Monday, November 30, 2009

daddies & girlies...

i grew up in a family with 3 girls & no brothers....

i wonder if my dad was as entertained - (constantly, incapable of boredom, to the point of insanity) - as my husband is?

With 4 daughters, my husband has seen more panties, tutus, princess costumes, concerts & ballets than your average guy.

The other day, i was watching him with mollen. She was talking a mile a minute. Her little lisp keeps her tongue flapping - & he was so tired, his eyes were red rimmed & he was hardly keeping them open. Every few sentences, she would run to him & fling her arms around his neck & whisper in his ear, then climb on his lap then climb off & again to go get something to show him. i was exhausted watching them - him almost motionless, her a blur of energy particles fairly flying around the room. "Can you put this elastic around this and then around my head?" She asks sweetly, holding a tiny elastic and a broken kleenex box. He looks at her, uncertain, & she encourages him, "i wanna look like a robot, pulleeeeeze?"

"Honey, i don't think it's gonna fit..." His big fingers try putting the elastic around the box & the box begins to bend and tear. "That's ok, daddy." She says forgivingly.

Finally, she settles for showing him a song and dance she had learned.

"You just sit there & WATCH ME!"

He was obedient. Very obedient.

"Letter T says 'T-uh', letter T says 'T-uh', 'T-uh' like Turkey, letter T says 'T-uh'"

So far so good...

Her voice gets a little louder & more shrill as she works through the easy part of the song & onto the show.

Suddenly she flings her arms into the air & begins dancing across the room, "Try the turkey tango if you want ROMANCE!!! Other wayyyy... " (out flings the other arm as she tangos back across our living room...) She continues, her glinting eyes hinting at hilarity. Neil's eyes are glazed over, but i notice a grin starting to form under that scruffy facial hair...

She dances back across the room & suddenly bursts into the most energetic tap dance you've ever seen, "TWENTY TURKEYS CAN TAP DANCE, TWENTY TURKEYS CAN DO THE TWIST!!! TURN AROUND JUST LIKE THIS!!!" Her little body contorts and jives to the music and Neil is now completely captivated.

We both burst out laughing - our opportunity for conversation is stalled... but she has wormed her way yet again through his exhaustion & into his heart.

She smiles sweetly - success - & goes back to playing.

Late at night, i know when i hear little feet padding down our hall, that she will usually make her way to his side of the bed. She will climb under the covers & instantly be asleep again, beside her slumbering comfort. Each of our girlies has been the same. Our big girls have an easy, teasing relationship with their daddy.

He is a masterful father.

i can't imagine being a daddy... It's so completely different than being a momma. i love watching the man i love father the little ones i love.

Being in a family is a blessing beyond compare.

Stolen

i knew he had to go away all week. Monday to Friday - & though i dreaded his absence, i knew it was coming & i had my week planned out accordingly.
Why i missed that he had to fly out on Sunday night is beyond me.
When i found out, i felt my heart beat in indignation.
Stolen hours, precious, sleeping, restful hours.
Gone.
One more night of tucking in all by myself.
One less night sleeping next to the man i love.
i shouldn't begrudge those 12 or so extra hours that he has to be gone,
but i can't help but feel a little...
robbed.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

hotels

Anyone with 3 or more children knows the drill...
You don't tell them how many children you have unless they ask...
When they ask, you answer as vaguely as possible - "oh, a few... but one is just a teeny tiny baby..."
When pressed, you mumble & hope they hear a lower number...

When they tell you they can't accommodate your family, you say, "Thanks anyway!" & hang up.
If you get to the hotel & they haven't asked, your husband takes 2 children in when he checks in. You stay in the car with the remainder. He'll drop off a couple & you send a couple a few minutes later... in shifts, without making eye contact with anyone at the front desk, you sneak walk up to your room & make everyone get on their swimsuits & head down to the pool so you're not packed like sardines for one minute longer than necessary.
i was reminded, reading McMama's recent posts, how hard it is for us to ever get a hotel room (unless we get 2 - & my littles are just now getting to an age where i would contemplate that... even though the potential cost makes me cringe).
Recently, we had a very different experience.

