Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Let's see, what interesting things? 
-Me and Gracie are home.
-The other three were very glad to have me home. 
-Snuggling up in my own bed next to my husband is so much nicer than a sweaty latex pillow on a cot in the pediatric ward any day. 
-Hooray! I managed to survive Day One alone, still sick, with the kids, AND I maintained my house till Richard got off work. 
-If you want a laugh, set your four children in front of America's Funniest Home Videos and get a laugh out of the babies laughing simply because their big brothers are laughing and soon you will be laughing too!
-Old, big tvs are extremely durable. One of the children accidentally knocked one off its 3' tv stand onto its face(thankfully there were  no babies underneath!)....and when we picked it up, it resumed the movie as if nothing ever happened-wow!
-Richard is home now and he has taken over duty to play with the kids and give them baths; I get to go to bed and rest. Yay!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

My baby Gracie and I have had an unexpected, prolonged "Mommy date" this weekend--for unfortunate circumstances, as we had to take her to the Children's Hospital on Saturday evening. We checked off a whole list of symptoms that matched bacterial pneumonia. She was x-rayed and tested. They decided to treat it as pneumonia based on the symptoms and her rapid difficult breathing. She was put on oxygen, fluids, and antibiotics and is now doing much better. It was never life threatening, and the verdict of it being actual pneumonia is still out, but she was definitely a sick girl.
So Mommy and Gracie made the best of our 'camping out' in the pediatric ward. They really have taken wonderful care of both of us here. I was blessed to be able to spend this time with her. As she has improved, we have passed the time making pretty pictures, laughing, tickling, watching CareBears and Dora, and reading together. I told her it was a "Mommy date" because I got to spend all this time with just her. And it makes this mommy's heart happy to see her come off the oxygen successfully, begin eating & drinking again, and gradually perk up and come back to life. She had stopped smiling for a whole day, and her first smile today melted my heart. I don't ever want to stop seeing that adorable smile again! Richard, too: when he had to leave the hospital last night, during our bedtime prayer, you could tears in his voice, he was so sad to see her like that, so sick.
Daddy and the other kids came by to spend the afternoon. They came in with a bouquet of balloons ('baboons', as James calls them-"I dropped my baboon!" :D) and a great big blue teddy bear for Gracie from all of us. And I got a romantic heart "I love you" balloon from Richard. Aaw! :)
Richard and I have called a week-long 'sabbatical' from all activities to rest and get better, except he has no option but to continue going to work, of course. No preschool, no choir, no church Wednesday night for the kids, no chiropractor.....just stay home, rest, and get better. And disinfect! And, maybe, tie garlic onto our feet.....my mom was quite serious when she told me to do this! I laughed and said it sounded like "Ooh! I should tie garlic around my neck to keep evil spirits away!" But I knew there was proven validity in putting garlic on the insoles of the feet to get that natural antibiotic into the body and up to the lungs to clear everybody up. If I can stand the smell....I might do it! :D
Well, as I am almost as sick as Gracie at this point, I need to go to bed. Especially since I feel a sneeze coming on....Bless me!

Friday, 26 October 2012

I kissed too many babies and turned into a frog. I woke up this morning with their groggy cold. I heard the babies so I dragged myself out of bed. Coming downstairs, I was prepared for anything. But I found the cutest scene-all three babies seated nicely at their little table neatly eating yogurt in bowls. Pleasantly surprised and a little confused, I asked James, "How did youguys get yogurt? Did Gabe get it for you?" Beaming, he announced, "No, I did! I was a BIG,BIG BRUDDA!" He was so cute he got a big kiss and "Good job!" How he managed to pour them yogurt without making a mess, I'll never know. Later I found the yogurt in the bottom produce drawer of the fridge, lol. 
I am always on the lookout for indoor playplaces to let my children run off their energy when the weather turns bad. I have so far found: 4 McDonalds PlayPlaces, Eau Claire Market's free indoor playground, Coffee N'Scream playplace for under age 6(and a fee), and now the Community Centre free gym time on Wednesdays and Fridays. I took them for the first time this morning to the gym. What a great hour and a half of balls, gymnastics, tunnels, slides, little cars, and games. Just to let off energy and be active. Just whhat I wanted. They let Gabe play too, since he followed the rules, even though he was technically a year too old. I know why these daytime have activities aimed at small children--because most older ones are in school with their own gym time. Because I homeschool, he goes wherever we go. So I try to find things he's able to be included in. He had fun today, too. 
After an afternoon of errands, we are back home. We got snowboots for the girls today and stocked up on 'supplies' for a sick day. Now we're back home in our cozy house, while the snow gently falls on a winter world outside. The girls and boys are each in their respective rooms for the evening playing quietly. Here's an overview of our agenda: Chicken soup, OJ, water, Children's Tylenol, Cough syrup, throat lozenges, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, blankets, movies, hot tea.....snuggling, sneezing, sleeeeeeping!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

