Moms Run The World

We moms are like electricity.

I was thinking about this today as I chopped vegetables, intending to put out a veggie tray for the kids to have a healthy snack to graze on every time they passed through the kitchen.  We run everything. Husbands and kids expect us to do all the thinking for them. And for whatever reason, we do.

The other day I was agonizingly finishing up math with my most reluctant learner.  It had been a productive morning, but as is the norm with small people, there was plenty of arguing with each other and push back  to me and interruptions and a lost reading book we just had yesterday, which we still haven’t found, and character training and loudness and touching. I was really ready for a break. The Farmer came in for lunch.  He strode into where we were working,  griping about all the problems he had encountered outside with machinery. It added weight to my inner tension, but I couldn’t really respond, because if I let my attention wander, the math-doer would absolutely follow suit. There were leftovers. He’d be fine.

Suddenly, a small crash and loud faux swearing filled the air, The Farmer emphatically wondering who had left the egg on the stove top and why doesn’t anyone ever clean up around here?! I couldn’t bear it a moment longer and leapt to my feet emphatically answering. Everything else in the kitchen was clean, and I, already at my limit, was furious that he had an accident and was trying to blame everyone else. He didn’t notice that the rest of the room was tidy, just the egg now splattered all over the floor.

Thinking back over the altercation, I realized that I am like the power in the house. We just expect the light switch to turn the lights on when we flip it; we expect the fridge to be cold when we open it; we expect the button to start the microwave when we push it. Our families expect the same thing of us. We only really notice the electricity when the fuse is blown or the storm knocks out the power. We function so well and do our jobs so well as administrators of our homes, that we practically are invisible.

I live in a home built in 1850 and added onto in 1902. The electric in our house is cobbled together, added on in dribs and drabs over the years.  As we have undertaken remodeling projects, we make sure to do the electricity right, and up to code. Even though it worked before, I know that it’s better to completely redo the wiring and connections to make sure our home is as safe as possible.  Despite the fact that I know it’s necessary, and even want to do it, I’ve always railed against this  very expensive, invisible part of our remodeling process.

I’m a little like that with self care too. I want to eat right, want to spend uninterrupted time with God, want to exercise, want to take moments out of the day to read my book or to make my planner pretty. I don’t often make it happen like I ought to.  I know it’s necessary for my mental health and to be fully functional. I know I need to do it to be the best mom I can be.

It’s important to have the electricity of the home be at full capacity.  We moms are the sometimes invisible, usually unappreciated energy sources of our homes. Do what you need to to be at maximum power.

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Farm Fresh Family Update

Brielle and Finnella looking for books on CD

I haven’t blogged for six months! I have lots of good reasons/excuses, depending on how you look at it. But I miss it and I enjoy it and I am doing it for me, so I’m back! It’s hard to let go of expectations–like how blogging has kind of turned into article writing, and I don’t always (ever) have the brain space for an actual article, so I felt like I couldn’t compete. But with whom am I competing? And why!?

I’m learning a lot about myself and being a better self.
The Farmer: He’s busy with the farm as always. He’s got more cows than ever, and more feed lot cattle too. He’s putting up a lot of forage (hay, rye) for the winter and to hopefully sell. He’s working on spraying now. He does his best to take children with him whenever he can and to be home for dinner, or at least bedtime. As any working parent knows, it’s a challenge to be pulled in a lot of different directions, and with farming, you can’t leave your woes behind at the office, it’s always there. Staring you in the face. Glaring at you.
The Farm Fresh Mama: I’ve got my hands in a lot of different pots. I’ve gotten back into serving my community as a doula and love holding space for mamas so they can see their own power. It’s a beautiful, celestial calling.

I have more than doubled the garden this year. I’m doing Square Food Gardening and trying something new, Straw Bale Gardening. I don’t think my peas are going to make it, and will have to start over with them, but everything else looks good. I’ve gotten a new hobby of “planning”, which is writing my to do list and decorating it, and writing down what we did in quick bullet points in a composition notebook. It’s a fun segue between scrapbooking and keeping track of what I need to do on the backs of kids’ drawings. Writing “water garden” in my planner helps it actually get done. Funny how that works.

Finnella on Memorial Day

I’m doing something new with the boys for school, called Easy Peasy Homeschool. The woman who put it together did a curriculum for ALL THE GRADES, of activities to do with links added. It’s amazing she did this and I am so thankful. It eliminates the problem of never being able to find the book I need. It doesn’t matter how organized I am, there is always a missing book! They like being able to play games and be on the computer. 

