Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Day In Our Life {Friday, April 10, 2015}

Yesterday was possibly one of the best days I have ever had. Nothing extraordinary happened, just life. But, it was such a good day in my heart. I hadn't planned to do this post, so I'll probably forget many of the details, but I wanted to keep a record of the highlights so I can remember it forever :).

Our day started a little hectic. One of our children has been facing some medical challenges, and had yet another test scheduled for the morning. She was nervous, and I was nervous for her. We got everyone bathed, dressed, fed, dropped off with one of their favorite people to play with, and headed to our appointment. My sweet, brave girl asked me to pray with her in the parking lot before we went inside. We also texted daddy about her concerns, and he promised to be praying for her, too :). Things moved really quickly, and she was so brave. Then, we were both surprised to hear that everything had changed. The issue she'd been dealing with was completely healed. The tests didn't find any problems whatsoever. She has one follow up test at another location, which is a little more detailed, just to confirm everything, but we left so very thankful. It was fun to hear her chatter excitedly about every random subject I had never thought of on the drive to pick up her siblings :).

The other kids had had so much fun with their friend, and didn't want to leave :). But I was tired and needed to get home to finish our week long project of going through and swapping out the kids clothes for summer.

At home, we had a quick snack, which had to involve cheese, Mia's favorite, and put everyone down for nap. A few minutes later, one of hubby's brothers stopped by for something, and had brought one of his daughters. So, everyone was back up and excited to see her :). A few minutes later, as cousin was pulling out, we headed back upstairs for nap :).

I tried to get my head above water with the dishes and laundry, and by the time everyone was awake and it was time to start going through MORE clothes, I'd decided to do something fun instead ;). So, we ate lunch, did diaper duty, and headed outside with containers in hand. I'd randomly ran across a recipe for dandelion jelly, and thought the kids would enjoy "hunting" dandelions, so off we went. This activity was SO perfect for the littles! It didn't really matter if a dandelion got squished, broken, dropped, or utterly destroyed by a well meaning hand. Even little 2 year old Mia collected her fair share of petals :). And we had unknowingly chosen the perfect time to go picking. We'd had a good rain overnight, but the sun had been out all morning, making our meadow the perfect spot for big, fluffy dandelions!

We had our needed 10 cups in no time, and there were lots of giggles and pleased little faces at all their hard work.

Back at the cabin, we did diaper duty again, then got to work separating the yellow petals from the green stems. Carli stuck with me on the porch the whole time, and Ely and Mia alternated shifts, but mostly the older three played in the creek while I watched and worked from the porch.

About halfway through our job, diapers were needed, yet again, and Carli was about ready for something to eat. So, we got everyone's wet clothes off, got halfway (but good enough) redressed in dry clothes, and sat down inside to feed Carli. We were discussing supper, when the door flew open and Daddy came in!!!!! This was such a fun surprise! Hubby works alot of hours to take such good care of us, and it is rare we get to see him on a weeknight before dark! So, we were all super excited!!!

We had a quick snack with daddy, and then he got to work mowing the lawn. The kids LOVE to watch him mow!!! So, they ran in and out the kitchen screen door, while daddy mowed, and I got supper prepared. All while cooking, I was just feeling so thankful, I was fighting tears.

We ate, and I got to work on the second half of my dandelion job, while Eric and the kids worked on a new picture for ely's sketch pad. I'm not supposed to see it until it's finished, but {I think} it's a picture of a pig, tree, earthworm, bird, and a pretty blue sky ;). I was still working at the kitchen table, but the kids were overly tired. So, Eric took everyone up to bed while I separated the last few petals and boiled the water to steep them in for the night. The few minutes of quiet, and the smell of dandelion petals gave me a chance to reflect on how much fun we'd had on this little project so far. Even if the jelly ends up being less than yummy, I am so glad we decided to put our responsibilities aside for a few hours and take the chance that we might like dandelion jelly after all :).