It's coming, I can feel it coming, it's inevitable....that scratchy throat....I've kissed too many babies...aahhh! We stayed home tonight because they were not quite well enough to go out to church. Giving rounds of homeopathic Cold and Cough, passing out water, lots of snuggles.
We got a new (well, newER) Kirby vacuum with all the attachments, plus a little powerful Eureka hand vacuum for cars and stairs today. We can use the Kirby for stairs too, but it's really heavy for me. The vacuum cleaner store guy gave us a really good deal for all of that. After my husband had to hockey tape the cord back onto our very old Kirby we already had, we knew it was time to find a new one. The old one will be relegated to the basement, and the newer, lighter one for up here.
I don't know what else to say for now. So I'm just gonna call it quits and go to bed. I don't even feel like staying up late.
Wow! I could not have told you at any given point whether today was a good day or a bad day. (Read the next sentence slowly so it's not confusing, lol.) What I thought was starting as a good day weakened into a rough day then it started to get good again but then not quite and all of a sudden it turned really good and then I wasn't sure but in the end it was wonderful. Do I sound fickle yet? :D All that matters is: 1)I'm incredibly happy right now; 2) My desk is cleaned off; 3) My house is straightened up; 4) I feel revved up for tomorrow; and, 5) I got to spend time with God, my husband, my kids, and my friend today. 
Much more ended up being accomplished than I thought would happen today, praise the Lord. My school day did not go as planned, even in a general, random, loose schedule sense. It was one of those days where things begin whirling too fast around you and you are helpless to control anything. We were supposed to have ladies meeting at church tonight. In fact, I was supposed to go to the chiropractor and take James to preschool. None of that happened. We got a bunch of snow last night. It took Richard (and all the rest of CMP apparently) two hours to get to work this morning. James, Grace, and Jane were all sick with colds, coughs, and fevers today. So snow and sickness cancelled out our dayplans. Then Ladies Meeting was cancelled for the weather. With my house and kids and school spinning overwhelmingly around me, I was really disappointed not to be able to go. But in the end, Richard took the boys to watch him play hockey with a couple from church. And I got to take T to coffee. She seemed to need encouragement and I needed to get out of the house. I loaded the girls up and put a cartoon in on the van's dvd player. They were happy with a muffin to munch on while T and I sat up front with hot drinks and visited. We did a little devotion too. I set out to encourage her, but I think God knew I needed the same verses I was reading. We both left encouraged. :) When I got home I was able to zoom around the house and clean it up before Richard and the boys arrived. Then we got ourselves a little date after the kids went to  bed. We may not be able to go out much for dates, but we try to make dates out of everything as often as we can. We relish our alone time, snatching it up when it chances our way! :) 
One positive happening of my daytime....my busy boxes I made for the kids yesterday? They worked! They were disappointed that they couldn't use them since we didn't go to the chiropractor after all. But I didn't want to just let them be a free-for-all, or they wouldn't be special anymore. About halfway through the morning, I realized that I had not read my Bible and I really felt the need to stop and regroup. So I called "Blanket time!" I gave each of them their boxes and told them they absolutely could not touch each other's boxes, but to just play quietly. I sat on the couch, read a nice, long chapter, & had my regrouping time. And they sat there and played for about 45 minutes! They loved the boxes: I was so happy. Gabe had fun with his slinky especially-all of them liked the slinkies. Jane was enthralled with her stickers, decorating her foot. Grace, of course, liked her colors and memo pad. James tried out the kaleidoscopes on both eyes at once and then set up army guys in his box. I was impressed with this busy bag/box idea when I read about it; but I'm even more impressed that it works! 
Well, I came down here to get a drink but was so wide awake that I told Richard I was just gonna post on my blog till I was sleepy. NOW I'm sleepy....good night!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Hmmm...let's see, what to post about today? It was a very full day, to be sure. But when it is that full, I get sleepy faster and my brain won't function when I finally get a chance to sit down.  So let's do this in the format of random thoughts. It might all come back to me....
~It looks like December outside, a beautiful, misty snow has been gently falling all evening. MomsClub planned an outdoor hike at Nose Hill park for tomorrow morning, but I have a feeling that most will opt to stay indoors. I don't mind getting my kids out in the fresh air, even in snow. But poor James has developed a nasty cough; he was stuffy and feverish all day yesterday and today. I don't think it would bode well for him to get too much 'fresh air' at this point. If he's not decidedly better when he wakes up, afternoon preschool will be out as well. Poor James!
~Due to my house rearranging and the late arrival of curriculum, we had our first full day of Sonlight school today. I have been doing school since Labor Day, except for the last couple weeks of craziness. But today was the first 'on-track' day with curriculum. I know some homeschoolers who do their own thing and are fine with their own guidelines. That's fine for them. But I myself need a curriculum to keep me focused and straight. I need to be able to rely on it to feel secure that my children will make it through without gaps in their education unwittingly left by their mother who was feather-brainedly trying to "wing it". I am educated and bright enough to teach my kids, but I am admittedly feather-brained and occasionally disorganized....well, no, I hate to say actually disorganized: I have the ability to be quite organized. I guess I'm more random & whimsical in my approach. So I personally NEED a curriculum to keep me flying straight and a homeschool facilitator to keep me accountable. Like today, it didn't bother me at all to spend all morning doing craft projects with all the kids and then start 'actual' school around 2:00 and not finish till 6:00. I didn't plan to do it that way. That's just what came into my head to do; it seemed like a good idea. And we had a lot of fun! Everybody got attention, everybody had something to do. I think over the next week we will of course get a feel for what kind of loose schedule we will keep around here. Kids do need some sort of general routine. But I don't think I can be a tight schedule kind of person. We need a loose schedule, that let's us generally do things in the same order every day, but not always be done by the exact same time. Boy, when I'm tired I ramble. Sorry!
~Jane has a love affair with the toilet. That's all I can say. Bathroom locks, here we come!
~Gracie LOVES to color. Mommy is happy to finally find something to keep her happy for more than five minutes.
~Gabe and I are very excited about the new books we get to read in school this year. Gabe's reading has improved tremendously-yay! finally! He said, "You mean I don't read like a robot anymore?" and was thrilled when I said an exuberant "No, you don't!" :D
~We spent a nice evening with Grandpa B. tonight, his final visit before heading to Prince Edward Island for good. Too bad Grandma B. couldn't come with him, but she is enjoying a nice rest there on the Island waiting for him. 
~Richard just went to bed, and I'm going to follow. We have to see which girl was booted off Over the Rainbow tonight, to relinquish her dreams of becoming the next Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz theatre musical. Great show!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Mission accomplished! New family photo and individual ones of each child have all been taken, chosen, ordered, and paid for. November 2 is the estimated due date of return. It was a looooooooooong week. I lived at WalMart. I was literally there every day except Tuesday. But it was good; I got wonderful pictures of each of the kids and I think a good family picture. 
We got a lot done on the house today for rearranging our kids' bedrooms. We were so thankful that God revealed to us a fire hazard in the girls' room that we didn't realize. Jane's bed was right on the heater floor vent. Being a particle board captain's bed, it gets hot quickly. And it was very hot. We haven't noticed before because the weather only recently turned cold, so we haven't had the heater on in months. Without further ado, we moved their room around so nothing was on the vent. It actually turned out to be much more cozy this way with more walking space. We've decided to leave the girls where they are, as it was so much work decorating their room. I have no desire to do all the work of moving James in their and putting them in the bigger room across the hall. They are little; they'll live. Especially with their beds all cozy like a couch now and their dollies and the rocking chair and the movieplayer. They'll be good for a few years. James and Gabe on the other hand are going to really enjoy having separate rooms I think. Gabe is going downstairs and James will stay where he is, but by himself. We got Gabe an alarm clock & lamp & glow in the dark celestial ceiling stickers today. It is a surprise for his birthday, to have his room moved downstairs like he's been wanting for awhile. He will have added responsibilities of course, to keep it clean, and no excuses about the babies messing it up. :) And James is such a big boy now, going to preschool; I think he will like having his own space and learning how to keep his room tidy. He is meticulous by nature like his dad. He's like the boy on Freaky Friday, the neat little brother. :) Gabe and I are more haphazard, while Richard and James are the neat ones. Personality clash! Lol. We are focusing this fall on respecting each others spaces and consideration for each other. Cleaning up after ourselves(especially teaching this to James, Grace, and Jane!), staying out of each other's rooms, not messing with each others things, going out of our way to make things nice for others, keeping peace and walking in love toward brothers and sisters.
Well, it's Sunday tomorrow, gotta get some sleep. I'm singing tomorrow and my voice protests with not enough sleep. After the last two times of singing mishaps I don't want to add another mishap a third time. The first time, I lost my words and had to wing it. Well, I winged it alright...:} The second time, I didn't have enough time to thoroughly learn my soundtrack and, well, there were some interesting stumbles. So let's hope tomorrow goes well. I know the song; I have the words; and I've practiced with the pianist already. Crossing my fingers for the voice, I now just have to focus on my spirit. "I will sing of mercy and judgment; unto thee, O LORD, will I sing." "O sing unto the LORD a new song..." "I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever..." "Come before his presence with singing..." "...with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the LORD." "....my soul doth magnify the LORD..." "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD."

