While the Chicks are still in the Roost

Sometimes I get so tired and bogged down, and I wake up thinking, how soon is bedtime?? All the lunches and the arguing about random stuff, and the laundry, and the fixing the plates, and the laundry, and the arguing, and everything just gets me exhausted. Did I mention the laundry?

I woke up feeling that way today, on this Tuesday that’s acting a lot like a Monday. After a bit of thinking though, I realized something. All my chicks still live under my roof. They go off to school, and I go off to work but we are home together and we sleep in the same house and operate out of one base. The time for this will pass me by, eventually. I see it happening with my dear friends who have children off to college, and the marines. How weird a time for them, to go to sleep not knowing if your little one has gone to sleep yet, or will for hours. How weird is it to not be able to run them some lunch money (not that you want to because frankly they could have asked for it this morning) or to talk with them about something someone said that day and steer them in the right direction? The day will come when all of us being under one roof is the rarity, with most of us scattered about doing our lives.

So today, amid the arguing and plate fixing and chaos, I’m going to just be glad we’re all together.

Under one roof.

Wearing clothes washed together in the laundry.

fam15

Fam16

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Her name is Wonder Woman. . . 

. . . and she lives in my purse. She’s a little soft toy. I received her as an anniversary present from Steven. He and one of the boys picked it out while card shopping. 

On impulse, I tossed her in my bag on the way out the door one day to go to work and she’s been there ever since. When I’m stressed about things, be they work related or kids and school related, she’s a comforting little gal to have around. 

Oh she’s not magical and should she be lost, life would roll on as it always does, but remembering she’s there, and the fellas who thought of me when they saw her, it brings back a good feeling. That good feeling is a nice fat raindrop in what can often feel like a dusty, empty watering can. There’s so much watering and pouring out, out, out, that my water can is expected to do. Sometimes, it feels like no one is ever  putting any water back in, in, in it. That one little wonder woman shaped drop can somehow make enough of a difference, that I can somehow do one more of the things,  when I thought I was surely done. It’s like a modern day feeding of the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. 

I’ll take my inspiration wherever I can get it.  

 

Baby Shower

Baby Shower

On the 22nd my sister Ronda gave me a baby shower. What fun it was! A friend of mine from Texas flew in and spent some of our spring break with us, so she and her sweet baby rode up to the shower with me and my Oliver.

That blanket I’m holding, my Mom made it. She used a skein of yarn that belonged to my Mema. Mema always made a blanket for the Great Grandchildren. She died in 2010. How special that mom found her yarn. Not only did she find it, she only found one and had to go find yarn that matched it, and she successfully did that. Who knows when Mema actually bought that yarn.

I pretty much have everything that we need to have this baby now. That’s saying a lot because we basically had nothing for a baby. As you well know, I’d had my tubes tied so as Oliver outgrew items, I was happily disposing of them to others and passing them along anywhere but at our house. We were done with this whole baby thing. On to big kids!

But now, now we are back in babyland. And we’re set. And God has provided for the miracle He gave us.

Since it’s April, I can officially say we’re having a baby THIS MONTH. What?! Is it just me or did this fly by?? Maybe because we weren’t expecting it?? I don’t know, but I’m happy, I’m excited. I can’t wait to meet Jude. I already know he’s a mover and a shaker. And he likes to give his Mama heartburn.

Over and out.

Learning to Love the Mess

If you stopped by my house today, unexpectedly, you’d probably find it very hard to believe that I used to be a neat freak. I was. My living space had to be immaculate for a long time. I think it was a coping mechanism I developed as a teenager. I shared a room with a couple other people and I would literally make a line between my area and theirs and mine was always spotless. My bed was perfectly made with my pillows and stuffed animals arranged carefully, and my decorations hung neatly on the walls in a specified pattern.  I could tell if someone sat on my bed while I was gone because the sheets would be “off”.

