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….

I think I’d better work on this Mommy-blogger thing…

Life’s been busy.  Life’s been good.  I haven’t stopped to write about it.  I could likely write pages and pages to tell you about the last 8 days of my life.  But that might be boring.  And I might fall asleep before I finish. 

Allow me to present to you, the last 8 days in list format, sans pictures.

-I had a wonderful time and was really blessed at my shower last Saturday.  Many fun things for my kiddos and many fun times with my coworkers, my mom, two sisters and one sister-in-law.
-Rob and I spent a little over two hot, dusty, sticky hours with 4/5 of our kids that afternoon.  We were at an event on a farm.  I got to take pictures and have hardly let the album out of my reach in the last week.
-Kids came back to school on Tuesday, and I remembered how exhausting teaching is!  I had the cushy life of working in the office for the three week break.  It was fun to have kid time again.  Those days are few, and I do still owe you a post about that.  This week.  Perhaps.
-Amanda and I shopped at Whole Foods and Barnes and Noble on Wednesday.  I was Dave Ramsey bold and asked for a discount on a well read older issue magazine. The manager said no.  So I let her keep it.
-We rounded off Wednesday evening with Chinese buffet and meeting Julie for late night coffee. Yay for girl time!
-I ate ramen noodles with chopsticks on Thursday.   That’s all.
-We thought we would meet the other 1/5 of our kids on Friday night, but it was postponed until Tuesday afternoon.  Instead of working hard all evening, I sat around a lot and then worked late into the night.
-Saturday! We met the 4/5 at McDonald’s on the turnpike.  My parents came to swap cars with us and see the kids.
-Rob climbed over the back seat to keep a little one company on the drive home.
-The kids played with toys and I changed diapers.
-Most of us had chicken and noodles for lunch.  One little guy has some food allergies.  So he ate chicken, cheese and broccoli. It was nice to have 9/10 of the family sitting at the table together for a meal.
-Rob got kids dressed in swimsuits while I changed diapers. It was around this time that I said, “Are you coming to help me?  I’ve got pee!  I’ve got poop! And I’ve got all four kids.  Bring the wipes please!”
-Children dumped water on “Mommy’s” head and on “Daddy’s” head, too.  They thought it was hilarious.  I thought it was cold, but worth it to hear them call us Mommy and Daddy.
-We had four bottles of bubbles outside.  Three bottles were dumped into the pool.
-Rob removed swimsuits and sent wet kids to me for diaper changes. I sent dry kids to him for clothes.
-We ate strawberries, cheese, cubed chicken and rice cakes for snack.
-Rob and the boys made pallets on the floor for nap time.
-At one point during our fake nap time, I was laughing as hard as the kids.
-The kids played with cars and little people and trains and books.
-Rob grilled burgers and dogs.
-His mom came over for dinner and to spend a little time with the kids.
-One more diaper change and then we hit the road.
-The little one in the back slept most of the way.
-The three in the middle seat played with QT napkins and I sang to them.
-When we got home I ran the dishwasher, hand washed the kids’ bowls and booster trays, I also swept the floor and wiped down the table and chairs.  Maybe remind me of this later when we have the kids 100% of the time…but I like being a mommy and taking care of my house.
-I looked at the picture of them I keep in my bible during church this morning.  It made me miss them.
-Rob whispered that it may be years before we sit next to each other in church again.
-Our Sunday School class overwhelmingly blessed us by taking up a collection for us.
-Rob spent most of his Father’s Day putting together bunk beds.
-I spent most of mass at St. Benedict’s thinking about what things need to be in my fun church bag for the kids.  I am certain I will need 5 of whatever items I put in the bag.  It’s not nice to tempt children to covet when you’re sitting in church.
-I cleaned the kids’ room today, I cleaned my living room today, I disinfected the potty chairs today, I took out bags of diapers, and I did our laundry.  Productive and refreshing.

We have had a wonderful time.  I must tell you, that it was noticeable (to me) that one swimsuit remained on the hanger, one nap time blanket didn’t get unrolled and one kitchen chair remained empty at lunch.  I’m really looking forward to having 5/5 little ones here and a family dinner with 10/10 present.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.  Thank you for reading listy blog posts with no pictures. 

