Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nesting... and trying to shake the bug.

A furious frenzy of nest-feathering has overtaken this home! My friend Jana (who is nesting and awaiting the arrival of her little one in our guest accommodations) and I are due three weeks apart. It has been novel to nest without diving into sorting and cleaning projects, but this house is new to us, and so little furnished in all the cracks and crevices, that we can start fresh on any project we want without having to backtrack!

 Jana has been handy with crochet needle, and I have set up sewing operations in the master bathroom (yes, master bathroom) because 1. it's plenty large enough, and 2. I've been letting small children swim and play in the huge tub in order to ease the sicky blues. In camping out with my sewing machine I can make sure no one drowns :-D

I always love a good surprise ending to my pregnancy story, and prefer not to find out gender ahead of time. Amazingly, my Beloved and I agreed on names early on (when does that ever happen?!) and now I have only to create every loving detail in two color schemes.
There's no shortage of gender-neutral out there, but I find I never use it once baby is met and known.
On top of my own baby trousseau, I am trying to sneak in a couple things for another wee nephew and
one or two tiny friends due to arrive in close proximity.  Some rooms in the house resemble the elves
workshop :-)

This is the Girl baby blanket I sewed up recently.  I still have a darling Boy blanket which didn't get used
last time because we had an Aloria.  I wonder which one will be used this time around?

It was my first time using minky fabric and it looks like I could use some practice,
but I'm pretty sure baby won't mind my puckers and goofs.  It is bright, cheerful,
and very much "me", that fabric!  I couldn't help thinking of my mom too, because
I think this is a print she'd give a high approval rating to :-)

In other news, our illness prevails.  Thankfully we have no plans this week and can
lay low.  I read to the kids this morning, but my voice is pretty weak because of the
cough I've had.  Reading isn't ideal.  Poor Aloria-girl woke with a fresh bout of
sickness this morning, and she was the first it hit at the beginning of the week.
With a fever, runny nose and miserable cough, she wanted only to be held all day.
Though everyone has been trouping along with admirable endurance, by this evening
I felt ready to be done being sick.
All of December we were knocked out, and this round has me discouraged.

Thanks Lord for all the bright colors in fabric, the sunshine most days, the snow
flurries today, friends who make dinner, children who are my hands and feet
when mine are taken up with sick babies...
Thanks Lord, for hot baths, and more hot baths :-)  Yes, for all the hot baths a person
could dream of.
Thanks for a husband near-by, and for music to listen to, and a potty-trained little boy,
and plenty of books,  and for fresh fruit because we're really going through the fruit!

I'm loving the freedom and resources to create; loathing all the fevers, flushed faces,
and germs flying to and fro; and in my tired-of-being-sick state, I have an awful lot
to be thankful for.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sometimes, they call me Mother

Sickness has entered the house for round two.
My heart is thankful to be sick on a weekend, when I can release myself of guilt for the things I'm supposed to be doing (ie. conducting lessons and keeping small people productively entertained).  As it is, I let my hair down and run movies full tilt.  As long as everyone is content and the ones needing to rest are being still, I think it's a good move.  

Achy joints, fevers, barky coughs,
Long hot baths, tea, pillows strewn about the living room...  that's what life is this weekend.

I'm so glad it's not the throw-ups.

Tears come easily (to me) in this third trimester.  Only five weeks to go, and I can hardly wait to meet this wiggling little person!  The most precious thing about the tears this time around, is that I don't find myself attaching them to anything - any event or catastrophe.
I happen to know from 7 times prior experience that this hormonal weepiness rarely has a reason, but usually I try to pin it on something.   There has to be an explanation besides hormones, doesn't there?

The other night though, I had a good cleansing cry after I dropped my Beloved off at the airport.  All I could think was "Thanks Lord, for letting me cry without any reason at all.  Everything is well and blessed, and I  am an 8 months pregnant woman who just needs a good cry. Thank you."

 The other day I was sitting in swim lessons watching my children splash away, and couldn't help myself from doing a bit of people watching.  It's a favorite pass-time of mine, and offers much perspective on life for one willing to take up consideration.