We *rarely* ever stay in hotel rooms... or do any "holiday-ing" that doesn't involve mooching off of our parents... hey, our parents live in 2 of the nicest places in Canada, so we have to take them up on their awesome hospitality... i'd love to see what their food budgets explode to after a week having us at their house, but i digress...

This last time we were at my parent's house, Neil announced to me one day that if i wanted to, we could leave a day early & cut up our drive home, stopping at some "hot pools" in Crazy Creek. i jumped at the chance. He made me phone to make a reservation... (chicken)

i looked at what they could accommodate & prayed their largest suite would be available.

It wasn't...

i booked the biggest one they had available, & held my breath...

"Ok, & that was for how many?"
"Myself, my husband & our children..."
"Yes, how many total?"

"five... & then the baby..."
"SIX?"

"yes..."

"Six total, including the 2 adults?"
"um.. no, six children and 2 adults... but they're really good & quite small for their ages...."

yeh... i was desperate....

"That'll be no problem. i bet you'll be travelling & not have sleeping bags, we'll make sure to add some foamies & sleeping bags in your room when you arrive... we don't normally do that, but i think we can make an exception... "

i choked.

"Wow, thank you so much!"

Turns out the lady taking our reservation came from a family with 5 kids & thought she had the best childhood evahhh... Who knew?

When we got there, it was empty - we had the hot pools all to ourselves. The kids had a blast - we slept like logs & left the suite spotless when we left.

Sometimes, you get surprises... & every so often, they're pleasant.










Unlike regular pools, here, the little pool was FREEZING & the big pools were warm. i love how Sloanie tricks the other girls into jumping. Hilarious. The second one is Molls who is swimming like a little fishy now :)


video video

video

Friday, November 27, 2009

for the love of gramma...

This week brought up a sore spot for me.
i ache to have family close.
Don't get me wrong, i have been more than blessed with amazing friends that i *know* i can call on in times of crisis, but most of our friends have families with little ones - who i don't feel like i should burden anymore than they already are...
On Tuesday night, in those moments of feeling torn - knowing that Neil & i would have to divide & conquer - me at the hospital, watching, waiting & praying in the waiting room by myself - & him taking over for my little hero Cairo who fed everyone supper, cleaned up & tucked the troops in bed... i wished that we could just call gramma.
i spouted off to someone - vented? whined? complained? that i wish that church felt like that. i wish that there were older couples, maybe who have raised their children - or whose children lived far from them, like we do from our parents - who would adopt us - & encourage us - & care so much about us that they would rush over & help us bear our burdens... i know - i sound selfish even to my own ears...
i remembered Gramma Ann...
i remembered that we each knew we could just pop in...
When i would pop in with my tiny preschoolers & my huge belly, i knew she would brew a cup of tea for me & would probably have something fresh baked that she'd share with me. Totally worth the walk across our small town to her house...
My little ones knew that they could climb carefully down the stairs to her basement to find the bins of toys that they could play with - & that if they made her a craft, it would be proudly displayed on her walls for months, if not years...
When she would pop in, she never noticed if my house, life, hair was in disarray... she usually had smarties, or vitamins, or tickles for my babies in her pockets... a warm hug for me... & when Neil worked late at night, i remember her phoning me & encouraging me to dig deeper into my relationship with God.
You wanna know how we met?
At church.
i went to church a lot without Neil in those days, when he was working shift - juggling my 2 sweet blond girls & oftentimes wondering why i bothered trying to go at all. She saw me in my need & came over sitting next to me, distracting my girls & cuddling them on her lap - stealing their 'buttons' & making them smile shyly.
She - though at first a stranger - became 'gramma ann' to my little ones - & to all the other little grandmotherless children who congregated around her, found solace at her home & warmth in her arms.
i remember crying when our moving truck pulled away from that little town... i felt that in that small town, we had found a little make-shift niche of *family* & dreaded the thought of being aliens yet again & trying to find our footing underneath us...
& so, there's my soft, vulnerable underbelly exposed for you today...
For those of you who live close to grandparents - regardless of their flaws & shortcomings - give them a hug & thank them for loving you & your babies & for being there when you need them.
It is a blessing.

