Thursday, February 24, 2011

and a bit of ironic humor

We ran out of milk with dinner tonight, so I needed to run to the grocery one more time today. I went alone after the kids were all settling down before bed in their pj's.
While there, I ran into another mom of many who was out shopping by herself and she chuckled "Isn't it therapeutic...just 5 minutes of silence in the grocery store?"
She had no idea, I thought to myself, after today's earlier experience.
I said something silly like "Yep, better than the bathroom...nobody's knocking to get in!"

It had me wondering in the car ride home where other moms find their "5 minutes." Exercise? Prayer? Grocery shopping? A good book? I was imagining the start of something mall walking...only friends meet at the grocery to pick up the essentials, walk a few laps around the store, and catch up over a cup of hot coffee. Hmmm. I might be on to something. Practical, multitasking at it's best? perhaps not. It really is the silence I crave. It's when I can actually hear myself think...better yet, hear what God's thinking.

heart still pounding

As I tucked her in tonight, kissed her soft forehead, and prayed our nightly "Angel of God" I shook again remembering our close call today. The "what-if's" can be paralyzing if we allow ourselves to dwell in them.

Praising God for his mercy and protection...that baby Anne is just fine.

Another prayer, recalled from childhood...
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray thee Lord, my soul to keep.
On waking with the morning light,
I ask thee Lord to guide me right.

shopping with kids; and getting more than I bargained for.

I'll start by (guiltily) admitting that I don't typically take my small kids to the grocery with me if I can help it. It's one of the few "outs" that I get nowadays, and I look forward to the peaceful aisles of the store as I shop for the things we need. Here lately it's just been too cold, too snowy, too bundle everyone up anyways. Today the weather was warming (melting things nicely for the next snowy blast) so I thought it would be nice to get my errands done with the kids, and not have to go this evening. I love our local Dollar General for "short lists" cause they have a little of everything, including toys to entertain the kids while I shop.

Everyone was in good spirits, begging for EVERYTHING in sight, but not terribly disappointed when I said no to the majority of it. (cause I'm the meanest mom in the whole world, right?) Little Annie was sleeping soundly, buckled in her carseat in the top of the cart. We managed to get everything on our list (and then some) and were heading for the register, when my active helpers gave me the scare of a lifetime...

(and here's where I backtrack...about 5 years, to when Charlie was about 10 months old.)

I had him contentedly buckled in his pumpkin/carseat ready for an outing, but needed to run to the back of the yard to talk to John before we left. I set his seat on the little tykes picnic table for a moment while I walked back to the garden. His bigger sisters Grace and Mary knelt on the benches to peek in closer and "love" on their little brother. In an instant, his carseat was upside down in the grass, and he was screaming at the top of his lungs. A little scratch on the forehead, but he calmed quickly and seemed fine...mostly. The next day I took him in for a check to find he'd broken his little chubby leg. OUch. (That was one of my many nominations for Mother of the Year award.)

Before you're panicking (cause I did enough of that for all of us today), there are no broken bones here today...that I'm aware of. But boy did I get more than I bargained for at the Dollar General.
As we (myself, baby Annie dozing in her carseat, Charlie 5, Frank 4, Rose 4 and Lucy 3)headed for the checkout, I paused one last time to look at a "Clearance" sign that caught my eye. We were at the end of an aisle and Charlie (anxious to get his bubble gum to the checkout) took it upon himself to keep steering the cart onward. All the planets were at that same moment, the other 3 jumped on the side of the cart, while the front wheels were caught on the display. The whole cart went toppling in the blink of an eye...I saw it in S L O W M O T I O N as little Anne's carseat toppled out onto the floor. turning her enire seat upside down, and nearly missing the edge of the metal display shelf. My heart was pounding in my I grabbed for her, but couldn't catch in time. Thank God the carrying handle was still up. Thank God she was still buckled in. Thank God she was okay. She was crying and startled, but not a bump or bruise in site. (and trust me, I've stripped her down a couple times already today just making sure.) She cried and instantly, Charlie was in tears too. Broke my heart, as I knelt down to show him Annie was okay, and remind him how quickly accidents happen. That mom doesn't give instructions/ask him to be careful, just for the fun of it. I was still shaking at the checkout as I held Annie (whose gummy grins and giggles helped to reassure us all that things were more than fine.)

As we drove away in the van, and I was reminding Charlie of his fall years ago, I remembered too that the same thing had happened to one of the other kids at Walmart years back. Can't remember anymore who was involved, but it was in the checkout buckled in a carseat, and wild kids climbing on the cart...pulled it over. Yep, it's coming back to me... Gosh, how many times could I have let this happen?!
Did you know they have a "Code" for things like that at Walmart. I remember being horrified when they announced a "Code something" over the loudspeaker system and paged a manager to the register. As if I didn't feel guilty enough...they were letting the whole store know about the screw-up mom on check-out 12. Ugggh.

