Tuesday, July 18, 2017

In the History of Time

This month for our Relief Society activity it was all about recording your personal history, and how it doesn't have to be difficult. It doesn't have to be from the very beginning, either. We talked about photo journaling and blogging and traditional scrapbooking, as well as recording everything with a pen and paper. Just finding your own style and doing it.

And so now, the kids are finally in bed, I am home from my meeting, and feeling a little guilty if I don't record something!

Yesterday was a migraine day. It was pretty miserable. I think it was stress induced as I was preparing for and worrying about my part of tonight's presentation. I cancelled on the missonaries who wanted to come over and do FHE with us, but my head couldn't handle it. The day is basically a blur. I feel so bad that my kids sometimes have to deal with a mom who can't cope, but they are possibly building character from it? Building real life experiences or something like that.

Today was much better, though. I was able to mostly be patient and calm with them. Faye was a saint. An absolute saint! She asked what chores she needed to do to get on the computer. She cleaned the living room. Later, I called for Keith and he sent Faye in his place. Except I wasn't just randomly calling for a child, any old child would do. I wanted Keith. He had left some appliances out for three days and he needed to come put them away. He's sneaky, that boy. He usually sends Faye, and I typically send her back and have her make Keith come. This time around, I gave her a chore to do. I explained that when I call for Keith, it is because I really need Keith to come, and if she keeps coming instead, I am going to just keep giving her chores.

She cleaned the bathroom and it looks phenomenal!

I wish I had thought of this tactic years ago!

Keith finished reading book 7 of Harry Potter today. I am so proud of him! He said I ruined the series, though. I had let him sit and read and not do chores all morning and most of the afternoon because it is Summer, and I hate putting a book down when I am at the climax, awesome things are happening, and then I have to do something menial. As soon as he finished reading, I asked him to do his chores.

Oh how the world ended! Also, did you know, I am the WORST mom in the history of Time. According to Keith, anyway. I really did laugh. He was so mad at me, and I just made dinner. I am glad he finished the series and loved it, but books end and reality continues.

It's a cold hard truth. All book lovers are very acquainted with the injustice of it.

Jeffrey came home and he and Keith had a time out so Keith could vent. He's very tired. He decided his bedtime is 10:30. We put him to bed usually at 8:30-9:00, but he stays up reading until much later, and then is grumpy. School starting is going to be another cold hard reality. Cold and hard like cash, reality like he doesn't have any cash.

I must say, though, it has been a lovely day. It isn't so bad being the Worst Mom in the History of Time.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Excursions to the Great Currently Green-ish North (this is Utah after all)

Excursion
I am happy to report that I haven't yelled at my kids yet. I have been tempted, but I haven't done it. Lesson learned, for the moment. I say for the moment, because I really feel like I have learned this lesson before.

There have been times, the past few days, when I have had to take a deep breath and just walk away. Like the time I asked Keith and Faye to get something from the living room for me, and the kids decided the floor was lava and were scooting the piano bench across the wood floor, like it was a canoe across a lake, the broom being their oars. I wanted to go out and yell at them and lecture on the damage they were inevitably causing to our floor and broom, but instead, took a deep breath, told myself it didn't matter in the long run, and made a decision to let them be. Because they are kids, and sometimes they need to have fun without mom coming in and being tyrannical.

Today was lovely. I had gone to bed at 9 last night. I had started a post, but fell asleep about a sentence into it, I was that tired. I decided I wanted to take the kids to a Dinosaur Museum. Vince has been so much in love with dinosaurs lately, how could I resist? He wants to alternate between his 2 dinosaur shirts every day, and he insists that his hippo pajamas are really dinosaurs. He actually got really mad at me tonight when I told them they were hippos. He pointed at one and said, "Dinour! Rawr!" It made me laugh. I corrected him, he corrected me, and then I said, "Okay, dinosaur." He then muttered for a few minutes more, while pointing to the hippos, "Dinour. Dinour rawr." It made me laugh.

I got my room cleaned up. I have been trying to do it for a few months now. I know that sounds terrible, but life was just so busy, and I was so tired by the time the kids went home, that I never had a chance! The other kids would go home, we would have dinner, and then it was time to start getting ready for bed. By the time I got the last kid to bed, I just didn't have the energy any longer to do anything else. Sometimes I would get the kitchen clean, but more often than not, it would have to wait until morning, and I would rush around to get it done before Brickale brought the kids again. And so, my kids would bring all their stuff into my room. They would bring their food into my room. They would get crumbs all over the floor, and I felt so gross and dirty, I would let some of the other things I needed to do fall by the wayside because I was distracted and just couldn't do them in a messy room. I couldn't concentrate or feel creative in a mess like that, and it ate at the back of my brain that it needed to be cleaned, so other things, more fun things, were completely ignored. However, this morning I woke up refreshed, and tackled my room. It feels like home again. I cleaned out all my clothes that don't fit right now, and all the shoes I haven't worn in years, and I made one box for storage and one box for the DI. I'm having a lot of fun de-cluttering!

