Latest Entries »

Labor Day

It is hard to put into words what goes through your head when, in the span of a single weekend, you see the kids you used to babysit and/or were privileged enough to watch (more or less depending on the kid) grow up and show their colours.  To watch them dearly love the same cousins with whom they tumbled with as pipsqueaks.  To hear the concerns or joys of their hearts and see them deal with those maturely.  To see them bless you and others with their conduct or attitudes.  To feel ancient when you watch these previous babies show off Sr. photos or talk about college or bring home special others.  To play volleyball with them and laugh our heads off at how awful we are.  To wish you lived close enough to watch them more/longer.  To see them build into your own children.  To paraphrase 3 John 1: There is almost no greater joy than to hear my sibling’s children are walking in truth.   To think that as great a joy as this is, won’t it be an even GREATER joy if the same is true of my children as young men and women.  To be spurred on to prayer and effort on behalf of my own that I might see similar things in them as grown up ‘kids’ in 15-20 years.  To stop and wonder: aren’t the 30’s a little young to be so nostalgic?  Becoming an aunt for the first time at 5 years of age and rapidly increasing my ‘auntness’ until there are 20ish of them apparently lends to early geriatric onset disorder?  So thanks, siblings, for making me old before my time… but making that more palatable by giving me super cool neices and nephews to love and enjoy as adults (or nearly so) and a few teens (or nearly so).  I’m just lucky my husband’s side (and maybe a couple on mine) granted me a few kiddos still young enough that I don’t have to feel too old all the time. 🙂

Fickle that way…

Everyone who knows me at all and has any inkling that I am about to have a baby has been asking similarly purposed, relevant questions each time we run into each other, namely “Are you ready/getting excited about the birth of this baby?”  I think they are concerned that I have forgotten that I am supposed to be glowing and joyful in my expectation or perhaps they are worried that my lack of gushing excitement is some sort of pre-partum depression or an indication that I should not be having a fifth child if I can’t muster up some excitement?

Regardless, I always feel a little bit like a lousy mother when I admit the truth, “You know, the miraculous birth of a brand new life completely dependent on our provision and love has totally escaped my priorities list so far.  I’m really more focused and preoccupied on remedying the mess I made rearranging our bedroom or on solving the mystery of why the children’s room has phantom electricity that randomly quits working for days at a time.”  You can replace that last part with pretty much any of the jobs, projects, randomness that I’ve had on my mind lately and it would still be true.  No my bag isn’t packed (my friendly neighborhood teenager and I did manage to place some newborn sized outfits in it yesterday, does that count?), no “oh I can’t wait to see what this baby actually LOOKS like!” swooning (don’t worry, she has been amply swooned over by our other children: “I can’t WAIT to see….” “When she comes out…” etc.)

Poor neglected infant already.

But today after going in for the whole ‘pre-op’ testing thing and coming home thinking ‘to do before tomorrow’ thoughts followed quickly by realizing that most of the items on the agenda were moot, finished or largely unnecessary, I found myself pretty excited about the whole get there at 5am, meet new baby, precious bonding with father and infant “wonder what she’ll be like?” type thoughts were finally emerging.

That was before they called to tell me that I didn’t have to be there until 9:30am.  Because instead of having this baby at approximately 7am, they want me to wait until 12:00pm.

The motherly, sweet infant thoughts evaporated instantly.  Now, I’m just annoyed.  I’m fickle that way.

You see, now instead of blanking everything out of my mind except the wonderfulness of new baby arrival, I am now mentally starting a new ‘to do list’.

There is a simplicity about getting up before anyone else, accomplishing things for yourself and leaving before your responsibility to/for the other household persons even kicks in.  It’s divine.