I love homeschooling and seeing their successes and the delight for learning gleam.
Aviana: This child is almost as tall as I am and it blows my mind. She weighed as much as a bag of sugar when I brought her home from the hospital and now she’s looking me in my eye. IN MY EYE! She earned Memory Master again this year. I am proud of how she puts her mind to something and attains it. She’s going to be a seventh grader. She plays piano and earned a spot in a special recital for students who have been given a Superior rating three years in a row at festival. She took up violin this year too and we are putting her in orchestra at the junior high. I’m feeling nervous about that, almost like sending a child off to kindergarten!
Brielle: She’s as precocious and adorable as ever. She achieved Memory Master in Classical Conversations this year, as a nine year old. That is a big deal! She plans to do it the next two years and try for National Memory Master, which would put us on a cruise (and makes her my favorite)! I love how much she can do when she puts her mind to it! 
Cadrian; My sweet boy has grown so much this year! He is reading better than ever, helps me garden, and is our chief breakfast maker. He specializes in Toad in a Hole and oatmeal. He is amazingly thoughtful and kind to me (which is why he’s my favorite), and absolutely likes to stir the pot when it involves his siblings. 
Denton: He is learning right along side Cadrian and often feels shuffled in the middle. He’s sensitive and tough at the same time, the tough being a cover up for the sensitive. I wish people could see the sweet and sensitive easier, because it’s so easy to start off going toe to toe with him. I’m so thankful I discovered what Gentle Parenting really means before he ever got spanked (because he’s my favorite). It’s hard enough to figure out how to help him reach his full potential with the respectful parenting tools I DO have in my arsenal. He’s as bright as a brass button and full of his own ideas. 
Elivette: She is talkative and adorable and loves to say “Pwetty Pwincess Pwease”. She sports dresses all the time and often a tiara. She is smart as a whip and as thoughtful as you please. She has an amazing memory and astounds me with what she comes up with. Her three year old year has been so completely different than the older girls’ (probably because she’s my favorite). I can’t help but wonder how much my parenting shift has had to do with it. She 
Finnella (my favorite) has turned one! She has been taking some steps here and there. She loves being outside and in point of fact is sitting right next to me on the couch literally screaming at me because I am not taking her outside. I stood up with her just now and she stopped screaming. I took her outside and put her in the swing and she smiled. She knows what she wants and doggedly goes after it.She likes her swing in the tree the best, but will happily crawl around where ever we are. She doesn’t like the feel of the sidewalk or grass so crawls on one knee and one foot. She waves, babbles like crazy, and lets you know her needs, but doesn’t sign anything yet. 
One more thing that I wanted to mention is how vital my mama tribe has become. I have always had friends, but in the past couple of years, I have been given the gift of people who understand my heart and my very soul in a way I haven’t experienced. It has helped me become more like the person I’ve always wanted to be.

D, F, E, B, A and C and me on a hike at Starved Rock State Park
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A Day in the Life

I’m always curious about the average person’s daily life. I found an amazing video on Netflix titled Life in a Day. It is a documentary of snippets of people’s lives all over the world. It’s a bit of time capsule. It was beautiful.

It inspired me to make one of my own.

I have done this before in written form, with pictures, but never with video. It took me quite a bit longer to put the thing together than I thought it would, especially because I got sick for several days right after I shot it. I stayed up late last night and now it’s finally done.

I invite you to take twenty minutes out of your day to share part of mine. 🙂

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We’ve been busy

July is usually pretty busy for us, but this July has been even more so.

We had three weeks of swimming lessons. We had Kevin, Cadrian and Aviana’s birthdays. I was on call for a couple of births, one of which was a totally and completely amazing. I went to a city a few hours away with three of the children for a training for a new phase of our home school journey. I’ve read a few books. We painted our “new” family room. We got a puppy. I wrote a song, recruited a friend to sing it, and am in the process of making a video.

Aaand a bunch of other stuff..

I’ve missed blogging. My goal for August is to plan better and post at least once a week.
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My Day (in status updates)

Passion really is better than coffee.

It’s a DRINK! Get your mind out of the gutter.

Only one out of five screaming and neck clinging when I dropped them off at Grandma’s. We’re getting better.

Hey! I’m not late!

Getting fillings isn’t so bad when you can watch The Princess Bride.

Never had a leg wax in someone’s living room. I’ll go back. And next time I’ll stop at the ATM first.


Six avocados. Five pounds of freshly sliced meats. Four cucumbers. Three cauliflower heads. Two tubs of spinach. And one healthier mama. (Hopefully).

