On being grumpy…

Dude.

This. Week.

This week.

THIS WEEK.

What in the world?!!!

It was pretty intense . I’m not quite sure if it was Daylight Savings or what, but holy camoley….#themccartymess was on STEROIDS.

And I was so grumpy about it.  I was frustrated with my kids. Short with my kids. So impatient with my kids. Each day felt like the longest of days. I even worked out 3 mornings this week and was STILL in a funk. That’s tough to do people, but I managed it.

I even thought my head might spin right off my neck, so we also took off school on Wednesday to revamp…pick up the house, clean rooms, fold a million loads of clothes before piling more on the couch, make a trip to the library, drink apple cider (with Thieves, because none of us are feeling 100%), have extra outside time and play time…we just needed to revamp.  I thought for sure come Thursday we’d all be better. Buuuuuut nope. Just nope. It was like we just jumped back to Monday. I felt like I couldn’t win.

I couldn’t physically or mentally juggle all the things. Those daily chores just feel unmanageable when I’m with my treacherous precious kids all day….schooling of course, but mostly the heart training and character building. I mean…the lying, the arguing, the sibling fighting, the whining, the crying, the fit-throwing, the back-talking, the peeing where we’re not supposed to pee…

One of my friends sent me a text yesterday to just check in and see how I was doing, and this is what I sent back to her:

Do I look ok?

I was hunkered down on the couch waiting out the yelling and screaming. 

I am positive the kids played off my grumpiness, and evenso, I just had a hard time snapping out of it. 

#paisleyrose has such a tough life I don’t know how she manages. I don’t see any reason for all the tears except that she’s 3. So there doesn’t really need to be a reason.


I’ll also have you know that I ordered a hoodie recently with my birthday dollars. It came in the mail yesterday. 

Ironic, right?


Because I definitely did now show or model kindness to/for my kids this week. That’ll slap you in the face. 

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And as usual it helps to look back at recent pictures when I feel a mess. Last weekend, we had the privilege of hosting some international students for the day. These 2 girls are from Mexico and had never seen snow, so we took them up to find some and did a short hike while we were at it. 

Picture courtesy of Paxton 😂

And here are our sweet boys that are getting too big…

And this kid who refused pictures

So I used my ninja skills


And I sure do love my outdoorsy hubs…


Kinsley spent the afternoon with one of our sweet college friends so she didn’t hike with us. 

But back to this week. Lastnight I was done. I didn’t wanna get out but knew it would be good. I snagged my sidekick, who had begged to go with me if I ran errands, and we got out of the house for a bit. It basically redeemed the week. I mean, who wouldn’t be able to giggle with this kid…




Bahahahahaha

Thanks for the pick-me-up, kid. 


I’d share chips + guac with you any day. 

Cheers, friends. Here’s to a good weekend and a better week ahead! 

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One Year

As of August 6th, we’ve officially been here 1 year. Seems long and short all at once. I gave myself a year to get used to things here and adjust, but I think I should have given myself 2 or maybe 3 years. Ha! I have adjusted some, but I still feel so new to these parts. Like I’ve just started learning the ropes…

As I look back and see so much good, I also see a lot of hard. One of the hardest things has been to watch our oldest kiddo struggle so much through this transition.  And that’s what I want to share a little bit about. This precious kid left the only home he remembers…a home and neighborhood and campus he loved, and also a best buddy who lived right next door. He didn’t know how to handle the emotions and feelings when one day last July all those things he knew so well were just…

…gone.

Cason is observant, he internalizes things, is sensitive, and his mind has a hard time shutting off. We’re a lot alike when it comes to these things. We like predictable. We like familiar. We do not like different. We do not like big change. Change feels unsafe and unknown and out of control. The thing is I’m 35. I don’t like change, but I’ve had some practice….but how is a 7 (now 8) year old supposed to handle it all?

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We’ve had a lot of meltdowns and anger. The tears and frustration and anger surface for awhile eventually followed by tears of sadness and grief. So in these times of grief he just shuts down and other times he  verbalizes things….

“I miss my neighborhood!”

“I miss my friends!”

“I just want to go home!”

And it breaks my heart all over again each time. Mostly I cry right along with him. And pray. And I hold him if he’ll let me. Because I don’t know what else to do. And I’m really just scratching the surface of all that we’re dealing with with our sweet boy.

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Being a mom is amazing and I don’t for a moment take it for granted or wish it away. But it is hands down the hardest and most challenging and tear-filled journey I’ve ever been on. I am weary, and I want so badly for my boy to be happy, truly happy.

I could write and write about so many good things, but if you ask me today how our first year has been, I’ll tell you it’s been hard. Really hard. Of course, it’s been good in so many ways. In all of it, God is faithful. We trust him. We trust him in all of it….though, I tell ya…trusting him in this parenting thing feels harder and harder. I even ask myself…am I the wrong mom? Is it my fault he’s dealing with so much? Am I handling things all wrong? Could someone else do a better job? I know the answer to each of these is no, but knowing it and believing it are two different things. I am weary. God placed these precious kids in my hands knowing that 8 years down the road, I’d be crying tears of hardship and praying hard over each one of them at night after they’re asleep. He knew I’d feel at a loss. He knew I’d be doubting myself, not seeing myself through his eyes, but through a skewed lens of my own.

Parenting can be so very hard, friends, am I right?!

I’ve been so desperate for the Lord and his guidance and wisdom, so I’ve been digging into Scripture. Gobbling it up like I haven’t in years. It’s been so good…a precious morning time (if I get myself out of bed, that is). But I wake hungry for more of his word. There are so many ‘outward’ things we can do to hopefully help our struggling kiddo…change his diet, work on calming techniques, see a counselor, and so on. And we’re doing all these things…but I know without a doubt that we…both Cason and I…we need Jesus to help us work through it all. And I want to model it for him. And love him well. 


Cason’s closest view of Jesus right now is me and Josh. And he may never let Jesus help him if he doesn’t see me in desperate need of Jesus and his grace, wisdom, and love.

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This is kid so great. He has one of the softest hearts I know. He’s loving and sweet and smart and thoughtful and awesome. He’s super social and kind and loves people so well. So if you get the privilege of being around him, give him a high five and tell him how great he is. Ask him some questions and then lend him a listening ear. He’s honest and curious and talkative, and I believe has something great to offer.

And for the record, he and I butt heads like crazy. Like for real crazy. But gosh, I love him so much. I ask my kids often, “Do you know how much I love you?” And they know it by heart and answer right back,

“soooo much…

always and forever…

no matter what.”

I’ve had them repeat it so much they can say it in their sleep. And they roll their eyes at me when I ask, but they usually say it anyway. And if they’re too mad or upset to talk, I remind them myself.  

