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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Our Turn has Come . . .

Well, we made it until yesterday--January 29th--without any extra doctor appointments or sicknesses.  The first to fall? Jackson, with a yucky cold and ear infection.    I'm still so thankful for how healthy everyone has been--it has been our best fall/winter in a very long time.  I'm just hoping I can keep Owen from getting it.  I hate having to shoo Jackson away from him constantly, but hopefully that will work. The upside to all this? Thursday, Jackson got up at 7:00, and Friday, are you ready for this? 7:45!!! Unfortunately, he was at my bedside this morning at 5:30 . . . Perhaps that means an extra long nap today? I can only hope. ;o)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Multi-tasking/Multi-talented

For some reason since having Owen I have this constant feeling of being "behind." Even though week by week our routine becomes more settled and I feel like slowly--but surely--each day I'm getting more accomplished.  I just feel REALLY busy.  And then I realized this: I'm constantly doing two things at once, like . . .
Supervising violin practice . . . while nursing Owen.
Giving a spelling test . . . while nursing Owen.
Reading a book . . . while nursing Owen.
Helping with a math problem . . . while nursing Owen.
Sleeping!!! . . .  while nursing Owen.
Refereeing a squabble, "You over there, you go to your chair!"  . . . while nursing Owen.
Walking around the house, picking up laundry with my feet . . . while nursing Owen.
Typing an email one handed, with a phone pinned precariously between my head and shoulder . . . while nursing Owen.
Eating spaghetti right-handed (I'm a leftie) . . . while nursing Owen. (And let me tell you, this, in and of itself is QUITE a talent, particularly if I can accomplish it without dripping any sauce on Owen) ;o)

Really. No wonder my brain feels like it's on a merry-go-round.  No wonder Jackson drew a picture of a cow's udder for his Cubbie teachers last night on the big dry-erase board (yes, he really did . . . I'm just thankful it wasn't *other* milk-producing apparatuses).  And I have no idea if I spelled apparatus right, I switched my "blog editor" to simplify uploading pictures and discovered the new one has no spell-check. *gasp* I HATE making spelling errors, they completely mortify me. And I would get my dictionary out to check my spelling--because I'm psycho that way--but would you believe it, whilst I sit here typing (isn't whilst a quaint little word?) . . . I'm nursing Owen. ;o)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Multitude Monday~1/25

The past week's joys and blessings . . .
39. Josh, armed with the previous season of Los.t on dvd, spent three hours doing/folding every last piece of laundry, so that when I awoke the next morning I was *officially* caught up
40. Our first out-to-eat-experience to Val's with five children--successful and yummy
41. New books for me
42. Everyone in bed on Sunday night except me and Owen and a date with "Emma"--great movie and I can't wait for the next two weeks' installments!
42. Owen's feet.  I was just looking at those tiny little toes in amazement, the teeny tiny nails . . . every little part so incredible.

43.  A few glimpses of our ever elusive sun, proving it really is still out there . . . somewhere ;o)
44. Tres Leches cake--sooooo good
45. Listening to the wind howl while I'm cozy inside
46. Paula.De.en's "Chicken Cobbler" and Roasted Green Beans--this casserole is SO good, like in the top 5 of all my main dish recipes good.  Like I could sit on the couch with a spoon and a 9x13 pan in lieu of container of ice cream good.  Like I almost devoted a whole post just to this casserole good. Seriously.  If you like chicken noodle soup or chicken pot pies, you need this recipe.  It is the epitomy of comfort food. Really, really good. ;o) 

47.  And I have leftovers because it made a ton. But moving on . . .
48. Had somebody call me out of the blue and offer to take Marissa to a b-day party on Saturday which happened to be right during naptime.  Josh works Saturdays, so this was just perfect that I didn't have to load everyone up and head across town.  It saved me so much time and hassle.
49.  Emmett's stacks and stacks of drawings he's amassing (and then trimming with scissors).  They all just make me smile and usually involve some sort of vehicle and cute little people that have only faces and legs.
50. Cozy pajamas
51. A God who works out all details
52. That we live in America and are blessed with abundance--when I look at conditions of others around the world I realize that even though my family is by no means rich, we have SO MUCH, and others have nothing--literally nothing.  It puts things in perspective.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Tender One

"Mommy?" she asks in her soft voice, "Do you think I'll be a good Mommy some day?"