Friday, 19 October 2012

Points of my day: At this moment, poor sick hubby in bed. While he & kiddos sleep, I'm going to pretend I'm an angel(no, I've not completely grown out of pretending!). I will walk around my house making it beautiful, one thing at a time, so when they wake up all will be bright and shining.~Jane did NOT get her princess pictures taken today because WalMart hired a big, scary man to take photos and she cried. :( I rescheduled her for tomorrow when the nice lady is there.~Trying to teach Gabriel how to play P-I-G basketball, I told him, "If I make a basket, you have to stand just where I was & try to make it. If you don't, then you get a P, and the first person to spell PIG loses." So when this scenario came to pass, my literal son ran to where I'd been standing and spelled really fast, "PIG!You lose!" LOL-I didn't mean the first person to SPELL PIG; it's not a race!~Not only is Gabe literal, he's also extremely self-confident, as evidenced by this speel: "I would like hockey wall stickers in my new room. I LOVE hockey! I'm really good at it. I actually play hockey and skate like Wayne Gretzky!" His boldness made me laugh out loud, even as I made a mental note to add "humility" and "not bragging" to our list of character traits we need to work on....:D (For those of you who are not into hockey, Wayne Gretzky is like the best hockey player in Canada's history, to hear my husband tell about it. At least Gabe is aiming high! :D

