August 12, 2015
My dad died yesterday.
He was the gentlest man I’ve ever known.
He loved the underdog. He loved hiking in the mountains. He loved his wife greater and better than any man I’ve ever seen. He loved people in ways that are uncommon and incredibly special. He was a wise and godly man. He had a special mind, able to think up games in the yard to play with his kids, or new ways to expand his business. He was tender-hearted, soft-spoken, easy to be with. He was curious, incredibly kind, slow to anger.
I want to be like him when I grow up. I want to care about others as deeply as he did. I want to be gentle and soft-spoken. I want to be wise and tender-hearted. I want to love others more than I love myself.
I got to spend what would be his last night caring for my dad. My mom, who has spent the last year tending to his every need and caring for him tenderly and selflessly, desperately needed rest, so I stayed in their room with him, awakening hourly to give him the medications that people need in the end of their lives. I went to him every time he cried out or let me know he needed or wanted something that I could give. He was incredibly agitated and nothing we had given him calmed him down or helped him rest and have peace. The only time he rested and slept peacefully that night was when I rubbed his back…….arguably one of his top three pleasures in life. At one point in those last hours, he thanked me. I told him that it was my absolute privilege to serve him. And I meant it. All those years of taking care of ME, caring about MY life, being a dad who loved me more than he loved himself, being an amazing example…..rubbing his back, bringing him a sip of cold water, whispering in the dark to try and ease the anxieties on the last night of his life, was a privilege of epic proportions. I may never ever again in my lifetime be blessed in that manner, and I will remember that night for the rest of my days.
When I’ve prayed over these last few months, when we all knew my dad was terminal, my prayer wasn’t that he would be healed. My prayer, over and over again, was to thank the Lord that He gave me my dad…..that He made me to be born into THIS family, with THIS man as my earthly father. What a blessing that was! How utterly and profoundly thankful I am to have been given the dad I was.
When I think of God, I think he’s like my dad…..gentle, wise, loving others in incredible ways, always rooting for the underdog.
As I finish writing this post, my dad has been gone now for almost 43 hours. I miss him terribly. But I’ve been wondering since he left about what all he’s seeing and doing in Heaven. I’m thrilled for him. I’m so glad he’s rid of that body he had that went bad on him in a matter of hours almost one year ago. I rejoice that his time on earth is over. But I miss his presence here with us.
It’s impossible to think of my dad without my mom. He adored her, cherished her, protected her. My mom is an incredibly admirable woman in many many ways. But the picture I’ll remember of her for the rest of my life, the one I’ll tell my children about, and revisit in my mind again and again, is the one of her caring for my dad during the nights he was at his sickest. I slept with her in their room the last few nights of my dad’s life so that I could help her listen for him and make sure he didn’t try to get out of bed in his sleep. I would wake up and see her there in the dark, leaning over his bed in her nightgown, whispering to him gently, calming him with her voice, telling him she loved him. She would straighten his covers and make him more comfortable in whatever way she could, there in the dark. I’ve birthed eleven babies, and the picture of my mom caring for my dad across the room in the night rivals the first nano-seconds of my babies’ lives when they were lifted up, slippery and red, for me to behold. I don’t know any better way of explaining to you, reader of these humble words, the magnitude of my mom’s example and how it has affected me forever.
The Bible tells us that we have the hope and promise of reuniting with those who have gone on before us if we are saved. I can’t wait to see my dad again. Until that day, I never want to forget the legacy my dad left us all.
I want to LIVE that legacy.
April 26, 2014
The title says it all, huh?
Those of you who have seen it know what I’m talking about.
I think I made a mistake by buying the soundtrack yesterday. It played on the iPod for no less than six hours. Seriously.
To say the songs are catchy and addictive is like saying the Grand Canyon is an annoying pothole.
My 15-year-old may sing it more than my princess-obsessed little girls.