One thing that struck me, was the sweetness of the young mothers in that place.  Most of the mamas were watching one or two children swim while cuddling a toddler or baby.  Most of them had three children at most.  Most of them were probably my age in their 30's.
I know that lots of women wish for more children, but I think it's more likely that status quo dictates the social standard for most people in general.  But without digressing into personal territory, I just want to say how much pleasure I got from watching these mothers... mother.  These unknown ladies blessed me in their tender efforts, and if anyone can appreciate the effort that effort takes - I think I can :-)

I was affected in another way too though - I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for this season being so long for me.  Specifically the baby/toddler/ little person season.  I was almost sick to think that the third child sitting on mommas lap being read to, was the last two-year-old that momma would have the pleasure of holding close in that way.  Oh how thankful I am to have so many chances to do-over some of those moments I missed the first, second, third time around.  I am enjoying my coming-up young adults so very much, but I am glad this toddler cuddling season isn't over.
I couldn't help think that if that momma were me, my youngest could be 6 or 8 years old!  Instead, I am reveling in those ages while looking forward once more to the second my labors are rewarded and I'm handed a warm, wet, bundle to love.
And another chance to try again - to do-over things that want perfecting, and to become a sweeter momma in the process.

These children of mine - they are priceless.  In the midst of juggling daily life I sometimes take them a bit for granted.  They amaze me. They inspire me.  They are becoming such fascinating and vibrant personalities!
And I get to be their mom.

One of mine own calls me Mother.
And unlike the mom who tacks on a middle name as voice and irritation mount, this girl utters the word as an endearment.  Whenever I hear it I feel it's an honor I don't deserve - this title of Mother.
Mom seems to me the sum of all my parts.  My failures included, but Mother... that is the bare truth of who I am.  I am a mother.  I am her mother.  For all time... mother.

The funny thing is that it has caught.  I now have a three-year-old little boy calling me: "Mother... could you get me a drink?"  And a lisping 21 month snippet of sunshine in pigtails who chirps "Mah-er... Mah-er".

So bring on the tears - those ridiculous, annoying, hormonal pregnancy tears.  I am the luckiest woman on earth!  I am the momma to each one of these spectacular individuals.  They give me grace in my failures.  They encourage me when I'm fumbling and bumbling.  They are still cuddle-able.
Even though I am mom, and often deserving of much less than the mountains of love they heap back into my life...

Sometimes... they call me Mother.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Seeing Red... in double

Precious friends are staying with us.
It's like having a couple more darling sisters around the house.

One morning...
We had twins.

One with red curls named Libby
and one with blond pigtails named Lori.

"What do you think of our book collection?"

says one to the other

"I believe it's coming along quite nicely"

a tiny sweet voice replies.

"Perhaps we should select a title and sit down together?"


And that's the fun I've been witnessing around here lately :-)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Friendly Fowl

I didn't mean to succumb to the owl craze that is sweeping
decor, household goods, and clothing...
but when I saw this cookie jar winking down at me from a high shelf
in the thrift store, I knew I had to take him home with me!

Besides... if I didn't, someone else would have.

I hadn't met a winking owl yet, and the mellow blue and white of his
porcelain plumage was gentle on my eyes - unlike some of the brown
and orange versions of this nocturnal fowl I've come across.

Originally I thought I'd snag my five dollar sweetie for the first
person I could think of who collected such things,

and then he landed on my mantle.

I doubt if  Mr. Owl is going to stay perched over the fire place,
but he and I are growing fonder of each other every day.

What can you do about the charms of a critter who winks at you
every time you glance his way?

Maybe a home in the kitchen.
By the coffee and tea?
Maybe on a bedroom shelf...

I think he may be here to stay.
I can't help it!

Monday, January 14, 2013

It Glittered today

It's not Idaho here in the high desert of Colorado.
It's not lush and green.
It's not deep, wet winter snow that you can form into snowmen,snow forts, and snow balls.
It's not lots of big fluffy flakes that pile up feet-worth of stopping power -
stopping one from going anywhere without utilizing a shovel and strong back.
It's not looking miles upward into giant evergreens,
awed by what snow looks like coming down through the trees.
It's not the short dark winter days that feel extra cozy by the fire,
and no matter what fingerprints we leave on windows,
and crayon drawings we tape to the fridge... this doesn't really feel like home.

But there are lots of things that this place is.
It is large, lovely, convenient, easy to warm, and easy to clean.
It is close to every kind of shopping.
It is swimming lessons even in the heart of winter.
It is bright happy sunshine almost every day.
it is minutes away from Safeway Rocky Road ice cream.  Need I say more?

And sometimes
when the temperature dips low in this dry climate,
and a bit of precipitation escapes the translucent clouds
at just the time a warm glow of sunlight filters through...

...It Glitters.

At least, that's exactly what it looks like to me - Glitter.

And how gracious our amazing Creator God, to care so much for me
so far away from the beautiful cozy cabin retreat that my whole family has come
to love, that He would give us  a piece of something lovely that we don't get
anywhere else:

A sky-full of sparkling Glitter.

