Today I sat in the living room holding the little one while the other two little ones played and laughed together. Looking to me to see if I was noticing their silliness. The little one laughing at the other two. Three little kids that do not share my DNA and yet couldn’t be more mine. And in that moment I was just overcome by the feeling of being right in the middle of something grande. How blessed am I that I get to be their mom?

Our garden.

We are so proud of our garden and we want to show it off.

My kids are so funny. When I say, “Okay, guys, we need to run outside and take a picture next to that giant weed!” they just do it. They don’t ask why. They don’t think it’s weird. It’s just regular life to them. And Mikey in this picture, well, I just don’t even know what to say.

The middle “saints” on Valentine’s Day

What? I’m going to post about Valentine’s Day? But I haven’t even posted about Christmas. I know and I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to it. Anyway, this is a Valentine’s Day post and that’s that. I want to show you the middles’ Valentine’s cards! They are so cute! So, here are the photos that I started with…

And Mikey’s…

So then I did a tiny bit of Photoshop work and ended up with this, which I ordered as 5X7 prints. These are things that they actually say a lot.

And here is the finished product. I planned Mikey’s a little poorly. The sucker covered up the text. Oh well.

Pretty dang cute, huh? And I even got my website in there. Sneaky. Here are a few more pictures of the middles from today. They’re iphone pics.

Making cards for their teachers this morning before school.

Brittany dressed all cute before school.

And here’s Mikey being a weirdo with a sticker on his eye. We don’t know why.

And here’s a video of Mikey explaining what he thinks about Valentine’s Day. I’m sort of embedding it using facebook. I have no idea if it’ll even work or not.

And so while I was taking their pictures for their cards, I had to take more pictures just for the heck of it. Here are some of my favorites.

Were Jack and Katie neglected today? Pretty much. 😉

The mom chart

So either it’s because I’m feeling extra guilty about things left undone with my kids or it’s because I’ve really got SO MUCH other work to do that I’m feeling overwhelmed and don’t want to deal with it…

Either way, I thought up this chart in the bathtub this evening and I’m going to give it a whirl. I’ve made sticker charts to hold my kids accountable before and we didn’t stick with it for very long. But I’ve never made a chart for my kids to hold me accountable. And honestly, I’m a little skeered. It may seem to some that this chart is just sad. A chart to make yourself spend 30 minutes a day with each child? You don’t do that already?? No, I’m afraid I don’t. Not undivided. Not without trying to sneak off to eat or edit photos or text somebody or clean up something gross or get on facebook. There are days that I don’t spend much time with them individually at all.

There are days that I go to bed thinking, “Did I even hold Katie today other than just to carry her out to the car 50 times?” “Did I sit with Brittany for even five minutes and read to her?” “Did I do anything with Mikey today other than just bark at him?” “Other than homeschool, did I listen to anything Jackson had to say today at all?” Did I? I lay awake at night thinking about these things. I say that I will do better the next day and I don’t. And I just think that I need to do better. My kids deserve better.

So, starting tomorrow, my kids are going to be in charge of helping me step it up a few notches. I’m not sure at this moment if this chart is too ambitious or not ambitious enough. But I feel like I need to start somewhere. Thoughts? I’d love to hear them. If you click on it, I think you can see it better.

There is no gray.

Few things fire me up or get under my skin like the whole pro life/pro choice debate. I’m not a political person. I would love to be able to say that I’m knowledgeable about the different candidates and their various stances of different things, but that’s just not true. I rarely read the news or watch anything newsworthy on television. I am irresponsible in that way, and I’ll admit it. And if that makes my opinion null and void in your eyes, then that’s fine. I respect that.

But the issue of abortion is something that I only see as black or white. To me, there is no gray. And even though I really believe that most, if not all, politicians are corrupt and care very little about anything but their own agenda, I simply will not support a candidate that is pro-choice. It doesn’t matter to me if I believe in everything else he or she says. That one issue is a deal breaker for me. It is THE issue. Saying all of that does not mean that I lack compassion for women who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy. And I also have a great deal of compassion for women who have chosen abortion. I believe they need compassion.

I’ve seen life before it was meant to be seen. Not only own son, but as a NILMDTS photographer many other babies born too soon. I’ve felt the devastation of the parents and extended family. I’ve seen the tears of the nurses when they don’t think anyone is looking. The matter of whether a baby/fetus/person/infant/life, whatever you want to call it, is wanted or not is simply irrelevant to the value that is placed on that individual’s life.

And there is not a person in the world who can change my mind on that. There is no gray. I’ve simply seen too much with my own eyes to believe anything different.