Picked up my sister-in-law at the doctor. Slightly jealous that she always looks amazing, despite spending the weekend in the hospital, and the week flat on her back with an agonizing spinal headache. Glad she’s feeling better.

“I’m gonna go mow.” Yes, I really said that. And I really did that.

Mowing’s stupid.

We have too much yard.

Still mowing.

Somebody needs some sheep!

Chatting–with MIL.

Oops! Time to leave again. Kuk Sool. Construction. Not even late. I totally rule.

“Mama! I want to climb that light pole!” This about sums up the energy level at Goodwill.

And your aisle’s entertainment will be provided by sword fights with wrapping paper. Stop laughing, fellow customers, you’re just encouraging them!

Goodwill Good Deals: For Kevin: Tommy Bahama silk shirt, Banana Republic shorts, J. Crew jeans and a couple pairs of shorts for work
                                  For me: VS Pink capris, questionably authentic Gucci handbag, and UGGS
                                  For Aviana: a couple of Gap swimsuits, and Iowa State tanktop and a pair of sandals                                   For Denton: a pair of Merrells
                                  For Elivette: a cute Carter’s outfit
                                  For Brielle: four black tops to wear under her Kuk Sool uniform, which is the whole reason why we went there in the first place
                                 For Cadrian: NOTHING–and he’s the one who really needs shoes ( I have a theory that five year old boys wear out all the clothes, so there are never any for me to buy)

Waving  excitedly to all the people in the grocery store parking lot while 9 yo runs in for the almond milk I forgot earlier. Yes. That was us.

We love singing along to the Best of Broadway CD all the way home! (although, I question the truth of The Best)

Make your children’s day and stop by the lake a mile from your house to pee and strut about to “If I were a rich man”.

Kevin doing bedtime = priceless

Nursing runny nosed toddlers is possibly the grodiest thing ever.

Cutting husband’s hair and it’s not the day of the wedding we’re going to…again with the “I totally rule”.

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A Day in the Life

6 a.m. Kevin’s alarm goes off. He has to go out and load cattle he’s selling today. Last calf finally born in the night. 107 lb bull calf. Helped it get nursing.

6:15: Hear 20 month old Elivette. She’s at the top of the stairs crying instead of just coming down to our room like usual. I pick her up and she immediately stops. I love that feeling when it happens, as if I’m the answer for which she’s been searching.

6:45 Take her back to bed. Nurse her both sides. Miraculously she’s fallen back asleep. I can’t even remember the last time that happened.

7:05 Lie there drowsily snuggling. Cadrian, 5, comes in; happy, talkative, and thankfully, whispering! He says he didn’t fall asleep for a long long time because his new clock kept him awake with all its loud ticking. We snuggle and chat for a while.

7:30 Think I hear Denton, 3, stirring and I don’t want him to wake the baby. Throw on  fleece cupcake pants, and a plaid fleece lined flannel (both purple of course). Start to make shakes. Denton comes in, toting his giant car seat box. I pick him up and start his good morning song, but he immediately sees C going for “his” box and starts screaming. The girls, Aviana, 9, and Brielle, 7, are up. Hug and kiss and good morning song them. Can’t find  lid to one of the shake cups. Start to feel annoyed until I remember the poor of East End (London, I just finished reading the Call the Midwife trilogy) and choose to be grateful instead.

Good morning, good morning to you
Good morning, good morning to you
I love you so much, I’ll eat you right up (nibble ears and nose)
I love you, I love you, I do!

8:00 D & C are fighting over the box. B & A are shouting because B got dressed right away and A is furious that it is 44*F and raining and it’s May 1 and supposed to be spring and she had planned to wear a tank top. I calmly tell people that if anyone is shouting, they can shout outside all they want, and I don’t even care what they are wearing at the moment. If they shout, they are out.

        Fix B’s hair in a “Lacy Braid” which my friend taught me last night. Our amazing neighbor, Cindee calls to confirm she’s picking the girls up for their tutoring session at 8:30. She tells me she messaged me on Facebook, but I didn’t get on FB last night! She takes them to her house once a week to work on science experiments or long term messy projects that would get destroyed or messed with by the littles here. C and D start in again, maybe about the rocket this time. Put C outside. He comes in when he’s done shouting, which is almost immediately.

        Fix A’s hair in a “Five Plait”. I wish I could figure out how to do a French Five Plait, but my fingers get confused. I go in the boys’ room to see how the fabric I got to make a bed skirt for Cadrian will work and pick up quite a bit while I’m in there. A has calmed down about the weather and decided to wear her CuddleDuds under her outfit.

