Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Some days are trying.

This post is simply to put in perspective that although I mean it when I say kids are an incredible joy, the fact that they are extremely difficult at times is also very true.

A simple thing we do every Tuesday is go to Story Time at our local community library. We usually go a little early to return our books from the previous week and fill our book bag with new ones. This morning we did just this. Pike found his book, an Iron Man adventure book. When Crew laid his eyes on it, he had to have it too. Thus the fight began. I quickly scoured the shelf for another super hero book and thankfully found one that looked very similar with batman! I ask the kids to come with me to browse the parenting books (I need all the help I can get!) but along the way, Crew and Pike decided they needed to pull all of the category tabs off of the shelves. Thankfully they had only pulled 3 by the time I noticed and that was easily fixed. We reached the parenting books but nothing caught my eye. On to checking out. Normally the kids each get to scan their own books. Well, this week there was already a lady with her children using the stool and the shorter counter that allows kids to scan. So I said I would scan the books this week. Pike's response, "But I want to do my books!" I say quietly, "Well, Pike, if you can reach up here, you can scan yours." He manages on his tippy-toes and with a little help. Next we charge off to Story Time in the meeting room. Name tags! (Why do they have kids write their own names on tiny stickers WITH A PERMANENT MARKER?) Pear and Jovie quietly make their name tag and sit down. Pike starts his, "Ah nuts! Mom, I messed up." (Remember all of the talking that Pike does is in his only volume: LOUD.) I give him a new one. Now Crew wants one and he thinks he needs to make his own. Now I have two boys with blue sharpie all over their hands. Pike still has his Iron Man book in tow but Crew lost his somewhere on the way to the Story Time room. This is going to be trouble. It began the moment we sat down. Pike was curiously looking through his book and Crew wanted to look at it as well. So, I tell Pike we are going to put the book away until after Story Time. This is when the fit came in. While all of the other kids are listening quietly to the story, Pike is yelling, "Mom! I Don't want to! But mom! I want to look at it! Why won't you read me IRON MAN!" I tell him that I will have to sit on the bench outside with him if he can't obey me. So he yells, "OKAY! I'll put it away! Mom! Hmph!" (Now, I should have taken him out and disciplined him right then and there. But it's not so easy with 4. To take him out, means that in a way, Pear and Jovie and Crew have to suffer for Pike's misbehaving. What do you do? This is where I need that parenting book to advise me.) The rest of Story Time Pike sat sulking and we ended up cutting out about 5 minutes before it was finished because Crew was crying for lunch. It was only 10:55 am but he couldn't wait a second longer. Thankfully I packed sandwiches in the car and he was able to eat on our way home. The end.

Just a glimpse into 30 minutes of my trying day. If you want to get a full picture, just multiply this by about 20, mix in some laughs and you pretty much have it. :)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Maui, Hawaii 2013

 As I'm sitting in the house on this cold wet rainy day in March, I am thinking of the glorious days in Hawaii. Maui really is my happy place. I love it. I love the sun. I love the relaxed feel. I love the beach vibe. I love the iced coffees. I love the saltwater in my hair. And I am looking forward to going back. During our most recent trip, we stayed at Makena Beach and Golf Resort. It was luxurious. Each morning we dined outside to a smorgasbord of a breakfast. And then we'd mosey on down the beach to enjoy the view. We'd lounge in our lawn chairs and read a chapter or two of a book. And then go for a swim. 80 and sunny every day. We took the Road to Hana and found it to beautiful but we'd rather be on the beach. We went to Old Lahaina to browse the shops and eat at Cool Cat's Cafe. Back to the beach, our favorite spot. We really spent 75% of our time relaxing on the beach and snorkeling.

Now, we are on a mission to go back again. Our hope is to go with all of the kids in a year or two and spend a month there. The ultimate goal is to buy a condo there, rent it out for the majority of the year and then be able to live there for a month or two out of the year FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES! We are dreaming big, working hard and with God's blessings, we can't wait to see it unfold!

People are baffled. They don't even know yet that I'm expecting a fifth and they look at my ducks in a row and ask, "are they all yours?!" Sometimes I catch them looking and shaking their head, not necessarily in a disrespectful way, just in an astonished way, as I walk into the store with four in tow. I smile. I am blessed. I wouldn't have it any other way. And this is what baffles people. Why?