"Oh, yes," I tell her, "All you have to do is love babies. And you do."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy First Month to Owen

Owen wasn't overly cooperative for his one month photo shoot . . .

However, I think we can all agree he has grown a *bit* in the last month. ;o) He's working on the double chin.  And he does have some cheeks on him.  And that outfit--a few weeks ago the arms and legs were both cuffed.  I believe it was looser too. ;o)  I think I only have about another week left for him to sport the newborn sizes.

I'm glad he's thriving. It's been a good month. I'm still lacking in folded laundry and clean surfaces, but I'm sure I'll see those days again some day. It might not be in the near future.  But for now I'll just keep focusing on what is most important, like laying big kisses on those plump cheekies and inhaling deep of that special baby smell. *blissful sigh*
Have a lovely weekend!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Blog Recommendation--

I came across this blog the other day written by a WOMAN carpenter who comes up with plans to build all of your Pot.teryBa.rn favorites at a mere fraction of the price. She even tells you what tools you need, wood to get . . . It is super cool and seriously makes me want to have my own wood shop. I'm not sure how far the skills I learned in my 7th and 8th grade shop classes would get me though. ;o) So, instead of cleaning today I've been plotting all the wonderful and beautiful furniture I could build . . . A great use of my time I'm sure. ;o) But if you have time, do check it out, like the bed she built--so cool!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Multitude Monday~1/18

Joys and blessings from the past week . . .
25. Degrading the "laundry situation" to a "laundry issue"
26. Slowly finding a new rhythm to our days
27. Snuggling a sleeping baby for the duration of a movie watched with Josh

28. Working on adapting some more discipline/structure to our days--always hard at first, but makes life so much easier in the long run
29. Not having to do THE BIG GROCERY EXPERIENCE since the beginning of December
30. Josh having Tuesday mornings available this semester to help me accomplish THE BIG GROCERY EXPERIENCE tomorrow ;o)
31. New recipes to try from Paul.a De.en
32. The anticipation of some new books from Am.azon . . . oh, and a dvd . . . "The Shred" . . .;o)
33. New jeans . . .that aren't maternity . . . that fit
34. Warmer days and melting snow
35. Finding books Marissa loves and watching her devour them
36. Drawing African animals with my girls
37. January is half over and February is short . . . spring isn't all that far away
38. My boys and the comic relief they provide for me, like:
Emmett painting his nails a vivid hue--twice (I removed the polish, and within half an hour discovered he had painted them again!)
And Jackson's new best friend "Lampy" who went everywhere with him today. Lampy drew pictures--with his cord, Jackson placed a marker at the end for him. Lampy ate lunch (Jackson set him up with a fork). Jackson drew a picture of him and Lampy together. And Jackson tucked Lampy into bed:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Miscellaneous Life

SMILING--Owen gave his Mommy three of the most brilliant smiles today, and I KNOW they were real because he went all "cross-eyed-focussy" on me and then a huge smile broke across his face. Unfortunately, I was camera-less all three times, so you'll just have to take my word at it.

A LAUNDRY SITUATION--even though technically there is another person to wash for, I really can't blame it on Owen because he has not pooped anything up and he's not too much of a spitter. Basically I put a new outfit on him when he gets a bath or if the urge strikes me. But I have laundry EVERYWHERE. Piles of clean laundry scattered throughout my bedroom, piles of dirty laundry in the basement. And then yesterday Jackson decided to mix a dirty basket from the bathroom with a clean basket in my bedroom and bury himself in it. Would you believe I actually stepped on him because I didn't know he was in the pile?!? And then I had to sort through it, trying to remember what was what. For some reason it feels like hundreds of people live here and I am responsible for all their laundry.

MY BAKING MORATORIUM--I have been fighting the urge to bake cookies for the last week, and today, broke down. You see I was really generous to myself during the month of December . . . And well, in order to actually loose the baby weight I figured I needed to stop baking. If it's not here, then I can't eat it, right? I enjoyed a *few* cookies today. And now the baking moratorium is back in effect. Funny how I could find time to bake cookies but not get the laundry done . . . perhaps my priorities are a bit askew? Is there a Bakers Anonymous?

WHY BOOKS ARE DANGEROUS--because when thrown in the air (by a certain older brother) they could land on somebody, like a newborn somebody, and give him an abrasion on his head. Causing said newborn to wail and then nurse listlessly and then fall abruptly asleep. Causing the mommy to slightly panic and wonder if the newborn had been knocked unconscious by Jane Eyre. Everything seems okay, however, if Owen has an aversion to the classics some day we will all know why. (Thank goodness I didn't check out a hardcover version!)

