The Greatest Job

Last night I had some time to go through some old posts I had written (almost 2 years ago!) and I was just so full with the blessings our family has been given.  When I first started this blog I spent some time documenting where I was in my Season of Motherhood.  I stumbled upon those posts and wondered to myself. . .am I thankful enough, do I encourage my children enough, love them enough?  Do they know how precious they are to us?  To God?
August 2011
First I read Thomas's post (you can click on the colored letters and it will take you directly to that link then hit the "back" button if you want to get back to this post. . .these directions are mainly for my mother who is still new at using her computer).
I led that post with one of my all-time favorite pictures:
Here is a recent picture of him:
I'm glad his hair is shorter.  I love his blue, blue eyes (which you can't see in that picture).  He has a beautiful smile.  He's as tall as me (gulp!).  He is in 7th grade and his life seems to be soccer.  He coaches his brother's U10 team with his dad and plays on a travel U13 team.  He also attends Sunday School, Youth on Sunday nights and Wednesday night church.  He loves Jesus.  We are studying Joshua right now in Community Bible Study and he has great insight into the book. . .we often do our lessons together.  I really like him.  This is a picture of him last night:
I gave him a painting job.  I think we're at the end of the second week?  I'm tired of the room being torn up and blue paint dripped on the sink and molding (and ceiling -- ack!) but I can say it's a job he's done all by himself.  I bought the supplies and helped him to get set-up but otherwise it's been all him.  And the room is looking great!  I'm excited to put it all back together.  I did pay him for it. . .money he, of course (if you know him), he has already spent BUT I can say that he saw the job through to the end -- with a little nudging from his father and myself :)
Muddy boy after a wet day at FCA soccer camp!
I really can't imagine the future the Lord holds for him.  He's great at arguing -- he'd make an awesome lawyer (but frankly too lazy to do all the endless paperwork involved).  He is super at encouraging others -- he'd make a fantastic coach and teacher. . .he likes school too, which is a plus in that career :)  He'd love to be a famous soccer player but what almost-13-yr-old boy doesn't want to be a "famous" something at what their sport of choice is?  He's running a leg in a half-marathon next month for a ministry he volunteers for, Rising Above Ministries.  He is an awesome son.  A terrific big brother. 

I led this post with this picture:
And here is a picture of Marie taken this month:
She has grown up sooooooooooo much in these past almost-2-years!  The braces certainly paid off. . .her hair is still a beautiful golden (and longer, which she likes more). . .and she is getting tall.  Here is a picture of her and Tom before a date they had together this summer:
Marie just bought shoes this week in a size 9.5.  That's an entire size bigger than me!!!  She likes to hang out with the boys and can take it as much as she gives it:
Playing the "pushing game" out on the lake this summer.  Thomas's friend Amadeus is with us as well as some random boy that wandered over to play too.  Marie, of course, is right out there with them!
Marie is more of a quiet girl.  She kept telling me that she thought a "perfect" day would be to stay at the library reading as long as she wanted too. 
We fulfilled that "dream" this week. . .we went Monday afternoon and were only there for 2 hours, but they were a full two hours, just for her, and she did what she wanted. . .sat with a stack of books just reading.  Sometimes in this chair at the back of the Children's section and some of the time she was sitting on the floor between bookshelves with books all around her.  I love it :)
Marie loves science.  She seems to have a "knack" for building and engineering principles.  She wanted me take this picture of her a month or so ago. . .it was a block she carefully constructed with legos:
It really was a very solid block.  I have about 5 more pictures of it. . .she wanted to make sure it was documented from every angle.  She has more patience then the others and tends to be the peacemaker.  She has a heart for justice and a keen awareness/softness for right-and-wrong.  I have seen her get upset more than once over someone else getting in trouble when she really didn't believe it was their fault "because, Mommy, they just didn't know the rules" or "they just pick on (fill-in-the-blank) for no reason".  She is careful and organized -- I love opening her drawers, they are so tidy! -- and she just wants everyone to get along and be fair.  I cannot imagine the adventures the Lord has planned for her, how He will use her. . .missionary comes to mind but she would like to be, like her brother, a famous soccer player -- I say dream big!  She is good on the field too. . .a real team player. . .there is no "I" in "team" for her.  She likes to belong and is secure in her place on the team and, most importantly, in her family.  This last picture really captures who she is:
Marie working on her CBS work, May 2011
And then God blessed us with the exact opposite of Marie. . .He gave us Margaret (and here is her original post) and picture from two years ago (and, yes, the same photographer/editor as the other two):
And at a recent soccer game:
That is a crazy picture. . .I'm quite sure I didn't take it :)   But it is Margaret, her personality, it really shows off who she is.  It looks like all of her teeth have grown in!  I didn't remember that from two years ago but luckily it was recorded in that post. . .apparently she didn't like all the holes/spaces in her mouth.  Two nights ago she pulled out two bottom teeth that were side-by-side.  It's so weird to see such a large space in the bottom of her mouth. . .there is already a tooth coming up in one of the spaces so they were ready to go!  She is my one child that doesn't bite her nails. . .the other five of us must absorb all her anxiety for her.  She just doesn't have a worry in the world. . .no exaggeration. 
She looks (to me) the most like a Bell.  Here is a great generational picture we got this summer of the Bell Women:
Aunt Kathy, Nana, Margaret (Aug. 2011)