 8:30        Give those who want it bananas and peanut butter. Do some geography songs and reading with Brielle and Cindee arrives. Remind A to take their books and she worries they’ll leave without her. Decide to check messages and to let Melissa know I’m not going to get my hair cut today. Comment on a few posts. Clean up the bananas and peanut butter.

9:00   E wakes! Nurse her. She’s so happy and hungry. Put off changing her a few minutes. Kevin walks in and makes eggs and ham for himself and disappears. I make eggs for the boys and Elivette. E and D eat 2 and Cadrian eats 4 (our chickens are young and the eggs are not jumbo). D doesn’t like the egg I made for him so I give him a different one and don’t even feel irritated. That’s kind of new and worth mentioning.

9:30 Gather 50+ library books and videos that are due today and tomorrow (sometimes I go though a “put-everything-that-looks-good-on-hold binge) Change laundry. Put my hand in honey B spilled yesterday on the half wall in the bathroom which no one cleaned up. Still don’t clean it up or I’ll get completely side tracked from the laundry. Goals for today: Get MY clothes put away. Get the winter jammas and clean clothes put away.
         Get E dressed. Get  a second cup of coffee. Get counting animals down for D.

10:00  Get dressed–long sleeve lilac sweater, black sweater vest cardi, jeans. Make bed. Start hanging up my clothes. Kevin wants to make bean soup with the leftover ham bone but needs help with the beans. E has dumped the counting animals all over. No clothes are actually hung up yet.

            Get my clothes hung up and put away. I have a bad habit of just throwing my clothes on the floor when I’m done for the day. I don’t wash my jeans or sweaters every time I wear them, so that’s part of why, but it’s also just because I’m tired and want in my jams. I will tell you this: If Kevin did what I do, I’d be mighty peeved. It’s that bad.

             Put my shoes back on the rack. Twice. Thanks Elivette.
             Put my stack of yoga pants back on the shelf. Thanks boys.
             Be thankful they didn’t pull down the closet shelves when all three of them decided to climb them at the same time.

10:30 Switch laundry. Check beans. Carry in my three pairs of shoes that have mysteriously migrated to the family closet. Bring in jammas, and two baskets of clothes to be folded and the bin for the jamms. It would be easier to sort and fold the clothes IN the family closet but it drives me crazy to have the chiddlers underfoot in such a tiny space and I can’t imagine the destruction which would happen in the house if I stayed out there to do it .
          AND my center closet door just fell out! (we have three bifold doors with mirrors, very heavy) Thankful Elivette was behind it, not in front of it!

11:00 Fold and sort clothes. Boys are playing with magnets, quietly-ish nearby. Cindee brings girls back who are WOUND UP. Try to discuss where to go from here and how long we want to continue our arrangement, but my brain has no ideas. Feel overwhelmed by the sudden mess and noise. The boys have now stripped to the waist and are wrestling. Cut up an apple for E. Finish the folding and go out to the laundry room again.

11:30 Clean up the honey. Pick up several toys and various detritus the baby or someone has strewn about. Among other things: a muffin tin, a cheese slicer, a metal tray, a magnetic letter Q, a headband, three socks and several pieces of apple. Put the pajama bin away, stepping over several articles of clothing in the process. Feel befuddled and annoyed this room ends up like this every day. (They take after me 🙁 )
           Put a load of rags in. Get another load of kid clothes out of the dryer. Decide I’m done and leave it on the floor.

           Orchestrate “pick up time” which is an exhausting and constant process. Everyone wants to negotiate their jobs and I just want the stuff picked up! Find several more counting animals. Keep 3 or 4 of them semi-focused and on task.

12:00 Start lunch. Mac and cheese and frozen mixed vegetables.Kevin calls suggesting I put Elivette down for an early nap since he wants to go to Menards later. Since she slept until 9, I don’t see that happening. Aviana wants to tell me why she is made. Cadrian wants to tell me why he is mad. Everyone is hyper and talking at once. I keep patient, telling them they are interrupting each other and listen as best I can. Inwardly though I feel anxious and irritable.

12:30 Tell C & D to sit down and wait quietly. They do fairly well. Ask B to get milk and C to help E with her bib, while I’m dishing up mackey. Suddenly I see B helping E and No-one getting milk. So irritating. Mention it calmly that no one would have to wait if she would have just done the job I’d given her.
           I love how E holds out her little hands expectantly at the beginning of a meal to hold hands and pray. Today we sing “Johnny Appleseed”, which reminds me to be grateful for even the rain.

