Wrenches in the Gears

In my household, the unexpected is to be expected. Very cliché I know, and not at all original, but I was at a loss of a better way to describe it. You see, with nine individual people in the house, someone is bound to throw a wrench in the gears.

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day Breakfast, complete with omelet and tea.

Last Sunday there were at least two women who would have noticed that I did not write anything; they are my mother and my mother-in-law. To you two, I offer in writing my profound apologies. I have been told that writers are lazy by nature… well, they’re right. BUT, in my defense I have been quite busy with Pre-Mothers Day, Mother’s Day, and a whole brigade of viruses that we thought had been defeated two weeks ago; but were really laying in wait for us to drop our guard and open the windows. Sneaky little assassins.

Out of a clear sky the younger boys were struck with the flu, again. Through a busy week Wife did battle with her miniature foe, and finally succumbed herself, again. Unfortunately when Wife was laid up with the flu, it happened to be the weekend that some of her extended family was arriving at her parents’ house. The following day I threw in the wrench by catching the same bug. Two weeks planning for this reunion and my family got sick, one… at… a… time…Down for the count

And so I move on. It’s in my caricature to hold on and ride out the storm. But Wife on the other hand steams onward through thick and thin on a steady course. While Wife was down I carried on with the care of the children. When Wife was back up she not only set to right the house I had neglected but also the children I had not neglected. With the skill of a watch smith and the finesse of a drill sergeant, she set her skills to work pulling wrenches out of all points of the house and children. With an energy previously unaccounted for, she set all to proper working order.

I stayed in bed with my flu and kept my wrenches to myself.

A Flu Week in a Single Night

With all the seasons I could get stuck with, ski season, duck season, football season, swim season, or even planting season, but no I was stuck with a late flu season. Of itself and because of Wife, flu season is usually not a trouble because of her incredible gifts of organization. When the flu hits us the cards most often fall like so:

 

1-     One child gets the flu (nine times out of ten, it is the preschooler)

2-     One or more come down with the same virus while Wife has the first on the mend.

3-     One to three children are sick at a time as the flu makes its run through the house. Between sick kids healing meals, Wife some how keeps the laundry caught up.

4-     The one who brought the flu home in the fist place catches it on the rebound just to monopolize Wife once more.

5-     I catch the flu on the weekend and get Wife’s undivided attention.

 

A week of the flu season – max.

Now here’s what happened. Wednesday Wife calls to inform me that she will require help that night as she is unwell. I am amicable. As I did help create the children; I, with great vigor, will endeavor to take charge of my beloved’s responsibilities of the children through one night. She however neglected to tell me that she was not the only one ill.

I found four children complaining of “stummy aches” and the last three just plain sick. I could handle that though. Wife does it all the time. All I have to do is do what she does. So, taking a leaf out of her book, I went to lay out blankets on the floor of the living room so they could watch a movie to take their minds off their illness. So…… where does Wife keep the blankets?sick children in a row

I gathered the children and bunched them all together. I figured that way when a child started throwing-up I would be able to find the kid. I did not have long to wait.

I was wakened from a dead sleep by a “Mom!!! So-n-so threw-up!”

#1 left a trail of vomit from the kitchen all the way into the bathroom. That just about set the tone for the night. As soon as the carpet was cleaned and #1 was back on the couch #5 began throwing-up down his shirt and onto his pillow. That was when I almost added my own contribution to the mess.

Understand; as I am writing about vomit covered pillows, I am trying not to get queasy myself.

At one point in the night, while I was changing #6’s pajamas Wife got up to help clean the bedding, and was quickly chased back by her own stomach cramps.Sick mess of children

I confess, I now believe Wife to be made of something equal to cast iron. Twice, I ran from a child in order to calm my own stomach. There was a huge pile of vomit caked blankets and sheets in the laundry room. And the pile of sick kids in the front room resembled a kind of blanket covered mass grave.

To put the matter in a nutshell – we had an entire flu week condensed into one night; and I was in charge. How did we survive?