Now that sassy stance?   Both those ladies will deny it with everything they have. . .who knows where she got that from?!?  Margaret is her own person. . .it just cannot be denied.  
 Currently she does a floor gymnastics class once a week for an hour. . .and every girl in the class is in late-jr-high or high school -- Margaret is in 4th grade.  And she doesn't care a whit.  In fact, I think she likes being around the older girls and to be honest, I don't think they mind that she's there with them.  She just kinda blends in.  Another thing she has picked up recently, to my joy, is tennis!
 She's also in my Kitchen 102 class at our local homeschool co-op:
She is dramatic and unpredictable and social and helpful and the quintessential "middle child".   She is the very definition of "princess". . .she knows what she wants and pretty much knows how to get others to get it and/or do it for her :)  She's athletic and smart and has a huge heart for animals while being a fashion mentor to me and her big sister.  She brings color to our family. . .has never met a stranger. . .
We were at a soccer match.  I'm fairly certain that Margaret didn't know a single person that she was playing with but it appears she has all of their attention!
She is a handful that we're privileged to raise, someone we truly learn from every day.  I think she was in her element when she was on stage with her friend Grace at the county fair this year:

When I first stumbled upon these posts, the first one I read was this one with this as the lead picture:
Frederick lost that top front tooth before kindergarten (actually, the dentist pulled it because it was dead) and he didn't grow them in until the end of 2nd grade!  Funny how teeth can really change someone's appearance:
Frederick might be 8 on paper but in his head he is 18 -- ha!  He is our know-it-all-I-have-trouble-ever-accepting-that-I-am-wrong kid.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but it annoys his big brother to the ends of the earth.  We do have to continually remind him that Thomas is almost 5 years older than him and, therefore, might have some knowledge/experience that Frederick does not yet have.
Frederick is a perfectionist.  Kind of like his namesake, Grandpa Fred.  Good?  Bad?  Guess it depends.  He has a hard time failing and that is something we are working on with him.  Trying to remind him that only Jesus is perfect and we are all fallen and broken and here to grow.
Frederick is sensitive.  He is also competitive.  In everything.  He has a sense of right-and-wrong and judgment that is very black-and-white (a lot like his dad) (and this is not to say that he doesn't break the rules -- he does).  Someone once mentioned that he would be great in the military with all their rules and discipline. . .yes, yes he would.
Frederick's school career is odd. . .
He loves school.  He is good in school.  We had to choose when school started years ago whether to send him when he was 4 (because of his birthday).  We did, knowing we could pull him out or have him repeat or whatever.  Instead he flew through his academics, so much so that we had him tested and yes, he was labeled "gifted".  When he left school last January he was in 2nd grade. . .when we enrolled him in the private school we are currently using to keep our children at home they placed him in the beginning of third grade.  So right now, while his peers are 1/4 of the way through third grade, he will be (mostly) finished with third grade in December.  Sigh. 
He is athletic too. 
Bowling. . .
 Soccer. . .
Tennis. . .

Basketball. . .
Swimming. . .
Currently he's also involved in Cub Scouts with his best friend Scott:
The next decade of motherhood is going to be a ride!!!  It's the greatest job.  I'm privileged that it's my job :)

And this post was for me, so I can look back in another two years and see where we were and were we've been, together, as a family and how each one of these Bells has grown individually.  Grandparents and other extended family, I hope that this makes you feel like you have a little peek into their lives from hundreds of miles away.



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