Today was a no good, horrible, very bad day around here. It started bad, got worse, and then went down hill.

The kids were cranky.

The mom was cranky.

The dad was cranky.

If we had pets, I bet they'd have been cranky too.

It was awful.

I was so happy to put the kids in bed tonight I could have cried.

Yet, in the midst of the terrible day, who shows up to meet me? God does.

My hubby and I stole a few moments to talk about all the little things piling up to turn me into a crazy person and in that conversation, God just confirmed so many things, through him, in my heart. It was truly beautiful really.

I am trying to build little monuments to remember my blessings as we trudge through some economic stuff, and as I trudge through some emotional stuff.

I have been watching my kids lately, with different eyes as they go off to school 2 days a week. After having them full time for the last 4 years, I see new things about them as they head out in to the great big world...without me.

I am struck by the confidence and maturity I see in my eldest.

It was not too long ago that he couldn't look most adults in the eye and answered all questions from just about anyone with one word answers.

I am grateful for the chance to have been able to pour into him and help him to find his voice, his talents, his faith...and to now see those things lived out.

I am, perhaps, the only mother to an eighth grader whose son leans in to hug and kiss her good-bye each day, on the steps of his classroom. He's not interested in being "cool". He's interested in being Noah.

For all his stubbornness at home, he steadfastly refuses to be someone other than himself out in public.

And who he is, is pretty awesome.

There is Phoebe, who doesn't quite have that grip on staying herself, but whom I know so well, that I can see it in how she is walking, if the day has been one where she has had to fight her insecurities with every step. I know the lies that play in her head enough to recite them...and I know when she needs to be loved on and reminded of the woman God has created her to be.

I love the days where she triumphs and the quirky, kind, amazingly generous and adventurous girl bounds through the door with a smile that bubbles up from her toes.

What do I say about Jack? There has never been a child more fascinated with the puzzle that is life. I see his mind absorbing so much each day, and I am so excited that I still get to be such a huge part of that. That his smile is one that fills each room he enters and that his curiosity is constantly expanding.

So, on days when it's really hard, I am going to look on these words and rejoice that all the hard days before have resulted in these children, and our beautiful relationships...and I am going to anxiously await the bigger and more abundant blessings to come.
If this post gets finished and published it will be a minor miracle.

It's pretty hard to keep my thoughts flowing while battling Zoe for the keyboard and moving her away from the desk doors and out of all my paperwork. Right now I have, possibly, two minutes while she chews on a marker she shouldn't have, to write.

Today it is just us girls. The big kids are at school and we didn't have to drive them, so it's been a pretty free morning. I had visions of accomplishing so much.

Yet the laundry and dishes are still undone, clothes are still strewn about. (Why is Jack's pj shirt in the kitchen?) And the rest is just not tidied up.


Because Zoe wanted me to hold her instead.

We ate oatmeal.

She used me like a jungle gym.

She played with her toys, but only while I was holding her next to me, on the couch.

She is not a typically cuddly baby, but she really wants to be where the action is. And when it's the two of us, she wants my undivided attention. What a blessing.

Just like God. He wants my undivided attention too, and yet I find it so hard to give sometimes. I love to sit and talk to God, while I am crafting...while I am listening to music...while I am in the shower...

And yet, He is calling me, over and over again, to just sit with Him. To delight in that time. To love Him uninterrupted.

This is not where I thought this post was going...but I guess it is what God wanted me to hear. So I am logging off to visit with my Jesus.

It was about 5 o'clock this morning when I heard Zoe crying. I was dead asleep and the idea of getting out of my cozy bed was not appealing, not in the least. I was warm. The blankets were molded just right. Everything was optimal.

I lay there for a minute or two thinking about how hard it is to get Zoe to sleep reasonably in the morning, and how if I get up to get her she will likely wake up at 4am the next day.

I thought about letting her just cry it out. Getting her to figure it out on her own...and then she started melting my heart with "Mamamama". I got up. I went to her room and saw, in the dim light, her little face light up and heard her now pathetic "mamamama".

I scooped her up, took her into my room, and nursed her.

The truth is, I love nursing Zoe in the pre-dawn hours. I'm sleepy and groggy, but she nurses like a newborn in those dark, quiet moments. There, with nothing but the sound of her breathing heavy and gulping milk, it's just us. Alone. I can feel her sleepy warm body nestled in the crook of my arm. I can study her little eyelashes, or I can close my eyes and snuggle with her while I meet her most basic need.

I am a sleep training failure with Zoe. I get teased that it is because I've gone soft...and I think that is true. There are so many things I will struggle through with her. So many hurdles that will require me to stand stronger and firmer, but is this that thing? Will this change her into a selfish, unreasonable, unloving child? Will this be an obstacle in her faith development? Will this *really* matter?

I just don't see the value in stressing out so much about it any more. As long as she is getting pretty reasonable sleep, why should I skip these moments...precious moments that will soon pass and I will never get to relive? Why deny that I love the sacrifice? That I cherish these moments far more than even she does?

Zoe is the baby. She is the last baby. She is the baby who God gave us to reveal something special. She is a baby of hope, and promise.

She changed everything I ever thought I believed about being a mother and parenting a child, save one. If I keep loving God and sharing Him with my kids, then I am doing the most important thing.

Sleep will come. Time will pass too quickly.