Friday, October 24, 2008

"Are all those kids yours?"

It is not often that I leave my house without hearing at least once through the course of my day, "Are all those kids yours? You've got your hands full!" I do not think of having four children as a "large" family. It is perhaps larger than most, but not to the degree that we get questioned and stares regarding. About a month ago I saw the quote and adopted it as my own: "If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart."

My days are often overwhelming. Right now as I am typing I am listening to my three oldest children, who are suppose to be eating lunch, running through the house at break neck speeds laughing hysterically. Someone is doomed to get hurt, but for the moment they are having fun. My two year old is sitting on the couch next to me. He is working towards imitating his mommy as he sits at the other laptop my daughter still has open to finish her schoolwork. A month ago he pried every key off of the keyboard on that computer when it was left open to tempt him for too long. I just called her to close it before he once again gives in to temptation.

Browsing through a furniture store last night proved to be a stressful situation as little hands wanted to touch all of the pretties sitting out that were just waiting to be broken. I think the sells people were praying that one of the children would topple over a lamp to add back money to their cash registers that they've lost in this current financial crisis our country has found itself in. I certainly did not plan for their income to come from me, at least not in that form, so we stopped our shopping trip early.

People are right. My hands are full. I stay tired. My house stays a wreck. I don't have time for the latest fashions and cutest hairstyle. Laundry is never ending. There are runny noses and dirty diapers. Kids fighting and the inevitable, "I can't find my shoes." Even in typing this simple blog, I've had to get up several times to corral kids.

Everyday is not perfect. As my level of frustration rises, so does my voice. But praise God that love truly does cover a multitude of sins. I'm quick to repent, and my family is even quicker to forgive.

What most people don't understand though is that as full as my hands may be, my joy is even greater. I have been blessed in so many ways by my children. They were each and everyone planned for and wanted and are answers to my prayers. God has used them to make me into who I am now and the person I will be in the future.

These children have brought me so much happiness. I love waking up each morning to Connor calling me from his baby bed, "MOM-MOM. MOM-MOM." As I walk into his room to get him out of his bed I am greeted with a huge, toothy grin. It is always a good start to my day. Isaac is so sweet and always trying to do something for me. Some days I look up and he's fixed me something to drink and is bringing it to me. Just his little way to tell me he loves me. Right now he is snuggled up next to me. That is where he can usually be found! I've said many times before that Jaden is our family comedian. This morning when I answered "no" to one of his requests, his response was to say, "Oh, pickles!" lol I'm not sure where he got that one from, but it cracked me up. He keeps a smile on my face. Then there is my Dacey. Thank God for one girl in the group! She and I have to stick together. She is my princess and I love our girl time together.

After being told by a friend of her families nightly tradition of saying "sweet rabbits" to one another at bedtime, we look forward to telling each other "sweet monkeys" every night. We love ending our prayer at supper by singing "A-men, a-men, a-men, a-men." We love finding "Hidden Mickey's" in our M&M's, Spaghetti-Oh's, and random shapes and patterns we see through the course of our days. We have fun singing silly songs like "On Top of Old Smokey" and "Going on a Bear Hunt" as we ride in the van. We look forward to each afternoon when Daddy walks in the door. We love dog-piling him as he wrestles us off and tickles us each endlessly. We look forward to piling on the couch , eating pizza, and watching movies. We love reading together, praying together, and doing Bible time together. I love when the kids stack their hand into a pile, then raise them in the air and cheer, "Go, Sivils!"
We enjoy each other. We enjoy our time together. We look for the best in each other. Our goal always remains to make sure everyone feels loved and included.

So yes, my hands are full! But my heart overflows with the many blessings God has put into my life! He has given me far beyond all I could have thought, dreamt, or imagined.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Why it takes so many shots to get the perfect shot...

Ten Random Facts About Yours Truly

This weeks assignment from Homeschool Memoirs:
Write 10 interesting, crazy, weird, fun facts about you! Include facts about you as a woman, a wife, a mommy, a homeschooler, a homekeeper, a taxi-driver, a cook, etc . I only put 10 facts because I didn’t want to overwhelm you, but you’re welcome to do more!