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Our day of events is done. It went relatively smoothly. A few minor hitches like getting stuck in traffic a couple times and getting a few minutes behind schedule. But no damage was done to any appointments, praise the Lord! It is not a nice feeling to be stuck on the Deerfoot(hwy) in 3:30 traffic, knowing you're supposed to BE at the preschool at that time to pick up your son and you have no cell phone to call them. Thankfully I made it in the nick of time where they weren't going to charge me for being late.I will have to get and download pictures of James in his lion costume for the Noah's Ark party. He was adorable!!!! I just wanted to stay in his preschool room and kiss his fat little face all two hours. :) And Grace was a princess for her photo session. She was sweet and well-behaved, posing so primly exactly as she was told. I had a MUCH harder time narrowing the pictures down with her; I wanted them all. I think I chose well, capturing her "princess act" nicely. I took the kids to a coffee shop that had a huge adjoining room full of play equipment....it looked like several daycares all in one room. They loved it! In my dream home, I will have a  room just like this.....with those big puzzle foam mats covering the entire floor, several Little Tykes playground/slides(some quite big!), tunnels, playhouses, kitchens w/ dishes, and....best of all....a whole corral of Little Tykes cars with a road to drive them on! There was an adjoining bathroom/change station, a little kitchenette(for moms who need to warm bottles), several Little Tykes picnic tables for the kids to eat at and little round patio tables for the moms. Our food was served through a diner window right into the room so we didn't have to leave our kids to get our food. I love this place! There is a fee for each small child to play, which, multiplied by three(Gabe was too big; he was sad), kind of added up, plus the food we bought. But today God gave me a wonderful blessing and enabled me to be able to treat them to this fun place. I would not make a regular habit of it. But it would be a fun place to take the little ones for a "Mommy date"! I try to take each of them on Mommy dates every so often, to spend individual time with them and let them know they are special. I love how the tiny ones get it into their heads that whatever we did on the first date is what we "do" on every other date after that. If you look at how the rest of their lives go....they want to wear their favorite outfit or pajamas every day for the rest of their lives, they want to read the same book repetitively, they watch the same movie over and over....why not go on the same Mommy date every time? I think it creates a special memory for them-though if they chose a new place I would totally be up for that as well; it's up to them. James thinks of his 'date' as going to Tim Hortons and sitting down and getting his own juice and a sprinkle donut and looking at hockey pictures on the walls, and that's what he wants to do every time. Gabe and I went to Starbucks and Chapters(his favorite bookstore) and saw a movie together. I think the girls would each like to go play at this coffee shop/playplace. Gracie practically moved herself  and her belongings into the little playhouse tonight. I had to bodily remove her from the premises when the place closed. :)
Well, I came downstairs to relax at the computer while the kiddos were getting to sleep. I think they've finally drifted off, minus James who has come down three times trying different tactics to stay up. Unfortunately I still have much to do this evening before I get to go to bed. So off I go to tackle, what else? the laundry! In the words of Tigger, "TTFN! Ta Ta For Now! Hoo hoo hoo hoo!"
Today we had the water pump blow on the van, so in a pinch the kids and I all crammed into the Alero. Richard had to stay late at work to install a new water pump since I need the van all day tomorrow. Plus, we don't all FIT in the Alero. He mentioned, "We used to all fit..." to which I replied, "That was when we only had two kids!" 
With the three babies in close, elbow squishing proximity in the back seat, they began making up little games evidently to keep themselves occupied. I all of a sudden heard James say to Grace in his speech-impedimented accent, "I love you, sweetheart!-We just went on a date." Crack up, giggle, giggle. It was innocent & cute & hilarious! I'm glad they are able to pick up on positive things they hear Mommy and Daddy say to each other. Sure glad we aren't yelling and fighting at each other, 'cause little pitchers have big ears and will repeat what they see and hear!
I just made a concrete schedule of our agenda for tomorrow. Thursdays are our big days around here lately. But tomorrow it seems each person in our family except Baby Jane has an event. Richard's got something planned for the evening. I have chiropractor first thing in the morning. Gabriel has choir practice. James has a Noah's Ark costume party at preschool. Grace has a photo session in the evening. Plus, we have to make a quick library run to return books and print off something from the computer. And each of the kids were blessed with a McDonald's gift card at church this evening, which will be a blessing for lunchtime tomorrow. So we'll stop at a McD's PlayPlace for lunch as well.  
I think by the end of the day no one will be protesting bedtime!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

I can't write much or long tonight, as I am right in the middle of cleaning. I was recently encouraged by my pastor's wife and my sister-in-law and my husband to try including the kids in the cleaning process. After all, they help make the messes, they should help clean them up,right? So I tried that earlier this evening. You will see from the following why I have been hesitant in the past to do this, finding it much easier to just do it myself after they're asleep. Note: I agree with the advice I was given, and I will continue to practice it, because it is important for their development; but it is hard for me
"Come on, kids, who wants to go hunting?" "Me!Me!Me!" (hmm, enthusiasm, that's a good sign...) "Okay, James, you're going to go on a shoe hunt!-you find all the shoes and put them on the shelf. Gabe, you go on a coat hunt, because you're the only one who can put them on hangers. Gracie, you go on a clothes hunt. You like clothes. You find them all and throw them down the stairs for Mommy." "What's Jane-Jane gonna do?" James asked. "Jane is going to...be good. Okay, let's go.-Oh, and Mommy's going to finish the dishes." (That was probably my mistake right there....I should have put the dishes on hold and gone and helped the youngest with their 'hunts'...lesson learned.) 
I watched in amusement at how their hunting progressed. Gabriel right away hung all the coats on hangers and set them on the stairs for me to hang up high in the closet. Good boy. Gracie went up the stairs and found her favorite dress in the dirty laundry and put it on. "No, no, Gracie, I need you to find the clothes downstairs..." I went back to the dishes. James started to get shoes off the closet floor and found this cool looking vacuum cleaner hose. Forgetting all about the shoes, he proceeded to "brush" my kitchen floor for me. "I'm cleaning, Mommy!" (big grin) Gracie, meanwhile, obeyed and went and found all the clothes downstairs......and began trying them all on! Jane thought that looked like a good idea, so she too, began stripping and was very distressed that she couldn't get her diaper off. So I redirected them all back on track with their 'hunts'. Grace, once more, "obeyed"--she found a nice big pile of clothes to throw down the stairs......all of the coats on hangers Gabe had set nicely for me, she threw them all down to the laundry room. With a sigh, I gave up and finished my dishes. The kids began a game of 'pile on the couch & hide behind it'--I was busy and they were shrieking with joy, so I left them alone to play. Only to find that they had jumped on my piles of sheet music I had left neatly stacked on the couch for filing, scattering them all over the floor.....big sigh! Because they had each tried to help me with their hunts, and the boys finished their jobs, they each got their reward. But I, in turn, got rewarded with several new messes that need to be cleaned up. It never ends. I had to be amused, though, standing back and watching each of their 'hunts'....their different ages were manifest so clearly, and I must say, adorably. Because none of them were being naughty. They were trying to help, and getting distracted, and having fun. They are kids. And I love them, despite the messes. Their laughter and fun loving spirits make it worth the while. :)
Can you tell it's been a busy weekend? Haven't posted since Friday. Sorry, Beck, nothing new when you checked last night. Let's see, what did we do all weekend? Oh,right. Maybe not so busy. Saturday was full of...sleep. Richard put in an extrahuman work week, then played hockey Friday night after his church function. While he was at hockey, I rearranged my living room and hauled books around. My living room now looks like a library with five full bookshelves. My living room and dining room look homey and all, but they are what you would call 'functional'--I wouldn't normally have five bookshelves in my living room, or a pull out school desk(thankfully it closes up), or be shoving my dining room table into a corner. But I wouldn't normally opt to have school in my living room,either. With three babies that cannot be trusted down in the den around movies, electronics, or with laundry soap, or hockey equipment, or school supplies, we just couldn't keep the schoolroom downstairs. It had to come up so I could watch the babies too. Anyway, Saturday morning after all that we slept in. We got up and ate breakfast. Then Richard went back to take a nap while I sorted books. Then I went to take a nap while he took some of the kids on a walk. You know what? Why am I rambling on like this? YOU don't care what we did every minute of Saturday....I can tell I'm getting tired.  Suffice it to say that Saturday we slept and spent family time. Sunday was a great church day, in between which, we did more sleeping and family stuff. Then today was a Monday morning marathon. All day long. Now I'm tired, but can't go to bed because too much  pressing stuff needs to be done. I don't even have the mental capacity to write the fun or funny stuff that happened today in any sort of witty way. I'm just brain dead. But my husband, who has a hurt back and should be taking a shower and going to bed with a heat pack, is refusing to do that and went back out to the garage to 'tough it out', at 11:30, I might mention. Me, being more of a baby, am very tired after having the kids out all over Calgary today-park w/cousin, chiropractor, shopping, photoshoot, baths, stories, haircut, etc.---which is far easier than the hard labour my husband did---I just want to go to bed and call it a day. But with the mess still in my house from all that rearranging, I can't exactly let my husband be out there working with a sore back while I'm lazily 'calling it a day' and ignoring my mess. SO, buck up Rachel, there's work to be done, starting with Mount Laundry! Bye all, yawn....
so its been a couple of hours, and what actually happened was, the internet was down when I went to post this, so I saved it and promptly fell asleep on my bed. Then I woke up, checked on my husband out in the garage, who is about to come in now, and then I straightened up some parts of the house as I walked back up the stairs. Now I'm back in bed and checked to see if the internet was up, which it was, but by then my post was inaccurate, as I did NOT tackle Mount Laundry after all. Since I like to be truthful, I felt compelled to tack on this lame postscript. Boy, I sure hope tomorrow's post is better written and more worthwhile. :) 