“I love you so much, always and forever, no matter what.”

My love will never run out, and I want them to never doubt it. No matter what they say or do, it’ll always be there. 


So for now (and per usual) we will take things one day at a time….one day at a time with our boy. 

the quarterly (or so) update

It’s bad when you can’t even remember the last time you blogged. I just checked, and it was February. #trueblogger over here.

I like to document the things and share the pictures and write about the things swirling around in the ole brain. Getting it on paper helps clear the chaos and weight of it in my head and heart. The last couple months have been pretty full. Josh’s dad came and stayed with us for almost a week and got to experience some of Grand Junction. We also had some visitors over spring break that came and stayed all week…it was a blast! With all the million new things and places and people our family has experienced since we moved almost 10 months ago, it was so refreshing to see some familiar faces.

So far a quick sort of overall summary, let me try to break it down into 5 bits.

  1. Baseball. The bigs take gymnastics/ninja class (like American Ninja Warrior) once a week, and we let them choose either soccer or baseball. They all chose baseball, and I sort of had no idea. Where we moved from games were either Mon/Thurs or Tues/Fri or something like that anyway…whatever the case, it was predictable when you’d play. Here, you could play any day of the week (Mon-Sat)…there was no consistency, which made for a plethora of weeknights and Saturdays spent at the ballpark. But you know what? It also made for lots of great opportunities to meet people in the community. Don’t get me wrong…getting kids dressed, cleats on and tied, shirts tucked in and those BELTS thru all the freaking tiny little loopholes….all of that equals ANGRY MOM. It’s just for a short bit before we finally all make it to the van…in straight up tears but with water bottles in hand. Thankfully their coach didn’t care too much about the belt (he must be heaven-sent). He must have seen me coming with our crew and knew I needed some sanity.  Truly though, other than about 15 (or maybe 30) minutes of getting dressed and loaded in the van, we so enjoyed being there and getting to know the other kids and parents on their teams.
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I have lots of videos of the boys hitting, but not very many normal pics.

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Sometimes it just hurts to take a picture with your siblings.

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She’s been enjoying the Tball life again this year.

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So professional

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They all rotate and get a chance to play each position at some point. It’s hilarious watching these tiny kids try to move with all their gear on. If you need a good laugh just come to a Grand Mesa Tball game and watch the catchers.

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Kinsley’s fan club. As you can tell from most of these pictures, Paisley chose her clothes and shoes carefully.

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Josh helped coach the boys’ team, and I helped out in the dugout just making sure they bat in order and such…this is what the girls did.

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This ladybug was such a good sport through it all.

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2. Church planting. I don’t often write about church planting, because most of you are updated through our newsletter, but I’ve had some people ask recently, and well, if you know me well at all, I’m not a sugar-coater. We had our first gathering as a church in a location other than our house. Very simple and small, but even the simple takes organization. For now we’re meeting 2 mornings a month in a building we are renting and then each Sunday night in our home. Church planting has stretched me and stretched me some more.  It’s been so hard and so good. And so hard. You never really know what things are going to be like until you’re in the midst. And we are iiiiiin the midst.

Before we planted, I had a few friends recommend a book by Christine Hoover called The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart. I read it before we moved, and I picked it up again recently. When we lost Baby Riley four years ago, I read multiple books from women who have been there, who have experienced that same/similar loss, who have walked that road. They spoke directly to my heart. Something about reading/listening to words from someone who has been there is so good. It’s not that words from others aren’t ever encouraging, they just haven’t been there. And just like I can’t personally relate to growing up in a broken home or struggling with infertility, I can relate to losing a parent and feeling like I might actually go crazy as I attempt to raise this nest of littles.  Similarly, hardly anyone in my circle can relate to being a church planting wife. And gosh, I am in such constant need of the Lord and his grace. He is teaching me such dependence on him. In her book, Hoover states…

Dependence does not develop from obligatory quiet times but from an intimate relationship and daily reliance on God. It is not something a Perfect Church Planting Wife checks off her list; it is a necessity for survival. If we don’t cultivate dependence on God by spending time with Him, we will certainly be tempted to take on responsibilities that aren’t ours, experience burnout, and look to people to meet our heart’s needs. Without dependence, we start going through the motions and playing the role” (p. 41 bolded words are mine)

I just can’t do all the things or please all the people. I don’t want to play the role.  I’m me. That’s it.  A mess of a wife, mom, and friend. And I may technically be a church planting wife, but really…I’m just me. I want my relationship with God to grow and be more and more consistent, I want to love my husband well and be his biggest fan…to hold up his arms when he is weary and remind him that we were called here together. I want to be a faithful, consistent, patience, loving mama. And I want to serve and connect with and lead and mentor others as I can.

I feel like I’ve been in this state of on-the-verge-of-tears for over a year. Before we moved, as we moved, when we moved, since we moved. I wonder what it means and when/if it will end. I think it will end. I think I’ll eventually transition to being ok. I think. 🙂 One thing I know….it’s kept me depending on him like I never have before, to wake up hungry for him and his word.

We have a wonderful group, albeit small, that we’ve been able to link arms with so far, and we are thankful! We are making connections and building relationships in the community. We hope to keep spreading the love and hope of Jesus to those in this city….God is in our everyday interactions….at home, giving baths, making lunch, at the store, at the ball field, in the post office, anywhere we are is a chance be patient with others, love others, serve others. It’s not rocket science…just Jesus in and through us.

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Easter morning

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Sunday nights we have what’s called a Missional Community at our house. Now that it’s warming up, the kids get to play outside quite a bit.

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3. Hiking sans kids. I hiked at Arches National Park (Moab, UT).  I had a sweet friend visit over Easter weekend. She was amazingly helpful with the kids, cooking, dishes, and she helped me with the kiddos during our church gathering on Sunday as well. But we also drove to Moab (1.5-2 hrs away) and did a little sightseeing. I wasn’t carrying 25lbs of a toddler on my back, and it was amazing. We spent a few hours just driving around the park and walking around and taking pictures. Gosh, it was so beautiful! Here are some pictures to give you a small taste.

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Balanced Rock

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The Windows.

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We deciced to do the hike called Delicate Arch, which is up to the arch you’d see on magazines and such. This was about halfway up. I mean….it was a bit of a climb and my not-in-shape legs were burning.

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We made it!

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It was so awesome! Josh is usually the one that does more outdoorsy adventurous things….not this time, hubs.

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My face..haha! It was SO windy up there! But that view!!!

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Paisley got especially attached to our visitor 🙂 Debbie, thank you for coming to visit, hanging out, helping, and loving on our kids. You are a treasure!

