Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Walk (said with foreboding)


Beth wanted to walk to preschool thursday. So we got everyone bunded up, put Kip in the stroller and Minnie in the doll stroller, and we headed out. My plan was for Beth to push it to preschool and it would be amazing in distracting Vince on our walk home. That was my plan.

On the way there, I had to coax Vince away from every rock garden we passed. He wanted to stop and put rocks in his pockets. Because he loves rocks, and he loves his pockets.

Before we left home, I couldn’t find Vince’s coat, so we just left without it. It has been really nice out lately. I rarely wear a coat right now anyway. He was wearing a fuzzy warm sweatshirt, so i figured he’d be warm and it would be fine. Except we were blindsided by the frigid arctic wind that was attempting to freeze us in our boots. After walking a little ways, I decided it was probably too cold for Vince to not have something to help him stay warm. I took my scarf off my neck and wrapped it arouns his head. He looked so sweet and cute!


It took much longer than expected because of our many stops, but in the end we got Beth to preschool and everything was going great. Vince found a rock garden and I said goodbye to Beth with a kiss and a hug. I took the doll stroller from her and gave it to Vince.

And then I decided I wanted to take his picture.
I wanted to get down on his level, right by him and take a great picture. And so I squatted down...

Rrriiiipppp.

....

I looked down and my pants had ripped. It was in the thigh area, much less conspicuous than had it been in the back. But still!


And so I snapped that photo, and tried to get Vince to hurdy along. Except he wanted to explore! It took is 45 minutes to get home because of that doll stroller and the sense of freedom Vince found with it! I was happy to let him explore, except I really needed to get home to change my pants! Except he didn’t see the need. There were rocks, and bugs, and leaves, and some people still have decorations up, including Frosty the Snowman who is real and magical, and frustrating because if he has his hat on why won’t he play with me?! Also, my neighbor has big rocks. About the size of a little boy’s torso. Vince got very excited when he saw those. He tried his hardest to lift them up and carry them home. I laughed, and finally had to forcefully carry that tenacious little dude past the house or we would never get home!

My plan did work, though. He was all kinds of tired out, and went right to sleep. And when I went to hang up his coat, it rained rocks snd pebbles down on me. So it was apparently a succesful outing for him as well.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Eye of the Storm


Yesterday morning I woke up at 6:45 to feed Kip. I picked up my phone, and there was a message from 15 minutes earlier. It was from my mom. Which is incredibly odd, since I often try to call her around 10:30 and she still hasn’t turned her phone back on from the previous night. So the fact that both her phone was on, and she had left me a message was nearly incomprehensible.

She messaged me that Heidi and Genna, my nieces, were going to be passing through on their way to the airport, but were stopping for breakfast, and would I like to come join them?

I got all excited because my nieces and I are tight! More so Heidi and I, but Genna and I go way back, too. I tried to quickly finish feeding Kip, get everyone dressed, and out the door. But oh my goodness, dressing 3 little kids, 4 and under is sometimes a nightmare! Especially when it comes to socks and shoes. Oh my goodness, little kid socks and shoes are my worst nightmare! We can be on schedule for something, even early for it, and it will all be derailed by the lack of shoes!!! Which is exactly what happened yesterday morning. We were running around, looking for jackets and things to put on our feet (and when I say our, I really mean their), and I was beginning to get really frazzled. Frustrated and annoyed that the kids would rather do everything except cooperate. I would find a shoe and go look for its mate when the child would disappear. Or the first shoe. Or I would have both shoes and the child, but then the socks had gone for a walk about. Or someone was poking the baby and making him cry. Or the jackets had all suddenly disappeared from the coat closet, or while I was trying to put shoes on the second child, the first child removed theirs and lost both a sock and a shoe... and the excuses go on and on. So I was really feeling a little crazy and frustrated and on the verge of shouting. Because we all know how well shouting works. (It doesn’t)

Finally. FINALLY!!! We made it out to the van and were on our way. As I was driving down the road, I began to think about why that morning had created such a respons from me, why it had made me feel so crazy. They are just little kids and it should be expected and I really didn’t need to be feeling so frayed or coming unravelled. They were just shoes. And jackets. And I know what herding cats feels like and it shouldn’t feel this chaotic.