Oh, the Lord is good to me,

and so I thank the Lord,
for giving me,
the things I need,
the sun and the rain
and the appleseed
The Lord is good to me.
Tell the children I need to get E down for her nap and to please clear the table and put their plates in the dishwasher. 
1: 00 Nurse E. Take her up to bed. Read boys Rain Drop Plop and Because Your Daddy Loves You. Put them in their Quiet Time areas after they choose where they’ll be. C is on my bed with a book and D is in his room. Several reminders of “It’s quiet time rest time, remember your question and ask me after it’s over” later, I have a bit of silent time. I snuggle up on the couch under my down comforter and rest with my eyes closed for a while. I hear Aviana singing Broadway songs to Denton.
1:30 Head to my studio for a bit. Finish making 2 I-Spy Bags, read a bit of Moon Time, send a few messages. Cut out fabric for several more bags.
2:00 Aunt Mary (another amazing neighbor) picks the girls up to take them to ice cream. We are so blessed to have so many people willing to give of their time to invest in our family. As soon as they’ve gone, D immediately begins hunting for me. He finally searches me out so I give him the job of counting out 10 trinkets for each I-Spy bag. 
2:30 He is so so excited to have such an exciting job that he jabbers like a strung-out magpie. Then Kevin comes up and installs a motion light in the homeschool closet. I next give D the job of cleaning the vinyl and quickly realize I’m done. 
        K is reading a book about the heart to C. He can’t find the other books because the boys’ room has devolved into a disaster zone. They clean up without complaint and find the books. 
3:00 Kevin goes back to work and I show C some videos of gliders and hang gliders. He promptly goes off to build one. I let Denton watch youtube with me and watch part of a boring vlog of a teen mom–her Day In The Life (DITL). Everyone wants to be famous. So ridiculous and sad. Watch a video on how to wash fleece. I have had a fleece in the garage for a couple of years and am finally going to use it to stuff “rocks” for our new play area I’m designing. Check eBay, my rocks should be here soon. I feel a connection with the woman in the video so look up her website. Maybe it’s just because we both have five children; other than that we don’t really seem to have a lot in common.

3:30 E wakes up. Nurses. Get a snack for C, D, and E. Graham crackers and natural fruit leather. Set it out and go find E. She is standing on the stoop in her brother’s fireman boots “calling” Duke (Duuuuu! Duuuuu!) Watch the adorable for a minute. Go back into the kitchen to discover D stole everyone’s fruit strips and he’s hiding in the corner. C only got 1/2 of one and doesn’t have a fit. No yelling (pats self on back). C is too busy looking for a mile high place from which to throw his “glider” to really care.
 
4:00       Change E and she messes around sitting on the potty. She loves to sit on the potty, but it has yet to see any action. Think about doing yoga but get distracted by something. Do some preschool pages with D. It seems like he’s on par with Cadrian. He can recognize his numbers and knows how many of something is represented by that number.

4:30   Time to leave for Kuk Sool Won and the new Menard’s. Round up everyone’s shoes and socks and all the library books and adjust the car seats again. Realize I forgot the closet drawing for our new walk-in.

5:00 Stop in our small town for K’s cattle check and to return the books. Pretty cool we can load the cattle at 7 and have a check by 5.   The boys each vie for returning books in the drive through which means they take turns crowding me and stabbing me in the neck with their elbow. Jet to Kuk Sool. Aviana is telling the boys a Tommy and Timmy story. She has such a gift for storytelling.
     
  I tease Brielle by telling her to ask her Kuk Sool Master what happens to kids if they don’t give him a check on the first of the month. He’s also a fire chief and they just had a pancake breakfast so I was telling her to ask him if they had any leftover pancakes. She was pink cheeked and grinning; I love to hear her laugh. She has such a contagious joy.

5:30 Aviana is reading the highway signs joking that we’re going to DesMoines and starts singing a silly song about it. She wants to know if we can just leave Brielle at Kuk Sool and drive to Omaha. Denton often tells me he wants to “sell Cadreen to Jonafon”. Maybe reading them the story of Joseph and his brothers was a bad idea 🙂 Silly kids.

They were a bit berserk at Menard’s. They need to have a giant store to run around in and climb the walls of when the weather is rotten. Too bad there were other customers. As it was though, everyone was grinning at them. Even though I feel like I need to rein them in all the time, they are adorable and funny!