Now in place of beautiful new baby faces I find questions about whether or not we can reach the post office and also pick up swing batteries before we go to the hospital, whether I should push to get all the kids’ chores completed (more or less) before I leave or if I want to do something especially motherly and memorable to make up for the days I’ll be gone… (like what?  I don’t know?! Just another thing to think about)… and I’m also trying to tag all the situations that would require a scheduled C-section more than a day away to be rescheduled because it’s crucial… huh? (Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely positive that there are several good reasons, but somehow it would be less vexing if we showed UP at 5 and they said “We had an emergency, you’re rescheduled.”  At this point I find that I’m more wondering whether one of the participants in this whole ordeal simply doesn’t want to get up and moving by 5am…  which brings another question to mind: Matt?  Did you talk to my doctor today? j/k)

If I’m truly and completely honest, I’ll admit that most of my disgruntlement centers around my stomach.  They want me to not eat or drink anything after midnight.  When I was arriving there at 5am, that was not such a big deal… even though I am well aware that after the procedure, no matter HOW much better I feel NOT having a living breathing infant tearing apart my insides piece by piece (yes, I usually feel better immediately after the spinal wears off and the IV from Hades is removed compared to what I feel like that 9th month… it’s not normal, but true nonetheless), they will make me wait approximately 6 million years before they actually let me eat… excuse me.  I meant DRINK.  (It’s probably a matter of mere hours, but perception is what I’m going for here.)

Now, I have to wait approximately 6 million years before I can even start the clock for the already prepared for 6 million years. {YES, I DO want cheese to go with that whine!  Feel free to sneak me some at any point in the whole midnight tonight to 6 million years after noon tomorrow time frame!}

And to think I was feeling all peacefully maternal and sentimental earlier today… now I just feel ‘still pregnant’.

I’m fickle that way.

 

I know what it looks like NOW… but that’s all about to change.

Because the hours when Matt is awake are often taken up by him getting ready to leave or him arriving home from work while we’re all sleeping, we have resorted to using email to talk about most things so that I don’t feel like I’m ambushing him at the door (Honey, before you leave I need your input on these 8 matters! No pressure.)  Despite my repeated request that he learn to go to bed earlier so the kids and I don’t feel so bad when we wake him during the day (inevitable), I’m always a little disappointed to find that he did, in fact, go to bed BEFORE checking email and responding. (Well… I guess I won’t be going anywhere on that item of interest today.) 🙂  Ah well.  And I know that when we do catch the rare glimpse of his being up and open-eyed he is bombarded by all the things we wish we could ask him to do with us on a daily basis.  “Dad, wanna play badminton/listen to this play by play of my recent conquering of this video game/listen to me sing/answer all my questions/work on my treehouse/see my cool trick/play ponies/give me a piggy-back ride/….(or in my case help with fencing/bedtime/child rearing/yardwork/weeds/…)” ad infinitum.

BUT! Another week or two of the phantom husband and then he’ll be home full-time except when out with a client (which will be often, we hope, though I know that sounds bad in this context!)  I’m not sure I know how to handle having a husband that’s home and awake at the same time. 

I assume, for example, that if we continue to plague his waking hours as if they were as rare as they are now, that he will eventually go crazy and also get no work accomplished at all.  Fortunately, the novelty of having an available dad/husband will eventually wear off and playing tennis or badminton or biking or, you know, putting up fencing, and whatever will cease to seem so urgent to either the rest of us or to him, but there are other concerns.

For example: does this mean I need to learn how to cook real full-course meals, now?  Or can we continue to survive on sandwiches, pasta and finger foods? (Fresh fruit counts as a fingerfood for those of you freaking out on behalf of my children’s nutrition.)  

Selfishly, I wonder how many chores/daily things do I get to hand off before I’m asking too much with his new schedule.  (I suppose telling him he’s in charge of meals, bedtime child care and all forms of cleaning while I… um.. vegetate? would be pushing it? But I loved seeing him take over bedtime stories the other day so this concept of his being home to do things with/for us is an exciting part of my imaginings right now.)

We will have a car to use to go places at more varied times now… but will we ever know WHEN we can use it.  (Is “Honey, I know you just got the kids to the park, but I contacted a client and they want to meet NOW.” a likely phonomenon?)

And I’m fairly certain that some things won’t really change.  Instead of saying, “Shh!  Dad’s asleep!” I’ll be saying “Shh!  Dad’s phoning clients!”  That one won’t be too hard to adapt to.

I used to know what days worked best to schedule appointments.  (Well, Thursday’s are the turn around day, so let’s schedule my Dr. Appointment for Thursday morning when there is a good chance he’ll be able to watch kids if I don’t have someone else… pretty much everything gets scheduled for Thursday at this point…)

Do I need to run more things by him apart from the aforementioned car issue?  It will feel very odd just living life as if he’s nonexistant when he’s standing right there. “See you, Matt!  Sorry to leave you here with your nose to the grindstone, but we got plans.”  “What do you mean you don’t want the kids to dig a big hole in the driveway?”

