Monday, January 31, 2011

I Can Not Believe My Ears!!!

Just in case you needed a good Monday laugh!

Julia to me: Mom we are having a blast playing in the basement. I am the Mom, Lucy is the daughter, and Anderson is the baby, and we lock him in the bathroom b/c it's the nursery!

Julia to Lucy while getting dressed for the day: Lucy button up your dress, your breasts are showing and that is totally inappropriate!! ;)


My Adelaide!

We had the high privilege of watching Adelaide on Saturday while her parents moved houses. Anderson LOVES Adelaide and has no problem playing favorites with her. He made it very clear before Adelaide arrived that she was in fact, "My Adelaide!" While she played at our house it was VERY hard to convince Anderson to leave her alone. While she slept in our bedroom Anderson sat outside our door like a guard dog... I had to remove him b/c he kept knocking on the door and yelling, "Adelaide, wake up!" Needless to say we had a blast with sweet, sweet, Adelaide...

On another note, Dad is back on his feet: talking, driving, and drinking coffee! :) Thanks for the continued prayers and love.

We are looking forward to the start of February. Today, the remaining snowman are being returned to their "Christmas" boxes...

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 28, 2011

"No, No, Mama!"


i am home. safe and sound. it's snowing outside, katie is working on school, the 3 little bits are playing house, and i am putting things back into place after the week.

i was welcomed home with hugs, kisses, and temper-tantrums. :) you heard me right. when i got in the car anderson started crying, puckered his lower lip out, and proceeded to stare out the window as if i didn't exist. at first i thought he was scared by all the excitement, but then i realized he was mad at me. i started cracking up. it reminded me of a story my mom and dad tell. mom had just giving birth to zach and they were coming home from the hospital, and andrew did the same thing to her. although, i am pretty sure it took days for andrew to come around...

after, a few kisses, tickles, and assurance that i wasn't going any where, anderson offered me some hugs and kisses with a little bit of hesitancy. what a hoot! so now i am paying penance :)

hope everyone has a great weekend!

he found my mascara :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

rolling with my homies

i am pretty sure that my brother zach and i have watched clueless more times that i can count. one of my favorite lines is, "rolling with the homies!"
well, that is what i am doing. i am unexpectedly in kansas... rolling with my homies :)

my dad was having some medical issues and a set of extra hands were needed. zach, andrew, and i fought over who got to come home and my road was the smoothest. zach and andrew are jealous!

with the "husband of the year" award once again going to mark, and the community service award going to our church, the details of who was going to be resposible for our 4 kids while i was gone for 4 days was decided in 20 minutes. if you would like to see how the body of Christ is suppose to function, come visit our church!! we are not perfect, we are the island of the misfits, but oh my... the tangible expression of true love could not be more felt. we are beyond blessed!!

so i am here: chauffering, cooking, planning, laughing, crying, sleeping, sipping coffee, being a little bossy, shopping, helping, cleaning, hugging and kissing my nieces, texting, organizing, sorting, and being a little bossy.... a perfectly great way to spend an unexpected week in kansas, rolling with my homies.

thanks for all the calls, emails, texts, messages, prayers, car rides, babysitting adventures, meals, visits, evenings with mimes, etc..

we are grateful for such amazing homies.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Here is to keeping you safe...

recently, the girls and i were having a conversation about what daddy does at work.  i tried to just put everything in the most simple of terms, "daddy tests weapons to make sure that when the soldiers use them that they are safe."

julia spoke up,"and soldiers are men and women who sacrifice LOTS of things to protect us from people who do not want what's best for us!" "that's right julia." i said.

i could see katie processing.. she spoke up next, "so mom, the soldiers protect us from harm, and daddy protects the soldiers from harm!" i paused and kind of let her words settle a little then i said, "you are absolutely right!"

my heart swelled with pride. i had never thought about like that, but katie could not be more correct. so, when mark comes in @ 12:30 AM after 14 hours of testing, it's a lot easier to picture of all of our friends whom are soldiers, rather then throw myself a pity party for the long hours he is gone. mark is not soldier. we are not a military family, and i would never claim to know what they go through and what they sacrifice.  BUT i do know that i am INCREDIBLY proud of my husband who is not on the battle field, but who is extremely devoted to using his gifts and his education to protect those who ARE on the field.

to ALL who serve this nation in official or unofficial positions!