ON SCHOOLING--it's been a good week, almost--dare I say-- pleasant. We've been doing some school in the morning and then finishing up in the afternoon--spreading it out more, but I think I am liking this new routine better. Jackson has loved getting involved and working on alphabet worksheets that I print off for him. (I print them off for Emmett too, but he just draws "cars" all over them). We're all at the table together and it's not a huge distraction for the girls. Owen has been a very good baby. He sleeps and he eats and that about sums it up. At one point today I actually I forgot I had a baby in the house. (What an awful thing to admit, but it's true) ;o)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Multitude Monday~1/11

holy experience

Collecting joy . . .
11. Good soup recipes, perfect for these cold, cold days
12. Marissa taking the time to read to others, such a help to me
13. Our first day back at school only putting one of us in tears (and it wasn't me!) ;o)
14. Reading Jane Eyre for sheer enjoyment
15. Being able to make it through an "old book" even with "mommy brain" ;o)
16. The love and care of friends and family who have brought wonderful meals--what a blessing
17. Tea, tea, tea, "how do I love thee let me count the ways . . ."
18. Making it out to church on Sunday and visiting with "other people"
19. Quotation marks and parentheses, how boring writing would be without them ;o)
20. We're still healthy--I'm utterly amazed
21. Starting a light exercise video, with Marissa and Isabella joining me. And laughing at Marissa's interpretation of the moves, OH. MY. At least one of us is getting a very good workout. ;o) Apparently we are lacking in a bit of coordination . . .
22. The library (and that the computer system is working again--I rely on that soooo much!)
23. God providing a new school plan for Josh after we found out it was going to take him a whole extra year. Now it looks like he'll still finish within the same time frame.
24. Owen. ;o) We love him.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cherishing--

Song for a Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

I recalled this poem today, and decided I'm going to hang it all over my house. Tomorrow Josh heads back to school with a line-up of organic chemistry, genetics, and some-other-science-class-whose-name-has-left-my-memory-at-the-moment. The girls and I will attempt to find some new sort of school rhythm. Oh, and the violins . . . must. practice. violin. The thought of the life I must step back into kind of makes my head spin. But I read this little poem and I feel my eyes tearing up. I most definitely have a "hullabaloo" at the moment (only it's taking place INSIDE). But I KNOW how fast babyhood goes. I've watched it slip my grasp four times over. My messes will be there when I'm ready for them. My baby won't. "So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep. I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep." (Well, actually, cobwebs and dust are the least of my worries . . . I think there may be a full half a box of cereal scattered amongst the bedrooms upstairs . . .) ;o)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Having Peace


Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered. The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled. As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd. A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner. The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace? A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power. A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil.
A Wardrobe from the King, Berit Kjos, pp. 45-46

I cannot remember where it was that I originally came across this little story, but it has hung with me all week, leading me to do some goo.gle searches to find it again. As I have thought about finding stillness in my life, and how peace goes hand in hand with that, I have pictured that little bird. And I have realized that I am NOT that little bird, perfectly at peace while the laundry piles up and my house falls apart. I have found myself rather frustrated when I use my time and energy (which seems to be in short supply at the moment) to work on something and find it torn back to pieces by the next day. The kids' squabbles and bickering and general "cabin feverness"--ummm, again, NOT that little bird in my handlings. And I think that sometimes when we conjure up a mental picture of peace, we end up thinking of peaceful surroundings. Like right now I envision a QUIET place, maybe a bit of classical music in the background, ORDER and BEAUTY found in the surroundings, a SOOTHING cup of tea . . . How easy it would be to feel peaceful there. But TRUE PEACE is a state of the heart. I wish I had an actual picture of that little bird and her nest because I'd like to hang it in a prominent place in my home. Perhaps it would help me to remember to react a bit more peacefully when I find the new red marker stripe across the carpet, flour dumped on the kitchen floor, a bag of tortillas strewn about (with "ghost faces" bitten into them), an emptied-out closet, a sleeping baby awoken (again!) by vigorous kisses, a nap time accident ruining freshly laundered BUNK BED sheets . . . In the end, it's all about my reaction to these things. (And yes, all of those things have happened over the last few days--and so much more . . .) ;oP So, peace . . . a little bird nestled up amidst craziness . . . that's what I'm thinking about today. Be the bird. ;o)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dumpster Diving

This vacuum caught Josh's eye the other day, hanging out in the trash. Josh seems to have an amazing ability to resuscitate vacuums, so he thought he would see if it worked at all. After plugging it in he discovered it worked just fine, except the brushes didn't turn on the bottom. Problem: there was a little belt that had broken. So, for a few dollars he found a belt, slipped it in place, and VOILA!!! a working vacuum. The things people throw away . . . And although it was stripped of its attachments it is still a much nicer vacuum than the one I currently use--and in very good condition. Score! ;o)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

On my own . . .