yes, so gently sustaineth

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty - neander/gensangbuch

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the king of creation.
o my soul praise Him for He is thy health and salvation.
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
join me in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
shelters thee under His wings, yes, so gently sustaineth.
Hast thou not seen, how all thy longings have been
granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, o let all that is within me adore Him.
All that hath life & breath come now, with praises before Him.
Let the *amen* sound from His people again;
gladly for aye we adore Him...

i can hardly sing these words without shouting... just a little bit.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

i happy

Today, i'm taking my cues from my son.
At the hospital, when he was groggy, hooked up to oxygen & an iv, throat still raspy from a breathing tube, the nurse came in & gently asked him, "How are you feeling, sweetheart?"
He tried to sit up & said, "i happy".
Today, we're all home, recovering - i had a good sleep & my body feels less like it's gonna shatter. i have a house to clean, children to teach and meals to cook.
i happy too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

surgery



Maybe this post will make no sense.
i'm sleep deprived & emotional.
Gagey needed surgery last night for an incarcerated/strangulated hernia that had a very sudden onset.
he's ok.
but it was scary.
i keep flashing back to his teeny arms & pale face reaching out to me from a stranger's arms as they took him away from us at 11pm.
precious prince.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

what homeschooling sometimes looks like...

Children - some showered, some still in pj's, with hot chocolate, toast or oatmeal in front of them listen to mama at the breakfast table.
i'm reading from our history book & our subject this morning is the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years - specifically, we're talking about what God told them to build and carry with them in the desert all those years: The Ark of the Covenant & the Tabernacle.
i read with my lively voice, stopping every couple of sentences to ask questions & to confirm comprehension - aiming most of my arrows at my young, distractable 7 year old son. He's used to being questioned & wiggles in his seat, pretending to be wracking his brain for the correct answer each and every time - & just not being able to pull it from the folds of his brain, "ohhhhh, i know this one... i know it, i know it, i know it...."
i practice deep breathing...
i only just read the answer the breath before asking him...
Why isn't anything going in?
His sisters, exasperated (both older and younger) spout off the answers, and he fairly leaps from his chair, "OH YES!! i KNEW that!! i KNEW IT!!!!! i just couldn't REMEMBER!!"
Moving along...
Stopping, starting, asking question, "Why would he do that?" "What did they bring?" "OOh, Look at that, now we know THREE things that were in the Ark! Remember when all they had to eat was Manna? Why would they save Aaron's staff? What were the 10 commandments written on??" We get into lengthy discussions about each object, about their journey through the desert, about God's specific commands regarding the construction of both the Ark and the Tabernacle...
i smell victory -
i have covered my topic beautifully -
They'll never forget this lesson in history & it will come back to them, helping them better understand deep truths about their Father later on in life - the energy in the room is palpable, the volume of our discussion has risen with the interest level & i'm ready to end this lesson on a high note - my voice trembling, i shout out-
One Final Question:
"Charter! What were 3 things that they kept in the Ark of the Covenant!!"
His bum immediately leaves the chair & he begins whacking his head, in pretending concentration, trying to pin down the correct answer...
i watch him in rapt attention, SURE that he won't miss this, after all of my careful focus & attention, not after he's already answered it correctly 10 different times in 10 different ways over the course of the last 1/2 hour... Surely, one more whack on his sweet little blonde head will loosen the answer & it will spill out of that darling mouth...
"I KNOW THIS ONE... i KNOW it mom!!!! i FOR SURE DO!!!!"
He looks so sure, even his sisters hold their breath, sure that the correct answer is about to burst forth...
"C'MON, Charter!" i find myself fairly cheering. Am i rising to my feet?
He suddenly looks so confident.
His face is glowing - here it comes...
"TWO OF EVERY ANIMAL!!" He shouts triumphantly...
Mollen looks at him in disgust.
i sob quietly into my coffee...

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Great Countdown of 2010...

What could this mess have accomplished?

Perhaps this objet d'art.

The great countdown has begun. i still have Gagey's little countdown rings, taped back on for each day that he went over.
For posterity, we wrote down our guesses for date & weight... m/w suggested Jan 31st for a date, the u/s suggested Jan 28th.