This  week has been challenging for me in my spirit, which has made me extra tired physically. Trying to get this clothes swap out done, with my huge and awkward pregnant belly, and several nights of little sleep had gotten me grumpy. Thursday, was especially difficult for several reasons. But, even with less than two hours sleep Thursday night, and my anxiety over little girl's appointment Friday morning, Jesus had given such a good day. Like I said, nothing extraordinary or significant just by looking from the outside. But my heart and my spirit were refreshed. I had all of my favorite people home, well cared for, and happy. There was sunshine on our noses and joy in our hearts. A dandelion may technically be a weed, but today, it became my very favorite flower because of the memories it gave us, and because of the work ethic and joyful character it helped to teach three little hearts.

I got the petals steeping in water, and headed upstairs with a sleeping Carli, to find three worn out kids cuddled up against the safety of their daddy. I obviously took a few pics ;), then carried everyone to their own beds and crawled into bed myself. I was so tired, I could barely move. But I didn't mind. I was laying with my very best friend, and had just had one of the best days of my whole life. Hopefully, we'll have a post up soon about our entire dandelion jelly experience and we'll find out how it tasted!!!! Yay!

This was our day. And it was a good one :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I used to be the PERFECT mommy!!!....Then, I actually had children of my own....

So, I was that girl. Not married yet, no kids, mild responsibilities, and I. Knew. Everything. Seriously, how hard was it to be a mom? I mean, I had younger siblings, my mom had a daycare in our home for a little, and I worked in a daycare myself for a WHOLE year! I knew all the mistakes other moms made that I, obviously, would never make myself! This post is making me laugh already :). Because, what I didn't know, is that I really didn't know anything at all. Isn't that how we do things? We look at an isolated incident in someone's life, assume we know everything about them, and we pick them completely apart? Just me? Hopefully, but I don't think so ;). I've been learning more and more lately to realize I have no idea what someone is truly going through, why they do what they do, or even who they truly are. It doesn't mean I have to accept inappropriate behavior. But, I have been learning that I am {surprisingly} not always right ;).

So, just for fun, here a few of my mommy judgments, that I've since learned interesting lessons about.

Hmm. Let's see. My judgmental little Mommy self started younger than you might think. I was somewhere in the "younger than 4 years old" range, and overheard some mamas talking in the nursery about a little boy that I knew. He had taken off his diaper, and wiped all of it's contents on his bedroom wall. {note: This part might get a little graphic. If poopie grosses you out, skip down a few lines.}. My only thought was that I hoped his mommy cleaned that up before I went to his house to play next time. Until..... One of the mamas made the statement that this particular boy's mama needed to get control of her boys. Ya'll, she had 3 boys UNDER the age of 5. But, my little heart had no idea the challenges she faced everyday, and obviously this mama I was hearing knew what she was talking about. I have spent the past 30 years, remembering that family as those three unruly boys that needed much more guidance from their mommy than they were getting. Fast forward to present day haha. And I have a lovely, kind, caring child that not only dug into his diaper one nap time with his bare hands, but also smeared poop all over two windows, every crevice of his crib, and all in his hair and ears. Yes, my sweet, perfect child. And, lest ye think this was an isolated incident. Oh no! He did the exact same thing just two weeks later. Oh, yes. And while I was scrubbing windows and cleaning mattresses, I actually thought of that mom from my childhood. Was there honestly any reason for me to think she wasn't a good mom, other than the one comment I had overheard? No. I played with her kids all the time, and we had so much fun! And I have a hunch she faced many more challenges, with three young boys, than I know anything about, even today. Be careful what you say in front of kids. They will remember it! But that's another post ;)....

Oh, and then there was the time I ran into another mom in the grocery store parking lot. On a Sunday. Right after church. In the heat. Their dad had gone in for groceries, and she was trying to keep everyone occupied until they could get home to eat. The kids were hot, had probably been sitting since Sunday school hours before, and they were hungry. But I didn't see any of that. What I saw, were kids unable to sit still, purposely annoying their siblings, interrupting their mom, and generally just being kids. I was pregnant with my oldest at the time, and since MY BABY was behaving so perfectly, I drew the quick conclusion that this mom never made her kids behave. Therefore, they were obviously brats. Um. Yeah. Good one, Iris. I know this mom! She is a great mom!!! And I have since been in her exact situation almost every single Sunday, for the past 4 years! (except hubby usually takes one or more of our kids in with him, so I really have it super easy). Folks, WHY was I so hard on her? I still don't know why :(. But, I have learned that I was wrong.