Friday, January 21, 2011

sweet and petite... 
lucy is 3 1/2, 27lbs, and could not be more petite.. mark can still wrap his hands around her torso. i love this picture b/c it could not reveal any better how little she is. our doctor is wonderfully wise and continues to believe that we are ALL different, and one size does not fit all!  in my mother's words, "she is just PERFECT!" ;)

happy weekend,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

i said, "YES!"

actually, i am pretty sure that when mark asked me to marry him TEN YEARS AGO TODAY, i said, "absolutely!"

i was looking for pictures of our engagement.. not the professional ones, but the ones of that evening when we went back to my parents to tell them. funny thing is i keep finding pictures of mark and zach; dancing, sticking their tongues out, toasting champagne, etc..etc.. i can not find any pictures of me and mark. oh well, these of zach and mark are super fun too!

saying, "yes!" to mark's proposal was the best decision i have ever made. i said, "yes" without a doubt in my mind.. and today, ten years later, i say "YES!" all over again without a doubt!!

i love you mark adam.
here is to 10 more, 10 year engagement anniversaries!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a van gogh, a victory, a vegeterian, and a voice!

 *original post, January 14th 2010*

i think part of being a parent is becoming a student of your kids.  i love unraveling the mystery of what makes each of my children their own person.  that's why along the way we have learned that loving them, raising them, feeding them, disciplining them, encouraging them, teaching them, is a specific art. no two are alike.  if we carbon copied the way "we did things" with katie and tried to implement it with julia... YIKES! (trust me, we tried this for like 3 seconds and it blew up in our faces)  this brings me to today's email.  i love how different my kids are from one another.  there are things about each one of them that drives me a little crazy... but the flip side, there are things in each of them that i just adore and can't imagine life without.

the following is an example:

katie was playing with the fantastic marble tree uncle matt made.  soon i heard only silence (i.e. no more marbles slip sliding down the tree)... "hey, katie what are you doing babe?" i inquired... "come look" she said.  sure enough she was sorting the marbles into family colors.  it was beautiful to behold! ah, my little van gogh.

it has taken julia a little longer to refine her motor skills.  her writing has only begun to spring forth in the last 4 months.  today, however she wrote her alphabet and "Poppo".  i don't so much care about this little writing mile stone as much as i care about the sheer excitement that was resounding through the walls of our home as we celebrated. katie and lucy jumped up and down telling julia what a fantastic job she had done and how great her letters looked. all the while i knew that katie saw the crooked "M" and the imperfect "W".. she didn't even mention it..she just praised julia. katie denied her great gift of detail and correction, and simply celebrated the beauty of julia's hard, hard work! as they grow old together i hope they can jump for joy through every success, and sob tears of drama til the day they die.

lucy.  she must be a vegetarian. over the last several weeks lucy has chosen the following.

a cookie or a cucumber?.. cucumber

sprite or water?... water

ckn nuggets or carrots?... carrots

mac-n-cheese or spinach?... spinach

please don't think i am trying to toot my own "health food" horn. trust me, my kids have ingested plenty of fast food. i just find it TOTALLY interesting that she picked those foods. no wonder she is weighing down the scales at a whooping 22 lbs.

anderson. well, after nearly 10 months of watching, listening, and probably losing parts of his ability to hear.. he has started to warm up that voice and tell us like it is.  i love hearing him scream, babble, and say, "da-da"!!  he talks to himself while he watches his movements in the oven door.  he uses his "smokers voice" when he talks on the phone ;) finally, a voice. a little man voice!! soon i hope to hear him say, "katie, stop holding me like an infant. julia, stop dragging me around. And Lucy, leave my darn pacifier alone ;)!!!"

happy thursday!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

a few of my favorite things..

when it comes to home-schooling not everything is hand holding, kum-bah-yah, singing, wonderful.

BUT, i do love it that julia can lay on the floor and roll around while she reviews her sight words. it fits her. ;)

happy tuesday,

Monday, January 17, 2011

ethics committee.

i wore out my serious bone last week with all those deep, serious posts.. this week i am going for F.U.N. and lighthearted.. i will restrain myself from talking about the "way i feel" regarding anything ;)! happy lighthearted monday!!

*original post date, july 23rd, 2010*

a few weeks ago i mentioned to the kids that there might be an opportunity to go see toy story 3.  after 3 squeals of delight, katie said with disappointment,

"mom, we can't see that movie there is a very bad word." 

"really?", i said.  "how do you know?" 

