Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Point of Insanity

On Monday Sam made the comment to me that he'd always wanted to get to the point of insanity with our kids. With 4 kids, he continued, it felt like we had things pretty well under control. But now we have reached the point where things are just insane and he loves it.

That pretty well sums up the past 7 weeks.

As if to reinforce his statement, Maxwell came down with a terrible case of hand, foot, and mouth disease today. He's feverish, lethargic, and shrieks with pain throughout the day.
Medicine gives him about an hour of relief before he's miserable again.
It's been a heartbreaking day and I've spent the bulk of it cuddling my two babies--something I'm more than willing to do and something that, thankfully, the older three boys are incredibly patient with.

Just don't call Maxwell a "poor baby," or you'll quickly be corrected by Lincoln.
"No, poor toddler!!" he'll tell you adamantly.

Friday, June 8, 2018

That's a Wrap

The last week of school was so exciting!
The kids have had a great year and I'm proud of them for all of their growth--particularly emotionally.
They've adjusted to two new schools, had a cross-country move, and welcomed a new baby brother.
They've made new friends, Talmage was baptized and started Cub Scouts, Wesley switched from half-day to full-day Kindergarten, and Lincoln learned to read.
I have been anxiously awaiting Summer-I love having control over the day and having the extra time and fun outings with these kids!

It was fun to attend the boys' end-of-school programs.
The music program here is amazing and the Kindergarteners belted out darling songs that kept us all smiling.
And Wesley's teacher made each of her students a personalized scrapbook with dozens of photos and various schoolwork throughout the year. I was shocked by all the work she put into them--not only in assembling them but also in having the presence of mind all year long to get pictures of every child at every activity! We weren't even here all year and Wesley's scrapbook had 30 pages. It is a priceless treasure.
Talmage had an awards program and I delighted to see him with his friends afterward, doing tricks and horsing around and appearing fully adjusted after a rough start. The cutest thing was to see Maxwell set eyes on him in the school cafeteria as we sat watching and have him dash over and give him a huge hug. Then when he walked across the stage and down the stairs Maxwell started bawling because he wanted to be with him. They have a very sweet relationship.

We started a new last-day tradition by grabbing bagels from Panera on the way to school,
and then we enjoyed our traditional root beer floats with about 30 friends at the park after school.
The following day we got together with friends for dinner and games,
and then the day after that was Sam's birthday and we celebrated all day.
Then we had a peaceful Sunday together and then it was Memorial Day and we had a gorgeous family bike ride in the morning and then went swimming and had dinner with more friends.
All in all, it was a delightful beginning to Summer.
We miss our family, but we sure are grateful to have so many friends here!

Happy Weekend!

(First day, last day pictures)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Heaven Seems So Close

Our sweet little Benson turned 6 weeks old yesterday.

And what a mixture of emotions I've cycled through as I've sought to use my time with these little ones the way Heavenly Father would have me do. I feel immense joy and Heaven seems so close when I hold this precious child in my arms and breathe in his new baby scent, rubbing my face against his silky-soft skin. And yet at the same time I feel so totally overwhelmed with the demands of 5 little people who all need me.
I feel gratitude and satisfaction as I am able to devote my time to serving my family, but at the same time I feel impatience at spilled milk, curtain rods pulled out of the wall, and muddy footprints on the new rug because life is so hectic right now that even those 10-minute setbacks seem like more than I can handle.
I feel close to my Heavenly Father because of my dependence on Him to make it through each day, and I simultaneously feel detached from any feeling at all because of sheer exhaustion.

I remember my mom watching a collection of family videos from the time in her life when she too had 5 small children, and I remember her commenting that at that point she was in a constant frenzy as she tried to do everything she needed to.
The remarkable thing, though, is that the frenzy was lost on me as a child.
I took it for granted that there would be clean clothing in my dresser drawers, my meals would be provided for me, and my school papers would be signed.
I can only hope the frenzy is lost on my children as well as I struggle to keep my head above water.

Tears sting my eyes pretty readily during these tender days...
sometimes tears of regret, but often tears of hope.
Like when I hear Lincoln say in his prayers, his little head buried in my lap, "thank Thee that I almost always get to cuddle Mommy during my prayers and that I love her so much."
Or when my kids are painting with watercolors and I discover that among the pictures set out to dry there is a picture of me holding a little boy's hand, big smiles on both our faces,
Or when I feel frustration because almost without fail when I kneel down to pray each morning I am interrupted with a thousand requests and I get the quiet reminder that these children are learning the value of prayer as they regularly walk into a room and find me on my knees.

How grateful I am for the assurance I have that God will take my feeble efforts as a mother and turn them into so much more.

(Pictures from about 2-3 weeks old)
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