Ten Random Facts About Yours Truly:

1. I got married on my lunch break and have been living my happily ever after ever since.

2. CHRISTmas is my favorite time of year. I begin shopping for the kids gifts over the summer and I LOVE black Friday! We have many traditions we follow each year and already I CAN'T WAIT FOR CHRISTmas TO BE HERE!

3. In my former life (pre-kids) I was a banker. I still find myself working numbers in my head often.

4. I love taking pictures of my kids and dogs. I would love to be a pet photographer in my "spare" time.

5. I like drinking hot tea on cold nights from my beautiful tea cups my husband bought me for my birthday a couple of years ago.

6. People often say I'm a "dog whisperer" as I can approach and train most any dog.

7. My first laptop was purchased with the intention of using it to write a book. The laptop was well used, but the book was never written.

8. I love playing Monopoly and we have several versions of the game including Star Wars, Disney, and even a Dog edition.

9. I fail at being a domestic diva. It has always been a dream, but my house seems to have a personality all its own and never stays "uncluttered" for long.

10. I love everything DISNEY. It was a dream come true when at long last my husband took my children and me to Walt Disney World to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. We're already planning our next trip back!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Doctors, Doctors, and a Balloon Race

The past few weeks have been crazy.

I finally gave in and went to the doctor in an effort to find out what was causing the multitude of symptoms that had been plaguing me in recent months. While I was there I mentioned to the doctor that Tommy had been in physical therapy for weeks per his order and the results had seemed to worsen the pain in his shoulder. He ordered an MRI for Tommy and ordered blood tests for me. The following Monday Tommy and I headed to the hospital in Natchez for Tommy's test only to find that they would not accept our insurance. Another appointment was set up for the following week in Brookhaven. In the meantime, my test results came back with nothing conclusive. Tommy's MRI was finally done and revealed tendonitus, bone spurs, and a possible tear in his shoulder. He has an appointment with the orthopedic doctor in November. Not to be out done, Dacey got sick late Wednesday night and so Thursday we once again found ourselves in the doctor's office. He ordered rest and lots of liquids and told us that hopefully she'd fight off being sick and be well enough to go to the balloon races this weekend.

We'd planned for the past year for a friend from "down south" to join us for the balloon races. Our younger kids look forward to the festival so much each year that almost every time we mention Natchez, one of them ask if it is time for the balloon races yet. We were blessed because by Saturday morning Dacey's fever was gone and she was feeling good.

(Dacey Jade and our beautiiful pup, Bella Rose.)
We enjoyed walking around the flea market at the Vidalia Landing and after a while went and found a spot to sit and wait to watch the balloon race. The race was over an hour late starting, and the kids did great at entertaining themselves while we waited.
I was really impressed with our Bella Rose through out the day too. She has not made her debut as a therapy dog yet but did show us yesterday that she is ready. She went person to person waiting to be petted. And she had many admirers too... she was the "Bella of the Ball"! :-) She has a sweet, gentle, and patient spirit, and I can't wait to take her to the nursing homes soon.
Once the balloon race was finally underway, we all enjoyed it. I think Kathy and myself enjoyed taking pictures more than actually watching it! It was nice having someone along that understands my photography addiction. We really had fun spending the day with K and her wonderful kids. K is so down to earth and light hearted. Her passion for Jesus shines through in her speech and her actions. Her daughter is absolutely beautiful inside and out and a joy to be around. K's son is fun to be around. What a clown!! He and Jaden are close in age and have a lot in common!! I was glad we had the opportunity to spend the day together and can't wait until next year!
I really didn't think we'd done too much yesterday, but by the time we got home the kids were all feeling ill. Isaac cried that he hurt all over, and Dacey had exhausted herself as well. As for me and Tommy, we feel like we've been hit by a freight train! I sunburned yesterday and it has made me achey and tired. That seems to be the price I pay these days to have a day out with the kids. But if I make a few good memories for them in the mean time, it is well worth it!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

From A Pondering Heart. If you want to play along simply copy and paste and then fill in your own favorite things about Fall.

