Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September Things, and Jacob's 9th


Heat again. I find myself picking up my phone multiple times a day just to check the weather. It's not that I don't already know the forecast, it's that maybe, just maybe, the forecast changed and relief is on it's way sooner than previously predicted. I look around at my yard plants and I give them a little more water, hoping they will make it just a few more weeks. Surely fall weather will come at some point. We're all waiting...

Heat is not all bad thought. Just a few points from the top of my head:
  • It makes me more thankful for the gorgeous weather we enjoy most other times of the year 
  • It means we enjoy our pool for longer in the season 
  • Heat makes me wear less clothes, which makes my husband happy! 
  • Fewer clothes dirtied by the rest of the family means I have less laundry
  • We have decreased appetites (or I just don't have a desire to cook), so we eat more salads and simple meals
  • Sweating is detoxifying
  • My hair will be healthier because I'm not blow drying it as often
  • My kids like me better because I buy them ice cream 

I am not by nature a thankful person; I tend to see both obvious and potential (or imagined) trouble first. I have learned, though, that I have to be deliberate in finding the good, or seeing the beauty, and returning thanks to God. This blog has been a way for me to do that, and it has been good for my soul.

It is a rare moment here this afternoon. I am skipping evening church tonight with the younger two boys because of headaches and signs of colds. Their older brother should be taking it easy at home too, since he had a pale green color to his face earlier today and had to excuse himself from the main service. He claims the nausea was just from dehydration, and that he's all better now. Somehow, I have a feeling it will be a different story come school time tomorrow. I will remain hopeful that my mother's intuition is wrong.

Football is going well this season. Jacob's team remains undefeated. He has a fun group of boys that he enjoys playing with. This weekend's game was the first loss for Andrew's team; it was a painful loss to a dirty team. The boys were emotional (some parents, too) throughout and after the game. This is good life training stuff! And Michael's team? Well, it's been a challenge, and though I wish his team were stronger, I know that life is full of challenge and I hope this is an opportunity for learning as well. Nonetheless, Michael is having a good time. Jon has surprised me with his coaching ability (not sure why I should be surprised), and his cool disposition and encouraging way is appreciated by the other parents.

Jon with Jacob's team. Jacob is #9

I'm not the best at capturing action images, but Jacob's strength is snatching flags--

Positioned and ready--

Watching. I think it's a big part of what I do for my kids. I watch games, I watch when they say, "Hey Mom! Watch this!" and I watch when they don't realize it. Watching and watchfulness.

Jon is in the process of transferring video footage from old cassettes to digital format, so we have all been crowding around the computer screen to watch these videos as time permits at night. Jon and I both agree these videos are kind of sad to watch. They are clips of magical days gone by, those days when the kids were little. Oh, I loved being a mom to my littles! They said the sweetest things, funny things; watching their little personalities in all their quirky ways is hilarious! The cuteness of those little darlings is just too much! There is one video that Jon made for me of Andrew: He was four years old, and he was in the halo while his broken neck healed. Jon filmed him dancing to a song Andrew and I called "ours" during his pre-school years. I hadn't seen it till now. He wiggled his hips and shook his tiny bottom and waved, his big, chocolate-brown eyes and deep dimples exuding charm and fortitude in a very difficult time. We all watched intently, laughing so hard our sides hurt, and for me, tears I couldn't control rolled down in a weird combination of opposite emotions surfacing all at once.

Watching all those videos make me want to love my kids all the more now, giving grace to all their faults and stumblings, comfort where needed, and constant, never-ceasing encouragement.

Those seem to be the good days-- days with little kids and babies and nestled in close. There was a happy simplicity in that season. And, yes, I know some of those days were long and hard, but the "wonderfulness" is my prevailing memory. I should think, though, that the present days will be just as near and dear to me years from now. I want to be intentionally present each day, allowing good, clear memories to form. Not just for me, but for us all. This takes work-- deliberate actions, thoughts, and words. So I pray that the Lord would help me love my husband and kids with affectionate love. I can be good at loving with sacrificial love, but affectionate love takes effort. Affectionate love is a very present sort of love; it is not withholding love until the other becomes who I would like them to be. I have become aware that I need the Lord's help in this.



I can’t let September pass by without remembering Jacob’s birthday. My baby is now nine. He couldn’t imagine a birthday without his best friends, so a party was a must. He has a wonderful group of friends from church and it is always such a treat to have them over. We took our traditional Mom-and-Me birthday shot before heading out to church that weekend.

Then after church, I raced home to get things going before Jon arrived with a literal truckload of boys. This age group of boys is just so fun; they don't even realize how entertaining they are by just being themselves. They all tumbled in with backpacks, pillows, and sleeping bags. Then marching through the kitchen they respectfully said, "Hello, Mrs. Rourke!" knowing that their own mom would desire this, but they forgot to look up or slow down as they rush to unload their stuff in the bedroom and change from Sunday clothes to swim trunks. Within minutes I noticed one boy run his fingers along my white wall, leaving behind 3 or 4 light brown finger sweeps of dirt. I surprise myself and smile.

Boys. They just come with dirt. Good thing for the pool and for outdoor eating!

I looked into the bedroom and two bathrooms, and there was a myriad of clothes flung all about, including inside-out Sunday pants with inside-out underwear still attached to one pant leg. Only minutes had passed and it was difficult to decipher which belongings went together, as all bags appeared to be open and their contents scrambled across the beds and floor. Fun times.

We have made good use of the table Jon built for us with reclaimed stable wood given to us by some friends. And nothing could be better to serve on a day like this than grilled burgers-- thanks again to Jon.

The boys played all day: Balloon fights, front yard/back yard, remote control cars and quadcopter, and mostly pool. Here, after a late night dinner and when all the balloons except for three were popped, I took a picture from the upstairs deck.

At 11:45 pm I could still hear loud "whispering," some bumps against the wall, giggles. I peeked inside and no one was in their own place. They said they couldn't sleep because of the coffee ice cream. Then a nearby neighborhood dog barked, and in unison 2 or 3 boys sang out loud, "Who let the dogs out? Woof, woof..." Even though I wanted to go to bed, their craziness made me laugh. They were up in the morning long before me, playing with Nerf guns.

Nine years for Jacob. Unreal. I'm sure it's because he's my baby, but I'm soaking it all in. Plus, he's just so special to me and our relationship is just so sweet. To think I had wished for another girl, and that I cried when I found out I was having another boy! I can't imagine life without him!



  1. I love that you can laugh at the crazy laundry, and find joy in the dirty marks on the wall. I seem to get so up-tight over little things like that - like it's my instinct, but I want my instant reaction to be to relax (or as my kids say, "chillax", and have fun, and enjoy the moment in all its silliness and glee. Something I shall pray more specifically about. (Thanks for the reminder. :-) ) I loved the evening photo of all the boys around the table on the deck. That looks like an amazing gathering place - not just because it is quintessential So.Cal., but because it seems it beckons people to come, chat, laugh, eat... all the things memories are made of. Loved this post. The kids are growing up so fast!

    1. I want you to know that I am the queen of uptight! This is why my reaction was a surprise to me! With the departure of our foster kids, the realization that Jacob is our baby is hitting me hard! I feel I must enjoy this phase now because it's not coming back again for a do-over.

      The table has been wonderful. I know long, rough grain tables made of reclaimed wood are trendy right now, but for us it was a practical/logical necessity. I don't know how many we'll have for Thanksgiving this year, but it's my guess we'll need all the seating we have (indoor and outdoor). I think it will be pretty decorated for fall.

      Blessings to you.


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