Tuesday, February 26, 2013

So Good, So Bad

Oh you guys. We just got through the worst week of the year. That post I wrote about Monday being awful? That was just the tip of the iceberg. Wednesday was...wow. Everyone got the tummy bug except Brian and Bobby.

But I'm going to skip the gory details and instead just tell you that we are all now healthy and our house has been scrubbed and scoured from top to bottom and then three times over again.

Instead let's talk about going out in public with four children.

We have a tradition on Saturday mornings. Brian and I always get the good coffee from the coffee shop instead of making it at home and the kids, provided they had good behavior the night before, get some sort of breakfast treat; donuts, rolls, or the like.

Typically Brian and a few of the kids go out and pick up the goods and then we all enjoy at home. But this last Saturday we decided we were all in desperate need of a little time away from the confines of these four walls.

So we ventured out as a family. And, because we were really up for a challenge, we went to a very popular cafe right in the heart of a busy retail area of St. Paul. Parking our bus of a vehicle would be a challenge. Finding a table suitable for all six of us would be a challenge. And warding off any major meltdowns would probably be the biggest challenge of all.
The kids were fantastic.  Nearby patrons even commented.  At one point we crossed all of our little ducks at a very busy intersection.  William and Lucy were each holding a full cup of hot chocolate.  No one spilled a drop and they even avoided the huge puddles at the end of each curb.  We loaded everyone back in the car and Brian and I patted each other on the backs.  We were doing something right.

Did you see that couple that had the one child who was totaling melting down?  Not our four kids!  We're awesome!

And then...and then...

God humbled us to our knees.

We all went to church on Sunday.

We go to church every single Sunday but we don't always all go at the same time.  Many times we split it up and take one or two of the big kids with us.  But we try to make it a priority to go as a family at least once a month.  Once we're past this season of too many babies and toddlers this will be the norm.

William and Lucy have arrived at an age where they are both very good in church.  Except when we go as a family.  What is this phenomenon?!  It drives me crazy.  At the exact moment I'm dealing with one of the babies and I need them to just be on autopilot and expect them to carry themselves in an acceptable manner is the exact moment I spy, out of the corner of my eye, Lucy snatching up every single pamphlet in the pew and demolishing them with some stray pencil she found on the floor.

Then there's William who, in the loudest voice, is asking me what's for dinner that night.  I'm shushing him and bounce rocking the baby at the same time and it's like he can sense my desperation and just keeps tugging.  Just tell me, Mom!  Just tell me really quick!  Then I squeeze his arm, probably a little too tight, to let him know I mean business and he collapses at the perceived pain making a total spectacle for all those in the pews behind us to enjoy.  They're all ready to speed dial Child Protective Services after mass because it is totally obvious based on this little boy's reaction that he is abused all the time.

And then Bobby loads his pants so I have to leave Brian by himself to play goalie for all three kids throughout the homily.

And when it's time for the consecration, the most sacred part of the mass, is it the kneeling that cues Katherine to really turn it up a couple notches?

After we had received communion I took Katherine to the back of the church to let her walk around.  Keeping a 16-month-old contained is only fair for so long.  But somehow the other kids thought this was their signal to depart as well and with Brian too occupied in keeping Bobby content to notice, they made their exit.  So then I had all three of them stomping around back there.

Oh lord.  It was total mayhem.  And believe you me, they heard about it once we were in the privacy of our own vehicle.

It isn't like this every Sunday.  It isn't like this very often.  But when it is, it just feels awful to have every eye on you.

It was a nice reminder to me to be gentle about passing judgment on other kids' behavior I see in public.  We've all been there at one time or another.

My good friend Kali put it best when she said, "At this stage in life, God just expects you to show up."  Everything else is extra credit.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Today Will Be Better

These are the days they don't tell you about when you become a parent.

I already knew it was going to be a tough day.  William was off of school and my to-do list was long.

Then I walked into Katherine's room and instantly the smell hit me like a ton of bricks.

"Go get the phone!" I yelled to William.

It happened.  Throwup did not forget to stop at our house this winter.

I called Brian, who had left the house not a minute earlier.  He turned around and came home, knowing full well that caring for a puking one-year-old while also trying not to cross-contaminate a nursing newborn would be near impossible for even the superest of Super Moms.

We white-knuckled our way through the day.

William and Lucy each complained of aches and pains and tummyaches but Throwup did not pay them a visit.  Thank you, Jesus, for this act of compassion.

These are the days you don't think of when you say, Hey, let's have four kids!

But we survived the day and collapsed on the couch.  Unfortunately we collapsed on the couch to watch the season finale of Downton Abbey.  That did not provide relief on my anxious heart.

Early this morning William's dark figure stood at my bedside.  For a minute I thought I might need to get the clean up crew back to work.

"I feel better, Mom!"

And so went our morning.  Two off to school.  Two down for a morning nap.  And me, the Today Show and a lot of steaming coffee.

Yes, today will be better.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

These Days of Nothing and Everything

Oh these days. They are so long. And so boring. Yet so busy.

Just when I think I can't take it any longer, I blink and Bobby is almost eight weeks. And a whole new baby, I might add. Just smiling and snuggling and sleeping and NOT CRYING. It's awesome. And I'm in love.
I battled a stomach virus early last week.  It was my worst nightmare come true.  Brian stayed home from work all day and tried to pick up my slack.  It just wasn't a good situation.  The next day things were pretty much back to normal and THANK THE LORD so far no one else has caught the bug.