Stay tuned for more.

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?

 

one week

After a week and a half of adrenaline, caffeine and words flying out of my mouth faster than usual…I have possibly settled down a bit this week.  I’m still downing the caffeinated drinks on a regular basis and if given the opportunity I will chat about my kids to anyone who seems even remotely interested.  However, we did do some normal stuff around here.

Monday–Taught some of the greatest kids on the planet and hung out with some of the most lovely coworkers ever.  I did a bit more purging of my useless possessions, and managed to get my new average 5 hours of sleep.

Tuesday–Those great kids were a tiny bit exhausting, partly attributed to my long-running lack of sleep and the absence of one of my more solid classroom volunteers.  I walked out of my school with great thoughts of a tasty cinnamon dolce frappuccino and a long bubble bath at home.  Instead, I found a flat tire and called my husband.  I did follow through with my plans of a dinner tribute to my maternal grandmother, who would have turned 95 on this day.  We ate a bit later than she would have planned, she likely did not take a bubble bath after dinner on too many occasions, and I’m certain she did not send her husband to QT for ice cream and a bottle of frappuccino as I did.  And yet, I’m sure she is proud of me.  During my bubble bath and in the coziness of my bed soon after, I read an entire book.  A wonderful end to an exhausting day, if I do say so.

Wednesday–Kids were waaaaaaaaay less exhausting, even though my associate teacher was out sick.  We baked biscuits and drizzled syrup on them as I taught about Moses leading the people to the promised land.  After school, Duncan and I aired up the spare tire and headed to Hibdon’s to buy a new one.  I multi-tasked and chatted with my BFF Mandy while waiting for the tire, and was pleasantly surprised when my husband stopped by on his way home from work to make sure everything was going okay.  I like that man.  Especially after a long work day, when he’s wearing his dress up clothes.  I was debating skipping church on Wednesday night so that I could do some chores, but a big storm came in and helped me make my decision.  All five Zerbes were home for the evening.  I managed a nice nap, a homemade mocha frappaccino for the second night in a row and a little more quality cleaning time in my bedroom.

Thursday–Great day at school.  One of my students is really making some great progress lately.  It’s such a blessing and a privilege to have a front row seat to the work God is doing.  He is amazing.  After school Rob cooked dinner while I went back out and purchased a toy train.  It was my first Craigslist purchase.  I often look at items for sale and now that I need to begin collecting fun things for small children, I think I might utilize ol’ Craigy a bit more often.  After I picked up the train, I stopped by Starbucks for that cinnamon dolce frappuccino I’d been craving since Tuesday.  I picked up a couple of things from the grocery store and arrived home just in time for dinner on the table.  We try to have my mother-in-law over for dinner on Thursday nights.  However, due to busy schedules and illness, it had been a while since we’d gotten together.  It was nice to have her over, but especially nice since Rob and the boys did all the prep work while I was out shopping!

Friday–I went to work determined to make significant progress on this year’s graduation video. I typically start working on it a few weeks before graduation. However, this year I have some extra responsibilities added to my usual classroom duties and have not put any extra time in on the video.  I plugged in my headphones, loaded up Pandora and sat at the video computer for most of the day.  I did pause for some tasty lunch at Pei Wei with two of my closest friends…delish!  I could have spent Friday evening doing chores or working ahead on lesson plans.  Instead, I sat with my man while he watched the series finale of Smallville and I surfed the web for kid room ideas.

Saturday–We stayed in bed a little later than originally planned…but everytime we do that, I wonder if it will be our last.  I know our alone time will soon be much less than we are used to and it’s nice to enjoy each other while we can.  I did go to LLH so I could work on the video for a few hours.  I’m pleased with the progress I’m making and am so thankful that God gives me creative ideas. I always pray a lot, and ask others to do the same, when I am working on our graduation video.  I know he answers those prayers and has taken away any stress or anxiety that creeps in.  I made a grocery list before I left work, but somehow didn’t make it to the store with the list.  I mostly got everything we needed for the week…I think.  On Saturday evening, Rob and I had the pleasure of attending Calvin’s ROTC awards banquet at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.  I signed up to bring desserts so I made a dirt dessert (at Calvin’s request) and a banana pudding (at Rob’s request).  It was nice to spend time with him–and his date and his mother and his grandmother.  It was especially nice because his Flight won the award for the best Flight in the school…and Calvin’s the Flight leader, so he was pretty happy and we were pretty proud.

