Sometimes it’s hard…but totally worth it

Sometimes raising 5 children under the age of 5 is hard…

Sometimes I discipline more than I play

Sometimes I spend more time folding laundry than I do reading books

Sometimes (during the hottest summer EVER) I spend all day inside my house and still get sweaty (and maybe a little cranky)

Sometimes it takes them a really long time to fall asleep at night

Sometimes they wake up too early

Sometimes cereal gets spilled

Sometimes cereal gets spilled twice in the same morning, by the same kid

However…

Wednesday tells me he loves me, even when I don’t ask him to say it.  He tells me he misses me, even when we’ve spent the whole day together.  Sometimes, he holds my face in his tiny three year old hands and kisses my cheeks, my nose and my mouth.

Friday says, “Mom-Mom” in the cutest voice ever.  Ocassionally he is looking at “Dad-Dad” when he says it.  And he wears onsies and cute pajamas.  He is becoming more cuddly and more attached every single day.

Monday talks. all. the. time.  He laughs, especially at his twin sister.  He wants to do things by himself.  Except when he says “Come here, Momma.”  Kitchen sounds like chicken when he talks, and he cracks up if Daddy asks him if Momma is really in the chicken!

Tuesday doesn’t want to be by herself, and sometimes comes to bed with Mommy and Daddy in the early hours of the morning.  She loves baby dolls, which sometimes have to go to time out.  Spitting is the usual infraction.  When she is excited, she jumps around and grins.  One time she got very excited…because she saw a picture of her daddy.

Thursday’s hair is soft and wavy and blooms beautifully in a small ponytail on top of her head.  She hugs new people when she meets them and squeezes me tight when I pick her up.  She loves to read books and turns it outward like a teacher so everyone can see the pictures.  She almost always gets in trouble for playing with her milk cup at the table.

And so, sometimes it’s hard…

…and it’s totally worth it.

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stuff you should know

-All 5 kids are permanently placed in our home.  We are in the “trial adoption” phase.  Our adoption should be finalized within six months. We are praying it will be finalized before Christmas.
-We go through about 25 diapers each day.
-I have put 4 children in the bathtub together.  I believe that is maximum capacity.
-I am going to continue to refer to the kids by their days of the week code names: Monday (4 year old boy) Tuesday (4 year old girl) Wednesday (3 year old boy) Thursday (3 year old girl) and Friday (2 year old boy)
-Four children have been to the doctor, resulting in five additional referrals.  Two referral appointments have been held, with an additional follow up.  One referral is scheduled and two are pending.
-Rob was the one who took Wednesday and Thursday for their appointment and they each needed a shot.  I kissed their band-aids when they got home.
-I was the one fortunate enough to cuddle restrain Friday during his skin test at the allergist. Eight pokey prongs, times six panels with a tickly short of sharpie in between each one.  Good times.
-New allergy reports show that Friday is not actually allergic to wheat or soy. Fantastic!
-He may be allergic to milk. Bummer.
-Tuesday has successfully slept on the top bunk for several nights.  Previously she slept on a mattress which we store under the bunk beds.  My most clever mommy idea? Put the baby monitor on the top step of her ladder.  When she tries to get down, she knocks it off and I hear it and can go check on her. That, plus the two mattresses pulled out from under the beds would cushion her fall. ; )
-Monday is spent a lot of time cuddling with my grandma on Friday night.  They are great pals!
-We easily drink a gallon of milk a day.  We may become more pro-water. : )
-My kids are not picky eaters, which is a major blessing.
-I stayed up until nearly 4 am Thursday night/Friday morning so I could do laundry.  It is a wonderful feeling to have all of their clothes washed, folded, and put away in the correct drawers.  That feeling lasted about 5 hours.
-Before kids, we probably owned 7 washcloths.  We currently own over 50.
-We will continue to attend First Baptist Church as well as St. Benedict’s Catholic Church.  That puzzles a lot of you, but we honestly make it work and it feels right.  Until God tells us to do something different, we’re going to go right on being puzzling Christians with two houses of worship and a vast number of people in our families of faith.
-Most of the time, this doesn’t seem real to me.  I am sure there are events which will make it seem more real, more permanent.  But now, I sometimes forget.

Reasons

why I have not been blogging…
-My work laptop died before I ever went on maternity leave.  My desktop isn’t nearly as portable.
-Rob’s work laptop broke before we ever got the kids.
-I don’t seem to have a lot of time/desire to sit in an uncomfortable chair at our desktop to write.
-Random thoughts, events, photo ops pop up all the time.  So do 5 adorable children.

why I will make more of an effort to blog…
-We are ridiculously busy. I need to stop and think and write so the beauty of these moments doesn’t get lost in the never-ending list of urgent needs.
-Sometimes I cannot fathom the number of people who love kids they’ve never met, pray for a family they are not related to, provide us with moral support, and overwhelm us with gifts, money and meals.  I want to keep you all updated on the fun adventures we are having.
-Rob’s laptop is fixed and I can blog from the comfort of my couch.

