Friday, February 24, 2012

If you know a mom with 6 kids...

If you know a mom with 6 kids, chances are that one of them will need help practicing her piano lessons, and while helping it's inevitable that said child will break down into a crying fit because she's 8 and "life is just too hard". And chances are that oldest child will feel left out because that mom hasn't said " I love you" enough times this morning and said child is frustrated because she has to go run on the treadmill for 1 mile as part of her daily routine. While still at the piano it's certain that 3 littles will be causing mischief in the basement as oldest is on the treadmill and after several minutes, chances are that oldest will come upstairs crying because she can't concentrate on running, especially after 2nd born refused to help with the littles because "he didn't come down to watch the littles, but to play!"

It's certain that at this point that this mom will go to the basement steps to have a "word" with 2nd born on the reality that "he is not the center of the universe". And chances are that this mom who is already exhausted at 9am, will most certainly hear running water behind the closed bathroom door... she will open it to find that someone... ahem... a certain 4 year old, decided it was a good idea to turn on the hot water faucet in the sink after washing his hands and leave it on full blast, all while said child ALSO thought it a good idea to put the stopper in the sink, shut off the light and close the door.

Chances are that water will be all over the counter, the floor, and under the sink by the gallons.

Ahh. Just one of the joys of knowing a mom with 6 kids. You can laugh at her and with her.

So, if you know a mom with 6 kids, please be kind to her. Chances are she needs a hug.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

you gotta laugh a little...

Here's a little glimpse into the daily life of a (somewhat) normal family that recently went from 4 kids to 6. This is a true story, yet most likely not your story. If there are any similarities to your own life, it is merely coincidence but please laugh along with me, and feel free to comment and reassure me I'm not the only one who has this kind of crazy.

I woke up this morning sick. Yes, I have a very bad head cold. I don't usually get sick, but alas, I'm training for a half marathon and on Monday I ran outside at 6am, underclothed, in 20 degree weather for an hour and a half. Yep. I realize that wasn't smart. I never claimed to be.

Back to my story... I am on day 3 of not feeling so great. I rolled out of bed, dragged myself into the shower, and downstairs to prepare breakfast for my 6 angelic children.

One of my littles (not naming names) pooped in her pants so I changed her, but decided to leave her diaperless under her jammies for a little bit until I could get back upstairs to bathe the 3 littles. There's no sense in wasting a diaper when said child is going to be bathed... plus it's a great opportunity to start the potty training process. (after successfully potty training 3 of my 4 bio kids to date, I have to say I'm TERRIFIED of trying to potty train 2 kiddos at one time). After said child peed her pants (potty training fail), I began the LONG process of bathing the littles. (On a side note, HOW does Katie Davis bathe 13 girls all in one morning??? I can barely get the 3 littles done in 2 hours. She amazes me.)

Anyway, I ran the water, gave the 1st little a sweet bath, got her dressed and began the process of washing the tub for the next kiddo. Why, you ask, am I washing the tub? Well, JUST to be sure that all signs of Giardia are gone... wouldn't want that little bugger to spread to the others. If you don't know what Giardia is, be grateful. but, just to clarify, it's an intestinal parasite that is transmitted through drinking water... very common in underdeveloped countries). And no, you don't need to worry that you're gonna get it... unless you plan on taking a bath right after my child before the tub has been cleaned.

So, I set forth with the task of bleaching the tub, as the other 2 littles are standing behind me EAGER to climb in. After telling them to go read a book for the millionth time, I start to feel wetness on the back of my leg. I start looking around to see how in the world the water from the tub is getting my leg wet, turn around and there behind me are the 2 littles SPRAYING my jeans with the Clorox with Bleach cleaner that I am currently using on the tub. REALLY??!!! I mean not a little wet. We're talking sopping. I frantically look around for a towel to quickly water it down, since it DOES have bleach in it... and I'm wearing one of only 2 pairs of jeans that I own.

