Wednesday, September 22, 2010

These new days

I haven't posted much as of late--not because there hasn't been anything to post about, but I've been so brain-numbingly exhausted that I haven't had the energy to write anything.
see, i just hit the post button on accident when i was really trying to hit the enter button to space down.
Bear with me, this is going to ramble.
it's been good stuff...just a lot of change. and although i am not flying off the handle at my kids or husband and our days are honestly a good full, I don't handle change well.
I just feel the need to crawl in bed and sleep for a week or two and then re-emerge ready to face the world. Life unfortunately doesn't' work that way.
About a month ago I started watching 3 extra toddler/preschool age little boys (besides my own 2 at home).
I have the deep-seated and stubborn desire to stay home while my kids are still young. I honestly want to always stay home. I want to be the mom that can volunteer in my kids' classrooms at school and go on school outings and have the home my kids' want to bring their friends over to. I want to be a stay at home grandma and help my kids (if they still live nearby) with their children. Let's face it, the pressure on today's families is worse than a pressure cooker that has been left on the stove to long. No wonder so many parent's jump ship. Parenthood is HARD. Parenthood is MESSY. Parenthood is CONFUSING. Parenthood is EXHAUSTING. Parenthood has even become scary with all the creeps and weirdos and psychopaths that live in rather close proximity.
I want to be able to be a support to my family and their families when they grow older.
Right now, I need to work to help pay bills.
We are not in debt. We don't spend money on anything more than the bare necessities. We've never taken a "real vacation." Let's face it though, neither the Social Work field and now not the Sales Field pays much.
I am not complaining. As long as bills are paid and food is on the table, I am fine. But frequently not even those are covered and off and on throughout our marriage I've "worked" in different capacities.
This time I am babysitting. This little group of kids is hilarious. For one thing, I have 5 boys 4 and under. That amounts to a whole lot of wrestling, jumping, running, dirt shoveling, waggon pulling, chasing the cat who is being chased by the dog who is being chased by a diaper dragging 2-year-old, diapers and dirt and snot galore.
They are adorable. They are funny. They are aggravatingly cute (it's hard to discipline the one who tries to constantly pick up the cat by the tail when the cat is dumb enough to not run away). THEY ARE EXHAUSTING!!!!!
The day my little just-turned-2-year-old drank bubble solution that his sister had left next to his car seat was oddly funny. I felt bad for him and couldn't help but laugh at the same time. He threw up all over his car seat as I was picking up his 2 little friends for the day. Then he gagged and blew a large bubble out his mouth. That stuff only happens in cartoons right?!?! I explained to his dad that he wasn't contagious or really sick; he'd uh, just drank some bubbles. That's not exactly good to have to explain to the parent of the children you about to babysit for the day.
That's what my days are full of right now (and for a while). Have your ever tried potty-training 3 little guys at once? Let me just say that the mop has taken a permanent residence in the bathroom that they use and the soap is well stocked. Little boys are not good at aiming.
Here is my schedule:
  • wake up between 6 and 6:30am
  • Wake up my own kids by 6:45
  • Get breakfast on by 7am so we can leave by 7:20 to get older 2 to school in time
  • Be at "little brothers" house by 7:45 to pick them up.
  • 8:oo-9 or 9:30 play outside at our house. (When the weather turns colder, we'll do more preschool related activities inside)
  • Make sure to take the potty training guys go to the bathroom sometime during this time
  • 9ish take 4 filthy, dirt-crusted, grub digging little boys into the bathroom and fill the tub with lots of bubbles (on occasion they do have to be somewhat carefully hosed off in the yard so as not to clog the house drains with all the mud clinging to their clothes, hands and legs).
  • Let them play for a good half hour in a tub full of bubbles (they love it)
  • 9:30-10ish feed them all a small snack
  • Make sure there is another bathroom using attempt
  • 11 put in a short video of Boz, Thomas, Caillou, or Veggie Tales so that they won't kill each other while I am trying to make lunch.
  • 11:30---2-year-old number 3 arrives
  • Eat please. Do not rub it in your hair or throw it at your neighbor
  • 11:45am-12 or 12:30 pm read stories to those that will listen (often they try tackling their neighbor or jumping up randomly to play Duck Duck Goose)
  • Make sure there is another attempt at going potty
  • 12:30 lead them all to separate rooms and make sure each one has the proper blankie and book. (I discovered that giving even the smallest ones a sturdy board book eliminated the crying, and they are usually asleep within about 15-20 minutes on their own). Only once has a book been chewed apart
  • 12:45 "sigh" sit down a second and breath before getting up to clean up lunch from the table, chairs and floor. (sometimes I wish we had an indoor dog)
  • From about 1pm until 2:30 and occasionally 3pm the house is quiet. Good Lookin' does not nap, but is required to sit quietly with books and a handful of cars on the living room couch. I set a timer next to him so he knows when an hour is up. I try to catch a nap during this time (today I obviously wanted to write). I LIVE FOR THAT HOUR!!!!
  • Then Good Lookin' and I spend time reading, driving cars, coloring, playing with play do, or watching a short movie together
  • Two days a week a friend drops the older 2 off after school because I can't fit everyone in my car to pick them up. They arrive home just after 3. The other 3 days a week I don't have 2 of the little guys and instead I wake up the other 3 to drive into town to pick up the 2 at school. Confusing enough? It is for me!
  • Around 3, everyone is waking up needing a diaper or pull-up change and then a snack. Boy can they put the food away!
  • Back outside Everyone until about 4:30 when on Monday and Wednesday the two brother's mom arrives to pick them up after work. They are usually already covered in dirt again by the time she arrives.
  • Back inside again after she leaves to give rapid-fire baths before cooking dinner and helping with homework.
  • Dinner by 5:30
  • Chores or finish homework if needed and then off to play again
  • By 6:30 we start bedtime and hopefully finish by 7:30-8pm
  • Then it's upstairs with the last little guy to read stories and wait for his momma to pick him up by 8:30.
  • When he leaves I grab laundry and start folding (most nights i just fall on the couch and close my eyes and ignore the growing pile of laundry. If you want me to be really honest, I usually wait until it begins to take on a life of it's own in the corner of the living room or if the boys begin to use it for a mountain to climb--then I fold it and put it away).
  • Bedtime for me by 10pm if Luke hasn't arrived home yet; which has been his schedule as of late.