There must be a lesson here for me somewhere...leave the kids at home? no, not possible. Perhaps just a simple reminder of the blessing of life/health, and how completely out of our hands those things are, even when we're trying our best. Perhaps a humbling reminder that as much as we think we have things under control, accidents happen. We can be grateful to God for his gift of guardian angels.
Thank you Lord for watching out for baby Anne today. Certainly the guardian angels here get no rest whatsoever!

our bedtime prayer:
Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God's love
commits me here.
Ever this day,
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
(and protect us as we topple from high places.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ahhh... R&R. Vacation. Good family, Good food, Good fun.

Yep, we just returned from a 4 day weekend in the beautiful Smokey Mountains of Tennessee with my parents, siblings and all our children. It was wonderful! We all shared a "little cabin" in the hills and forged many great memories for all of us. It was wonderful to disconnect from the everyday hustle-bustle and reconnect with the ones I love.

I wanted to tell you all about it as I was packing/preparing last week, but my parents didn't think it was wise that I should announce to the whole blogosphere that we were all leaving town, homes unattended for the know, cause that's mom...and she worries about stuff.
Anyways. We're back. And laundry continues, life goes on. And the snow day today was welcome. I'm so grateful that we got a bonus day to ease back into our routine.

Lovin my crazy family!

Mom and Dad,brother Jim & Judy, and daughters Jenna & Jamie, brother Joe & Kristen & daughter Madison, and my whole gang. We were also joined by Jenna's beau Jean Francois, and Judy's mom who aren't pictured.

my little rose

as I fumbled through little sleepers and onesies for Annie the other morning, I asked Rose (who was propped up next to Anne on the bed) for her opinion.
"Hmmm. What should little Annie wear today?"
"Ummm. Hot dogs?" Rose replied.

I couldn't help but giggle.

Bet you'll never guess what Rose responds everytime I ask her what sounds good for lunch.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

finding joy amidst the laundry

Annie cries out "Help! Someone throw me a sock and pull me out! Mom nearly lost me in this heap of folded jeans and jammies."

I say...they're never too young to learn about Laundry.

Friday, February 11, 2011

happy birthday mary & john!

SEVEN?!?! are you sure? ( I really asked them this morning.)

there I go, blinking again.
Thank God for the gifts of you!
You remind me to stop and smell the roses,
and of how important it is to pay attention,
and that the best things in life are not always the easiest,
and should never be taken for granted.
I love you both VERY much.
How blessed am I that you should call me Mom.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

i blinked.

...and just like that, my tiny precious newborn grew into the big girl sitting here, smiling at me with those sparkly eyes and gummy grin.
I can't believe she's nearly 4 months old already!

Sweet Annie Therese

the real secret about that groundhog...revealed.

I'm beginning to understand why that groundhog decides to crawl back in his hole for 6 more weeks of winter. It has nothing to do with his shadow afterall.

Today, anxious to see the sun shining in, I peeled open all the blinds. All of them...even in the bedrooms which rarely see daylight. (We still have nappers in each of the kids' rooms, so I just leave blinds closed all day.)
Anyway, that beautiful sunlight pouring in with all it's might quickly revealed layers of dust...everywhere! Uggh. It was a tough decision to weigh out...Do I pull all the blinds and wait till spring, or do I buckle down and get to work?? I actually had to think about it for a minute, but the sun won out, and I dusted my way through the down stairs bedrooms knocking away dancing cobwebs from the corners, and layers of winter dust. It was good for the soul.

But, I'm seriously understanding why some days that groundhog decides that it's not worth the effort. She realizes too that sometimes, the dusting can wait. 6 more weeks of winter isn't an ETERNITY. And then some years the sun wins, and working through the dust is necessary to appreciate all it's beauty.

By the way? What did that ol' groundhog decide this year? I was too busy watching that catastrophic storm sweap across the country to notice.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

calamity over make-up days.

I received a call from Charlie's preschool teacher last evening. I could instantly feel a lump in my throat, and my heart raced for a moment, as I could only begin to imagine what he had done.
She called to inform me of an incident that occurred during "calendar time." (oh Lord, what mind was racing.) Then her voice cracked in laughter and she assured me it was nothing wrong.
She went on to say that they were discussing the recent bad weather, and the days missed from school. They talked about how the plan to have a long President's Day weekend, was going to be changed to allow for a "Make-up" day. As she talked on to the class about make-up day for that Friday, she noticed Charlie's hand go up. His voice was one of concern and hesitation, as he spoke very seriously..."But Jackie, I'm from Minster, and I'm a boy, and I don't wear make-up." She said she and the other teacher could barely hold back laughter over his misunderstanding of "Make-up" day, and thought it even funnier that he had to clarify where he was from, as if boys from other towns might wear make-up.
She couldn't contain her laughter on the phone either.
Neither of us could.
And I couldn't resist asking Charlie about it when we hung up. I told him his teacher had called about makeup day, and asked him what color eye shadow he'd like to wear that a most defeated look, he shrugged "Blue I guess. That's a boy color."
Poor boy.
He couldn't figure out why his dad and I were nearly in tears with laughter.