As I drove and thought, I thought of a hurricane. Absolute bedlam and turmoil happens with a hirricane, but at the very center there is peace. The eye of the storm is calm and peaceful, ignoring the absolute pandemonium that is literally all around it.

And so, I began to say to myself, “I am the eye of the storm. I am strong. I am stronger than the storm. I am calm. Whatever is happening outside of me does not affect what is happening inside of me. It does not disrupt my tranquility. The storm may rage, or it may go away altogether, but that does not change my inner peace, my inner strength...” I recited something along the lines of that, and several variations on that theme. And then I listened to my scriptures as I drove, so that by the time I reached my parent’s house, I was once again at peace.

{Side note: It was lovely seeing Heidi and Genna. I miss them when they are gone. Genna has been living in HI and CA for the past couple of years, and Heidi has been in IL and GA, and is going to Italy for 3 years! So I spent the whole day at my parent’s house, soaking up time and loving every minute of it. Side note end.}

That little mantra that I started saying to myself yesterday sure came in handy today, though! Vince took upon himself the role of Angel of Destruction. Every time I turned around he had done something new. The day started out so promising, too! It was a gloriously cold and cloudy morning. The kind that puts fog and frost on the windows, and the blankets were so warm and snuggly! It was really hard to leave my little cocoon of toasty softness. After cuddling with the littles and watching some of my favorite cartoons with them (Tiny Toons, y’all!), we finally decided to get up and embrace the drizzly day. I was going to get some mad skills cleaning done!

Except Kip needed to eat. While I was feeding the baby, Vince dumped out a box of cereal. I scolded him and switched Kip to the other side. And Vince found another box of cereal and dumped that one out, too! Once I got the baby to sleep I went into the kitchen to start cleaning and discovered half a bottle of juice had been dumped all over the stove, and floor. I cleaned that up and then started lunch. Leftovers! As I was heating up the spaghetti sauce and cooking some new noodles, quick as a flash, Vince grabbed a half full 4 lb box of baking soda off the counter and dumped it all out.

All of it.

I did not yell. I took a deep breath and began, “I am the eye of the storm. I am strong...”

I am convinced that my new mantra was heaven sent, and is the only reason both my 1 year old, and I survived the day today.

Because “I am stronger than the storm.”

Thursday, January 4, 2018

French Bread and Bedtime Routines


Bedtime.

I think I just heard a collective shudder from most parents out there.

It is a blessing and a curse. And the more kids you add into the mix, the more chaotic it gets. Mine range from the ages of 10 years to 3 months. Coordinating everyone’s schedules tends to be rather tumultuous.

Except somehow, last night, I managed to hit the sweet spot.

Dinner was eaten, Keith and Faye cleaned the kitchen while Jeffrey helped Beth do her school time on the computer and I fed, changed, and rocked the baby to sleep. Just as Keith and Faye got ready for bed, the oven beeped and the french bread I had made for dinner but was a bit late to come to the actual meal, finally finished baking.


Keith brought candles into the beautifully cleaned kitchen, I made cocoa, and then we ate crunchy, hot, melt in your mouth french bread with buttery deliciousness all over it while sipping cocoa and I read to them.


I first read Faye’s Harry Potter, and then switched over to Keith’s The Hobbit. When we finished with the books, we had family prayer, they brushed their teeth, and then they went to bed!

Let me repeat that sentence in all its impossible glory. They went to bed!

I couldnt believe it but was so excited and happy about the whole thing. I found the secret, Reader!

Except then I discovered that Beth and Vince were still awake. I tried every trick I knew with them. Singing, reading, softly talking, etc. They didn’t go to bed until 10:00. I was NOT amused.

And then tonight, I focused on Vince and Beth first, so Faye came barging into my room (where I was struggling to get the other two to sleep) around 9:30, 9:45, and 10:05. She didn’t want to sleep.

Bless.