And then we set out! I had a couple of errands to run, and the kids were so good and patient while we ran them. And then Keith reminded me that he was supposed to play with his cousins this week. I called my sister in law and although it was impromptu, we set it up that I would take the kids to her house, and they would keep her kids busy while she did some work, and Keith and Faye would have a lot of fun with their cousins we don't see often enough.

Since we were already headed up north, I decided we were going to just continue on, and see where the road took us. It took us to Gossner Cheese in Logan. I have been having some serious heartburn with this kid. Like, I am not really eating much of anything because everything is giving me so much heartburn! But I remembered that cheese seems to help it. And squeaky cheese! Need I say more? Also, driving through the canyon would make Beth so happy! As we drove, anytime she saw an outcropping of houses, she would squeal and say, "Mommy! I see the village! I see the village in the Mountains!"

I'm not sure I mentioned, but Heidi (the little girl in the Alps) is her favorite story and show. There was a very cheaply cgi show on Netflix that she absolutely adored, but they took it off and it made her so sad. But she loves the mountains, and goats now. Those are both things I love dearly, so I am not complaining, although my love for them came from a means not Heidi (by Johanna Spyri) centered.

We got some strawberry milk, too, because why not? I love how such little things make such a big deal to her. And every time the cheese squeaked as she chewed it, she would squeal with joy and tell me that it was squeaking in her ears, or in her head. Vince just sat in his rear-facing seat, throwing his hand up and grunting every few minutes, his lazy way of indicating he wanted more. That kid just makes me laugh so much! Both of them, really. And then, since we were already so far north, we figured we may as well make a real trip out of it, and we went to the cookie factory, aka Pepperidge Farms outlet. I decided having lots of easily accesible snacks on hand for after the baby was born would be a good idea. And this would most likely be the last time I go on an excursion like that before little man is born, so I may as well make the most of it!
Excursion
Those two are so happy, and obedient, and such a joy to be around, and I loved every minute of being with them. I wish Keith and Faye didn't fight so much, because it was such a lovely afternoon, and I found myself thinking with longing of the day when school starts for them and I can spend so much time with the quiet happy ones. After we got some goldfish and cookies, we went outside and Vince and Beth played in some rocks in the shade. I changed a diaper, and then let them run around for a bit. We had been sitting in the car for a very long time!
Excursion
Beth found a rock with a divet in it. She told me it was the Fairy Queen's throne. We found a storm drain in the grass and Vince tried to throw rocks down in, but the rocks were too big. Beth told us that it is a portal to another world. You have to go through there to get to the fairy world. Don't be afraid of the water that we see through the grate, it isn't really water, it is just pretend water to scare people away so they will leave fairy land alone, and only the true believers can enter.

She's 3.

That girl has an imagination that is so often overshadowed by her older siblings I sometimes forget how vivid and sweet it is. We drove back through town, and Beth got excited when she saw the temple. She asked if we could go look at it. I wanted to say no. I wanted to say we had to get home, so we could beat Daddy home so he wouldn't worry about us. I wanted to list all of the reasons why we just didn't have time. I decided we would drive up to it, pass it on our way home. As we got close, it looked really crowded. There were cars lining the street. I said in my mind, "if we can find a parking spot, we will get out and go walk around."

We found a parking spot. In the shade. Up close. Obviously, it was meant to be!

Excursion We talked about how we have to be reverent when we are at the temple. We have to be reverent like at church. We can't run, or yell, and we have to talk so softly. They were champs! We sat in front of the fountain for a little while, and then in the shade.
Excursion
Excursion I got some great pictures of the two. Beth decided to give Vinny a kiss on his cheek while I was shooting photos, and she posed herself with her arm around her neck, and my heart may have melted right then and there. The 100* heat couldn't do it, but the love a little girl has for her little brother just made a big puddle of my heart we had to be careful to not step in. We walked all the way around, talking about the day I married Jeffrey and how cold it was, and how we didn't get any pictures because who wants to suffer in -6* cold just for a lousy picture? We talked about how the temple always makes you feel warm inside your heart even if it is cold outside because it is Heavenly Father's house. It even says it on the outside of the temple. House of the Lord. We talked about one day when she would get to go inside and how I will go with her, and it will be such an exciting day! She told me she is going to marry Vince there, and I told her she can marry anyone she wants, but not her brother. He will come to her wedding, but she can't marry him.
Excursion
And then we were back. And we were all dripping. But we got into the van, and we drove home. Jeffrey was going to go visit his sister and pick up the big kids after work, so we just went straight home. It was such a sweet day, the kind you want to freeze forever in a snow globe. Except without the snow. As I was helping Beth get ready for bed tonight, I told her how much I loved spending time with her today. She wrapped those sweet little arms of hers around my neck and told me she loved it too. And then she closed her eyes and fell asleep.

