Alot can happen in 10 years! Here's what the past ten years has looked like for us Ellerbrooks:
We started on this adventure called, "marriage"; moved ourselves and all of our belongings to a place where we had never even visited before that was 1200+ miles away from home and family; we both started graduate school at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY; we got pregnant with our first baby; we had to move to a different apartment so we would have room for said baby; we studied, wrote papers, and read more pages week to week than I had read my entire life; Benjamin was born; we continued with school; we moved AGAIN b/c free housing became available; our Benjamin grew by leaps and bounds before our very eyes; we became pregnant with our second baby; we crammed a ton of hours into two semesters so we could move back "home"; Madilyn was born...with some health issues; we stressed, dealt with, and conquered health issues...or so we thought; we almost lost Madilyn during a hospital stay for one of these health issues; she bounced back quickly; we finished our last semester; Lou received a call for his first appointment; he graduated from seminary; we moved to Amherst, TX; Lou started his job as a pastor; we found out we were pregnant with our third baby; I cried for weeks; after the shock wears off and we get use to the idea, we get excited about this third baby; I continue with my last class online; I finish this class; Lou's ministry continues; I graduate; Benjamin and Madilyn adjust to the move and new location very well; Jacob is born; we continue to be busy with church and kids; Benjamin starts Preschool and then Pre-K; we get another call....to move to Clyde; Benjamin, Madilyn, and Jacob continue to fill our hearts with much joy and laughter; we find out we're pregnant with our fourth baby; I cry...again...for weeks; we get excited about new baby; we move to Clyde; Lou starts his ministry there; Benjamin starts Kindergarten; I continue to enjoy getting to stay home with the kids; Noah is born; we have a couple of brief health complications with him that puts him back in the hospital when he's only a few days old; he recovers quickly; we continue ministry in Clyde; Soccer, Gymnastics, School, MOPS, and Church fill our time; Benjamin starts 1st grade; Madilyn starts Pre-K; Soccer, Ballet, School, MOPS, and Church fill our time; I get to enjoy Jacob and Noah by themselves; Benjamin asks Jesus into his heart (one of the most precious moments I have had as a mom so far); school lets out for the summer; we enjoy our first vacation as a family of 6; and we are now preparing for Benjamin, Madilyn, AND Jacob to be in school this coming year...meaning I will only have ONE kid at home; I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that 3 out of 4 of our kids will be in school. This past year, Benjamin turned 7, Madilyn turned 5, Jacob turned 4, and Noah turned 1.
And, now, today, we celebrate 10 years as a family. It's been a tough ride at times...but it's been a fun one. I look forward to what the next 10 years will hold with my five favorite people in this world.
Today, I am celebrating! Lou made it home safe and sound from his 9 day jaunt to Wyoming. Single-momming it for those 9 days was extremely exhausting. One adult...four kids. I was outnumbered, to say the least. And while Benjamin did spend six of those days in Lubbock with Nana and Papa, I did have an extra kid during the day since I keep another girl, who is Benjamin's age, while her parents work.
I had been dreading these 9 days for months! And I mean MONTHS!!!! Lou has travelled many times before, but this was the longest he has been away. So when he left at 6 a.m. last Saturday morning, I started counting down the hours. Some days went by very quickly, while others seemed to drag. But, we made it! Daddy made it home...Mommy survived the "masses" alone.
I do have to say that I'm pretty proud of myself. The house was cleaned, yard was mowed, dinner cooked EVERY single night (and not just chicken nuggets or fish sticks...but we're talking healthy cooking here), kitchen sink managed to stay dish-free, kids were fed, bathed, and clothed everyday, laundry was.....well, at least, some of it got done. And I did it all by myself. I did my best to keep the kids entertained...we went out to breakfast one morning, went to a friend's house to have dinner with some friends, went to Movie Night at the church, went to the movies one morning, went to Story Hour at the Library, went to McDonald's to play with some friends one evening, and, of course, visited Sonic for a Raspberry Tea a couple of times in there, too. We, also, had a trip to the swimming pool planned and a picnic lunch at the park planned, but the weather caused us to cancel those plans. But that's ok...we still managed to have fun. And, best of all....we all SURVIVED! I didn't kill any kids (although I did put Jacob out on the back porch...in the rain...a few times for arguing with me) and my kids didn't suffer too bad from my lack of patience and my sheer exhaustion.
And after all is said and done, and Lou made it home safely, I just have one thing to say.....Thank you, Jesus, for a husband who does all he does to help out around here!!! Not only does he work hard at work, he works hard at home. And, this Mommy, is so grateful for all he does. Because he is so very missed when he is gone.
I can remember my dad travelling some when I was growing up. And I know it was often stressful for my mom when he was gone. I remember one time in particular, he got back in town one evening as we were eating our weekly dinner at church before youth and Bible study started. So he just met us at the church. I remember him walking in and giving us all hugs and kisses and my mom crying. When asked why she was crying, she replied with something like, "I am NOT cut out to do this all by myself." I know exactly what she meant. Four kids are hard to handle day in and day out with NO break (might have been a little easier if it had been during school time). And trying to manage the household on top of handling kids. So needless to say, we felt it was important to celebrate Daddy coming home.
So Benjamin and Madilyn took it upon themselves to make Daddy "Welcome Home, Daddy" banners and hang them in a couple of doorways in the house. They, also, wanted to bake him a cake. So they helped me make Daddy a strawberry cake. All day they kept talking about our "celebration".
And celebrate, we did!!!!! I am so very glad to have Benjamin home (he was greatly missed, too!) and so very glad to have Lou home. Our family seems "whole" again. We are soaking up as much of Daddy as we can and are so glad he had a good time on his trip, but are even more glad he's back with us!