Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Incredible Sight

I took this photo this morning. I find this so amazing for many reasons. Just the sight of Old Glory is incredible. The things it represents - freedoms, lives lost, lives fought for, the place we are blessed to live. What is even more incredible is that this tattered flag is outside of Toad's school and we were there beneath it praying for his campus and God's glory to be known in that place. You can't do this everywhere, but you can here. We were there to honor the One who died so that we could lift up His Name, to seek His blessing and protection on that campus, to bear witness to Him. Nobody bothered us. We were not interrupted. I pray that it was an incredible sight before the Lord.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Long Lasting

One of the things I stressed out about when I was getting married was making new married friends. I know that's not on everyone's radar when you get married, but we were moving across the country eight days after the wedding to start two new phases of life - marriage and preparation for ministry. I wanted friends there, too. By the way, moving across the country was the best thing we ever did for many reasons. Finding friends in life is hard. It's even harder once your married. You want both of you to really like both of them. You will have couple friends that one of you really likes one of them, but rarely do you find both. We prayed for good friends that would love us and walk side by side with us in those days of learning.

The Lord was faithful to provide us with several couples with whom we are still close ten years later. They are all people who love Jesus like we do and want what's best for His glory and not ours. Their ministry and friendship over the years has been meaningful and met many needs in our lives. We have different things in common with the different couples and though we live many miles and states from some of them, my life is enriched each time I speak to them or hear of what the Lord is doing in and through them. I am thankful beyond measure for their willingness to love us, for God's provision and look forward to many more years of these lasting friendships.

One of the friendships we made in those early days of marriage was with a couple a few years older than us and in a different stage of life. They had five kids when we met them and we had only been married a couple of weeks and had no kids in our sights for some time. What may have seemed odd was easily comfortable and fun. We shared many Friday night pizza nights and a snow storm with their family and watched them closely. We saw biblical parenting at work in their home, a marriage grounded in God's Word and worked alongside them in our local church. There are many things that the Lord has been able to teach us through this family. He gave to us 'in-the-field' type training through this family.

Our seasons of life have changed. We have our four kids and they now have two kids married. We were able to hang out with the two newlyweds recently and it brought back such great memories. We played games, visited, laughed a lot and just had a good time. It was so fun to see the girls all grown up and married with new lives of their own. I pray they find the kind of couple friends that we found in their parents - the kind that will be a blessing, encouragement and support to them for years to come.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Crazy, Crazy, Crazy

Tonight was 'crazy hair night' at AWANA. It brought much excitement to our campus and my kids had a blast. They were looking forward to it all week. So what do you do with a kid who has no hair? You paint it. Yes, it should be maroon but the basic, cheap halloween makeup kit does not come with aggie maroon, so tech red had to do the trick. Toads had so much fun showing it off. The Girl got to participate as well.....she picked it out. Old lady, zebra, whatever you think - she was way cute. I love these two and their excitement for everything they do.

They each said all of their verses for tonight and are ready to go for next week - hiding God's Word in their heart. So much fun with long-term benefits!

He Can Do It!!!

I know there are many milestones in the life of your children and so many are major. There are some minor ones that I will always want to remember, but today is a major one. Every mom out there will agree. This one helps me. This one makes my life easier. This one builds his confidence. This one makes him more independent. This one is a jump up and scream, give a high five, shout for joy milestone.

He can tie his own shoes! I sent Toads to school today with shoes tied all by himself.

Monday, September 14, 2009

This time two years ago

Two years ago at this time - 2:35 pm - our Samoosa took her first breath in this world. What a fabulous two years it has been. The news of her upcoming arrival surprised us all and here she is a quick two years later with surprises, joy and blessings abounding. Her big eyes draw us in. Her squishy cheeks call out our name. Her Samoosa lips pucker up so well. Her determination is undeniable. Her ear infections make us sad. Her belly is never full. Her hugs and kisses for Girly Girl are constant. Her attitude is 'two year old cute'. Her words are few. Her opinions are many. Her desire to read is constant. Her screaming in bed is heart-wrenching. Her need for Mommy is extensive. Her love is contagious.

She changed us all. She is Samoosa. She brings an excitement for life to our family that only she can bring. We understand life more. We relax more. We smile more. We laugh more. We cry more. We went from four Linos to five Linos and this more has always been better! We love you Samoosa! Happy Birthday!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Blank but Intense

If you could have had a camera installed in my living room to watch the last few weeks of our lives unfold, you would have often seen a blank but very intense stare on the face of our fearless leader. Nathan has been so focused and intensely excited about what the Lord is doing at NEHBC. If you are out of the loop or haven't heard yet, go watch this video on his blog to get a taste of what lies ahead.

She Did It

Samoosa had a much better start to her preschool day today. A teacher she knows very well was there today and welcomed her in with no crying! Now if she can just learn to stay on her nap mat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

News to the 5 Year Old

Background info: Toads chose to walk by himself and did not stay with me when we left church tonight. After staying on the sidewalk for quite some time, he went to cross the parking lot by himself.....

Conversation between me and Toads after the drama unfolded:

Me: Toads, you almost got run over by that car. You need to make good choices and stay with me. That bad choice could have killed you.