I say! I wish every day could be as picture perfect as today was. It is so much easier to cherish and love the moments when they aren't filled with bickering and pestering. I found a daily schedule that Keith had made for himself. #3 on his list, right after eating breakfast, he had scheduled in an hour of "bug Beth." What?! Sometimes that boy is so naughty, I just don't know what to do with him. He really seems to delight in making her scream. I am really going to miss the help and the fun conversations I have with Keith and Faye once school starts, but I am really going to enjoy the peace while they are at school!
Excursion

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Lesson From Yelling

I was yelling at my kids today. All day. It felt like they had been exceptionally naughty today, and I kept reminding myself it was because they were up so late last night. And so I was justified.

Because they were hitting. They were teasing. They were provoking. I was yelling at them, and it was ridiculous. Two dishes had been shattered on the floor. Heads had been bonked. Beds had been removed from their frames. And I think really, it was just me.

I was tired. I had had a migraine for 2 days and still it lingered today. I wanted peace, and that is like asking for Atlantis, when 4 little people are involved.

I honestly don't remember why I was yelling, but mid yell, it just stopped. My voice somehow switched over to soft and sweet and I asked Keith to go down and get his scriptures. I asked Faye to go find hers. They were understandably confused. Keith didn't need prompting, I wasn't yelling, and he was no longer the recipient. He got out of there quickly! Faye was simply stunned and turned into a human maniquen. She froze, and just looked at me, slightly perplexed. Again, softly, gently, I asked her to fo get her scriptures. As understanding crossed her features, she thawed, and rushed off after Keith.

They brought their scriptures up, and we read a chapter.

And suddenly, the atmosphere in my home was different! It had gone from Hurricane Watch to Stroll on the Beach, shoes in hand, sand squelshing between your toes. There was still a bit of squabbling, but overall, the tone of my home had shifted from Stephen King to Julie Andrews!

What a blessing scriptures and prayer are in my family, in my life! Today was crazy. I wasn't the mom I desperately want to be. But it is comforting to know that Heavenly Father knows when to step in, use my voice, and organize order. Because none of that was me. I was just as surprised as the kids for the abrupt, mid yell, change to both my message and my tone. I am hoping I can remember and carry this lesson, though.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Julia aka Jooles


Last November I was cleaning my bedroom. The house was silent, children sleeping, Jeffrey in his office, and snow drifting like a dream. It was around midnight, and I was very hungry. I decided I needed a pot pie. Because when it is dreary outside there is nothing better than comfort food. The warmth infiltrating your body, driving back the the cold, defeating it. The comfort of the potatoes and pastry filling the belly, comfort and warmth and happiness that only hot foods in cold months can bring. I popped it into the oven, and then went back to cleaning my bedroom. I forgot about it briefly, and was suddenly brought to my senses by a loud and continuous beeping. 

My oven was yelling at me.

My pot pie was singed, charred, and sad. It didn't look a complete and total loss, though. I dumped it out onto a plate, after unplugging the oven, and took it back to my room to finish cleaning and watching Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Because I love the book. But I digress. I sat down to enjoy my slightly overdone meal, fine with it because I've had slightly burned food before. I don't know if it was from the excessive smoke or what, but this food had an incredibly acrid flavor to it. I figured it was just from being in the oven too long or whatever. But I couldn't eat it.

I got sick the next day, and figured that is what was wrong with the pot pie. I was just sick, so things tasted off.

But my oven, it was never the same after that day. It would randonly turn off. We would be baking something in it, and it would just turn off, out of the blue.It was so frustrating, because it took 3 times as long to bake, but I could still bake in it. Until one day when I couldn't anymore. It would turn on, it just wouldn't heat up. That was about a month ago. Which was really sad, because I had just gotten a bunch of rhubarb for rhubarb pie, and suddenly I couldn't use it. It was a very sad day. But we did have a microwave in storage somewhere, so we could manage. And the stove part still worked.

Until it didn't anymore.

That was about two weeks ago. The burners would suddenly turn off while we were using them. It was quite frustrating, because sandwiches get old fast.