How do I handle having people over?  Before he was sleeping.  People respected that, we were quiet, but we could still play a rousing game of Catan or go outside and throw a frisbee and forget he was there.  Will it be weird to invite people over and have a husband working his tail off in the next room more-or-less ignoring them?  “Pay no attention to the moving, breathing soul in the chair in the living room.  Just pretend he’s at the office right now… because… well… he is.”

How many times can I pull the wifely distress signal before I’ve officially become an intrusion into his workday.  For example is it a bad idea for me to be all “Honey, I bought feed that needs moved, can you get that done on your next 15 minute break?  It’s heavy.  And I had a baby… 3 years ago!  I don’t think all that lifting is going to be a good thing.” or is that a tacky thing for the wife of a work from home husband to do? 🙂

So, we’ll be figuring all this out.  In the meantime, since he hasn’t responded yet to my emails, I still don’t know whether or not I should be applying to be a supervisor in response to a call and a text I received yesterday from a place I worked for only briefly this winter but apparently gained credentials at from my much longer stint there many years ago.  Something about giving birth to the 5th child in almost 8 years in a mere month or so makes that idea seem a bit farfetched, but it is intriguing. 

And then, of course, we’d be adapting to both the “You’re home” and the “but I’m not” aspects of it all. 

 

 

 

 

My niece has complained many times about my significant lack of ‘girl fiction’ in my own personal junior fiction library (which is only slightly smaller than my adult fiction library).   Yes, it’s true.  I gravitate towards the action, male lead genre.  Why?  Next to those testosterone driven tales of heroism and adventure, girl fiction seems pale and limp.. and the girl books nearly always seem to revolve around so many petty (to me) emotional issues.  A friend saying something that offends and a yearlong resolution process might be the sole plot of an entire girl-fiction book.   Or perhaps the plot is deeper, more serious and appropriate leading to meaningful dialogue.  “He’s so cute!” “I KNNOOO-OOW!!!!” “He looked at me for 10 seconds before math class, do you think he likes me?” G.R.O.A.N.!

With that as my overall opinion, you can easily see why junior fiction authors like Peretti and Lee Roddy and good series such as the Accidental Detectives, which while enjoyable by girls (I like them!) are certainly more oriented to the male crowd, take precedence over the ‘girlier’ titles.

Nevertheless, I have found myself in possession of two very girly daughters who will someday want to read a series OTHER than Little House on the Prairie and Unfortunate Events type literature once in a while.  With that I mind, I volunteered to read and review “Here’s Lily” by Nancy Rue.

First, I should say that the very pink cover with flowers on the edge and a friendly looking girl was extremely inviting to the girly girl.  My 6 year old daughter who is still working on fluently reading books like “Pan and the Mad Man” immediately picked it up and said she would read it when I was done.   I have half expected her to cart it off to one of her secret ‘stashaway’ bags because it is so OBVIOUSLY hers.  I did wonder if the cover would turn off the tween crowd who may think they are beyond cartoons and pink flowers, but when I looked up the other books online I found they have photographic style covers.  No concern there then.  You can get the same book in an ‘older’ cover if that is your wish.

Something has to hold your interest beyond the cover, though, and that is honestly what concerned me.   I prepared myself for the usual ‘girl drama’ and indulged in one martyr sigh and began an internal mantra “I’m doing this for my girls.  I’m doing this for my girls.”

The first two chapters set the stage for Lily, a young girl who is dealing with the typical school age issues, a boy who enjoys tormenting her, girls who are unkind and the desire to rise above and display poise despite it all.  So far, so good.  Chapter 3, though won me over.  They introduce you to Lily’s family.  Surprise!  The mom isn’t a girly girl.  She hates clothes shopping.  They don’t do a lot of ‘touchy-feely-self-esteem building’ in the home.  It’s more a teasing atmosphere with two ornery (and sometimes insulting) brothers, a gallant father and the mom who just isn’t into the girl things.  Yes, this is PERFECT for my girls.  Spot on except lacking a sister or two.

But it gets better.

Much better.