4. Birthday Month. We got to celebrate two of our crazies in April. They share a birthday, exactly 3 years apart. Cason turned 8 this year (someone tell me it’s not true), and our oldest gal, Kinsley, turned 5. Kindergarten? Here some some pics we snagged.

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We had a dual bday party (as usual), and this year I busted out the big guns with a Batman AND princess cake. That’s how it’s done, folks. You don’t tell them any different, and they just think it’s the best thing ever to share a cake. Never thought we’d have two kiddos that share a birthday, but nevertheless….here we are.

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This is the morning of their birthday. Cason had been up for 2 hours, and Kinsley had just rolled out of bed. No idea of Pax is doing back there. #normal

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They chose Chuck E Cheese for their bday lunch becuase duh…it’s so awesome overstimulating. But you know…I took one for the team.

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Cason got a new bike. He’s all set to hit the trails with Josh.

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This kid is a girly one, and I just love her to pieces. She sported her new outfit, shoes, bracelets, and necklace, and a couple days later we had her nails painted.

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I just can’t believe she’s 5!

5. We bought a house. Yep. You read that right. 13 years of marriage….Biggest purchase of our lives, yessirree.

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We’re all moved in, but far from being unpacked. We’re excited to get settled in. We have space for visitors…come one, come all!

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And just for kicks, here are a few more….

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We went to a college baseball game a few weeks ago. It’s been fun getting to know some students here. We were having college-student-withdrawals there for a while. 🙂

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The bigs all go to Awana here, and their last night for the year this is how we picked them up. Ha! These sweet kids have had lots of change and transition this year…Awana was something they loved in Arkansas, and they so enjoyed going again this year.  I’m thankful for those that have poured into them this year.

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Morning time.

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She’s such a hoot. She’ll be 3 in July, and I’ll have to pull together more pics of her outfits to share.

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I went with a friend on a weekend getaway. Words really can’t express how thankful I was…it was such a gift!

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That’s what you call a view from your hotel window.

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Cason is officially finished with everything but math. Yay! 

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We went to a festival downtown, and they kids were super into the mime that made them balloon animals (and swords) 🙂

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Chipotle love.

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Mom came for a visit and was crazy awesome unpacking all our kitchen stuff. Super thankful she was able to come!

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These two did some early morning coloring one day. They grabbed their jackets and sat outside for a good while coloring together.

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Italian ice outing

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These are some tired faces, but I’m real thankful for my teammate. We’re learning a lot together and about one another in this journey.

 

Home Alone

Josh just left to take Cason to  his soccer practice, and I got brave and asked if he’d take all the kids and let me stay home by myself. Sometimes all 6 of us go, because Josh and I both enjoy watching our kiddos explore new things and develop new skills. I love going to their practices…like really love it. But when we all go, it’s still full of juggling the kids and trying to keep the crazy at bay. So really we don’t get to watch all that much anyway, but I still like to be present. Sometimes Mama just needs a break from it all, and today I wasn’t afraid to say it. Right now all I wanna say is ‘Hallelujah!’…because I’m sitting on my couch. At home. All alone. Usually when I get a break it’s out and about…that’s nice, but sometimes it’s nicer to have that break inside your own house.

Josh was so kind to tell me, “I can do that. I can take them all to practice.” And then I sighed a big ole sigh of relief.

Speaking of Josh….he’s pretty amazing, that guy. He doesn’t like me talking about him on socail media, so….I decided to just talk about him here on the blog. It’s totally different. 🙂

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Mostly, I’m just really really thankful for him. He loves me well, and he’s such a good daddy. He’s been juggling a whole heck of a lot. Guys, church planting is hard. We knew it would be, but now we’re actually living it out. And well, it’s tough. Pretty super tough. But it’s also awesome and stretching and molding and exciting! There’s just a lot of things on his plate (and a lot of background things), and I get a front row seat to him, his hard work, and his evident love for the Lord. I get to see the love he has for this city. The desire to get to know people in our community. The prayers he prays. The names he remembers. The invitations into our home. The big dreams. I get to see those things. And it’s such a privilege.

I also see the hard and the struggle. The spiritual warfare, the bummer phone call, the no show, the discouragement.  I get to see those things, too. And it’s also a privilege. Because I have the opportunity to pray for him, to stick by his side, to fight for our marriage, and to help hold him up when it seems everything else is pulling him down. We get to parent our little people together, and it’s incredibly hard and equally as beautiful. As a family we want to continue getting to know our city, our home. To love and serve. To build community, grow in Christ, and share Jesus with those around us. What a job it is that God has given my sweet husband…that he’s given to our family!

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We took the boys to see Sing a while back…I’d say they were pretty relaxed, ha!

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We gather in our home on Sunday nights…this was during some singing time. 

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 teaching and leading discussion

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my favorite

 

Josh, I love you big. You are such a blessing to me, and I’m gonna go ahead and guess that you’re a blessing to lots of others as well. I’m crazy grateful for you!

 

a hot mess

Some say change is for the better, but I think it’s for the birds. I mean not really but sometimes. About 8-9 months ago (April/May), we were approaching our move date (July 1), and there was just.so.much. going on.

  • We were making plans and handling the logistics (when was the moving truck coming, when did we need to be out of our house, etc)
  • packing our home up (packing with kids is like one big joke)
  • raising financial support for church planting along with some other responsibilities
  • getting ready to live with family for 4-5 weeks before officially moving, which just meant this weird time of limbo where we were gone from our home but not yet in our new home
  • hunting for a rent house from 16 hours away
  • taking care of our kiddos physical needs and dealing with the daily discipline and heart training, all while guiding their precious hearts as they were experiencing big change and transition
  • working up the courage and emotions to say goodbye to our friends and life in Arkansas
  • still doing the normal things like grocery shopping, feeding the fam, and getting the laundry done
  • hanging out with as many people/friends as possible before having to say goodbye

 

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Off we go…..to Grandma’s house. It was so weird packing #allthethings and leaving our home for good, and then just driving 4 hours to live with family for a few weeks.

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5 weeks later we were finally heading to Colorado (and we all still laugh at Josh’s little Arby’s hat)

 

We officially moved into our rent house on August 6th. So fast forward 8-9 months from all the above and 4.5 months of living in a new place.

