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Just sharing some Rutherford Cuteness

How cute is this! Keats and Abigail, ready for worship this morning in all their cowboy finery. Keats is wearing his beloved cowboy boots and Abigail is wearing the boy's "Woody hat" (a hand-me-down from daddy) with her much loved "braidies."

Not sure exactly what is going through Elias's mind at this moment, but I love the look which seems to hint of the mischief to come.

Scott & Aidan enjoying some French cooking Rutherford-Style. Notice the tiptoes, my favorite feature.

How Elias still naps. Yes, I see that the safety straps are not in use.  No, I'm not worried. Scott, on the other hand, really does hate it when I chose not to strap Elias down like they do for the electric chair.