Then I got married, and while it was more challenging to incorporate the items and habits of another person I was still successful. My home was neat. You could drop in at any time and I felt comfortable and ready to entertain. I was a student in college and worked a part time job, but I could not SLEEP AT NIGHT if there were dirty dishes in my sink or clothes on the floor.  As a result, I may have been a little uptight about the fact that others who lived with me did not share my obsessive need for cleanliness. I may have, but I could sleep at night.

Then we had our first baby. At this point I was in school, and a mother, and working part time at Wal-Mart, and, I still had a clean house. We were in a spacious home with plenty of room and places to use for organization. I could still sleep at night and people could still pop in and not be disgusted by my home. I think I was probably pretty proud of that. I think it was probably a coping mechanism from a previously messy life, and not just messy in the areas of stuff and cleaning, but messy in the areas of actual living. Messy in it’s humanity. A neat orderly home signified it was safe, and quiet, and that people got along, and that there was peace here. I can’t place why or where I started linking the two but I did. I equated yelling, angry, dangerous people with messy homes.

It wasn’t til a couple kids later, when I realized a couple of different things at the same time. We were in a smaller home, with more people. Even when you don’t have lots of stuff, when you have lots of people with a little stuff, in a small area, it still looks like a lot of stuff.  It looks messy. Also, I was tired now. It wasn’t as easy to maintain the clean. People were literally coming right behind me undoing all the work I was doing. I was also learning in relationships with other people that neat homes, didn’t necessarily signify peaceful, well put-together lives.  People I considered neat and orderly, were letting me down. They were saying and doing things that were hurtful.

I realized that in my relationship, there were times it wasn’t quiet. That in my own learning how to live life with another human, that sometimes it got loud. Sometimes it got “messy”. We weren’t two well-formed humans who came in clean. We didn’t have perfect, spiritually well-rounded lives. We brought baggage and we didn’t like each others baggage, but we sure didn’t want to admit our own baggage was so bad. It’s a hard road, to learn how to accept another human being for who they really are. It’s all we want for ourselves, at the heart of it, to be accepted for who we are. I learned that while it was messy, and often loud, and involved way more disagreements than I had imagined, it wasn’t dangerous. I learned that loud and messy didn’t have to drive out love. I learned that neat and clean and quiet didn’t always invite love either.  I learned that a cold quiet indifference could hurt way more than the fire of someone who disagrees with you very adamantly about something. It’s a hard lesson to learn when you’ve wired yourself the other way. It’s a lesson I have to learn over and over again because like any human, I forget it and start to believe the lie again.

So today, my house doesn’t reflect perfection. It doesn’t reflect spotlessness. I likely won’t do that for a long time. Because even when I fall back into my old way of thinking and I try to clean and organize out the mess of life, it still creeps back in, and it does it so fast I don’t even have time to believe my own lie. This weekend, after working my nesting self into a frenzy cleaning and sanitizing on Saturday and paying for that with soreness and exhaustion on Sunday with a house that did not reflect the work I had done the day before, I just sat down. I sat down in the recliner where I tossed the laundry from the dryer. I just scooted it over and sat WITH the laundry. I didn’t even make a pretense at folding it.

Are the kids learning to clean? Yes, bit by bit, chore by chore. Will they all learn it all today? No. Will our house be immaculate by next year? Highly unlikely.  Will we be featured in a magazine? Outlook: not so good. (remember that answer from the magic 8 ball?)

The pretense is gone. The very real, very down to earth, slightly cynical man I married helped me strip away that lie. He taught me about a love that is real. A love that sees my baggage and says, so what, I still love you. A love that challenges me to do the same thing right back. He may argue with me all dadgum day about which couch goes better in our living room, but he’ll still cry when he watches that video about kids in foster care later. (don’t tell him I told you about that . . . . .) Those boys, all of them with their dirt, and boogers, and stinky bathrooms and apparent lack of regard for which room of the house they are in when the clothes come off, they taught me stuff too. That it might be more important to sit down in the floor and build a bridge with Jenga blocks than fold that load of laundry.

Have I learned to love the mess? No, I have not. But I have learned one thing, and that is to love what leaves the mess. It may drive me bonkers to see it all over, but in seeing it I know that there are people there to make it. People that I love. I would not trade that in a million years for the neat spotless home that I could have all alone.