  • We eventually unpacked mooooost of our things (thank goodness our rent house has a basement!) 🙂
  • We attempted to get settled  in a few short weeks so we could start school beginning of September
  • We visited lots of parks (they have great parks here!) and of course the library is always a big hit
  • We’ve gone on some family hikes (so beautiful)
  • I’ve juggled school with kiddos (2nd, Kinder, PreK, and house destroyer)
  • I’ve met lots of new people and then more new people (it’s a good, good thing, but also can be overwhelming especially to this introvert who doesn’t happen to love change)
  • I’m working on finding my way around town
  • We caught a 2 week family stomach bug, followed by monster colds/coughs…I fought hard  against the snot sharers for a while, but my body eventually gave in dang it
  • Church planting is busy, but good…we’re meeting at our house on Sunday nights
  • Sweet Cason (7) has had a hard time adjusting….we had so many tears and anger the first few months. I expected it to be hard, but I didn’t really know just how hard.
  • And Paisley (2) is little yet can sense so much. She’s been clinging to me since June when all the change started happening
  • We’re figuring out how to do life with church planting…for now, Josh is around more than we’ve ever experienced so we’ve had to work on communicating about our day/week.
  • Just figuring out where I like to grocery shop has been hard…I’m still figuring out what my fave places are and where the darn food is in the stores! All the new can be so overwhelming. Things are staaaaaarting to feel less new so that’s good 🙂
  • Working with a new budget,
  • Getting a new bank and switching over aaaallllll the online things
  • Figuring out what our bills look like here
  • Getting used to the dry climate and cold weather
  • and just SO much kid attitude happening in our home
  • I know all the change and transition has made schooling with the kids harder, because we had a really rough Fall…I’m praying Spring (semester) is better.
  • So it’s legit, like all the way decided….I’m a hot mess.

 

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working and snacking

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this girl asks all the day long what school I have for her to do

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She’s gotta be in on the action, of course

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He can be such a hard worker when he’s not complaining 🙂 

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We had lots of great weather for hiking

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sweet Kinsley

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She insisted on taking her baby on our hike

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great action shot

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she was pumped at the moment

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the kids LOVE to climb on all the awesome rocks

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So much beauty

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I had breakfast with a sweet new friend the other day, and I was telling her about how I’ve dealt with more anxiety especially since moving.  It’s like I talked to her in surprise that I’m not handling it all very well….and she looked at me like I’m crazy. Like I’d be crazy TO BE handling it well. She looked at me and told me something like , ‘You do a lot. You have a lot going on. You’ve had so much change, and you have 4 kids! Moving is one of the biggest stressers on the list of stressful things in life, you have a lot going on, you do a alot. Jill, you have 4 kids!’

And I think I just needed someone to speak straight into me. Because I have not given myself grace. I have pushed myself and not stopped soon enough to rest. I’ve been hard on myself and not basked in his grace for me. I’m trying so hard to ‘do well’ here that I sometimes don’t let myself be sad or moreso it’s that I don’t allow myself to be ok with being sad. Because sometimes I’m just sad. Colorado has been and is good. And it’s not just where we need to be, it’s where I want to be. Right beside Josh, raising our little humans and planting River City Church. I’ve met so many amazing people, and God has already placed some friends in my life….but even with all the good, it’s ok to be sad. Because I left some amazing friends behind, and I miss them dearly…our walks, our talks, our coffees and teas, our lunches. I think one day I will love it here, but it’s ok that I’m not there yet.

On Christmas night, Kinsley was having a hard time settling down and going to sleep. I lay down beside her and just held her. And she held me. It’s what we both needed. As a mom it’s hard to give and keep giving and then give some more. Our kids are so patient with this very impatient mama. She just wanted me…to sit with her, snuggle her, love on her, and just be with her. And that’s what I need from my heavenly father, but I have to call for him like Kinsley did me. To let him hold me and love me and just be with me. These last few months have been hard, but I’m going back to what I always tell others…just take one day at a time. And take lots of deep breaths. I want to slow myself and especially slow my brain. So I’m pressing onward….hopefully at a slower pace than before.

Even though I’ve struggled, #themccartymess still manages to have some fun and make lots of memories….

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We’ve had some beautiful snow

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This is called ‘mama can’t deal’…drive thru Wendy’s and a show

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Free French toast at a delicious bread company AND a family picture with Santa? Our kids know Santa isn’t real….can you tell?

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This girl (also look how on top of gift-wrapping I was)

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Would you like to fill your glass with water? Oh, sorry…there’s no room.

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Daddy’s the best!

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This one has it made

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Cheers to hot chocolate and Christmas lights! (It was their first hot chocolate from Starbucks…they were stoked when I walked back to the van with 6 cups in tow instead of two) 🙂

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She said hers was too hot to drink in the car so she waited to down hers at 9pm when we got home. Also, her shirt is atleast a size too small, and she’s wearing Kinsley’s capri pants, which make for perfect Paisley pants. She changes clothes 27 times a day.

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We’re going on 13 years next week. I really love this man.

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Christmas Eve we had fondue followed by gingerbread sculptures 🙂 Paisley has had a cold….pitiful girl there on the end

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And then we had one get sick…sigh

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We all know everyone takes 40 pictures til they find one bearable one 🙂

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This was the winner

Merry (late) Christmas, friends!

Mama, You Are Not Alone (Part 2)

I promised a follow up to this post, and I like to be a gal of my word so here it is in all its glory…

The kids and I were on one of our errand outings a month or so ago (post office stop, library, Chick-Fil-A drive thru…you know the kind) and you guys, it was so stellar I want to share it with you. Because I want you to know that you are not alone. And maybe a little bit also because I’m trying to also convince myself that I am not alone.

I don’t often take all 4 kiddos into the post office, but Josh was out of town, and I really needed to mail some packages. So I put on my big girl undies, and we went. It was as bad as you probably are imagining. Long line. Restless and wandering kids. Toddler pulling greeting cards down, but not at all returning them to their correct spots. One touching everything in sight probably because I told them not to touch anything. You get the picture. I was a little tense and distracted, and “Ms. Postal Lady, I know it’s your job to ask, but no thank you, I don’t need any stamps today!”

We made it out of the post office and back into the van. Paxton One kiddo was just extra defiant about all the things (pestering siblings, getting in car seat, talking back to me, mocking me….oh the mocking, making faces, laughing when disciplined). I’m telling you…it was #ALLthethings. We talked about our attitudes and actions and how we should speak kindly to each other and be respectful and obedient to mama. Those heart to hearts always work like a charm, you know.

Our next stop was the library, which my kids LOVE. We parked. Unbuckled. Then I don’t even remember the exact words, but the defiance and attitude reached it’s peak, and that was it. I told them that because they (namely one of them) had not made wise choices, we were no longer going inside the library. I told them to buckle back up, and let’s just say…they.were.tiiiiiiicked. Wailing, whining, screaming, banging on the windows. I’m talking ANGRY ticked.

Cason was yelling at me through big tears, “Give Paxton another chaaaaaaaance! GIVE PAXTON ANOTHER CHAAAAANCE!” Kinsley was just mad and crying. Paisley was crying because she just got out of her carseat, and then I put her right back in. And Paxton (realizing I was totally serious) silently buckled back up and didn’t say a word.

