Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 Christmas letter

Christmas 2010
I’m wondering if I would be considered a bad mother if I didn’t decorate the tree this year.  It’s up.  The lights are on it, but aside from what the kids made this week in church, it’s bare.  It’s horrible to say, but I feel like it’s more trouble than it’s worth.  All the boxes will have to be brought out, the time it’s going to take to decorate, the ornaments that will shatter as a multitude of excited hands reach into the box before I can stop them.  The time could really be put to better use.  I could do a few home school lessons with the kids.  Better yet, I could put on a movie for them and take a nap.  I know that most of you would graciously offer me a reprieve for six reasons…

The fact that Sadie just turned a year last month and has begun to walk along the furniture and crawl every where deters me a bit.  Although absolutely adorable with her six-tooth smile, she likes to get into things.  I can imagine her un-decorating the bottom quarter of our tree and squealing with delight as she eats a snowman ornament’s head.  

Vance is two and half.  Need I say more?  He keeps me busy any time his eyes are open.  Even with the tree barren, he has tried to climb it and throws his dragons and dinosaurs in it from across the room.  He is no longer the pudgy toddler of last Christmas, but is more like a stout linebacker ready to take out whoever or whatever gets in his way, trees included.  Already a great portion of my day is spent trying to clean up behind hurricane Vance before Sadie taste tests the wreckage, and vacuuming the artificial needles that fall off our fake California tree.  What's a few ornaments to the mix?

Keely at four is very motherly.  She probably would do okay with our version of the tannenbaum and would cuddle and sing lullabies to every baby Jesus ornament we own.  She would also “watch” over Sadie to ensure she stays out of the tree, but her doting is more stifling than the most smothering mother.  I pray every day that the old saying proves true that what doesn’t kill Sadie will make her stronger.  

I don’t think Ryleigh, who turns six the day after Christmas, would be a problem either.  I think her main concern at this point are the presents under the tree.  Her Christmas list this year consists of shoes, skinny jeans, and jewelry.  I would be concerned if she had a shallow fashion attitude to accompany her love for all things shiny, but she has a heart as big as her smile.  I may have to watch that she doesn’t re-purpose the smaller ornaments into earrings. 

Brynna is 10 and can be a huge help.  I could task her with decorating the tree with the children, but fights would surely ensue.  She has always had leadership qualities,  but her leadership skills seem to resemble that of Attila the Hun than that of Ronald Regan when dealing with her sisters.  She is very creative when it comes to decorating and has a style all of her own, so the tree would definitely be lovely and unique.  

Jace at 13, would help decorate if I asked.  He is becoming more of a teenager in regards to not wanting to partake in all our Christmas traditions, but is more than willing to help the little ones when they need him.  Recently it seems as if he is growing into a young man, or rather a young Brian.  With his improving height he could reach the higher branches and help even out the ornaments so that the bottom and middle are not the only areas decorated.  Better yet, he could help me see the lighter side of things as he makes jokes about the younger children’s antics.  

Even with the older children’s help, decorating the tree just seems like one more thing to add to the to-do list and for what, to take it down in a few weeks? Who am I kidding, last year the tree came down in February.  Regardless,  as I sit here looking at the unobstructed white lights and the symbol of the season, I know my list is selfish.  Selfishness, the antithesis of Christmas, the holiday all about love and sacrifice.  It’s the antithesis of parenting too.  I must sacrifice my own agenda and list of lame excuses and whip out the boxes of ornaments.  After all, in the grand scheme of things what am I really sacrificing in comparison to the true sacrifice made for me, for us?  Jesus.  I’m so glad he did it.  I’m sure I’ll be glad I decorated the tree too.  Their giggles as we tell the stories associated with the ornaments, the tears as I sweep up the shards of glass, and looking at our haphazardly adorned evergreen will be worth it.

Merry Christmas!

Much Love,

Monday, August 30, 2010

Life and Hope

Tonight I went to join my girlfriends for a Mom's Nite Out.  It's always a lot of fun; we stuff ourselves with fried ice cream at the local Cantina and laugh until our faces hurt.   It began with the normal formalities then quickly took a turn. Tonight was different. Tonight was somber.  Tonight left me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  And an ache in my heart.  We found out that an acquaintance of ours died this weekend at her own hands.  Although she was just an occasional friendly face to us, she was the mom of our children's  friends. 