Cai- Feb 3rd, 7lbs 9oz

Sloan- Feb 2nd, 8lbs 6oz

Peyts-Feb 8th, 7lbs 13oz

Charter-Feb 9th, 8lbs 10oz

Molls- Feb 5, 6lbs 15oz

Gage- Feb 6th, 8lbs 4oz (we gave him his birthday & birthweight :)

mom-Feb 7th, 8lbs 13oz

dad- Feb 4th, 8lbs 3oz
If you wanna add yours, we've taken all the good dates :) hehe. The midwife did say, though, that this baby feels "small" - though they say that to me every.single.time. so i don't know if i should believe them anymore.
It looks like such a pitifully small number of rings, doesn't it?
i can't believe that this little one will be here so soon...
Grow, baby - snuggle in for this home stretch... enjoy the whooshing sound of my heart that you've stolen & the warm comfort of your squishy home for these last weeks.

Friday, November 20, 2009

4th midwife appointment - Sloanie's turn

Yes.
It should have been peyton's turn, but she wants to wait for a day when daddy's not out of town so she can share it with him. Funny monkey.
Sloanie was quick & eager to fill in her spot.
She remembered at the traffic circle that she had forgotten her latest novel at home. i assured her that she could make it through a couple of hours without a book & she looked at me with those dreamy eyes of hers & said, "yeah... i guess so..." so slowly that i was sure she doubted me.
We talked about babies, childbirth, Gagey and middle of the night labours... & when we arrived & parked, she held my hand on the way to the door. She perused the titles of the books they had available to borrow & then put her head on my shoulder as we sat & waited for my name to be called.
i figured out that like me, her love language is *touch*... She's got such a soft, gentle touch. i pull her up from her seat as we're called in.
The midwife & i discuss previous births, my preferences & opinions.
Sloanie listens quietly.
When the midwife palpates my stomach, she proclaims the baby to be breech & also quite "small" - i sigh - i'm used to this news... With both Gagey & Mollen i was told that my babies were "dangerously small" & was surprised by babies that were each over 8lbs. i decide to take that news with a grain of salt as the midwife listens for my wiggly baby's heartbeat with a stethoscope. After a couple of minutes, she switches to the doppler & we hear the confused sound of my little one's heartbeat mixed with mine.
It's windy, but not cold outside as we leave.
i feel her warm hand slip into mine.
The leaves are gone & my next appointment will be in December - before we know it, baby will be here...
i hope this next one is as soft as the sweet girl walking next to me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

first kisses...

The van is unusually quiet. Cai is picked up from Bow Valley Fiddlers & Gagey is almost asleep in his carseat as we stop at the church to pick up the rest of our rambunctious crew...
We have a few minutes before we need to go in, so we sit in the van, listening to the radio in the darkness.

Cairo: Mom, what if my very first crush doesn't feel the same way about me?
Mom: Well, yeh, that happens sometimes...
Cairo: That would be embarrassing...
Mom: Love by it's very nature is embarrassing though - putting yourself out there, wearing your heart on your sleeve...
Cairo: i bet you've never been embarrassed to love dad though.
Mom: i remember when he told me he liked me.
Cairo: Did you just jump up & say, "I LIKE YOU TOO??!!"
Mom: Yeah... Pretty much...
Cairo: What did HE say?
Mom: He said, "so, can i kiss you?" & when i said, "yes" he proceeded to give me the worst kiss that has ever been given... & then he said, "sorry, i was nervous..."
Silence.
Cairo: (giggling) That's so dad.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

i was gratified to find out...