What else? The parents that would let their kids stay up past 8 pm while visiting family or friends. How horrible. Why didn't they plan ahead so they could leave in time to get their kids to bed at a decent hour? Actually, I am literally laughing at myself as I type this. I don't know if my kids have EVER been in bed by 8.... and 9 is pushing it. That's usually the time we are all sitting down to eat supper. Yes, I am serious. And you are welcome to think I'm a bad mom. There are reasons we do it this way, just like all those other moms had reasons they let their kids stay up, too ;).

And, there's more... Parents that use their phones to occupy or pacify their kids? It used to seem so lazy. But now? I've been known to play a YouTube song {or two} in the middle of the night for a teething infant because I was too tired to sing myself, and I knew it would buy me 3 minutes 47 seconds of quiet.

There are many, many more thoughtless conclusions that I came to about other moms without having ANY idea the challenges those moms actually faced every single minute of every single day. Just because I had worked in a daycare, which is not the same, by the way, I assumed I had all the answers. It is so funny how we learn things, and then remember specific situations where we were so very wrong, isn't it? Now, when I hear a huge fit in the store, or another mom is relaying a particularly difficult situation she has recently faced, I try SO hard to make myself learn by how well that other mama handles that situation. Because I just might encounter something very similar sooner than I expect :).

Anybody want to share a lesson they've learned since becoming a mama?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Pileated Woodpecker

Has someone ever told you something that sounded so bizarre, you were sure they had to be extremely exaggerating? Yeah, well, shortly after we moved into our little cabin, Eric was POSITIVE I was stretching the truth, multiple times... Until he saw for himself ;). Here's how it went down....

I was sitting on the porch one morning, before the kids were up, and someone started major construction 20 yards from my head. We don't have neighbors that close, so I turned to investigate. There on a tree was a woodpecker, the size of a chicken! I kid you not. That thing was ginormous. So, I did what any girl would do, and tried to get a pic! The thing flew off, of course, but I sat there stunned. What exactly had that fella been eating to make him so big???

Of course, I called Eric and told him all about it! He laughed. Alot. For a while. Thanks, Bub.

Well, a few days later, SAME scenario! Except this time, I was on the phone with Eric! I told him that chicken sized woodpecker was back again, sure he would believe me this time! Um, no. He laughed again. Even harder. AND he accused me of exaggerating. (note: Eric and I rarely ever argue. This was all in fun, and no one had hurt feelings)

So, I dropped it. But, he didn't. He brought it up to tease me every few days for about a month...... Until......

We pulled in the driveway after church one morning, and Eric's arm flew out the window while he exclaimed, "look at that woodpecker!!!!!!" Not one, but TWO big ole woodpeckers were right there, hammering away at an old tree!!!!! Yes!!! Doesn't sound so crazy anymore, does it?!?!?!?!

A week or so later, I was reading about a campground in Delaware Eric had reserved for us. It said, the campground was a home to the "elusive pileated woodpecker." Why hadn't I thought to look on my super smart phone before?  Well, I looked it up, and there was my tree hammering friend, in all his chicken size glory, with a name. Pileated Woodpecker.....

So, next time someone tells you something you think can not POSSIBLY be true, maybe consider that the Lord just might have made beautiful things we've never thought to think of before! (and look it up on your smart phone, too :)).

Here is some info on our cabin friends, if you're interested :). And a pic, since ours were camera shy....