And he’s a boy. It’s adorable. I want to kiss him all over his face and snuggle him in my lap, but he’s two inches taller than I am, and probably outweighs me too. But to hear him singing “Do you wanna build a snowman?…..” as he’s doing his morning chores may be cuter than when he was 2, in a sleeper, with a lisp…and my regular readers certainly know how I feel about THAT!
Also? My big, manly military husband does all the motions to “Let It Go”….with the theatrical arm-flinging and spinning, and general ice-queen-ness.
He told me that he went into a meeting at work the other day, singing one of the songs…..and another guy there joined in.
Even my 17-year-old son has been caught singing a line here and there. He just smiles sheepishly because, really, you can’t help yourself.
And I’m not embarrassed to admit that I sing some of the songs at the top of my lungs while making breakfast. The kids all cringe and tell me I’m ruining it, but the reaction is half the reason I do it.
I’m all mature like that.
You just can’t help yourself with this movie, can you?
March 8, 2014
So this was a conversation that was heard in our house this morning…….
Yummy Man was telling the bigger kids about the Malaysian plane that disappeared from radar recently.
12-year-old: “Good thing they weren’t flying over the Bermuda Circle!”
I think we need to revisit shapes.
After a few cracks about the Bermuda Square and the Bermuda Quadrangle from other family members who find themselves humorous, we got it straightened out.
But I think I pulled a muscle laughing about that one!
Good thing about having lots of kids? Lots of laughter!
My life is pretty cool.
February 24, 2014
We use Easy Grammar for our grammar curriculum.
Because it’s easy.
One of my kids, who shall remain nameless, had a section that required him to make certain words into plural form. He had easy words like “shark” and “house”, and then slightly harder ones like “woman” and “salmon”. Then he had the trickier ones like “crisis” and “curriculum”.
But the one that stumped him was “puff”.
He’d already done the plural of “calf” and “knife” and I guess he had that method stuck in his head.
Because he wrote down that the plural of “puff”?
And I’m STILL gonna be laughing over that one when I’m 80.
February 16, 2014
Here is a conversation I had with 3-Year-Old a few weeks ago as I was helping her get dressed for bed…..
3-Year-Old: “Mommy! I went icky in my undies today in the garage!” (She had been wearing training pants and thought this was a significant occurrence that needed to be brought up.)
Me: “Oh, that’s not good. We don’t go icky in our undies EVER, and CERTAINLY not in the garage!”
3-Year-Old then gave me an expression that was a cross between I-can-if-I-want-to and WHY-is-that-not-something-we-do? It-was-a-nice-place-to-go….quiet-and-private-and-heated.
Me: “If you need to go icky, go in the potty! Just tell Mommy that you need to go and I’ll help you, just like normal, ok? Because we just don’t go icky in the garage in our undies. MOMMY doesn’t go icky in her undies in the garage. 11-Year-Old doesn’t go icky in her undies in the garage. 9-Year-Old doesn’t go icky in her undies in the garage. GRANDMA doesn’t go icky in her undies in the garage (correct me if I’m wrong here, Momma). DADDY doesn’t go icky in his undies in the garage. 17-Year-Old doesn’t go icky in his undies in the garage.” (You’re seeing a theme here, aren’t you?)
3-Year-Old, looking confused and apparently feeling the need to clear up my obvious confusion: “NO, Mommy! I-I-I-I-I-I (big emphasis on this) go icky in my undies in the garage!”
Totally missed the point.
But….MAN, she’s cute and funny! (Even WITH the icky-in-her-undies-in-the-garage thing.)
February 4, 2014
If this is your first time reading this blog, you probably want to start in a different area because THIS post will make you wish you hadn’t come here. It also might make you a little nauseous. And shuddery. So I would suggest that you start reading here or here. You’ll thank me. Seriously.
If you are not a mother, or you have weirdly clean and hygienic children, or you are easily grossed out by gross things that are gross, read no further. Go read a blog by a mom who has kids whose clothes always match and who never do anything gross. (And good luck with that.)
Because THIS post could win an award for being gross AND may earn me a call from concerned and possibly horrified, grossed-out friends and family. Who think it’s gross.
