For obvious reasons, I haven't been much into yardwork this year. In previous years, I would spend several hours a week weeding, mowing and doing general maintenance to keep the yard looking good. This year, I've barely managed minimal weed pulling. As a result, we've been somewhat overrun with weeds. I've kept up better in the front yard than the back, but it still isn't great.
This spring, right after I had E, I was out in the yard and I noticed a plant in my front flower bed. I had no idea what it was, but it didn't look like the weeds I usually pull. I knew I hadn't planted it, but for some reason I decided to leave it and see what it would become. Over the months, it got taller and taller, never revealing what it would be, but still I let it grow.
One morning, as I walked out my front door, I looked over to my flower bed and to my surprise found a beautiful Sunflower plant. I'm not sure what kept me from pulling it for all those months, but now I'm very glad I didn't. It's beautiful and happy and there's nothing better than a beautiful happy flower in your yard.
My unexpected Sunflower has been a source of contemplation for me this week. We've had some rough mornings getting children off to school. I've also been dealing with sleep deprivation as a result of a baby who is no longer sleeping well at night. I've been a tad frustrated with the 'weeds' of my life and I've spent too much energy trying to pull them and make my life perfect. It's been an exhausting week. But I realized yesterday that all my 'weeds' may not be weeds at all, but beautiful Sunflowers.
When O fed her dolly chips yesterday and then smushed them into the carpet, I was able to enjoy the moment and laugh at her creativity. When K surrounded E with every stuffed animal she could find, I was able to look at how beautiful my girls were instead of insist that she put things away to keep the house clean. I've been able to refocus my efforts on things that are more important in the long run, reminding myself once again that the children will not grow up and remember how clean the house was, but rather that they were loved.
I'm grateful for my unexpected Sunflower and the lesson it has taught me. I seem to need constant reminders that there are more important things than perfectly dressed children and a perfectly organized home. Laughter and love are by far the most important thing. Thank you, my beautiful Sunflower and my wonderful Father in Heaven for providing it.
Dad was gone last week and that is always a hardship. I've always said it's a good thing there's two of us, because one of us just isn't enough. By the time Sunday rolled around, I knew we needed to get out of the house to preserve our sanity. Although being in the car is also a test of sanity!
We drove up the Alpine Loop and went to Cascade Springs. It was a perfect day. It had rained in the morning, so it was cooler than usual. The children loved running along the paths and even spotted a snake as we walked.
A was overjoyed at having to sit in such close proximity to L.
A took this picture. I thought it was awfully artistic, and such a beautiful view!
O wouldn't hold anyone's hand but A's. It was sweet to watch him with her.
By the time we headed back to the car, the clouds had cleared a bit and it had heated up. The kids were all whining about how hot it was. One gentleman on the path asked where the kids were headed in such a hurry. When I responded that they wanted to get in the air-conditioned car, he asked where we were from. Sadly, we are close to home, I just have wimpy children.
I have been unable to put my thoughts into any kind of cohesive form this week. Thus the lack of blog posts. I have so many thoughts that I can't seem to organize them. This is not a problem I have very often, having children does that to you.
So here's my attempt at organizing my thoughts.
My little sister had her twin boys this week. They were early and are in the NICU. But they are amazing. Amazing little miracles. And there's two of them! For some reason, that alone is absolutely amazing. And I get to be their aunt. I'm so excited to watch them grow.
It seems that no matter how many children I have, or how many children I've seen others have, I am still in awe at the miracle of life. I once watched a documentary on the whole process and determined that it's a miracle any of us reproduce. The odds just aren't in our favor. God definitely has a hand in it.
And the miracle of technology is absolutely stunning. There are so many preemies that would never have survived a hundred years ago. But today, they not only survive, they thrive.
But then my thoughts turn to a conversation I had with a friend this week about how hard it all is. And it IS hard. No matter how awe-inspiring these little miracles are, the reality is that raising children is a challenge. It's a challenge no one can prepare you for. It's a challenge without a guide book. And sometimes, it's completely overwhelming. Anyone who tells you otherwise is full of it.
