Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sleeping In

Feel my pain... I stayed up waaaay too late last night, squeaking in some all-too infrequent time with the oldest two boys. We watched crime mysteries together till midnight. I had a great time.

Yeah. That came back to bite me in the hiney.  I only did it cuz there is no school today. The clouds this morning were dark and thick. The whole house was silent. Until...

A little voice piping through the monitor at 6:55 a.m. "Sum buddy.... I haffa go potteeeee."

I stumble in the dark to her room.

Little voice pipes up in the darkness, "Mommy? Why sum buddy leaf my shade metted up like dat?"

Her shade was askew. A teeeny tiiiiny shard of light, clouded and foggy light at that, was peeking through. Ugh. Really?

"Come on, Li'l E. Let's get to the potty. Then you can snuggle in bed with Mommy for a while."

(Until it actually becomes, you know, morning. With light and all?)

Seating her precious little hiney on the potty, she starts chattering. Really. CHATT.ER.ING. I don't even know what she said. I just know there was a lot of it. A.LOT.

I stumbled my way through assisting her, with little to nothing coming to my lips by way of conversation. Kind of the "if I don't respond, maybe she'll stop?" mentality. It never works. But I keep trying.

I hustle her precious little hiney into the big bed, and get her settled with her puppy and The Boss's pillow. She's quiet. I settle myself in, close my eyes.

And then? She's not quiet any more.

Nor is she still. As in, not one moment of her waking hours is that little body ever motionless. EH.VER.

For the next 45 minutes, she beats a rhythm on the mattress, in time with the nonsense song she's singing in her head. Only she's not. Singing in her head that is. She's whispering it. Over and over.

This is where her unilateral hearing loss really cramps my style.
Heh. She has NO idea that her whisper at 6:59 a.m. 
is like a roaring train whistle through my brain.

I nudge her and say, "Shhhhh."

She says, oh so sweetly, "Okay Mommy. I will."

The cycle repeats every few minutes. The only variation is that once in a while, the puppy whispers the song. Or the puppy's ears beat the rhythm. Or so she informs me seriously, when I nudge her and say, "Shhhhhh."

Thank goodness, LadyBug is an early riser. No matter how late she goes to bed, she's up by 7 or 7:30 a.m.

At 7:50 a.m., LadyBug rescued me. She and Li'l E headed off for a breakfast date. I rolled over and pulled the covers over my head.

At 7:59, I got up. This darned episode was turning itself into a blog post in my head.

I hate it when that happens.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Pretty much the saddest sight of the year.
Every year.
No one at The Gang's House
likes this particular sign of the changing seasons.
Even though we all LOVE fall.


For more Wordless Wednesday links,
that are likely a whole lot happier than this,
Leave a comment and I'll drop by
to say hi and commiserate over
summer's passing!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gotta Get My Groove Back

I wasn't even sure what to title this. Or where to start to get myself back into the swing of regular blogging....

I mean, I could go with the "bad blogger" theme, beating myself up for the woeful neglect of my little blogging community of peeps.  But I beat myself up enough about far more weighty things, like bad hair cuts (Heh. Keep reading...) and impulsive emotional eating. And all that self-flagellation in the public blogosphere would make me want to eat more chocolate. Which, I think we all agree, is pleasant but not a permanent solution to well, blogging irregularities.

Or I could go the stream-lining route and lead you all to believe that the lack of blogging is directly related to the re-prioritizing of my time and my energies toward making my home more efficient and more productive. But that would show itself false by one quick glance at the piles of paperwork and the un-fiinished editing project(s) still parked on my counter.

I could, with a little stretching, head down the pious path. Tell you all that the Lord has been nailing some of my personal issues to the Cross, re-working my heart and my mind toward His plans for my days and my hours bent on further glorifying Him. That I've been too busy praying and leading my three little day-time charges into endless hours of praise and worship at the feet of Jesus. But that would just be, well, pious. And a gross exaggeration of what my days lately have actually looked like. And gross exaggerations are, well, Not pious. So there's a big contradiction goin' on there that doesn't sit well. (Instead, picture referee uniforms, whistles, and all! kinds! of distraction techniques being winged about everywhere!) 