The irony of suicides are the ripple effects; the person leaving thinks no one cares and yet it shakes the foundation of even those people who barely knew them.   And there we sat with our ice creams, feeling numb and cold, trying to sort it all out.  We didn't. Even after talking.  The drive home.  Nursing the baby.  I sit.  Perplexed.

I'm not quite sure what to think or feel.  I just feel like I'm in a dream.  A really bad dream.  I can't get her kids out of my mind.  Where are they?  How are they handling this?  Did they suspect?  Did they find her?.  

I'm replaying every interaction I ever had with her.  What did she mean when she said that?  Should I have responded differently?  Did I do enough to share my faith?  Did I reach out?  

I'm sitting here wondering how I am going to tell my kids.  Are they going to ask tough questions?  Are they going to cry?  Are they going to let it roll of their back at first and then mull it over in private like their mom?

My mind is reeling from the battle that must have ensued in her thoughts moments before it happened.  I'm sad.  I'm disgusted. I'm questioning.  I'm angry.  I'm heavyhearted. I'm trying to understand.  I'm trying not to judge.  I'm aching.  I'm pensive. 

Tonight, I'm pondering life and hope, and how you can't have one without the other.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mother Discusser

My friend Jaimie recently started blogging.  She is taking a unique approach to her blog by asking questions to other moms.   Her readers are then commenting their answers while gleaning wisdom from one another.  Her first discussion was based on the questions: 

Has being a mom made me more or less resilient?
-Since becoming a mom, I've had to dig deep within myself in order to... 
My responses to her questions are listed below as well as in the comments section of Jaimie's post.  I'm super excited to see how this works and to be a part of it.  You can join the discussion here.

After having kids my body is definitely less resilient.  The whole transverse abdominal muscle seemed to cooperate after one.  And two. After number three though, I think it thought, "If you like being pregnant so much I'm just going to let you look four months pregnant for the rest of your life. (Insert evil laugh here.)" 

Seriously though, just like all of the comments before me.  Motherhood has made me more resilient.  It's one of those things where you can either be overcome by life or you can step up and make life happen.  And seriously you have kids, is there really any other option but to step up?  Every child, and every change/obstacle in my life requires going beyond myself. I try not to over-think the piles of laundry and toys, the meals to be fixed, the lessons that need to be taught, the numerous diapers to change and I take NIKE's advice, "Just Do It."  Don't think though that I am a "doer" by nature, because I'm not. I too struggle with laziness, so much so that, I often say I am the sluggard from Proverbs.  It helps when I am feeling overwhelmed with my children, with my life, and rebellious towards the demands on my plate to remember Luke 12:48b, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." 
So what do I have to dig deep for?  Everything.  I have to dig deep to wake up some mornings. I have to dig deep not to go with my initial reaction when my children make me angry. I have to dig deep to give my oldest more freedom. I have to dig deep to not be so selfish.  I have to dig deep to come up with something for Barbie to say to Ken when playing with the girls. I have to dig deep at times to be outward focused.  I am so thankful that regardless of how difficult it seems, how deep this hole is that I am digging; God is faithful and renews my spirit everyday.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Rookie Mom and Me

This past week I flew to Maryland to pick up Jace and Brynna.  It pretty much went down as expected; the baby Moby-wrapped to my body, the full-sized convertible car seat I carried with one arm, and the over-sized purse that preferred to reside on the crook of my arm instead of my shoulder, pretty much put a damper on my mad dash to embrace my kids like I anticipated.  The Wife Swap running reunification will have to wait for another day.  My imitation of a pack mule left my arms aching for two days following, but it was all worth it to see my oldest kids.  I'm not sure how it was that they grew so much in six weeks, but they did.

