|If you have a houseful of boys, chances are it is hopping and noisy.|
When it's hopping and noisy you might send the boys outside to ride their bikes.
If they go outside to ride their bikes they might not be able to find one of their toys.
When they come back inside within a minute you will
need want to help them find their missing tricycle.
When you find the tricycle it may be behind the house in the mud.
When they pull the tricycle from the mud the boys will notice that it is dirty.
If the tricycle is dirty they will want to clean it.
When they plan to clean it they may ask for something to wash it with.
If you are feeding a baby, you will tell them to get a rag and to put a squirt of soap into a bucket.
When they get soap and water and run off to wash the tricycle you will wonder what is really happening outside.
If you wonder what is happening you will take a look out the window.
When you look out the window you may notice them washing the tricycle with your mesh, delicate-laundry bag.
And if they are having fun washing the tricycle, chances are they will notice the van is also dirty and begin to wash it [with your mesh delicate-laundry bag].
If they wash the van they will empty their bucket.
If their bucket is empty they will want to fill it again.
When you re-fill the bucket they will need more water and more soap.
Chances are if you fill their bucket with water and soap they will see more places that need to be cleaned and they will ask for a step stool to reach them.
When you get a step stool for them to wash the van you may pause in wonder that two boys are scrubbing the van on their own initiative.
If you think about the wonder of two boys scrubbing your van you will think you should take a picture.
When you step outside to take a picture they will notice you and want to come inside.
When they come inside, you will have a houseful of boys.
Chances are if you have a houseful of boys it is hopping and noisy.
Hopping and noisy
Sometimes life has a way of letting its busyness gently wrap around you.
There's no large blanket of impending deadline, but many ribbons of .happiness, visits, appointments, and duties combine until you start feeling the tightness. It's not a strangling tightness. Instead it's a tugging that lets you know it's time to unwind.
Today is my day to rest and to plan. I like remembering--looking back at pictures and thinking about the days.
I had thought the summer would be relaxing while we took a break from school. Our days were a lot less scheduled which was nice. Summer vacation brought lots and lots and lots of visits from our neighbor children. Many times a day visits. Zachary had so much fun playing with them this summer. I love to have them. I get tired of having them. It takes a lot of time and energy to keep up with the supervising and the extra stuff that gets hauled into our yard and saying no. Maybe mostly it gets tiring emotionally because my heart is so invested, and I don't always know when it's better to keep giving and when to set boundaries. Anyway, when I take a step back I always remember how privileged I am to be here and to be their neighbor.
June was a little more of a quiet month, and I was ready for more socializing in July. It turned out to be a really fun month. We went swimming a few times with a friend and her two children. We spent a few days with another friend. Both of them are teachers, so it's easier to get together during the summer.
The week of my birthday I had company here every day--each day was a different person, and I think I only one or two of those days were planned when the week started. That much adult conversation was the best kind of gift I could've gotten. At the end of the week my cousin stayed with us for two days. She's a lot younger than me--I remember how much fun I had holding her when she was a baby. Now she came to my house and held my babies...fun. The boys adored her, and I personally thought we should adopt her for at least a few weeks.
Two weeks later I met a friend for supper Monday night, another friend for coffee Wednesday night, and the next day two families we love came by for a few hours. All of them were from out of town, and each of them help make the week SO special and encouraging and funny and bonding and other good words like that. Except maybe not special which I totally over-use.
Now I'm trying to get our school year set up and thought out. Summer is going to be over so soon this year, but it was a really good summer. That's the best part about enjoying days--when they're past you feel happy because they were lived well.
|Today I wondered, "What if I'd try to write something even if it isn't interesting or inspirational?" Then I remembered I had written a post almost two months ago and never published it. After a quick re-read, I found nothing so terrible it should be kept from the world. So here you go, an old post masquerading as new:|
The husband to the wife who was resting:
"Baby just had a blow out,
son1's toe is bleeding, and
son2 wet himself."
"Welcome to my world," she snickered. But knowing all too well the the fun of three "catastrophes" at once, she rolled out of bed and took care of the wet, er, soiled pants. There may have been some gagging, but even poop in the pants wouldn't crush this day.
No, it's been the best Monday we've had in a long, long time! It's a normal, happy day, and that is enough to fill my joy cup to the brim.
Since the first of the year Steve's day off of work has changed from Saturday to Monday. We're liking it in some ways and still adjusting in others. Today is just nice, nice, nice all around, though! For the last months Steve has been working on his day off at least part of the day. Sometimes he does side jobs to help supplement our income, and sometimes it's just work he wants to get done at the mission. Today, though, we got to sleep in!!! Steve has been working at our house, but it's all been low key and more relaxed than normal. The boys play and play and play outside. It is sooooo good for them to play outside, dig, drive, run, and use their imaginations. I did a little clean up and baby care and snapped some pictures of the kitchen. It was remarkably clean, so it was a good day for that. :)
Normal has been slowly returning. My strength is increasing. We are not shopping for appliances because our appliances are running. Our vehicles are running. Our house is not finished, but very liveable. Our boys are healthy. We have clean, running water. We love each other. Normal isn't all about things going well. The sheets are growing holes. There's a constant muddy back step situation. There are boys who need to learn obedience. There are adults who need to learn contentment and joyfulness and boldness. But it's all a part of life...part of learning who God wants us to be.