Jeffrey wanted to just go straight out and buy a new oven, but I couldn't justify that. Because what if it was a $100 fix? And we spent $500? That would just be ridiculous. I convinced him we needed to call a repairman, because I was convinced we just needed a new heating element, and I found one on Amazon for $80. Except when the repairman came, he took the back off, and showed me the control board. It was black! As in it had been singed or melted or something. I asked him how that could have happened, thinking back to my burned pot pie, instantly feeling culpable. He said it is usually from faulty wiring or a power surge, it couldn't have been from something I had done. I was awash with relief! However, for a new part and labor it would be $375. More than half the price of a new oven. We tried to look up the price on Amazon, but decided it would just be easier and probably safer if we just got a new one. Because who know if there was actually something wrong with the range and we got a lemon, and we would end up paying more in repairs than in the long run.

And so we went on a long hunt for a new one. Jeffrey and I had many long discussions about the new range. Because I have many definite opinions about what kind of range I want to cook on. I wanted another convection oven, because I love that for baking my bread, but after the car repairs we had to make, I figured it was out of my reach. I just needed a glass top because I did NOT want to have to clean those burners, or underneath the hood of the stove. I had grown up doing that, and watching my mom doing that, and knowing I would be so incredibly busy with 5 kids very soon, I just didn't want to deal with that. And when I lamented the loss of self cleaning, but accepted it, Jeffrey was an absolute peach and said it was fine, we could get self cleaning because trying to clean around that door is a pain, and he is a sweetheart and wants to make things easier on me if he can. Which is why he is such an absolute stud, and I just love his guts!

He got a little frustrated with how picky I was being, and decided to just turn it over to me. Which was fine, because I was going to be the one using the oven the most, so it made sense that I got to pick it out, right? And so I scoured the web for all the usual places. Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, etc. I found one I liked that was in our price range at Lowes. Except there was a haul away fee for them to take our old broken range. And then there was a delivery fee. Not to mention the fee for the cord. And the adapter because they for some reason it needed an adapter. I don't really understand that, but whatever. And by that time, it was a bit out of our price range, and I was annoyed. I said a quick prayer that I could find the one I wanted, and I thought to look at RC Willey. But that story is found here. Needless to say, I got everything I could ever have desired in my new oven and I was thrilled beyond all reason!

Friday morning they delivered it. All stainless steel and black and alluring. I promptly named it Julia. Like Julia Child, because it is going to help me create masterpieces! However I will call her Jooles for short. I was going to take it on its maiden voyage to bake Lunch Lady brownies. When I turned it on, though, it started to smoke. I looked online and I was told to go out to eat while cleaning it out because the smoke and smell were a bit much to handle. 

And that brings us up to date. Keith was at Avery's house, and so Jeffrey and the kids and I went out to eat at one of Jeffrey's favorite burger joints. 

We were sitting happily, eating our dinner and lamenting Keith's absence. It felt so weird to not have him with us. The conversation was incredibly different, for one. Also, Beth wasn't screaming because he was teasing her. I don't really understand why he picks on her so much but my goodness, he is not nice to her a lot of the time. Except when he is, and then he is the sweetest kid in the world. The girls were eating their ice cream, Vince and I were sharing fries, and Jeffrey was lost in thought. I turned away to remind Beth that she really needed to eat her food before her ice cream, when I turned back to Vince, he was playing in a puddle in his chair. It took few moments before I realized that his puddle was not the same color of anything we had ordered, or anything on our table. And then Faye commented that it smelled bad where we were sitting. 

And then it clicked.

I whispered to Jeffrey that he needed to get Vince out asap. Before we had left, I had thought to pack a new pack of wet wipes. What a blessing that was! Jeffrey took Vince and the girls, and I cleaned up our food, and then went to town on his highchair, and the floor. I then had to make a shameful walk up to the register and whisper to the poor teenagers working there that the highchair we had been using most likely needed to be disinfected, and I was terribly sorry. The girl was so sweet, said it happens all the time, and then took the chair into the back to clean it up. And I went outside and helped Jeffrey get the kids buckled, and we picked up Keith.

We got home, and walked into the house. It was a sauna. Except that is an understatement! Saunas, while hot, are wonderful and relaxing and feel amazing. They are intentional. And they don't smell so awful that your lungs burn, or your head aches. But that is how my house was. We had turned the AC off, opened all the windows, and turned on some fans, but it didn't seem to be doing much to help. We sent all the kids downstairs, and we followed them. It felt amazing down there! It was nice and cool, and I may be completely in love with my basement now. Nothing has ever felt so wonderful. Like a cool dip in a pool when you are dripping with sweat. Or lemonade in the shade with a cool breeze during Summertime. It was fantastic! It was decided that we would stay down there for the night. Except Vince and I would sleep in my bed, and Jeffrey would be down with the other kids. My bedroom door had been closed all day, and so while it was still hot, the smell was mostly out, but it was hot. 