Sunday–Early church at FBC.  My favorite quote–“I don’t know if this doctrine is very Baptist, but I do know it’s biblical.”  Man, I enjoy being a Christian and not a denomination.  Sunday School–my favorite part, listening to my husband read and teach the word of God.  Preschool Worship Time–my favorite quote “That night we came to dinner at your house, the night we came to stay forever…” spoken by a child (recently united with his forever family) to his papa.  Then home for lunch and a nap.  Now, it’s off to our next to the last Dave Ramsey class and mass at the Newman Center.

Yes…it’s been a nice week of mostly normalcy.

1.2.3.4.5.

Number One:
There is a chocolate chip pecan pie in my kitchen that my stepson’s prom date’s mom made for him.  He’s “not that into pie” and apparently neither is anyone else in this house.  Ahem.  Except me.  It has been there for exactly one week.  I have eaten two small pieces of it.  The rest remains.  It would be so tasty with a cup of coffee.  It is tasty without the coffee.  I am seriously contemplating making a pot of coffee at 11:30 pm in order to experience mouth-watering bliss. 

I do not believe decaf coffee has a purpose in my life.  If I make coffee tonight, I will likely stay awake all night.  I have exactly one million things to do and I have no time for sleep.  However, it is probably not a good idea to stay awake all night.  The chances of me being productive are slight.  Which will put me in a position to attempt to accomplish all one million items on my task list on little to no sleep.  That doesn’t really seem like a good idea, does it?

Number Two:
I “gave up” television for Lent.  Which really means I felt pretty somewhat guilty every time I watched tv during Lent.  However, I did not watch two of my favorite/regular shows: The Office and SNL.  Tonight was Steve Carrell’s last episode.  I didn’t watch it.  Partly because I’m not yet convinced I should spend any much time watching television, and partly mostly because I have not seen several of the previous episodes this season.  The rest of the Zerbe clan watched The Office tonight, which happened to start immediately after we finished the first sit-at-the-table dinner we’ve had in a long time.

While they piled into my messy bedroom to watch television, I made dessert.  I delivered dessert, sent a couple of text messages, and have been online, on facebook, on blogs ever since.  The evidence of the sit-at-the-table dinner is still sitting-on-the-table.

If I was cranky about the fact that everyone ate and enjoyed the meal that I prepared, and then expected me to clean up the meal that I prepared (minus the boys’ dishes that were loaded into the dishwasher–trained!)…ahem, if I was cranky about that, I’d leave it all there.  And in the morning, when they are anticipating breakfast…I’d explain that I couldn’t cook because the kitchen is a mess.

Lucky for them, I’m not cranky about it.  After I publish this blog post, and after I make that pot of coffee, I’ll load the dishwasher, put away the rest of the evidence and cross my fingers that my oven works in the morning so that I can bake biscuits for my men.

Number Three:
If I was not so lazy, I would add a picture of the stepson and the prom date to this post.  I would also link back to my post about Lent, and a YouTube clip of Michael Scott wearing his lady clothes, I would also add a picture of the dessert I made.

Number Four:
I really want to tell you about the dessert I made.  Peeps s’mores.  Pictures to come tomorrow…maybe.

Number Five:
Sometimes my oven works.  Sometimes it does not.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to its work habits.  My dryer does not work.  I do not mind using the clothesline.  In fact, I quite enjoy it.  Except when it coats my clothing with pollen and I cannot breathe properly for weeks at a time.  And except when it rains all weekend and I can’t do laundry.  Tomorrow someone will come to diagnose the dryer.  This weekend we will investigate the oven.

I have a new kitchen faucet.  I am thankful for my dishwasher.  I want to purchase a deep freeze soon and am undecided on the upright/chest issue.

I have nothing further to say about the appliances in my home.