I've found that no matter how much you love your children, or are impressed and amazed by the things they do, you still have days that you want to sell them on the street corner to anyone willing to take over. They can be infuriating. The key is to not beat yourself up over the fact that you aren't a perfect parent and realize it's ok to be all done sometimes. And mothers, we all need to stop comparing ourselves to everyone else.(I'm as big an offender of this as the next mom.) We are all different. Thank heavens!
So those are some of the thoughts that have been floating around my little brain. I hope they make sense somehow.
1.Do not let child open soup can retardedly on first day of school, slicing pinkie open and requiring three stitches. Not cool. (The child in question was Andrew.)
2.Pepsi and Rob Thomas make most things better. At least temporarily.
3.Learn to have sympathy for child who uses pretend money wrong and buys wrong thing on dumb game.
4.Feed the baby.
5.When the ten year old ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
6.When you fix the radio in your van you are aloud to holler loudly, "Who's your Daddy?". It's your God-given right.
7.Paying bills allows you to treat yourself to artery clogging fast-food for lunch.
8.Children claiming new socks are not theirs may require commitment to mental facility. Resort to note number 2 first.
9.Children will go to school naked if you don't do the laundry.
10.Prepare better for next year's writing marathon on the first day of school. All those papers take a good hour or two to fill out. Start practicing now. Oh wait, you already did that today.
11.Don't look at your desk. You'll just be blinded by the mess. And if you clean it off, it will merely re-accumulate. It's like making your bed. What's the point, you will just get back in it in a few hours.
12.When on the phone making important phone call, ply two year old with any and all junk food she wants. You can deal with the tantrum later as long as she shuts-up for the time being. She's not a stupid two-year old. I'll give her that.
And thus concludes lessons learned today. Refer to notes often so as to not repeat any of the mistakes made today. The end.
After a week of fighting, tears and utter chaos, I am officially ready for the children to return to school. I am not one of those parents who could successfully homeschool my children. I'd need a padded room.
It seems that sometimes being in charge is just hard. It's hard to be the mature one when you are surrounded by immaturity. I have found myself arguing with my children this week. What's up with that? Last I checked, they don't get a choice. This is not a democracy.
Despite my complaints and occasional days of feeling totally overwhelmed and stressed-out, I really do enjoy parenting. My children are bright and innovative. Even if that innovation leads to such shenanigans as tying a used diaper to a string and dropping it over the banister on unsuspecting passers-by. Children are, for the most part, happy-go-lucky people with never-ending optimism, and mine teach me how to enjoy the moment on a regular basis.
I especially love toddlers. O is really starting to communicate and I love to hear what she's thinking. She tells me when things are loud and she is so curious. Oh, is she curious! She discovered how to stop up the sink this week. That was messy. But isn't she funny!?!
So I guess I don't wanna grow up, but I want all the perks of being grown up. I'm guessing there's not a way to do that. So I'll just have to struggle through like the rest of humanity and cherish the moments when my toddler wears goggles!
Sundays are crazy days. Getting six kids and one husband out the door in time for church is often a marathon event which requires great planning and more patience than I have sometimes. This last Sunday was no different. However, my boys thought they were funny and played a bunch of practical jokes.
The first I came across was as I was doing O's hair. She was sitting on the counter wiggling and squirming all over and decided she needed a drink. So she turned on the faucet and leaned over to help herself. Next thing I know, I'm getting sprayed with water. Someone had put tape over the faucet. Nice. Dad giggled and informed me the boys were up to no good.
A couple of minutes later I hear L hollering that she couldn't open the refrigerator because the boys had taped it closed. I'm not sure how she resolved the problem, but she was upstairs a few moments later.
I went downstairs to fix myself a piece of toast before church. I opened the silverware drawer only to discover not a single piece of silverware. So I checked the dishwasher. Nope. Nothing. So I hollered up to the boys, I just knew it had to be them, and told them to put the silverware back. A few minutes later, M enters the kitchen with silverware stuffed in his pockets and more in his shirt. I found out later that they hid all the silverware so no one could cut the tape off of all the various items they taped. Nice.
