Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Cat (Briefly) Came Back

A year ago (?) we acquired 3 male kittens, brothers, from a friend who had a pregnant cat dumped on her doorstep.

This is Zane. He disappeared a couple of months ago.  This last week I found him down the road in someone else's driveway.  He was not terribly thin but he was wet. I scooped him up gladly and brought him home.

We stuck him in our sun room where he enjoyed a night inside getting reacquainted with one of his brothers.

The next day, we let him out and he promptly ran back to the neighbor's down the road.


I guess he's decided we aren't his people anymore :-(.

At least he is healthy and fed, right?

Kids Coming and Going

Naomi is working full time now during the week.  She has a (short term) job at the base.  It took the government months to get all the electronic paperwork done so she could work.  This coming week will be her last full time week because the week after, she starts back to college full time.

So far it has been rather a dull job, unfortunately.  It takes a long time to jump through the hoops for security training and all that.  But Naomi is meeting people and getting a feel for working on the base so that is awesome. And they are paying her pretty well.

Lydia has been doing child care on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the summer, plus usually babysitting another family on Wednesday night, plus working at Burger King a few hours a week. She is quitting her BK job this week as college starts next week and she hasn't really enjoyed it that much. She far prefers child care.

Both girls will, by the end of the summer, have earned a fair amount of money. Both are saving most of it, which is great.  One of the challenges of living under one's parents' roof is that the basics are paid for.  We encourage our children not to spend all that they make, and so far the kids have fallen firmly in with that idea. Reality is, adults don't have hundreds of dollars to spend on frivolous items every month.  Better to get into the habit of saving most of one's money when one is young.

So the 2 big kids have been gone a lot.  They help a great deal and are very reliable so it has been interesting carrying most of the child care load this summer.  BUT Isaac and Joseph are maturing and have been very helpful.  Plus Lydia and Naomi are here Saturday evenings to watch the youngers so Kevin and I can go out on a date, which we love.

Life is changing.  Our kids are growing up.  I'm doing a lot of praying that the Lord guides them and that I will open my fingers and let them fly, while also providing any guidance they desire.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Trip to Michigan

I took the seven younger children to Michigan last week to visit my parents and spend time with my brother and his family.

My brother Jeff has one son who is a little older than Rose. I sadly haven't seen him since he was 1 so it was great to see him.

As an only child, it had to be a bit odd to suddenly be dumped in with a horde of cousins, but Arlo did wonderfully.  He is a very intelligent, verbal little boy and he got along well with the children, especially Sarah. Sarah was crazy about him.

Various kids and adults.  My mother's flower beds are AMAZING.  She is a terrific gardener. I didn't get that gene.

Some of our kids played Settlers of Catan a lot.

Numerous kids watching a video on my tablet :-).

It was a very nice weekend though tiring.  Driving to and from Michigan isn't too arduous but 7 kids is always a lot of work. Thankfully the older children with me did a fabulous job helping me.

Naomi started her job this week on base.  Most of the week was a dead bore as she had to do all kinds of in processing, but finally at the end of the week she got a laptop and a program to work on.

Lydia worked a lot this week as well.

Friday, July 20, 2018

How Do People Do Get Away From Home Frequently?

So this is just a "people are so different" post.

I have a relative in CA who is a little older than I am, though her youngest is 13.  Which is no surprise. Only crazy ladies have 3 kids in their 40's!

(That's me, CRAZY.  But oh, how blessed. I LOVE MY KIDS!)

So anyway, she has a blog and they are gone a LOT.  Like they just got back from a several week drive around the country, and they are moving from CA to FL soon.  And today's blog post was about how she and her 2 younger daughters (3 are grown, and her one son was away at camp) drove THREE HOURS to visit a friend.

I know that's not really a long way.  It's just that if she is visiting people, and she does ALL the time, she isn't home keeping her house in order.

And she obviously isn't bug eyed stressed about it.  Nor is there any sign her house is a mess!  She obviously manages to keep her home and family in order in spite of being 10 times busier than I am.

I'm an introvert and a homebody.  Trips are stressful.  It is so much work getting stuff packed, so much work having kids whining about being the car for hours, and so on.

I mean, I love relatives and friends, but we hardly ever go anywhere.

I have another local friend who travels a lot as well. She loves to travel and doesn't do well being home all the time.