As anxious as I was to see them I was a little nervous about traveling by myself with Sadie.  I had only done it one other time with an infant by myself and that was four years prior with Keely.  It went off without a hitch but I didn't want to be encumbered by anything additional that might not be needed. So I pared down.  The purse housed my everyday purse items in addition to baby food, snacks, diapers and wipes.  However it lacked two major items that are a necessity with babies - clothing and toys. It was unintentional, my lack of preparation regarding wardrobe and fun things, and I didn't realize until I was on the plane digging in my bag for something to entertain Sadie.  My finds?  A pen and a spoon.  How does this happen?  Me, a mom of six.  I'm supposed to know something about kids; I should be a seasoned professional and instead I thought I'm like a rookie.  As her affection for plastic-ware waned, I handed Sadie my lip balm, and I rethought my rookie idea, realizing it wasn't true.  After all a rookie mom would have had a well stocked diaper bag in addition to her purse.  The first time mom is prepared for all life has to throw at her and even factors in situations that won't ever arise in the natural world.  She has more toys than FAO Schwartz, she has brought changes of clothing that will take her little one into the pre-teen years.  She has stockpiled food to the extent that if the plane was stranded on an island they collectively could survive at least nine days.  Here I was with one purse and a prayer, hoping that Sadie preferred Bics to rattles and that she wouldn't crap through her clothes.  What would I have done if my supplies didn't satisfy the situation?  Well, I would make do with what was on hand.  It wouldn't be the first time I would have made my child look like a little mummy as I wrapped the bum of their clothing with paper towels.  It wouldn't be my inaugural performance of a myriad of children's songs as I looked the part of a fool in hopes of stifling cries and getting a smile or a giggle.   My phone is no virgin to baby slobber, as many a child has gnawed it, I will take the chance of it no longer working.  I could mass produce creations from cups and miscellaneous trash.  I would make happen, what needed to happen, when it needed to happen.  I'm no rookie mom...I'm MacGyver Mom!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Erica Resolutions

I just revisited my post The Evolution of Erica.  It was my birthday post last year; I reflected where I was and what I had become.  This year however has made me think about where I am going.  It amazes me that with every day that passes, I become more aware of time.  Sometimes, acutely aware.  Last night I figured out that in five short years, my oldest will be going off to college.  That my friends is a frightening revelation, especially when you think that it was a blink of an eye to get to 13!  So these crazy realizations, the comparisons to my own childhood and adolescence has me reeling at times, but I figure I need to do something about it and stop acting punch-drunk.  I'm going to make New Erica Resolutions in hopes of managing my time better..

This coming year, I am going to stop being just the observant-play parent and become the play-on-the-floor parent too.  I am going to interact by pushing a matchbox car around, making dinosaurs fight, building Lego mansions, and dressing Barbies for at least15 minutes every day. ( I cringe as I type such a short amount of time, but to be honest I don't have the imagination to make it last too much longer than that.)

This coming year, I am going to listen to the kids.  I am going to stop the laundry and loading of the dishwasher and look into my kids eyes as they speak to me.

This coming year, I am going to create more moments to share as a family and with the kids as individuals. 

This coming year I am going to try and find the big picture in life.  I am going to weigh the pros and cons and if the con is my personal discomfort than I will press on anyway.

This coming year I am going to bake for friends and random people.  I am going to learn how to make fancy cupcakes with exotic flavors like on Cupcake Wars and most likely gain 10 pounds.

This coming year, I will no longer tailgate. I may still call people "stupid idiot", but there will be a safe following distance when I do it.

This coming year I am going to get more sleep and stop using the "I'm tired" excuse to explain my behavior, lack of productivity, and why I don't brush and floss every night.

This coming year, I am going to be an encourager to my husband.  I am going to tell him thanks when he helps with the kids without me asking, when he gets home from working all day, and even when he leaves a mess on the stove and the kids are still up at 10 at night because I went out with friends.  I will not take him for granted.

This coming year, I am going to make a difference in the lives of strangers and young mothers by loving and caring for them, therefore making a difference in my own family.

 This coming year, I will write once a month whether that be on here or on a calendar.  I will do it!

