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!

4T (too tired to type)

I started this last night (Wednesday), but there was no way I could finish it. If you saw my facebook post with the many ddddddddddddddddkkkkkkkkkkkkssssssss writing…you should probably know that those letters were not staged.  I actually fell asleep at the keyboard.  Here’s the post…finished up on Thursday night.  I had a nap after work. : )

I’m only doing this because I pinky promised.  And I’m reneging on the picture promise.

Here’s the quick rundown before I drop my head to the pillow…
all times are approximate
Tuesday
11:00–Kate leaves Tulsa to head to Mustang to meet our boy.
sometime after 11:00–Rob leaves Falls Creek church camp to head to Mustang to meet our boy.
11:40–Kate closes the gap between her car and the ponytailed rider of a Harley aka the caseworker.
12:45–Rob calls Kate.  He is on the side of the road near Purcell.  His car has overheated.
1:00–Kate does a drive-by of the house, to be sure she knows how find it
1:20–Rob has made it to an auto parts place in Moore and they are hooking him up with a repair shop. (This conversation was held via telephone in the Wendy’s bathroom…FYI)
1:30–Kate meets caseworker in the driveway of the foster home.  They walk in and are greeted by the cutest blond four year old boy you can imagine.
1:31–Playtime begins.  Conversations happen.
3:00–The car is at the repair shop, they’ll have it running by this evening.
3:05–Kate leaves to get Rob from the repair shop.
4:00–Kate and Rob arrive back at the foster home.
4:02–We are invited to “sit right here by me” to play cars. Conversation continues.
5:10–Begin to say goodbye and ask if little boy wants to come to our house on Saturday.  He says yes to every question. : )
5:45–Arrive back at repair shop.  Car is not finished, but they’ll work past closing to get it running.
6:00–Date night at Chick fil A
6:30–Car will be finished in 10 minutes. Good bye kiss and Kate is headed back to Tulsa.
7:00–Kate gets on the Turner Turnpike and calls Rob to make sure he is on the road, too.
6:58–Repair man apologetically informs Rob that the engine is cracked, or broken, or something too expensive to fix.
7:15–Kate exits at the Luther/Jones exit and turns around to head back to the repair shop.  Calls her mom and her sister.  Wonders if she’ll cry.  She doesn’t.  Calls Amanda who’s been waiting in Tulsa to help Kate a) buy mattresses b) hang out because mattress store is closed.  Kate laughs as she tells the complicated story of how she scored a hotel room date night.
7:30–Rob calls Kate. Tells her he’ll walk over to the hotel near the repair shop to get a room for the night. Will sell the car for junk parts in the morning.
7:45–No room at the inn.
8:00–Kate picks Rob up from the inn that is full.  Drive a mile and find a new hotel.
8:05–Rob walks in to the hotel, says he needs a room and a “sob story discount” we get both.
8:15–Carry our overnight bags  cell phones and Chick fil A cups up to our room.
8:30–Make phone calls and send texts to church camp, LLH folks and Kate’s mom.  Make a plan.
—-spend the night in a hotel room that is much larger than our current bedroom.  Use a bathroom with a see through door. Watch cable television that does not exist at our home.  Wonder how many years it will be before we spend the night alone in a hotel room again.  Enjoy a date night and unexpected time together.
6:45am–send more texts to LLH folks regarding Water Day, pizza money, placement meeting, China team pizza party and a birthday party
7:00–Consider getting out of bed.
7:30–Got out of bed.  Brushed my hair, brushed my teeth, put on clean clothes.  Went downstairs for breakfast.
8:00–Rob goes to repair shop to talk to the guy who knows the guy who will buy a junker car.
8:45–Kate’s mom arrives!
9:00–The guy who knows the guy isn’t working today.  Rob returns to hotel.
9:10–Kate locates guy on Craigslist that will buy a junker car.  Rob arranges to meet him between 11:00 and 12:00.  He’ll pay $200 for our non-working vehicle.  (That’s about $100 more than the hotel room cost us, but about $270 less than we spent repairing the AC in the non-working vehicle last week.)
9:30–Junk from one vehicle is moved to the other vehicle.  Goodbye kisses and little boy instructions are given to Rob.  Buy some toys for the car and a sippy cup.  Make sure you have water with  you.  Sing songs to him if he’s sad.  (Rob will pick him up on the way home from Falls Creek on Saturday.)
9:32–Kate and Mom head to Tulsa via Jenks.  Rob waits for Mr. Craisglist.
11:00–Kate and Mom arrive at big brother’s house.  Kate keeps Mom’s car, Mom takes big brother’s old car.  Kate goes home.
12:15–Following a nice, hot shower baby-wipe sponge bath, tooth brushing and clean clothes, Kate heads to work.
12:45–Kate arrives at work, a mere 5 hours late.  Rob is on the road back to Falls Creek.

