Friday, November 20, 2009

Supersize Me!

I love, love, love that we have a 'big' family. I know that when you compare us to the Duggers and the like we are a teeny family, but I do believe we fall in, or at least near, the category of today's big families. And I really enjoy it.This week we did many family things; our Christmas card photo shoot, a meal in a restaurant (gotta love kids eat free!), Operation Christmas Child boxes, family movie night at Belle's school and tomorrow the kids and I are headed for the Santa Claus Parade! It's been a full week, full of fun, full of family. I love that we don't necessarily have to find other people to hang out with, (although we enjoy that just as much). The kids play with each other, they feed off each others moods and every now and then they run back for a little snuggle. I like that they look after each other in crowds and whenever we go anywhere the first thing they do is introduce their siblings, (even to random strangers in the grocery check out line).I am glad we were able to stick out the craziness of newborn days and decide to 'go down that road again' three more times! There are many days I don't have a clue how I'll get through, but I am so thankful that I do because I couldn't imagine our family with even one less person.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


There is a great study tool that I was introduced to a while ago. It's called The Truth Project and it is a set of material from Focus on the Family. The basic premise of the study is answering this question: Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?

I've gone through all the material once and am on my second round of small group study with it. So many thoughts, questions, internal conversations all ring in my head and I want to share them, but I find myself struggling to put them into coherent thought patterns. I'm going to keep trying, but for now here are two video clips shown in this week and last week's sessions. Instead of me telling you what I think, tell me what you think.

Watch this.

and This.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I got a haircut. I know it's a good haircut because people did double takes and someone exclaimed; "Amanda, I didn't even recognize you!". I like getting good haircuts.

I've just been through one of the busiest quarter ends since I started my transcriptionist job in August 2006. It has been hectic and I'm a bit brain fried right now. It was also well worth it.

I am trying to get into a regular rhythm of blogging and although I can't think of much to say I needed to keep the rhythm and post something about myself on 'all about me monday".

I am going to see Twilight on Sunday. I may or may not be a little too excited.

I am going to be a single parent for 96 hours this week while Nick goes away to Atlanta. I have something planned each day and am actually looking forward to our events. Sad that Nick will miss them, but happy that I can continue to live life to the fullest with four kids sans husband.

I am going to bed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Evolution of a Name

Just before school started for Bella this fall I wrote her name on a cardboard box and she copied it. I thought to myself; "My kid is amazing!".
Then school started and she began learning letters. "I" became a stick with a hat and shoes. When asked to write her name she did: "I". A little Zorroesque if you ask me. Three strokes quick as lightning.
(They're at the wrong side of the line there, hard to see, sorry)

Since then she has been learning more and more letters and her name continues to evolve. (The 's' are usually backwards and being a leftie she starts at the right and goes to the left most often).
I wonder how long it will be before she can write the whole thing perfectly.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Intrinsic or Extrinsic

One thing I find about being a stay at home mom is that it is seriously easy to be lazy. It's a bit of a paradox really: the comparison of self with others and the weight of expectations put upon the SAHM shoulders is not balanced but rather almost erased by the belief that we need to put ourselves first, take care of our needs so we can take care of others and that everything on our plate is nearly impossible so really, let a few things slide, for sanity's sake.

At the bus stop last week another mom of small children told me I could show up in my underwear and she would still be impressed that I managed to get to the bus stop on time. And the weird thing is, that is tempting. Not necessarily to show up in my underwear but to believe that people wont judge me if I do show up that way simply because I showed up and that in itself is a feat. To let myself not judge me for how I show up, to be glad simply that I did.

Husbands who work just as hard as we do are constantly reminded to encourage and support, that the job of a SAHM is so all encompassing. To come home and not ask; "what did you do all day?". But my suspicion is that many of them stew and harbor negative feelings that their shirts aren't ironed or they should let their wives sleep on Saturday mornings as a way of saying thank you.

