So the other day I was sorting through the mail, in my favorite position to do so, over the trash can. After tossing several pieces of junk, my hand was poised over the trash can to drop the next offender in, when I paused and looked at it more carefully.
It was a flyer from a local car dealership, with one of those little scratch off circles to see if you've won something. I decided to scratch it off just to see. Lo and behold, the interior pages assured me that yes, yes indeed, I was a WINNER! A winner, I tell you! I had won one of the following: 1) A new Ford Focus 2) A flat screen TV 3) Up to $1,000 4) A $25 Walmart gift card. I called my husband over to see if there was any fine print I was missing. He saw none. I thought wow - a $25 Walmart gift card is worth a little effort, right?? Wanting to be sure, I called the dealership to verify that I was a winner. After reading her my number, she assured me I was a winner, and I just needed to come in and collect my prize. Her word for the whole process was "painless".
I was able to go by myself to the dealership (a small miracle) and found "painless" to be a bit incorrect. I had to meet with a salesman, who was very nice, and give him my address, make and year of our current cars, name of my firstborn, you get the idea.
After about 10 minutes of small talk, he leaned over and said, somewhat apologetically, "You are a winner. You have won $2."
Apparently the category "Up to $1,000" is a nice little way to include every other monetary option lower than the $25 Walmart gift card.
My dear readers, I must shout this to the blogosphere:
"I LOVE SPENDING TIME WITH MY SWEET LITTLE GIRL!"
I feel compelled to blog about this, because today my love is overflowing for my youngest child (and also because I have posted about many a trying moment with this same child).
Spending the days with this sweet girl gives me joy. She walks around saying things like "I like you, Mommy!" and "I'm your preh-shus guhl!" and "I'm your punkin pie!". I recently got her a princess pillowcase and as I put it on her bed, she said, "I love it Mommy! It's so beautiful! Thank you so much!"
I registered her for school next year. Two mornings a week. This will be the first time in 12.5 years of parenting that I will have all the children in school at the same time. Two mornings a week when I will be on my own. As in, alone. After 12 years, you grow rather used to having little people around! That being said, I know it will be nice to have some time to run errands and clean the house without "help"!
But - this morning as I kissed my baby's cheeks, I felt a bit sad for those two mornings next year. I will miss her for those six hours a week, as I have missed all of my children when they began venturing out of the nest. But it is time, and she will be ready.
I was able to sing this morning with our worship team, a luxury I don't often get to enjoy. It was last minute - I was filling in for another singer who had strep. After a few rapid texts, I got all the younger children farmed out to sit with friends and got a sub to fill in for me for nursery duty.
While it didn't go exactly smoothly (after communion I spotted my older two children trying to corral my youngest while she attempted to scale the bleachers), for the most part, it was a success! Singing with the choir or worship team brings me such joy! I am so thankful to those who helped me this morning.
On a normal Sunday, I am in the back row, keeping the kids in line. I have a bulletin in one hand and a child in the other. I am instructing, reprimanding, singing, listening, redirecting, usually with my head half bent down. While I participate the best I can, it isn't a full worship experience. During this season of life, our children's faith formation is the highest priority.
But today, I was able to participate fully. As I worshiped, sang, prayed, listened and communed, my heart was full. I looked out at the congregation from my vantage point up front and I thanked God for this family of faith. These brothers and sisters in Christ have blessed us so richly these past many years.
I smiled as I sang - in part because my daughter was a runaway in the back and there was nothing I could do about it, and in part because my heart was singing with love for these people of God in this place.
So I've been wanting to buy the little family stickers for the back of our van since a few children ago. I like our big family, and thought they would look cool stretched out across our oh-so-trendy Chevy Astro. But I hadn't had any luck in stores, and I kept forgetting to look online.
But the other day I was wandering through Christmas Tree Shops (side note here - if you have one in your area, go, GO! It is awesome and provides lots of thrifty options for everything from toothpaste to lamps to dishes to toys!!) and suddenly saw the stickers on an end cap. I was so excited to find them that I might have paid exorbitant prices to make them mine. Imagine my shock and awe when I discovered they were only $0.69 each! For a cheapskate like me, that's not bad!
So I got down to business picking through all the different kinds of figures. I quickly discovered there weren't too many different kinds (remember the el cheapo price tag?). Determined to make it work anyway, I forged on. Soon I had a suitable figure for my husband and me. The kids were slightly more problematic. All the boys were the same size, and the girls were either exactly the same size as me or the same size as the boys. To make a long story short, I settled on this combo:
I'm not really sure it does our family justice. My oldest daughter is the same size as I am, and could pass for a sister wife. My three sons are all the same size, when in reality they are most definitely not. My youngest daughter is the same size as the boys, which is also not the case. Sigh.
I have considered removing them, but they do bring me happiness. Perhaps I'll find replacements soon. Until then, this modified version of our (not-so) little family will have to do.