Saturday, August 31, 2013

mother and daughter

How I love this girl.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

how I spent my (almost) mommy vacation

As I've mentioned, my four oldest children have been gone for a few days.  In fact, they've been gone for 10 days.  So it's been a bit of a mommy vacation.  Well, sort of.  There were still diapers and laundry and naptimes and tantrums, but having soley a 19-month-old on my hands is undeniably different from parenting five young souls.  Now that my almost vacation is drawing to an end, I thought I'd reflect on how I spent my time...

~I dropped my remaining child off at a friend's for a few hours.
That's right!  For six hours Gabe played, lunched, and napped happily at a friend's house while I was free as a bird.  I could putter, work, relax, or clean as I saw fit.  And I did a little of everything.

~I fermented food.
Sauerkraut, beets, dilly beans, name it (nearly), I fermented it. In fact, the mason jar situation in our home became a bit dire.  You know you're doing a lot of work when there's a mason jar shortage.

~I enjoyed my shining, mostly-clean floor.
Yeah, sure, my floor got some crumbs, scrambled egg, and the like dropped on it.  But mostly it stayed lovely.  No water drips, no wiped-up kombucha smears, no popsicle drips.  Nice and shiny.

~I went to the mall.
Elise and I have mother/daughter photos coming up soon.  I finalized our clothing and all of those details.  So. Much. Fun.

~I bought myself flowers.
Sunflowers.  Because you can take a girl out of Kansas, but you can't take the Kansas out of the girl.  They were so pretty on my dining room table!

~I tried kelp noodles for the first time.
Look.  A girl can only eat so many zucchini noodles before she starts to think she's going to lose her mind.  The kelp noodles were a good experiment.  The verdict?  Pretty good.  A bit chewy, but pretty good, especially dressed up with crunchy veg and a sunuttery dressing. (HERE is the recipe, if you're interested.)

~I enjoyed the slower pace of life.
Let's face it, things slowed way down in my house.  Less laundry, less mess, less running of the dishwasher.  My husband and I took walks, watched movies, and enjoyed more quiet times together.  It was nice to slow down a bit.  Even so...

~I missed my kids desperately.
There wasn't a day when I didn't miss them, think about them, wonder what they were doing.  I missed their smiles, their hugs, and their stories.  These young fry are a huge piece of my heart, and when they're away from me like this, my heart aches.

So happy they're coming home today!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dear Gabriel...

Dear Gabriel,

First, thank you for honoring our verbal agreement on that day last week that you'd take a super duper nap today. I would also like to point out how happy, charming, and polite you can be when you are *well-rested.* Let's keep all this in mind for the future, shall we? It's definitely worth some consideration, son.

Dear Gabriel, I know you miss your siblings. When you see a photo of them (or even one which reminds you of them), you always smile and say their names. Our house has been much quieter than usual, little love. But they're coming home soon. Home to thrill you with their antics, play with you, and help you. I'm sure your sister will be doting on you again in no time. It won't be much longer, sweet boy.

Dear Gabriel, did you enjoy your first visit to Tiny Tots storytime at the library? I'm so glad we had a chance to go. I loved taking the older boys, but after a certain point it seemed too hard. Maybe we'll try it again one of these days, and the older kids can bring books to look at in the corner of the room. We'll see.

However, I stand by what I said after we got home from that library trip: 90 minutes is just too long to keep a toddler at the library. It wasn't pretty at the end, was it? Next time we'll be more efficient in our book-selecting.

Dear Gabriel, when I don't understand you the first time you say something, it really doesn't help to whisper when you repeat yourself. Trust me.

Dear Gabriel, we've had a fun time, you and I, haven't we? We've gone on a ton of walks, we've played outside, we've gone on adventures. We've read books and visited friends and "organized" the study together. Your enthusiasm for life never fails to brighten my day. You are a joy, a gift, and I'm so glad the Lord blessed our family with you!

That said, I'm unspeakably thankful that you're sleeping so much better these days. There were times when I thought that first year was going to absolutely do me in. But now I can look at those days with something like perspective, and I can see that it was all worth it. Every minute.

And so, my darling toddler, my charming, maddening toddler, thanks for spending time with me this past week. Here's to many more adventures!


Monday, August 5, 2013

what we saw on Friday afternoon

Yes, we're waiting to learn baby's gender until the birth...again.