Truth is, I'm struggling. I'm working to find my new groove. To develop a new routine with lots of new factors played in and accounted for in the process. And every.single.time. I think that this new routine is starting to hum along, a hiccup occurs. Normally, I can deal with hiccups in the schedule fairly well. NOT, mind you, that I like them. Or even adapt to them easily. But I get over the initial angst and move on. It's what moms do. There is little choice in the matter, when considering the six other folks that these hiccups include... 8 if you add Little Gal and Little Guy into the mix.  Which I have to do, considering that they are here for the majority of the week.

I'll say it again, it's a good, good thing that those two cuties are so flexible and easy-going. They've had to deal with the hiccups in the house right along with the rest of the Gang. And I must say, they handled this week's big hiccup fantabulously. The big hiccup of which I speak was Dr. D's hand injury from Monday afternoon's football game. That meant a morning off and on the phone and emails galore: with the school nurse, the coach, the trainer, The Boss, the sister, and the pediatrician. All just to coordinate a quick (hahahahaha) trip to the pediatrician. That resulted in a not-so-quick trip to the orthopedist. Seems that the loss of feeling in two of Dr. D's fingers during said injury was enough of a concern that the docs involved needed x-rays and consultation with the specialist. Thankfully, on so many levels, there is no break. Just a deep muscle/tendon/nerve bruise that made for some ugly swelling and limited movement for the week. Play for this week's big game is doubtful but he's not out for the season.

Another minor hiccup (that did NOT feel minor at the time!) was a last minute run to the salon to have my bangs trimmed and blended.  I loved the long sweeping bangs across my forehead but they got too thinned out in my last cut and the humidity of late has been creating little frizzy curls across the forehead. So before I left for a weekend at Women of Faith with my sister, I ran out to have them trimmed and blended. Those were the words I used, repeatedly to the stylist.  That is NOT what I got when I left.  Let's just say, when the stylist stops and stares at what she just did in dismay (Oh, yes, that was dismay and confusion I saw on her face. It was.), you pretty much know that it's NOT gonna be a good hair cut.
My history with bad hair cuts is well-documented here. And here, part II... Cuz yes, a bad hair cut is never just a bad hair cut for me. Seriously. I don't know what my problem is. And saying that is not me asking for your input. Thankyouverymuch :)
So this time, the hair cut debacle wasn't really about forgiveness. Although, I probably do need to letitgo and forgive the poor gal for her mistake. Turns out, after some contemplation and introspection (Ugh, I hate it when I do that.) it was really about, well, about life. Real, gritty, dirty, life. Mistakes happen. Ideas and plans get thwarted, even miscommunicated. Stylists have no style. (Ooops, that was snarky. Sorry!) But it's life.

And that, my friends, is the real reason I'm so erratic and neglectful of my blogging. Life. I am starting to think that the new normal around here will show itself in its own good time. And along the way, hiccups to the plan will have to be dealt with accordingly.

I guess I am just going to have a lot more time to deal with those hiccups, big or small. You know, since my uber-short hair takes all of five minutes to wash, dry, and style.

Heh. Heh. Sob. sigh...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshot

Oh, what a week it has been....More on that tomorrow.  In the midst of it all, I missed putting up a post to celebrate Baby BlueEyes' big entrance to the double digits. Yes, Baby BlueEyes turned TEN. Yes, he did. I know, seriously. Cuz I look at him, and sometimes I still see THIS:

I know. He's NOT that little anymore. But gosh, wasn't that just last month?! I mean, I do know. But I still don't KNOW how this happened. How he got to TEN!

Sigh. I know. I know. Life goes on. At the speed of light. Without stopping for momma's heart to catch up or catch a breath.  Anyhoo...

Without further ado, here is what TEN looks like 'round here...

Heading out the door, with the newly minted "ten-ness"
sitting well on his shoulders.

Birthday cake number one.
A spiced pumpkin cake with home-made spiced butter cream
frosting. Our family's sign that fall has arrived!

Celebration number two, house full of family, and cousins galore.
All eyes were riveted for several minutes on the
intense game of napkin basketball volleying across the table.

My sister sunk the first shot.