These kids make me laugh. They bring so much joy. The way Crew scrunches his nose and furrows his eyebrows while talking gibberish that I honestly have no idea what it actually means. The way that Pear is so entranced at ballet, watching herself dance in the mirror while making funny faces and doing her own little jig while everyone else is following the teacher. The way that Pike incessantly talks in his loudest volume (his only volume,) about anything and everything. The way that Jovie says "mom, watch this!" and proceeds to jump or do some silly little thing that in her mind is an amazing act. And I applaud in awe while holding back a chuckle. It's the little things that bring me joy.

And then there are the crazy instances where I walk into the grocery store, plant the boys in the ginormous race car shopping cart and before we even get through the door, my flip-flop breaks. So off I hobble, one shoe on, one shoe off to find a new pair of flip-flops while my boys are racing and Pike is talking about my broken flip-flop in his only volume. It's these humbling moments that make me laugh. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Why 5 kids are better

4 kids seems like a happy number. Especially considering we have 2 boys, and 2 girls. What more could I ask for? I mean, I have it made, I go to the store, people see me frantic and less than put together, I HAVE 4 KIDS, no excuses needed! I stay home for more than a month, I HAVE 4 KIDS, perfectly understandable. My house is a mess, I HAVE 4 KIDS, enough said. There is no middle child. 4 kids means we always have a party. I didn't get dinner on the table, again, I HAVE 4 KIDS, time for take-out!

Yet still, part of me thinks there are plenty of reasons why 5 kids might just be better than 4.

1. All of the above statements regarding having 4 kids, still ring true with 5

2. When the kids vote on things, there has got to be a tie-breaker, how else will we be able to decide whether to eat at McDonalds or Taco Bell? Or whether to watch Star Wars or Cinderella?

3. I have been blessed with 4 children. Each one has brought joy and laughter and each one has brought challenges which have caused me to learn and grow. I can't say that any one child has brought any depression or misery, (I'd be lying if I didn't say there have been moments of depression or misery but they all fade in comparison to the joys.) If each child can bring so much joy and cause my heart to get that much bigger and cause me to grow that much more, why would I NOT want such a blessing?

4. Our 7 passenger van is crying out to be filled, there is 1 seat left, who will claim it?

5. I truly think it is a gift, especially for a girl, to have a baby sibling when she is between the age of 5-10. I have 2 girls in that age range. Think about it, a real live baby doll, that smells good, coddles and coos, you can dress and most of all, you have a love and bond that you will never out-grow.

6. I am already doing all of the work, (cooking, cleaning, schooling, wiping bums,) what's 1 more?

7. Imagine spending Christmas with 1 or 2 kids, well, with 5 kids it is that much more fun! And when they are grown, you are bound to always have at least a couple of them home for the holidays and when they all gather, party on!

8. When there are more kids, there are more messes and more needs which in turn leads to kids being guided into helping the family out and becoming less selfish. It's a given. (And yes, I feel this is a good thing.)

9. What a joy to be able to share God's love with another soul.

10. If God forms a baby in my inmost being and chooses a destiny for him/her, who am I to say he picked the wrong mother?

All of this leads me to say, #5 is on the way and I couldn't be more thrilled!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Just a few thoughts on life lately

We are nearing the end of another summer. I feel more in love and blessed than ever before. Stephen and I celebrated 9 years of marriage by eating and shopping our hearts out in Portland. It was great fun and so refreshing. When I walk the streets holding his hand I feel like a million bucks! I wouldn't trade his hand for anyone else's! When we step back and put all comparison, judgement and perfection aside and simply love and adore, have fun and work hard together, it makes for a happy life.

I may be biased but I truly think I have the most adorable kids in the universe. If only I got a dollar every time I heard that at the grocery store, (along with the "you've got your hands full" comment...it must be one or the other, they are either beautiful kids or a handful.) I'd be rich. I feel almost as much like a million bucks walking with my little ducklings as I do when I hold the hand of my handsome man. I love that the kids have fun when we all hold hands together walking into a store, (which makes a decent sized chain,) and they giggle their way onto the sidewalk. This is living. And I am blessed.