"i heard it on the commercial," she responded. 

"well, what is the bad word they use?" i asked hoping she would say something like, "butt, shut-up, gosh, idiot, god," all of which are not allowed in our home but commonly used.  her response?

"mom, they say A-S-S-!" she spelled it instead of saying it.  how cute is that?

"oh," i said.  "that is a bad word."

first, i was very confused how pixar could use that word in a "G" movie AND use it on a tv commercial? second, i was sad that katie even knew that word. i decided to try and figure out what morally deficient person used that word in front of my baby girl. 

"katie, how do you even know that word?" i righteously asked.

"oh mom, you taught me that word in the story of balaam and the ass from the Bible!"

my jaw dropped. "i certainly did, my dear!" i confessed.

still unsure of how that word made it into toy story, i asked dad who had seen the movie.  he assured me there was no bad words.  this lead me to an internet search which revealed that the word 'ascot' was used in reference to part of ken's outfit. thru a series of events we figured out katie was convinced she heard barbie say the following to the male barbie counterpart, "nice ass scott!" thinking the male counterparts name was scott, not ken.  while i am sure this was the intended pun, the writers were unaware of the big brain my sweet, ethical, child possesses. shame on them!!! :) :)

happy friday,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Gift of Water

Anderson LOVES water. He intentionally gets his hands dirty just so he can wash them.  He is eerily comfortable in the pool and bath tub.

Water is not cheap in King George, VA. In fact, our water bill was more expensive then our electricity bill in October. How is that normal?

Today there was a clash of priorities. I needed to finish the dishes quickly, and Anderson needed something to do.. So, I threw him in his swim trunks and put him in the sink to play with the water while I did dishes.. As you can tell he is having a horrible time! And we are now taking up a fund to cover our water bill for January.... ;)

Enjoy his total cuteness,
Also, check out this super cute video!


Friday, January 14, 2011

i'll have to be quick...

i have children hanging on window sills..

 moving furniture...

and i have to keep up with katie's super strict schedule...
(still working on some spelling issues ;)
happy weekending,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Whatever Happened to Ordinary?

whatever happened to ordinary? our culture is obsessed with EXTRAordinary. we want our children in organized sports at 2. attending the best schools at 3. reading by 4. top of pre-k, t-k, u-k, (whatever "K") class at 6. on the path of the educated and successful at 7. we want the biggest IRA possible. the fattest salary, the most beautiful pottery barn house, the newest car, the latest gadget, and so on and so forth. but not only does the desire for extraordinary rage in the day to day lives of people like you and me, it is raging in the church. 

people have decided that the church must be filled with all things extraordinary; the teaching, preaching, worship, children's programs, mission's programs, women's ministry, men's ministry, the facilities, the web-site, the advertising, etc...etc... all must meet this standard of EXTRAORDINARY. the people in the congregation must be "radical" and hell bent on not "wasting their life." and if for one sunday, or for one season this standard of extraordinary is not meeting the people's "needs" they just move on down the street to the next EXTRAORDINARY church.

many church's weekly goal is this... satisfy the extraordinary.
how exhausting it must be as a leader of a church to muster up all of these tricks out of the magician's hat week after week after week...

but what if the church's goal, our goal, was simply to be  faithful in the small things?  what if i get to my death bed and all i have accomplished is 80 years of an ordinary life, simply abiding in my relationship with my Savior...  no theological books written, no revivals attended, not extraordinary amounts of children adopted or birthed, not an extraordinary amount of organized missions trips attended, no VBS manuscripts written, not enough extraordinary years of home school under my belt, not an extraordinary amount of people "converted" under my guidance, by all extraordinary standards not enough "fruit" to prove my love for Jesus... BUT instead, 60 years of faithful marriage, 4 children that i didn't kill while i was raising them, a family that i cherish despite our dysfunction, sweet friends whom i adore regardless of their race, religion, political persuasion, or relational status... would i be deemed "un-radical?" would "failure" be stamped on my church attendance sheet?

don't hear what i am not saying!!

i think adoption is important and biblical. there is no greater way to understand the gospel then through actually touching it, feeling it, and seeing it through adoption.  we are commanded to take care of orphans. this looks very different for everyone. it might not be actually adopting children from foreign countries, but rather laboring for 35 years at French Camp Academy and ministering to the orphans there.

i think missions trips are important and biblical. but you don't have to go much further than your living room to be a missionary. your greatest mission field is your family and if you are having a hard time being faithful there then Africa may not be for you.

