Adventures in Shoping

While Wife was down with the baby, recovering from the birth, I took most of the children shopping for some much needed groceries. That way I killed two birds with one stone. Wife got some quiet, and we all got to eat. Everybody is happy.Resting at home Continue reading

Good and Bad News from Last Year

So… it has been a while. I understand rumors began to sprout up about our mysterious disappearance from the blog. Let me put your mind at ease. We have not boarded a ship bound for adventures unknown. Nor have we been driven into hiding by distrustful parts of the government determined to regulate family size. And while an idyllic cabin hidden away by year round snowcapped mountains may be appealing, the forever un-melting snow would send me looking for more temperate weather. In short, we are still where we have always been. But for reasons I will explain, I have been unable to approach the blog. Continue reading

Heart Shaped Holes

For nearly ten years, I have received by-the-minute-up-dates about the children from Wife. I’ve always known, whether I wanted to know or not, when a child cut their first tooth, when they first rolled over, and when they did whatever came next. I’ve been the first Wife told for so long, that I had started to think of it as an inconvenient right of mine. And so, I would attempt to show the appropriate amount of excitement, while feeling little of it. Wife was never fooled.

Little Baby Boy

Little Baby Boy

After eight children, I felt I had a good idea of the flow of our babies’ development. And the other night, when the baby was about two weeks old, I realized that Wife had not yet announced that his umbilical cord had fallen off. I inquired when she thought it would happen. She responded, “Oh, it fell off days ago.”

I was shocked. What happened? Why wasn’t I told? When did I get taken off the Need-To-Know List!

How did I come to this?

How did I come to this?

Wife then said that the children had all gotten very excited when she told them.

The kids knew before me?

            She said that they all “oohed” and “awed” very nicely. They peered into the empty belly-button. They squealed with pleasure. I think someone even asked if they could keep the umbilical cord. (Don’t get grossed out. Wife wouldn’t allow that.) The girls were especially excited. Wife found in her little court of young ladies, all the enthusiasm over the baby that she felt herself.

I, on the other hand, with all my external indifference, had worked myself out of a job. That was unexpected!

I’ve heard it said before that nature has a way of filling in the gaps, or that God provides whatever is needed. So, He gave Wife daughters first, to give her the help she would need.  In our four girls, she found little hands to make her work lighter. Either with meals, cleaning their younger siblings, or house work, they are their mother’s big helpers. As they are growing into young ladies, they are also becoming lifetime companions for one another, as well as for their mother.

While part of me misses the attention that our girls are now getting from Wife, I am happy to see the job done properly. After all, it’s never good to try and force a square peg into a heart shaped hole.

Little hearts of love.

Little hearts of love.

Our Christmas Eve Package

Over forty-one weeks in the making, arriving twelve days late, with an overall weight of nine pounds and four ounces, our package finally made it home. #9 joined our clan. With his contribution, for the first time ever, the boys out number the girls. And after four girls in a row, that’s something I thought I would never say.

#9’s entrance into the world was without complications; however that is not to say it was without anxiety and a good deal of pain. He was due mid December, and Wife had all the symptoms of early labor. We were ready for his appearance at the end of November, but our boy had other ideas. Either he was very comfortable where he was, or he really didn’t want to face the world, in which case I can’t blame him. After several weeks of false labor, it continued to be false labor.

STILL pregnant...

STILL pregnant…

I’ve already written about how Wife had prepared for Christmas, so that when the baby came she would be able to recover without any worries about any of the Christmas details. About a week and a half before Christmas, she ran out of things to organize for the big day. Then she started to pace.

Have you ever seen a woman pace when she is over-due? She holds her belly with all the tender love and affection that makes a mother’s love incomparable. She strolls around with the comical waddle of a penguin. Her eyes dart back and forth seeking any mischief or mess-makers with the directness of a tiger. And the whole package has enough force to rival a typhoon.

At long last, after a full day of doubtful contractions, Wife’s mother made the call, she was definitely in labor. I met them at the hospital after work and thought that the twenty-third of December was a good night to have a baby. It was not quite as good as the twelfth, but it was better than the twenty-fourth. And so Wife labored into the night, until the twenty-fourth rolled around.Who You calling ELF?