I can't help but marvel.
Even here.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

For the Dad of Our Family

Dear Dad of my Children (My Own dearly Beloved),

Your kids are very creative.  You may have picked up on that by now, but they sure have it in them!

Thank you for facilitating their imaginations and their fancy, by providing such a wonderful wood shop.
As you'll see below, Number One was inspired to organize the workbench you built!
(Well Done Number One!) Thank you for making that workbench a priority over the top of a long
list of projects to be done.
You are the best!

Clay built one robot this morning and before long, he had a very colorful gathering of friendly and
sociable robots.  I love them.  I love the colors.  I love your Clayton.

Do you see what Z did with the wheels your ordered?  He built two different rolling toys.
Bryce took them both to bed.

Here's a picture of The Robot Dogs Clayton imagined up. My bookcase in the
living room is starting to resemble a Toy Store! :-)

The picture below it?  Some votive candle holders Zachary made and is sharing with me :-)

Now.  Here is our latest acquisition: 3 Goldfish.
Did you know you approved of their purchase?  You did it when you married me
and made me the mom of these hoodlums.  I hope you don't regret it ;-)

At 27 cents apiece, why not seven fish - one for each child?
Because I don't want to hear a sob-story about who's fish just died.
Let's make sure the victim belongs to everyone equally.
I may be a pessimist, but I think I'm setting myself up for success.

Not so sure about the fish.

Finally, a bit of my own creativity.  This sign is a knock-off of someone else's creation, but I'm happy with
my spin.  It was great to have Zacks help cutting this and nailing that, finding me the right screws and
retrieving the ladder... I practically made this sign from cedar fence boards all by myself!
What would I do without an 11 year-old son?

So again, dear Dad...(My own Love), thank you for being such a man.  Thank you for blessing this crew
with opportunities to explore and create.  Thank you for providing the resources.

Thanks for these pretty amazing kids.
I like 'em a lot.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Were it so simple.

This pregnancy has been another "boringly normal" one.
One thing considerably notable is how much of a mover this little person is.
Moving-moving all the time!
I have been sleeping great lately, but I admit I am ready to meet
he or she and cuddle some sweet baby skin up next to my cheek.

I must look ready.  I keep getting asked "how much longer" I have.
When I answer two months, eyebrows shoot up.
Today when I was grilled, I was told for the second time that I
"look ready to pop"

What do you say to that.


Thankfully I am not feeling especially sensitive or vulnerable this time
around, so I tend to take these commentaries in stride.  Smiling, I answer
that "I feel ready to pop".

((And were it so simple to get a baby out as "popping"))

Usually, strangers who like to yak about my pregnant state also want to know 
if this is my first.

"Nooo...." I say slowly "I have some others."

Often this is not the end of our conversation, even as I have signed my receipt
and am trying to edge toward a door.
But I'm selective about who I tell just how many "some more" adds up to.

It can be fun to see the reactions, but it can also put people on the spot.

All in all, I can't believe how many positive looks, responses, and comments
I get when I take the crew out with me.

The Lord's favor is richly over my daily life in that way.
All glory to Him!

Today I had one more really fun commentary - a first for me actually......

The nine of us (including my Wiggly Bump) were taking up half a grocery
store isle, and I was intently instructing Bryce which Bagels to retrieve
for me.
"The Blueberry ones there, with the blue label." I pointed my finger.

There was a woman and child appearing to wait until it was safe to pass
us without running over one of my hoodlums. Or three.

They didn't pass.

The woman continued to observe us, and I began to
realize she was enjoying herself immensely. We were putting on a show.

When she finally did pass, she said "You have a BIG family!"

"Comparatively speaking we have" I replied

Then she asked:
"Are you that family on TV?"

Harhar! {I chuckled out loud}

"NOOO!" I said,
"But when we come out like this it FEELS like we're on TV!"

((At least it feels like we're being watched.))

Ain't that the truth though?  Do YOU feel like you're on TV?
Even going out with just two or three little ones can put you in the limelight.

Hmm... I wonder what the next stranger will say to beat that one!

Such good times.

Masks that Lina made for herself and Bryce

Swapping Sunglasses and checking out their bad selves in the mirror

Painting in the sunlight

Explaining a Math problem (who's doing the explaining though?)

Blocks and animal cutouts the boys have been making

Such great form - and at such an early age! :-)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Days of Light and Life!

After a month of sickness, quiet, and arranging the essentials of housekeeping,
we've graduated to "recovered, busy, and nesting in with creative homemaking".