i am not in the business of "saving" people. THANK GOD!! that is the job of the Holy Spirit. i have been called to share my life, my home, my experiences, and my Savior. how amazingly free it is to rest in the Sovereignty of God and realize that He does not need weak, pathetic, little me to accomplish His purposes.

someone i really respect recently said something like this,"if i can just be faithful in small things like loving my wife and my children, and simply make it to seeing God face to face, I will have accomplished the extraordinary!"

when i think about this concept of extraordinary i think about my mom.  i think she has done extraordinary things like raising me and my four siblings, loving my dad for 37 years,... and actually surviving, unscathed, as a pastor's wife. because of her illness some might determine she is no longer able to produce extraordinary. her ordinary days of breakfast at panera's, fox new's watching, children and grandchildren calling, might not meet the standard. but i know without a doubt that my extraordinary God is using my mom in more extraordinary ways then i can imagine, even in the midst of the storm. my mom is simply abiding in her relationship. she only has herself to offer as a living sacrifice. God uses ordinary. because in the ordinary others see Him.... not our man-made religious agenda of extraordinary. God wants us to get out of His way and let Him use the ordinary, mundane, daily routines, to reveal His extraordinary ways.

This ordinary size 10, stay at home mom, is off for an ordinary day, with my four ordinary children, in my ordinary house, with ordinary dirt, and i will welcome home my ordinary husband who makes an ordinary salary, and we will have an ordinary evening together... and hopefully an ordinary 50 years together.... serving an EXTRAORDINARY God, whom we love and adore, for an extraordinary eternity!

*big sigh*,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

i stink..

no literally, i stink. i think i forgot to put deodorant on this morning before i headed out to teach piano and have lunch with our friends. i got home and took my favorite CRS hooddy sweatshirt off and i got a whiff of myself. YUCK! maybe that's why we got awful service at the Dalhgren Pizza Hut ;) or maybe they just always have bad service...

anywho, not only do i physically stink... i've had a pretty stinky week in my heart. i have had two sick kids this week and their presence has made me feel trapped. and their sickness altered all of MY plans for the week. and then, since i felt trapped my attitude turned into crap. (like my rhythm?) i have been grouchy, impatient, irrational, and all together a big fat crankster!

aren't you glad only a handful of you live close enough to actually get a dose of me in full crankster mode? well, my husband and my children have had the unrated version of the monster mom. i really dislike her. i hate her. and i don't use the word hate unless i'm serious. she is selfish, unkind, petty, ungracious, and really NO FUN TO LIVE WITH!

thankfully, my husband and my siblings (and hopefully soon my children) have gently learned how to say such things to me in one sentence... "sara, you need some more jesus!" or "sara, you need to take a shower and cleanse your soul!" none of these people in my life mean this in a bible thumping, legalistic way... they just know that when i am in monster mode there is no quicker way to dissolve my issues then to laughingly, jokingly, imply that i need a good refill of jesus.

oh man, they could not be more right. sometimes i just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and all goes to you know where. there is no leisurely waking up with 4 small children. there is no sipping coffee in silence and meditating before the day begins for me... well, there could be if i got up 5:30, and i have honestly considered it after this week... but really i hit the ground running... answering questions, dishing out oatmeal, assigning math, cleaning up juice spills, changing fully loaded poop bombs, and trying to think clearly while the noise level continues to increase. thank God for coffee.

*stricken smitten begins to play in the background* all this to say, i stink. i am rotten through and through...there is nothing good in me that does not originate from the very hand of God. left to my own devices i would be monster mom 24/7. thankfully, the Holy Spirit is ever present to guide and strengthen me in my most intense storms. when i call on Him, He is faithful. so after a stinky beginning to the week, i am so glad that i have the source of "about face" on my side who is willing to help me. i am thankful for a husband and for 4 small monkeys who forgive my crappy ways, encourage me, love on me, and ultimately remind me of our great God. i am thankful for friends who bring over delicious soup simply b/c they want to help out. i am thankful for friends who suggest Pizza Hut for lunch... even if the service is well..... STINKY! :)

here is to a better second half of the week!