This coming year, I will evolve even more.  I will sober up to the fact that I can't stop time, but I can make the most of what time God has given me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Life By The Handful

I wouldn't be a good web designer, that's for sure.  My friend commented the other day to say I should update my header to include Sadie.   So I attempted to update and now the whole thing is askew.  My words aren't centered like on my last heading (although I'm not missing a coma like I was on the last one).  I'm not sure where the box came from or how to make it border my picture like it was intended.  Unfortunately it will remain there, a 1/4-too-small square that will be a reminder of my lack of cyber artistic skills.  And yes, I realize I still really didn't update with Sadie, but I was really trying to keep the whole hand holding theme going and I don't have any with Sadie out of the womb.  Sorry!  Maybe after next years Christmas card photo session.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Missing Two

It's been almost four weeks since Jace and Brynna left to drive across country with my parents.  They were on the road for 10 days and now they are residing in my old abode with my folks.  I miss them terribly.  Yes, I miss the huge help they are to me, but most of all I miss them and the way we laugh together.  We talk almost daily, but conversations are different over the phone than they are in real life.  Situations aren't nearly as funny when they happened five hours previously and you are trying to relive them via Bell's greatest invention.  What would have had us crying because we were laughing so hard, now conjure only a chuckle as we try to picture it in our mind's eye.

Often I try to imagine them back there in my childhood home, as I share with them what I used to like to do and the places I would go.  I wish I were back there with them to physically show them so I could see their expressions and re-live it all again.  It had been over four years since they had seen Lightening Bugs and I wonder if Brynna's eyes lit up just as bright when she saw them again.  I also wonder if they see me back there.  When they hang out with my mom and sisters, do they see me in their eyes, in their actions?  Do they notice that my dad breaks into song at the mention of phrases, just like their mom?  Do they notice the similarities in my brother and my humor?  Are they hearing stories of when their dad and I were children and does it give them any insight to who we are now?  I'm sure it doesn't.  It's only now when I listen to the stories of my own parents youth that I can make the connection that these two people in their golden years were once children.  Even in my own life, it seems almost unfathomable that it is possible that I am the little girl in the pictures in my albums.

In two more weeks Sadie and I will hop a plane to go and pick them up.  I'm counting down the days. In my head I'm running at them like a lonely husband from Wife Swap who finally realizes what he has been missing, but I'm sure Jace and Brynna will greet me with sauntering sideways hugs and a "hi, mom". I will take what I can get, as long as I get them.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Devil Vs. Angel

I really need to be more consistent with my posts.  Every time I write it's always the same ole thing; the same old "back again" story.  Well my hope is that this post will be the start of a new more regimented me.  I have decided today that I need to do this. I need to write.  The plane is going down and I am trying to put the oxygen masks on everyone else first.  This is my attempt to get some of number eight on the Periodic Table for myself, this is me breathing some oxygen...

Sometime right before Vance's second birthday, he became incorrigible and has figuratively left me curled in a ball on the floor weeping.  What do I do with this little man?  Discipline is not working.  What happened to my sweet little baby boy? The one who loved to snuggle on the couch that smiled and cooed at my mere presence and laughed at every funny face made by his siblings.  Someone has replaced my sweet angelic offspring with Lucifer's.

Vance is a one man wrecking team.  He dumps out bins of toys, buckets of dog food, glasses of water, cupboards of dishes just to hear them hit the floor.  He pulls Ryleigh and Keely's hair until they scream, has scarred their faces, and literally kicks them while they are down.  Just for fun he pushes the dog off the couch when she is sleeping and kicks her when she isn't looking. Like a shotputter he chucks rocks and other weighted objects at mirrors, glass doors, and faces.  Like an inked graffiti artist he writes on his body, on the wall, on the furniture, and our hearth for his pleasure .  He empties glue bottles onto our carpets, spits his food and water on the floor.  Throws food across the room, whether it be hot dogs or yogurt.  He takes his diaper off as soon as he pees or poops and runs leaving the rest of us screaming following his trail of turds.  During baths, he purposefully stands to pee, spraying whatever and whomever is near.  Whenever he pleases, he disrobes in public and strangers hand me the clothing he has discarded.  His play constitutes one object eating another, roaring at one another, and stomping on each others heads; even if he's playing with Barbies.  He sets nothing down but passes it to the floor like a basketball to a teammate.  He screeches a shrill my-ears-are-bleeding scream that induce migraine-like headaches immediately.  He seeks out bugs to step on and squish, not at all concerned whether they are lady bugs or darkling beetles.  He wads toilet paper in the sink and leaves it running to overflow all over the bathroom floor.  Dennis the Menace has nothing on Vance.  He growls, he yells "no", he asks "why" to every request and every demand.  He shoves things that are too big into holes that are too small and likes to house miscellaneous objects in our VCR and DVD players.  He picks his nose, laughs at farts, and wants to "see" all things gross.  He runs like a linebacker knocking over whatever is in his path; like a miniature Chris Farley, breaking things just by turning around.  Not only does he jump on the furniture, he jumps from one piece to another like he's playing a game of Frogger.  He doesn't sleep anymore but wakes up and crawls in our bed kicking us, hitting us and one night he even tried to sleep on my head. 