(I’m also going for a record for how many times I can use the word “gross” in a post. Can you tell?)
Three-Year-Old, who is in the process of potty-training, gave us all a collective shudder this afternoon.
And not in a good way.
She was sitting on the potty and had made a deposit, if you catch my drift. She was being supervised by a sibling who wouldn’t have had any reason to think that letting her eat a pretzel stick on said potty would be cause for any kind of restriction or alarm. I probably would’ve let her do the same thing when I was her age. This turned out to be a bad thing, however.
Because, well, she accidentally dropped it.
And not on the floor.
Also? She fetched it. From the potty with the deposits in it.
Also also? Um…….. She ate it.
Again, in case you passed out there for a second like I did when I heard the story……
She. Ate. It.
And that, my friends, is the grossest thing any kid of mine has ever done.
That I know of.
If you decide, after reading this, to delete this blog from your feed reader, I won’t hate you or even blame you. I’d probably do the same thing.
But then I’d reconsider.
Because a mom who actually admits this kind of thing happens in her house, has GOT to be a WAY worse mom than I am.
And I would need and relish that knowledge on bad days when I’m feeling like the worst mom in the world.
I would just remember that horrible mom whose kid ate her snack out of the poopy toilet.
Also? Thank you to those of you who told me a gross story or two from your house to make me feel better about the stories that happen in THIS house. It’s a good feeling to know we’re not as weird as I thought.
January 29, 2014
So if you weren’t up early reading possibly-offensive blog posts yesterday morning, you missed my possibly-offensive blog post.
I wrote it and thought it was pretty good, although I did grimace a time or two while typing it out. Then I hit “publish” and had Yummy Man read it and he jokingly expressed concern that we might get a knock on our door from Child Protective Services if word got around. But I just kinda snorted and said that this is what happens to moms with kids and this is what kids DO, although she’s the first one of mine who has ever done it, and she’s number 10.
So then I went to bed and didn’t think about it until the next morning…..when it was very early here and I was nursing and I got horrified by the incident, looking at it from YOUR viewpoint. And I thought maybe it would be just too gross to post. (Hey! I’m a poet!)
So now that I’ve got your interest, here’s what we’ll do. If you want me to post the gross story, tell me the grossest thing any of your kids have ever done…..and let me give a caveat here. I’m not talking teen-age grossness….I’m talking toddler grossness. If any of yours exceed or come close to the story I was hesitant to post, I’ll post it. Deal?
Gross me out.
So I’ve been out of commission, so to speak. I’ve had some emails inquiring about my condition, and I’m happy to say that we are now the proud parents of another sweet little boy.
Okay, maybe not LITTLE little, but little to us.
And now I will commence with the birth story, so if you are not inclined to curiosity about such things, I’ll give you a minute to excuse yourself. Also? If you have any kind of modesty issues or squeamishness towards anything having to do with blood, placentas, the breaking of womb waters, or just general talk of “girl stuff”, please do us all a favor and get lost.
Sorry. Lost it there for a minute. I have little patience with people who aren’t completely fascinated with my girly innards that produce the most awesome babies in the universe.
Is that a problem?
Okay, so here goes…….
First of all, I must put this first part in caps, because it’s so awesome…….
I WENT INTO LABOR AND HAD THE BABY ON. MY. DUE. DATE.
I had gotten everyone up for the day and was getting 3-year-old dressed for church. I was sitting on the floor in her room, slipping her dress over her head when I felt it.
This was the third birth I’ve had that began with my membranes rupturing. It’s not a pleasant feeling, but IS a very good gauge of how fast I then needed to move, and a kind of alarm, making it very well known to me that labor was coming.
I yelled to Yummy Man, thinking he could hear me, but he couldn’t and besides, the three older girls in the room with me ran yelling down the hallway that my water had broken. I think it was the single greatest and most unusual sentence they had ever uttered…..and they relished it. The teen-aged boys that we have here, shuddered quietly and retreated to their room. I yelled for beach towels and cloth diapers and basically began barking orders while waddling around the house with the equivalent of a hay bale between my legs. Yummy Man ran to help me, asking what to do and what I needed. He was very happy that this had finally begun because he’d been bugging me about it for weeks.
