Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The wannabe runaway that didn't get very far

My kids love to hear stories about when I was a little girl. They like when I can remember something they've never heard before, but they also like hearing the same stories over and over again.

One of their favorites is the time I was going to run away.

I laid in bed that night, probably 7 or 8 years old, insulted by some injustice I can't even remember now, and decided I would be better off living with my Nana and PawPaw. I lay there certain I knew the way, and positive I could walk the mile and half there in the dark. (Never mind I was terrified of the dark.)

Once I was sure of my plan, I slipped out of my bed and pulled the big blue suitcase from under it. First things first, I emptied my sock and underwear drawer into the suitcase. Suddenly, I heard someone coming down the hallway! I quickly shoved the suitcase under the bed and jumped back under the covers.

I lay very still to avoid detection, and possibly more trouble. As soon as I was sure the coast was clear I could resume my packing. Very still...very quiet...waiting...

...and I fell asleep.

Not only are God's mercies new every morning, so is a 7 year old's memory. Bright and early the next morning my mama came in to help me get ready for school, and boy weren't we both surprised when my socks and underwear were all gone! 

Of course, it only took a moment for me to realize they were all in the big blue suitcase under my bed.

Busted. I immediately 'fessed up. So much for being sneaky.

And that was the beginning and ending of my life as a runaway.

Monday, October 13, 2014

One Month (already?!)

September 13, 2014
The minute hand inched closer to midnight as the contractions escalated in intensity. Everyone in the room knew we were only minutes away from meeting this new little one, but how many minutes was the question.

The middle of September is known as "birthday week" in our family, with 7 birthdays between the 11th and the 17th. Smack in the middle of that week, the 14th of September has always been wide open. The 14th of other months, however is a common birth date among my children and nephews. On the night of September 14th, my parents had 4 of 7 grandchildren with birthdates on the 14th of a month. Would Levi be number 5 of 8?

The suspense was fun, even in the final moments of labor. "You're right on the bubble!" they told me.

Then, at 11:57pm, Levi answered the question by arriving right on his own time-table. The 13th it would be.

 So instead of sharing the 14th with his brothers and cousins, he shares September 13th with my great-grandmother, born September 13, 1904. The 13th, nestled in the middle of "birthday week", a birthday memory for 25 years, is new again. I'm thinking Mammaw wouldn't mind sharing with a great-great-grand. 

To make things even more special, long before we knew he'd share a birthday, we chose Levi's middle name, Tate - a namesake of his great-great-great grandfather...Mammaw's father-in-law.

So, a special birthday and a special name! It's been a blessed month with this little one! He eats well, sleeps well (for a newborn...come on!) and....he's started smiling. :) It never, ever, gets old. We are in love, one and all, with little Levi. Or, as Daniel says, "baby bee-bye". 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Quotables

"You know what I don't like about washing dishes? Your hands get wet!"
-Tyler (4 1/2)

Me, snuggling my little baby's squishy soft cheeks, in my best baby talk voice, "You are beautiful and perfect and I love you so very much."  60 seconds later, picking him up crying from his swing, "Seriously!? I just wanted a shower!"

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Physical Fitness 101

I spent much of today trying to figure out why in the world my chest and shoulders are so sore.

Yeah, I'm holding/nursing/carrying Levi a lot, but I've been doing that nearly a month now. That hasn't changed, so that shouldn't be it.

Then sitting in the floor with the kids while getting them ready for bed, it hit me.

Alan's lessons yesterday included an instructional video and challenge to do pushups.

And because I can't leave well enough alone, I hopped down there with him and busted out into Awesome Mom Demo Mode.

I didn't know I could do such good pushups.

Next week: the triathlon!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday, October 8

5:30am - fuzzy winter pants, long sleeve shirt, big pink blanket. Sitting out in a lawn chair in my front yard with my husband, trying to catch glimpses of the coppery-colored moon through the clouds sailing by.

6:30am - taking advantage of the quiet of the house to get some Bible reading done. Trying desperately not to fall back asleep.

7:00am - out of the shower and hear Levi screaming. Sounds like he's been crying a while.

11:00am - A good bit of school under our belts so far, we meet homeschool seminary neighbor friends at the playground for a joint recess.