It turns out that Lily is invited to a modeling school.  (I know, groan, right?)  Her parents aren’t psyched about it.  They are far more in tune with the baseball/volleyball/pep band scene and aren’t really understanding why they should get excited about a girl using her gifts to sell clothes.  (Really, I’m not the only one?)  Lily points out that if the older brother wanted to play a new instrument, they’d let him.  “He’s a musician!”, they say.  If the younger one wanted to do another sport, they’d let him. “He’s an athlete!”, they say.  Lily wisely points out that she doesn’t know what she is, but that this is what she wants to do.  They allow the class, but maintain reservations about letting her sign on as an actual model.   Then they encourage her to ‘find out what God has for you in this’.  (No, not in a corny, preachy way… it flows naturally.) So in the midst of the modeling course (which I am pleased to report doesn’t involve a lot of makeup or anything that the whole ‘tots/tiaras’ type shows might bring to mind and instead focuses on poise, accentuating their best features rather than trying to change or even identify the ones they dislike) she finds that she’s a natural at this.  She finds that knowing she’s a natural and practicing poise for modeling sake gives her the poise to handle mean boys and rude comments and even her own family without getting so very frustrated.  She starts a club (every girl book has a club, right?) for girls that get picked on.  She teaches them poise and makes the rule that they will not say unkind things to one another.

She is allowed to star in a modeling show at the end of the course… and then there is a horrible grease fire which leaves her feeling far less than beautiful.  Worse than before she STARTED the course, in fact.  The consolation that it will heal soon does not outweigh the idea that the modeling show will happen sooner than the actual healing and that she will be bandaged for it.  She has surely lost her #1 slot.  (Yes, it sounds shallow, but the author ARTFULLY captures the turmoil involved here to the point that I was actually feeling teary toward the end… quite a feat for someone to get ME to cry over a beauty show I must say.)

Meanwhile, she deals with the guilt of feeling sorry for herself because of a show when her father is undergoing surgery for his burns and this is placed atop the guilt of not knowing exactly where God is in all this modeling, beauty focus after all. Fortunately for her, the modeling instructor just happens to be a Christian and informs her that they aren’t looking for external beauty, but more for poise and “confidence”, which she quickly terms “God-confidence”.   Lily isn’t certain, though.  Modeling and being beautiful and getting the rude boy to the show so that he will be wowed and quit picking on her suddenly don’t seem as important with her dad at the hospital and all.

She talks it through with them, explains what her teacher has said and goes through with the show.  The boy is even in the audience through none of her own efforts. But while no one gasps horrified when they see a bandaged model and even applaud, her success at the modeling show does NOT magically make the boy’s teasing stop.  He’s still rude.  The girls are still unkind.  But because of her ‘God confidence’, Lily’s teeth no longer grit when she interacts with them.  She can speak to them and walk away as if she is beautiful, because in God’s sight she is.

And she has a growing club of girls with whom to share that insight.

Apparently, we don’t get to find out until book two whether she actually takes the modeling career path she is offered at the end of the book.  They leave that up to the imagination.  In the aftermath of the grease fire, we DO get to see the mom explaining to the boys that she is absolutely finished with the insulting-type teasing that they have been partaking of with regard to their sister.  She later addresses Lily’s negative attitude towards the brothers similarly explaining that they will find it easier to give her a break, if she’ll give them one and quit assuming they are going to be obnoxious.  So much packed into this girly book that this non-girly girl gives it a high review.  And not just because it will be a perfect fit for my daughters but also because I, a grown woman, enjoyed reading it.

Thanks, Nancy Rue, for creating a girl-series that I can put on my shelves with full confidence that I won’t shudder when my daughters ask me to read them.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Booksneeze’s blogging program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <[…]> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Power-toys!

I confess that I am a stick in the mud.  I don’t like very many power toys.

My older 3 have all asked at different times for those little electric cars they make for Tykes.  I said ‘no’. 

Several hundred dollars for a toy that has no practical value (sorry, driver’s ed can be taught with more useful tools at an older age) doesn’t go any faster than you can pedal on the trike you already own (which provides free, enjoyable exercise) takes up way too much space and will undoubtedly be used far less than the several other items we can purchase with that same cash?  No way.  Not my bag.