Friday, 12 October 2012

Short post today. I can't seem to think beyond the boxes of books that need put on the bookshelves and 100 other things that need doing. The kids stayed up to see Daddy, now they're off to bed, Richard is off to hockey, and I'm off to keep myself busy. Today, we went to the chiropractor and everyone was very good and got their reward cookies. :) As I sat on the highway crawling my way past two accidents for the better part of an hour, I thought how people sometimes express wonder at my being with four small children all day long, especially homeschooling; I even got a comment today. My response was, "I'd choose that any day over fighting the highway every single day!" To sit in a car and fight rush hour and accidents and weather twice a day year round would not be something I would want to do for the rest of my life. I LIKE being with my kids, even if it gets crazy sometimes. And I LIKE homeschooling, even if it gets frustrating to stay scheduled. I get to order my own days. I get to spend invaluable time with my children. I get to call "naptime" when I see we all need it. What I do NOT like is traffic or driving. So, no, I will not be trading my life in for the rat race everybody else runs anytime soon. Busy as my life may be, it is MY kind of busy and I prefer it. :) Among other things we did today....I surprised my  husband by slipping into his work cafeteria, sliding into the chair across from him, and taking a drink of his Coke before he even realized who I was. The surprised look on his face was priceless, especially the first "Who is this brazen woman presuming to sit down by me?" look. :D Just me, his wife. I have a right to drink his pop. 
The kids and I went to a cool park which had a mini forest(like 5 fir trees), a hiking path(through the 5 trees), lots of  large boulders to climb on(7 total), and a big hill all four of my children took the opportunity to roll down(very cute!). And, what is it about toddlers not keeping their clothes on? You would think I had 27 children, judging by the number of times I put socks & shoes on little feet today. Seriously, keep your socks and shoes on! They insisted on running around barefoot in a wet park that still had the remains of the last snowfall in places. After exhausting my supply of extra socks and retrieving three pairs of dripping wet shoes from puddles & such, I gave up. When I went to Wal Mart to get groceries, I was compelled to head to the sock aisle first to pay for new ones so no one reported me for neglecting to dress my children properly in cold weather.
We got to have a nice visit with Aunt K. this afternoon, who came over for dinner and a visit over Starbucks drinks while the kids raided her movie collection for movietime upstairs. We thought we could sneak our own quiet adult dinnertime first while the kids were outside and upstairs....but they have radar. When I looked up from praying, four children were climbing all over me begging me for bites.."I'm hungry!" I gave up on that idea and sat them all down to eat. :)
Well, this short post is not so short, lol. I don't want to risk losing what steam I have left, so I'm going to sign off. Tutaloo!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