Busytown…part one

We’ve been busy, busy, busy lately! I don’t want these days to pass without me documenting at least some of the things we are doing during these initial few weeks with the kids.  These aren’t deep thoughtful posts, just journaling so I can look back and smile. Someday they’ll be independent young men and women.  But right now, they need me and I want to remember the days that pipe cleaners and a package of new wash cloths kept them happy for at 20 glorious minutes!

Wednesday, July 13–worked for a few hours, came home and played with my kids.  Got our Big White Van! (affectionately referred to as BWV)
Thursday, July 14–played for a few hours with my coworkers, went shopping for mommy, went shopping for *Tuesday and bought things for Friday. (Go here for an explanation of their blog identities)
Friday, July 15–I had to get the kitchen cleaned.  Rob and Calvin ran an errand (to get my parents’ car cleaned) and I went into survival mode.  I tried letting the kids play in their room while I cleaned, but they kept finding their way back into the kitchen with me…which isn’t ideal for cleaning.  So I ended up putting them back at the kitchen table and opening my “box of crafty things that need minimal supervision” that I had organized before these cuties ever moved in with us.  Shiny tissue paper, pink and blue tissue paper, pipe cleaners and stickers kept them occupied while I cleaned.
The kids ate some lunch and then we piled into two cars to deliver my parents’ car to my sister’s house.  Afterwards Rob dropped Tuesday and me off for her speech evaluation.  Then Rob, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday picked up Riley and Duncan from lunch with youth group.  They headed over to St. Benedict’s to load up the back of our van with donated diapers and wipes.  Then they came back to pick us up…although somewhere along they way they stopped at QT for smoothies.
About the time I decided Tuesday would do better at finishing her eval if I wasn’t in the room, Daddy arrived!  It worked out perfectly because I left her, she cried at the doorway (good to see that she loves me, but hated making her cry when I left), and Daddy came in to encourage her during the last few minutes.
We came home and had a few minutes to breathe before Rob took Riley to work.  I shut myself in the kids’ room with them and we picked up toys together.  I tried to do a tiny bit of general pick up because friends from our Sunday school class were on their way with dinner!
Because I wanted the general pick up effort to be noticeable for at least 3 minutes, we had craft time at the table again.  This time the kids made birthday cards for their baby cousins who have just turned one! (ahem, a few of those cards have yet to be delivered.)
We had a nice visit with our friends and their two little ones.  Rob heated up dinner and we all began gobbling it up!
My good friend Amanda is out-of-town for a while, but came back for the weekend.  She hung out with us during dinner and of course the kids love her!
A longtime family friend (went to college with my mom, is my sister’s godmother, etc) stopped by with a great diaper bag (from thirty-one), diapers, wipes and clothes that were given to us by our friend’s coworker.  Someone we have never even met wanted to help us out.  I spoke with her on the phone…she said she thought I was crazy and wonderful.  Perhaps she’s right.  About at least one of those.  She also said anytime that I am feeling overwhelmed or if I need anything, just to let them know.  She said they’d take up a collection at work and take care of anything we need.  I can’t imagine that we’d actually take them up on that offer…but what a blessing to widen our circle of support!
After the kids were asleep, I had fleeting thoughts of laundry and packing for our overnight trip.  Instead, I wasted time doing nothing and fell asleep.

In the interest of keeping at least some of you engaged in this story, it will be continued at a later date. Perhaps tomorrow….

July 13, 2011–things to remember

My oldest (and generally pretty active daughter) crawled into bed with me this morning and we had about 15 minutes of good snuggling.

It was lovely and strange to take a shower in the middle of the day.  All other post-placement showers have taken place during the 5:00 am hour.

I went to work for a few hours while the kids napped and played with Daddy.  It felt pretty normal to be at work and it felt lovely to come home and be greeted by 4 little ones at the door.

In a moment of sheer genius, Riley convinced the kids not to cross the line (of silver dollars…for real) in our kitchen floor.  He was cooking and didn’t want them to get burned.  The reward for not crossing the line? An opportunity to watch Riley’s Cooking Show and have a banana for a treat at the end!  Seriously, why did I never think to tell them I’d give them a banana for not crossing a line in the kitchen?!  They were so excited to tell me about it when I walked in the door that I couldn’t understand what they were saying.  Riley had to translate for me…it was perfect!

We got a BWV (big white van) today. I’m soooo excited about it!  Because my husband is super cool, he let me do the test driving while he stayed with the kids.  The man who sold it to us was so nice and agreed that it must have been God that found this van for us…very new, low miles and a great price.  He hasn’t seen one since.  When we got home, we put the kids in it to explore.  Someday, I’ll show you their cute pictures. : )

I fixed peanut butter and blueberry sandwiches for 3 of the kids for dinner tonight.  Then, I was so impressed with my toddler menu, I fixed one for myself.  My middle boy (aka Wednesday or Mr. Green) likes it when I “fold it up, fold it up, fold it up” for any kind of sandwich or toast.  After the half-sandwich, he asked for a “roll it up, roll it up, roll it up” which is a tortilla wrap.  Tonight’s  was made of peanut butter and blueberries.  Previous versions have included Nutella; chicken, cheese and cucumber; and taco meat with cheese.

