Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Day of Rest

It’s Sunday morning. The beginning of our “day of rest”. But I’m up before the sun – hoping that my early start might make the next eight hours or so possible.

Mike is gone and won’t be home ‘til very late.

By the time I need to leave for my 8:30 meeting I’m showered and dressed in a freshly-pressed silk shirt, pencil skirt, and heels. Hair is a pony-tail, and there are no extra adornments like earrings or bracelets – just a watch with a dead battery; but something had to give when the shirt needed ironing.

I’ve managed to get several young ones breakfasted, two of six in church clothes, a diaper changed, one head of hair brushed and another put up in “Heidi” braids.

As I check to make sure the diaper bag does indeed have diapers; as well as Anders’ current favorite toy (Woody from Toy Story – with his hat) I shout last minute instructions to the older kids: They are in charge. Get dressed if they haven’t already. Don’t fight. Someone come snuggle Anders so he won’t be sad when I go. Girls take over if I’m not back in time and Abe needs to leave to his meeting. 

I’m back by 10:15. Abe is gone. Overall the kids managed well – though generic Captain Crunch cereal seems to have found it’s way across most surfaces in the house.

I wash faces. Dress more little ones. Tidy up bowls and cups (and generic Captain Crunch cereal). And we are off for our three hour church block – me holding a diaper bag and a Primary bag. Daisy pushing one stroller, Goldie pushing another.

The first hour or so with no Mike to help is rough. The speaker is a young girl – days away from leaving on a year-and-a-half proselyting mission for our church. She is sweet and beautiful. She speaks with innocence and faith. She sings as well – like a little earth-bound angel.

But the chapel is filled to overflowing. We are hemmed in on all sides and squished together in a fashion that requires constant shushing to two girls who are both sure the other is intentionally elbowing, and more shushing to another little girl who absolutely does not understand why her two younger brothers need to each have one side of me – leaving her an entire one spot removed from me.

The next two hours go well – I peek in on Anders and see him happily driving little cars and putting stuffed animals in a doll house in the Nursery. Jesse recites Matthew 5 : 16 in Opening Exercises without a hitch (though I listen at the door of his Sunday school class later and hear a whole lot of irreverent shenanigans: Teacher: “Are you guys ready for me to read this special scripture?” Jesse: “NO! Hahahaaha.” etc.).

But, when church ends, we are back to rush mode. I have another meeting (I typically only have two a month – one the first Sunday and one the third. How they both ended up on a husbandless, fourth Sunday was simply poor luck). I tell my Primary counselors to find an empty room and that I’ll come soon, then I search the building – rounding up children, quickly changing a messy diaper, instructing older kids again: find strollers, put Anders for a nap, don’t let Penny cross the road without you. Be nice to each other. 

And I’m off again.

None of this would have been possible even a year ago – when Anders was still more baby than toddler, and Abe and Daisy were still more kid than pre-teen. And I’m grateful that they have been able to manage the home-front more than they should need to on this day. Still, when I arrive home shortly after 3:00, I am determined to make amends for the wildness I have thrust upon them.

And, unlike so many days this past week, I find the balance. The balance between things that need done, and people that need loved.

I read a chapter of our most recent book to the older three kids.

I scratch the usual Sunday-type dinner of roast and potatoes and make frozen pizza instead. Not very Sunday-ish, but it keeps me from being consumed by the kitchen and allows the time I do spend there to be in making the chocolate chip cookies Abe has been wanting.

We still use a tablecloth.

I like Sunday dinner to feel like . . . a tradition. Like something special – even if it is frozen pizza.

Afterwards, resisting every natural urge in me, I let dishes, and cookie pans, and messy high-chairs stay put while the kids and I head out for a Sunday walk.

The girls want to go up to the local high-school track.

It feels novel. And we are wholly alone there – with the sun setting, and the bleachers echoing the kids shouts and laughter.

I only have my cell phone for taking pictures – but that is just as well as Anders refuses to run free (perhaps having felt my earlier neglect too keenly) and, instead demands, “Hold a hand” to me for most of the evening. So, I “hold a hand” – and try not to be impatient about getting home in time to have an early school-night, and try to wander with little hand-holder anywhere that anyone seems to need to show me something – jumping in the long-jump pit, climbing on the announcer’s box, sitting on the highest bleacher. I get a few little shots with my phone on the way.
In the end, the kitchen still gets tidied up. Kids still get teeth brushed and tucked in beds. It’s later than I would have liked. I’m typing this blog post at 11:00 rather than 9:00 like I might have done had things kept more directly on task. But I don’t mind. Somehow, despite our earlier busyness, this day has still ended up feeling like a day set apart. And, if not a day of rest in the traditional sense of the word, a day of rest all the same.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sleep, Freckles, Nativities, and Leaves

This morning found me messy-headed and stiff-limbed and asleep on our couch. Sort of asleep. I’m not a great couch sleeper. And there was one lone fly in our house that was determined to ensure that I stayed that way.

Meanwhile, my large king-size bed had been forfeit to one small, blonde, six year old. The whole bed. All hers.

She’d wandered into our room around midnight, and, without even fully waking to find why she was there,  I snuggled her into Mike’s side of the bed (as he was out of town) and curled back into my covers to sleep.