 

Sand piles

king of the hillImagine a gigantic mountain of golden sand, the finest of grains tumbling between your toes. A rolling sandy slide on the other side promising to fill your shorts up.follow me The treasures hidden just beneath the surface if you only dig down far enough. The clean grains that fall right off you and don’t stick to your hands like clay or mud. The fresh smell that a pile of sand gives off after it has been recently turned.  On top of the artificial hill you feel like you are on top of world itself. You can now imagine what my children feel like.

Race ya to the top of which peak?

Race ya to the top of which peak?

Now imagine all your children engaged in a free-for-all brawl on top a pile of unstable dirt complete with rocks and all kinds of unsavory subterranean insects. Multiple blonde heads have transformed into chestnut brown. Their little faces are sporting raccoon-rings around their eyes. There is dirt in pants, dirt in diapers, and dirt in eyes. You have lumps on heads from rocks, scraped knees from rocks, and stubbed toes from rocks. You have a crying baby, weeping children, and all around mayhem. You can now imagine what Wife feels like.

Imagine now a bathtub full of dirty, giggling children all splashing each other while desperately avoiding their mother as she makes the shampoo rounds. There are children scrubbing, squirming, splashing, as well as screeching, squealing, screaming. Wife is scolding one for splashing water out of the tub at the same moment as she vigorously shampoos out all of the dirt that was dumped into the hair of the younger sibling. The children are dried, dressed, and sent to bed. And on the way to bed I hear one child say to another, “Tomorrow, lets play in the sand pile again.” There is agreement all around. You can now imagine what a warm spring evening feels like in our home.

Truth be told, if not for Wife, the children would not get bathed.Dirt fort

My Tall Glass of Water

In the dead of night I rolled over with a dry throat, groping in the dark for my glass of water. I grabbed a hand full of air several times before realizing it was not there. My bedside lamp was switched on and my suspicions were verified; the glass was missing. So I walked to my bathroom sink under the impression that I left my glass there at bedtime. I found the sink conspicuously clean. I was forced to get a new glass.A Tall Glass of Water

As I walked by the girls’ bedrooms I turned a bleary eye onto the first pair of sleeping girls, and then the second; they were the cause of my missing glass of water. Those little innocent sleeping faces hidden under tangles of blonde hair did not fool me. I knew what they really were, highly trained operatives of their mother; skilled in the arts of house cleaning with a specialty in cleaning up behind their father.

BabysitterAt one moment I am finishing my meal, and the next my plate has been whisked away before I have a chance to dish up a second helping. I am (by necessity) very possessive of my dishes, shooing off the girls from my place while Wife has them loading the dishwasher. Unfortunately I rarely watch out for my glass of water at my bedside.

Wife is a stern commander of our children who puts up with absolutely no excuses; as evidence of the girls near perfect execution of their expected tasks. Her highly effective regiment produces only the finest of young ladies. These miniature homemakers make the seemingly impossible task of seven children a remarkably light load. I speak from experience, “many hands make for light work.”

Anyway, #4 was uncovered, and so was #1 in the next room. I pulled their blankets back over them before turning to the kitchen for a clean glass. I refreshed myself and placed the empty glass on my headboard with the hopes that they miss it on their next dish sweeping exercise.

Sleeping Princess

Linked up to: Yes, They’re All Ours; GraceLaced

 

Seatbelt Evasions

Car-seats

Don’t be fooled. This is what happens after twenty minutes of driving. Works evey time.

The Children were sent out to buckle themselves into the van while Wife and I gather a couple of things before we left for Mass. When I walked by the window I heard what could only be described as an absolute mess of sound radiating from the vehicle. Girls screaming at girls, girls screaming at boys, boys screaming back at girls, and the baby screaming at everybody. For a second I thought about going out to settle the situation, but then I thought better.