And that, my friends, was our Tuesday adventure. : )

Next up…a post about our kids!

happy things

I’ve been crazy busy for a couple of weeks and have really missed keeping the ol’ blog updated.  I don’t have the mental energy or the time to do a true update right now.  So instead, I’m just going to write about things that make my heart swell with happiness…

…anticipating a late night at the family farm with my siblings.  My two out of state brothers and their families are visiting and us locals are making the trip over to my parents’ house for the night.  I love my siblings and get super happy when we’re all together.  Late night talking is a given, so I’ll be napping this afternoon and then the caffeinated beverages will flow!

…a room full of people together this morning to celebrate my oldest stepson, Calvin.  He graduated from high school on Thursday night and I had a blast planning his brunch reception this morning.  All week I looked forward to throwing this party for him.  I love that boy.

…peace that passes all understanding.  I arrived at work (the site of the reception) at 7:15 this morning (after leaving last night at 11:30) to finish a video for Calvin.  When I arrived, I was unable to log on to the computer I needed and I couldn’t get my husbands laptop to connect to the internet.  I needed the computer to actually produce the video and I needed his laptop to download music.  And…I simply did not panic or stress.  I sent out a couple of emails for help and worked on what I could.  Things turned out perfectly thanks to the magic of facebook, a new puppy and free wiffies all over town.  (I’m totally not going to explain all of that…hehe.)  But my point is, I totally didn’t stress about it.  I’m learning to roll with it.  Thanks for all the practice, God.

…a multi-talented husband, who cooked three breakfast casseroles, made many gallons of orange punch, bought all the groceries for the reception and asked me to marry him so that I could be a part of his family and a stepmom to his boys.

…extended family who will taxi the newly employed, not yet licensed driver to work this weekend–enabling us to visit my parents.

…a quiet and cool Little Light House.  I’ve cleaned up (with the help of my awesome family) everything, gathered items that need to go home, wiped down cabinets and sticky floors.  Now, I am simply sitting here, reflecting on the happiness of life, with my feet up and my hair in a ponytail.  Rob is at graduation for the high school where he works.  He’ll be back to get me soon.  And I’m only a tiny bit sad I don’t get to see him in his faculty graduation robe.  I bet he looks more handsome than ever.

…What are YOU happy about today?

 

I should have known…

…this day would come.

The day when nearly every piece of clothing I own like (including my, ahem…undergarments) is in the dirty laundry basket  pile moat that surrounds my bed.

The day when I finally remembered to buy new name brand dryer sheets.

The day in which I had nothing in particular planned, other than to catch up on housework, shop for groceries and drain the moat.

This day–a nice, breezy spring day–as I walked to my laundry room to retrieve my first load of dried clothes, I thought I should write a post about that first day of the year when the weather is just right for drying clothes on the line.

This day, while I sorted my laundry I set aside the pantsthatshouldnotbeshrunk, so that I could maybe hang them outside.

The day that my dryer broke.

And the fun, spring and summertime adventure of hanging clothes on the line becomes a necessity.

The day in which my husband explains that there is a middle line between our clothesline posts for a reason.

The day when I have suitable-for-public-viewing clothing and towels on my outer two lines, whilst my not-so-public garments are washing and waiting to be hung on that semi-private middle line.

Yes, I should have known this day would come.

A day of productivity!