By morning, the smell was mostly gone, though, and we closed the windows and turned on the AC.

Sweet relief! I may have stood above the vents in my skirt for a full cycle of air. I really pity people who live without central air during the summer! 

The one sad thing I have realized about my oven, though, is it really heats up the house to use it. My other one didn't at all. I could put the self cleaner on, and it would scarcely raise the temperature in my house. This oven, even baking something simple raises the temp in the house. Sigh. I will miss that feature of my old oven. But, I think it will be glorious come winter time. I will get to do all kinds of baking because that is what I enjoy, and it will help to keep the house cool in the winter. I wont be pregnant when it gets cold. I will no longer have this lovely internal heater going on that is so difficult during the Summer, but amazing in the Winter. 

And that is the continued story of my oven.

Let's see, I failed to mention that last Wednesday Jeffrey took the girls to the grocery store with him, and immediately returned. Faye had been stung by a bee on her eyebrow. Yesterday Keith got stung on his foot. I am so grateful for baking soda! It seems to have taken the sting out immediately for both of them!

Vince is still sick. Even today he still has been having the leaking poopy diapers. I went to 9 o'clock church so I could take the sacrament and then came home so Jeffrey and the other kids could go to church. We just can't really take Vince out right now for fear of a repeat from the burger joint. It will sure be nice when he gets well from this, that's all. While Jeffrey and the kids were at church, I got Vince to sleep, and then decided it would be lovely for them to come home to a hot meal. Because everyone is always hungry after church, and we are all out of sorts until we get food in our bellies. I rummaged through our cupboards and found some pasta and sort of half followed a recipe half made it up on my own. It was delicious! And when the family walked in the door after church, the house was aromatic and cool, and perfect. Everyone sat down, and we ate lunch. Jeffrey asked where I got the ingredients for lunch, and I laughed at him. Silly boy, I got it all from our cupboards and the cold storage room. I have missed cooking. He decided to take over cooking several months ago in hopes it would help to alleviate stress from me. While it did do that, I really miss creating concoctions and delicious masterpieces. Maybe now that I don't have 7 kids all day every day I will be able to do more when it comes to cooking. Either way, it is a new adventure. A new oven, and a new found freedom. The sky's the limit!

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Year, The Decade, The Century

Momming
More and more often I reflect on my day when the day's work is done, the children are in bed, and the gentle hum of the dishwasher seems to guide my thoughts, reflective and gentle, careffully sorting my day, pondering, learning, remembering. My days seems so long, though. Wednesday was a year. Thursday was a decade, and this week has been a century!

I had my prenatal visit on Wednesday. I am now 30 weeks along and still don't really feel pregnant. I do absolutely love feeling him moving, squirming, exploring hos his body works in there. He is healthy and perfect, although still breech. Typical. I, however, lost 3 lbs! I am so excited! That means total weight gain for this pregnancy so far is only 9 lbs!!! What a miracle this pregnancy has been.

After my appointment I rushed to the store. The Sister missionaries were coming for dinner that night, and I had nothing on hand to give them. Also, a stove and oven that didn't work, so my options were very limited. But really, I just wanted to see Adrienne. She has been gone for what seems like a lifetime, although in reality was closer to a month. Or as she would tell it, two weeks. But I swear a month is more accurate. I am really sad that I haven't had a chance to just sit and chat with her. Every time I have met up with her since she has been home, has been a rushed ordeal. I planned to go to her house after Vince and J took their naps, but Beth and T were both on one that day. I told them if I heard of anymore hitting, I didn't care who did it, they would both have to take a nap! Of course, there was more hitting, and so there was nap taking.

Which was actually a really good thing for me, because I had cooking and cleaning to get done! I started working in the kitchen. I had a schedule I would need to keep to if I wanted dinner ready before the missionaries came by. Except Vince had a different plan. He kept tugging on my skirt, and fussing, and he just wanted to be held.