That i am a genius.
If any of you remember this post... oh, c'mon, go back & read it... it's short...
My sister sent me the following email:

Paige, thought of you when i came across this quote tonight. You and your "Did you ever have thoughts without words?" question. "yeah Paige... they're called FEELINGS." I guess it's actually called GENIUS. haa haa --j

These thoughts did not come in any verbal formulation. I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterward. Albert Einstein

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday Morning

It's still dark outside as i creep past the slumbering children sharing their queen sized bed. Molls sleeps on the inside so that she can't escape to daddy's bed in the middle of the night - Cai has never looked more like a teenager than she does at this moment with her blankets covering her face & her body looking all long & lanky sprawled out across the outside edge of her bed.
Our house smells like the hazelnut coffee that Neil has already brewed. He's sitting by the fireplace checking emails on his blackberry.
i take my seat opposite him & put my feet up beside his.
i'm wearing blue denim maternity overalls borrowed from a friend, my 1972 roller rink t-shirt & flipflops. He's wearing a pristine dress shirt & pants that i had to hem 3 times before they were good enough.
i hate that i can see his suitcase sitting in the hallway from where we're sitting. Away, again this week - i know he's trying to get in all his travelling before the baby comes... but i miss him.
There's no need to exchange many words as the sky begins to change hue from black, to dusky grey. We get up simultaneously to get our coffee - his black, mine with cream & sugar - & as we return to our chairs that face each other & share an ottoman, little messy haired children begin to make their appearances one by one.
The minutes are slipping by too quickly - i know he'll soon be gone.

Is this what growing old together means?

These yielding moments in front of the fireplace?
The peace that comes just being in each other's company?
The familiar quiet - the longing in absence - the smell of 'home'?
i hope so...
Already, it's hard to remember a time when i wasn't crazy in love with the man sitting across from me. As these good years stack up on themselves - & our children grow - & our feet continue to share the ottoman between us, may there always be another monday morning with hazelnut coffee in the early glow of sunrise...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cutting Corners

My mother in law is an awesome housekeeper. She's also a wonderful hostess... she's not obsessive & nit picky - just real, homey and clean.
Over the years, she has graciously shared many tips with me to help me get from where i started out as a newly wed teenager... (shudder) to where i am now... coping nicely (most of the time) with a busy, full house.
One tip that she shared with me early on shocked me. She casually said, in conversation about cleaning, "I cut corners all the time."
i wanted details.
It was just little things - but i noticed that she never got so stuck in *perfectionism* that she lost sight of her goal: a tidy home.
i made it my goal to be the same way.
i'd spot check my floors or windows when i could get away with it...
Skipping what i could & doing whatever i noticed needed doing.
i'd get rid of clutter & look for ways to create *wide open spaces*.
i'd make sure everything had a place & that each nook & cranny wasn't crammed to capacity.
She showed me by example that when we came to visit, the house was clean when we got there... & she assured me, it would get clean again later when we left, but while we were there, she would enjoy those little finger prints & let the puzzles spread across the living room floor & the couches get turned into forts.
Her house was a home first.
When i sighed at her streak free windows & her crumb free cupboards, she would remind me that she didn't have little ones living at her house - & that my house was *very* tidy considering all the living that went on there. Always encouraging, suggesting, helping when she was around but mostly just enjoying what we had.
One time, i remember going through a big bag of pass me down baby clothes with her. She let me do the choosing, but gently encouraged me to only keep the best & really, how many outfits does a baby need anyway?
Neil inherited a lot of his mom's simple cleanliness. Over the years, his inability to live in a disaster zone has rubbed off on me - & i've learned that if i wanna visit with him, relax with him or have him just *be with me*, then i'd better have the house in a semblance of order when he walks through the door. He's not a perfectionist either - but he requires *order* to relax.
At first it hurt to constantly be culling... but now, i can chuck almost as good as he can. Like i said in a previous post, my motto has become, "getting rid of 'stuff' to make room for people".
i sure haven't 'arrived' as a perfect housekeeper. i know i have a lot of training to do with my little people to get them to be good little housekeepers. i have a lot of little drawers & cupboards that could use some attention... i've got areas that seem to win regardless of how often i tackle them & try to get them under control... i've got bits of dust & dirt where i'd love to see sparkling shine & fingerprints where i'd love to see streak-free perfection.
But it's coming...
Sometimes i imagine myself mother in law to my son's wives.
Will i have any gems to pass down to them?
Maybe they will far surpass me as wives, mothers and housekeepers.
Maybe they'll need a little encouragement & advice.
Hopefully i'll be ready.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

conflicted...