Do you remember not wanting to sleep? I stay up because I have to, not because I want to. Right now I am feeding a baby and figured I could multitask at the same time and accomplish my daily writing.

But back to my point. Yes, Beth and Vince were once again still awake at 10. I have a lot to work on with those two, apparently.

Maybe one day I will figure out how to get all the kids down for the night at their proper and respective bedtimes.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Embarrassment and Ice Crunching


I love New Years. I love the frsh crisp idea of a new begining, and that there seems to be a universal longing for self betterment and improvement. This makes me happy.

I dont have many resolutions this year. I decided to keep it simple as then i would have a better chance of actually realizing them. This year I plan to focus on gospel study more, and a subsequent internal organization. I find the two go hand in hand. If I can better organize myself, internally, then I believe the outer aspects id my life will follow suit. And so that alone is my focus.

Today is the first day the kids are back at school and I tell ya, it has been so peaceful around the house. I did wake up with a migraine today, so it’s been a rather jumbled day today. To the point I forgot what day it is. This is important, as you will see later. Oblivious to which day it really was, I worked through the pain and showered and then bundled up the kids and we went to the store for caffeine, (one of the few remedies for my head pain) and to get me up and going. I just knew, if I could get up and going, things would be alright, otherwise it would be another day spent in bed praying for the pain to go away and feeling guilty for not being a better mother.

Everything we going well. Around noon the pain began to recede and I got all excited and proactive, and decided we would walk Bethy to preschool instead of driving her like usual. Now, her preschool is like 2 blocks away. It is really close. But usually I am a hot mess, and so just throw everyone in the van, in my pajamas, and drive Beth to school so that I am not seen. Today, we were walking! I checked the weather. It was 33*. Not bad. I could just bundle everyone up and it would be no problem. As the old Norwegian saying goes, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” I found a sweet body suit for Kip, and got Vince and Beth in their coats and off we went. On time, too! I was killing it as a mom today!


I let Beth push her stroller and dolly with the plan of having Vince push it back home. Vince had to stop at every single rock garden and fill his pockets. Every one. His pockets were bulging by the time we got to preschool. It isnt like he greedily stuffed until there was no room, he just picked up 1 rock at each rock garden. Regardless, the bulging pockets made me laugh. We emptied them at Beth’s teacher’s house.

We walked up to the preschool door and opened it.

It was dark.

No one was there.

Confused, we went to the door of the house (because the garage had been converted into the preschool) and rang the door bell. Her son answered and told us that Beth’s teacher had just left.

And then it dawned on me.

Today is Wednesday.

Bethy has preschool on Thursday.

I may have been a little embarrassed. But I laughed, figured it was good to get the kids outside anyway, and we turned around and walked back home.


This time, I asked Vince to help me push the stroller, and we were much faster. Except every house that had a snowman he tried to go up to and talk with, and touch.

Vince loves Frosty.

I put the song Frosty the Snowman on my phone and that appeased him quite a bit, and helped minimize the distractions.


I loved that we were able to go ice crunching. I forgot just how much I love that. When the ice is so thin, and you step on it and it makes that glorious crackling noise. Or when there is water beneath it, andnit is strong enough that instead if cracking it squeaks. I love squeaky ice! The little ones were so happy pushing the strollers that I got to enjoy cracking al the ice on my own. I can’t remember the last time I had that privledge.


All in all, I have to say it was an adventure, and I am glad I was able to get them out for a walk. It tired Vince out sufficiently so he went down very easy for his nap. I am considering going for an after lunch walk every day!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Pokémon, Shark, Puzzle, Bear


Little boy beds are the best.

I thought Vince was going to be my last baby, I truly did. 4 kids is a big family by todays standards. And we were completely fine with that. And so, fully believing that he was my last, I treasured every little thing. I knew I should sleep train him. I knew it would be better for him and me to suffer through a little bit of discomfort as he learned to fall asleep on his own. But I didn’t want to miss out on a single little tiny moment, and I rocked him to sleep. Every night, every nap, we could be found on the rocking chair, me soothing him with lullabies and kisses, him wrapped in his baby quilt, hand down my shirt. His hand always had to be down my shirt. And I loved it. I still do. I love rocking him, but it sure makes things harder for me now that Kip is here.

