Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shelby the Chubmuffin

Shelby (commonly referred to as "Lebby" by big sister Danica, or "Lebby-Lu" by the rest of us) is now 8 and a half months old, and is officially the biggest of our babies. She tips the scale at a full 20lbs. 4oz., and while she's short (duh....Dad and Mom aren't even on the tall side of average), she wears every little ounce well! Check out this pic, snapped last week, wearing a medium Green Acre Designs cloth diaper that is now too small....and a size 12 months lap tee that is so strained that it rolls up on her like her socks roll down! (Please pardon the stain...she decided to christen the bright-white tee with some pureed sweet potatoes that she'd had quite enough of, thank you very much!)

We do love to show off those new chompers--if only she could find a way to show you the top two, I'm sure she would!

Ah, yes....hugeness in action....Shelby's favorite bathrime trick, using all of her weight to throw around every drop of water in the sink! She loves making waves--and it is a pretty handy time to mop up the floor when she's done, because for heaven's sake...the floor is already soaking wet from the tsunami she causes!

...On being exhausted

I do some of my best thinking when I'm tired. True enough, insomnia has, on more occasions than I care to count, had me doing nothing BUT thinking. However, that's not the point. There are times when the lack of sleep clogs the mind, and yet there are other times when that lack of sleep can really bring the obvious to the forefront of your mind and REALLY make you ponder what needs to be pondered.

I've been doing a lot of that lately.

Because I've been doing a lot of 'tired' stuff lately.

I suppose, as in any other area of life, there are two ways to deal with exhaustion--defeat or perserverance. I can choose to lay down on the couch and give in to the weight pulling down on me (and my eyelids), or I can choose to work through it. I'm sticking with the latter....partially because I have a brood of little ones pulling at me from every direction who simply will NOT tolerate Mom being too tired for anything....but mostly because if I gave in to being exhausted, I'd never get anything done. What's odd is that I'm finding myself rejuvinated in the very activities that I was dreading because of the energy required of my worn-out body. Funny how that works.

I'll admit; I've found myself next to unconscious, not even rocking in the rocking chair as I've put Shelby to sleep now and then. And there was Monday, when I was so tired that I fell asleep sitting UP on the couch while Morgan and"did my hair". A little word of advice--don't ever fall asleep while a four-and-five-year-0ld have your hair at their mercy! It's not pretty. For the most part, though, the overwhelming nature of sleep deprivation hasn't overtaken me but a handful of times. I don't suppose it will, no matter how long this phase of life lasts. Just when I think I can't go a single minute more, I get a good bit of rest from my few hours' sleep, and I wake up raring to go.

Yesterday was one of those days. I finished the revisions on my Home Management Binder, got at least the rest of the girls' soft-cover schoolbooks stickered and covered with Contact paper, got the laundry caught up, and did several other tasks that have been falling through the cracks. Today, I probably won't get as much done, but I do thank God for the good days--I manage to get enough done to stay on top of everything!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An interesting life lesson? YAY!

When **I** was asked to watch the kiddos that we kept several months ago when they first arrived here till their dad got settled in (mom was in basic training) a couple of weeks ago, I was less than thrilled. First, it kind of rubbed me funny that they'd hired a live-in nanny so they could have child care round the clock...and yet they really just hired the first gullible person without truly knowing her character. It also rubbed me sideways that the mom felt the need to tell me (who she'd met minutes before) her life story and how horrible the whole situation was....all while standing in my kitchen tossing out ridiculous comments about how many kids we have and how they "figured out what caused that and fixed it". However, I'm a sucker for desperate situations, so I did something I thought would benefit several people--I volunteered Kelsey for the job of full-time babysitting for two weeks, at THEIR house (because Lord knows I'd have gone nuts with her wild trio in my house--I can handle chaos, but not children who scream bloody murder at the mere mention of the word "no" and who have no concept of boundaries or authority at all). Kelsey is saving up for a mission trip to Panama this summer, and the job would cover most of her expenses, plus the kids would have a well-trained babysitter!

I didn't anticipate the reward of having Kelsey learn some seriously valuable lessons in what real dysfunctional families look like! She made a little mention the night they hired her about how "cool" the mom was and how she was really easy to be around.....but that was a 17-year-old's front-page perspective. Lo and behold, when Kelsey saw that "cool" mom who could hang with the young gals in place as a wife and mother, the immaturity came pouring out like sweat in a sauna! Kelsey has never witnessed a wife verbally bashing her husband like she's seen the last week and a half, and she's absolutely floored at some of the comments that this "cool" mom makes. She also laments the fact that her babysitting job is made twice as difficult because the kids' bedrooms are off-limits to them (I don't really understand why, other than not wanting to clean them up) and they have only one room to play in--the living room--and all of their toys are in the garage, which right now is too chilly to play in!