Toads: Can cars kill you?

Trying not to look astonished that he did not know this, I replied...

Me: Of course, they are so big and you are so small, you could have been hurt very badly or killed. Daddy would have had to do your funeral tomorrow.

Toads: Would I have been bleeding right there?

And it just went on from there.

I feel sure we covered the 'danger' aspect of cars when we taught 'look both ways', etc but somehow it just did not sink in. I will have to work a little harder on this one with the little girls!

Note: The driver was never close enough to hit him and was taking extreme precaution. He saw him coming long before he entered the path of the car. Thank you to our church friends who are so aware of all the little people in the parking lots.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

All Show and No Go

Well today did not go as I thought it would. It was the first day of preschool for our Girly Girl and Samoosa. The older has this down pat - third year, oldest on campus, no problem. The youngest - not so much. Samoosa was so excited to open an early birthday present and get her big girl backpack and lunch box. That was last night. That was not this morning. We had already met the teacher. It's the same classroom she has been to for over a year now every Sunday for two plus hours. It was not the same reaction. She screamed. She cried for me. It did eventually stop. We were all very surprised. I am not sure if I should be upset that she was so upset or glad that she wanted me and missed me. I think most of it was manipluation on her part and yet there is that little mommy voice inside that says 'but she is so cute, my little samoosa.' She had a good day in the end. We will shoot for a good day in the beginning next time.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How the House Ticks

I like things a certain way. I have learned to be more flexible. I am sure I will have to bend some more as time goes by. I am not a neat freak. I just like to be organized. I don’t feel the need to vacuum everyday. I have always been ok with leaving clothes in the dryer for who knows how long. I would say that we have never lived in chaos, but with a 5 year old, 4 year old, 2 year old and 3 month old living under one roof it is becoming more of a realistic option. That simply is not my personality, so……each time we have welcomed a baby home, more structure/organization seems to have come with it. I am aiming to avoid chaos.

These are some things that happen with the Lino Six to make our house tick. Some have been done for a while. Some are new features. Some we are returning to the list of ‘must make happen.’

Make lunches at night for all three of the older kids even though they don’t all go to school. The girls and I just pull the lunch boxes out of the fridge each day at lunch time and ta-da… mess, no work, no clean up, no deciding what we’re eating.

Clothes for me and four kids are laid out a week in advance. Hanging in my closet are the ‘day of the week’ type organizers (only mine are the cheap version without the day written on it – really, I can talk myself through the boxes and know which box is what day – all to save some bucks.) I load them up after the laundry is folded.

Shoes that are found out of place (i.e. the living room floor, the bathroom, the playroom) are taken away and they can’t wear them for a while. We don’t have time to be looking for 10 shoes every time we head out the door.

Crock pot. I am getting much better about this out of necessity. Not just grandma’s roast anymore.

My planner. Each week, NL and I compare calendars and make sure everything is written down. I am not a fan of surprises, but we can usually accommodate them.

Days look the same. This is much easier when school is in session, but I try to make every Tuesday look the same, every Wednesday look the same, etc. I block out time each Tuesday for errands or lunches out; Thursdays are laundry and grocery store; Wednesday are meetings at the church. You get the idea. Summer is hard and I don’t yet have a solution to making it not so crazy. Well, hopefully most want be as crazy as this last one with a newborn.

Things we need often are kept in more than one place. To avoid the upstairs, downstairs, upstairs, downstairs cycle, I keep things on both floors and multiple rooms. Things like diapers, wipes, hair bows, brushes, socks, books – all have a home upstairs and downstairs.

Cubbies in the laundry room. Everybody gets their own cubby to put their backpack/napmat/whatever in. Those things don’t come out of the laundry room.

Schedule. Schedule. Schedule. From the time we brought CSL home from the hospital, there has been a schedule. I have always kept the babies in a routine. This has become even more important in recent days as the older kids are more involved in extra curricular activities.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Keeping it Weird

At our house, we frequently discuss how weird we are. We have come to the conclusion that many people think we are weird. We are. Compared to our glitzy culture today, we are bizarre. One arena I am proud to be weird - my marriage. I have a husband who loves me unselfishly. Who comes home to me every night and wants to be home. Who provides for me. Who speaks kindly to me. Who loves Jesus more than he loves me. Who does not raise his voice. Who works hard. Who spends quality time with our kids. Who supports me. Who is still my best friend. Who has integrity. Who is honest.

Three thousand, eight hundred and ninety days after my wedding, I like my weird marriage and hope to keep it that way. Thanks love for choosing me and being weird with me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Starting Soon

I think the thing the Linos are most excited about this week is the start of AWANA. We begin our fall session on Wednesday evening. Outside of Sunday morning worship, this will be one of the most important things we do all year for our kids. The amount of Scripture they memorize is astounding. Even the little guys. Our church recently added Puggles for two year olds! They can do it. Colton moves up to Sparks this year and Campbell will finish out her Cubbie years. AWANA is great for our kids. We wouldn't miss it!

Is this really a good idea?

She is not yet two. We had to have a talk about how this probably would not end well for her.

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