12:00pm - Daddy has an "off" schedule today and goes straight from class to his bus route. In other words, he isn't home for lunch as usual, so we keep working on school and eat a late lunch.

2:00pm - We take a break from school (aren't we almost done? really??) to work on a little craft project. It's "Goofy Glasses" night at Awana, so the four oldest kids all create a pair. Yay for free printables!

4:30pm - A quick straightening up around the house, a simple sandwich supper, and everyone gets ready for church.

6:30pm - Right on time for church. I spend my evening in the nursery taking care of my own two babies, joined by a mama friend taking care of her own wee nursling. 

8:30 - Kids are in pjs, I'm in my rocking chair. We all gather for bedtime prayers, followed by hugs and kisses. Always the bedtime hugs and kisses.

9:30 - Levi is in his cradle (how long will it last?) and here I sit with my computer. At the kitchen table tonight. That's different. Hoping to get to bed soon. Last night was too short. Tomorrow is another new day, and we'll do it all over again.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

To sleep or not to sleep...that is the question...when you're a toddler

I don't think, when you first set out on your parenting journey, that you realize how much of your efforts will revolve around sleep.

It begins in pregnancy: the trips to the bathroom all night long, the not being able to get comfortable, and finally, just flat-out insomnia. I have experienced all three, but the insomnia wasn't a problem this last time. I think by the end of the day I was too tired to not be able to fall asleep and stay that way! Maybe it was having 5 kids already (ya think?). Or maybe I'm just getting old, for having babies. ;)

Then the new baby arrives and mama and baby are up together at all hours. So much work goes into figuring out how to get baby to go to sleep, and stay that way. Everyone asks, "Is he a good sleeper?" And mamas compare notes on how many hours at a stretch baby can go between wakings and feedings.  Mixed up in all that is also the co-sleepers vs crib sleepers vs cradles and swings and carsesat sleepers. And don't forget to put baby on his back -always!-  even though he sleeps way better on his tummy and your mama put you to bed on your tummy your whole babyhood.

Somehow or another we survive the infant months and then cross into the toddler years, where sleep is more about obedience and compliance. For the first time, we have a toddler that says "no" when you say it's time to go to bed. That doesn't go over well with mama and daddy. So much for sweet little tuck-ins. Such parental guilt to send a kid off to bed crying. Which also happens during naps or after dark when a toddler finds himself or herself jumping like a monkey (or kangaroo - we've had those, too) instead of going to sleep like a good kid should. Discipline at sleeping times...never fun.

Also in the toddler realm of sleep habits comes loveys.
We've had 1 bunny, 1 lamb, 2 blankets, 3 with pacifiers, and 1 thumb sucker. And one that wouldn't take anything of any kind.

What we have now are a couple of insomniacs. Tyler has done it for a couple of years now...just randomly wander around the house at night. Now Brooklyn has started, too.

A couple of months ago, before Levi was born, I felt a sudden, yet gentle, tap-tap-tapping on my arm. The unexpectedness of it startled me so much I yelled out in fear, and in one swift and surprisingly agile move, sprang my largely pregnant body straight up and back down on top of Greg, almost on the other side of him. Poor Tyler, the one who had done the tap-tapping was so scared by my reaction he burst out crying. I pulled him into bed with us and loved on him until he went back to sleep.

Lately, it seems my habit is falling asleep nursing Levi in the recliner in the middle of the night. My intention is always to nurse him, lay him back in his cradle, and crawl back into my own bed. But more times than not I fall asleep before he finishes and wake up 1, 2, or 3 hours later when he begins to stir again. It is also common for Tyler or Brooklyn to show up during these mid-night nursings as well. Tyler usually wants to be covered back up, and Brooklyn...I'm not sure what she wants. Sometimes she just stands there and smiles at me and then goes back to bed.  A couple of nights ago I actually woke up enough to put Levi and myself back to bed and found Brooklyn sound asleep in the floor behind the recliner, naked from the waist down.

I have no idea.

I just redressed her and tucked her back in.

Once you pass the toddler years you get kids with reasoning skills, who think of every reason under the sun to get back up out of bed. 99% of which are no good reasons at all.