I whisk the kids out of the bathroom, finish up washing the tub, and start rinsing it out. This includes turning on the shower head and letting it do the work for me. I turned the water off, then back on to give it one final rinse, except this time I wasn't expecting the shower head to turn on. Well, it did. All over my head. Forget about the fact that I just put product in my hair and it had all dried. Not any more. The one side of my head and shirt were sopping wet.

NOTE: if I was not me, and was someone else watching this on a hidden camera, I'd probably be laughing my pretty little head off. It was funny. But not in the moment.

I get the boys in the tub.... but realize now there is no more hot water. Did I mention that we need a bigger hot water tank now that we have a family of 8. So, they're soaking in luke warm water and I start washing boy #1's hair. Boy #2 says, can I wash my body? All of a sudden, a lightbulb flickered in my head reminding me that boy#2 had an appt. with a doc this morning at, I think, 10am, and it was like 9 something. I RACE down the stairs to check my calendar... glance at the clock, and sure enough the appt was at 10am in West Toledo... this is like a 30 minute drive and it was 9:25.

I fly back up the stairs, start yelling at the bigs to help! help! help! help! clothes are flying...underwear, socks, tshirts and pants. I quickly rinse the kids' hair and empty the tub. Grab some fruit snacks (because all moms know that waiting in a docs' office without snacks with 3 littles is like self torture) and fly out the door.

We got to the doc at 9:55. As I was walking in, I thought about the fact that I had a bleach spot on my rear, one side of my head completely flat from the "shower" I received, and mascara splotches all over my eyes due to operator error while driving. (that should be a law, you know... no applying make up while driving.)

 I love the saying, "Life is a journey, not a destination". My journey is definitely filled with some very colorful moments. One thing I can say for sure... it's never boring.

Sometimes I wonder if The Lord allows these CRAZY moments for me as a blessing.... so that I can sit back after the fact and laugh at myself and the process. So that I can imagine Him laughing right along with me. I'm pretty sure that Jesus has a sense of humor.

So on those days when I feel completely overwhelmed and tired, I pull out my favorite verse:

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

And then I realized... I've got the most amazing kids. I've been blessed to be on this journey of life with the greatest partner. We've been given the opportunity to open our home to two children from another country so that we can be their family forever. And I thought... what an honor it is to be a part of all of this. I find myself thanking the Lord for this craziness in my life. Someday when the kids are all grown, I'm sure I'll find myself thinking back to these crazy days and longing for them. So I'll keep moving forward... trying to enjoy the moment, bleach and all, realizing this life is short. As a dear friend reminded me today, this is not our home... it's just a pit stop.

My goal is to laugh more... relax more... and enjoy each moment.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I had the perfect nap yesterday. After getting up every day this week at 5:30am, I decided yesterday afternoon that when I laid the "littles" down for their nap, I was going to take a trip to Mr. Sandman myself. I only usually have a 1 hour window to myself everyday. Let me be honest and say that "by myself" isn't really by myself. Realize I have 3 "bigs" who usually have 1,000 questions during this 1 hour window. But today after giving them detailed instructions on what schoolwork they should be working on during said hour, I set off to putting the littles to bed.

Our routine (as of late) is that I lay on the floor in the boys room until they are asleep. That way I'm guaranteed that they actually ARE napping. So, today like most days, I fell asleep on their floor. Let's just say it's NOT comfortable laying face down on the floor for more than like 2 minutes. I'm not sure if it has to do with all of the running I'm doing right now (training for a half marathon) or what, but it hurts my left foot. Now, I'm not complaining... just sharing.

So, like every other day, after about 10 minutes, my foot goes numb, and I wake up. The boys were asleep. YES! I tiptoe out of their room stealth-like. Because after being a mom for 13.5 years, I've mastered this skill. If you need tips, please inquire. Anyway, I sneak into my room, as I don't hear any loud noises coming from the main floor, which means MAYBE the bigs are obeying me, and actually doing their schoolwork.

In order for me to get a good nap though, I must turn on the bathroom fan in my room (to drown out the bigs giggling/mild fighting) AND put a very large pillow over my head. Yes, I realize this is a bit strange. Just work with me.