Ever feel like you're wearing a hat to hide yourself, shoes that your husband likes, a shirt that will fit over the baby... & pull down for the nursling, socks that your children didn't steal & the only pants that fit...
You look in the mirror & wonder...
Where's me?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Biggest Loser

i took out my running pants the other day.
They looked impossibly tiny - but they fit me only 5 short months ago - maybe less...
i pulled them up & held them up to my nice round tummy, smiling at my husband who was already nestled in bed. He glanced up & without pausing said, "It's like watching the Biggest Loser in reverse..."
It's a good thing he knows i can laugh at myself.
& me? i'm feeling impossibly good. i can't believe i'm getting ready to count down the final 10 weeks. This pregnancy has flown.
i was thinking to myself the other day that i should not be feeling this good when i'm this pregnant, so i looked back in my journal from G's pregnancy & i was saying the same thing... i figure if all follows the same pattern, i've got another good 5 weeks to go before my body falls apart again. i'm planning on embracing it this time... When i ache, i'm gonna have a tubby, when i'm tired, i'm gonna sit down, when i'm uncomfortable, i'm gonna get comfortable... when i puff up, i'm gonna guzzle water & be gentle with myself. If possible, i'm gonna pull all the joy that there is to be pulled from this beautiful countdown.
i'm not ready to not be pregnant anymore.
i'm loving feeling little legs & knees & a sweet little twisty, turny head inside of me... the sweet company in my own body of another little person i love, the way that me and G make a baby sandwich when he nurses. i'm loving the look of surprise that is happening more & more often when Gagey is snuggled in my arms & he gets a little boot to his belly.
If only there was a way to preserve these days & these most beautiful moments...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

good suggestions...

Neil suggested to me the other night, after a night of less sleep than we both require:
"paige, i know you have to get up a billion times in the night to pee... But do you think you could tip toe?"
Sorry for making you uncomfortable...
Nerd.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

reunited

it seems to me that neil has been travelling a lot in recent history...
& although he took us with on this trip...
he's still not here.
He's on the ferry as i type.
He should be here before supper.
As we tried to take the kids for a hike, i moaned to my mom, 'aw, i wish that when you'd see us, it wasn't always with me being a single mom.'
Charter had Molls in a headlock & Gagey refused to sit in his stroller or walk... or be carried by either of my parents, so i was hefting his 30lbs along with my extra 20 & it was taking my breath away. It was raining & the mud from the trails had followed Gageys shoes all over my pants.
Neil loves to brag about how little he works, but the truth is - he works long and hard. He works all year long... through any holiday we've ever taken... right down to working the days our babies were born. i rarely see him go an hour without a phone call or an email... right through from dawn's early light to bedtime.
He just *likes* his work... & he doesn't complain...
i remember when the mill shut down when Peyton was a baby & he refused to go on unemployment insurance... instead, he went out in the bitter cold & poured concrete till it got too cold, then built someone's barn... then took any odd job he could to keep a roof over our heads & food on the table, eventually moving north a full month before the rest of us could join him, living in a dingy hotel room in a tiny town so he could get his feet back under himself.
i got such a good man.
Yeh, times are a lot less desperate than they were in some of those early years, but the drive to work hard & to give all he's got for the money he's earning has never lessened.
i'm so proud of neil for working so hard - & for taking such good care of us...
But i sure miss him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

sleeping with baby

He's been having a little trouble sleeping lately.
i see a haggard looking woman looking back at me in the mirror...
Neil was gonna be in Vancouver & i was in Victoria.
i decided there was room for his little warm body in my bed. i told him at nap time that we were gonna sleep together that night & judging by the smug little smile on his dimply face, he understood exactly what i said. At bedtime, after the big girls had begged for at least another 5 minutes of play with him, i finally fandangled him off to my bed.
The room was dark & i could hear him breathing next to me.
He made some lame efforts to stay awake - whispering in the dark, rolling over & patting my back, trying to stand up... but we both could tell it wasn't a night for fighting... tonight was a night for snuggling.
In no time, he was a limp, snoring noodle in my arms - & as i gently eased my arms from around him, i found that the house was already silent.
i had tucked Mollen & Peyton in their bed & i had said 'goodnight' to the big girls & knew they were already in their bed. i crept out in the darkness & found Charter in his little nest & he wrapped his arms around me & sighed, "i had a good day, momma." Me too, buddy.
i brushed my teeth and hopped back into bed with my slumbering prince.
In the dark, i missed neil - so i reached out for my soft little companion. i breathed in the smell of his sleeping self & thought that it's no wonder he went to sleep so nice for me.
Couldn't we all use a warm body in the night?