Cake number two. Not really a cake at all.
Rather, dark chocolate brownies smothered with
home-made vanilla butter cream frosting.

And topped off with four different flavors of ice cream.
Yeah. Can we say sugar coma?

THE.BIG.HIT. of the evening.
A Nerf Stampede.
All the boys, even the grown up ones,
were a little in awe.

Food. Family. Fun.
That's what TEN looks like 'round here!!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday Snapshot {better late than never}

Sunday Snapshot

In my bleary-eyed Sunday morning stumbles through the house,
while trying to rouse everyone to get ready for church on time,
I came across these two monkeys.

Having a very serious conversation,
full of imaginary plans for the day, silly stories,
and sweet sibling nothings being whispered
across the table to each other.

So wonderful to see the fruits of our labors
coming forth in their tender little friendship!

Happy Monday, Everyone!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Three Years Ago

I can hardly believe it's been three years. Three years since we met this fiery little dynamo who has so completely changed our world.

I know blogging around here has been scarce lately. It's that learning curve I'm riding.  But I'd be remiss if I let this day go by without looking back on what God has done for us. I wrote about it HERE and HERE, in honor of the first two anniversaries of meeting our girl.

And HERE is one of several posts we wrote that day, in Xi'an, meeting our girl and digesting all the God was doing in us and for us. My personal favorite is THIS one - Daddy's first love letter to his girl.  He made me fall in love with him all over again with that one!

But here's my favorite thing about marking days like today:  seeing the way she has grown and blossomed, marking the day with a picture and looking at all the little and big changes in her face, in her eyes, in her smiles.  Enjoy the journey with me....

The very first picture we captured.
She was shaking so hard and crying from such a deep place,
that I wondered for a brief moment how we would do this together.

Finally, after about 1/2 hour of switching from me
to her new Baba and back, she calmed down enough
for us to look at her breathtaking beauty.

One year later, her beautiful personality was shining through.
My favorite part of our first year together was watching us
all fall in love with her and with each other again and again.
She blossomed so much that first year!

There was no doubt in her mind by the two year mark
that she is the apple of every one's eye in The Gang's house.
I remember feeling such a sense of settled-ness in her,

Today, in her beloved piggie pj's.
Spunky, exuberant, demanding, and oh! so! eloquent!
She's such an amazing kid.

Happy Family Day, dear Li'l Empress!
You have been a joy and a blessing to our whole family.
Today is one of my favorite days in our whole life together.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

The final first day of the week arrived,
in muddy, wet, pouring down splendor. Snark.

But Li'l Empress's spirits were not dampened at all.

At least not until the new pre-school pick-up helper came to the van door.

At least this year's tears were less, ummm,
fraught with desperation and fear and up-from-her-core terror.

Can you believe how much she's grown?!

Join the fun, better late than never,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School {2011 edition}

For the first time in two years, all four of my older kids are out the door and off to school by 8:20 a.m.  And will be, every morning till June. After two years of cyber-school, my handsome and wonderful sons are leaving home to join the ranks of traditional public-schoolers. Sigh. I miss them already. It's especially poignant, as today is Shaggy's last first day of his school years.

There they go, Dr. D and Shaggy. My sophomore and my senior.... dressed and mostly awake at 6:40 a.m. They didn't even get to see Li'l Empress - it was so dark and cloudy that she actually slept in till I woke her at 7:20.

Next out the door was LadyBug. All giddy and excited about her first day of 7th grade. First day in the middle school. First time EVER walking off to the bus stop alone. Without any of her siblings.  She was much more excited about it than The Boss and I. She didn't even care that it was raining. Or that it was only 7:35 a.m.


I'm pretty sure Li'l Empress hasn't fully connected to what all these pictures and good-bye hugs mean for her. For her whole day.  It's gonna be a big adjustment for her, not to have her kids around.

Finally, at 8:15, Baby BlueEyes "suited up" and got himself all hugged and kissed and prayed over.  This is also his first year to ride a bus and be at school without any other Gang members around. He has decidedly mixed feelings about that. He much prefers to be with his family, so I'm really glad that his best childhood buddy, Miss V, is in his homeroom this year. God knows, doesn't He?! Even the little details like that. God knows.