Then just when I think Dobson would throw up his hands and say, "I'm baffled", Sadie enters a room and regardless of what he is doing, he comes over, kisses her on the forehead and says in a sweet kind whisper, "Hi Sadie".  And for a moment I see a glimpse of my sweet boy angel.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's a Penis Not the Plague...

These are the words that often run through my mind. Vance is in the stage of the free spirit. The age when diapers are cumbersome and air flowing in the nether regions is preferred. I've been here before, it's seems like a million times now and I still don't know how to address the subject. When Ryleigh and Keely were here I tried to take the "It's no big deal" approach (Naked in Rain boots), but now Vance is bearing his yankee doodle and the girls are either too curious for my taste or completely disgusted.  

I admit that I probably do not stress modesty enough, but there are few things more adorable than a newborn moon, or a toddler one for that matter, and for this reason I am not quick to react when little ones become unclad.  The girls however, are expeditious to point and scream "Ewwww" as they run from the room.  Vance is quite impressed by his newly discovered power that his appendage yields.  It's at this point that I intercede and grab a giggling boy and rescue two screeching girls.  I try to be matter-of-fact regarding the situation, and for the most part I believed my approach was working well for everyone, that I was presenting a healthy view of the body parts God has gifted us.  That was until a few weeks ago.  As I wrestled a diaper on to the little man, I tried again to tell the girls that it's not funny or gross, but it's they way God made boys, that it is his body, his private area, his penis.  Vance stopped squirming and stared at me.  I pointed and repeated, "your penis."  To which Vance struggled to lift his over-sized head off the couch to look down and replied, "Ewwww."  I surely hope Brian and I can afford therapy for all the kids one day. 

(Originally written in Jan. 2010)

Friday, March 5, 2010

I Quit!

I Quit!  I hate homeschooling!  I hate the time it takes from my day.  I hate how hard it is to motivate my kids.  I hate how far behind I am with life.  I hate how hard this is.  I hate how my children don't seem to get it.  And I hate how I feel inside when they don't.  I hate the tiny Erica inside of me that is screaming curse words and hurtful things at her children.  I hate it.  I'm done!

That was the post I began yesterday.  I never finished it because other, "more important", things came up.  At this moment I can't even remember what they were but I'm sure I wasn't pleased.  It was a bad day yesterday.  A day where I wanted to climb back in bed and go to sleep and wake up a better person.  Unfortunately, life doesn't go that way, especially when you have kids.  I sulked. I barked. I was mean.  And even though I never said those things I was screaming on the inside, I'm sure my face said it all.  Poor children from my womb...I can be such a beast - a big hairy, ugly, smelly beast.  Yet they seemed oblivious.  They still danced around, climbed on my lap, and clambered up to give me a kiss.  I guess they didn't realize that they aren't invited to my pity parties.  Yet even their party crashing didn't change me, I still seethed.