I had already decided we would drive through Chick-fil-A for lunch. Part of me thought I should probably just go home. But most of me decided I didn’t want to make them lunch because I already had it in my head that lunch would be quick and easy. Also, once a week for homeschool we have what’s called a Blessing Day. Sometimes we make and mail cards to grandparents. Sometimes we FaceTime family or friends or get someone a treat. This day, we planned to pay for the car behind us at Chick-fil-A.

And, well, I did pay for the car behind us, but the kids had zero idea because 3 of the 4 were still throwing fits. Then. THEN. Kinsley noticed that the kind drive-thru workers did not hand me any chocolate milk. And she went crazy. “They didn’t give you any chocolate milk! YOU DIDN’T GET US A KIDS MEAL!” Our drive home from Chick-fil-A is about 12 minutes. Here are the things that my kids yelled at me between their screaming crying fits (I kind of wish I had a video for you…go ahead and picture teenage attitudes).

Cason: You planned all this stuff, but you unplanned it!

Kinsley: You won’t let us do anything!

Cason: I’ve had enough of you, Mama! (This one is probably my favorite).

Kinsley: You’re a bad, bad Mama!

Cason: I’m not gonna talk to you at all today, even if I want something!

Paisley (yep, even the toddler followed suit): Stop it, Mama! Don’t say that!

Paxton: [silence]

You guys, I couldn’t believe the things coming out of their mouths, and then I wondered how much worse it’ll be when they’re teenagers. As I drove I took a deep breath, prayed for patience, listened to their words, and smiled a bit because it was so unbelievable. I know they didn’t mean those things, but it still hurts. I had a 1-on-1 chat with each one of them when we got home, we all perked back up, ate our lunch, and I can very much assure you I thoroughly enjoyed my Naptime Coffee & Netflix that day. Because (even more than normal) Mama needed a BREAK!

So I don’t know, my kids are pretty cute, but they are also little monstrous beings.

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And I know I wrote this to tell you you’re not alone, but can someone just tell me I’m not alone??? Because this is how I often feel….

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Happy Thursday, pals.

 

 

Mama, You Are Not Alone (Part 1)

Friends. We had a week last week. A big ole, long, hard week. Really it was just a few days that were so hard, but whoa. We’ve been out of town some and out of our normal routine, and getting back into things last week was tough. I just thought I’d share some pictures and stories to remind you that you are not alone.

If your house stays clean and your kids are always nice to you, please move on and read something else. This one’s for the parents that can’t seem to keep the house together,  where you could climb to the peak of the laundry pile and see messes everywhere you look and whose kids mouth off and throw tantrums galore.

For the love, the messes and laundry in my house….

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She’s been pulling all sorts of clothes out of her room, attempting to put them on, then take them off again just to go grab more clothes.

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Dirty clothes? Clean clothes? Who knows! Random shoes. A coloring page..why not?

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A second living room is so nice, except it’s mostly another spot for the kids to destroy.

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At least the markers are where they should be.

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Looking good, kids…looking good.

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Wanna have a seat on our couch? Oh, sorry there’s no room. We’ll just push everything over so you have a couple inches of space.

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These rascals play and color and do school and make food in their kitchen and work puzzles and take care of babies all day long. It’s serious  stuff.

I’ve mostly just given in. It’s not worth it to me to breathe down their necks to pick up every single item after they’ve finished playing. We usually sometimes have one big clean up in the evenings and get things sort of back to normal. Just in time for a crazy bedtime followed by another messy day. We’re home all day to play and laugh and work, and the messes? Well, they just happen. We get to them eventually. Some people stay sane by keeping things picked up all the time. Not me, no sirree. I stay sane by taking deep breaths and letting my kids play.

So, mama, if you’re like me…just take some more deep breaths. Keep leaning into the Lord, asking for more patience and less outbursts. Count to 10. Take a quick break. Brew a cup of coffee. And then sit down with your beauties and play or color or read a little more. And at the end of the day or before dinner or whatever works for you just gather your kids, pump up the jams, set a timer, and have everyone get after it. We sometimes go room to room, and other times I spread my kids out in different rooms. But we hit it hard, and we get it done. Or at least done enough.

Also last week, we had an outing that ended up going downhill, and my kids had such sweet words for me that I’ll share with you soon. I’ll follow this post up with a Part 2 another time.

Happy Weekend, Weekenders!

 

 

 

The End, the Middle, and the Beginning

Goodness I haven’t written lately, and it feels good to sit and put thoughts to paper. I want to record and share what parts of our summer have looked and felt like, because it has been long. And it’s been a load. And I don’t want to forget it.

Our last few weeks in Northeast Arkansas were full of chaos but also deeply full of friends. We said so many goodbyes, and I miss my friends dearly. Familiarity is so good for the soul isn’t it? This place we now call home will one day be and feel familiar, but we’re not there just yet. So I do still grieve leaving our campus, the faculty/staff, our church, and our neighborhood. Even our house if you can believe it 🙂

There were so many more people that we said goodbye to, but here are a few that were captured.

June was busy packing, tying up loose ends, and lots of planning for what was to come.

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One of our last weekends there, Josh performed part of a wedding for some sweet students.

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So we sent the kids to the grandparents and had a weekend to ourselves…it was much needed.

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Then some of our very closest friends took us out to dinner, and then we went bowling. It was so special, and I will never forget it.

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And got us a cookie cake!!! Mmmm….

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Our house was looking pretty awesome

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Heards with Grace and Shane. I don’t think I’ll ever taste another burger so delicious.

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Oh, Grace. I miss our random chats and lunch outings. You hold a special place in my heart.

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Gail, you are so welcoming and down to earth….just beautiful inside and out. I appreciate your friendship so much.

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Joanna, I’m so thankful we were neighbors. I miss your visits, chats, and encouragement. And running over to borrow eggs or chicken broth or whatever I might need. And Alyssa, I miss seeing your sweet smile around and watching you interact with my kids. Hang in there, sweet girl.

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This was a normal day at the McCarty house, full of kids and bikes. I so miss seeing and having all these kiddos around.

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Here’s our nextdoor neighborhood buddy, Cody. He and the boys played every day along with some other friends in the cove. Melanie and Rick, we miss you guys!

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Rachel, I cry every time I look at this picture. Every. single. time. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have gotten to know you, have babies around the same time, and share the WBC life with you and Josh.

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Kerry helped us pack our Uhaul boxes…we could not have done it without him. Kerry, thanks for being such a good friend and for taking Josh fly fishing! Also, #manup

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Here’s the fisherman himself.