The boys (in particular) are enamored with motorcycles and ATV’s (4 wheelers).  I said ‘when you have the money to get it, sure.’

Until then?  They have a riding mower.  I mean, WE have a riding mower.  They like to ride with us on it.  All the benefits of those other ride-on toys with the added benefit of practical usage and needed skill learning.  And roughly the same cost as a ride on electric car thingy! (We bought it used.)

Orion will be eight in August.  He took it for a short spin solo today; and did very well.  By next year he should be old enough/tall enough to weigh down the seat and push the go pedal without so much stretching.  This year?  He’ll probably be doing everything while I weigh the seat down.  (It’s good for me to feel useful.)  

Now, if we find a cheap 4 wheeler with a snow blade on it?  Then we might consider getting THAT for the new ride-on toy.  (Imagine!  An acreage where you not only have a cleared drive but ALSO a path to the barn and chicken house!  And all done with the joyful “Can I do the drive, mom!” type attitude in a year or two.  Joy!) They can start a snow removal business or just do it out of kindness for our neighbors. (once they’ve done ours enough times to know how NOT to take out the mailbox or flower garden edging at the neighbors).

Those types of ‘ride-ons’?  You’re welcome to ’em, boys!  More gas/electric-power to you!  

(You are also, of course, welcome to your bikes, trikes and skateboards.)

A generous guest (or pair of guests?) color-coordinated some items for my previously uncoordinated and mish-mashed bathroom.

I (the wife) have been admiring the beauty of matching and correctly folded items hanging neatly on the towel racks and in a sad, sad attempt to keep things perfect have been removing offending older towels that are hung there simply to dry or for some other boring and un-beautiful reason are totally detracting from the palette of color while synchronously encouraging the usage of the older towels. When this encouragement is ineffective, I then try to wash and replace the new ones quickly so that the beautiful parallelism work of art is not lost indefinitely.

Sadly, HE (the husband) is enamored with the SOFTNESS of the towels, has no concern at all for the lack of symmetry created when part of this work of art is removed and keeps USING them. My sons and daughters are slowly following suit and enjoying USING the beautiful things instead of looking at them while drying off with the older towels that I may or may not have set out for their baths. The VANDALS!

This evening, Matt was (again) bemoaning the red fuzzies that came out on his pants this evening and explained that perhaps I should consider taking them all down and running them through the wash a few times to lose this shedding tendency.

I’m absolutely POSITIVE that I sounded PERFECTLY logical as I tried to explain that the main goal here wasn’t to make them more usable or less fuzzy. In fact, I didn’t want people to USE them all the time! I just wanted them to hang there and look beautiful. {This was probably very confusing because generally I am almost sadly pragmatic about things… probably because when I’m not, I become this ludicrous and obsessive about things.} I would be glad to wash them when they were getting dusty.

At any rate, he laughs and exclaims, “That is NOT what a towel is for!”

I am not entirely certain that we shall be able to resolve this difference without professional therapy, considering that at one point in the post-decorated stage I seriously toyed with the idea of teaching my children NOT to use the towels on the racks and that they are more for decoration. Settle down, I didn’t actually put that plan into motion because even I realized how very OCD it seemed.

Besides, it appears that unless I SEW the towels ON the racks in the appropriate folded dimensions that my desire for beauty will have to give way to actual practical usage. Darn it, anyway.

This type of insanity is not usually a problem for me… the person who rationalizes that the sun catcher paint on the ceiling (or floor) of the kitchen, cushions taken off the couch to use as landing pads, forts that are being built in the middle of the room I was trying to clean and holes in the yard are perfectly acceptable by saying that a house is made to be lived in and may as well look as if it has been enjoyed thoroughly. (Though I would prefer that the indoor evidences of this enjoyment disappear at least once per day so as to control the DEPTH of the evidence of enjoyment… we’re constantly working toward that goal.)

I do not understand (and I’m sure the male of the house is equally at a loss) as to why this rationalization no longer applies to the bathroom… I am the person who thinks things that aren’t used often are a waste of space, after all; the person who shuns knickknacks for their lack of any practical qualities and added dusting requirements. What is the matter with me?

There may be an argument to be had here as to why I should NOT attempt to redecorate any other areas of my home. At least not until my kids are old enough to more appreciate the beauty of the cushions rather than the bounciness thereof.