Giving him hugs and telling him "I lub you" felt a little more familiar to Li'l Empress, as she also got to walk out to the driveway with The Boss to watch the bus arrive and pull away.  Just like we did last year. I think by this time of the morning, she was starting to "get it."  It's been awful quiet here since the bus pulled away.

And me? I'm okay. For now. Focusing on Little Guy and Little Gal's arrival in minutes. Listening to the news and the weather report. Distracting myself a little at a time. Tomorrow? Well, that might be a different story. Li'l Empress will leave right on BBE's heels for her first day of school. And I'll be here without any of my Gang. For the first time in two years.

I sure hope Little Guy and Little Gal are prepared for that.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshot

In this season of life, where our older kids are starting to find their passions and we're able to help them pursue those passions, we are finding great joy.  In particular, The Boss is LOVING being a "football dad."  He loves the adrenaline rush, the free-flowing testosterone that rushes and oozes all over the fields, the utter man-growl that comes out of him when our boy gets his hands on the ball.

And now, The Boss is getting to be a "football dad" times 2. Yup, Baby BlueEyes has joined the local Upw@rds program for flag football.

So last Monday night, BBE had his first practice. The Boss, Dr. D, and BBE shoveled dinner down their gullets and rushed out the door, all pumped and excited for drill night. Cuppa' joe in hand, The Boss wandered up and down the sidelines, watching the little guys pass and catch. Chatting it up with the other dads, doin' the dad-versation about who looks good and who's got the arm this year.

Till one of our friends' son pointed out what The Boss was holding in his hand.

Here's a close up, in case you missed it.

Heh. Heh.

You can't see it, but that mug is full of testosterone.
I swear!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Rusty" About Covers It

I'm wrapping up my first week as a working-from-home, stay-at-home mom.  And while I am marveling at the amount of laundry I've completed in one morning and the paperwork that I've powered through in one week (ya know, cuz I am actually home and not taxi'ing LadyBug, Shaggy and Dr. D all around the valley for their various pursuits a la July and August!), I am also quite astounded at how rusty I've gotten.

It seems in the couple years since Li'l Empress was a scootching, slithering, cruising one-year old, certain of my skills have scattered to the far ends of the house, nay, the universe.

It seems in the (ahem, many!) years since I had Shaggy, Dr. D, and LadyBug crowding around my ankles and clamoring for attention (think three ages 5 and under), my abilities to multi-task and problem-solve have sunk with the receding waters of Irene into the netherlands of the sump well.

I think that my formerly laudable administrative skills fled the building at the sight of managing the schedules, wants, needs, and developmental abilities of 7 children in one home.

And the calendar? Fuhgeddabout it - that ran out the door screaming for mercy when I started moving things around to keep my Mondays through Thursdays open and free for staying home and re-conquering all of the above skill sets..

OH. And managing snacks, bottles, lunches, nap time, quiet time, and more snacks? OMIGOSH - it's a good thing I've had LadyBug and Baby BlueEyes around to help me stretch time a liiiiiiiiitle bit more to avert melt-downs (mine) and crying jags (also mine).

Thank goodness that Little Gal (three) and Little Guy (11 months) are, as Shaggy says, "chill." Their easy-going, resilient natures are going to come in mighty handy while Miss Momma gets this coordination and timing thing down to a routine.

I can't even talk yet about how out-of-practice I am with negotiating with two bickering pre-schoolers. Let's just say that Li'l Empress is feeling slightly de-throned (not entirely a bad thing!) and Little Gal certainly knows how to articulate how she feels about THAT, thankyouverymuch! (also not a bad thing). If I wasn't so intent on making sure my sanity made it till the end of the day, I'd likely be laughing about the logic these two girls are trying to pull on me. Maybe next week, I'll be able to laugh at them. I mean, with them. I mean about their convoluted toddler logic. Yeah. That's it.  Heh.

Yup, this first week has shown me in no uncertain terms that I am indeed very rusty. It's a good thing these kinds of things all tend to work themselves out with practice and time. Cuz Lord knows, once school starts on Tuesday and I'm the only one "on deck" we will have LOTS of both on hand.