Parenting is hard at times. As is marriage. And I have days often enough that I can't wait to go to bed simply to start fresh the next day and hope that it doesn't have as much turbulence as the day before.

We will be starting school next week. I am so excited! The kids are excited as well. I only hope I can figure out a way to keep the boys busy in order to engage with the girls and encourage and excite them in their journey to learn. My goal as a homeshooling mama is not necessarily to make extremely smart kids. My goal is to instill good morals and character and to make learning fun and exciting.

Friday, May 31, 2013

My baby is one!

Crew turned one.Actually, it's been a whole month since he turned one. I've sat down to write something several times but I usually get interrupted. I could write about what a crazy year it's been, how sleep deprived I am, or how fast the time's gone by. But, if I have only a short bit to log my boy's first year, I want to log the moments I wish to savor.  

During your first weeks, I held you as much as I could. You were so cuddly and sweet. I knew you would be 1 year old soon enough and I wanted to treasure as many snuggles as I could. At night, you slept in your crib right next to my bed and usually wound up sleeping right next to me in my bed by 2am. I would sleep on my side and try to not move a muscle to not wake you up.

Your brother and sisters have been mesmerized by your cuteness. Every new little thing you do makes them giggle with delight. Your first smiles, first coos and first giggles had them rolling with laughter. Then came the clapping, dancing and food. The way you rock out in the car has Pike laughing so hard that I'm worried he is going to pee his pants!

I take you with me almost anytime I go anywhere. You have been spoiled in that respect. I don't mind much. I tell people that you are my most treasured accessory. I have an Ergo baby carrier that you are quite used to and when you were really little, even when it wasn't nap time, you'd fall right to sleep when I put you in it. Now you don't fall asleep in it, but you still like it.

You didn't really start eating food until about 8 months old. And even then you preferred "momma's special milk." You never had "baby food." You just had mashed up versions of whatever the big kids were eating. Your favorite things to eat are scrambled eggs or yogurt. Good choices. You are now 13 months old and no longer eat "momma's special milk." You like cow's milk but not much and you don't really like a bottle.

Crew, you are such a blessing! You have a sweet temperament and although you aren't overly friendly towards just anyone, you are to me, and I love that! You love your momma, and your momma loves you. Soon enough you'll realize that Mammy and Pappy and Grandma and Grandpa love you bunches too, then I'm sure you'll want to go see them like your brother and sisters do. You love your binky and blanky and I will often find you snuggling with them on the floor. Your gibberish is beyond cute and I try hard not to laugh but to answer back with logical answers as if I know exactly what you are saying. You are such a boy! You love shovels and trucks and balls. You try to be big and do what you see big brother doing. Your new trick is to say, "Wow!" anytime you see a tractor or an excavator.  

We celebrated your first birthday by having a personal sized cake and singing happy birthday with your favorite people, your family! I think it was just perfect. You are so loved and although I would like you to slow down, I can't wait to watch you grow. I love you baby dude!

Friday, March 22, 2013

You'we my bobo.

Ever since Pike was a little guy, one of our favorite books has been Hug, by Jez Alborough. There aren't many words to the book. Actually, only 3: hug, mommy and bobo. But that's part of what makes it so special. I narrate the story for him. It is about a little monkey who needs a hug. "Bobo" is a nickname that I have given Pike. No one else calls him that, only me. Today as we were on our way to the grocery store, just me and him, he said, "mommy, you'we my bobo." That made my day. Because to me, that means: I'm his match. I'm his mommy. He loves me. We have a special bond. He's my Bobo.

 He finds a mommy elephant and a baby elephant and they set out to help him find his mommy so that he can have a hug from his mommy.
 He cries for a hug as he's seen a mommy giraffe, lioness, hippo, snake and lizard all with their children playing and hugging but still hasn't found his mommy for his hug.
 Then his mommy shouts with excitement, "Bobo!" and runs toward him with open arms.
 The baby monkey runs to his mommy shouting, "mommy!"
 And they finally hug.
"Everybody loves each other! Everybody's hugging!"