Sunday, May 27, 2012

Why I didn't make it to church...

Our church had a speaker from Teen Challenge scheduled, which sounded interesting to me, and a potluck to follow, which sounded delicious, because I love to eat, and I love other people's cooking. So, even though it was just me and the littles at home, I decided to attempt the feat of taking them to church by myself.

"Are you sure you can do it by yourself?" David asked.
"I'm going to try!" I said with vigor.

Years ago, we used to have a system for getting a large family to church.  It included getting up a bit late, David making a large, comfort food breakfast, then yelling  "just leave it all!" as I tried to clean it up, so I wouldn't have to face it when we got home, him throwing the kids in the van, no matter their state of dress, me running around trying to find a pair of stockings that didn't have a run in them, and blowdrying my hair while he sat in the van with the children and honked.  Then we'd drive 15 minutes in stony silence, until we started to soften up toward one another because, after all, we were going to worship the Lord.  So, you can understand his concern.

Around here it's been Baby Boot Camp lately, because I've given up my full-time job to be a per diem nurse, and hopefully, a much more present mother. And it's been no more Mommy Nice Guy, either. Behavior has become atrocious, and since everyone's had the chance to adapt to being loved, cherished and well-fed, it's now time to focus on learning to get along in society.

So, last night I made cookies, and got all my ingredients ready for a main dish and a salad. Check!

Everyone had clean clothes and shoes ready, too, including me. Check!

Bright and early, I got up and started working on Getting Everyone Ready for Church. I enjoyed my morning coffee, while the little people ate a quick and easy breakfast of cold cereal. Then they played happily in their bedroom, throwing heavy toys at the mirrored closet doors, while I cooked my potluck offerings, and yelled at them from the kitchen to stop throwing.

In our little world, Sunday mornings are often the time to connect with family members who are absent, as they are sometimes a bit homesick, or we're missing each other, and today was no exception. I chatted with my husband who is working out of town for a few days, and admonished/parented by telephone one of my teenagers, whom I hadn't seen for two days. Then I called my daughter-in-waiting who is daily expected to burst into the throes of labor and childbirth, and is the other reason I don't have my job anymore, so that I can be at her beck and call for the Momentous Event. Reassured that the birth is not imminent, I called my oldest son to make arrangements, so that in case the birth becomes imminent, everyone knows their job in taking over the care of my children, and knows where to find me.

So, I actually know where that 40 minutes went. What's not so clear, though, is the rest of the morning. I put on a movie so the little kids would be occupied while I showered, then got myself ready. Then, one by one, I bathed them, and dressed them. Bathing is not an option, since wet diapers overnight, and breakfast in the hair, make it a morning necessity.

By now I had realized we would not make Sunday school, but I was okay with that, because I'd still make the sermon. While I was brushing and putting up the girls' wet hair, Little Boy got into some stuff on the porch. It's not really a kid zone, but it's not hard to get into, and he didn't make too much of a mess, but with my new hard-nosed approach, I couldn't let it go, so the discipline had to be done, and it did take some time... Back to finishing hair, and then turning off the movie, which had played three consecutive times (at least) followed by lots of crying from Big Girl who loves "Signing Times" (a fun and informative, but apparently addictive, series.)

By the time I had loaded each kid into the car seats (what ever happened to those cool car seats with the easy-latch padded tray that slid down over the kid's head, that I had back in the eighties?) and loaded all the food in, with drinks, and snacks in case they couldn't make it to the potluck without a melt-down, I saw that it was very close to the time for the sermon to start. By now I didn't care. I made all this food, and got everyone ready, and nothing is stopping me from getting there! I'll just sneak in downstairs in the back, because we'll end up in the nursery downstairs anyway, since the kids can't tolerate sitting more than five minutes, and I'll be able to bring the food in while still keeping an eye on the kids (a logistic that had me worried, about making several trips to the parking lot while wondering what mischief they might encounter.)

I was starting to sweat (how hot is it out here, anyway?) and I could feel my blood sugar dropping, as it does when I get stressed, and the two cups of strong coffee kicked in with the jitters, but as I drove away, I felt it all falling by the wayside. The cool breeze blowing in the window, the happy noises from the children, excited to be going somewhere, anywhere, cheered me. It's a thirty minute drive to church, so I knew I'd miss the sermon, but I'd make the potluck. Probably for the best, as a meal anywhere with the little kids can be a challenge, at least in the staying clean, not spilling anything department.

Ten minutes out of town, I stopped, and stared at the sign blocking the road, which read, "End of the Road: Roadwork." How had I missed the first sign? Had there been a sign? As I slunk back to town with my tail between my legs, the children began to make crabby sounds. The delicious aromas from the food filled the car, and it was, after all, past eleven, and they were hungry! So I took the opportunity of their cute church-readiness to take some pictures on the lawn, brought them in, set them at the table and promptly fed them. Myself, as well. It was a good, if lonely, meal. Would have been better with a bunch of other people...