After dinner, Rob installed a car seat in the BWV while I started cleaning the kitchen.  The best method so far is to leave the kids at the table while the majority of the work gets done.  They each get a rag (I bought a big pack of white wash cloths at Sam’s) and I sing to them while they clean. “This is the way we wash our face, wash our face, wash our face.  This is the way we wash our face, after we eat our dinner.”  Tonight we washed faces, the table, hands, knees, elbows, ears, eyes, chin, neck and the chair.  I give them as many verses as I need in order to load the dishwasher and clear the table.

Rob finished up the dishes while I bathed 4 kids at the same time. Rob’s done three at a time, but my max has been 2.  We’re adding olive oil to the bathwater for our youngest, but since we had group bath tonight, everyone benefited from the slippery stuff.  I ended up with 4 slippery kids who went to bed with very soft skin.

And those are the things I want to remember about today. : )

 

If someone would have told me…

that I would take a bubble bath while a two year old slept on my bed (surrounded by pillows), a four year old curled up on her Daddy’s lap on the couch and a set of three year old twins played themselves to sleep in bottom bunk beds…

that having nine people at my kitchen table was possible…

that even with nine, there was still one obviously empty booster chair…

that I could fall deeper in love with my husband, simply by watching him be a daddy to our children…

that the sound of little voices greeting their big brothers by name would sound so beautiful…

that being a mommy would make me feel like nothing else in the world exists, just for a little while…

…I would have nodded my head and pretended to believe it.

And now…I get to live it.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

Five Under Five…take 1

Some quick notes about today before I hit the pillow…

Rob picked up Monday on his way home from Falls Creek. I met Tuesday-Friday at McDonald’s and brought them home.  Thankfully my sister was planning on coming to Tulsa today.  She and her family met me at McDonald’s and she rode with me to entertain little ones for the hour long car ride.  Fun purse, Aunt Marianne!

Marianne and family stayed around a little while and the kids played together.  I managed to change 4 diapers and go to the potty by myself before they had to leave.  Thanks to a lovely crockpot, lunch on my own was pretty easy.  Shortly after lunch, Aunt Cheryl brought Calvin and Duncan home from camp.  Soon after, Rob arrived with precious cargo.

I couldn’t help but to be filled with emotion at the moment that all five kids were under our roof.  Happy tears filled my eyes more than once today.

I fed Monday lunch and he did great!  Rob and Aunt Cheryl began getting the bedroom and the other four kids ready for naps.  Without too much trouble, we had all 5 asleep at the same time and I finally had a chance to hug my husband.

After naps, we did a quick diaper change and put shoes, socks on and I packed my first diaper bag.  It included 8 diapers, 2 pull ups, a package of wipes, 5 sippy cups, a package of rice cakes an a container of applesauce.  Next we headed to my youngest sister’s house for a late arrival to Mary’s Mended Heart Party. (I’m too tired/lazy to link this.  I’ve written about my sweet niece Mary earlier this spring.  She had open heart surgery last month to repair congenital heart defects.  She is doing fantastic so her parent’s threw a party to celebrate!) It was such a different experience to walk into my sister’s house with 5 little ones.  I hardly visited with anyone there as I was busy being a momma. 

We didn’t stay long because we wanted to get the kids home for dinner.  Their planned afternoon snack (cottage cheese and peaches) got replaced with heart shaped sugar cookies, heart shaped jello jigglers, cupcakes and veggie straws.  It was time to get home for something a containing a little less sugar!  I did diaper changes and supervised play time while Rob cooked dinner. This morning I browned 4 pounds of ground turkey meat, so dinner prep didn’t take too long.  The kids ate gluten-free spaghetti (light on the sauce) and peaches.

Rob took the girls to the bathtub while I helped the boys finish eating. I gave them each a new car to play with at the table while I cleaned up.  Rob sent girls out in towels and started the boy rotation.  I did diapers and pjs and we got ready for bed.

It took longer to get them settled in for the night.  Thankfully, my husband is a patient sleepmaster.  He did most of the work and eventually all 5 kids fell asleep.  As I type, 4 are in their room and one is in our room.  I’m not exactly sure what the allnight plan is, but I don’t mind sharing.

Additional notes: 

I traded a few more minutes of sleep and a little more cleaning time this morning for drying and straightening my hair.  I can wear my short hair curly, however, if it’s a hot, humid day; or a sweaty day…my hair just gets bigger and bigger.  I should totally do a before and after picture some day so you can see what I mean.  Beautiful, I tell ya, beautiful.

I snapped only one picture today.

My dishwasher is running. My washing machine is running.  I cleaned the table, chairs and the stove.  All of the dishes are cleaned and put away.  I swept the floor.  I don’t say all of this to brag. Wait a minute, I probably am saying it for that very reason! I have no idea how I’ll be able to establish and keep good routines for my housekeeping.  But when I do, I’ll be sure to let you know!  In the meantime, I think I shall head to bed and be lulled to sleep by the hum of the dishwasher.

We did brush teeth after lunch today, but I forgot to do it before bedtime.  Should I wake them now?! ; )

Thanks for your prayers today!