Yes you read right, a Christmas Eve baby. He was a great gift, but his timing was about the last thing I expected. I’ve often heard of Christmas babies, and always thought it was a bad date for a birthday. I would never do that to one of my children. I mean, what are the odds? But then my sister pointed out, “Well, the odds for your family are about one in nine.”First Christmas

It Never Gets Old

It never gets oldThe world is once again a better place. #8 has made his way into it with chubby cheeks, long fingers, and an extra helping of hair. Arriving overdue, he was a great relief to Wife as well as the event of the year, to anyone who is important that is. The entire household is just as happy about the new baby as ever.

I can see how a person might think that after seven children, the eighth would be old news. But, what I can tell them is that each birth is just as exciting and tremendous as the first. Granted, I enjoy a better understanding of what is happening and how best to lend a hand, but that doesn’t take anything away from experience.

Wife and the baby are sleeping, and in the silence I have a small moment to recollect. No matter which child I pick out of the group, I remember their birth; what was precious, what was scary, what happened in general. With each little one something more is added to me. I am a little richer. I am a little poorer. I am a little more understanding. I am a little more just. I am a little more blessed. I am more greatly loved.

Looking over my little toe heads I believe I have an understanding, however minor, as to why God puts up with us. From Adam and Eve on, mankind has mostly been filled with shortcomings. But we have within all of us the redeeming quality of love.

And now I look onto the fresh little face, nearly hidden by wrapped blankets, with that flat nose that all babies have. He will learn from his parents as well as his siblings. He will learn from his brother how to empty the pots and pans out of the cupboards. He’ll pick up how to wrestle in the front room and get in everyone’s way. He’s sure to learn from his sisters how to loath cleaning the kitchen. He’s likely become a master at evading his mother when she wants help with the laundry.  And he will learn from us all how to love.

The world is certainly a better place.The world is a better place

Ready to Catch the Prize

Wife is now nine months pregnant. She’s almost at the finish line. Any day now we will meet the new baby, #8. The excitement is building like that of a child waiting to take a final swing at the piñata. The prize is so close, almost out.

Watch your step!

Watch your step!

Wife is looking forward to be able to see her toes again. She has wondered if they have changed at all during the growth of the baby. Of course toes are not the only ones lost under the expanse of her belly. The children’s toys might as well be buried landmines to her feet. The explosions caused by those toys can be most devastating to both Wife and whosever the toy might belong to. Wife has nearly stopped entering their rooms due the hazards that her pregnant belly hides.

She is also tired of losing children beneath her childbearing ledge. #7 has become almost as much of a nuisance as the toys are. He’s like a footstool rushing forward to head her off and trip her up. Wife in turn resorts to her dancing years with a kind of skip-waddle-hop to avoid the onslaught.

No matter where I go, they're always half a step in front of me

No matter where I go, they’re always half a step in front of me

#6 performed his hiding with a more head-on-approach. While Wife was distracted at the refrigerator he slipped under her with the stealth of a cat. However his plot was soon discovered when Wife opened the fridge door and it became familiar with #6’s forehead. Yes, the children will also be glad to see their mother loose her pregnant belly.

I do look at Wife at times and think to myself that she really does resemble a piñata. Swaying to and fro, an enormous prize bundled up inside, a line of children waiting expectantly; except all the beating is done on the inside. The very prize is working his way out into waiting arms. We can’t wait to catch him.

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

Baby Blankets

It seems to me that parents who have a small family must miss out on much of the evolution of parenting. For instance, the receiving blanket; with the first two children Wife always had fresh blankets in her diaper bag, in her purse, in the car, at her mother’s house, in my mother’s house, in her jacket pocket, and sometimes even in my back-pocket (got very uncomfortable to sit down). When the child spat-up on a blanket, it was swiftly whisked away and a new one took its place with such speed and precision that bystanders were shocked and amazed. The washing machine was constantly rumbling with receiving blankets tumbling inside. Our laundry line was a fluttering white and pink flag.