***Why do we, as mothers, get so focused on what we are doing, and what needs to be done, that we forget to see what is right in front of us? "Hindsight is notably cleverer than foresight." ~ Chester W. Nimitz. Isn't that the truth?***

But the day was full of tender mercies all over the place. I let Vince help me cook a little bit. He measured out ingredients, and took great delight in spilling on the counter so he could play in it after the other ingredients were mixed. While he alternately played and fussed, I managed to get dinner going. I remember as a missionary it was rare that we got a real breakfast. There just wasn't the time for it. We basically had an hour to get ready and eat breakfast before it was time to study. And this included sharing bathroom time with a companion or two! So breakfast was almost always cold cereal. And so, because of that, I like to cook breakfast for the missionaries. Pancakes, hash browns, eggs, sausage, bacon, fruit, juice, etc. The whole nine yards. They were coming at 5. The syrup was ready by then. You have to understand. This isn't just any syrup. This is the very best syrup in the history of ever! Divine Syrup is the actual name for it, I believe. I found it one day while I was on pinterest, and when I really want to impress, I whip this baby out and have yet to have anyone  be disappointed.
Divine Syrup
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup butter
Melt together in a large saucepan. Then add:
1 Cup Buttermilk
Bring to boil and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat then add:
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
Stir to mix. Syrup will foam up.

Seriously, you need to make this in a pot bigger than you would think, and then add the baking soda and vanilla over the sink, because it will foam up and overflow if your pot isn't big enough. But seriously, Yum!

By 5, only the syrup was ready. I had the bacon on the griddle, but that was basically it. I was a little panicky. But then I got a message from the Sisters. Their investigator had to suddenly move, and could they just come by and pick up the food later? 
That was Tender Mercy #1!
I had a meeting that night at 7. It was going to work out perfectly. Missionaries at 5, my meeting at 7. I was nearly finished making dinner at 5:45 when it was brought to my attention that the meeting was actually at 6, not 7! However, the Sisters had asked if they could come over around 7.
That was Tender Mercy #2
I went to my meeting, we got things squared away for our next RS activity, and then I got home. I started to wash the dishes, the Sisters came and went, and while I was cleaning up the kitchen, Vince came up the stairs to find me. He got half way through the dinning room and then he started to cry, and his progress was halted. I had no idea why! I walked around the corner and saw something out of the Three Stooges. Vince was standing in a puddle, struggling to stand up. Every time he got upright, a foot would slip out from beneath him and he would end up on all floors again. I had to laugh! I knew he was slip sliding in his own vomit, and that the poor kid was sick, but oh my goodness, it was a funny spectacle to watch him! My laughing was cut short 5 minutes later though.

I scooped my little Stooge up, quickly, pulled his clothes off of him, and cleaned him off in the sink. I grabbed his blanket and binki, and then we went and cuddled on my reading chair. Where he promptly emptied the contents of his stomach all over me. I don't do vomit. I can clean pee, poo, spit up, and blood until the cows come home. I cannot clean up vomit. It causes a reaction in me, which just adds to the mess. It's terrible, really. Happily, Jeffrey came to the rescue. He took Vince and cleaned him up, we threw his blanket into the washer and got him a new one, I changed my clothes, we had family prayer, and then I took Vince to my room and rocked him to sleep, while holding a bowl to catch any more sick.

And I did that all night long. Vince would get sick about every 45 minutes through the night. He developed a fever. I stayed awake literally all night long, sitting him up and catching throw up. Around 6 am the poor little dude added an explosive diaper to the mix. And continued to add them. All over my sheets.

Thursday, the decade.

Around 10:00 I called his doctor. He hadn't been able to eat anything, and he had long since emptied the contents of his little tummy, dry heaving now, instead of actually expelling. They got me in right away. They were just as worried about him dehydrating as I was. The sweet ladies in reception gave me a throw up bag to hold for him while we waited to be called back.

Momming

Just as I suspected, he has a gastrointestinal virus. I believe it is cryptosporidium, but they would have to test his poop to find out for sure, and it wouldn't really matter anyway. Because it is a virus. So, I get to keep him happy, clean, and hydrated.

Untitled

The boy loves popsicles.

Keith, Faye, and Beth went to my mom's while I went to the doctor. She lives practically across the street, so it worked out well. They wanted to stay there, so I let them, and I took the tired boy home and let him sleep. I wanted to sleep, but couldn't. Too much adrenaline. He quit throwing up, and seemed to be fine that evening. We gave him some dinner, and Jeffrey was rocking him to sleep, and Vince got sick all over him. Again. I laughed at the justice of it all. And I was so happy it wasn't me who was covered in sick this time around!

Friday, terminating the century.