Today marks two weeks since Owen's arrival, and in honor of that, his two-week check-up. I officially ventured from my home with all five children this morning, the first time I've gone anywhere without Josh in probably three weeks. I love my pediatrician's office--they have three of them--and they're even open all day Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Unfortunately, my actual pediatrician is located at the "north office" and by north I mean WAY NORTH, like over by Nor.th St.ar High School north. It's not really a big deal, because when the kids are sick I get them in at the "south office" which is about five minutes from my home. I really have liked my pediatrician so I've let myself be inconvenienced with the drive a few times each year for the well-child checks. But now we'll be over there every two months, and I have five kids . . . Kind of rethinking that again. ;o) Anyway, today I was not looking forward to this outing. It's cold. It's a good 20-25 minute drive. It's a small exam room with a bunch of kids inside. But it went well. The kids were pretty decently behaved. It's nice to get that "first time" out of the way and slowly start rebuilding my shattered confidence that I can do this thing. ;o) The best news, Owen, born at 7 lbs 10 oz, and then leaving the hospital at 7 lbs 3 oz is now up to 8 lbs 2 oz. So he's eating well. And me, I'm feeling just a tad more competent then when I left this morning, so it's all good. ;o) Hope everyone is staying warm and healthy--looks like we're in for some more "exciting" weather. (And I'm updating to add, that in the event you read the title of this post and it made your yearn for some "Les Mis"--like it did me--go here to get that fix) ;o)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Multitude Monday~1/4

holy experience
Something new I'm hoping to do this year, keep a physical list of joys and blessings. From what I've read of others doing this it's a simple but life-changing practice. And so, to begin . . .
1. Sipping hot tea--LOTS of it ;o)
2. Those little newborn "grunts" and "creaky" sounds
3. Watching "Annie" with my girls last night (and having the songs in my head all night long!)
4. Having Josh around these last few weeks
5. Rereading a good book
6. Gentle, doting brothers (and sisters too, but I expected that from the girls, the boys are so sweet with Owen)
7. Watching Josh attempt to scrape things stuck (like play-dough) in the dining room carpet with a metal "flipper" with two naked sidekicks, one attacking the carpet with a butter knife, the other with a fork. Hilarious!
8. A nice, warm house to stay put in
9. A fresh and brand new year to fill with growing and memories--what a huge gift!!!
10. Grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch yesterday
11. The kids being so healthy--for the first time in YEARS we made it through December with nary an antibiotic in our house (and we haven't had one here since last May/June!!!). I can scarcely believe it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Word of the Year--2010

I thought about my new word off and on throughout December. I thought about how fast 2009 had went for me, how fast the pregnancy had gone, and how busy life had gotten. And while busy can be good--I would rather be busy than bored--I got into a bad habit of just hitting the ground running each morning. Consequently, I find myself running on empty quite often. And while it can look like I am accomplishing much, the few things that are "necessary" (see Luke 10:42) seem to get crowded out by all the business. So, this year I am on a quest for:
STILLNESS
With a new little baby that needs to eat often there are already times of stillness being added to my day. I want to use these times to "sit at Jesus' feet." I want to be aware of other times of stillness and quiet to meet Him in prayer. I want to make sure the activities our family participates in are absolutely necessary. I want our home environment to be peaceful, simple, and pleasant--not so rushed and hurried, jumping from one activity to the next. There are lots of distractions going on here. ;o) I want to see my quiet time become a much more regular thing, I want to make sure I'm taking time to do the things my kids want to do--stopping to read a book instead of saying we'll do it later and then forgetting. I realize how fleeting this parenting thing is--it seems like we'll have them home forever, but I realized a few days ago that by the time another decade passes Marissa will be graduating high school. I can't slow down time, but I can make choices to be more PRESENT in the time I am given. So,"stillness"--my theme for this year. What's yours?