I am going to list blessings and accomplishments of today so I can combat the craziness that tried to rear its head. Craziness seems to be a recurring theme in my posts, hence the blog's title: CRAZY happy family. :) But, really, the emphasis needs to be like this: crazy HAPPY family. Because we are happy, despite all the craziness. So the blessings and accomplishments of today show what turns the CRAZY into crazy, and the happy into HAPPY, if that makes any sense.
1) My husband rescued me as I was drowning in toddler screams-he grabbed my hand, pulled me out of the deep, and sent me sailing off to where I am sitting now....in a lamplit Starbucks, comfy in an armchair with my laptop and a pumpkin spice latte. Relaxing more with each moment...they may have to wake me up when the store closes....
2) I initiated my treadmill this morning! I spent thirty good minutes of alternate walking/running while watching "Mommy tv". ("No, kids, I am NOT turning on cartoons. If you want to be in here, you have to watch Mommy tv. And, no, you may not be on the treadmill WITH me. And, please do not bring any toys into my room. None." Lol) When I was done, I looked down and wondered, "What is wrong with my shirt? Why is it all wet?"--and then laughed as I realized. I must have done a good workout-yeah!! Size 10, here I come!
3) I got a shower. If you're a mom, you know this is an accomplishment worthy of listing. I'm not talking about racing your last Guinness World Record of 2 min. 31 sec. for the quickest "mom-clean" ever. I'm talking about a shooowwweerrr, in which there is no hot water left.
4) I got to do my Bible reading before the kids were up again, which means that the CRAZY was bearable later in the afternoon, because God and I were on speaking terms, in fellowship, and I could easily call on Him when I was desperate for sanity. You notice I said "do my Bible reading"...I was going to say "read my Bible", but in reality I looked up the Bible online and read it before checking anything else on the internet like my email or facebook. So,if I put God first, and it is God's Word I'm reading, even if it's online, it still counts, right? Lol, of course I know it does....it just feels a little weird not holding my actual Bible in my hands.....:)
5) For the first time, I took the kids into McDonalds WITHOUT the stroller and it was successful. To see my 1 and 2 yr old holding tiny hands was adorable beyond words.
6) Also for the first time, I let all four of my kids play in the Kids Area of the library while I printed out government and insurance forms at the computer---and they were quiet and good for half an hour! I'm sad to be leaving the little snuggly baby stage, but for going out in public, I can tell we're almost where I can take them in without them being attached to some restraint(i.e. stroller, harness, my hand...). But, I'm not going to go into what happened after that happy half hour was up. Suffice it to say, I have a two year old......we went home as fast as we could.
7) Me and Gabe made progress in rearranging our house. Spent a good hour or two loading and unloading bins of Bible study books, art books, music books, schoolbooks, dvds, videos, cds, cassette tapes, and hauling them up and downstairs. We are literally turning our house upside down to move school upstairs, a bedroom downstairs, switching upstairs bedrooms, redecorating.....it just has to get messy before it gets cleaner, but today we made PROGRESS!
8) A quick phone call to my pastor's wife, who prayed for me over the phone, encouraged me and saved my sanity for the afternoon segment of my day. Then, when my husband got home, he rescued me again. So, you see, God is with me, sending the right people to help at the right time. 
Well, I'm going to go for now. Wanted to note: my editor mother made mention that in one post I was practicing going to bed early and in the next post it was after midnight when I was writing.....LOL, I find that amusing. But if you know me, old habits are hard to break. Before I die, I will learn to be on time, to go to bed early, and stop biting my fingernails. But I will never stop loving ice cream...I'll just walk it off on the treadmill! :D 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Today is a holiday and it has truly been simply that. The whole day has been relaxed and pleasant. Just our family. This morning I made a big pancake breakfast and we brought everybody around the big table(even the babies in their booster seats-over carpet, cringe!). Over breakfast, Richard read Psalm 136. We did something new with it. Psalm 136 is an interesting psalm that is really a Hebrew song of praise and worship to the One and Only True God. Each verse begins by naming something wonderful God had done. The second half of each verse all the way through is like a song refrain: "for his mercy endureth for ever." So we treated it like that. Daddy read the first part of the verse and I got the kids to chorus in with "for his mercy endureth for ever." It was a great way to listen to all the things God has done, to help the kids memorize part of Scripture, and to join in the "thankfulness" reading. The littler ones thought it was a great game, but they were learning! After breakfast, we made place mats for the afternoon's big dinner. We got out the crayons and white paper and designed beautiful picures. Then I dunked each person's hand in brown paint and stamped it in the middle of the paper to make a turkey. I gave it a blue painted dot of an eye, and crayoned in orange feet and beak and a red "gobbler". Richard & I even joined in; it was fun. We let them dry all day so they could be our place mats for dinner. Then the kids helped me put colored marshmallows in the jello I mixed up. James got to put the first handful in since the marshmallows were his idea. :) Richard played hockey with the kids in the garage in the afternoon.
When all was ready, we had a lovely candlelit dinner. It really was very good and lots of fun. This is how the placemats and candles worked: James lost his placemat so I gave him mine; hence I had none. Jane poked a hole through Grace's placemat. The girls trashed theirs over dinner. We found James' after dinner upstairs. Richard breathed too hard and blew one candle out right after prayer. James thought it was hilarious and wanted to blow out the other one. We let him try and he couldn't get his breath big enough. Finally, after spitting on everything in sight, he got close and took a big, bad wolf breath. Out it went, to a whole table full of cheers.We asked each of the kids what they were thankful for: Gabe was thankful for everything(typical 7 yr old, lol), then he changed it to say he was thankful Dad was home and thankful that God let our whole family love Him. James was thankful for his new Calgary Flames hockey stick and ball and puck. Grace was thankful for candles. :) And Jane, well, we assumed she was thankful for food, because she was stuffing everything she saw into her mouth, ignoring it all. She also tried to blow out the candles, but I don't think her breath went past her plate.
Well, it is time to go eat the first successful batch of pumpkin pies I've ever made from scratch. Actually, I don't plan to eat the whole batch, just one piece. For a schoolteacher, that was a terrible sentence, I admit. Okay, on to the pie....
A lamplit living room, a candle burning, peace and quiet, a clean house, sleeping children, husband home on holiday......a very nice way to welcome Thanksgiving Day(Canadian). Yes, I must admit, it's past midnight....but you notice I mentioned peace and quiet?-an hour ago that was not the case. :D Since there is no school or work tomorrow, we let the kids go pile in the girls' room and watch a movie to go to sleep. James and Jane were out. But Gabe and Grace, our two night owl movie-holics, lasted a loooong time! Then Grace decided to join Mommy and Daddy to put on a "cute show", and boy did she perform. Sweet as sugar, cute little blondie, wrapping herself around our fingers. Decided she was hungry(at eleven o' clock), and she wanted 'moatmeal'(oatmeal) and cranberry sauce. To prevent another kitchen cleanup we decided to feed her ourselves. She had Mommy spooning oatmeal and Daddy spooning cranberry sauce, sitting there as pretty as you please. Princess treatment indeed! She can never claim she is not loved. 
What a relaxing weekend we have had, such a blessing and change from our busy week. Richard began a new session of hockey Friday night. He plays at eleven so he doesn't have to take away from family time. We miss watching him play, but it's really hard to maneuver four kids in a hockey rink anyway, so I don't mind too much. When they're older...
Saturday we had a great sibling family Thanksgiving dinner. We got family pictures. The cousins had so much fun; they're all the right ages to play together. They tried to put on a Christmas play with "Superman commercials". It was a big, funny, jumbled up mess, but fun conversation piece for the grown ups. Let's just say Gabe, H, and C are all oldest children and strong leaders....have you ever heard the phrase "too many cooks in the kitchen"?-um, yeah....hilarious to watch.
I made an observation that family tends to like similar foods. So family dinners present a fascinating blend of foods that everyone enjoys, cooked just the way everyone likes. There's an element there that is not present at a church potluck. Being related makes a big difference. It's sort of like hearing a trio or quartet sing that is made up of sisters or brothers; that family thing is huge.
Well, it IS late and I have a houseful of munchkins who will awaken earlier than I like to admit, eager to play games, make Thanksgiving crafts, and "help" make jello and pumpkin pie. And of course eat everything in sight. I would like to wish all you who are Canadian "Happy Thanksgiving"; and to the rest of you, yours will be here in a month! :D