But then, she started coughing. And coughing. And coughing. I’ve never heard so much coughing. She seemed to be mostly sleeping through all the racket she was making, but several hours in – and with a pillow held tightly over my ear – I gave up on trying to sleep through it myself.

I didn’t dare carry her back to her own bed – for fear of making her room-sharing sisters have a miserable night’s sleep. So, off to the couch with me.

Luckily, poor though my  couch sleep was, it didn’t have to end prematurely. My youngest child never requires early morning attention. Despite his 8:00 pm bedtime and lengthy mid-day nap, he’d sleep in ‘til 10:00 am if I’d let him.

Sadly, this doesn’t do me a lot of good during the week when I have kids leaving for school as early as 6:50 (yipes). But weekends are lovely with Mr. Sleeps-A-Lot.

In other news:

“Freckles for President!” I love her freckles. And I love when I get a shot capturing the details of her face well-enough to show them off.

And, I’m pretty much done with the Nativity Slideshow I’ve been working on with the 50-some-odd kids that I currently work with in the Primary organization of my church!

Goldie (trampolines make for some fun angel shots Winking smile):

I wish I could share more pictures, but since they aren’t my kids and this is a public place, I probably shouldn’t without permission, but it has turned out so fun!

My sister Shannon pulled all the scriptures together into a nice script several years ago when she did this same thing with the grandkids in our family. She compiled scriptures from the usual New Testament spots, as well as a few from the Old Testament, and even scriptures from the Book of Mormon where it tells of the Nephite people who were also anxiously awaiting the sign of Christ’s birth (particularly anxiously since the unbelievers had set a day to kill those who believed should the prophesied sign not be given).

Years ago Mike’s Aunt Leisa made tons of costumes – shepherds, wise-men, angels, and even Nephites – that I was able to use along with a few items from my mom’s Nativity costume boxes. My room has been over-run with all of this dress-up stuff for several months! I think Leisa’s passing is partly what made me want to do this – making use of something she’d put so much time and energy into. Of course, I wish I’d done it last year when she was still here. She’d love how it’s come together.

When I started the project I was worried that it might be one of those things where I would get half way done and realize I would never be able to finish it in time. And it did prove tricky to get pictures of that many kids involved in sports and a million other activities. We have some kids who don’t live super close by – but come to church with their grandparents, etc. It meant that I had to settle for taking pictures at not-perfect picture taking times, etc. But it’s done! And it’s only mid October! I’m so happy about it!

Also, our backyard leaves are crazy gorgeous right now. I need to get more pictures of them before they fade and drop, but looking out and seeing these shocking reds against blue sky every day is just . . . I don’t know . . . just kind of unreal.

Well, that was a lot of miscellany. Plenty of it for now. I’m off to haul nativity costumes out of my bedroom!

Happy weekend y’all!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Three Girls


I took a few pics of the three girls after church this past Sunday.

It makes me chuckle how their hair blends right in with the yellow grasses in the background.


You can always tell how late we were running by how many girls have their hair in pony tails or braids (my go-to, fast hair styles), and . . . by how many spider-man tattoos are still on arms or legs (or sometimes, heaven help us all, faces).

I remember trying to imagine, when Mike and I were first married, our lives with one tiny little blonde child running about. I could almost see it – there, on the edge of existence. One little toddler. I could almost believe we would someday have a real live little person that was all our own. I could just glimpse that possibility.

But this?

All of them? All of their rascally brothers?

No. I could not have imagined.

A good reminder to me that while there are likely unknown difficulties and troubles ahead, there are also wonderful things ahead. Things so amazing and so utterly precious and good, that our minds don’t have the ability to even fully imagine them.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Luck of Being a 6th Child, and Some Other Stuff

Oh to be a two-year-old 6th child. There are, perhaps, few other beings in all of existence showered with such constant adoration.

If everyone were so loved I’m not sure if the world would be full of complete joy and happiness . . . or just a lot of over-confidence and entitlement.

But this boy . . . he lives in a cocoon of utter doting. So many are constantly at the ready to cater to his whims and humor his every desire. So many to praise, and ooh and ahh over his every word and action.

He’ll grow up of course. He’ll become more of a peer to his siblings. He won’t always be handed every toy, and rushed every treat; met with a chorus of adoring “good morning”s and sent off with overly-exuberant  “good nights” from all.

But my goodness. What a lovely way to spend your first years of life. What a happy way to come to this earth: as a little sixth child.
And . . . a few other moments from the first weekend in October (one I was convinced would see us playing by the lake . . . as opposed to bundling up in coats and mittens):

When we looked back through our pictures, the kids thought this little offering was hilarious. I love Schleich animals and was just trying to capture a few of the ones Anders was playing with, but, apparently, the image looked like the horrible aftermath of a dog-gone-wild farm scene.

Daisy takes after her mother in her fondness for baking. She gathered all the ingredients for our little weekend away so she could make a pumpkin pie for us.

And, I think I’ve mentioned before how ridiculous it was that my initial impression of Mike was one of someone a bit cocky and unfriendly. Nobody exists who is more kind and good than my Mike. Still, every now and then, I catch a glimpse of him that I can see might make someone think he was . . . I don’t know . . . someone very different from who he is.

Here we go . . . this is closer to who he is.

Lastly, a few miscellaneous shots:

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