Here are my favorite things about fall:

1. Favorite Smell? cinnamon apples

2. Favorite Food? potato soup

3. Favorite Color? the dark reddish burgundy of leaves as summer turns to autumn

4. Favorite Drink? hot apple cider with red hots melted in it

5. Favorite Treat? we have lots of birthdays during the fall, so it would have to be birthday cake

6. Favorite Place to go? to the balloon festival

7. Favorite Candy? M&M's

8. Favorite Movie to watch? well, towards the end of Fall I love to pull out all of the old Christmas movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street"

9. Favorite Clothing to wear? sweat pants and a t-shirt

10. Favorite Outdoor Activity? playing ball with the kids and dogs or taking walks together around the neighborhood

11. Favorite Football Team? well, don't tell my husband because it's too fun teasing him when they lose, but I secretly love the Dallas Cowboys followed closely by the Manning brother's teams. Go Colts and Giants!!

12. Favorite Fall Holiday? THANKSGIVING! I have so much to be thankful for!

13. Favorite Haunted place? Let's change that around to Favorite Place to Haunt (visit frequently). Hmmm.... can't say that I have one.

14. Favorite Food at Thanksgiving Dinner? cherry pie salad

15. Favorite Pie? Apple


17. Favorite Fall Memory? The day I got married, of course!

18. Favorite Fall Sight? I love watching the colors fade from lively greens into bold reds and oranges and also love watching deer, rabbits, and squirrel scamper about more frequently.

19. Overall Favorite thing about Fall? This is hard since two of my children and myself have birthdays in the Fall on top of my anniversary and Thanksgiving. I guess it's a combintation of those things because again I have so much to be thankful for!

20. Overall Favorite Season? Toss up between fall and spring.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Sivils Family

THEME:This week’s theme is about your family. Don’t worry. I’m not going to make you write a long essay about all the great things your family does. Just something little diddy that I know everyone will have fun with!

(To the tune of The Addams Family)

The Sivils Family
We're goofy and we're silly,
Whimsical, hillbillies
No need for nothing frilly.
The Sivils family
Our house is our own school.
Where Mom and Dad rule.
We really are too cool.
The Sivils family
We like to go for jogs.
We love our therapy dogs.
Momma loves to blog.
The Sivils family
(not stressed)
We do school in pajamas.
Our lives are filled with drama.
Dacey's a little momma.
The Sivils Family
Daddy makes the money.
Jaden's really funny.
Isaac makes days sunny.
The Sivils family
Connor's really sweet,
The parents don't get much sleep.
These kids aren't very cheap.
The Sivils family
We read the Bible each day.
We often kneel to pray.
Together we will stay.
The Sivils family

Wordless Wednesday - How to Properly Housebreak a Dog

(When Dacey was two and being potty trained, we found her in the bathroom one day with her puppy, Polka Dot, attempting to housebreak her too.)
For more Wordless Wednesday check out:: 5 Minutes for Mom

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Tommy and I are very blessed to have a wonderful marriage. We love each other deeply. We have had our share of ups and downs and through everything have been bonded closer to one another. We have a happy home. We do not argue often.

When we do have arguments, they can be timed to coincide with my monthly visitor. That is not an excuse or an exemption from my actions, but when those crazy hormones hit, they send me into a whirl of emotions usually starting with not liking the male species and it goes downhill from there. During my "fits" my husband always remains patient and loving. Sometimes he'll sit and stroke my hair and sometimes he'll offer me something to eat or drink. And the few times in our marriage that I have taken my pillows and gone to the couch, he has taken his pillows and laid in the floor beside the couch. (That makes it so difficult to stay upset with him!) We've only once or twice in our almost eleven years of marriage had an argument that has lasted more than a couple of hours.