We looked at closet inserts and organizers but didn’t make any decisions. It’s so expensive! It seems crazy to spend that kind of money on storage space. On one hand, I love the idea of it and on the other, it feels so wasteful. People in third world countries–heck, even 1950’s East Enders would love to live in my new walk-in closet.

We ended up buying stain for the trim, a heating duct, paint brushes and M & Ms. We were there under an hour (but it seemed longer since we circled the store twice) and ran into friends of ours. I love living in a city this size. It seems like I run into someone I know whenever I go somewhere.

6:30 We picked up Brielle, who noticed the M & Ms straight off. They weren’t as good as I remember. We ate at Culver’s for supper. Another decadent indulgence. Just being able to go out to eat occasionally seems like such a gift.

The boys were still in overdrive. Denton ate 1/2 his burger and some fries and as we were pulling out of the parking lot announces, “I’m hungry.” Brielle didn’t like her burger so ate some of my pot roast. Elivette would only eat fries.  LeSigh.

7:00  It was nice to be able to chat with Kevin in the van. The kids were only semi-quiet, but we could hear each other, so that was a bonus.
        A few minutes from Culver’s, still in town, but on the edge, Denton declared his need to pee. We pulled over of course. He ran on his short sturdy little legs down the ditch, up the hill on the other side and behind a bush. Cadrian couldn’t resist that invitation so he had to go too.
         They took so long I thought they might have gone down the hill on the other side, but no, just looking for pine cones. Denton rolled down the hill, and then staggered dizzy like a drunken sailor. I got the giggles.

7:30 Kevin and I got to everyone to bed pretty efficiently. I watched the kids like a prison warden in the family closet to make sure no clothes ended up all over the floor. Kevin brushed teeth. I did jammas and stories and nursed and good night songs and shushings and prayers. We love Richard Scarry’s Going Places. It has cute –short– stories; perfect for harried evenings.

  8:00       Denton had to get up and pee again.
 I heard him say to C “That’s just my breathe”
                                 “What?”
                                 “My breathe! The stuff tumming out of my mouf!”    
Nurse babe. She’s so funny about pretending to sleep.
Pray with girls. Sing them the good night song.

It’s time to rest your sleepy little head.
It’s time to snuggle in you cozy bed.
It’s time to say good night.
The sun has gone to bed and so must you.
Know you’re loved, all the whole night through
It’s time to say good night.
The stars will shine until the morning light.
God will keep you in His care all night.
It’s time to say good night.
It’s time to rest from such a busy day.
Tomorrow, we will have more time to play.
It’s time to say good night. (3xs)

Cadrian takes issue with that last line because he thinks it sounds like we’ll have more time to play than today. I maintain it only means we’ll have time to play again. 
As Aviana sagely notes, It does no good to argue with a five year old.

8:30  All is quiet. I mess around on FB and read more about Namaste Farms and read a few articles on gentle parenting. Chat with a few friends.

9:00 Kevin brings me in some ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce and I start typing all this up.

As I’m typing I realize I took ONE picture today. ONE.

Last year when I did this I made a photo book out of it–it turned out beautifully. It’s pretty hard to make a photo book with one photo.

I’m not going to be annoyed with myself. It is what it is. It’s a day in my life.

         

   

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A Breath. A moment.

Today has been stressful. I feel like that word is overused, but it does seem like a very good word.

I love my children more than I can even describe. I love them so much it makes me cry sometimes. Sometimes I can’t breathe for the awe of it.

It is crazy having five little people and I will come right out and call it like it is, five selfish little people, around all the time. We are all selfish. That’s just the way it is. Part of my job is to help them put others first, to not act on every impulse, but to treat others the way we would want to be treated.
And sometimes it’s not even the selfishness that is the problem, just the childishness.

My day goes like something like this:

  • Try to make the bed. Child runs in screaming because other child zipped his penis into his pajamas. 
  • Try to get a meal train set up. Child hits himself in the face with his toy and promptly starts screaming.
  • Try to get laundry started. Discover child has “washed his truck” in the new bathroom sink and left a muddy wet trail all over the sink, the floor, the rug and the clean diapers hanging on the drying rack.
  • Try to make cookies with child. Get overwhelmed by the number of times I have to redirect and remind.
  • Try to get the drawstring out of my pajama pants where it has naughtily creeped into the casing halfway around. Have to listen to child have a crying fit because she wanted to pick the food for Friday, not Wednesday and even though she gets to have what she wanted to pick today, today isn’t FRIDAY.
  • Try to talk on the phone to make a surprise plan for a couple children. Get interrupted forty-seven times. Or maybe it was forty-eight.
  • Try to get the winter and too small boots sorted out so I know what we need to get, and what (boy! is it a lot!) needs washed before it gets put in storage. Enlist the children since they know what fits and what doesn’t. Am nearly bested by the chaotic cacophony that “simple” project entails. Am stunned by the stubbornness of someone insisting that winter boots 2 inches longer than the foot fit now and ought not go into storage.