I remembered back to when I was young, and I believe we created the same abominable noises. We were always working hard at forcing the buckling responsibilities of the younger kids onto someone else, and evading the same tricks by another. The ordeal usually ended with my mother yelling at us and the oldest kids (of which I was the oldest) buckling up the younger children while the middle kids were forced to take the responsibility for themselves. In short, everybody got yelled at.baby car-seat

As I looked out the window I could hear the two older girls engaged in a heated discussion as to who would buckle #5 and #6. Those two boys however where busy with a game of tag, under and over the seats. The baby was in the back seat of the fifteen-seat-van with #3, about as far away from his car-seat as possible. And #4 was performing a perfect jack-in-the-box as she bounced between making faces at #7 and joining in the game of tag which had developed into hide-n-seek.

With the understanding that Wife deals with our children everyday on that point, I ducked back into the house to get my hat. Better to let the expert handle these children.

And just in case you were wandering, we were fifteen minutes early to church.

Post from Wife: Spring Time

Greenhouse Sprouts2What a blessed time of year it is. As I begin to feel the new life of our son growing stronger and bigger each week, I look around and see new life sprouting all around me. New calves, new kittens and new kid goats show me how life flourishes in the Spring. There are gardens around our home that are sprouting up. Spring is a time to be grateful for new Life. How fitting that I would begin to feel my child at this time of year.

Kid GoatAll through my married life I have been blessed with healthy pregnancies and healthy born babies. I do not take this for granted. I praise God for His love and mercy. As I snuggle with #7 in the few chances he gives me (he has learned to crawl) I feel the bond with all of my children and my Heavenly Father grow stronger. My little #7 is a smiley guy with lots of energy and joy. He has much to be joyful about since his big family all love him so much. When he is upset after bonking his head or his Momma is taking longer than he would like to sit down and spoon feed him, he will bask in the love and concern of any of his older siblings. They will, each one of them, give him attention when he asks.

KittenAlready there is a bond between my older children and the new baby boy who should join us sometime in August. They call him by name and ask me how he is doing nearly every day. It is one of those moments as a mother that I treasure always. When one of my littles come up to me and wrap their arms around my swollen belly, look up at me with their bright eyes, and ask, “How is he doing today, Momma?” I can’t help but think that their father is the best influence on them concerning additions to our family. The man never bats an eye at another bottom to diaper, another mouth to feed and another body to clothe.

I hope you all have had and continue to have a Blessed Easter season. Now that our Lenten journey has ended for this year, let us all continue to better our lives with the choice of being thankful for our gifts.Easter portrait 2013

Linked up to: A Mama’s Story

In the Land of Giants

It amazes me how children usually walk with their eyes downcast, watching for trips and pitfalls. They should walk with their eyes elevated, watching out for table corners and the legs of their elders. While a misstep may land a child on its face, causing the misstep of an adult may land the adult on the child. My children seem to have forgotten that they are in the land of giants.

hopscotchI would think that #5 would see my massive boots and avoid them. He instead plays a dangerous game of hopscotch to stay only one step ahead of or behind them. Please be aware, I mean one of his steps, not one of mine. Poor planning. Granted, there are times in which he can bob and weave around my legs with the dexterity of a cat; while other times he has the slow wits of a bumbling dog who finds a way to nail both legs, one right after the other.

#6 likes to run the same route that I am currently walking with one exception; he takes the route just in front of me. That again is poor planning. See, his legs are about one fifth of mine. So unless he is at a dead run I tend to out pace him rather quickly. And when I shout at him to “Move!” he receives a telepathic message as to exactly where I am going next so he can correct his course to be there in front of me. The result is a slightly flatter little boy.

UnderfootAnd the little boys are not the only children who end up under foot. No, the girls were just as bad. They would hang onto their parents’ knees without announcing themselves. Stand hidden under Wife’s pregnant belly. Sneak behind me in a most uncharacteristic silence. And in all cases find their toes stepped on.

I think we all look forward to the day in which they can join this land of giants in equal stature.The Land of Giants

Easter Injuries

I am sure you can deduce that our Easter Sunday was a complete success by the untimely arrival of this post. Considering we are now midway through the week, that can be taken as an indication of just how worn out I was.empty egg

We started with the 7:30am Easter Mass. To answer your unasked question, yes we did have to wake-up all the children. They were more agreeable as they were continually distracted by the Easter-Baskets that were uncovered by accident. They were not supposed to find their candy until we got back from the church. So getting the children up was not a problem, but getting them out the door was like stuffing too many packing-peanuts into an already full box.