And while this should be a post completely on its own, I will touch on the highlights and elaborate tomorrow.  My new oven arrived today! Bright and early, at 8:30 this am, I opened the door and two charming young men were standing there, a gleaming and winking stainless steel stove between them. Never had two strangers looked so handsome to me! They quickly installed it, going above and beyond, they took the old one away with them, and I was left, drooling over my new beauty! I mentioned to Keith that I need a new kettle. The kids had destroyed my old one. A smell that just wouldn't go away. He then suggested we visit go for a drive and visit Tai Pan to get a new one. He knows I love that store, and that they are closing, so everything is ridiculously cheap. Vince seemed to be doing alright. We hadn't had any mishaps, and he had slept through the night, so I decided it would be a nice outing. Of course, we invited Adrienne and kids to join us, because it might be sacrilege to go to that store without at least inviting her along! And so we met up. We didn't find a kettle, but I did find a good mixing bowl. I have been on the hunt for a deep one for a long time now. Half way through the store, though, and Vince began to wilt. His eyes glazed over, and he just wanted to be held. I knew then that it was nap time.

It was decided that I need to make something really yummy with my brand new oven. Lunch Lady Brownies was the winner. I fed the kids lunch, Vince fell asleep in his high chair for the first time ever. 

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I felt really bad that he was that tired, but it made putting him to bed a snap! As I prepared to make the recipe, I learned I was out of eggs. So we had to put off until baby-man was awake so we could go to the store and get some eggs. 

Finally, we got the eggs. I turned on the oven to pre-heat it. Its maiden voyage. Its christening with chocolate. 5 minutes into it, and I noticed it was smoking. What a nasty and terrible habit to encounter on a first date! Sheesh. Whirlpool was not sending out good first impressions. I did a quick internet search and discovered that there is a protective oil or chemical in most new ovens and they need to be burned off. Yuck! So we turned on the self-clean button, and went out to eat as per the instructions of the internet. Seriously. It told us to go out to eat to avoid the smell and any smoke that might come from the oven. Nice! Whirlpool was redeeming itself. 

And there is where the fun really began.

To be continued...

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Day the Van Died... and what came of it

Water day 

My phone rang at 8:30 this morning.

"Hey, I need your address. Kirk is on his way but got a little lost."

It was Lisa.

She, being the wonderful friend that she is, decided to step in and offer the services of her son when she heard me lamenting over the state of my yard, and the difficulty I have with mowing it due to watching kids nearly every day, and also being very allergic to grass. He was coming over to mow my lawn for me, and to play with Keith. Both things that are a huge help to me!

Very groggily I rolled over. It had been another rough night. Vince just hasn't been sleeping, and so I haven't been sleeping. The kids I watch don't usually get here until around 10, so I was hoping I would be able to get at least another hour of sleep with Faye watching and playing with Vince. But I think it was a fair trade off. I was groggy today, but I would get a freshly cut lawn out of it! Before I got out of bed, though, my mind rolled back through the week and I sighed deeply. I haven't been the most patient person this week. Most likely due to lack of sleep because of my little man. I have felt terrible about this! I catch myself yelling at the kids. My voice filled with anger and dread, and as I am yelling, I am thinking in my head, "why on earth am I yelling? It is only an open door. They don't mean any harm. They are just little kids. What is wrong with you? Stop yelling already!" But I don't. I keep yelling, and the second the kids leave the room, (usually very confused as to what my problem is) I am back to normal. I have been so frustrated about it, and have felt deeply ashamed of my behavior! So this morning, before I even got out of bed, I said a pleading prayer. I told Heavenly Father that I really needed help today. I was SO tired, I didn't know how I would be able to function. I hate being like that, being the Big Bad Wolf with the terrible voice, and I really really needed help to get through my day. I may have begged just a little. And then I got out of bed and rushed around getting dressed and trying to straighten up a few things before Kirk got here.

He mowed my lawn and it looks fantastic! I am so grateful. And then he and Keith played happily for the rest of the morning.

The kids came, and I was told the girls would only be staying an hour as their grandpa would be taking them swimming! And then Jack went to sleep almost immediately. I felt a huge surge of gratitude. Already my day was shaping up so that I wouldn't be terrible. Not that those kids make me terrible. I am not saying that at all! They are really good kids and I love them so much! But having less kids really made a huge difference. Keith and Kirk were entertained, and Beth and Faye watched them play, so I really had time to myself, which is an extremely rare occurrence! I got some lunch made, no hassle, and Jack woke up, right after I put Vince down! I got the kids their lunch, made myself a salad, and then let them entertain themselves while I savored the rare alone/quiet time I had. I had been alone for not even 5 minutes when the baby's dad showed up to take him. He had gotten off work early!

It was then decided. As soon as Vinny woke up from his nap, we would take Kirk home, and stay to play in the water.

As I was driving over to Lisa's (after the 2 hours of looking for towels, bathing suits, etc.) I noticed the battery light was on. It wasn't flickering as it had been for the past week. It was solidly on. I asked the kids to say a prayer that we would get there alright, visions of 2 weeks ago being stranded on a busy road were prancing through my head, and Faye asked if she could say it. She said such a sweet prayer, and we got there no problem!