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Oh Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. No words necessary really. I sure do miss your family and getting to love on sweet Baby Jack. I drink out of my mug just about every other day. 

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Heather, I don’t know how I don’t have a pic of the both of us, but I found this one of you and sweet Oliver. Also, I just can’t even….your friendship? Yeah. I wouldn’t have made it through without you.

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Wait…here’s one of us.

 

We miss you Walnut Ridge, WBC, and FBC Pocahontas. Until next time….

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Ok, ok. On to our Leg #1 of our journey to Colorado: Northwest Arkansas. People are gonna stop reading this post because it’s so long-winded. Or I should say picture-heavy. Feel free to peace out…I’m just getting started 🙂

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We got to spend so much fun time with Josh’s family. And there were SO many baby dolls 🙂

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We got to celebrate Paisley turning 2.

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Jack, Janice, Gammy, and well, a girl who was mostly excited to drink from a big girl cup.

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We took a trip to Branson with Josh’s fam, and kids had a great time.

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Silver Dollar City was a bit much for this one. I put her in the floor board of the car to change her diaper and she was out.

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Josh’s parents’ house doesn’t have great reception so I walked down the street and used my phone just fine 🙂

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We went on walks. And I shed some tears. I felt so homesick.

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Josh and I took the middles hiking and to a waterhole. Sadly, Cason just really didn’t want to come, so we left him and Paisley with Grandma. But we had a blast with these two. 

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The kids got to go to VBS at Josh’s parents church. Obviously they didn’t have any fun.

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And of course we got to hang with Aunt Jess and Uncle Vinny (sorry I didn’t get a pic of you, Vinny). Always love seeing those cool people.

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Christine and I got to hang out AND make a special trip to Tulsa to surprise Alaina (in the middle) for her bday! We had such a fun day! Also, don’t get me started on Christine moving to Africa. That’s for a whole different post.

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I’m also so very thankful for our visit to see Josh’s Granny. She passed away earlier this week. We’ll always cherish these last moments with her. We love you, Granny.

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Sweet Paxton saying hi to her.

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Enjoying Granny’s room and stuffed animals.

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Here’s an older pic, but I just love it.

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This is in our early married days when Josh and I went to stay with Granny one weekend. I’m so thankful for pictures…being able to capture the memories is so special.

Leg #2 of our journey was spent in Dallas. And boy, was it eventful.

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Driving home from visiting a friend one evening, and I caught this (blurry) pic. Dear Dallas, you are always so familiar to me, and your 5 lane traffic makes me feel so at home.

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Also Braum’s….it just really is the best.

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I got to hang with some of my precious and cherished high school buddies. Girls, I love you so much!!!!

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Here’s a pic of our kids….And we weren’t even all there.

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Uh mom….I think you forgot to put sunscreen on my arms. Yep, buddy, I sure did.

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And Josh and I reminisced at our ALL TIME FAVORITE boba place in Arlington, TX. It was my jam when we lived in Fort Worth, and I was in grad school. It is #ohsogood

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And got to visit with my brother and Judy and their fam as well as all the other awesome extended family that I don’t have pictures of, ha! Justin and Judy, I love you guys so much!

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I met up with this precious grad school friend, Lori and her little boy Xander. A few weeks later and she now has a precious baby girl!  Lori, thanks so much for making this trip!!!

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Fun at Magnolia Market. #obviously

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Aren’t these two adorable or what?!?! They’re just weeks apart in age. Sweet babies!

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While in Waco, I got to spend a few hours with my family there. Such a fun and blessed time!

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They were excited about the shirts our Arkansas church sent us 🙂

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We had more ice cream

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And I just couldn’t resist taking this.

And although we loved our time with my family and our friends, it wasn’t all good times.

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We had ear infections.

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And staph infection…

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It got worse and then even worse, and we were nearly in the hospital. And it was so scary for this mama. I tear up thinking about it now.

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He happily lost his very first tooth.

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And then he and Kinsley collided. She was fine. He loosened four teeth, and had two of them pulled and a couple stitches. Terrible and traumatic for this guy (and Mama).

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serious teeth

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And the next day already looking better!

And then 3 days later…we were off! Leg #3: Bound for Grand Junction, CO.

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Night before…so tired but so ready to be on the road.

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Here we go…

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Then a few hours into our trip I had my mom take a pic when we stopped. I wanted to capture our journey, but mostly we all just laughed about the Arby’s hat on Josh’s head 🙂

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2 days of driving and we made it! We are getting used to our house, and though we still have boxes around, we’re starting to feel a bit more settled. I tell ya…it’s hard to do all the daily  dishes and laundry and you know, raising children, while unpacking your house. I am not a fan. 

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This one has just been so helpful with all the unpacking. One day she was calling for me to ‘help get down’ ha!

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Lots of screens during the early days of unpacking. But just look how still they are!

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Pretty little mountain view at the end of our street.

And goodness, I’m not used to seeing mountains when I’m out and about. But it is so beautiful here. We made time for some hiking a couple weeks ago, and it was just breathtaking.

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We went up on top of the Grand Mesa. Can you believe that this is on top of a mountain? It is stunning!

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Kids were a little cranky and hungry before we even hiked.

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But they perked up.

 

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I don’t know what she’s doing with her hand. 🙂

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so nice of Josh to carry the kids’ backpack

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We drove to a visitor’s center and found a picnic table to lunch and let kids run around a bit. Look at these boys. 

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And sweet girls.

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I love this one.

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He wanted to take a pic together 🙂

So we are here. We live here now. And we are working on finding our new normal.

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Like visiting our local parks

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And the library

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where you can check out our own books at this handy dandy station

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we’ve had some ice cream outings

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 and lots of playing in the backyard

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sweet sibs…youngest and oldest…two and seven

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eating peaches

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looooots of peaches…it was such a surprise blessing to see these were in the backyard of our rent house

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Other than Yours Truly, Sweet Cason boy has had the hardest time with all the change. We snuck away for some time alone and it was so good. I told him we are in this together.

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And then when I started shedding tears and just couldn’t get them to stop, I stole this one away for another outing. I needed some space and to step away from the chaos of our house. This gal’s presence and smile will bless you. She sure is a joy. I got coffee, and she played, and then we ate Wendy’s for dinner. It was good for my heart.

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This guy is doing pretty well and I think loving the outdoor life here….he’s always the first to ask to go play outside and usually stays out the longest. He’s coloring like a champ and starting Kindergarten next week (probably outside) 🙂 

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The littlest has struggled in her own way the last 3 months as so much has changed. Consistency and routine have been fairly non-existent. And I will continue to hold her through it.

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After a long stint of not often wanting Daddy, it’s so sweet to see them together. 

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But look how normal things are becoming again. We’re all starting to feel like maybe this really is our new home.