Oh, the IRONY.....all of a sudden, Kelsey is coming home wanting her little sisters to hang all over her, because she MISSED them! And folks, she comes into our house of four little squealy girls just singing the praises of how QUIET it is here and how she is so glad Pete and I don't treat each other the way "cool" mom and her husband do!

HILARIOUS!!! (In a sad, sad, way, of course)

Ah, one more to chalk up to the lessons Mom never had to give her--yesterday, when Kelsey mentioned the new-to-us van upgrade (from my awesome Sienna to a postitively ginormous land-yacht 15-passenger Ford maxi-van) in conversation, "cool" mom did something a bit out of "cool" character--she "went off" about how crazy it is that a dual-income family like theirs can be struggling like they are with just three kids but a "HUGE" family with only one income can somehow manage to not just do fine, but thrive. Kelsey actually picked up on the fact that "cool" mom was bringing in a huge bag from their night-before shopping trip, feeding the kids a ton of prepackaged convenience foods, ordering take-out, and plunking the 5-year-old down in front of the X-Box and his new game so she could have a moment's peace while she was ranting about how bad off they were financially. Good catch, Kelsey!

Really, folks, big families are not all that awful. Sometimes, the peace of closeness is obvious to anyone who dares to look past the "noise" of kids playing together; putting things and material gain second to what makes life worthwhile exemplifies that contentment that Paul referred to as "great gain". I am SO GLAD that my kids are finally picking up on that!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Maybe we'll shake things up a bit?

We're not sure about a name for this little one yet, and that usually means one thing...we'll change it another ten times before she's born. So...maybe we'll just do things a tad different this time around, since it's likely to be the last time.

How about we just don't announce ANYTHING about the baby's name till she's born? Yes, we'd sort of "settled" on Ella, then Kasey-something, but....prolly not!

You'll have to wait another, oh, fifteen weeks to find out who this little one will be! Yep, you too, Grandma! In fact, we're not even telling her sibs what her name will be, so no trying to be sneaky!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

COMMUNICATE, people!!!

For the third day in a row, our entire household has been awakened (very loudly) at 6:20am because the couple that Kelsey is babysitting for this week and next can't manage to TALK to each other. One will send Kelsey a text saying she's going to pick her up at 7, but since hubby never got the he is, ringing the doorbell and getting the dog barking at 6:20. NO ONE has gone back to sleep. One day would have been understandable; when it happened a second time, it was a pain. Today, the wife picked Kelsey up before 6 (without the dog barking, I might add), but FORGOT to tell her husband not to pick her at 6:20, dog barking and doorbell ringing (not just once like civilized human beings, but over and over and over), I trudged downstairs in my jammies, with no glasses, carrying a screaming baby, to tell him that his babysitter was already AT HIS HOUSE.

Funny, the whole idea of Kelsey going over there this early every day was to make sure that THEIR kids didn't have to get up before the THEIR 3-year-old and 1-year-old are pretty well rested. Us? Not so much. RUDE, folks, just RUDE!!!!

Would it hurt to maybe get the plan together before the sun goes down the night before?

Rant over. I now return you to your regularly scheduled blogreading.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring De-Clutter Project #2

The backyard! Shoot, might as well be the whole yard, really....the toy overload in the back has spilled out in all directions, so it was beyond time to get it tackled. You know, I thought of making each of these projects a "Tackle It Tuesday" dealie, but it would take me FOREVER to get it all done, so no way, Jose! I'm on a bit of a time crunch lately; I don't feel like getting stuck with a preggo-whale belly in the middle of the icky Alabama summer trying to get this house in order before the baby comes. PLUS....I just found out yesterday that my "What? I tell you before things actually happen!" hubby and his sister have planned a mini-reunion HERE at our house NEXT MONTH for their mother's birthday! Okay, no problem. His mom has two granddaughters she's never met, and his sister has FOUR neices she's never met, so it's pretty much time for a visit like this, but wow. Give a girl a clue, willya?

