Life. Busy.

1768 1768_ () 1768 1768 Man! Crazy busy! Life with toddler. Going superfast. Lots to say. No time for saying. Will offer a list as an excuse for lack of posts.

1. I am the chairperson for Book Fair at boys’ school. Starts tomorrow. Set up today. Dogs barkin’.

2. Henry burned his hand this morning on a WOOD BURNING KIT that someone took out (this morning. before school. without permission.) to brand some sticks he had whittled last night. Sigh. I think this sums up life in Testosterhome perfectly.

3. Do you think Henry has a special guardian angel? Sometimes I just pray that God was extra merciful to him in that department for reasons such as See Above. I’m trying not to spend too much energy worrying about it all, but sometimes I feel like the occupational hazards of having four older brothers is just, like, a lot.

4. Basketball starts NOW. I was just putting the cleats in the attic when Paul announced we were headed to the sports emporium to buy new hi-tops. Practice tonight.

5. Book edits. This is very fun, takes lots of time. It’s exciting because to me it seems like the hard work of “building” the thing is done and now I’m just coming in to fine-tune. Mostly what it takes is lots of uninterrupted time, which is hard to come by. I did a good job of carving out some time this morning and this past weekend and I’m cruising right along.

Okay, I think that’s enough. Must go feed the boys. I’m kinda hoping they feel like the 4 p.m. snack (of homemade cheeseburgers!) will count for something but that seems unlikely at best. 1768″>

1768

Pickin’, Grinnin’

1767 1767_ () 1767 1767
My mom was featured in the newspaper this morning, a piece on the breast cancer survivors who were profiled in the paper last year, and what those people are up to.

My mom has a new hobby — we got her a banjo for her 60th birthday this summer. We basically said “Mom, pick a new hobby and we will facilitate you starting that hobby. Happy birthday.” And pick she did! Lovely, mom. You look great!


The second picture includes my brothers Zach and Micah, and Ethan there in the background. Also, that’s my dad on the accordion, and not pictured but also at the photo-op jam session were Elliott on drums and brother-in-law Jordan on his trumpet. 1767″>

1767

Taking It In Stride

1766 1766_ () 1766 1766 Weekly column
A few years ago, a dear friend and I decided to take our boys out to lunch. We loaded up everyone in my oversized vehicle and headed down the highway to our favorite place, the one with the well-lit, heavily-fortified playground. Here our small, rambunctious males could run wild while my friend and I carried on a luxurious conversation featuring complete sentences and free drink refills.

We had such a good time that we stayed maybe a little too long. That’s why the day stands out to me. This was not the first time I had taken the boys on such an outing, but that particular day stands out because I learned a valuable lesson in the midst of the chaos.

On the way home that afternoon, as we dealt with a carload of very tired boys, I grew increasingly agitated with my boys, with myself, and with my current situation.

The thing was, at that point in my life, none of my friends were dealing with quite the same challenges. That day, my friend had with her just one boy, while her older daughter was at school. So she had one boy, and I had four. Clearly, the tired momma feeling overwhelmed by her wild young children would more likely be me.

Later that night, I was explaining to Paul how upset I was, mostly with myself. Because the boys were all so little (and so outnumbered me) I didn’t always feel like I could be the kind of mother I thought I should be. That day on the car ride home, I watched my friend patiently deal with her toddler as he threw waffle fries across the cars. My boys were doing the same, but I had nowhere near the loving tolerance for it. My inclination was to snap at everybody to just stop it already!

“The thing is,” I sniffed to Paul, “I don’t think I can afford to be that patient because I have so many people in my care.”

What my husband told me that evening was a good lesson, one that I continually remind myself to this day. His advice: chill out. He said it in the most loving way he could.

His suggestion was not meant to diminish my concern or mock my frustration – it was just a healthy reminder. There are times when a person should assess her approach to parenting; the end of a very long day full of babies and toddlers is most definitely not that time.

I’m no longer in that same, intense season. Even though we are back to dealing with a toddler, there is only one of him and even on his most trying days Henry cannot gang up on me in the same way his older brothers once did.

But the lesson is still one I need to remind myself – chill out. Take stock of things, yes, but do it when you are in a good place.

One recent, very early morning, I was starting down that same path of frustrating self-analysis. I got up early to get on top of some household chores and several of the boys got up right along side me. I hit the ground running, just like old times, and a mere two hours into the day I found myself exhausted and unrighteously annoyed.

And then, I made that fatal mistake – I started assessing the state of things in that negative frame of mind. I thought about finances and prayer life, communication in my marriage, some unfinished school projects. The list went on and then took a steep nosedive when I walked into my bedroom and began to share my thoughts with my dear, sweet unsuspecting husband.

Fast-forward, three hours and one apology later and once again here I am learning that valuable lesson to chill out. Life is wonderful. It is not always perfect. When things aren’t feeling perfect, wait a few hours before you try to figure out why. 1766″>

1766

The Real Deal

1765 1765_ () 1765 1765 The other night, in a fit of frustrating 3 a.m. awakeness, I had this thought:

I might actually need to find out the gender of this baby in advance. This might not be a fun-little “what color should we paint the walls” but an actual necessity.

The issue is: what will I say on the back of my book?

Right now I have a little bio that includes me being the mom of five fun-loving boys. And the book comes out a few weeks before the baby is due. Which means it will be printed several months before that, probably around the time I’m due to have a sonogram. But either way, that paragraph, that my husband and I have five boys — it will be old news only a few weeks after the book hits shelves.

I might really need to find out so I can include the proper information on the back of the book.

There I was, thinking about this the other night at 3 a.m. and I was overwhelmed. Suddenly, it felt like me finding out was less about just the fun of it and more about an absolute need-to-know.

I realized, the next morning when I awoke and saw things in the sanity of the morning light, that I can do whatever I would like. I don’t have to find out or include the information or do anything too rash. The world will continue to rotate and revolve no matter what we decide.

But then I thought, why not? I mean, if ever there was a good reason to find out in advance (especially if one has been in the habit of not finding out) isn’t your first book kind of a valid reason?

Here is the real, deep-dark recesses of my soul issue though: I’m scared.

There. I said it.

I’m afraid of finding out.

Way back in the beginning, with Ethan and Elliott (and even Charlie) we didn’t find out because it seemed like cheating and “why not wait” and “let’s enjoy the surprise.” There were no logistics to consider and I really couldn’t come up with a reason why I would want to find out (other than yes, I think it probably is really exciting).

With these last three pregnancies I have been on a different wave-length about it all. The thing is, I’ve heard stories about women who have all one gender who go in there with their third or fourth or fifth and they find out they are having *another* boy (or girl).

And they cry.

And then they get over it. But still — they cry!

What if I am one of those people? I don’t want to find out if I am.

Because the minute I saw Augie and also Henry, I was so overcome with love and joy and a sense of completeness that I would not have traded that baby boy for any girl in the world.

But do you feel that way when you’re looking at a little computer image of your baby, instead of the real thing?

I just don’t know. I could round and round about it all day. Over at Faith and Family we had a fun little discussion about finding out in advance. Do you have any words of wisdom to add? 1765″> ?

1765