Weeks, I tell you.
While sitting on the potty, hoping to drain all the juice I could from my loins, (See? I told you this was gonna get earthy.) I called the hospital and told the GUY that answered (WHY oh WHY are there men on the OB ward?) who I was, that my water had broken, that it wasn’t the best color, and that my labors go pretty fast.
We can see the hospital from our backyard, so it only took a few minutes to get there. From the time my water broke, until they made sure that I was indeed in labor and the contractions truly started was about an hour.
They got me in a bed to monitor me before they committed to admitting me to give birth. I told them that I was very anxious to get an epidural as soon as possible because the labor was going to go fast and I didn’t want to do it without an epidural.
I LOVED that they listened to me and actually got the anesthesiologist from another room to come and take care of me. Everyone who helped me that day was very aware of the time and had an urgency to all that they did because of my history and because they actually took me seriously. I have never experienced this before in any other hospital births and I was highly impressed and almost embarrassingly grateful.
They moved me to what would be my room and got me settled with the epidural. It was the easiest, best epi I’ve ever had and I almost hugged the guy who did it. He was respectful and gentle and now I’m thinking it was because he kinda viewed me as his grandmother and wanted to help me in my time of need…..but maybe not.
At this point, I was between 6 and 7 cm dilated. The midwife actually asked me if I thought she should check me when I arrived and I told her that I DID want her to so that we knew where we were. So that was the verdict. At that point, it was about 3 hours since my water had broken.
The epidural made me happy and things were calm and nice for awhile. At about the 4 hour mark, for some reason, EVERYONE in the room all left at the exact same time, even Yummy Man. He was going to get me more ice water, but ALL the nurses and midwife just left the room to tend to other things. And wouldn’t you know, THAT’S when Tiny Britches decided to slide down into the birth canal. I yelled for Yummy Man and he came running back in really fast and maybe called out to others..not sure. But let me say here that, for a split second, I considered calling out to one of the nurses or the midwife who had just left, seeing as how they were just outside in the hallway since the nurses’ station was right there. But I couldn’t remember their names, and just calling out, “DOCTOR!” or “NURSE!” just seemed like a bad Chevy Chase movie or something.
(Yes, I was thinking about Chevy Chase movies while my baby boy hovered on the brink between the inside of my womb, and the outside of my womb. I am not a normal mother.)
So Yummy Man yelled for someone and they all came running back in. Again, the midwife asked if she should check me and I told her that she really did need to because his head was just inside me and I knew things were gonna go fast. I was complete at that point.
But then Little Britches decided to make things more interesting by squeezing off his cord, or perhaps holding his breath…..wait, can a baby not yet born even do that?
Anyway, they lost him on the heartrate monitor and then things got dicey.
They put me on oxygen and started yelling at me to turn this way and that way and get up there and put that down there and basically be a Russian gymnast who can barely move her legs because of the epidural AND who can barely move PERIOD because she has the equivalent of a birthing ball filled with cement inside her abdomen.
They faintly got his rhythm back, but then promptly lost it again. Somewhere in there, they shoved a large needle in my arm to stop the contractions while they tried to get him back on the monitor but that didn’t seem to work. So at this point, the midwife starts explaining to me that the worst case scenario is that they take the baby by c-section, but she is really going to work hard at getting him out the normal way.
A few minutes later, and more flinging me here and there and everywhere, she told me that I was GOING to push the baby out NOW, and since I was only having mild contractions now because of the medicine they had given me, THEY would tell me when to push.
So basically, it was 5 minutes or so of really brutal football practice, where all the coaches are yelling at you to PUSH! PUSH! PUSH! and you ARE, but it doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything because they are STILL all yelling at you, saying the baby has to come NOW, and did I mention that they were yelling?