Here's what I made:  chicken spanish rice, garbanzo-corn-tomato salad with Walla Walla green onions fresh from the garden, and cranberry-pumpkinseed-chocolate chunk cookies, which David decreed were "not horrible," so you know they must be good!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spring fun II

Little Girl loves to swing, and just think...

She loves to swing, and this is where she's happiest!

This is the first time any of the three have felt secure enough to lay back and extend their arms like this.  She was yelling and singing at the top of her lungs.  What joy!

Big Girl loves to swing also, although not with the passion that Little Girl displays.

You can push this one really high.  She's game!

Yes, he's a toughie.  Yes, he'll beat you up.

The sassy look that gets her off the hook (sometimes!)

The enigmatic princessa look...

Spring fun I

Look who's got glasses! The girls are both slightly far-sighted, so the doc says they're okay without glasses for now. Little Boy is near-sighted, though, so he needs 'em. Challenge to get him to wear them, though. Screamed, and twisted while we tried frames on him, then ripped them off when the new glasses came in. Next day had to take them back because they were broken. Same thing the next day after they were repaired. We've taken them in six times, and he's finally up to wearing them for hours at a time. I think he really likes being able to see, but eventually, he just can't stand to have them on his face and ears.
Oooo!  The cuteness factor!

This is the pursed-lip face he's started making since we started mouth exercises.

Admit it!  He's a pretty-boy!  My friend asked me why I was growing his hair long, and I replied, "Because it's so pretty!"  (And it's a three-person job to cut it!)

L. had a birthday!  Happy Birthday, darling!

The boys were playing catch...

because B. is on a team.

This one came running in to grab a mitt...

and join the fun!

She knows just what to do!

Spring projects

Spring is the time for projects, and we have projects a-plenty! First up was refurbishing the old coop. B., our son with the heart of a farmer, has been begging for chickens for two years, and this is the year we finally followed through on our promises. He has been a tender caretaker, and lovingly grown them this far.
#1 rule:  measure twice, cut once!

L. mixing concrete...

David laying a new floor...

B. putting finishing touches on the new gate...

All that for these cute little critters!

Our ten year old cherry tree is magnificent, and has never borne a cherry because it didn't have a mate. This is the year we finally followed through...
Voila!  The "pollination partner!"

Here's my "pollination partner!"  Happy 24 yrs, honey!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New York, New York!

David and I got to fly to New York to visit our lovely daughter, who has just finished two years of military training. She's excited to see the world now. We're so proud of her!

We got to go to New York City, which was another dream come true for me. Little Italy and Chinatown for food, and a Broadway show were on my to-do list. We did eat in Little Italy, which was so good, but we settled for one of the many Chinese restaurants near our hotel, since everything was quite a walk, even riding the subway. Not surprisingly, the chinese food was excellent. Extremely affordable, too, unlike the italian food!

R. and I went to see the Broadway show, "Mamma Mia" which was a real crowd pleaser, as the audience enjoyed singing along with the hits from "ABBA." I had seen the movie version, and wasn't impressed, but the stage presentation was so engaging that it made me cry during three different songs, mostly ones about mothers watching daughters grow up, and one about women getting older. I was happy that it was dark!

We walked quite a bit, and saw many landmarks which we've seen in movies. At least David has. He kept trying to tell me which doomsday movies had which structure being digitally decimated. I guess I didn't watch them that closely. We went to Times Square, which was quite lit up, and had a large, cheerful crowd. The people were all nice that we met, and some asked us if we were visiting. We looked like tourists, I guess, with our camera. Everyone thought we meant Washington D.C. as our home!

We even got to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was awe-inspiring. Imagine standing in front of a Renoir, a Picasso, a Monet, a Manet, a Toulouse Lautrec! I never imagined that I would be in the same room with so many famous paintings by so many famous people. There were many others, too, that I recognized, or names that I recognized. Gertrude Stein's collection was on tour there, as it just so happened!

Much thanks to our daughter, J. for coming to hold down the fort, and take care of our little ones. She did an amazing and capable job. You're going to be a wonderful mother, sweetie. Our other kids, L., S., and B. also helped care for the wild things, and we are so thankful for them (even though we're always nagging them!) Everyone was super happy to see us return!
Together at last!

So cute!

Loving father and darling daughter

Grand Central Station!  It was actually a beautiful building.

The view from our window in the hotel.

This famous actor's wax replica allowed me to pose with him.  He does look a little annoyed...

Delicious italian food in Little Italy.  I enjoyed it a lot more than David did, and he's the actual italian!

In Central Park.  I'm not sure exactly what this spot was.

Amazing wisteria display in Central Park.