And not until I convince my husband to use those OLD towels that I hid under the sink and leave the beautiful ones hanging as a visual pleasure rather than a tactile one.

Just kidding, Matt! You’re welcome to use the nice soft symmetrical ones. Just be sure to fold it back into that shape and hang it in the same way to dry. I think I’m kidding. I think.

I’ll probably get over this.

 

For most of us, this feels like familiar fun, but since we skipped broiler chickens last year and my youngest IS only two (almost 3!) she was SUPER excited!

This morning, I asked her if she wanted to see the baby chick home we made for our chicks.  She came out and admired the former duck pond (kiddie pool which got a slit in it over winter and has now been relegated to baby chick draft shield status) with a layer of hay covered with a hand-me-down Dora sheet that I had recently used to protect strawberries from freezing.  Kiddie pool + Dora sheet makes it look like we are SUPER HAPPY about chicks.  Usually we’re a little less exciting.  Sonata was enamored with the whole set up, but had just one question, “Where are the baby chicks?”

I explained that they were not available for pick-up until after noon and she immediately got ready to go and continued to ask about leaving every 15 minutes until noon.  This prompted many “baby chick” discussions with the older sister. 

When one of these discussions went to the “when they can fly” realm, I stepped in lest Lithany grow a bit too attached.

“These chicks aren’t the ones that learn to fly and lay eggs, girls.  These chickens are the ones that are big so we can eat them.  They are too heavy to fly.”

This was confusing to my ‘new to this’ daughter and with very real dissapointment she interjected,

“I thought we were getting REAL chickens that go ‘baack, baack'”  Obviously, I had somehow communicated that we were skipping the live part and going straight for the packaged meat. 

I assured her that we were, indeed, getting live chickens so that we can eat them after they grow up.  She was fine with all this until I told her that the chicks we pick up today would go “peep, peep”.  We then had an extended discussion as to whether chickens peep or baack.  Oh dear.

Finally, it was time to go.  I explained that we were going to make sandwiches and go pick up our chicks and bring them home.  Sonata leans forward, curls swinging and jumps a little, “And then EAT them!” She says excitedly.  Jumping the gun a bit, girl!

She falls asleep en route for about a 1/2 hour.  We get our big bucket of… big BOX of chicken, set it in the seat next to her, allow the girls a peek at our new, yellow puff balls and take off.  As we’re pulling out I hear, {sniffle} “I wanted to HOLD one!”

I explain that we absolutely cannot hold chicks in the car (and have visions of 100 baby chicks running amuck and my trying not to squish any under the brake pedal while pulling over to replace them in the box.  This is why your mother won’t let you do things, her imagination is too vivid.)

She is contented with the idea that when we get home she can help put the chicks in their new home, thus HOLDING them for a time.  Yeah. 

For an hour and a half or so we travel for home without hearing any other concern about the chicks or lack of holding.  She doesn’t nod off again, but comes close.

As I’m just beginning to slant the wheel to make the turn into our driveway, she bursts out, “NOW I can hold a baby chick!”

This child’s memory retention and focus is ‘to-die-for’. 

She is disappointed briefly as I explain that we must first remove her from her car seat and the box of chicks to the chicken house. 

Once there, she watches as I dip the first chick’s beak in the water so that it can figure out where it’s ‘drink’ is and sees that it then takes a few drinks expertly before searching for food it can peck.  (These chickens have only one mode and it’s “eat food”.)  She then picks up a chick, repeats my procedure PERFECTLY (I confess I held my breath and prepared to rescue a half-drowned chick) with her next one.  Which is helpful since Asa and Lithany are only interested in transport of chick from box to pool/brooder/home and not so much in demonstrating to them the necessities of life.  Fortunately, it seems the chicks learn quickly from one another, so as long as a good number of them understand eating and drinking, the others will follow suit eventually.

We get all the chicks ‘tucked in’.  Check the temperature (Asa’s favorite part) and leave for the house.  Where I then spent every 15 minutes explaining that the baby chicks had already taken plenty of time from my normal day and I wasn’t going to go hold them again right now.  (She, of course, got to do this during the times I needed to check the temp and what-not anyway, so she was hardly deprived of her ‘chick interaction’.) 