Because normally, isn’t it the mom that’s yelling?
Yeah, I thought so too.
But I was busy pushing while they yelled at me.
And there was yelling.
So after 5 or 6 pushes (wherein my caregivers yelled at me), our eleventh baby was born!
And when the midwife pulled him out, she raised him up in the air and exclaimed, “THAT’S a toddler!”
He weighed 10 lbs., 14 oz.
And he is my SECOND biggest baby.
He looks uncannily like number 9…..so much so that I tell people that I had twins….5 years apart. He is precious and good and handsome and cuter than white kittens.
I just love that little kid to death. Funny how incredibly much you can love someone you just met.
So that’s the story. I think it’s one of my best yet. =)
November 18, 2013
So there’s one little detail I forgot to tell my readers.
You know, both of them.
I’m within spitting distance of bearing our 11th baby.
I know. I get really fun around this time. I’m just full of cheerfulness, optimism, and sparkling rainbows.
I’m 44 years old; I have gray hair mixed in with my brown hair, wrinkles in places you would expect, and a huge belly that makes people stare when I walk into a room or store or restaurant. I’m very close to reminding everyone that they each have their own personal cameras on their phones and THIS would be a good time to use them.
With every past pregnancy, I haven’t had to deal with the stuff I have to deal with this time, namely smart-alecky, teen-aged boys who find themselves highly amusing.
I have 3 of them now in the house and they make fun of me as often as possible, slamming themselves against the wall when I walk past like there’s not enough room for both of us there, laughing at me and making beer-gut and burping jokes when I scratch my belly, and stuffing couch pillows under their shirts and lumbering around the house. You know, respectful things like that.
Also? They call me Bump. As in, “What’s up, Bump?” and “What’s for supper, Bump?”
And I’m past the paddling stage with them, seeing as how one of them is over 6′ 5″, another one weighs as much as I do when I’m not pregnant, and the other one was born with bulging biceps. Girl babies in the nursery when he was born were like, “Whoa, dude. Those are impressive guns!” ‘Cause, you know, baby girls talk like that.
The balance of power has shifted, although I can still send them to bed early and take away computer privileges.
Way better than paddles.
Don’t mess with Mommy when her hormones are like an impending tsunami, being held back by a pitiful, shoddy ocean dam.
Yesterday, the dam cracked a little. I woke up with a mental list of all the things Yummy Man had done before going to bed that didn’t sit well with me then, and was SO gonna come out now. And it came out and he was okay with it, actually, since it wasn’t anything really important in the scheme of life….just in that seriously-hormonal moment in time when trivial things become massive vehicles of doom. And then I cried about the birth and all that fear that I get when I’m close to birth and how I wish I was like those women who look forward to all of this, and I’m just dreading all the pain and yuckiness and pain, and pain. And then I also maybe cried a little bec we were turned down for an assignment to Europe. That was supposed to be my Christmas present from Yummy Man, but the Air Force Personnel Center apparently didn’t get that memo or, as an alternative, read my mind. What a bunch of losers!
This child is going to be between 10 and 11 pounds and probably come out with shoulders the size of Yummy Man’s. We’ve had this issue before and, when I was telling the midwife at the hospital about how big my baby boys are, and how I should’ve considered the size of our offspring when I was choosing a mate, she about bust something laughing. I didn’t see the humor. I was serious. If you want to have small, fragile babies that slip out without much fanfare at all, do NOT marry a man who has a lethal DNA mix of Dutch and German ancestry. Marry small. Like, leprechaun small. Trust me on this.
But I AM excited about meeting this little boy and being his mommy and watching how he becomes the little man God wants him to be. It’s just the getting-him-here part that bothers me at times.
Seriously. I’m not a bad mommy. I just have a problem with the entire idea of pain. I even felt bad for the cow we used to have, when SHE gave birth. I was all…..”I know, Momma. I feel your pain. Push through it. You can do it!” And I do realize how weird that is.