Friday, January 7, 2011

i love you, i am sorry. please and thank you!

it's so easy to forget our manners with the people that we claim to love and cherish the most.  for some reason their constant presence numbs our desire to simply be kind and thoughtful.  it's hard to convince someone that you love and adore them when your words and actions hardly convey it.

i am terribly guilty of not measuring my words and actions with the precision that i have been called too.

before i married mark i witnessed my dad marry countless couples. it allowed me to have this amazingly sure foundation of what i wanted my own marriage to look like. one of my favorite weddings that he does is one about using these two phrases, "i am sorry," and "i love you" everyday. there is cause to use these two phrases over and over again. i don't care who you are or how long you have been married, these two phrases have the ability to put out fires and restore beautiful intimacy.

if i could i would add the next phrase to my dad's sermon, "please and thank you!"  (although, rest assure, my dad needs no help in preparing the most beautiful weddings and funerals anyone has EVER attended :) with the constant thread of conversation that takes place under the littlejohn roof.. it would be easy to drop the please's and the thank you's. there is a lot of talking that goes on here, and often i am exhausted of talking at the end of the day. however, mark and i are committed to treating one another, and our 4 little kiddos, like best friends, not stale roommates. my heart skips a beat when mark says something like, "thanks for cooking dinner, it's delicious!" even if it's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, i feel like the queen of the castle. the other day katie was upset about something, and she and i were having quality time just cuddling in the bathroom, b/c that's where girls cuddle... and she said, "mom, thank you. you always know how to make me feel much better!" i cried. i have gone back to those words time and time again the last few weeks... "please and thank you" convey a message of respect and gratitude... every relationship can use a good dose of those two characteristics.

if this vocabulary needs some freshening up in your relationships, i encourage you to dust them off quickly and start talking. it never hurts to try :)

happy weekend,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

my life in 5 pictures...

this is where i come from...

and this is where i am going..

life does not get much more clear for me :)

happy wednesday,

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

i miss you shaylin marie!

we were destined to be friends from birth!

you had hair, i had none.

i never feared being alone... b/c we were always together.

we had each other through thick and thin. awkward and confident. 
(the below is awkward! :)

i can not tell you how much i miss your face. your voice. your laughter. your ways.

today you stroll the streets of gold in the presence of the Almighty God. i am jealous.

glad that when i journey to see Him i will not be alone. once again, we will be together. and i will have nothing to fear!


Monday, January 3, 2011

If ever there were a day....

to give yourself some grace... today is the day ;)

we have all tried to start implementing our new year's resolutions. we are recovering from over indulgence and under discipline. if your kid's are anything like mine, they are restless and tired of staring at old, boring, mom. currently one child is climbing the table, one is holding onto my leg and crying, and two are staring at the TV!  dinner is not prepared, and i am still digging out of the christmas hole. i refuse to go to the store until everything in my kitchen is cooked and eaten. to be honest it's not because i want to be resourceful, but i saw the budget last night.... OUCH!

lucy wants to know what party we are going to tonight, and is crying b/c i told her the parties are over....

AJ ran into a wall and has a goose egg on his egg...

Julia told Katie she was going to jail b/c she was mean to her all the time....

and Katie cried when I told her i was throwing out all the christmas candy b/c i couldn't handle one more little voice asking me if they could have one.....

yep, it's holiday hang over day in the Littlejohn house.

if ever there were a day to give yourself some grace.... today is the day! i am currently swimming in all the extra grace i could find in my off and on, constantly interrupted, 20 minute meeting with Jesus.

tomorrow might not be the beginning of a new year, but i am so grateful that tomorrow is the beginning of a new day... and the day after that.... and the day after that!

b/c if ever there were a day...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Not Advisable

January 1st, 2011, Mark and I rang in the New Year at the Holocaust Museum.

We had been told it was not for kids (this is a understatement, i don't think it's even for teenagers..)  We had an opportunity to do it yesterday after we dropped my parents off at the airport in Baltimore.

It was haunting, horrifying, depressing,... but real. really real. it was very important to walk through it and remember where "we" have been, and how we intend to go forward.  i don't regret going at all. we rang the new year in with much awareness. we were able to reflect on the importance of the value of life, EVERY LIFE; young, old, born, un-born, ill, healthy, sane, in-sane, "good", "bad", fit, un-fit, pure, un-pure, white, black, yellow, orange, green, etc...etc.. :) the minute, the second, we forget that every breath and every heart beat of every person is a gift from our Creator God, we jeopardize every decision we make.

I don't intend to ring in my new year this way next year ;) but i purpose to not forget the way that i felt yesterday; January 1st, 2011.