Monday, November 9, 2009

on the road again

i remember when i was little, being excited to get on the road. We all loved to read & my parents usually made sure we were well stocked up with books before a long road trip. Yeh, we'd scrap & pick at each other sometimes, but we'd listen to a lot of music... (Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Kieth Green, Roger Whittaker... & even a little Sloan Family Album) My dad would pick my mom up a black licorice cigar when he'd stop for gas.
A trip meant escape from school, from any obligations: my paper route, my annoying grade 6 homework & my room that was always a mess... (yes, i thought this way when i was little... *freedom*) & it usually meant fun with cousins...
As i was preparing for our road trip this time, it occurred to me that there was a lot that went on behind the scenes...
As i phoned Moll's school to let them know she'd be absent, rearranged their fiddle lessons, made sure Cai didn't have coaching, cancelled our produce bin and caught up on all the laundry and cleaned the house - the thought crossed my mind that a certain amount of work goes into travelling with 6 little ones.
As i made a mental check list: bathing suits, violins, suitcases, toothbrushes, snacks for the road, Charter and Peyton's readers, a few math drills that i don't want to leave for a week & don't forget their music books... i realized that maybe it's easier to stay home... As i ran out of time & had to leave my dining room floors messy & ran furiously around the house shutting off lights and grabbing my wallet, jacket and Gagey's shoes... i almost panicked - sure that i was forgetting something important & that maybe i should have just volunteered to stay home - Neil was just being nice letting us tag along on a business trip... maybe i should have just left well enough alone.
But then... i heard the door slam shut behind me & i felt... a sudden sense of release. i saw Neil turn the key in the lock & i went to our little van (likely our last trip where we'll fit in the little one...)
It was the crack of dawn (Neil's favourite time to travel in) & i was greeted with a warmed seat & giddy little ones. Sloan & Cai each clutched their new novels, Sloanie had Dragonwings and Cairo had Pride and Prejudice & they were both eager to get started. Neil had his satellite radio ready to go - & we knew breakfast was coming at the first stop an hour away...
Freedom.
i closed my eyes & sighed.
We were on the road.
Everyone i loved most in the world bundled up in our little Honda van. A jubilant expectant feeling in the air as we pulled away from our little homestead & out towards our little adventure.
Maybe 's not so bad... & maybe that feeling of freedom being on the road never completely goes away.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

ch-ch-ch-changes...

In an effort to make room for baby, we have kicked Charter out of his room.
i know, sounds mean...
But with his sleep disturbances, it's impossible for him to share a room, so we moved his bed into the rec room downstairs.. Yeh... i know what you're thinking... & yes, there are some downfalls to having a little boy sleep in a common area - but so far, the benefits seem to outweigh any of the difficulties. (& his bed is up high, so i don't mid if he leaves it in a heap like it is in this pic...
His "room" is the area under his bed... & it's not totally organized yet, but it's coming. So far, he really seems to love his little space... & the fact that he can now spy on his big sisters. (P&S's room is the door on the left of the pic).




Neil knocked a hole in the wall so that the pvr & dvd players didn't need a shelf sticking out. i love our little "growth tree" beside.




& la piece de resistance...
a portrait of neil & i - done by molls... i think she got his shoulders down perfect, don't you?





Friday, November 6, 2009

i'm... lonesome.