I got all toasty warm under my down comforter, on my flannel sheets. ahhh... did I mention I also have on a wool sweater yesterday? I like to be warm, can you tell?.... and off I drift to dream land. Maybe 20 minutes later, just when I reach REM sleep, I felt the pillow covering my head and face being lifted I looked up to see... Claire. "What's going on?", I asked. "Is the house on fire?" "Are the littles waking up?" um. no. She decided that WHILE I was sleeping, in my room, with the door almost closed, fan on, pillow on my head, it would be a good time to ask if she could have a stick up gum. REALLY? Okay. So I was calm and said, "sure". As soon as my eyes closed, the pillow was moved again. Now she was asking if she could have 2 pieces. SERIOUSLY? NO.

About 10 minutes later the placement of the pillow was once again adjusted. and I wasn't happy about it. This time it was Jonah asking for gum. Not one piece but two. To which I said, "Really Jonah? Do you REALLY think this is a good time to wake me?? I mean, did I not send out enough signals with all of the extensive measures that I took to get this much. needed. nap?" His response, "sorry Mom. Can I still have that stick of gum?"

About 30 minutes later, I heard LOTS of drums a drumming. It seemed to be right outside my door. Knowing that the 3 littles were still asleep, I thought I'd better put a stop to this crazy behavior. I kindly yell from the top of the steps, "WHAT is going on down there??" Our oldest said, "it's the other bigs... I'll tell them to stop." Yet, the drumming kept going. So I came down, and again kindly yell at the top of the basement steps, " WHAT are you doing down there??? To which they both responded. Oh. sorry. were you still sleeping? ha. I guess not anymore, eh?

This above example is just one of many funny, yet not so funny in the moment, situations that I have the privilege of experiencing day in and day out.

I find myself more.than.ever. pressing into Jesus... chanting, "Your grace is sufficient. Your grace is sufficient".

My life is a happy chaos right now, and I am trying to find the balance of keeping everything/everybody on task and yet being able to drop everything and enjoy the moment.

Then I'm reminded... why I do, what I do.

Today the kids and I were in the car together, and we started talking about Israel and the need to pray for her protection. I explained how since the beginning of time, God's chosen people have been under severe persecution. So as I prayed, I also felt the burden to pray for children all over the world who don't have a mommy and daddy. Those kids that are without a warm bed, food, clothing, safety. Those that are cruely sold into the sex trade/slave trade... and my heart was burdened for them. Once again, the Lord brought back to my mind the beauty of adoption and the fact that He chose to use Jeff and I to open our hearts to two orphans. At that moment, with tears in my eyes, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw them sitting in their car seats, along with the rest of my kids... smiling, singing, whining, joking, yelling and I felt blessed. beyond measure.

This journey has been anything but easy. It's been challenging at times but there have been moments, sweet-sweet moments that I wouldn't trade for ANYTHING.

I've seen such amazing signs of attachment from both B and M, that it's something only God could ordain. And it's beautiful.

So even though we've got the leftover lasagna falling off the plate all over the floor... 3 littles running around as I chase them through the house with diapers and clothes...pencil markings all over the walls from their "creative" artwork... and big brothers Lego sets being destroyed (as 2 of the littles climbed up on the shelf to retrieve them), there are moments like tonight when I was reading a sweet book to the 3 littles and they all piled on my lap. And holding each one in my lap separately to sing a sweet lullaby, complete with kisses and snuggles right before bed. There have been sweet moments that I've experienced with the bigs, like tonight: giggling over a card game, as I beat their pants off! (I'm not competitive or anything).

These are the moments that I feel are straight from heaven... to remind me of what's important. Why adoption really matters. What storing up treasures in heaven really looks like here on earth.

So tomorrow when the laundry is once again piled up, and the dishes are caked with dry lasagna, the toilets need cleaning and the kitchen floor has so much food on it, it could feed a small child, I'll remember these special moments. And try to enjoy each one... and maybe, just maybe I'll get that "perfect nap" like I had yesterday.... but this time, I'll do a better job, in the moment, of enjoying the awesome kids that God has blessed us with.

Galatians 6: 9-10  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.