A Day In Our Life {Wednesday, April 1,.2015}

Hi!!!! Welcome to our life :). I'm not sure if today is an accurate representation of our everyday, because Wednesdays tend to be different. We don't even attempt homeschool because it's tough trying to get ready for Wednesday night church ( Wednesdays are my most challenging days, by far ;)). But, today IS a good time to see how crazy it can be sometimes :). SOOO, here we go!!!

Eric and I woke a little late, so the kids were starting to wake up while he was getting ready for work. When they are up they like to "help" him get ready while I go down and make coffee, breakfast, etc. We got a few minutes with daddy during breakfast, then I walked him out, stopping for a few minutes to fix a few trailer lights (he worked, I talked ;)). Then, he gave hugs and headed to work. While I was outside, Ely had mashed a banana for Carli and started feeding her (first time for that, and a nice surprise), and Silas and Mia had unloaded the dishwasher onto the counter for me. A few little ones needed round two of diapers, so we took care of that, and I went to find my coffee.

Once breakfast dishes were picked up and the dishwasher was going, I set out some crayons and ran down to start laundry, but realized I'd left a load in the washer :(. I haven't done that in a loooooong time, but yuck. It stunk. So, restarted that load and headed back up to get everyone dressed.

Mia was needing assistance getting her baby doll dressed, so we took a few minutes to practice being a mommy, and she even let me burp her baby for her!! :). That was a big privilege for me!!!

Then, Mia talked Silas into playing tea set with her while Ely and I clipped a few coupons, and I went to find my coffee.... Again.
By now, it was 10:30, and I was feeling a little woozy. Great job, Prego, you forgot to eat breakfast. So, I made a quick chocolate, raspberry protein shake, drank before I had to share, and did round three of diapers. I also realized I hadn't even thought about supper, so I checked the freezer, got distracted filling sippy cups for thirsty kids, and went on my way without a supper decision...

A few weeks ago, we'd picked up some flower seeds from the dollar store, we've been so excited to plant!! So, hoping it doesn't freeze again, we planted a box of "hummingbird mix" in our front flower bed! We talked about what color flowers we hope will grow, and how many hummingbirds we think are going to come play at our cabin. If the kids are right, we are going to have LOTS of bird visitors this summer!! Then, I sent the kids to play in the sunshine while I fed Carli on the porch :).

After running inside to change Carli, again, I realized I was missing a Mia. She has a very mischievous personality, and has also been asking repeatedly to play in the creek. She didn't answer when I called her, so I took off down the hill, toward our creek. Halfway there, Ely said she found her.... Asleep.... She had buckled herself into our jogging stroller, which was parked under a tree, and immediately decided she wanted a nap. Nice... We watched a little woodpecker friend finding bugs in one of our trees, and Silas told him he was a nice fella and should live here from now on.

We worked for a few minutes on a ladder trellis we've been making out of some cedar branches Eric cut for us. We're hoping to lean it against the chimney, in the side flower bed, and plant some morning glories to climb it!!

After a quick encouragement lesson on being gentle with our siblings, we headed inside for lunch. I finally found my cold coffee, and did a quick pick up of the living room :).

After lunch, we did diapers, played a game about thankfulness and talked about how important it is to be content and thankful, and laid everyone down for nap. For the first time I can remember, ALL four littles fell asleep at the same time! Whoop whoop!!! I was so tempted to take a nap, too, but decided to go for a quick jog instead. I also planned to plant some bachelor buttons around the mailbox, but that didn't happen :).

Back inside, I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, swapped laundry, cleaned up the lunch table I had left, and took a quick shower. Once everyone was up, we had a snack, and I sat on the couch with Silas to answer some serious questions he had. Halfway into our conversation, someone let Oatmeal, our (outside) dog, in and when I smelled her breath, the morning sickness I'd been fighting all day finally won :(. Ick. So, that was gross, but the kids were playing happy and didn't seem to notice ;).