It is hard. I thank God I can turn to Him, breathe a prayer and He calms my heart. I thank Him for growing me so that I am not constantly on edge about all this nuttiness. I thank Him that I can laugh and find joy and teach. I thank Him that my “Yell Chart” hasn’t had any new entries for a couple weeks.

I thank Him for all these moments. For the muddy handprints (or are they footprints?) on my nook chair. For the happy cricket voices that constantly fill my home. For the giggles and groans and the laughter and lunacy and silly centipede games. For the whining and the bickering and the mess and the help and the hugs and the hearts of these small people I’m given the privilege to raise. 

I am especially thankful for Now though. Now the Bigglets have gone to Good News Club. The Small Boy is with his Dada at Farm and Fleet. Babe E is (finally) asleep cozy snug in her favorite place, in her wrap next to my heart. I am listening to her breaths and the ticks of the clock. Watching the raindrops on the window.

Thanking God for this moment. This breath.

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birth-kits

The weekend…

Golly!

Saturday morning dawned sunshiney full of potential. After going to the bank for Kevin, dropping Brielle off to spend some time with her aunt, getting gas and coffee, we arrived at our first service project. Our church was doing scads of projects all over town, ranging from planting flowers to welcoming refugees to packing food boxes, over 500 members of our church were doing our best to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We opted to help with a free car wash. Luckily, we didn’t have any customers at first and they needed someone to volunteer their vehicle to get the ball rolling.

Um. ME!! We live on a gravel road and haven’t had rain for two weeks. Pretty sure my van could use a wash again by now–but it was a huge blessing to have it washed. I got to talk to some friends I don’t see often enough too. As we were leaving, Aviana said that it was the most fun she had in her whole life!

Next we met up with some other friends to put together birth kits for moms in Papua New Guinea. 1 in 7 moms in rural Papua New Guinea dies in childbirth. Today. In 2012. Can you imagine?! A friend found out about Bloggers for Birth Kits and organized our meet up. It was another fabulous opportunity to hang with friends and  serve others.

Photo credit to a friend

Then it was time for lunch at the farmer’s market. We were all pretty wilted by this time so I only bought 4 quarts of strawberries. We talked with our hooping friend and headed home.

On the way, I realized I really wanted to implement some of the ideas my landscaper friend suggested, so I hooked into The Green Thumbers and bought some plants. They are so awesome there–the manager walked me around helping me find what I wanted, offering tips and suggestions all the while and carried them to the front for me, and then someone loaded them into my van. Jessica loves being spoiled.

When I got home, I got the baby down for his nap, started unloading the mountains of stuff that had somehow accumulated in the van since the last time I cleaned out the van (which I think may have been the day before!), and decided to try and find my phone since I had forgotten to take it with me.

I found it.
I checked my messages.
My aunt had called.
My mom was in the ER!
She was in severe respiratory distress and after having gone to urgent care, was transferred by ambulance to the hospital!

I didn’t even know which hospital and all my calls to both my dad and mom wouldn’t go through.

I called Kevin and continued to try and stay busy (and around here there is always work for willing hands. Hint, Hint). After what seemed a really long, long wait, I finally got a call from my dad telling me where they were and asking me to come down to hospital. I called my SIL asking her to bring Brielle home and if she would stay with the other kids and asked Kevin to call his mom to see if she would maybe come over after work or even get off work early to help, so he could continue to get the crop in.

My mom was in bad shape. She couldn’t get her breath at all even after being on oxygen and a breathing treatment or two. Just the exertion of moving to the edge of the bed and trying to stand would send her into spasms of coughing and panic and not being able to breathe. Then she couldn’t get control of her breathing again for an eternity.

She was admitted to the Pulmonary Unit and I stayed with my parents the whole time. I was so thankful that my children were taken care of so I could be a support to them.  My mom had even felt earlier in the day like “it’s a good thing I’m right with God because if it’s my time to go, I’m ready.” I cannot imagine losing my mom right now. She’s only 58 and I still need her. My dad left about 8 as he was exhausted from all the stress.

I stayed at the hospital until my aunt arrived after an 8 hour drive around 11. I was so tired driving home (we are about 30ish minutes away) I thought I would have to pull over and take a cat nap, but I made it.