Recently we've entered a new realm: readers. Dale has been reading for a long time, and Alan has as well, really. But it has only been in recent months that Alan has fallen In. LOVE. with reading. So lately it is quite common to find him back up and in a corner somewhere with a book. Tonight he was in Dale's room, both of them with a book and all the lights on. Not even trying to be sneaky...just reading!  Thankful I don't have to have them out the door on time anywhere most week-day mornings.

Now if you'll excuse me...my newborn has decided all this talk about sleep means he shouldn't this evening. So instead of going off to bed, I'm off to try and work some baby sleep magic. It's always something, isn't it?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

In which everything goes wrong, but it's all still good

Most of you probably know Greg is a full-time seminary student. We started our second year as a seminary family this August. In this area, it is very common for students to fill in for churches when their pastor is sick, out of town, etc.,  or when a church is without a pastor.

Sometimes Greg goes alone while the rest of us attend our church here in town, sometimes he takes a kid or two, and occasionally the whole family goes along.

Today, for a church an hour away, that we knew nothing about, with a 3 week old, for the first Sunday out as a family of 8, for the first cold morning of the season, we decided to all go along. Because that makes perfect sense.

I had my alarm set for 6:00am, which turned out to be unnecessary because Levi was up nursing at 5:30. 

6:00 should have been plenty of time to get the family out the door, but I had forgotten to take into consideration that I would spend some of that time sitting on my booty nursing, not getting people and stuff ready. So there was a half hour lost right off the bat, from 7:30-8:00.

Then there was the fact that Brooklyn, recovering from a cold, had a coughing fit that left snot in her hair and down the front of her dress. (I know you wanted to know that). The dress we had carefully selected the night before. As in, everything else we tried on either didn't fit or wasn't right in some other way.

Then there was the fact that Alan's navy pants were too short AND he was wearing them with white socks. And the search for black socks for Tyler took a while, too. 

I had a few minutes to fix my hair, then grabbed the rest of my makeup to finish in the van. But with everything else that took up our time, I wasn't able to pack the sandwich fixins I had planned on bringing with us. 

Still, we were out the door only 10 minutes after we had planned, and still with 15 minutes "cushion" time.  I sound all calm about that now, but in reality I was sitting in my seat with jaw set and fists clenched. What a lovely way to set off as a family to worship! Or not.

It was about that time I realized I had left my phone at home. 

I don't go anywhere without my phone.

Except today. 

I was less than thrilled.

And Levi was scr-eam-ing. 

I wanted to turn around and go home right then. But to turn around and drop us off would most definitely have made Greg late. So on we went. 

And within just a minute or two Levi quit screaming and went to sleep. And it really didn't take too long for my knots to unclench and let myself enjoy the time in the front seat with my husband. We don't seem to see much of each other these busy days, so we were looking forward to the driving time today.

The driving time that was quite pleasant, even with Daniel whining and whimpering most of the way.
Then there was the moment about 15-20 minutes from the church when Brooklyn announced she had to pee.

There was absolutely nowhere to stop, because the moment she made this little announcement Greg was taking a huge descending, u-turn type exit to get us onto the next highway. Mid-way through this exit I, only half-jokingly, said "and now everyone's carsick!"

The words were barely out of my mouth before Daniel's breakfast was flying out of his. We didn't even have time to react before Brooklyn, in the next row back, was puking too.

I'm not kidding: I laughed out loud.

Greg did a u-turn and pulled into an abandoned drive across the road, where we all piled out and got busy. 

I think it was the first time in his LIFE that Daniel had thrown up and he didn't like the experience One. Bit. Thank you very much. He wouldn't stop crying!

Brooklyn on the other hand, is an old pro at this carsick thing and waited patiently while we worked on Daniel and carseats and Alan's jeans (unfortunate victim sitting next to Brooklyn).

In the middle of nowhere you have no data signal, so Greg called my Dad to see if there was a dollar store in this little town. And - yay! - there was!

So we loaded everyone back up, Greg called the church and let them know we wouldn't be making Sunday school (and told them why) and then he went shopping for new clothes for the pukers while I nursed Levi. We decided to not dress anyone in their new clothes until we got there, ya know? Oh, and then Brooklyn reminded us that she still needed to pee, and while debating on whether to take her into the dollar store or not, it became a non-issue. So now, even her panties would be going in the dirty clothes sack. 