And if anyone is even still reading all this, I want to close by sharing a song that’s been playing over and over in my mind the last 3ish months. And it seems that every church gathering we’ve been too before, during, and after our transition (Pocahontas, AR, Huntsville, AR, Mesquite, TX, and even one of the churches we visited here in Grand Junction) has played this song. And I find myself constantly telling the Lord that I need him every single hour of every single day. Please, God, I need you! Strengthen me. Refine me. Give me patience and wisdom. Help me be bold.

This life is hard and there are so many unknowns. But fixing our eyes on him, trusting him, hoping in him, running to him, finding joy in him…this is what I want. So I’ll keep trekking through all this overwhelming new until it isn’t so new anymore. And I’ll keep asking for wisdom and boldness as we’re adjusting to this beautiful city and seeking the Lord for his plans here.

And as far away as we are from family and how scary it all is, I am confident  this is where we belong. When I’m shaky with nerves and overwhelmed by it all, I want to lean in and in and in. And like the song says, “When I cannot stand I’ll fall on you; Jesus, you’re my hope and stay.”

 

 

 

Saying Goodbye

I sit here almost midnight, the night before we leave this place. Some said we’d be ready to run, to go and not look back. But what good does that do? We’ve lived 5 years here. I can’t say it’s been easy, but I can say it’s been good, that God has blessed me with more true friends here than I ever thought possible when we moved. Our first year here was haaaaard. Josh was having fun and loving life. I was taking care of our two boys (2 and 8 months) in a house, neighborhood, campus, and town that felt foreign to me. Josh was meeting people left and right. I was so incredibly lonely. A month into our move, we found out we were expecting our third. Josh was loving life and working so many hours. I was nauseous all day and night…while caring for the boys in this unfamiliar place.

But God was working on me. I was so unhappy, and that was on me. Poor pitiful me….who moved here to a great campus in a great neighborhood full of great people. Yes, we aren’t near family here, but this is where God had us, so I decided it’s where I’d be. Present in this lonely and unfamiliar place. Present with my kids. Soak in the little years. Support the hubs..he is such a hard worker, and I so appreciate that. Reach out to my neighbors and get to know some people for crying out loud. Get to know some students. I decided to embrace it here. Have that third kid. Begin to (eventually) feel better, and then be brave enough let the boys get messy and paint every so often 🙂 I feel like I grew leaps and bounds in my role as a mom in this place.

And before we had our youngest, we lost a precious baby here, too. All those memories are so real and so vivid. I remember one of my friends came and picked up the boys the day after we miscarried. I bet she had no idea what the heck to say to me, but she came anyway. That was brave. And I have this memory of Cason picking a flower for me that morning. The boys left, and I sat on our bench and cried for a while.

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Time keeps going and life trucks along beside you while yours comes to a drastic halt. It feels like a stand still. I grieved for so long, and I’ll always miss Baby Riley. Josh was so patient with me. And so were my friends. They didn’t rush me along. They went on walks with me and asked questions and let me talk about it. They probably never really knew how monumental they were in my healing. Real friends, you guys…there’s just nothing like it.

Friends that let you have an egg when you want to bake cookies and you thought you had two but you only have one. Friends that bring you half n half to save your coffee and more importantly your sanity. Friends who keeping coming for coffee and conversation even though your crazies almost always keep the conversation from actually happening. Friends who offer time and again to watch a few of your kids if you have a doctor’s appointment and you’re dreading taking them all. Friends who drop your favorite beverage by when they know you need a pick me up….they know this because they know you. Friends to grab lunch or dinner with, even the occasional movie. Friends to go on walks with. Friends who aren’t afraid to take the conversation underneath the surface.

And, though I know hope to make new friends, I’ll never forget these friends.

The last few weeks have been such a mix of emotions for me. Excited, yet nervous about what’s ahead, and sad to leave this place. Anxious about transition. Then sometimes the emotion just almost feels like it stops as I turn to the task of sorting and purging and packing. It’s been weird. Then it’ll come back in waterfalls.

Aside from packing, we’ve been busy visiting churches where Josh is speaking, had so many generous meals cooked for us, and lots of little celebration/send-offs. Our kiddos have been all out of sorts. I’m not talking a little off. I’m talking waaaaaay off.  They’re struggling and dealing with their own emotions and adjusting to all this change. We were finally able to spend some good family time together, and it was so needed.

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We’ve all been out of sorts for a good month now. I think all our kids are needing extra snuggles from us. Amidst all of the everything around them that’s changing, I want them to know that we’re still here. We are their tangible constant right now. 

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Beast.

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Sweet Teammates

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Josh took the bigs (and one of their friends) to the park and fishing one day. 

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Mexican is our family favorite 🙂 Also that guy looks to be photo bombing us.

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The boys had a baseball swim party. Paxton looks pretty into it.

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A tad better…

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One of my highschool friends drove alot of hours with her youngest to come help us pack. It was a crazy blessing. I was so overwhelmed I felt paralyzed. I’d sit down and watch her knock out 10 boxes. Amazing and such a servant, that one.

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Breaking to read a book…upside down.

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This was our chaos.

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This is one of the 5 pods we’ll have. Some crazy awesome friends helped us load…our stuff is jam packed. See you in Colorado in 5 weeks, art easel and balance bike and I don’t know what all else.

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Our 3 oldest babes a couple nights ago.

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Splash pad, park, and Chick-fil-A for our last NEA family outing.

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I forgot to pack extra shirts for after the splash pad. Target came to the rescue before we ate lunch 🙂

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Static hair

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He’s getting so big

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Goodness, these sisters are sweet.

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Baby Jack brought us some dinner last night. We love this baby boy!

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Classic family photo of our last night in The Ridge.

The McCarty’s are gonna miss this place. Friends, neighbors, neighbor friends, faculty/staff, students, our church, basketball friends, baseball friends, donut shop friends, library friends, and our bank friends…especially the ones who hand out suckers…thank you for the last 5 years. You’ve been a blessing to our family.

 

 

Just keep breathing

In all the craziness and busy-ness of life, it’s easy to just get wrapped up in it all. We’re not all that busy really. I mean, when Josh is busy I feel busy since he’s not at home as much to help, but we’re at home a lot during the day. We run errands when needed (or just when mama wants out of the house), go to the library, have friends over to talk over coffee while the kids play, and we even just have plain jane days where we don’t have any plans. I used to be so uneasy with the idea of being a stay at home mom (because when you’ve had a job since you’re 15 and then you all the sudden don’t work, it’s a weird transition), but I eventually learned to embrace it, and now I truly treasure it. So maybe busy  isn’t the best word. Chaotic is a better one. The toys and legos and blocks and schoolwork and books and dishes and the massive amounts of laundry. Even meals are chaotic. And why are kids always hungry? All the time hungry. Here’s a 2ish minute summary of what breakfast might look sound like.