My MIL had taken the children to her house so I got to sleep in until 8 this morning. Kevin wanted to go up to the hospital with me, so I messed around looking for a lost library book, we planted my plants and then headed up. She had had one more “episode” this morning but was doing really well. My dad went to church so we all just kept company until Aunt Barb and Kevin took off early afternoon. Kevin went back to work and Aunt Barb had a graduation to attend.  I stayed until she was discharged. She has several prescriptions including a nebulizer.

What concerns me is if she has another episode while my dad is at work and why they never really figured out WHY this was happening. Of course it’s awesome she doesn’t have to stay in the hospital and I’m thankful she is doing better. It bothers me that they ruled out the big stuff (pneumonia), but didn’t find a trigger for this episode. It’s as if they feel like, ‘well, we’ve got her on some drugs and she’s pretty much fine now, so it’s good enough.’ What about making some lifestyle changes? What about alternatives to more medications? What about things we can do to not let it get like this again? Not even a consideration, apparently.

Kevin was almost done planting corn today when he had yet another breakdown. Stupid first year with a new planter anyway. So we’re four measly acres away from being done! We still have almost all the beans to do (I use the term “we” very loosely–kind of like “we’re pregnant”) but that isn’t as critical…

I’m tired and energized at the same time. How is that even possible? I need to get my booty to bed though, another big day of loving and living and learning tomorrow!

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Jan-02-2012-035

I’m not cut out for this

And on top of everything else, a migraine. Incapacitated another night. Another night when Kevin picks up my slack. Another night when the children watch an hour of Sesame Street instead of doing something more constructive and less passive. Another night when I’m not the mama God created me to be. Another night when I just have to lie there in pain and let it be.

And then this morning, the pain is better; not gone, but better.

 But the fighting.

The bickering! The “I want it my way and I absolutely will not compromise or capitulate or comply with anyone’s wishes but my own.” And it’s about SUCH ridiculous stuff–the girls unloading the dishwasher. One on the step ladder putting them away, one handing them to her from the dishwasher. The one on the floor wants the other to get down and let her put something in the drawer, only to then make her climb back up the ladder.

One child coloring, not letting the other child use the book she’s not even using. Screaming ensues.

Mama asks one child to get the wipes. Another child bursts into loud bitter wails; “I WANT TO GET THEM!”

Mama at her limit.

I’ve talked and talked and talked about selfishness. I’ve taught verses about putting others before yourself; as far as it is up to you, get along with others; love does not demand its own way. I’ve been gentle. I’ve been kind. I’ve prayed.

I lost my temper. I yelled.  I lashed out. I may have even screamed a little. I certainly was not a good example.

But finally, contrition. Finally, reaching her heart.  Finally, change; changed attitudes.

 I know this is NOT what my home to be. I want peace. I want to gently reprimand and obedience to immediately follow. I want their upbringing to be gentle. I want my voice to be soft. I want it to be different.

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c26b

We’re still alive…

It has been a busy month. I wish I could blog  every day because so much happens that I want to share with others or even just keep for myself for the future. I love looking back at my old posts and rediscovering those moments. I love reminiscing happenings I had long forgotten. I want to blog for myself and for my babies and for my family and friends who don’t see us on a regular basis, but sometimes, it just gets to be “one more thing” and gets to be too much.

Christmas was wonderful. We had a crazy week after Christmas with family here from out of town and many for dinner every night. I loved it but it was tiring at the same time.

The week after New Year’s was tiring for other reasons. My best friend’s mom died suddenly and my heart just hurt for her and her family. I didn’t do much other than love them the best I could and be there and listen but it was a wearying week just the same. I can’t imagine how exhausted she was.

I just haven’t been feeling the best or having the energy and motivation to do much more than the bare necessities (assuming food is a necessity, and a path through the house). Sometimes it takes all my energy just to answer the phone.  I’m so thankful that even though I haven’t been running my home the ways I would ideally want to, I have been able to be so patient and loving to my chiddlers, and this last month has been probably my most mellow yet (i.e. no loss of temper).

We’re redoing the guest room and making some big changes in its hospitality.

The girls and I are taking the train this week to see my sister and family in Colorado. I am so excited to be able to surprise them. It’s their Super Summer Challenge Surprise. We’ll be out there for five days. It will be a wonderful trip, if I can find the wherewithal to get ready for it. 🙂

We had five inches of snow yesterday so now I have to help the chiddlers get ready to go o!ut in it to play

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