Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Tide is High...but I'm Holdin' On

Well, as I said in the last post, Mondays are often times a good day here. But sometimes, by Wednesday, we get a little squirrelly. Yesterday was one of those days when I looked up toward the sky and said, "Really? You think I can handle this?!" I know God gets a kick out of me sometimes, and this was probably one of those days...

We've had a few children with colds. Nothing major, like fevers and such, but coughing at night has been frequent. And sleeping for me has been next to non-existent -- partly my fault because I'm a night owl and don't go to bed as early as I should. But although I learned about 6 years ago how to live on little sleep, I'm gonna be honest, I get a little crabby sometimes. And yesterday, I was not on top of my game.

My saving grace was laundry detergent. I'm not kidding. A few years ago my friend, Molly, who discovers all kinds of fun things, introduced me to the idea of participating in consumer market research studies. It has been such a great thing for me, as a stay-at-home mom who doesn't get out of the house much. It gives me a reason to get out occasionally and I make a little extra cash in the process. I'm currently participating in a study on laundry detergent and I went to pick up my "product" yesterday. My dear friend (and next door neighbor:), Lindsey, so kindly agreed to watch the children while I went on my mission. Not the most super-exciting venture out, but I did have a peaceful drive and 2 whole hours out on my own! And the BEST part is, if I complete the whole eight week study, they pay me 100 bucks!!! They're paying me to do laundry (that I would be doing anyway) AND giving me FREE laundry detergent! Am I dreaming?! It's the little things in life that brighten up a Wednesday. **For those of you who are new to consumer product research, maybe I'll do a separate post on that another time.

And I know, I've probably broken some unwritten bloggers oath by using a an 80's Blondie song in the post title. But since I'm not really allowed to reveal much about the laundry study, I thought it would be reassuring to you to know that it is a high quality brand name detergent. So I'm hopeful that the whole family won't break out in some incredibly itchy rash. That would SO not be worth the $100.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A little bundle of promise wrapped with a pink bow...

Monday. The first day of a new week. A chance to start off on the right foot. Some people don't like Mondays but after being refreshed and recharged on "church day", as my kiddos call it, I often have new perspective on Monday. Especially if I was able to sneak in a little nap the day before:)

Our weekend was a very full one, but full of the very best kinds of things. A chance to serve others, a 1st birthday party for my niece, and a graduation party. It's interesting how the combination of the birthday party and graduation party can turn me into a sentimental mess.

Two celebrations. One celebrating the firsts of everything and the other celebrating the lasts. Both take me on a walk down memory lane... I remember when I got the call that my niece was born. I had been awaiting the news and knew I would be hearing something soon. I could hardly bear the anticipation. So much excitement for my brother and sister-in-law. Excitement because I know that feeling...the feeling of holding your first born child. The excitement of becoming a mom and dad. The unbelievable knowledge that you helped God create a miracle. I was excited for my brother and sister-in-law on so many levels. Knowing the love, that would make them feel as if their hearts would bust, was just beginning. And the indescribable joy that would accompany the first smile, first step, first word. I was filled with so much excitement for them, I could hardly bear it. And instead of being there, I was far away, yearning to see the teeny, tiny hands and feet of that precious baby girl. I had to go, the sooner the better. But who can make a trip to welcome a newborn baby without rushing to Target to buy gender appropriate clothing first? Not us Shoes. Only AFTER a quick trip to Target (with preschoolers in tow), and securing child-care for my little love bugs, I would be able to make the trip. But then, there was that small little detail of four very excited little cousins that would not be able to tag along. They, too, had been anticipating the call. Anxiously awaiting to hear if it would be a new boy or girl cousin. I promised I'd take pictures. That satisfied them for a little while.

I did finally get to hold her at the hospital and she was so sweet, and tiny, and precious. Like a little bundle of promise wrapped up with a pink bow. And this week, she turns one. Where does the time go? She's developing her own little personality. Her uniqueness is just beginning to show itself. She's not a "baby" anymore. I love her. We all do. Happy Birthday, Annabell! We look forward to seeing the little lady that you become.

And well, as far as the graduation thing is concerned, my "baby" sister graduates in less than two weeks and I'm sure there will be an upcoming post about that. Right now, I can't write about it because maybe, just maybe, if I pretend like it's not happening, she'll just stay a kid forever. Maybe she won't graduate and become a grown-up and live on her own and become a nurse and end up getting married and have a baby. Well, I guess that wouldn't be so know I love a newborn baby.

Monday, May 17, 2010

There's a super bouncy ball in our bathtub drain...

Most people don't know exactly what to say when they meet a mother of five. A few say nice things. Some think I'm "milking the system" and seem annoyed by our family size. Most, though, seem bewildered and a tad bit amused. They sputter out a phrase like, "You've really got your hands full", or "Wow! You must be really busy!" At which time, I usually smile politely and say, "Yes, I certainly do." but am really thinking (in the most loving, non-sarcastic tone my inner voice can have) "You have no idea."

I always hoped to have a large family. I grew up in the midst of a large extended family. I enjoy the action and excitement that accompanies a room full of loud, board game loving, comfort food sharing relatives. My grandma had nine children, so it didn't occur to me that having five would be an absolute oddity by today's standards. Apparently, to many people, it is and fortunately, I don't live my life based on the world's standards. Psalm 127:3 (TNIV) says, "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him." I believe that children are a blessing and a gift, not a burden. I'm learning to ignore the strange looks and odd comments from people who don't necessarily share my view.

You may be wondering why I'm here, jumping into the blogsphere with both feet...because clearly I don't have much time for this sort of thing. Most of my entries will be posted waaay too late at night, because in the quietness after the children are in bed and my dear husband has fallen asleep on the couch after a long day of work, I get to reflect on the blessing that is our life. Well, to be quite honest, the computer has become my window to the outside world during this season of my life. Having 5 children, age 6 and under, has somewhat altered my ability to travel outside the home much and has totally changed my idea of "social time." I often think of calling someone to chat and notice, it's after much for catching up with family and friends. I know that there will be a time when I don't need to utilize this form of "communication", but for now, I've come to the conclusion that I need an outlet of some kind (and I'm not talking about a shopping mall:) Although, some days that might be therapeutic, too.

I begin this blogging adventure for a few reasons...My mother is always telling me that I ought to write a book. I think that would be oh, so fun but I can't for the life of me figure out who would possibly want to read it, other than her, which is also true of this blog perhaps. I do this in part to chronicle a little of our family history for my children, a virtual scrapbook of sorts.

I considered starting a blog months ago and realized it was almost a must, the day my husband came home from work and I had to explain to him that there was a super bouncy ball down our bathtub drain. It was time. Time to start writing some things down. Time to start sharing the crazy, wonderful chaos that occurs among the walls of our comfortable, yet not Better Homes and Gardens caliber, abode. We try to live a simple life, as simple as possible when raising five lively children.
This blog is also for a few of you who often tell me, "I don't know how you do it". Here's how I do it...

**As a side note--I am not an expert on anything, nor do I claim to be perfect. Any ideas, tips or hints anyone draws from this blog about parenting, large families or relationships in general are to be used "at your own risk". As a mom with a degree in Child Development, I know, both in theory and from experience, that no one thing works for every child or family. Please know that I am just a mother of five, who knows that the Lord is faithful, doing the best that I can and trusting Him to take care of the rest.