Well, I hear the timer beeping for a little boys' hour to be up, so back to life and the real word.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Special Summer Times

This post is waaaaay overdue, but I am finally getting around to writing.
This past summer Precious Jewel got to spend a week with her aunt and uncle up north. She also got to see her cousin that entire week whom she had not seen in 3 years. It was a wonderful time for them both. You see, Precious Jewel begs me on an almost daily basis to give her a baby sister. She is tired of being the only girl in the family (aside from me). She is also very social and it nearly "killed" her this summer to be stuck at home for 6 weeks after her tonsillectomy because her younger brother had also contracted mono post surgery. Being at her aunt and uncle's house was definitely the high-light of her summer. Doing all things girly for a week was a breath of fresh air for her.

My sister had outlined something to do with the girls nearly every day. The first day was spent at a Children's Discovery Museum which had all kinds of stuff Precious Jewel loved. She talked on and on about all the stuff she did and saw when we spoke to her on the phone that night.

Her cousin is a full 3 years older, but was so patient with Precious Jewel. They have never really gotten to spend time together since we have always lived so far apart. I was excited for them because I have such wonderful memories of time spent with cousins and weeks spent at aunt's and uncle's or grandparent's houses. We are all STILL close even now that we have our own families. I've wanted that relationship for my own children, yet my family all lives either states or countries apart. My sister and her husband provided that chance for our dear daughter and my niece.

They went swimming every day, went to the library, the zoo, the fabric store to pick out fabric for new doll dresses (My sister sews; I don't), the Children's Museum and then just spent time together at the house. It was a time my sister and her husband could provide what I can't at this stage in my life with 3 other little ones (and all boys), but time that Precious Jewel needs.

I am so thankful for family and even though we still live miles apart we are at least all on one continent for this year. I am thankful for a sister that in spite of all she has been through with the loss of her baby, still wants to reach out and spend time with my kids and be an aunt to them. This is a special summer none of them will never forget.

With Uncle Eric at the Zoo.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Nathaniel!!

I can't believe that 2 years have passed since this little chunk-a-munk was born. He is such a blessed addition to this family in so many ways. He's a happy, laid back, busy little twinkle in our lives.
His birth and first year were a bit crazy. God's plans are so much bigger than ours. Even though I'd planned an at-home water birth and instead he was delivered C-section, I still had a healthy baby boy. Family and friends chipped in and helped out that first full month while I recovered.

I was so happy to get to cuddle him. It was a different kind of connection and bonding than with the other 3. I don't know if that had to due with the C-section and not being able to hold him for the first hour and a half, but I know that the first time I held him it was like holding this other little person that I wasn't quite sure what to do with.

In so many ways he is different than his older sister and brothers. He's quieter, he's laid back (they definitely are not either). He is built like a solid rock wall and is a lug to pick up and carry around. His older 3 siblings are all rather long and willowy. He has an emerging sense of humor and like his older brother Good Lookin' seems to be witty in his own non-talkative way.

Sometime I'll find and post pictures of all the kids at similar ages. He had rolls of fat all over. I had to take the others in for weight checks because they were all considered "under-weight" for their height and weight ratio. He's always been in the 90th percentile.

Those bright blue eyes that have a constant mischievous twinkle never diminished even with repeated hospitalizations the first year due to pneumonia and breathing issues.
He's definitely kept us on our toes!

Happy 2nd Birthday our little Nater Mater! We love you so much!