Climbing Scared

This afternoon, I took the boys to the park. After the ridiculously cold winter we’ve had, today was a beautiful, balmy, fantastic 72 degrees! We had the most fun. After school can be such a hectic, stressful time around our house. Aside from loading the car in the morning, it’s often the most stressful part of the whole day! This day was so nice, and our park excursion was just the thing. It was wonderful. I’m so glad we got to really enjoy the pretty day!

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While at the park, Thomas and Elijah were climbing up this apparatus, and I overheard Thomas tell Elijah, “Don’t climb scared. That’s what makes people fall.”  I can’t stop thinking about that. It seems a little reckless but if you’re a climber, you know it’s true. A confident move is a firm one. It doesn’t slip. I don’t even know where he learned that. And the way he shared it with Elijah, as they were climbing, brother to brother, that got me! 

Later, Elijah took up with this little boy named Joshua. He was 2.5 and totally afraid to go across the bouncy bridge and down the curly slide. His mom was next to me and she said he was very timid about things. Out of nowhere, Elijah shows up and starts talking to him. Eventually he gets him to cross the bridge with him and go down the slide together. He talked the little boy into doing it all by himself too. It was the sweetest thing. The little boy’s mom said, “I’m so glad your Elijah was there to help him!”  Thomas also spent a good 15 minutes just sliding and sliding with Oliver. That’s what Oliver loves to do at the park, SLIDE.

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Here’s the thing, we don’t always get days like this. 85% of the time with a house full of boys, it’s not exactly sugar and spice and love. Especially between Thomas and Elijah. So this day, and those moments, well, I’m gonna treasure them in my heart. 

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This Valentine’s Day, Steven and I got to go to Shogun, a Japanese Hibachi grill, alone!  My in laws called and asked to keep the boys. We had planned on taking them with us. The first year Steven and I were dating he took me to Shogun for Valentine’s Day. We have gone every year since then. Some years we take the boys, some years we have a sitter. The special blessing here is that my father in law has recovered enough from his stroke in early January that they were able to watch the boys and ready to do so! It was our 16th year in a row to go to that restaurant. I ate SO much food. We didn’t get home with the boys until almost midnight. I crashed into bed after putting the boys to bed, and fell asleep immediately. The next morning i awoke dreading the dishes that were waiting for me from the previous day. I got up and went in the kitchen, to find them all done. Steven had stayed up the night before and washed them. It meant more than the flowers or the candy he had given me the day before. I floated all day. Isn’t it funny how something that “small” was so big?

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I hope you all have a great week, and whatever climbing awaits you, don’t do it scared. Do it with confidence. My 9 year old said so and I believe him. 

Random Roundup: Volume II

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If you’re wondering the perfect meal to eat the evening of Thanksgiving, it’s hot dog buns. No hot dogs, just the buns.

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If you’re town is looking to spruce up for the holidays, it needs one of these ginormous trees. They’re only like $130,000. But very pretty.
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I paid him a dollar for a foot rub. It was so worth it.

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This guy has been, well, kind of adorable.

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Even when he’s wearing partial costumes!

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The baby is growing. Yes, there’s only one in there. I’m sure.
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We’ve had a bit of an ice storm here. Our temps are warm enough to not freeze solid, but cold enough to freeze. The result is not pretty fluffy snow, but ice and sleet and no one can go anywhere. The kids missed school on Friday and church is canceled tomorrow. Other than the obnoxious noise of this many people at home in a very small house, it’s been pretty fun.

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We’ve played some Dr. Who Monopoly. Shirts were optional.

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I made my Mother-in-law’s chicken spaghetti. It was good.

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Today would have been my Mema’s 80th Birthday. She died in June of 2010, a few months before Oliver was born. I dreamed about her right before I woke up this morning. I was at her house, with Oliver and she wanted me to go in the kitchen and find him something to eat. That’s so like her. In this photo, I was pregnant with Alex. He’s 13 now.

Happy Weekend Folks!