FINAL UPDATE 10:40 PM
see below

UPDATE 7:20 PM
see below
UPDATE: 1:15 PM
see below

It looks as though Thursday will be my last day at home for a while until Saturday.  Our students do not have class on Fridays, and the roads will (hopefully!) be cleared enough for staff to arrive safely.  I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it here, but we had a couple of snow days a few weeks ago.  During that time I was super productive with my time.  We emptied out a bedroom, removed wallpaper border and I painted the trim and the walls.  Rob and the boys built new beds for the three of them.  We emptied the other bedroom and I removed the border and painted the trim.  We had our carpets cleaned.  This all took place over the course of a four day weekend…just two snow days.

Thursday marks snow day #8…and that doesn’t include the weekend.  The days have run together and I can’t really remember what things I have accomplished.  Some of it seems so long ago!  I know I cleaned off/organized the top of my dresser.  I also arranged our living room furniture, some of which had been in the kitchen since the day the carpets were cleaned.  I’ve done lots of cooking and lots of dishes.  I also shined my sink, flylady style.

And since I know that tomorrow will likely be my last snow day…for now (!)…I want to make the most of it.  Here are some of the things I have in mind…

*Have breakfast on the table by 9:30–holy cow, my usual goal is to have it on the table a little before 7.  Reality might hit us hard next week!
More like 11:00.  I got up around 8:30, but I had to find a recipe and then it took longer to cook than I thought.  No one seemed to mind staying in bed and sleeping/playing video games until breakfast was ready.  I even had time to make fruit/snow smoothies while the casserole was cooking!
*Organize/clean my kitchen countertops and the top of my refrigerator.
Cleaned half of the counter while breakfast was cooking and the top of my refrigerator has been cleared, but the items are on the kitchen table waiting for a new home.
There are still a few things on the kitchen table.  Final sorting will happen tomorrow; new storage places will be discovered and the rest goes to Goodwill.  Currently there is a basket with Rob’s syringes and needles and a coffee cup with dry erase markers…those are the only things on tip of the refrigerator.  The countertops are cleaned and decluttered.
*Sweep/mop the kitchen floor.
Didn’t happen today, but I’ll have a boy sweep it tomorrow while I’m at work and I’ll mop this weekend.
*Clean out the refrigerator.
Delegated to a boy this weekend.
*Thaw ground turkey to cook and refreeze.
Postponed due to lack of freezer bags.
*Clean the microwave.
Done by me.
*Clean the toaster.
Done by me.
*Fix the kitchen doorknob.
Didn’t happen today, I thought there was a Philips screwdriver on top of my fridge…instead I ended up with two slotted ones.
*Clean/organize the cabinet under the kitchen sink.
Everything has been emptied out and organized.  Items are on the kitchen table due to the fact that a leak was discovered and my handy husband is fixing it.
Sink is fixed and cabinet is cleaned again.  I’ll restock it while I’m fixing dinner.
Cleaning supplies are organized and put away.  I need to put cookie sheets away, but I have another storage idea to try.
*Wipe down the cabinets and the walls near the stove and trashcan.
Riley has started this project, but it is on hold due to the presence of the handy husband.
Finished by Riley.

*Figure out where to plug in the living room lamp.
Didn’t happen today, low priority but will get to it this weekend.
*Add Valentine decorations to the shelf.
Didn’t happen today, wanted to make myself do the icky chores before decorating.  Will do on Friday or Saturday.
*Dust living room blinds and computer desk.
Riley dusted the blinds.
I organized and dusted the computer desk.
*Vacuum the living room.
Done by Riley.
*Go through the mail.
Done by me.
*Move end table to my bedroom.
Done by me.

*Clean out my nightstand.
Done by me.
*Organize books in my bedroom.
Books have been sorted.  One stack still needs a home.
Books have are in their rightful places.
*Dust bedroom blinds.
Done by me.
*Wash, dry and put away all of our laundry.
The last load is in the dryer.  It has all been put away, minus one pile of Rob’s clothes.
All of our clothes are washed, dried and put away–minus that pile of Rob’s clothes waiting to be put away; and minus the pj’s I’ve been wearing for 2 days straight.
*Organize decor items.
Done by me.
*Vacuum bedroom.
Done by me.