Be that as it may, I made my bed and now I have to lie in it.

So, I rock Vince to sleep twice a day. And then I get to carry him to his bed. Every day, I nearly wake him from laughing.

His bed contains treasures.

I pull back the covers to put him down, and am always greeted by little boy things.



Today it was a lego shark, Pokémon toy, puzzle piece of a car, and a teddy bear. Some days there is a mountain, making a perceptable bump beneath the covers. Some days it is just a block or a stuffed animal, invisible until it is time to lay him down.

I love how Vince is the epitome of a little boy. He loves his pockets and wants to put everything in them. Trucks and trains rule the world, until an airplane is found. He wants to watch hours and hours of NASA rockets lifting off (thank heavens someone made a 10 hour loop of that!) and the MGM lion roaring. Throw in the inevitable teasing of his sisters and he is text-book perfect!


Complete with a pirate’s treasure filled bed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Weekend Brain Dump

Black Friday happened.

I am so excited to say that all of our Christmas shoppong is done! And most of the gift wrapping, too!!! And I was able to do it without standing in the freezing night air, making small talk with strangers, and watching our breath crystalize while waiting for the doors to open to whatever store.

I am so glad someone invented online shopping.

By 10 o’clock Friday morning, the sun pooling on my covers, beneath which I was tucked so cozily, I was able to close my computer and smile that smug smile of satisfaction, which only the pretentious early shoppers get to wear. This is my first year wearing it and I must say, it suits me fine! Our goal was to be finished by the end of November, and we accomplished it. Yay!

Saturday was a truly magical day. My sweet nephew came home from his mission. I have missed the guts out of him. He is a very special boy... er, man now, I guess. He went to Tijuana Mexico and I missed him so much while he was gone. He has a very calm and quiet manner and reminds me a lot of my grandfather. Which is fitting as he was named after him. Very smart and very quiet but so witty and puny. The best of the best, I tell you. I really hope he can find a girl who deserves him, but I sincerely have my doubts.

I got to see him Saturday! They were passing through from Mexico to Idaho, and stopped for a few hours. He is just the same as ever, but now has that amazing missionary glow. It was wonderdul talking with him again. Before I left to my parents house to see them, Jeffrey warned me to not be too upset as I would probably not get to talk with him at all, everyone else would be eager to dominate his time as well.

I got lucky, I guess.

I got so much Matt time, and it made me happy. I love that kid so much!

Sunday we were finally well enough to go to church as a whole family. It was the first time since before Kip was born, and we were even nearly on time!

Yesterday was a rough day. See, when Kip was 2 weeks old he was circumcised. Except due to wrong instructions from the doctor, and me following them to a T, it healed up wrong. When he had his two month apointment last week, the doctor and I had a discussion, figured out where the miscommunication happened, and then realized that we would have to re-do it. It now became a necessity rather than an optional procedure.

So that was scheduled for yesterday. We got to the doctors office at 7:30 am and left at 9. I couldnt believe it took so long. Im sure the doctor wasn’t happy with how long it toom, either, as I’m sure he had other patients. But I am so grateful for fitting Kip in. Yesterday, inderstandably ao, he wanted to be held all day. He slept real well after he got some Tylenol, happily. While he was sleeping I was able to run to the DI and I found a toy chest, and a dresser. I couldn’t believe my luck! I’ve been looking online for a few months foe a toy chest that we could affors. Same for a dresser. So I got them and we went home.

Kip went to sleep, and I started cleaning like a mad woman. Beth’s room has been sorely neglected for months! Faye moved out and into her own room in August, and left it a nightmare! Except I never had a chance to help Beth clean it. With the help of a toy chest and a dresser, though, things are coming up roses. I was able to get her room mostly clean last night, and finished today. 3 trash bags later, and taking apart and reassembling the toddler bed, Vince is officially moved in to Beth’s room, and next week I can get started on Kip’s room. He’ll be moving in there in just a few months!