I believe, as Greg put the van in gear, our words were, "Onward!"

We made it to the church without further incident, and with plenty of time to spare before services. 
I got Brooky changed pretty quickly (and we even found clean dry panties in the back!) and she went in with Daddy and her big brothers while I went to work on Daniel. He and Levi and I brought up the rear. 

The arrival of our family brought the Sunday morning attendance total up to a whopping 18. We were happy to be with those sweet people though, in their pretty little country church. And I mean "little" literally. The ladies' room was so small that the trash can had to sit on top of the toilet tank because there wasn't a space in the floor for it! It also the first time I had ever seen pews without armrests on the ends. Not that I was concerned with resting my arms, but those open-ended benches immediately brought images to mind of any number of my children falling off the end and out into the aisle. 

I am pleased to say, though, that we made it through the entire service without anyone falling anywhere, Levi slept beautifully in his carseat the entire time (a true miracle), and there were no other mishaps or meltdowns, either. 

And while the ride home wasn't exactly a picnic, it was far from eventful. We were thankful to be home for a late lunch and then an afternoon of quiet while the littles napped. Yes, I'd do it all over again.

But I might pack a change of clothes next time. ;)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saturday! (October 4)

We took note of a certain "first" today. It may or may not have any impact on our immediate future...but after a week or two of  Daniel being out of the crib at night (and sharing the full-size bottom bunk with Tyler) this morning was the first time he discovered he can now get into bed with mama and daddy. 

'Round about 6:something this morning he sleepily stumbled into our room. Probably awake because he was cold - we had the windows open for the crisp fall-ness and when I pulled Daniel into bed with us his little feet were freeezing!  He let me snuggle him up like a great big teddy bear and we all dozed together while the sky grew light. 
Before too long Levi woke up and joined us. Sweet times!

Today was the last day of a several-day visit from my mom. She was in town for a few family portrait sessions. We took advantage of her working-visit to sneak in a new group shot of our ever-growing herd. It was the first picture (ever!) of all 8 of us together. :)
I snapped this one on our way to our photo-spot. Can you spy all 6 kids? I'll give you one hint...Greg's carrying Levi. ;)

After lunch we said good-bye to Mimi and carried on with Saturday-ish things like mowing the grass and laying out Sunday clothes. Which, for this particular Sunday involved a trip to storage to find fall things from our hand-me-down stash for a few of the kiddos.

I'm afraid Levi isn't going to grow fast enough to fit into his little pumpkin hat this fall.
But he says the eye-shading allows for wonderful napping. 

Happy First Saturday of October to all!

Friday, October 3, 2014

October 3 - Looking back...

...at June:

Daddy took Dale, Alan, and Tyler to church camp for the first time. Alan and Tyler came home early with fevers, but still had a good time while it lasted. :)
Dale, on the other hand, stayed all 5 days, and came home saved! We had been talking with him about it for a couple of years, and it finally all connected for him at camp. Many happy tears and phone calls that night!

Just two days after coming home from camp, Dale was baptized by his Daddy, on Father's Day, no less!

That Sunday was also the day we left our little seminary home, our van loaded to absolute capacity (and then some!), not to return for 8 full weeks! (That's 56 nights, if you want to count it that way.)
And since I'm aspiring to write 28 more days in October (which would be...you know...all of them), I think I'll save the retelling of the rest of that adventure for another day! 

G'night, all!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October 2

Scrolling through facebook this morning I read a blogger had accepted a challenge to write every day for the month of October. And I remembered again how much I miss writing. Particularly blogging.

And I thought, "why not?"

Homeschooling a 6th grader, 2nd grader, and two preschoolers with a toddler and a newborn to take care of, plus laundry, meals and all the logistics of maintaining any household, not to mention a large one...that leaves plenty of time for blogging, right? 


And yet, here I am. The baby's actually asleep in his cradle. My hard-working husband is finishing up cleaning in the kitchen before moving on to homework. We are all enjoying the last drips of rain and fading rolls of thunder, along with the blessedly cool breeze a fall storm left in its wake.

Peace abounds.

And I write.

The little saying is true...
I worked from "son" up...

to "son" down today. 
And I'm looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow. :)