*Clean bathroom sink.
Done by Calvin.
*Clean toilet.
Done by Calvin.
*Clean tub.
Done by Calvin.
*Organize cabinet under bathroom sink.
Emptied and wiped out by Calvin; organized by me.
*Clean bathroom window.
Done by Calvin.
*Clean bathroom mirror.
Done by Calvin.
*Sweep/mop bathroom floor.
Calvin swept it; I’ll mop it later when I’m finished mopping the kitchen floor.
*Vacuum hallway.
Done by Riley.

*Inspect the boys’ room.
*Help them organize their closet.
Gave instructions to Calvin and Riley.

*Write down shelf measurements.

Oh, and fix something easy for lunch–probably brats; and something for dinner–maybe homemade pizzas?; and bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
We ate brats around 4:00 (due to the 11:00 breakfast) and I’m getting read to make some pizzas.  I might have a little help from my friend Tony.
I made 5 custom order pizza pockets and 10 mini biscuit pizzas…take that, Tony!

This list seems rather long.  I think it’s actually possible for me to accomplish all of those things in one day.  However, I will have some teenage help so it won’t be necessary for me to do it all.  There are a few things I almost never do around here (take out the trash, clean the toilet, vacuum), and then there are a few things that almost no one but me does around here (organize under the sink cabinets, clean/organize countertops, bake cookies) .  All in all, I’d say we have a pretty good system.

After all that, or when I need a bit of a break, I also need think about what I need to get done at work on Friday.  I want to walk in with a to-do list for my associate and myself.  The day will go by crazy fast and I want to be fully prepared to have a great week back with my kiddos!
I did not do any school work, but I did think about it a little bit.  I may do some work early in the morning.  I”ll at least have a list of things to get the day started.

Stay tuned. I”ll update the list a couple of times throughout the day!

Thanks to you all for being my audience and keeping me accountable!  I’ve really worked hard today.  I didn’t really watch any television and spent very little (compared to my usual amount) of time online.  I’ll show you some before and after pictures this weekend.

I’m going to take a bath in my newly cleaned tub!

the greatest winter storm of my life

Trapped inside for days.

Bitter cold.

Schools across the state are canceled.

Coming up with interesting new recipes to eat what’s left in the house.

No electricity due to downed powerlines.

Living with my parents in rural Oklahoma.  No electricity means no water.

That was the situation nine years ago.  Very similar to the current state of the state, except that ice equals no electricity and major snow equals no travel.

Thankfully, after a few days, my youngest sister, my friend from college and I were able to get out of the house.  The powerlines had been cleared from the roads, my brother in Stillwater had electricity at his apartment and off we went.  Leaving behind my mother and her beloved (Pete the dog–my dad was staying in town at my grandparent’s so he could get to work) cuddled up near the fireplace.

I remember taking a nice, long, hot shower when we arrived at Patrick’s apartment.  We went out to eat and filled up on warm food and conversations with people other than those we had been stranded with for the previous few days.  Slowly, his apartment filled with other travelers from across the state.  My siblings arrived from college with a few friends.  I remember we really wanted to play a game that had just come out–Cranium.  It was not to be found in any of the stores in town.

At some point, my mature 24 year old self retreated to the extra bedroom to escape the silliness of the college crowd that had gathered.  It was not unusual for me to be online in those days.  Sometimes chatting with friends, sometimes with strangers.  Occasionally I visited Yahoo chatrooms, but often popped in and out quickly due to the nature of chatrooms.  Eventually I ended up in an Oklahoma chat room.  I thought it might be fun to see what everyone else was doing to ride out that crazy ice storm.  I remember looking at a few profiles of the people in the chatroom.  I’m sure I looked at one called steel_blue_eyes, and then quickly dismissed the divorced 36 year old.