Big point here is that people are different, and that is fine.  We are all blessed with different strengths.

Considering that we have 9 children and homeschool, our house is moderately clean and tidy and organized.


I have a low threshold of stress with running around with the kids, even locally.  A trip to a splash park is fun but a few hours wipes me out.

It is what it is.  I am who I am.  I am a good mother.  I'm not like other mothers, I know that.

The kids get love, attention, books read to them, prayers over them, and food served at regular intervals.

AND not very many field trips, or trips.

I'm tired.  Physically to some degree, mentally more. When I'm out and about with the Horde, it is EXHAUSTING.

So yeah.

Perhaps in a few years, when Rose is safer, I'll do more.

We'll see.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

That Weight Thing

I said a few months ago that I would try to lose some weight.

So it hasn't happened.

So let me just say that yes, losing weight is very hard.  I spent most of my life losing weight very easily and maintaining a low weight with almost zero effort.  Yep, fast metabolism and lots of anxiety.  It was nice.  I knew it was nice (not the anxiety part, but the effortless skinny person part).  Now I know how nice it was!

I'm maintaining, anyway.  I'm consistently at 155 lbs.  That doesn't just happen, either.  I'm exercising and thinking about what I eat and trying not to overeat.

155 lbs is totally reasonable for my height, and I'm mostly at peace. I just don't want to climb higher, and it is taking real effort not to go higher!

We live with so much food around us, don't we?  And as we age, our metabolisms slow down. 

I keep reading books about people in other countries and times who didn't have enough food.  We are so blessed to have food in our cupboards and refrigerator.  I never have to worry about my kids starving.

It's a huge blessing. I just need to make sure I am wise about how much blessing I put in my mouth.

People and Projects

This post will include philosophical rambling. You have been warned!

I'm a project oriented person and have been for a very long time.  I was a stellar student in high school, undergrad, and graduate school.  I could study for tests, finish projects, and meet deadlines with the best of them, though admittedly with tons of anxiety and stress in the mix.

The nice thing about projects and classes and tests is that they have a firm end date.  For better or for worse, at some point its all over but the grade. 

People are more complicated.

Until death parts us, the people in our lives will be around, sometimes in our homes, sometimes over phone lines, sometimes attached almost exclusively by email.

(I hate phones most of the time. I'm surrounded by noise and people crawling up my legs so when I'm on the phone, I prefer people who can understand the occasional side comments to small children who suddenly, ardently, need my attention.  One of my least favorite jobs in life is trying to work through a billing problem on the phone with phone trees and stupid computer voices and kids screaming in the background...)

Ok, digression over.

But from the perspective of eternity, what is more important, people or projects?

Of course people win, hands down.

And yet, and yet, the projects are fairly important as well because they affect the people.  If we never mowed the lawn, we'd be surrounded by 5 foot tall grass fields and the kids wouldn't be able to play as easily, and they'd always come in covered with ticks and chiggers.  If we didn't keep working on the pool, it would be a swamp.

So it's a balance; on one hand, we need to get a lot of things done in life, but on the other hand, we need to interact with our loved ones consistently.  Quality time is good, but quantity time is necessary as well.  Our loved ones won't do well with a stray 15 minutes a day.

Dealing with my wonderful children, especially the youngest 3, is quite exhausting.  They are 7, 6, and 4 now.  I love them. They are fantastic and cute and amazing. But they are also immature, because they are small.  They fight, repeatedly.  They do things they shouldn't. And Rose, in particular, is like a comet who often is quite content to be away from her sun (me) but sometimes wants to be circling very close to me.  When she decides she wants Mommy, it is hard for me to go outside or even change floors in our house without her screaming in dismay.

You get the picture.

Since it is summer and we're not officially doing school, I've been tackling lots of projects around the house. I am decluttering closets and organizing them.  I'm organizing our clothing.  You get the picture.

These things have value, without a doubt.  But I have to remind myself, when knee deep in a project, that if the kids need me, I need to break away. And not 'need me' in the sense of 'child will get injured without me' but in the sense of 'child is feeling lonely or scared or crabby and I need to spend time with said child.'

Not easy. Because when the project is in mid stream, it is hard for me to swim out of it. I just want to get it done!

But I'm maturing and growing as a Christian and a wife and a mother.  The project will be still be there when I get back, but the people need me now.