Easter EggsA little before midday the festivities at the family park started. All of our extended family gathered for the Easter egg hunt. I think we all over ate. Games were played (in which my mortality was made abundantly clearer). We finished off what was left of lunch for dinner. And we put the sun to bed.

At home I limped just a little from a Easter egg huntspill I took during tag. But soon learned that I was not the only injured party. #1 suffered a sunburn and a sore finger. #2 had a stomped foot. #7 also had a sunburn. And everyone else was suffering from “stummy aches.” It seemed that this Easter was not as injury free as I first thought.

Easter egg in tire swingOn any other night we would have sent all the children straight to bed, however it was Easter and my cousin was visiting from out of town. Those two elements let the children stay up late with her watching cartoons. That meant I went out into the night with a sharp knife looking for our aloe vera cactus in order to sooth the sunburns the children obtained. Rest assured, I found the aloe vera, cut off a leaf, and returned without incident (however I believe my daughter would have preferred a mishap).

#1 really despises the cool slime of aloe vera. She squirmed, writhed, and wriggled; all the while making sure not to move whichever shoulder that was being medicated. As I slathered her cheeks she stated she would rather deal with the sunburn.

As that may be true, I would rather deal with her crying about aloe vera for one night, instead of a sunburn for seven.

In closing I wish all a Happy Easter day and a Happy Easter season.After the games

Post from Wife: Holy Saturday

Easter clothes all laid outIt is Holy Saturday night and there is so much preparation for a joyful celebration of Easter. In an attempt to sleep in as long as possible I lay out my six children’s church outfits for the 7:30 Mass in the morning… Yes, the 7:30. Because we live about a half hour from the rest of civilization, we cannot leave later than 6:45 for that Mass. If I plan it right, I can try to sleep in until 6am and make it to Mass on time. But tonight, in addition to the usual plan of action for the morning, I have six Easter baskets to fill with treats and hide for our morning scavenger hunt.  I wonder if the kids will be able to contain themselves until after Mass…  or rather if my Beloved will be able to contain himself until after Mass. There is a high probability that the hunt for their treat filled baskets will happen before any of us are ready to go in the morning.

Even though we have a later start to our sleep tonight, I will most likely be awakened by either an excited child or an excited husband for a bleary eyed search for the Easter baskets.  But the joys of such a high Feast Day never seem to outweigh the need for sleep. So I bid you good night and a Happy Holy Saturday.Easter baskets

Palm Branches

With the onset of Holy Week we of course start with Palm Sunday. And we all know what that means, palm leafs are handed out. In other words, the children are given toys.

Hardly any time needs to pass before the children uncover the many uses of palm branches, none of which were intended by the fathers of the Church.

They usually start with the multiplier, in which the children find they can tear their palm down the seam three or four times before it becomes too small to manage, or until they are noticed by a parent. Which ever comes first.

If they choose not to multiply their palm leaf, they can always turn it into a weapon. It makes a great sword, whip, or ear tickler. They also find that a multiplied palm leaf also makes a fantastic cat-o’-nine-tails.

palm branchThere are more respectful ways to play with a palm branch, like folding it into the shape of a cross. A well indulged pastime for myself. However, #6 figured out a way to shake most of the cross out, leaving a knot at the end of his palm leaf transforming it into a mace.

The mace was so effective that he was removed from his sisters and placed snugly next to his mother. He then attempted a different diversion. He dropped his palm leaf behind the pew and set about making such a fuss about it that Wife lifted him over to get it. A new game was born. There went the palm branch again, but he was unaware that Wife has been through five other children before him. The palm leaf stayed where it was.

In the end, all the palm branches had to be taken away on account of the war that was constantly erupting within the confounds of our pew. I have absolutely no idea what the homily was about.play at church