While that was exciting about today, the real highlight was picking the kids up from school early and going to the temple. One of my very best friends got married last year, and I just love his wife to pieces! We have become very good friends. And so when Shaun and Lisa invited us to their sealing in the temple, well really, how could I say no? It was beautiful, and I cried. I am SO happy for them! While I was in the sealing, my parents watched my kids, and then took us over to the ice cream parlor and treated us. It was so sweet of them.

I think that is basically it. I am filled with so much gratitude and joy for the past few days. So many wonderdul things have happened!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Noir y Blanc Afternoon.


Today, during the Thanksgiving festivities, I had to leave to go check on my parent’s chickens. They have been out of town, and I was in charge of making sure the birds didn’t die.

It’s been glorious out, for the past few days. Bitterly cold last week, but today it was 62*!

I am happy to report, the chickens are all alive.

After I gave them more food and water, and gathered their eggs, I glanced around outside, and a feeling I had been repressing just burst out of me in a giggling free-spirited moment.

There I was, alone, for the first time in about 2 months. I had just fed Kip, right before I left, and I was alone, and in the backyard that I grew up in, the yard that holds so many precious memories for me.

I remember thinking about going barefoot, but I don’t remember removing my shoes. Just suddenly, I was skipping about, my toes digging into the soft cold earth, the grass tickling the soles of my feet, and spinning, my arms lifted to the sky, breathing in the freedom and innocence of childhood that was flooding my mind.

After a moment of sheer joy, I found the new swing my parents had hung on their black walnut tree. I had never sat in it. I was pregnant at the time of its debut, and also, it is always monopolized by the children. I was drawn to the swing. I climbed into it, and lay back, my head resting on the rim, my feet trailing around in the grass. I gazed at the branches, silhouetted by the colorless sky. And as I lay there, I could feel the tranquility, strength, amd peace from that tree flow into me. Calming me, healing my soul, and fortifying me.


It was a black and white world. Memories of my childhood spent beneath those very same branches played on a reel-to-reel in my mind. The walnuts had been grenades we would throw at each other, or at imaginary aliens. The swingset was always a rocket ship until we needed to play Monkey Ball, a very dangerous game we made up. It consisted in one person being on the ground, throwing a ball at the people sitting on top of the monkey bars, trying to knock them down. The people on the bars, in turn, would try to catch the ball and either throw it far away, or as hard as they could at the person on the ground. Looking ar the knots in the tree, the scars, the evidence of our attempts to build a tree house in those branchea. The painful memory of a hammer being dropped on my head came to mind. Summers spent picking up the walnuts, chucking them over the fence and into the fields behind our house, squirming because some of them were full of maggots and were already decomposing. But we had to pick them up because they would poison the grass.


Occasionally the soft cluck, or rustle of feathers would bring me back to the moment as I twisted and swayed beneath the gentle sweeping of the trees. The moment was pure tranquility.

As I lay on the swing the hypnotic ebb and flow of the clouds seemed to put me into a meditative state. Occasionally the quiet hum of an airplane flying hundreds of feet above me would deepen my reverie.

Always, though, my body bobbing in the swing, my feet trailing in the grass below. The swing twisting and swaying. Occassionally I felt compelled to lift my legs above my head, toes entertwined with the ropes, sucking in the feeling of complete suspension.


Finally, as the sky darkened, I realized it was probably time for me to go back to my family and the Thanksgiving festivities at my in law’s house.

I stood up, and suddenly, all my 36 years came back to me. Apparently I am no longer a child who can twist and spin without adverse reaction. No longer can I mess with the workings of my inner ear and equilibrium.

It took me a bit to find my shoes, though. I honestly couldnt remember where I had taken them off, I was so intent on my purpose at hand, my desire to feel the earth beneath my feet. It turns out, I had gone inside with the eggs and left them on a stool. Who knew?!

I stumbled to my car, drove back to the feast, and plopped down next to Jeffrey.

An hour later he asked if I was ready to go.

I told him I hadn’t quite gotten my balance back.