Thursday, 4 October 2012

BEGIN MY DAY in a little bit of time with God, or plunge right into my day & save Bible time for later? I think the events of my day would have been the same regardless. But I truly feel that I could have changed the course of some things if I would have just grabbed onto a little bitty meeting with God first thing--much in the same way as I cling to my husband for those last few moments before he must jump out of bed to head off to work each morning. Savoring that little moment with him helps me start my day in a good mood. Well, I needed to savor a few moments with my Saviour this morning, too. But I had such an early, big, long, busy day planned that I thought I would just have to put it off. I know you don't HAVE to read your Bible first thing, but yet, it is almost like that morning connection with your husband, it just sets the tone, the mood. And, boy, do I wish I could rewind this day and do it again, starting right there, with a few moments begging the Saviour to stay with me(like I do with Richard, only he has to leave anyway, lol. I tell him every morning that I don't want him to go to work, but he seems to think he has to be responsible and please his boss or something. :D) and asking God to give me strength. Because I really needed it. If I were to recount the events of today for you, you would blow a deep breath of exhaustion, frustration, and stress just READING the account! So, I won't bother, as it really doesn't matter anymore. Oh, mind you, there were blessings scattered all in there, which I will share in a minute, just reminders that God loved me and cared. But I definitely did this day in my own strength and regretted it. I literally felt like I fought my way through this day. Not the brawling kind of fighting(though there were moments I would have relished an all-out brawl), but the kind of fighting one does struggling for their survival as they swim their way upstream against all obstacles. I fought 1 year olds, 2 year olds, 3 year olds, 1/2/3 year olds all at the same time, tiredness, emotions, phone companies, banks, restaurants, downtown confusion at rush hour, you name it. And in my own strength I wore myself out. When I finally got home, my husband calmly comforted me, graciously lending a listening ear and a patient demeanor. Finally, I excused myself to go spend that much needed time with the Lord. And He, too, was patient. And forgiving. He graciously showed me in His Word what He would have showed me this morning to give me strength for what He knew was ahead in my day. He was there this morning: I wasn't. But I will be tomorrow. Because if tomorrow has anything in it relatively close to what was in today, I don't want to do it without Him!
~And now, those sweet little blessings that He did scatter throughout my day to make it bearable:
*Gracie at the park, on her knees way under the slide:"I'm hiding, Mommy!" "Oh! Where is Grace? I can't find her. Where is Grace?"--and her tiny voice piping up, "Where IS me?" 
*At a moment of highest stress, James throwing his arms around me, saying, "I love you, Mommy. You my boy!"(He hears us call him 'our boy', so to him, that's a great compliment. Anyone in his favor is 'his boy'. :D)
*Gabriel being a good boy and such a help all day.
*When my blinker light bulb goes out on my van in heavy traffic and almost causes a couple wrecks, and I'm turned around somewhere downtown, I pull into a shop that looks autobody-ish. I explain that I need to fix my blinker, but I don't know if this is even the right place to be or how to put the new bulb in. He takes pity on me and has his guy test it, check out the problem, and fix it. Realizing I may be in for a big bill since I had help fixing it, I take a deep breath and head inside to see how many arms and legs I'm forfeiting. He excuses himself from his other customer, smiles kindly, and says, "Got five bucks?" That's it, that's all he charged me! What a nice guy. I must have looked really helpless. God is so good. 
*I got to pop in and surprise a lady in my church this morning, which was fun.
*I had a great time at MOPS this morning, my first time going, met some new friends, and got a little chance to witness to them indirectly(at that point, my morning and attitude were still positive, fyi. :D)
*I had a lovely little visit with James' preschool director, this wonderful lady from South Africa. I felt a connection with her, and I know it's the Lord, because she knows I'm saved and seems to open up and talk to me. I found out that we had a common interest in that she is the AWANAS Cubbies director at her church, and I used to be the Cubbies director at my old church as well. Just talking to her was a pleasant part of my day. 
*I had an off-the-wall phone conversaton with another American here in Calgary, and she was so funny it just cheered me right up at the end of the day. I like interesting people. :)

Well, I think that I am going to go snuggle up in my bed and sleep away today, rising early to spend time with both my husband AND my Saviour tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