When I have been sick from pregnancies, miscarriages, or fibromyalgia, Tommy has always lovingly tended to the details of our home that I've had to neglect. He has cooked, done dishes, washed clothes, or whatever else needed attention.

While Tommy always has been a very good husband, after becoming a "new creation" through Christ, he has been even more so.

Don't get me wrong. We have our disagreements. I think he's too harsh with our children at times, and he thinks I'm too lax. I tend to be the one to take responsibility for getting things done that he'd rather forget about. And he gets upset with me over my low self esteem. There have been circumstances in our marriage that could have and should have torn us apart. It goes along with the saying, "that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." Our marriage has become even stronger than we'd have ever imagined through the worst of what satan has thrown at us.

Some nights as my husband sleeps, I lay in bed watching him. I feel a swell of emotions. I feel protective of him. I want to keep him safe, healthy, and happy and free of so much of the drama we were forced to endure during our early years together. I want what is best for him. I want God's best for him.

Last week we were privileged to have a night off from children to have a date night. (Thanks, Mom!) We don't have much time alone and we really appreciate our time together when we do. We chose to go see the movie "Fireproof." While the issues in the movie didn't directly apply to our marriage, I left the theater with a renewed appreciation of my husband and the lengths he goes to to show his love for me. I want to do even more to demonstrate my love for him as well. This movie has the potential to change lives and marriages. It is well written and directed and the actors didn't do half bad either! It has the perfect mixture of comedy, action, drama, and romance. If you get the opportunity to see it, don't pass it up!

After the movie as we sat and ate, Tommy and I talked about our marriage and agreed that we are very blessed. I still get twitter-pated when he walks through a room and still feel elated even after all this time as he continues to greet me when coming home or answering the phone by saying "hello beautiful." He loves me as Christ loves the church, and I value him and have such a deep respect for him. He is the half that makes me whole and I fall more in love with him with each passing day.

(This picture was taken a few years and a few kids ago! 11-97)

For love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. Song of Songs 8:6b-7a.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Isaac!!

Well, you were warned. Three of our children have birthdays within four weeks of each other. Connor started us off, and was followed by his sister Dacey Jade. And now Isaac brings us to our third cake in four weeks!

(Isaac also requested a "Hidden Mickey" cake.)

Isaac's birthday was not until this Tuesday, October 7th, but we began celebrating on Saturday. Of my four children, Isaac is the one only one that seems to feel left out. "Middle child syndrome" maybe? At any rate, his daddy and I wanted to do something really special for him to make him feel like "king for the day." We left his siblings with Nana and headed to Brookhaven for our "let's spoil Isaac rotten day."

Our first stop was at the theatre to see "Beverly Hills Chihuahua." We were in stitches through the entire showing. It was a great movie that this mom gives two thumbs way up! After that we decided to stop by Millane's in hopes of finding Isaac a Chihuahua Webkinz to commemorate the movie. He chose a Pug that he named Sebastion after the one in the movie and also a Chihuahua that he named Papi after the movie's leading pup. Upon learning that it was his birthday, the ladies at Millane's let him choose a Webkinz mousepad and trading cards to share in his pre-birthday celebrations. I was really touched by their actions.

From there Isaac asked to eat lunch at Dairy Queen. He didn't eat much but did enjoy an M&M blizzard.

After Dairy Queen we headed to Isaac's favorite place: WAL-MART! He was told he could pick one toy of his choice. He was really excited.

He looked at the bicycles. He liked the red one, but it was too small. The green one was just right, but Isaac, being Isaac, settled on a race car t-shirt that came with a transformer. (He's my "clothes-loving" child.)

Once Tuesday finally arrived we made cupcakes and carried around to several of our friends in the community. We figured instead of having a birthday party at home we would make Isaac's special day a community celebration! I made an extra special effort of making the M&M's into miniature Mickey heads on each cupcake. When asked if we were Disney obsessed, we answered honestly: YES! Which made him all the more excited to receive a Mickey Mouse t-shirt from Aunt Sidney and Daniel.

