What a day! What a week! Lately, things have been going really well. I'm so glad God gives us times of joy and relaxation to offset the hardships. Of course, not everything is perfect, but lots of things are great and I am rejoicing in his goodness.
Jonathon (8) and James (6 1/2) are really growing up. Today they worked really hard for me helping clean up the house. We started having "30-min clean up time" a while back and recently I've realized that if I'm enthusiastic about it, the kids really will work hard, with Jonathon carrying the pack. James is right there with him usually, both having a good attitude after the initial discovery that they have to work. So, in a very short time this afternoon we got the living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, entryway, and school room cleaned up. We also got some garbage emptied, the toilets and counters washed in the bathrooms, and Rachel watched Renna. All in 30 min. The only thing I did was sweep the floor under the counter and then spent the rest of the time keeping everyone else busy. They did a great job!
Then, this evening, we went out into the garden for a little "forced family fun" (as one friend called it this evening :-) and weeding. I hoed around a bunch of the plants and Jonathon worked on his garden- pulling weeds. He has corn and okra. I sure hope that okra grows! I wanna eat some. Anyway, he worked on his plants and James weeded around the pumpkins. Then the two of them went to town on their weeding. They had little cultivators and they ran them up and down next to most of the corn rows, and cleaned out the weeds in the broccoli! Most of that time I was ignoring them. Only when they asked, "What do we do next, Mama?" did I have to pay attention. Rachel happily pulled out little grass slivers all over the place. Jeff worked on the carrots (that's "his" garden) and Joseph got by with only stepping on a few plants. We spread old grass clippings around the tomatoes and peppers and then the boys helped Brandon- when he came home from working elsewhere- with fertilizer. They were especially eager to help because we were spreading "Dried Blood" around- which is apparently a nitrogen source. They thought it was cool that we were feeding our plants "BLOOD!!!!" Anyway, by the end of about 1 hour, the entire garden had been hoed or weeded, the fertilizer was down, the grass clippings all spread, and the children good and dirty.
To top it all off, they salvaged the treasure chest from the broken fish tank and buried it in an unplanted part of the garden with grand plans to come back tomorrow dressed as pirates and dig it up! Now if that isn't fun, I don't know what is!!!
I had a good dentist appointment today- so thankful for good teeth! Much of it has nothing to do with my faithfulness to brushing and flossing- it's just genes! But I'm glad for that!
I also got my workout in this afternoon. I'm really enjoying this new workout. There's a different workout for every day of the week, so it changes up a lot! I've worked muscle groups in the last 3 days that I had forgotten I had! But it feels good. Right after the workout I feel like a blob of Jell-o wobbling around. But I've discovered that if I drink a glass of Emergen-C with electrolytes in it, the shaky stuff goes away pretty quick. I can't explain how good it feels to be sore and sweaty, but it's awesome. I'm super tired, and yet at the same time I have energy from somewhere. I think it's helping me sleep better, eat less, and be more productive overall. I forget every time how much it helps until I'm in the groove again and then I can't imagine why I let it go. So, it's pretty awesome.
Been working on a book- a list book. I've been working on it off and on for about 6 years now and I'm finally close to printing. Today I worked on some illustrations that I've had in mind for a while. The text is off for editing and I'm going to work on chapter arrangement and pricing issues while it's gone. I'm super excited to be getting it out. I hope it will help other people as well!
I love that the kids are loving Renna, by the way. She's 1 month old now and up to 8.2 lbs. I'm glad she is starting to look like she has something besides skin and bones! The last couple of nights she has been sleeping better too. She sleeps in her cradle half the night and then in our bed for the other half. We're working on getting her to go back to her cradle, but she just loves our bed. Sometimes I feel a little trapped. No matter how I position her, she always manages to squirm her way back over to me and for reasons unknown, nuzzles her head up under my arm and seems to sleep best with her face almost in my armpit! I shove her over to the middle of the bed time and time again and she just quietly wiggles back to her spot. Sometimes I've found myself almost falling off the bed in the morning! But she's happy.