If you haven’t been reading my blog for awhile (What is WRONG with you?), then you won’t understand my references to birth pain and will probably think I’m a big, wimpy, prissy loser. But you’d be kinda wrong, seeing as how half of my babies have been over 9 pounds, and most of THOSE over 10. AND I had my biggest baby, who weighed 11 pounds, on the living floor in our house in Iowa.
Those are my mom credentials. If I had a business card, all my babies’ birth weights would SO be on it, along with how many times we’ve moved as a family and how many instances of child-vomiting I’ve endured and cleaned up.
Back to the birth pain link. It’s right here. Enjoy. (Snort!)
Well, Hello There. Also? Yummy Man said it’s been a year to the day since I last posted so I should have a wittier title than this but I’m just not doing that right now.
November 2, 2013
I realize in the undertaking of this, a long-lost blog post on a long-lost blog, I am probably writing into the internet void but I’m okay with that. Sometimes, believing that no one may ever read this helps to make the writing of said post easier.
The truth is that life got hard. Like, really hard. And it was hard to see joy, much less just make it through the day without being like those gross hamsters that eat their children alive.
That probably wasn’t the best analogy I could’ve chosen. But I can think of worse ones so be thankful you got the one you got.
These last three years have been the worst and hardest of our marriage. There have been crises that threatened to undo us….things that probably allowed Satan to think that maybe he’s making some progress in the destruction of a marriage and family.
But we’ve conquered much and we are fine and even happy.
Because in 9 months or less, we get to leave this, the worst assignment of my husband’s career. We’re happy about that. We’re relieved that the end is finally in sight and able to be counted in months.
We’re in our last winter here, which is significant when you live where we live. In less than a year, we will probably be back in the land of Chick-fil-as and Targets and, if we’re REALLY lucky, Panda Expresses.
Also? Thrift stores that don’t charge eight dollars for toddler dresses.
OR, we could end up in the land of church bells, fluffy sheep, and really cool markets where you can buy old stained glass windows from 150-year-old churches and wooden toys that will last so long, my grandchildren will play with them.
Either way, we’re ready to go. Yummy Man and I are ready for different reasons than the kids. The kids are itching to take a long road trip with lots of hotels with indoor swimming pools and free breakfasts and stops at restaurants where they get to choose whatever they want to eat, instead of what’s on the $1 menu, because the Air Force is paying and we’re gonna live it up. Also, almost limitless turns on various cell phone games and iPods and the like.
Oh, and movies. Even though we try to strike a balance between regular kid movies and educational fare. It’s harder now to figure this out because the taller children want to watch things like Tim Hawkins, the hilarious Christian comedian, and the shorter children want to watch Winnie the Pooh. And a documentary on World War II isn’t met with the same enthusiasm by the short people as Syd the Science Kid is.
I’m just gonna tell everyone that this is good for them. Patience, delayed gratification, letting others watch their age-level videos without complaining about how painful the amateur animation is to watch and making general fun of the entire DVD. Not everyone can be entertained with the same videos anymore. Life is hard.
We WILL learn character-developing things while being shut inside a crammed van with people next to us breathing too loudly through their nostrils or resting their elbows on sibling hipbones for 10 to 14 days straight.
It’s a fun experience that I start out calling an adventure in the first week, and then call other various, inappropriate names through clenched jaws and fists until we arrive at our final destination intact.
And now to leave you with a funny kid anecdote……..
My older kids enjoy the music of TobyMac. They enjoy making music videos for some of his songs which usually turn out hilarious, with me laughing so hard, tears are rolling down my face, even though I’m thinking that’s not the intended response.
Now, my 5-year-old is a fan of TobyMac and I can’t figure out if this is fine with me, or very very disturbing in ways that I haven’t fully formed in my brain yet.
Either way, yesterday he told me that he had made up a song so I asked him to sing it for me. Mysteriously, it sounded identical to a TobyMac song, but with different words. When I asked him what the title was, he said this……..(and it deserves its own line so here goes)
Joey Lives in a Burrito.
And there is nothing else I could write that would top that.