Sometimes we call Nadie “Octo-Mom.” The reason being is that she plays with her babies all the time, and usually she will tell you that she has anywhere from four to ten kids. Normally there are a few in the stroller, one is often at school, and inevitably there is one in her shirt as she is always expecting. She will bring them all to me and ask me to babysit as it is time for her to go have an ultrasound to find out what the new baby will be. Boy or girl? One or two? There’s always an air of excitement as we wait to find out just what she has in there.

Sometimes she will cajole Oliver into being her baby. There is one of her strollers that he fits into quite nicely. Nadie will go and get him some cheese or cookies or other bribe in an attempt to get him to do her bidding. This is my least favorite scenario as it will usually end in a fight. Oliver will only take her commands for so long before there is a mutiny.

The other day she came to me and was telling me about her four kids. There was a sixteen year old, a ten year old, and twin three year olds. “Wow, Nadie,” I told her. “You must have your hands full with all of those kids.” She replied, “Yes, I am really busy. But, luckily, the ten year old plays really well by herself. She just plays with her Barbies and stays out of my business. But don’t worry, Mama. It’s not any of the tacky Barbies. Just the ones that come with a church set.” That was all new to me! I didn’t even know there was a Church Barbie.

But there are a lot of things that I don’t know about Nadie’s world. How does she manage to stay in character so well? She will fume all day about forgetting to charge her cell (plastic, purple) phone. And when she does remember to charge it, and I hear her talking on it, I would swear that there was someone on the other end of the line as it truly sounds like she’s having a conversation. Why does she start talking with a British accent when she puts on a princess dress? Why is it she says her “husband” always seems to call her when she is in the middle of something very important? I will hear her answer her cell and say, “Are you really calling me right now??” What makes her think to ask, as she takes her grocery cart and goes to Target, if I’d like for her to call and let me know if she finds a good deal? So much imagination, it just boggles my brain.

But that is just Nadie. Always a mommy to someone. Always trying to get someone to participate in her world of pretend. Constantly reminding us that she isn’t really bossy, she just has good ideas. She is full of life and never meets a stranger. If possible, she would live on a stage. Forever performing some sort of dance or show, an audience is always appreciated with applause encouraged.

And underneath the drama, fanciness, and mothering of the masses beats the heart of a little servant. She is always willing and eager to help in any way she can. Nadie loves nothing more than to surprise Stephen or me by laying out our pajamas and toothbrushes, fully loaded with toothpaste. She waits in her room patiently listening to hear our response as we walk in to find our surprise. She has been known to fix drinks, fetch shoes, brush hair, or rub feet. Even an absent-minded utterance of, “I’m cold” will have her bringing a blanket before you can blink. She can also say a prayer that will touch the very depths of your soul. There is nothing sweeter than a little one that loves the Lord.

This is my Nadie as she is today. Aged six years and four months. With life being what it is, I fear that I will forget these precious times. I want to remember these things she does and says. Not only because I cherish her and her sweet spirit, but also for posterity. One day, I pray, Nadie will give us a handful of grandchildren. It will be great to refer their frazzled mama to the answer to the eternal question, “I don’t know why they act the way they do?”

Back to school!

Nadie is officially a first grader. She went for her first day of class last week and Oliver will start this week. He will be going two days a week at our church’s PDO. I am super excited about all of this. It means, for once in over six years, I will have a chunk of a day where my children will be in the care of someone other than myself. It means that I won’t have to sneak to the bathroom, referee any fights, try to perfectly execute putting the top on a sippie cup, or ask anyone to use an inside voice one day a week for a few hours. Fun stuff! And while I’m not exactly sure how I will be spending this new free time, I am sure it will not be disappointing.

It will be fun, but I also know that I will miss them while they are gone. Funny how that works. Stephen and I notice it too on those rare date nights. Inevitably we end up talking about the kids and missing them. I suppose it is because they are our constant responsibility. We clothe and feed them, bathe them, instruct and teach them. Basically, we sustain them in almost every way. They are also a part of us as they are our own flesh and blood. So while some days I can think of nothing better than a few minutes without them, ultimately I desire to be with them because I love them so much.

I am learning that my heavenly Father feels the same way about me. He provides for me and sustains me for I am His. He desires to spend time with me. He misses me when I get all tangled up in my day to day activities and neglect that time with Him. It is something that I am so guilty of these days! Part of being in a relationship is spending time together. I cannot know my Lord in the intimate way He desires if I am not in prayer and in his Word.

I always tell Nadie and Oliver how much better life would be if they would choose to obey. If they would make good choices it would allow their Mama and Daddy to do fun things with them that there is no time for when we have to constantly discipline and repeat requests. If they would obey it would revolutionize their life for the greater good of everyone. Wow! Really, Anna?? Isn’t that the same thing that God is telling me? He rewards those who seek Him! He pours His blessings on the obedient! What am I missing out on by not having that time with God?

Quiet time is something I am really working on these days. It’s kind of funny because “quiet” is not an adjective that comes to mind when I think of our lives. But, as I am learning, it has to be intentional. Something that I plan for and put as a top priority. So, as we get back into school, Wednesday Night Alive, FPU, soccer, and everything else, I will be adding Mama/God time to our already packed schedule. It is a matter of obedience. And I am excited that the Lord has called me out on this. I am anxious to see what He is going to do. One thing is for certain, it will NOT be disappointing!