My plan was to do baths, then prepare supper. And {I think} I would have maybe had time. But, things never go as planned ;). I try to start early enough on baths to allow for unexpected delays, but late enough the kids will still be clean when we actually get to church..... Delicate balance ;). We headed upstairs for baths, and got a text from daddy that someone was coming to look at a trailer he had for sale. So, we all went back downstairs, I laid out some baby dolls and a tractor, and went out to meet the potential buyers. They were really nice, and excited that the trailer would work perfect for what they were needing it for. We were just wrapping things up when papaw came over, and I was sent inside so he could handle things instead ;).

Up the stairs we all went again, started bath water, and Silas saw papaw's car out the window. Well, that started a near riot, so back down we all went again for the kids to see papaw. They searched the whole property for him (or at least the parts they thought he might be at), and couldn't find him. I had no idea where he had gone, and we were pushing it to get ready on time, so I made everyone go back upstairs, yet again, tears and all.

Baths went extremely well, other than me getting soaked from head to toe, and needing to change again before church.   We headed to my room, where I had clothes laid out for everyone. Except, I stayed in the bathroom to plug in my curling iron and brush through my hair for 30 seconds...... Well, that was enough time for a certain little girl to cover her face, hair, and arms with a stick of brand new lipstick. It was brand new because this same little girl had emptied an entire stick a month ago on herself, her brother, and our cream colored sheets. I hoped a baby wipe would clean things up, but I realized she had also "brushed" her hair with mascara. Waterproof mascara. Also brand new. It was NOT wiping out of her hair or scalp. So, back to the tub, which had already been drained. A few minutes later, we joined our siblings again, and we all got mostly dressed. Well, except for Carli and me. I was just pulling clothes out for myself, when Silas noticed papaw out the window again. All three older kids scrambled down the stairs and out on to the porch to see him, and we talked for a few minutes ( Silas sneaking into the flower bed and making sure his pants got nice and dirty) before papaw left for church. I was starting to panic inside. There was no way I was going to finish getting everyone ready before Eric got home to take us to church. I told the older kids to get shoes on, and ran upstairs to dress Carli. The thought that I hadn't fixed anything for supper somehow began nagging at me, as well as the knowledge that any minute all the kids would be asking for something to drink, and I did not have time to round up sippy cups. Then, Carli's dress was gone. I had no idea where it had gone. I threw a skirt and shirt on myself, hoping I matched, and hollered down to ask Ely about Carli's dress. Ely's baby had needed it to wear tonight. I would need to find something else.... With no time to think, I grabbed Carli's "spare" dress out of the diaper bag, threw it on her, and strapped her in her carrier seat just as Eric was pulling in! Whew! I might've almost pulled it together!!!! But, then I glanced in the mirror ;). I had totally forgotten to get myself ready. I brushed my teeth, unplugged the curling iron I never used, pulled my hair into a clip, slapped on some chapstick, and ran downstairs to find Eric giving all the kids their sippy cups. Sometimes, the smallest things can make you even more thankful. My husband is a consistent blessing :).

We got everyone loaded and partially buckled into car seats, when we realized Silas had no shoes. This is not uncommon, however, I was pretty sure his shoes were on the front porch, so I ran to grab them. Then, while putting them on, I found a pretty nasty cut on the bottom of his foot. So, I told him to go barefooted, and left it at that :). We got all car seats buckled, including Ely's baby doll, and pulled out.

Unloading at church found Carli to be completely soaked from her diaper. But I had already used her extra dress and had nothing. I asked Ely if I could have Carli's dress back, but she looked so hurt. So, we looked through our crowded vehicle instead, and found a shirt and pants that would kinda work. Yay!! Eric took Mia into the service, and I took Ely and Silas to their class, changed Carli, and headed into church myself..... Only a few minutes late :).

Back home, everyone was starving. I heated up a quicker supper than previously planned, we all ate, and rounded everyone up for bed :).

And that was our Wednesday! My only three goals for today had been to load one of our trailers with donation items to drop off after church, to clean out the inside of our vehicle, and to be at church a few minutes early. I failed at all three of those, BUT I can try again tomorrow :).

Do you find a specific day to be more stressful than any other? And do you look back on your day and wonder how all those tiny tasks seemed to take so long? Yeah, me too :)