And played outside in the water all afternoon.

Water day

Around 5 I decided it was time to go. They had to get some errands done, and they needed dinner, and my kids needed dinner, too. We piled everyone in the van, and started to back out their driveway.

Except we only got half way out. The van died. Right next to their house, like a cork in a bottle. No one was getting in or out of there. Nor was I! Lisa got her husband to come look at it, and it was the alternator. Funny enough, our replacement alternator arrived today, and I had the thought to put it in the van, but then decided that was being a bit too presumptuous of me, and so didn't. I wish I had! After what seemed like forever, between getting Jeffrey there with the alternator (which, keep in mind, getting a hold of him is tricky because he doesn't have a phone), and Paul having to pick up his truck, there was a lot of waiting time, they finally got the new one in, and everything is looking great. Paul did mention that I should stop by to let him check it out again, later. Lisa and I laughed and reminded him I would probably be there next week. Lisa is going to have a baby any second! I will be there to help her where I can.

I am quite frankly amazed, though, at the way my prayers this morning were answered. I believe I was blessed with more patience, but at the same time, I didn't have quite as many kids around to test my patience, either. My own children do a wonderful job of the testing of the patience, every day, though, lest this should be misleading. It isn't who is here, it is the fact that there were so many! What a tender mercy right there, though. And then, how we got to Lisa's house. Paul had said it was a miracle we even made it there, and they only live across town from me. Also, how quickly I was able to get a hold of Jeffrey. That Paul happened to be there when my van died. That it died in their driveway instead of on the busy road. That my kids could play with her kids in an air conditioned house instead of stuck, sweltering, in an unresponsive vehicle in the middle of a busy street. That when we got home with a working van, all of the kids wanted to just go to bed.  In so many ways were those prayers answered!

I am just feeling so blessed right now. What a fantastic day!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

School Time

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I have been having some brain blasts which have made my days a bit easier. Yesterday morning, I woke up with the idea that I needed to go to Walmart and get some $0.88 water bottles.

Hallelujah! That has really solved my water cup problem! I only have to refill each cup once a day! However, it seems to have made the coming in and out problem quite a bit worse. I suppose I need to either get used to flies, or figure out a way for the kids to get hydration without having to come in every 5 minutes.

Another genius idea I had was to organize "School Time" or quiet time as the littlest ones are sleeping. After lunch, T goes down for a nap, and J eventually does as well. I have really been struggling with figuring out how to get the kids to stay quiet during actual quiet time. It is a real struggle. I started School Time on Tuesday, and it went like a dream! I gave the girls and Keith a blank lined paper and told them to fill it out, paying attention specifically to handwriting. I asked them to write about their favorite season.

Keith blew me away! That boy has an incredible talent. It took him all of 5 minutes to fill his paper with poetry better than I could have written.

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Summer
by Keith
Summer is the
yolk in the egg
golden and covered
in white
the white
is the cold killer
white of winter
with beauty
but destruction.
in summer
you run, jump,
and play
in the blazing
fiery sun
hot and
warm like a
blanket
for the 
make-up
for winter
that warms your
soul
with light
and makes it 
bright
like
fire
in a gentle
breeze
and friends to
the end.

Faye worked on hers for a long time. It was absolutely wonderful having her and B quiet for 1.5 hours. It really made the day a lot easier than it otherwise would have been. She wanted to draw a picture on her paper.

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My favorite season is... FALL!! The leaves change to red, orange, yellow. In the fall, the leafs crunch as I walk. I have to find a perfect place to sleep over the winter. I have to fly North for the winter. I sleep all winter. I wake up in the spring and I hunt for food all summer long. I go home for some hot cocoa and watch my favorite show by the fire. Mommy, Mommy, Mommy. She is the best mom in the universe because she makes cookies. She is beautiful.

Aww, so sweet of her! But really, that last bit was because I was making cookies as she was writing this. 

I forgot to take pictures of it, but today for quiet time, I pulled out my crafting things and we made some paper flowers. I wish I had taken pictures, but I was a little grumpy today and just wanted to go to bed. Unfortunately, Vince didn't go to sleep until half an hour ago, 10:00, so I am up much later than I had wanted to be. The good news is it isn't all that late right now, and I can go to sleep now! 

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I'm hoping for another brain blast while I sleep because I honestly have no idea what to do for school time tomorrow, and today's reading really didn't go all that well, and they actually woke up T and Vince. Something for tomorrow that will keep them quiet during quiet time, and that will help them not have to be out in the sun during the hottest time of day. Because that is where they go when the other kids are sleeping.