The hardest part of the day, which I'm sure every other mother in the world can agree with, is the 4-6 block of time.  Waiting for Dad to come home.  Everyone's tired.  Hungry.  Bored.  I've been trying to brighten everyone's mood with some YouTube music videos.  But oh my, how many Gangnam Style requests can one person handle?

So I mixed it up with some Steve Miller Band.  But now my kids are walking around the house singing: "I'm a smoker. I'm a joker.  I'm a midnight toker."

So Call Me Maybe it is then!

This is a picture from Bobby's baptism a week ago.
What cracks me up the most is those two little partners in crime over there on the left.  They really are quite the duo these days.  Getting into lotsa trouble but remaining best friends through it all.  It's almost like they've worked up their whole strategy beforehand.  "While Dad has one baby and Mom has the other, let's me and you go in the basement and trash the place!  We'll make it sound like we're really getting along and playing nice and then when Mom and Dad finally remember to come check on us, geez whiz will they ever be surprised to see what we've done!"
And then there's this little chica who is so totally toddler all of the sudden.  A little sassy and a little tantrum-y.  I hate to peg my kids, especially when they are so young, but she really has become a mini Lucy.  She's like Lucy lite.  The nice thing about going through this stage the third time around is that I know it's not bad-kid syndrome.  This too shall pass.  So I just sit back and have a little giggle when she throws herself on the floor for not being able to keep my cell phone as her very own possession.  Then I plop a steak in front of her and remember, oh yeah, you only have six teeth!  She's still my baby after all.

Every single night after dinner we load all the kids in the bath.  We mix it up.  Sometimes William takes a shower.  Sometime we do big kids first, then babies.  Sometimes I do just the boys then just the girls.

Last night I ran out of the bathroom to grab a towel and when I came back Brian had all four in the bath at once.  Which is funny because he's always the one complaining that there isn't enough room in that tub.

"Are you serious?" I said to him.

"Yep!" He said.

He left the room and I shouted to him to go get the camera.

"That's where I was going!"

Because we both thought the same thing when looked in that tub.  This is pure ridiculous-ness.  And also a little awesome.
I know Bobby is a little spaced out here but let's instead focus on the fact that I just posted three pictures of him in one post and he wasn't crying in a single shot.  Way to go Bobby boy!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Not Quick Takes

Good Friday morning to you all! We're all snuggled up in our jammies and fleeces and me with a hot cup of coffee on this negative ump-teen degree morning. I really need to make a Target run but decided that just wasn't prudent with three kids and the risk of immediate frost bite. So that will have to wait.

I'm not going to write Quick Takes today. Mostly because if I do that would mean I have two Quick Takes in a row making it all the more apparent that I haven't blogged all week and I just can't have that kind of in-your-face proof that I could never be a real blogger.

It was a busy week. It's Catholic Schools Week which is always fun for the kiddos. They get to come out of uniform for all sorts of wacky and fun theme days. But does anyone else find hunting down the perfect attire for these special days a bit stressful?

Thursday was Color Day which meant each grade was assigned to wear a certain color. The Preschoolers were supposed to wear green and the Kinders were supposed to wear purple. If this would have been flip flopped it would have been fine. But trying to find green in Lucy's wardrobe and purple in William's deemed impossible. In the end we borrowed a Vikings jersey from a neighbor for William (How my child has no Vikings gear is beyond me!) and because Lucy threw a fit at the thought of wearing one of her older brother's shirts, well, she just wore a dress that had not one speck of green in it. But that's just Lucy for you. Always living life outside the lines and not caring a lick what anyone thinks about it.

I feel like I should give you an update on Bobby. Because raise your hands if you thought my absence from this here blog was because I was standing on a bridge somewhere ready to jump?

I kid.

He is doing leaps and bounds better as far as the nonstop crying thing goes. Today he is six weeks old and he finally seems to have come alive. He will now sit in his bouncy or swing and is content to interact with his mobile. He is very responsive and extremely verbal for a one-month-old. William was the same way and we all know how that turned out. Mr. Talks-ALL-THE-TIME. Great. Doesn't look like our house will be getting any quieter any time soon.

After I gave him a bath yesterday I dressed him in a real outfit instead of the sleep sacks and footie pajamas he's been living in since he was born.
I know I'm the mom but I think he's getting cuter by the minute.  It was touch and go for a while there.  But maybe that was just because he was always red-faced screaming.

This weekend is his baptism.  We're not having a big ol' party and I only feel a little guilty about this.  It's tough to have a slew of people over to our house in the middle of winter because we only have so much square footage to work with when the backyard is closed for the season.  I thought about reserving a room somewhere but working out all the details of food and drink didn't seem like a manageable project for me to tackle right now.  So it will just be grandparents and godparents and brunch at a local restaurant afterward.

Which brings me to my next challenge.  I have no idea what to wear.  Without a party it's a bit more casual.  But it's still a baptism with pictures that will be looked at forever.  A dress isn't a option because these whitey-white legs should be seen by no one at this time.  I thought about leggings with a tunic but then remembered that it's near impossible to breastfeed in public while wearing a tunic.  I guess I could do boring black dress pants but I'm not even sure my pre-pregnancy ones will fit me yet.

It looks like a Saturday afternoon shopping trip is in order because, as always, it's all about me.  Send me suggestions if you have them!
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