Their last visit out to ‘show dad’, Lithany and Sonata stayed behind.  This worried me a little, because LAST time we had chicks, I had to check after Lithany was out there unattended to make sure that 1) there weren’t any chickens placed in the feed bag so they could eat and forgotten there, put in a dog kennel and forgotten there, put inside various recepticles to ‘sleep’ or otherwise enjoy some such thing she felt they needed.  It was intense.  This time, I get out there to see Lithany guiding her sister in the correct art of holding/picking up/putting down a chick, how to snuggle it without squishing and making sure you don’t hold one too long.  It’s good to be the responsible one when you’re 6! 

Especially if it means that you can live in the chicken house with your 2 year old sister to your heart’s content, which will likely be ‘until they are too heavy for Lithany to hold’. 

And it’s good for mom because every 15 minutes is a little too often to hear “Can we go hold the baby chicks?”

Curbing Communication

Dear children,

I love you very much, and certainly do desire to keep the lines of communication open.  Unfortunately, due to the number of lines I need to keep open, I would like to keep non-essential chatter on said lines to a minimum.  Many items are brought to my attention each day that are no strictly appreciated per se.

For example, if I wanted to know exactly what goes on in your movie/show/video game, I would watch/play your movie/show/video game.  Please limit your “MOM! Do you know/Did you hear/Did you see/Guess what {fictional character} does when {other fictional character/event} happens…” comments regarding these items to a minimum.

Similarly, please recall that, generally speaking, I only desire to admire your TOP 3 ‘coolest’ things (UNrelated to the aforementioned) that you do/say/think/experience per day.  These cannot be accumulated or ‘rolled-over’ and are non-transferable between siblings.  Therefore, please be careful to limit your impulse of asking me to admire every little thing you do accordingly by carefully choosing the things you wish to share.  This will be of great assistance to me as I endeavor to avoid “No, dear, REALLY, I just don’t care right now if you can {swing high, jump far or multiple times on one or multiple feet,  stick your tongue out a long ways, make a funny noise, count to 100, speak a ‘foreign language’ or whatever amazing feat}” syndrome.  I do my best to be interested in the details of your lives that are important to you, but one can only be interested in so many ‘super cool’ things per day before becoming underwhelmed.  At this time, 12 per day is my limit.  Thank you for your consideration.

Please note that extra patience/allowances for such recitals of awesomeness may be obtained if

1) You have not just irritated a sibling DOING whatever the awesome thing is

2) You did not interrupt a conversation with another living being, nor something else I have just told you not to interrupt.  Like, say, a sibling’s bedtime.

3) You did not tap on my leg and say “mom!” multiple times in quick succession without allowing me time to actually respond.

4) It has absolutely NOTHING to do with Diego and sounds NOTHING AT ALL like ANY of the songs from that show.

Sorry, Diego, you’re a pretty neat show, but anything + obsession quickly loses it’s ability to interest others.  This it not that different from when a girlfriend meets ‘the one’ and focuses all conversation on him.  Don’t worry, when Nata gets less enthused by you, I’ll not feel antagonism welling each time I hear your theme song. 

5) It is something I notice and take interest in of my own volition and at my own convenience.

6) It has educational or long-term value.

7) It is not shown to me during a time slot in which you are SUPPOSED to be accomplishing something else.

8) You are the only child near me at the time and this circumstance has held true for the last hour.

9) It pertains to whatever activity we are actually pursuing.  (By all means, demonstrate your awesome skills to crack eggs or flip pancakes when we’re making supper, or show me the ‘super-awesome’ way you rinse a dish with the sprayer whose existence you only just discovered when we’re cleaning up.  Please show me how well your ‘claw’ works at putting away your clothes or how neatly you can write the letter ‘W’ during school time.  Feel free to draw my attention to how well/far/strangely you can throw a frisbee/ball when we’re already playing catch.  Anything in this line is perfectly acceptable anytime.)

Other possibilities for the allowance of extra awesomeness will be added as they are realized.

I think if we all work together on this issue, I should in good conscience be able to look in your eyes each time you come to me to share an awesome moment in your life and sincerely enjoy the interaction along with you.

Thank you for your consideration,

Mom

PS – I very much want to hear those 3 awesome things and maybe even a few items of interest from your shows/games/movie each day.  Also, real conversation about real things and *questions* are always welcome.  Love you!