Yes, I did finally reassure him there was no make-over/beauty school, only a day to take the place of the one missed...he's still not certain about it all.

out of the mouths of babes

"It's Grandma's birthday today!" I tell the kids after breakfast.
"How old do you think she is?" (a totally loaded question for a group of preschoolers, I know.)
Charlie: "300!"
Frank: "I don't know? Ten?!"
Lucy: (holds up 10 fingers and giggles)
Rose from the other room, hollars: "70!" (ouch.)

I would never be so rude to say for sure, but Rose minus do the math.

I remember Dad helping us to order black tipped carnations when she turned 30. (I was 8 then.) She seemed so OLD back then, and now...she's more like the sister I never had. Funny how our own age changes our perspective. 30 was nothin!

Happy Birthday mom!
You're another year younger.
Love you.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

rockin the sweatpants.

I know I mentioned my "rut" last week. I do appreciate all your helpful words of encouragement. I know many of you have been there/done that (maybe even bought the tee shirt.) It helps to know we're not alone in this crazy world of dinosaur chicken nuggets. (We wouldn't actually buy those if we didn't have kids, would we?!)
Anyway, I wanted to follow up (for those of you who were ready to have me committed for more serious "help")...I'm doing better each day. I started the next day, by convincing grandma to babysit for an hour so I could get my haircut. Wow! Is that therapeutic?! Turns out I haven't worn a bobby-pin in a whole week! (Why did I ever think that could be considered a hairdo? If you're currently wearing one, and you're under 70...and it's not holding your tightly coifed bun in place...take it out! It's not a style. It's a cry for help.) Unless of course your a teenager, in which case all style rules are out the window.
Even greater therapy than the hairdo though, was buying a new bra. OMG! The elastic in my very old worn-out nursing bras was probably past it's expiration 6 kids ago. I can't tell you the psychological value of having your "girls" up where they belong. I'm just saying. I was singing out loud when my new bra arrived in the mail. Who new nursing breasts could look "perky" again. Not I. It makes me want to sing..."Love lifts us up where we belong!" or something.
Oh, and I should definitely mention the whole "gratitude" thing. It really is the most basic form of prayer, don't ya think. If we can recognize all the good things God has provided, it makes us want for less, content with all we've received. My life is VERY good. Our God is VERY good. My morning offering reminds me to live in the moment, and make each one count...for love of Him. Being "present" for all the little moments the day has to offer, makes me happy...not a fleeting, worldly happy, but a profound joy in knowing I am a child of God...and I've got work to do...for me, for the kids, for hubby, for HIM. Life is good.
I Feel good.
(BTW~ I'm still in sweatpants. Got work to do there. But I'm rockin' em now. Even splashin on a little eye make-up some days...keeps the kids guessing where we might be going. I want them to know they're the most important "job" I've ever had, and I think our day is worth looking "pretty" for. Even if it's just a little pink strawberry lip gloss borrowed from my 4 year old.)

God Bless ya girls!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

who am i kidding?!

We're gettin' a little nutty around here...Emma fancying herself to be a mime...Frankie jumping on beds. Another school day cancelled already for tomorrow. Someone send help...or chocolate?! Come sip coffee with me, and tell me everyone's gonna be alright...

hollering from the hill tops...

WE (we, we...) LOVE (love, love...) SNOW DAYS!!! (days, days...)

We are enjoying day 2 of our "crippling, catastrophic, storm of the century" as described by the weather channel. Fortunately in our area, none of those descriptions fit. We did get plenty of sleet, a little snow, and wind to stir it all up a bit. Just enough to keep us at home and out of school. Oh, and are we enjoying our busy "lazy" days.

Yesterday the kids kept busy most of the morning playing school (of all things.) The older ones set up stations in various rooms, herding the younger kids from "classroom" to "classroom" for such activities as media (library time) with stories read aloud and other books laid out for kids to check out later; gym class with exercise balls and obstacle courses in the basement; social studies; language arts; music (with recorders and harmonicas for all); even art class in the kitchen where the kids created drawings of our town...all taped together now and hanging along one long wall in the basement for display. Very cool. We wrapped up school by lunch time and later enjoyed playing in the snow. Of course we had a new puzzle to put together...500 pieces, on a card table in the tv room where we'd all take our turns sitting and fitting a few pieces throughout the day. We had it completed by bedtime last night. Wooohooo!

Today we baked a cake to celebrate another day at home. And more snow play...this time with forts and neighbors helping out. Chocolate milk warming in a pan on the stove becconed the kids back in...with marshmallows of course.

Yep...we're loving life here these days. Enjoying the "lazy" days and grateful the weather wasn't all it was predicted to be. No power outages (although, my washer/dryer hasn't run in 24 hours...cause mom's takin' a snow day too!), no downed trees or power lines here. We're safe and snug...happy for the change of pace the weather brings.