    Yay! We sold our Envoy SUV. What a blessing from God at a good time. We had a pleasantly busy and productive morning, the kids and I. Now it has settled down to a quiet time, so I thought I would write while I could, as it is going to get busy again very soon. 
    I love when I've gotten enough sleep and am able to rise cheerfully with the children in the morning. I am learning, slowly but surely, not to stay up till all hours trying to 'get things done', because all it does is put me off to a tired, headachey, late start the next day. Then, while I'm trying to catch a few more winks, the babies are able to get into things and undo it all. Vicious cycle. Which I'm trying to break. I couldn't believe it: last night me and Richard were in bed at 9:30. That is an amazing fact in itself. Then this morning the kids and I got up & ready early. I got a lot of housework done. Now they've had lunch & baths & are down for naps. 
    Gabriel is doing his schoolwork here beside me, working independently on his math. I'm happy he is now big enough to work on his own half of the time. Doing his worksheets, writing, math, spelling. Of course, the other half of the time is my teaching time: listening to his reading, reading to him, looking up & learning history and science together, teaching him piano & music theory, doing activities. But this quiet time when the babies are napping is his 'busywork' time. He is able to concentrate better. Often, we do our reading in the evenings, after the babies are in bed. It is like 'our time'. We like to play games, too. His current favorites are Uno, Checkers, and Concentration. I want to get Parcheesi (Parchesi?), too. I think he'd like that one.
Gracie got a little one-on-one ABC time this morning too. She liked that. We made lots of A's, B's, and C's and then looked for all the ones that were the same. For about half an hour after I left, she was still there with her paper and a blue crayon(blue is her favorite color), trying to trace the letters. I still am working on James' workbook with him too, even though he goes to preschool. I want to be the one to teach him to read. He gets so excited when he does it right. I hear this shriek, "I DID IT, MOMMY! WOOK!" Speaking of his "L's", if he's not able to say them by next year, I'm pleased that they have speech and hearing testing at his preschool and have a specialist right there at preschool to work with the kids who need help. He's 3 1/2, and sometimes I wonder if he's hearing the sounds properly. I have a sister who had deep earwax issues with her hearing at age 3, maybe he does too. 
Well, it spent the morning snowing. The kids were SO excited. They begged and begged to go out in it. We dug into our winter box and I bundled everyone up. They headed out the back door and I got all geared up to get my floors done while they were outside. Not so. Bang! Bang! Boo Hoo! "I want in, Mommy! I'm cold!" (Well, if you'd leave your mittens and hat on....:D) "Aw, come on, guys, you've only been out there five minutes. You're fine, go play for a bit longer, come on." Finally, after another five minutes of that, I took pity on them and brought them all back in to the warm house. So much for that. I need a big barn out back for them to play in during winter! Big loft and haystack and swing, set up a playhouse in there. Yes, a barn. That is the answer. I'll ask Richard to build one this evening. :D
Okay, I am hearing strange bumps and bangs from my "sleeping" children. They must be "sleepwalking". Ha Ha. Something tells me there's a 3 year old behind it.....Signing off for now!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Hmmm...let me review the calendar of events....New Year's-January 1, Christmas-December 25, American Thanksgiving-4th Thursday of November, Canadian Thanksgiving-October 8, FIRST DAY OF SNOW?--OCTOBER 2 ?!?! Yes, it's true. I was just feeling the end of Summer and immensely enjoying Fall. Then all of a sudden it began to snow! Today. Very odd. I will have to scramble to find winterwear, take a deep breath, and settle in for the next nine months of cold weather. Here we go!!!!

Monday, 1 October 2012

My husband just asked me, "So when did you sit down and relax today?", when I recounted my busy day for him. Well, THIS is my sit-down, right now, 10:30 p.m. Everything is finally quiet. I still have a ton to do, but I needed some 'me time' first. A snack and my computer, ahhh!
We were going all day, but it was a fun day too. We got to go to the chiropractor this morning. I like going there, because I have what Dr. Findlay calls the "Mommy slouch", so when I get adjusted, it feels so good to be able to stand back up straight(or at least that's what it feels like). And Gabriel, James, Grace, and Jane were all very well-behaved in there today. Gabe, being 7, knows how to behave in a doctor's office & in public; but the others, being 3, 2, & 1, are all in that learning stage. So I've been working with them on sitting nicely, not taking shoes and socks off, not stripping naked(Baby Jane, who just learned how to undress herself, oh joy!), not trying out all Dr. Don's chiropractical equipment, not running circles around him while he's adjusting someone, not racing up and down the hall, not raising and lowering the office blinds....you get the picture. All of those things happened at the first visit a couple of weeks ago. If one starts, the other babies seem to take the cue and join in, and Mommy is turning circles trying to keep up and keep order. It may sound crazy, but really and truly, I do maintain control most days. But THAT particular first visit at the chiro was quite the extreme. By the time we left there, Mama was mad. I didn't say  much, only they better wait until their daddy got home!....After a big talk with Daddy that night, the rest of our visits have been MUCH calmer. Now, they walk in and all four of them sit down, sit still, and wait their turn to get adjusted. It's so cute, when they leave, they all wave and say, "Bye, Dr. Don!" Baby Jane is the cutest: she won't leave, she just follows him around waving, "Bye, Docta' Don! Bye, Docta' Don!", till I have to haul her off. The ladies at the reception get a kick out of the chorus of "Bye! Bye!" from all the babies. And Gabriel is such a big help with them and a gentleman to open doors for us.
I got to have a picnic with my nieces today. It was so much fun for the kids to be able to play with their cousins at the park. They were playing ball and swinging on the tire swing; belting out Sunday School songs at the tops of their little voices. Climbing trees, playing tag. And while we were there, Grandma called! I put her on speaker and they all got to yell out 'hi' to Grandma. We all sure miss you, Mom and Dad B.!
Well, I guess I oughta straighten up my house before bed and get things ready for school in the morning. Got another busy day tomorrow!