Last week Zachary learned to ride his bike without training wheels,
Paxton giggled for the first time, and
Steve designed and built and installed a 7'x3.5' island.
I can't really think of anything too remarkable from Ian or I; although Ian keeps us laughing or swooning with his new words and ideas.
Three children keeps me ever so busy. Not in a stressed-out-must-meet-deadlines way, but non-stop working, caring, fixing, cooking, picking up, training, washing, reading, loving, teaching, changing, feeding..... I can never quite keep up, but I do love this life!! One day when I was having a little more of non-stop than love :) I ran across a post on mothering I'd bookmarked awhile ago (before the days of pinning, I guess):) If you're having one of those days, you might like it, too: I'm Gonna Miss This
A few things that are working for us:
Oatmeal :: For meals when mealtime sneaked up on me + there aren't any leftovers to eat + the baby is crying + the boys are incredibly hungry.
OXO Storage Containers :: Mom got me started with a collection of these containers. I love them so much I would be happy to have them as a birthday present. They're attractive; they're square (for maximizing cupboard space); they're airtight; and, best of all, they can easily be opened and closed with one hand.
A Nickle for Responsibility :: I got this idea from another mom. When Zachary does a job without being told, I give him a nickle. Him doing a job on his own initiative happens very rarely(maybe two days in a row, once a month) ;) Taking responsibility is so important for anyone, but especially boys to learn. I'm so excited when I see progress, and I'm pretty sure that if there is a wife for this man someday--she'll be happy about it, too. :)
Vertical Storage: This was an idea I found on Pinterest, and like soo much. It is easier to find what you're looking for when you can see each piece instead of looking through a pile. The boxes keep the drawer looking neat, too. These drawer dividers were from IKEA, but boxes would work equally well.
Quiet Time :: Zachary doesn't take a nap anymore, but I have him take a quiet time every afternoon. I didn't want him to start the minute Ian went for his nap because sometimes Paxton needed attention then. In order to function well, I still really need some downtime in the afternoon which means I aim to have all three of them sleeping or quiet at the same time. Quiet time had become kind of random, and also a part of the day when I was likely to hear complaining. Sometimes I'd forget to tell him he could get up and he'd have to lie for awhile longer than an hour. He was allowed to look at books, but he still got bored. Now once Ian is sleeping and Paxton has settled for a nap or is happily playing I'll set the timer for an hour and let him choose a quiet activity to do in his room--drawing at his table, putting together puzzles, playing with small dinosaurs in his bed, or reading. Maybe it's the timer or maybe it's simply having a pattern, but this is going so much better for us.
Moby Wraps :: There is a reason moms sing their praises! It is the most comfortable carrier I have ever used, and I LOVED my Snuggli! It is cozy, and so perfect for when babies are fussy during the hour in the evening when everyone is hungry and I'm trying to cook supper or in the late evenings (if you've had a fussy baby you can picture the pacing). And you know how sometimes you'll get a newborn calmed by swaying, then when you sit down to rock they start crying again? Well, with the Moby, Paxton would stay sleeping because he was still all snuggled up just right. It is also super easy to get baby in or out, and despite its appearance is not confusing to wear. Let's just say I'd be happy to endorse. :)
[his chubbiness is incredibly adorable to me]
I started teaching Zachary to read. A few months in things are going much better than they did at first. Starting a month after adding a baby to the family meant i didn't start teaching with super energy and enthusiasm. I was still taken aback when Zachary wasn't all excited about learning and school. We started in with Learning to Read since kindergarden material looked like stuff we'd already covered informally. Parts of it were challenging for him. He's a child who wants to do things he's good at, and doesn't like to do things if he's less than the best. Now that he's gotten the hang of things he loves it so much more, and he'll remind me that it's time to start school. One thing I do enjoy about homeschooling is teaching things in fun ways that might've taken up too much time in a classroom. Sometimes we go out to the sandbox, and Zachary writes his spelling words in the sand.
It seems life kind of hums along in the same patterns. A lot of time staying busy keeping up with the house and taking care of babies. Company on weekends. Treasured Mondays. I've been lonely lately...I just really, really miss having lots of friends around, having someone to call up and planning a morning at the park (or better, yet, the lake) for our children and getting to sit and chat or stopping to talk to another mom while out on a walk, coffee breaks, getting together with other families in the evenings. I miss having input from older moms, and totally-get-it from other moms, and good talks with the youth girls. It all makes me very, very grateful for the few connections I have--friends stopping by for a weekend or on their way to other places, one friend who lives close to us, emailing friends, and definitely blogging friends! :)
Well, maybe tomorrow I can write a little about May, and maybe, maybe after that I can get un-stuck from the non-writing. But, that remains to be seen~