*Questions defined as those items of interest not readily answerable by your own observational skills.  One example of a non-question: “Are we there yet?”  If you have not yet noticed the pattern, this will always and ever be answered by “Have I parked the car? Are we getting out”, “Do you SEE {location to which we are headed}”, or “Well of COURSE we are.  How about you unbuckle and get out now” accompanied by a 60 mph speedometer or other obvious indication that we are decidedly NOT ‘there’ depending on the sarcasm level.  A second common example: “What are you doing?” asked at the bathroom door or when I’m doing any other obvious activity -if I’m looking at an open book, for instance, it is likely that the answer will be “I am reading”- will receive a similar level of consideration in the answer given).  If you have any residual confusion about the difference between ‘Question’ and ‘Non-question’, please don’t hesitate to ask.

(We had company + pregnancy brain… the ‘publish’ button just didn’t get pressed, a’ight?  Just imagine a time warp to pre-Easter… NOW!)

So far in anticipation of Easter we have

1) Put Robin Egg candy in the candy bowl

2) Made ‘resurrection rolls’ (hide the marshmallow inside the biscuit dough with butter and cinnamon sugar and bake, the marshmallow disappears… and also they just plain taste awesome) and talked about Good Friday/Easter

3) Put jelly beans in the suddenly and alarmingly empty candy bowl

4) dyed FOUR DOZEN eggs (I don’t suppose anyone has bright ideas for using 4 dozen hard-boiled eggs…)

5) carefully selected ‘least likely to be missed’ or already cracked eggs with which to make potato salad

6) taste tested the potato salad

7) Considered, however briefly, the possibility of making my husband’s repeated request for PBJ in his lunches more exciting by cutting them in the shape of a rabbit head.

8) Discarded notion and made him his same favorite ‘boring’ (joke) lunch.  (Thank me later, dear.)

This afternoon Asa asked me if Easter was over after today.  I had to explain that we hadn’t even REACHED Easter yet.  Sadly, all I have up my sleeve apart from church and maybe brunch at church for tomorrow is more egg shaped candy nibbling and hiding/hunting those eggs.

Anyone else notice that the majority of our Easter traditions involve edibles?

Which make me think: Is there a holiday that DOESN’T have at least one ‘traditional’ consumption?

Christmas cookies, Thanksgiving turkey, Easter eggs, Valentine chocolate, New Year’s champagne, Halloween candy, King Cake, 4th of July hot dogs and jello salad and funnel cakes (or at least parade candy.. for the less dedicated 😉 ),

St Patrick’s day… um… beer? Corned beef?- (obviously we don’t do much w/ St. Patrick’s day around here, but perhaps those of you more into the Green Day can correct my food assumptions. Those two are usually involved, right?)

Apparently parental and patriotic holidays (apart from July 4th) are exempt from consumption requirements.  Perhaps we should invent some.  Mother’s day Brownies and Ice Cream.  Father’s Day.. um… Apple Pie? Oh, fine, honey.. CHERRY pie, then.  Memorial Day MRE’S.  Flag day.. R/w/B popsicles.  Grandparents Day… gummable foods? (no offence to all those fully-dentaled grandparents out there) Suggestions?

Here’s hoping your Easter involved more hope and joy than mere edibles can provide!

This little book is a sturdy, board book perfect for little fingers.  I appreciated the Biblical truths that were made accessible to younger ones and also the cute illustrations that give little eyes much to absorb.

I absolutely LOVE how they differentiated between the love we have for ‘our enemies’ and the love that mom and dad share.

The beautiful lessons range from the little bear’s struggle to love some trouble making otters at the beginning and his grandfather’s reassurance that this is what God commands of us to how that love necessarily differs from the love that his mom and dad have for one another (with all the kissy, huggy stuff) and how he should love his siblings even though sometimes they a little more like the troublesome otters than the cub would like.

I found this to be a beautiful and unique explanation of love and what that word means in different situations.  Not getting exasperated with those who aren’t doing what is convenient for us, hugging and kissing each other when love is expressed in marriage/family, and that God’s love is with us even though we cannot see Him.  If you are going to have board books in your house for your little ones, this is definitely worth a look.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the blogging for books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <[…]> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”