But if i invite anyone over to my house, it will be mayhem & i will be embarrassed.
Not sure what's worse.
i need to better wrap my head around discipline & rules for when we have company... & how to be comfortable with what usually escalates into *crazy hyper-ness* at my house the minute company walks in the door - & yet not let my little ones - by sheer pressure of their numbers - create havoc.
i often feel like i have a litter of excited little puppies jumping up at me the minute the doorbell rings :)
Any mommas feelin' me?
i sometimes wish for the days when bigger families were more common & we could see how other mamas did it... what was normal... what worked & what didn't... Sometimes i feel like i'm blazing a new trail of normal & i find there is so much trial & error.
i love this sweet little bit of chaos though & i'll continue to do the very best that i can... & pray that *sometimes* there will be a little peace in the midst of the whirlwind.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

an email exchange...

From Cairo to Mom:
Dad likes Taylor Swift.

From Mom to Cairo:
Ewwwwwww, how do you know?

From Cairo to Mom:
When she came on the radio on the way home from Bow Valley's he said, "Taylor Swift... my favourite."

From Mom to Cairo:
He was teasing you. She is a hack.

From Cairo to Mom:
i think he was serious.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

i don't matter...

It was one of those funny, slip of the tongue things that little kids say... A mix of, "i don't care" and, "it doesn't matter" - would come out of Peyton's sweet pink mouth as, "i don't matter!"
Her casual manner in making the remark would always strike at my heart...
& i would have to turn to her and say, "o, peyts! You DO matter!" But, my correction was lost on her as she'd skip away, oblivious to her mistake.
Even now, i see her anxious to make peace - like her third born mama before her. Her grasp of the english language is much stronger now than it was when she used to make this little statement... but it seems that sometimes i could still hear those words coming out of those perfect little lips...
You *do* matter, Peyton.
You do.
But your willingness to lay down your rights for the comfort of someone else is a beautiful trait that your Father will be able to use for *good* your whole life long...
i love you, little sparkling eyed one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Still small voice...

i was thinking today about how terrified i am of being a dripping faucet...
& wondering why the idea of "speaking out" is so tied for me with being annoying, or pestering?
The idea washed over me like the sun coming out from behind a cloud...
i don't wanna be making so much noise that i can't hear Him.
Sometimes when i hear others speak passionately, or when i read their words written, i wonder, "do i sound like that?"
Is there room for my Shepherd's gentle correction in my thinking?
Am i willing to be wrong - & say that i was wrong?
i don't think that God is out there throwing the balls at my head as fast as He can & i can catch as many as i can, or duck, or just plain get smacked in the face... though that's sometimes how it *feels* as a Christian - trying to do it all, be it all & choose - in all things- to do right.
i think first and foremost, i want to listen to His calling to love.
He talks about love a lot in that book of His...
& it seems that so often, in our quest to be right...
we leave out the most important ingredient... love.
God is beyond our pitiful logic... He's beyond our painful debate & He's beyond our capacity for understanding...
He wants us to love... & that will give us insight beyond what we ever dreamed ourselves capable of. If we're changed from the inside out.... then we will humbly desire to walk in obedience.... & He'll give us the next step as we come to it.
There is no longer any room for feeling a righteous indignation when someone believes differently than we do... only a a gentle examination of our hearts & a humble acknowledging that it's a journey - & each loving act of obedience is gonna get us a little closer to our destination. Like iron sharpening iron...
So, Father, give me the courage to speak out when You want me to. Give me the humility to admit when i've been wrong or blind or willfully ignorant - & to change my course... but most of all, help me to wash it all in love - so that my life becomes a reflection of You.

Monday, November 2, 2009

and then she said

Cairo: Mom, what's it called when you only have one eyebrow & it goes over both eyes?
me: a monobrow?
Cairo: Ya, i have one of those...
*****************************
We had company this weekend. Neil's auntie & uncle & their grown son came & spent a couple of nights with us. As i was walking by their room one day, (mollen & cai's room) i heard Mollen's perky little voice sounding off in there, "WERE YOU PEEKING THROUGH MY STUFF??" & Neil's auntie's voice, "Oh, no, Mollen. i was just putting my nightie in my suitcase..."
i walked around the corner to see Mollen, hands on hips, lisping full force, "Are you SURE??!! i thought i saw you peeking in THIS bin! & That's MY toy bin... No peeking!!!"
i'm glad his auntie has a sense of humour...
That was actually one of her tamer exchanges this weekend... Where did i inherit this little fire-ball from?

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