We're trying hard to gather our bearings in the department of routine;
figuring out what the chores in this new house are, who should do which ones,
how to schedule it into a flow that works with our lifestyle.
It's tricky, but we're catching on!

I have a foreboding feeling that we'll get it down just when baby 8 comes
and changes the dynamic once again.
Now that we're finally into "next year"... the advent of his/her arrival is not so far away.

We started swim lessons this week.
I really wanted to blog about our first swim outing.
in winter.
and swim suites.
with 7 kids...

but I was too doggone tired to lift a finger when we got home from that!
Fun it was :-D

Seriously, I sit here smiling to myself as I think about how nothing in our culture is
set up for the accommodation of oddities like us. By oddities I mean:
People with more than four children to fit on a registration sheet.
People who take up a whole side of the pool in deck chairs and space for towels.
People who won't fit in a booth at a restaurant.
People who can barely squeeze down a grocery isle - even if the kids are in perfect form.
People who come out of the bathroom stall in droves........

-Speaking of this, do you ever experience the anxiety that accompanies the phenomena
of the trailing train when you turn the corner in a grocery store and you
 just KNOW that the oncoming traffic won't be watching for 4 more people trickling
along behind the 4 that just passed?

Parking lots are the worst.  I'm pretty sure they take years off my life.-

Anyway swimming.

My children had a blast!  They did awesome and I had a lot of good laughs watching
them. That Bryce...
It really was fun, but boy.  What a workout.
And I didn't even get into the water!!!

They are plugging themselves back into school work with admirable effort.
I'm so thrilled to have some spaces they can read and work their math problems
without some pint-sized pipsqueak reaching over and drawing on their homework.

We have one room here which we hope to use for a music room eventually.
It has glass doors and a bookcase wall which lends itself to being a library
or study.
We painted the walls deep blue there.
And so it has been dubbed "The Blue Room".
I'm grateful for the Blue Room when I see my boys sprawled out in their with
their clipboards and pencils.
Or the girls perusing the bin of borrowed library books.

I try to keep the two smallest people out of that room and because of that
it's become a haven for thinking.

It needs a sign over the doors.
I was wondering...
If I don't call it The Blue Room, I'm not sure if I should call it The Thinking Place
or maybe the Quiet Room, or how about A Piece of Peace.
Probably not The Concentration Camp.

The monkey bars are getting used.
Tonight however, I thought I would have a heart attack when I heard screaming
which I was certain meant impending death.
It was only one (nameless) person who would not articulate in words:
"Somebody help!  I'm stuck!  Help help HELP PLEASE!"
from 10 inches off the floor.

It is hard on the 32 week pregnant body to get that much adrenaline pumping
in a mad dash to save a life!  Neither of us was a happy camper.
No one died - or came remotely close to suffering even.
I should be glad.
Once again - another year of my life wiped clean off the slate :-D

Coming soon, I must post pictures of the kids many beautiful creative
projects - especially for the Grandma's.
I always think I'll get to it after I tuck everyone into bed,
but by that time, MY creative juices are all used up and bed (or some other mindless pastime)
is looking more...mindless.

Tonight I started you with a picture of Aloria
who surprised me in her stick-to-it-ive-ness with that Lollipop.
 I didn't pay enough attention to her because I thought she'd be slow.

However, once she discovered how to crunch in to that sweet treat, I didn't
get to her again before she consumed almost the whole thing!

Finally I leave you with Bryce Endurance.
You may think he crunched through his too.
Actually, against my good advice and years of experience on many sweet subjects,
(and I told him - "you shouldn't use your Lollipop as a paddle/bat/sword..".)
he had whacked that Lollipop to bits before we unwrapped it.

He ate his in pieces.

Didn't faze him a bit.

So much for my know-it-all :-D

Sunday, January 6, 2013

5 little, 6 little, 7 little Monkeys...

The big kids have been helping Dad with a very special project.

Last weekend they spent a lot of time in the wood shop - especially Dad :-)

Then everyone turned their attention to the "Romp Room" downstairs.
The Romp Room is a large empty space dedicated to running off steam
 - or maybe the doughnuts we ate for breakfast!

It's looking like we have a fabulous start to our indoor playground!

Our own personal Park :-)

Monkey Bars were the first thing on the list - kind of like a test-run for the new
(craigslist) shop tools
Now they are up and running (not soon to be slowed I think), and ready to build
some other things for our amusement park!

What a great Dad we have.
And what cute little monkeys ;-D