Back to the kids thing- they take great care of her. All of them except Joseph can carry her without making my heart stop. Joseph has gotten her and brought her to me, but I'm not sure I like it too much. He's cute with her and so far hasn't dropped her, but she's almost as tall as he is and I think he's just a bit unstable when he's lugging her around. Rachel is just the little mama. She holds her, rocks her, sleeps next to her, carries her, walks her around while patting her on the back. She just has a brand new doll, only a live one. The older boys are great too. The best part about their help is that James LIKES changing her diaper and Jonathon can feed her a bottle unassisted! Jeff is good at getting her from her bed and bringing her to me in the living room. Ah...I LOVE having kids old enough to DO SOMETHING!!!!!!
It's just been great...
-this past week we discovered that they like baked beans for dinner!!! Bring em on- they're cheap!
-Jonathon and James have been working on their math- just to keep it fresh- and doing well.
-Jonathon is writing thank-you notes for his birthday gifts for the first time this year. He's got 2 to mail and 2 left to write. I'm so proud of him. One friend gave him a little set of notes that have a picture to color and the words, "Dear _____, Thank you for the ______. I like it a lot! Love, ________" I LOVE IT! It's perfect for him! He can write the important parts, color the picture and not be overwhelmed about doing 8 of them! What a great thing to help a little kid be successful with showing gratefulness!
- Jeff loves to cook. He's helped me make a number of things lately and one of the things he does best- better than his older brothers- is crack eggs. In fact, most of the time he can get less shell than me. He's really careful. He loves to stir things on the stove and does it so well that I can leave him stirring something and work on something else and know it won't burn. We haven't gotten into chopping yet, but he can peel vegetables. He has peeled his finger, too, but only once.
Joseph is a MESS. That's a southern "mess". He is frequently "messy", but most of the time he is just a "mess"! (You say it like "mae'-yus") Anyway, he makes us laugh all the time. He scares visitors when they come too- and we laugh cause we know better. He has a little chair to eat in that is attached to the counter and he loves to stand up in it, turn around, curl his toes around the seat cushion and lean over the back upside-down! We know he can do it. He has fallen on his head a couple of times, but apparently it's hard enough that it doesn't phase him a bit- he just keeps right on doing it. He hasn't fallen anytime recently, so we just ignore it, but it makes others' hearts stop! :-)
I wish you could have seen him the day he made mud puddles in the front of the house and then poured the muddy water all over his super blonde hair. He was grinning from ear to ear and was pleased with his dirty self. He loves to go fast on his trike. I've never seen a kid go so fast on a cheap trike that I thought didn't actually move. The plastic wheels are so tight they hardly turn, or so I thought until he made it go! He just careens down the driveway like there is no tomorrow and then down the road around the corner and down the church sidewalk. He's make it all the way past the main house, down the hill, past the garage and to the golf course if I would let him. It's down hill the whole way and a child's dream for a trike ride. Brandon was out with the tractor and trailer today and came home with no less than 5 riding toys in the trailer from various children riding down the hill. (Who wants to ride up?) I have no idea what we'll do with our kids when people come and our family has to act like the rest of civilization and avoid running over old men and pregnant women. Just beware of that little blonde headed two-year old. HE STOPS FOR NO ONE....except machinery...he always stops for that. It's WAY cooler than a trip down hill!
Brandon is just staying in his usual rut. He likes it there. Every once in a while I did him out of it for something like a movie, or going out to eat, but ruts are his vacation. He's still bookkeeping, mowing lawns, paying bills, rough housing with the kids, working in the garden, and helping me out with the laundry and dishes frequently. Did I mention that he MAKES BREAKFAST 6 days a week!!!!! I LOVE HIM!!! And, he regularly keeps up with the laundry. If I could just fold it and get it put away! He's been riding his bike more this summer. I'm glad- he really does a lot around here and gets out very little. I'm glad he's getting the exercise, the time away, and the fun...plus awesome brother Jeff gave him his old Ipod and he's been loving having something to listen to for his rides and while he works. He seems pretty happy and I like that.
Well...that's us and the kids and us lately.
Yeah...kind of gag-reflex happy, but then I'm not complaining about it!