We somehow managed to get out the door, but the boys and L wanted to walk to church. The rest of us drove, but as the meeting was about to start, I sent Dad to make sure they were still coming. A walked in moments later with a ring indent on his forehead. He had sucked a toy to his head for the entire walk. Nice.
After church, which included much giggling, I sat down on my computer to surf the net only to discover tape over half the keys on my keyboard. Nice. No wonder we never have any tape in the house!
My husband says it will only get worse. I'm afraid. Very afraid.
Oh to be a child again. My kids have been bugging me all summer about doing a lemonade stand. I kept putting them off because I didn't have any lemonade, but then I'd forget to buy any at the store. So this week, they resorted to attempting to sell pictures they had colored. I decided to have mercy on them and suggested an Icee stand. I think they may have hit the jackpot. They were able to make $15 in about three hours.
Of course now they think they should have an Icee stand EVERY day!!
I went to the grocery store with as few children as humanly possible today. For me, that number is two. O and E were the lucky children too young to stay home.
Upon arrival O insisted on getting one of those lovely carts with the car on the front. At conception, I'm sure these carcarts seemed like the solution to mothers taking young children shopping. What the inventors didn't seem to take into consideration was the tantrum that would ensue if Mom didn't want to use that cart and how terrible they are to push.
On this day, this mom decided it wasn't a battle worth fighting and agreed to push the blasted car-cart. O happily got in and proceeded to buckle herself in, thus requiring me to unbuckle her several dozen times.
I thought our trip was going fairly smoothly until I received a call from home. The kids were fighting. Big shocker. After a discussion which I'm sure I shared with most of the other shoppers (so sorry) I was able to convince the children not to hurt one another and to watch TV. O was behaving herself quite well, however it was necessary to remind her to keep all apendages inside the car.
And then, it happened. E, who had been happily sucking her fists in the sling, made the face. You know, the poop face. And then I heard it. Within seconds, I began to feel warmth against my tummy where she sat in her sling and I knew it wasn't good. I peeked into the sling and saw the spot darkening on the back of her sleeper. I looked at the cart and realized I had left the diaper bag in the car. I made the decision that I would hurry and finish shopping and change her in the car. It was a decision I would regret. As I continued to hurry through my list, I felt more and more moisture, which spurred me on to finish shopping in record time. As I stood in the checkout line, I ventured a peek. It was bad. It had not only soaked through her sleeper, but also through the sling and I had poo on my shirt.
When we got out to the car, I quickly undressed her, thankful she wasn't in a onesie, and attempted to spit bath her with wet wipes. She was virtually unfazed by all this and kept sucking happily on her fists. At one point, I was holding a naked baby in the grocery store parking lot, looking frantically for something clean to lay her on. Needless to say, she had completely mucked up the changing pad I used and I couldn't lay her back on it to put a clean diaper on her. She rode home in a diaper and I changed my clothes as soon as we walked in the door. I will forever remember that trip to the store as The Great Blowout of 2009!
Ice Cream Adventures
We were at my Sister-in-law's over the weekend for a family gathering. We had a fabulous lunch followed by ice cream. I didn't give O ice cream. I knew she'd make a mess.
Well, she found someone else's ice cream and went to town.
When I got to her, she had ice cream all over her face, on her legs, in her hair and all over her hands and arms. I think she bathed in it. I took off her dress, content to let her continue playing, until I looked out and saw she'd taken off her diaper. So then I had a naked toddler covered in ice cream. She too got to ride home in only a diaper. This is what I get for NOT giving her ice cream!!
I am a stay-at-home mom to 4 drama-queens, 2 grubby little boys, 2 cats and a tortoise. I constantly threaten to move to Africa and change my name to George, but I secretly love the chaos my kids create. Life is rarely boring and these are our adventures as recorded by me!
A~ 10 years old and loves to torment his sisters. L~ 8 year old drama queen gymnast. M~6 years old and terribly precocious. K~4 year old sweetheart, but she cries, a lot! O~ 2 year old holy terror. E~ 5 months old and the yummy baby.