However with time, and a few more children, the inevitable reality of laundry set in, it had to stop! Sometime between the third and fourth child Wife and I discovered that the blanket had two sides, and four corners. And with an origami like skill known only to the learned parent, we could reuse a single receiving blanket up to… umpteen times. The laundry decreased.

Now, whatever is clean and at hand becomes a spit-up-rag. We have gotten so used to baby messes that we hardly even notice them any more. The other day I was burping the baby and he spat-up all over my shoulder, down my back, and onto the carpet. I had hardly begun looking for something to clean myself up with before Wife swooped in from nowhere. She was armed not with a receiving blanket, nor a towel, or even a clean t-shirt, but with baby-wipes. In no time at all both baby #7 and myself were all clean.

So that’s where we’ve gone to. From freshly pressed receiving blankets to the mom’s “clean-all” baby-wipes. I wonder what will happen next.

Passing the Torch

Now that #7 has been born, it is time for the torch to be passed on. The name “baby” has been handed down from #6 to #7. And I believe the transition has moved pretty smoothly; after all, we’ve done it five times before. The only real trouble is getting use to #6’s name.

What usually happens is, “#1, bring me the baby… ah I mean… get that one. Just grab him and drag him here. No, put the baby back first.”

But after only a little time I get much better, and his name blends into the existing conglomeration of names. #6 in a sense, becomes another State in my Union, another letter in my alphabet, another penny in my ever-growing jar of coins (I should really take care of that sometime). And just like the States or the alphabet, to get to the last one you gotta start at the beginning.

When I begin to yell at the little man for something he has done, I have to start with the name of our eldest and work my way down. Often, I forget what he has done by the time I reach his name.

On a side note, I have lately noticed the children scatter when I start yelling names. I think their strategy is to be out of hearing range by the time I get to their name. As the eldest of my family, that never occurred to me. Poor #1, she doesn’t have a chance.

While on the other hand, #6 seems to be adapting quite well to the loss of his babyhood. After only two weeks he has stopped trying to poke out the baby’s eyes. And I have caught #6 stalking the baby only once; granted, I am not home during the day (kinda makes me wonder what happens while I’m at work).

Ninja Baby, not so subtle, yet ever so lethal

But when I am home, I always give the little boy (#6) the customary lap sitting time allotted to him for the smooth transition of power. And he will sit quietly while he ponders world domination; OR he will rotate his head three hundred and sixty degrees, leap a foot off my lap from a sitting position, and throw his bottle all over the place. And that hurts if it hits ya.

See how easily the baby power transfers from one child to another? All that is needed is a loving and vigilant set of parents.

Now if you would excuse me, it is my turn to stand watch over the baby (#7).

DEFCON 2

Children on the march

The household is on Defcon 2. All personnel are at their battle stations, ready for the imminent birth of #7. The baby clothes are ready and the radar is being constantly monitored. With a full tank of gas and the hospital bags in the back-seat, we are ready to execute our battle plans at the first contraction. All we have to do is wait for it.

In the mean time, Wife is nesting! This means she is waging war against household filth. The dishes quiver with fear. The dirty laundry hides behind doors. And the carpet remains as quiet as possible in the hopes to be overlooked. Yet none escape the cleaning wrath of Wife in the days (hopefully) before the birth.

Baby #7

Not even the children get away. Run as they might, the traps and pitfalls that Wife has set, catch them every time sending them into the tub without delay.

I have even fallen prey to the quick mine sweeping swiftness of my beloved’s cleaning. When I can not locate my boots the next morning, I know they have been put away. When my lunch box disappears, I know it has been put in a safe place. The problem I have is that I do not always know where these items belong. That would be why I left them where I did, and obviously that is not where they should be.

A little Leave for a little soldier

But do not think that Wife works without help, rather we all help; granted the girls help more than I, but work is to blame for my absence. The girls, #1, #2, #3, and #4 will perform the tasks of vacuuming, washing laundry, and even loading and unloading the dishwasher. And under duress, they will clean their rooms. I will also lend a hand, whenever I cannot find something else more important to do.

And we are all inspired by Wife to help her. She inspires us the same way the generals of old would do, if one refuses to help, torture and certain death is to follow.

Please pray that the baby comes soon.