That evening we celebrated at home with Nana and Poppa. He had asked for a Disney/Webkinz birthday and was not to be disappointed!

Our day out with Isaac by himself on Saturday was a wonderful experience for him and something we will definitely do more often. He has seemed so much more content this past week as a result of the undivided attention he was lavished with. He really had a great birthday and got everything his little heart had desired... even the "just right" green bicycle he'd ridden around Wal-Mart on Saturday. I think he has had fun turning six!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Happiness is Pizza!

For more Wordless Wednesday check out:: 5 Minutes for Mom, Knowledge House Academy, and Less of Me, More of Him.

Just found this Wordless Wednesday thing today through my friends, Kathy and Sherry. Since I haven't had much to say this week, I thought I'd participate. Check back soon though! I've got thoughts rolling around in my head on subjects like Sarah Palin, Casey Anthony, and How Monkeys Make Better Parents than Most Humans... and no, the last two are not the same blog, though they easily could be!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Best Vacation Ever!

For my whole life I have heard Disney World described as "The Happiest Place on Earth." Indeed, it just very well may be.

My family and I had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World this past Spring. For a lifetime I had wished to go to this magical land where happiness abounds and joy is promised. From the time each of my children were born, I promised them, "one day we'll take you there." My husband and I finally held true to that promise. I remember pulling into Lake Buena Vista that April day. Tears filled my eyes long before I ever caught a glimpse of Cinderella's castle or had even seen the Big Cheese himself. I had looked forward to this day for so long that I'd thought it may never come. But finally it had, and I was not disappointed. Disney World was everything I'd ever dreamed it would be and so much more. Already I am making plans for our family to go back!

While visiting Walt Disney World was a wonderful vacation and has etched so many memories in my heart to carry me through this life, I also dream of another place I will go one day that far exceeds any dream that even Walt Disney could make come true. I will not be going there to visit but to live throughout eternity. The streets will not be cobblestone but rather made of gold. Cinderella's castle will not be the main attraction but rather God's holy throne. Mickey Mouse will not greet me, but rather Jesus, my Lord, my Savior and my King will welcome me with open arms and say, "Well done my good and faithful servant." We won't sit and watch parades entertaining us, rather we will join in the parade of Heaven offering worship to our Lord forever.

Heaven has so many more perks than Disney. Here are a few:
  • No sickness in Heaven. - Day one at Disney World was spent with a sick baby. Connor had a fever of 104.7. We were able to bring it down after our doctor recommended doubling the amount of tylenol and ibuprofen we were giving him, but I look forward to the day when these frail, ole bodies of ours will get sick no more!
  • Heaven is climate controlled! - No melt downs caused by extreme heat in Heaven. Not so at Disney World! We carried misters around everywhere we went so that when we became over heated we could quickly cool off.
  • No tears in Heaven. - We saw many families upset and many children in the throws of a tantrum due to disappointment and/or fatigue. Heaven will not have temper tantrums, disappointment, or fatigue. Hallelujah!!
  • No lines in Heaven. - The table will be big enough for us all and because there is no "time" in Heaven, no one will ever have to wait in line.
  • You never have to leave Heaven. - Our last day at Disney found me on the brink of tears more than once. I'd not seen and done everything I'd hoped to and didn't want to leave to go home... back to the "real" world with all of our problems waiting to greet me as soon as we got home. Heaven is for eternity. We'll have more than enough time to see and do it all without the knowledge that it will come to an end and then it's back to the grinding wheel.
  • And best of all, Heaven has already been paid for. - It won't take thousands of dollars out of our pockets to get to Heaven because Heaven has already been paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ. It is a free gift to everyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died and rose again as payment for our sins!

    We have other vacations planned. We plan to go to Atlanta, Georgia for a few days next spring. Then the following year we will hopefully return to Walt Disney World. But if Jesus comes before then and raptures us to Heaven, what a glorious day that will be!! The vacation that lasts throughout all eternity! Ticker
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