How do you measure a quarter of a year? On any given day of 2017 I’ve felt like I’ve been hanging on by my fingertips… but I can look back in awe already and appreciate that I’m here and smiling with a whole pile of memories and personal triumphs, if I count picking myself up after I fall as a triumph. And I do. 🙂
Mostly I’ve had some minor victories over my tendencies towards impatience, selfishness and perfectionism, but also I’ve had the chance to be resourceful, develop greater empathy and live by faith. (That’s another way to say these past few months have rocked my world.)
Some days have been full to bursting and some nights have been long and heartbreaking, but they would all be a blur without the photos I took here and there and my 10 year journal. Thank goodness for habits.
Let’s see if I can tell these months’ story through numbers. Most are firsts for us!
1 set of house plans (finally) approved. Well, approved by me and Scott anyway. Surely we must be pickier than the city? 😉
After failing to find any floor plan that fit our family, we started with a blank piece of paper. Remember Harry Potter’s blood quill in detention with the detestable Delores Umbridge? I feel like maybe our floor plan ultimately got drawn up with one of those. It was so painful by the end to figure out that balance of easy-to-clean, super functional for a large homeschooling family, beautiful, and not-so-expensive. Now we have breathed a huge sigh of relief and are ready for the easy* part: building!
*If this part is, as I suspect, not in fact easy… please don’t mention it yet. Ignorance is fewer gray hairs for now.
2 extra kiddos we’ve been hosting through Safe Families for Children.
~7 weeks we’ve been a “family” of 8.
1st time in my life at the grocery store when someone has told me I had my hands full that I totally agreed with them.
6 kids 9 and under is a lot.
The short story is: I had an appointment to apply for a loan for the construction of our dream home and I ended up canceling it because we got a call just an hour beforehand from a single mom who was losing her apartment and her children and needed immediate help to keep her family intact. Boom. Perspective on a platter. It was a tremendous and humbling opportunity for us to center our attention on what matters most (relationships, souls, families) and let what matters less (mudroom dimensions) take a backseat.
10 weeks Scott has been doing P90X3 without missing a day. I’m truly impressed, considering that lots of my own goals have been jettisoned in the last few months as I’ve tried to stay afloat.
11pm is the time I try to be in bed by.
2 nights this year I’ve actually been in bed by 11.
8 times I loaded (and unloaded) all the kids into (and out of) the car this past Wednesday. It shall henceforth be known as Black Wednesday in the memories of us all. School pickup and drop off for one of our guest kids, Joy School for Daniel, a meeting with our builder and draftsman, and a church activity for Mackenzie. Each activity seemed good in isolation but was too much for everyone in sum.
2 soccer balls that have rolled down our heinous driveway so far this year. One was recovered several blocks away. It’s the fourth one since we’ve moved here that has been lost and subsequently found, which is amazing since we really do live on a layer of hills. Our new driveway will not be treacherously steep. Just sayin’.
1 dropped and smashed dish, 1 dropped and spilled container of brown sugar, countless epic meltdowns by various children, 2 wet pairs of pants, 1 broken dishwasher, 1 leaky roof, 1 broken water pipe, countless squabbles amongst children when you factor in there are 15 different
relationships potentials for conflicts between the 6 of them and they’re all sharing toys and space and beds, 2 days spent sledding down our heinous glorious driveway on cereal boxes, 1 water fight outside that turned a flour fight(!), lots of prayers for the mother of our guest kids, 1 homeschool spelling bee coordinated, 1 Sunday on time for church and many Sundays late despite giving it my best effort.
1 attempt to french braid kinky hair (she promptly took it out so she wouldn’t have to go to school ‘like that’. Doh. 🙂 Apparently I’m supposed to ignore her when she says it hurts and just braid tighter!
1 week long “whale spout” hair style for Josie courtesy of our guest 4 year old who thought the diaper cream was hair grease and gave Josie a good application of it while I was in the shower.
2 pig tails courtesy of Josie’s adorable mullet.
4 times my friends have saved my (vegetarian) bacon with last-minute babysitting when I was in a tight spot. Twice I had extra kids for them to take care of and they welcomed them with open arms.
Hundreds of great books read. This is a constant in our family and an anchor when life gets crazy. We’ve read piles of picture books and a good number of great chapter books already this year. Specifically, Jim Dale’s reading of Peter Pan has me laughing every time we get in the car. Also Mary Poppins, Where the Red Fern Grows, A Little Princess with Caitlyn, The Princess and the Goblin with Mackenzie, The Jungle Book, and more. Sharing stories together is priceless and has really helped us envelop the extra kids into our family culture.
For me to remember: When I felt pretty helpless to “save” this sweet family from being split up, I tried to focus on what I could do. Give the kids love and security in our home, primarily, but also I helped the 7 year old become a confident reader. She was struggling and set to finish 2nd grade believing she couldn’t read. We turned that right around together and with hard work on her part she’s now a voracious reader. I hope it takes her far.
1 visit to the temple, seeking peace. I found it there, as I always do.
1 opportunity for Mackenzie to sing in Germanic Latin. She performed Carmina Burana with Willamette Master Chorus (including Scott), a live orchestra and live dancers. It was a treat for all of us.
1 dream come true: In case you haven’t heard it from her (and you probably have), Caitlyn is now an actual real live ballerina. We watched the documentary First Position a while back and she’s had stars in her eyes ever since. When we finally signed up for a class I think the whole world knew where Caitlyn would be on Tuesday afternoon. We have had lots of discussion about how this is ballet and not talk-et but judging by my peeks through the window she’s still getting plenty of chat time in the studio. 😉
1 new Bean Reader! Daniel finally finished up his 100 Easy Lessons and boy were we all excited. I gave it my best effort to be consistent and it still took far more days to get those lessons in than it did for his older siblings. But hey, being third in line has its perks. He had encouragement from his older sisters helping him to the end.
(See that little handful of cold cereal by his knees? Yep, those came to some of our longer lessons.)
1 photo flashback captured when I realized that this little darling was wearing the same dress (in a similar church lobby) as her big sister did 8 short years ago:
Dancing in the lobby doesn’t last forever, except in pictures. Thank goodness for pictures.