Alrighty, then, no worries, just on to the next project. We needed to get the backyard cleaned up, because the weather is finally warming up enough for the kiddos to play outside, and they are going stir crazy! We've got a sandbox (that up till today needed a home and sand) and hope to add a smallish swingset in the next month or two so the older girls can go outside and play safely in our yard while I'm tied to the inside taking care of a baby or making dinner. Problem was....the canopy we bought last year has been not only collecting the increasingly abundant rainwater from every storm we've had these last few weeks, but it's also been ripped, pulled apart, and relocated about six feet to the northeast! The toys underneath are woefully neglected and seem to be growing new forms of mold (shade, dampness, and cool air combine to form some interesting science projects) and the girls just don't want to go back there. Neither do we, to be honest. It's ugly, and since our backyard faces the street, we've pretty much got our dirties out there for the whole neighborhood to see.
Today, that's all gone. Thanks to Kelsey (my arm is almost totally numb today, I'm next to useless on one side for over-the-head stuff), the canopy is now down and in pieces ready for the trash pickup tomorrow. All of the mildewy, moldy toys are gone (also awaiting the garbage truck), and the sandbox now has a home, sandy contents, and a purpose! The girls are loving it, and I am too!
Oh, and since I didn't get them done the other day, here's pics of the newly diet-ized bookshelves....lookie there, I actually have a whole shelf with nothing on it! And yes, the cat has overtaken the dog's bed...
The "school" shelf--newly rearranged to make room for extra-tall Sonlight Core books!
I wonder what else I can de-junk!? Gotta get Easter (and the Lads to Leaders Convention) over with first, but I'm on a roll and I'm not about to slow down!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I did it!!!!

I'm in shock; Kelsey is in shock; Pete is beside himself....but my bookshelves are almost audibly breathing a sigh of relief!!! If Kelsey hadn't killed my camera battery videotaping her speech over and over again, I'd have pictures, but I'm SOOOOO glad I did it! I've got one big, tall shelf for scrapbook/hobby/cookbook stuff; one big, tall shelf for school books (with enough empty space on it to allow for some storage of extra supplies too!), and I managed to weed out enough of the Bible-help books that we'll never use to get all of our Bible references on one small shelf in the hallway! I feel so organized!

And hey, I am definitely going to be bringing at least three milk-crates full of homeschool helps and literary classic-type stuff (not to mention the two boxes (is it two??) full of curriculum that has been toted to and from Europe TWICE now) to the NACS meeting Monday, for any of you in-town gals who are interested in cluttering up your shelves to help me rid my own! Ooh....I need to go through the girls' closet too!

I'm on a roll! Umm...this can't be nesting already, can it?

The battle of the books

I think after all these years of dragging boxes and boxes (and boxes, and boxes) of STUFF around, I've reached my breaking point. As Pete and I look to the not-so-distant future of finally settling into a house that we plan on living in for a good, long while, the daunting task of finding a place big enough for all of our STUFF brings reality to the forefront. We've got a lot of STUFF.

I'll be the first to admit, I have a problem when it comes to books. I don't just collect them; I tend toward hoarding. I'm like the crazy cat lady of books--if someone has a castoff, I'll take it and give it a new home on my shelf. Not such a bad thing--I do read most of them--but the problem lies in the fact that my shelf overfloweth. Shelves, I should say. Oh, and nevermind I still have homeschool books that didn't work for us when we started homeschooling eleven years ago. Why did I keep them? I haven't the foggiest idea.

Today, I'm going to do something I've not even considered humanly possible--I'm purging my shelves. I'm going to make the decision (that Pete's been asking me to make for years) to dedicate our schooling to ONE curriculum, and get rid of the STUFF that I'm never going to use or is just taking up space needed for something more pertinent.

Wish me luck; this is no small undertaking!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook, 4/6/09

FOR TODAY, April 6, 2009...

Outside my window... It is dreary, windy, and the air has an odd chill to it that is a stark contrast to the warmth we've had the last few days.

I am thinking... way too much. My mind is tired.

I am thankful for... all the blessings that seem to crowd my mind lately. Funny thing about blessings, they always come with a hefty amount of responsibility, whether the blessing is in the form of children, material wealth, or even friends! You can't ever just "have" something in this life.

From the learning rooms... Kelsey is working on memorizing her speech for the Lads to Leaders Convention this weekend, and I am spending just far too much time in thought and planning for our next school year. You'd think after eleven years of this it would be easy. Not so much!

From the kitchen... I have to cook? Oops, I guess that's another thing to add to my to-do list. Meal planning and grocery shopping.

I am wearing... yoga pants and a tee. Comfy is the rule today.

I am creating... well, not much. I'm not feeling very creative today. Maybe tomorrow?

I am going... to take Kelsey for her eye doctor's appointment this afternoon, and then go grocery shopping. Other than that, it's just too icky outside to be anywhere but inside!

I am reading... Teaching the Trivium, The Well-Trained Mind, and The Organized Homeschooler. Notice a trend? Must be planning time again.

I am hoping... to somehow rid myself of the need to do EVERYTHING--it's as much of an addiction as any other, I'm afraid.