I've often wondered why I don't feel the same push to be 'successful' at my current job the way I did when working in an office or even cleaning other people's homes. In discussion a phrase was introduced to my vocabulary: intrinsic motivation. Defined by Wikipedia intrinsic motivation: "comes from rewards inherent to a task or activity itself -the enjoyment of a puzzle or the love of playing." and it is in opposition to extrinsic motivation: "coming from outside the performer, ie money, coercion, threat of punishment."

In this discussion I came to the conclusion that being a people pleaser I am definitely not intrinsically motivated. Lose some weight? Why, no one expects me to be wearing skinny jeans. Get my house white glove clean? Why, everyone knows and understands and appreciates that it will be messed up again the moment it is clean. Learn a new skill? Why, I'm much too busy teaching little people new skills.

A friend of mine who is much wiser than she gives herself credit for was having this conversation with me and off handedly said; as Christians shouldn't we ultimately be trying to please God? If only she knew how deep she was.

I find it mind blowing that I love to do things for other people and yet find it so hard to do things for the most important people in my life. That I tend to groan about washing a floor or am known to say; 'I can't do it ALL, give me a break!" (when it ALL would consist of emptying the dishwasher and running a vaccuum over the carpet).

So maybe I'm not extrinsically motivated, but rather intrinsically motivated and in truth I don't do things because I just don't want to. I think that's a hump to get over.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

W is for Walt

I find that a lot of people start talking about mid winter trips this time of year. There seems to be an inevitable group of people who will begin to share the anticipation of their trek to Florida or California as soon as the first snowflakes flutter. We are not taking such a trip this year, but one day we will.

I think maybe I've shared my dream family vacation before but I've been thinking about it a lot as I get to know some families who regularly make the drive down to Florida. The families I know don't go to experience DisneyWorld but that's what I think of whenever someone says they're headed that direction.

I am so stoked that in the year 2017 we will be taking an all-out-vacation-to-end-all-family-vacations. You must be thinking I'm crazy to be excited about a trip that is 8 years away, but I am. When I go shopping and am holding something awesome in my hand I stop and think, 'Do I want this more than DisneyWorld?' and often the answer is no. So back on the shelf it goes.

I've already started planning the basic itinerary. Christmas morning the kids will wake up and rush downstairs to find the bottom of the tree empty. And when they burst into our room to weep and wail and gnash their teeth at the injustice of it all they'll find us sitting on a pile of luggage, grinning ear to ear. And we'll tell them we're heading to DisneyWorld and they'll catch our excitement. Each day will feature a different child with a me and mom date in the morning and a me and dad date in the afternoon while everyone else just hangs out. Dinners at restaurants featuring menus that that particular child will want one of everything off of. Evenings renting movies in our hotel room, or going to shows, or something as a family. We'll stay in some ridiculously over-priced theme suite on New Year's Eve and catch the fireworks and really feel like 2018 will be a magical year for us. We'll fall asleep feeling like princes and princesses in our castle and wake up ready to make the best of every day and every moment of the coming year.

It's going to be awesome. I can't wait to see how it unfolds once we put details into dreams.

What's your dream vacation?

Introducing Nolan James Franks

I sort of fell off the face of the blogging planet with Nolan's arrival. I think part of the reason for my lack of desire to blog was a feeling of responsibility to stick to blogging etiquette and announce the arrival or our newest member with their birth story. Since this particular story begins with me passing out simply thinking about getting an IV, (yes I literally blacked out while waiting to be hooked up to the pitocin) and ends with my OB literally up to her elbows in me scrapping pieces of flesh off my uterus, I didn't exactly make finding time to share that story a priority. ;)

One thing this particular birth experience created for me was an overwhelming sense of gratitude for doctors who care. Our family doctor has ALS and his disease had progressed to the point that he could no longer deliver babies. When he shared the news with us I joked that he could still deliver our baby as he missed the arrival of both Brooklyn and Kathryn by mere moments so it would just be our usual routine. It began as a joke but by the end of my delivery experience I truly wished he could have been there. The OB I was referred to didn't show up to deliver Nolan although she was paged 3 times. Instead she chose to look at real estate. The second thing Nolan's birth created for me was an overwhelming sense of gratitude for labour and delivery nurses! Mine were the best. One of them attends our church and just happened to be taking a break from overseas work and the other is my twin, apparently. These ladies got me through the roughest four hours of my life, and did so with smiles on their faces even though they were stressed out.