Suddenly a new private message window opened up on my screen.  It was none other than ol’ steel blue eyes himself.  We began chatting, and as is (was?..I don’t really do this anymore) customary he asked me where I was from.  My usual vague answer was “a small town near Enid” but I also added that I was in Stillwater due to the ice storm.  At this point, he didn’t know my name (I used the very classy screen name hunnybee0777) or where I lived and I figured it didn’t matter if I told him I happened to be in Stillwater visiting my brother.  My 6’7″ brother who loves me and will not let anything happen to me, brother.

Until he said…

Awesome. I’m in Stillwater, too!

And I thought…

Crap. I just told an internet stranger where I am and he’s already stalking me.

But I said…

Cool. What do you do there?

And he said…

I’m the assistant principal at the middle school.

(and I guess at some point we had exchanged names)

So I quickly went to Stillwater Public School’s website, found the middle school page, clicked on administration and found a guy with the same name and the same face as the person I was chatting with.

And I thought,

Ok, I’m either really chatting with the assistant principal or some crazy dude that is pretending to be the assistant principal.

And so we continued chatting.  I told him I was baking brownies for my brothers and sisters and their friends, he thought that was sweet.  He told me he drove to Tulsa 2 nights a week to see his boys, I thought that was sweet.  He wanted to know what my siblings would think about me going to Eskimo Joe’s to meet him for some cheese fries, I told him they’d think I was crazy.  He asked about bringing them with me, I told him he was crazy.  He wanted to know who I was rooting for in the Superbowl the next day, I told him I didn’t know who was playing.  It was then that I got my first lesson on the awesomeness of the St. Louis Rams and the inspiring story of Kurt Warner.  He had plans to watch the game with people from work, but asked if I might be interested in getting together after the game.

Uh.

Sure.

I had recently obtained my own cell phone.  For you young readers, it may come as a surprise that I was 24 before I had my own cell phone.  Times were different back then, they were different I tell you!  But really, until just a few days before, I had a phone on my parents’ very limited local plan.  I had ventured out on my own in the big city and got my own phone plan through AT&T and hardly anyone had my new number.  I figured even if this was a crazy principal-impersonating dude, or simply a crazy principal–I could change my number and go back to my obscure small town life.  So we exchanged phone numbers and made tentative plans to meet up after the game. 

Sunday morning I went to mass at St. John’s in Stillwater with my family and he went to Eagle Heights Baptist Church.  I remember we chatted a little later that morning.  During the first half of the game I graded papers in my brother’s living room and tried to pay enough attention to have an intelligent conversation later.  I skipped halftime to take a shower.  I spent the second half fixing my hair and makeup.  Thank goodness I packed some cute clothes when I left my parents’ house days before…I would have never guessed I’d be getting dressed for a date.

Sure enough, after the game I got a phone call.  We decided to meet at Joe’s.  I had my own phone, my own car and I’d given his information to my siblings.  I promised to be home by a certain time, promised to call if my plans changed and they had permission to call me whenever they wanted to check on me.  As I pulled up to Joe’s, I realized it was closed.  Apparently I’m not much of a bar hopper, so I didn’t know they closed early on Sundays.  I spotted a tall guy in a Rams jersey.  I pulled up alongside him and rolled down my window.  He suggested we go to Applebee’s and I agreed to follow him.  I called my siblings to tell them my change of plans.

The restaurant was nearly empty and we sat at a booth.  He ordered iced tea and I had lemonade.  We talked and talked and talked.  He showed me pictures of his three sons.  I wore my tall boots.  We stayed until closing time and he walked me to my car.  I gave him a hug and he opened my car door.  I called my siblings to tell them I was on my way back and called friend to talk about this new guy I met. 

36 year old, divorced, Baptist guy meets 24 year old, single, Catholic girl.

Best first date ever.

fasting

In an effort to display solidarity with Duncan and Rob, who are working on online English assignments, and inspired by my sister I am declaring a self-imposed media fast for the remainder of the day.  I’m going to focus on cleaning, organizing and cooking for my family.  I will spend time in scripture and in prayer.  I might even take a bubble bath to reward myself for cleaning the tub!  I’ll probably be back online tonight–when my chores are done and when Duncan and Rob have thrown in the towel conquered the world of metaphors and similes!  I’ve started the post about the day I met my husband and I have one in my head about snow days. 

Stay tuned.