I am hearing... Shelby fussing because she doesn't want to be in her crib, where I left her when she woke up as soon as I laid her down. I suppose one of these days she'll learn how to sleep?

Around the house... are piles of laundry in need of putting away. Pretty typical for a Monday.

One of my favorite things... lately? Sleep. It's in short supply.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Finish getting the girls' two bedrooms arranged to my satisfaction. So far, so good. We picked up four of the fabric "baskets" for the cube-shelf doohickey in Morgan/Jamie's room, and a toybox/bookshelf for the school/craft room. Getting all of the teeny-kiddo toys out where the littles can play with them while I'm working with the middles will certainly be helpful, and not having to trip over blankets and toys on the way to Shelby's crib in the middle of the night would certainly be nice!

Here is picture thought I am sharing... Shelby is already (at a week under 8 months) pulling up on everything she can! Sure, it would be nice if she was walking before this new baby is born, but GOODNESS!!!! You'd think she'd want to at least crawl first!

Many thanks to Peggy for hosting The Simple Woman's Daybook!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dinner and a funny

Our kids never cease to provide entertainment, even in the most neutral of places! Kelsey dropped us again last night in favor of bowling with her buddies and their parents (Notice we weren't invited??? What's THAT all about?), so Pete and I took the opportunity to go out to eat without our priciest family member. I'm not being mean, folks....honest to goodness, Kelsey is notorious for ordering meals that equal two or three of what Pete or I order! Anyway, since we're cheap and the three littles are kinda difficult to please, we chose a safe restaurant--Shoney's. I knew they had catfish on their Friday night buffet, and Pete is a big catfish fan. Me? Well, I wanted me some shrimp!

The food wasn't five-star, but it was better (and more abundant) than a similarly-priced meal at Captain D's a few weeks ago. Shelby shocked us both by actually sitting IN the high chair almost the entire meal, and even ate some mashed potatoes, COLLARD GREENS (gotta love those Southern babies!), a wee bite or two of catfish that Daddy snuck in, and some peaches.

The delight of the entire night, however, and loud enough to be heard by everyone around us, was a quip Jamie made after Pete told the girls how proud he was of their behavior during dinner. Jamie got up from her seat, went over to Pete, and with a big hug, said, "Daddy, I'm proud of you too, you did a good job eating all that food and sitting still in your seat!"

The table behind us broke into rolling laughter. Pete couldn't stop laughing for almost five minutes.

Oh my. You gotta love these little people!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's a.....

Girl! Again. Funny, I knew exactly what everything on that ultrasound was this time around. When Pete and Kelsey both gasped as a little segment of umbilical cord popped up between baby's legs, I knew that it wasn't a boy....poor Pete.

OH.....and just when we thought we had chosen a beautiful, classical (and not race-car-related!) name for our little pink one, we find out that Ella is the name of Jeff Gordon's daughter. Pete had a hissy fit (he detests Jeff Gordon) and said, "That's it....Kasey's back in the lineup!"

We shall see. Apparently we're NOT finished with the name game, because Ella is just not going to work at all. Maybe we should just wait till she's born to figure this all out.


Nope, no baby news yet, I've still got two hours. Longest two hours of.....well, no, not of my life. The last two hours of labor is pretty long!'s amazing what a difference a day makes, especially when you get almost ten hours of SLEEP!!!!!! Sleep is good. Sleep makes one very well refreshed and much better able to face a day! No, Shelby didn't sleep through the night, and I didn't sleep past 8am, but when she got up at 2 and at 6, she went back to sleep, which is a VERY good thing for this sleep-deprived mom!

Yes, I'm wasting time. I'm jittery. I'm anxious. I'm a MESS! This may (okay, if Pete sticks to his guns, it WILL) be our last baby, and I am just dying to know if we'll have bookend boys. We've got our names picked out and ready (with one slight change on the girls' name)--Benjamin Charles for a boy (Benjamin means "son of my right hand"--and Pete is only using his right hand these days, hahaha!!--and Charles because Chuck just needs a namesake, right Jill?) and Ella Marie for a girl. My two grandmothers who passed from this life in the last few years were both Mary E., so we turned it around and chose to name a girl E. Marie...and Ella is a just-shortened version of my great-grandmother Della's name, plus it means "entire". Fitting, either way!

Soo.....all ye who are bored, what say ye? Will it be a Benjamin or an Ella?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

As April Fools' jokes go.......

This was a pretty simple one. Just wait till an anxious 20-week-pregnant mom is getting herself ready to leave for the ultrasound to call and tell her that the ultrasound technician is sick and that we'll have to wait yet another day.....

One more day, right?


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