I find it hard to believe that Nolan has already been here five months, but at the same time I forget how old he is. Being that he is significantly bigger than the girls I think of him as older. I keep on trying to sit him up for pictures and he has to flop over before I remember he's not that capable yet.

A lot of people ask me what gender differences I'm noticing and the answer so far is none. Well, it's a lot harder to keep him full. He's already on solid foods and he eats a lot, but not often, he also likes to sleep. He eats breakfast, lunch, dinner and before bed at 7. And he already sleeps 12 hours a night. Such a blessing.

Nolan has brought so much laughter to our lives. We are generally a happy bunch. We get comments about how happy our kids are regularly, but Nolan laughs out loud. He giggles at his sisters. His eyes twinkle. He is truly the perfect punctuation on the sentence of our family. I am so excited to see his personality emerge as he moves on from infancy.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Identity Crisis

"What is man that you are mindful of him
and the son of man that you care for him?"
Psalm 8:4

So often when I read the above verse I read with cynical and sarcastic undertones. It just makes sense to me that the Bible, a story full of God's awesomeness, would point out the folly in humanity saying 'check me out!'. But as I spend time gazing upon the face of God I have come to hear it differently. I picture in my mind some surfer dude who just caught the sickest wave, completely soaked in water and wonder of the Creator of that water waxing poetic: 'WHAT IS MAN?"

It causes me to pause for a moment and consider that I am made in His image. He took an itsy bitsy bit of what He is and fashioned me out of it. Little nuggets of everything that makes God so awe-inspiring and He put that in each one of us. How cool is that?

I will confess that I am a somewhat insecure person. I do struggle with believing that I am worthy, that I am a self to esteem. But thinking of it in light of the knowledge that God created me in His image I have to see that it's not just a monkey on my back, it is something that grieves the heart of my Creator. I struggle to see how worthy I am because I don't fully comprehend how awesome He is. To truly know myself I have to first deeply know Him, what an amazing purpose- to spend my life learning who He is and who I am in Him.

I often get caught up in the 'me' bits of life. What has God called me to do? What is 'unique' and 'masterpiece' about me? What part of the body am I? It has dawned upon me that this is a pretty selfish perspective. I should be searching for God's agenda and how I can aid it, not how I can be me, but how He can use me.

With our family now completely the way we always dreamed it would be I find myself in an identity crisis. If I'm not an incubator, who am I? I am in awe that I find myself wondering these things and that God had already laid out the answers for me before I asked the question.

"Who am I that you are mindful of me?
That you hear me, when I call.
Is it true that you are thinking of me?
How you love me, it's amazing!"
-Israel Houghton-


I find myself in a mental whirlwind these days. I am surrounded by so many wonderful and challenging friendships, in the throes of amazing and life altering studies, bombarded with the sheer awesomeness of the people I share my home with. So many thoughts to ponder, so many things to apply, so much to nurture and grow within mine own self. I haven't been around these bloggy parts much in the last five months, but am hoping a return here will enable me to at least plant the seeds my brain and heart want to plant so I can come back and reflect, remember and remark as often as I need.

One lesson I am currently learning is the power of structure, and a lesson I am re-learning is the freedom in discipline. So I am going to become a disciplined blogger and I am doing it for the benefits for myself. A lot of what is on my heart and mind is who I am as a Christian and I want everyone to know anything I share is not a judgement or a soap box, but is me thinking out loud through what I'm thinking through. There will be times when I need to shake myself a bit and I hope my words never come across otherwise.

So, if you're still there dear readers (Hi Elizabeth!), get ready to enjoy this blog again! I'll be here Monday to Friday with little nuggets of myself to share! I'm really looking forward to reconnecting, it has been far too long!