It wasn't until later when I was speaking to another homeschooling mom that I was encouraged.  She told me the same things other moms had been telling me for months - try block learning.   (Block learning is where you just do all the required weekly lessons for a particular subject in one day).  This method of teaching sounds appealing to me, but I have also been told that certain subjects should be taught every day.  So, I chimed in that I couldn't do it because I was told Math and Spelling should be done everyday.  Her reply gave me tremendous hope.  She said, "You are homeschooling, Erica.  You do whatever works for you."  Why at that moment the clouds parted, I'm not sure.  I haven't even tried it yet, but I didn't dread starting the day as much.  I think it might actually work for me - for us.  I spoke with the kids about it today and they seemed excited too.  So on Monday we start our new schedule, maybe homeschooling attempt #547 will work.  Fingers are crossed and instead of quitting...I'm pushing on!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What are you wearing?

How I do it #4: Everyone but Sadie and Vance pick out their own clothes and dress themselves.  This one was a hard one to overcome at first, especially with Brynna who would wear cat costumes, rain boots, and a winter hat to the grocery store, but it was born from necessity and continues to make my life easier.  One day a friend of mine reassured me that this was okay, that it was fostering independence and decision making.  Her sage words are still a favorite quote of mine, "Sometimes you just gotta let them walk behind you."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Idea from Proverbs

How I do it # 3: Proverbs 26:11 says, "As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly." I thought if a dog likes his own vomit then it probably likes others upchuck too. So, when the baby spits up on the floor, I call the dogs and hit it with a mop when I get a chance. (I don't do this with anyone over the age of 6 months, that would be gross.)  The dogs clean under the tables for me after meals too.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lower Your Standards

I'm often asked how I raise six kids, coordinate a ministry, home school, and get everything done. The truth is, I don't get everything done and most times I get nothing done. I always tell people not to be impressed. However, people still say they are in awe and ask for my secret. My response, "I've lowered my standards." I thought I would share a few of those standards with you over the next few weeks. Hopefully you can relate, hopefully you will not think I'm crazy or disgusting and if you was nice knowing you.

How I do it #1: Pray often! Not holy-long-winded-prayers, but monosyllabic oh-Lord-prayers. These at times are my most genuine prayers.

How I do it #2: If I'm lucky I get to take a shower every other day and my leg hair is usually visible from the Hubble telescope.  Body spray and the ponytail are on my list for the most ingenious things ever created.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Back to Reality

We are back from spending the weekend in beautiful and hot (80 degree temps) San Diego. Before jealousy wells up inside of you, let me dash the vision of me sipping umbrella drinks in the sand while the rich and the famous jog by. When I first heard Brian had to work the weekend in San Diego, I too fell victim to the scenario; a stupid smile crossed my face as I looked off into space and a fuzzy white ring appeared around me sipping the earlier stated umbrella drink with my toes in the sand and joyous children hugging one another and building sandcastles beside me. I should have known it would be a farce as soon as I saw myself in a bathing suit two months after having a baby, but a woman can dream.

Day One:

The plan:
Leave the house by 10 am., drop the dogs off at the boarding place, drive halfway eat lunch at Rainforest Cafe where the kids will be in awe of the sights, reach San Diego around 4, eat dinner, hit grocery store for food for room fridge, take the kids to the pool, put them to bed by 9.

What actually happened: Left the house at 1. Our 2 lb. dog that won't even jump off the couch, lost all depth perception and jumped off my lap and out the window of our moving truck. Ten minutes of seizures, she amazingly was okay. Arrived at Rainforest Cafe. Vance was afraid of any animal thing that moved. He whined for fear we were abandoning him in the jungle if we bent over to pick up a napkin. Freeway closed down due to an accident. New route had two accidents - very slow at times. Two kids claiming motion sickness. Arrived at hotel at 8. Brian didn't tell the front desk he brought his family. Back stairwell. Three flights. Six kids. Two times. Bed at 11.

Day Two:

The plan: Donuts, park, nap for the younger four, school and Bible study for the bigger kids and myself, funburger joint, park, dinner with Brian, pool, bed at 8:30.