Me: I’m making some scrambled eggs…who wants some? This is your chance to tell me if you want some.
Kid 1: Mama, I want toast with butter and honey. Or maybe jelly. Wait, do we have Nutella?
Me: That’s fine. Put some bread in the toaster.
Kid 2: Mama, I don’t want eggs. I want yogurt.
Me: Yogurt is fine, but are you sure you don’t want eggs?
Kid 2: I’m sure. I want yogurt.
Kid 3: Mama, I don’t want eggs. I need milk!
Me: How do you ask for milk nicely?
Kid 4EGGS! EGGS! EGGS!
Me: They’re cooking. Be patient! (yeah, right)
Kid 3: Mama, I need milk.
Me: How do you ask nicely?
Kid 3: Mama, will you get me some milk, please?
Me: Yes, let me get Kid 4 some eggs, and I’ll get you some milk.
Kid 1: Mama, did you forget about my toast?
Me: Sorry bud, I’ll grab it.
Kid 4: [screaming toddler because I haven’t gotten her food fast enough]
Kid 2: Mama, I’m done with yogurt and now I want eggs.
Me: Buddy, you told me you didn’t want eggs. Remember that?
Kid 3: Mama, I need milk!!!
MAMA! MAMA! MAMA! MAMA!

15 minutes later:
Kid 2: Mama, can we have a snack?


I start to feel a bit suffocated and like I’m having a hard time coming up for air. Like it’s literally hard to breathe. I have to intentionally slow my heart and my mind and just keep breathing. I make myself breathe all the way in and all the way out. There’s the logistics of moving…when do we need to schedule the moving truck, where will our stuff be stored for the month we’re living with family, how are we on raising support, what forms still need to be completed, etc. And there’s the emotional side to moving…lots of memories made here, 3 pregnancies, 2 baby girls brought home here, our church family, this campus, our friends, neighborhood, and community. And then there’s the normal daily stuff…the chores, school, meals, discipline (all the discipline!). It can just all be so draining and leave me weary.

So in the midst of planning and packing and thinking about moving, I still have all these daily things to take care of. These little people…they have physical needs like food and sleep. And they have emotional needs, too. They’re asking questions about what moving is going to be like and what house we’re going to live in. And we don’t have all those answers for them yet, and we’re asking them to trust God like we are…that he will take care of us. That he will provide a house for us to live in and so on. We may not know all the details, but I do know that God is in the details. That he cares about all of our anxious hearts. My heart has been extremely anxious lately. This isn’t news to him. He cares. And he cares about my littles and their hearts, too. And how we’re all going to miss our friends here. I’ve noticed a lot going on in their littles heads and hearts, and I want to handle it well and point them to Jesus through it all. 

And per usual, when I get overwhelmed, I like to browse my pictures and see so much I have to be thankful for. In the daily-ness of it all, there is so much grace and hope and love. Having littles is anything but easy, but beauty and grace abounds.

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This guy got his tonsils out a few weeks ago. Cute little patient.

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Getting loopy pre-surgery

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Showing me some coloring books a friend brought by. He really was excited about the books. Definitely not excited about how he felt after surgery.

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Since he was supposed to not be super active for TWO whole weeks, we played with lots of bubbles.

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She pushes the mower around on a daily basis.

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Outdoor picnic and show

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We are serious about our coloring around here.

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Lots and lots of lego creations

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An outing to Andy’s

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We had a really rough 5-6 days during his recovery. This night he melted down and we could tell he was in pain. We pulled him out bed for a little extra snuggle time.

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This is girl takes such great care of all the baby dolls.

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We celebrated Josh’s birthday..hooray!

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We love our trips to the library. This time I was accompanied by a sweet college student that lived with us for a week while she took a May term class. Extra hands are such a blessing.

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4 year well check. Brave little gal. Also, she wears this ice cream shirt about 5 days a week.

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Haircuts! Handsome dudes.

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Pretty girl.

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Keeping it real with the laundry and switching over winter/summer clothes.

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She’s getting so big…my mama heart is a happy kind of sad. Or a sad kind of happy? Something like that, anyway.

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Just trying on a pullup over her clothes while climbing on the dishwasher. #normal

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Cason loves building things and putting things together. This is a clock tower 🙂

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He got a model car for his bday…he’s been building it with Josh’s help.

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This gal and that smoothie. Which lead to…

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a bath, of course

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We’re enjoying our time at the ball park as well.

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She’s loving Tball 🙂

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Watching big brothers play

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She mostly likes the rocks.

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And the occasional popsicle.

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And look at this adorable baby. It was her second time camping. And it’s dark because we arrived at our campsite about 9:30pm and set up camp in the dark (with 4 rowdy and overtired kids in tow). 🙂

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I’ll try to wrap up the mod podge of pictures with our camping trip last weekend. These babies challenge and bless me all day every day. 🙂 Also, they’re eating fruit snacks. At 10pm. Survival mode, man.

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We went to bed eventually, and I enjoyed some morning snuggles with this gal. She was thrilled about it all. Do you like those Christmas PJs?

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Aunt Jess and Uncle Vinny were our co-adventurers.

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Biscuits for breakfast.

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We went on a hike. Intended to go a mile or two and ended up hiking 4, and it wasn’t the easiest hike either. Proud of these little people (and you, too, Jess) 🙂 There are lots of life lessons wrapped up in hiking….they wanted to stop, we were running low on water, it was lunch time, and we talked a lot about pushing through the physical stuff.. Maybe it’s the athlete/coach in me, but life is so mental. “Just keep going. One step at a time. Don’t stop now. We’re getting closer. McCarty’s don’t quit”…these were a few of our mantras. Because believe me, I was tired, too.

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Cheeeeeeeesy bean burrito to go along with that sweet smile.

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One of my fave pics from the weekend.

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Card game

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Hot chocolate rules

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Paisley thoroughly enjoyed my sleeping bag…much more than her pack n play. I should have just slept in the pack n play.

 

I’ve been listening to this song a lot lately. Sometimes I just need to be reminded that in all the chaos and unknowns and my fears and anxious heart…. that the God of angel armies is always by my side.

Keep being brave, friends.  Keep loving on that baby that keeps waking in the night and that toddler/preschooler who seems out of control. Keep trusting that God’s plan for you is good. Keep loving on, checking in with, and taking meals to that friend that’s grieving. And when there’s a lot of life happening, take one step at a time. Put one foot in front of the other. Turn some music on and conquer that monster pile of laundry.  Just keep breathing….and let him calm your anxious heart.