What actually happened:
Kids up at the butt crack of dawn. Threatened kids with going home if they didn't quiet down so I could shower. Back stairwell. Three flights. Six kids. On the quest for donut shop. Thirty minutes, six strip malls later - success. Quick grocery run - disapproving looks. Keely drops a bottle of Vitamin water all over the floor didn't help our case. Park - super fun. Back stairwell. Three flights. Six kids. Nap for Vance and Sadie. Keely and Ryleigh out of control. Kids punching one another. Me threatening. Big kids on Facebook. Back stairwell. Three flights. Six kids. Little Cesar pizza for lunch. Beautiful park. Hot and tired momma. Nursing a fussy baby on a bench while the other children watch Vance jump around in a mud puddle behind me. Only shoes he has. Costco for snacks. Back stairwell. Three flights. Six kids. Times two. On the brink of losing my mind, Brian arrives. Thank you Lord! Back stairwell. Three flights. Six kids. No pool, family walk. Nice. Back stairwell. Three flights. Six kids. Leftover pizza. Bed at 9:30.

Day Three:

Plan for the day:
Pack up. Legoland at opening.

What actually happened:
Kids up even earlier. Grumbling. Brian has to work half day. Packed up after Brian left. Loaded truck. Back stairwell. Three flights. Four times. More grumbling. Double check room. Everyone potties. Back stairwell. Three flights. Six kids. Off to another park. Pick Brian up. Off to Legoland. Arrive three hours after they open. Fun is had by all. Dinner afterward. Kids are melting down. Mom is spent. Dad is the only semi-reasonable thinker. Pee accident. Two kids with diarrhea. Dessert. Head home. Bed by 11pm.

You would think at my age and with six kids I would realize that my expectations and romantic notions rarely match reality. Despite the fact that my plans rarely matched what transpired or that I was completely exhausted, I'm thankful that I'm not cynical because this trip really was great. It reinforced with me what great kids I have; very go-with-the-flow, funny, and helpful when it counts. So even though I didn't get to sip drinks on the beach and rub elbows with the elite; I did get to eat donuts in the park with some of the greatest people on earth and after all those stairs that bathing suit might just be a reality next year.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Where Have You Been Young Lady?

Hello, I'm back! Have you missed me?

I realize it's been a while and although I would love to give the excuse of a new baby and home school, I wouldn't be telling the truth. The real issue is Facebook. I've been obsessing over my friend's statuses for months. I have a break, I pop on the computer to see what is happening on the east coast. I wake up and check to see what friends have uploaded pictures of their kids, their pets, the weather. Before bed, I read the conversations between people I went to school with 15 years ago. It's ridiculous. Why do I care who earned what in Farmville, I don't even play. I feel as if I have become a virtual peeping Tom and to be honest I don't like it, but have I stopped - no. So this is not only an explanation of my absence but a confession of my obsession in hopes that now that I have admitted it I will somehow be able to change it. Whew, sweet release!

I can't say that Facebook is the only reason I have stayed away from you. I did have another baby, baby number six. Our sweet little Sadie girl arrived three weeks early on Thanksgiving day. When they checked me the day before and realized my amniotic fluid was too low to continue the pregnancy, they said this is the day you get to meet your baby. Fearfully I was induced, but the Lord is good and I had her six hours later with no pain meds. Recovery has been wonderful and the kids have been great. (I still stand by my belief that going from one child to two children was by far the most difficult.)

I'm still homeschooling. Still can't stand it. As I type the children are neglecting their assignments and discussing farts and giggling. I have reached my yelling capacity for this hour and will begin again in 20 minutes, after my voice box has had a rest. I still fear that I am ruining them for the real world. That they will never again be able to go into a real class setting and succeed. Constantly doubting if I am doing the right thing. Hoping that they are not becoming social rejects, feeling as if I am.

Another reason I have been gone, is that after a long break from writing it's hard to start up again. Feeling as if there is nothing to say. Other times thinking there is too much to say and not knowing where to begin. Wondering if all my bloggy friends have written me off after so much time. I have decided it's time to get over my paralysis and type, even if it isn't very good. It's nice to be back and stop the excuses. Ignore the Smile requests on Facebook. Learn to type with a baby on the boob. Turn a deaf ear to the children and their slacking. Now if only the little ones could take care of their own excrement....gotta run, there are rears to clear. (Note to self: Make life easier and buy flushable wipes.)