Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekend Review

This weekend was good for my soul. On one miraculous evening last week, all four of my girls were home at the same time and we laughed together to the point my head was splitting. I took the opportunity to ask them about Ryan's birthday. We collectively decided to take some time on Saturday afternoon before Greg went back to work to go to dinner together. It has been almost two years since all seven of us went out to eat together with budgets, schedules and my odd diet making it difficult.

Kate, Ty and I worked on a Christmas light scavenger hunt. It was a blast. Kate took her clipboard with the list attached in the car and tried to cheat the system with "memories" of such and such. I had to remind her we were seeking the items in light displays together. She held the power of the pen and clipboard and took her job very seriously. There were times I had to remind her to relax and enjoy the lights. I suspect she inherited that from her mother. To do lists can suck the joy from simple things if we let them. It was fun.

Holiday baking has been scaled back this year but our traditional favorites were prepared. And we are all set for this week's Christmas party with my smallest friends.

A Living Nativity display was set up to raise money for the Salvation Army. Live animals and the chance and see what all this craziness is about? We were in. It was another awesome way to distract us from missing Greg this weekend.

I took Kate and Ty to evening church the night of Ryan's birthday. The cheerful message was about redemption. Fitting, I think. Ty kept the candles after the service. They brought him such joy. We'll likely be singing Silent Night quite a bit in the future if it means he gets to hold a candle.

So I have felt guilty for not providing a Christmas tree for Kate and Ty. Yes they have a little one in their room but Santa won't be putting anything under that tree. I looked for simple options Oliver wouldn't destroy and discovered branches in a vase on Pinterest. I decided to try it since I am fairly certain Oliver no longer gets on the table. I arranged it with Kate's help and sent a photo to four contacts. The response was varied. Some thought I was kidding and others thought it was pretty. Two of my teens are horrified and one is impressed. Greg has not commented and I am going to assume his silence follows the golden rule, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". It may make it until Thursday but I am not making any promises.

Speaking of Oliver....I have failed to mention we found Spidey a new home a few weeks ago. He was destructive and had a rough personality. He tormented the other animals and wanted nothing to do with people unless they were sleeping. Once he started using the bathtub instead of the litter box, I was finished dealing with him. He now lives on Justin's 15 acre farm and has fit in quite well. In fact, rumor has it he has run off their previous cat of two years. He is a handful and will likely make quite a mouser for Justin's parents.  It's a win-win situation. Spidey wasn't content as a house cat and we are all sleeping again.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


How can it be? Eleven years ago today you were born broken yet perfect; strong yet weak. You forever changed our family. Ryan Patrick, celebrating you each year exposes raw pain and reveals our frailty. Your birth Mother and I have re-connected this year. We've wept together, celebrated her victory over addiction and talked endlessly about you. We came together to mark your birthday. I hope this brings you joy. The road leading us here has been rough but we wanted to honor you together.

I can't help but celebrate her sobriety and her ability to finally be the mother she always wanted to be for her children but that's her story to share. She lives with guilt but is forgiven. The amazing person she has always been shines through the pain she carries and I am proud of her. I pray you are honored by our coming together, two broken hearts missing you and wondering, "what if".

Happy birthday, precious son. You are loved and missed. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Baughman Family Christmas

The weather was mild. The food was delicious. We were spoiled. Christmas was celebrated. It was a perfect Sunday to kick off a week of bustling. There will be a house full of kiddos, several finals to be taken and school parties to attend. Greg won't be seeing much of us since he is called to support Santa in all his endeavors for the next ten days. Be nice to your UPS man. He's tired.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Ty approached with the longest, saddest face and announced he never wanted to be a grown up because grown ups have boring jobs. He was so serious, laughing was out of the question but almost impossible to avoid.

I asked two year old Anna to get her shoes and socks on so we could run to the grocery. She returned with her shoes on her feet and her socks on her hands. Obviously, I fail to communicate clearly around here.

The kids played at the neighbor's house. Kate returned with wet socks. When questioned, she explained the socks were wet because the seven year old neighbor boy was chewing on them. Why? Because he was being a baby gorilla. Of course. This makes perfect sense. Boys are weird.

Makenna forgot she let Oliver out the back door last night before she went to bed. He wasn't discovered until he didn't greet me this morning. After searching the house and back yard, I found him curled up behind the urn outside our front door. He was well protected from the elements but boy oh boy was he filthy. He stunk and he was matted with leaves, cobwebs and God knows what else. I gave him the entire day to get sorted out, attempting to help here and there with a brush. I had no luck. Poor Oliver had to get a bath. Makenna and I look like we have lost a freaky battle of some sort with scrapes and cuts up and down our arms. At one point, I realized I was pulling poop out of his thick fur and declared I lead a very full life. It simply doesn't get much better than that. Be jealous friends.
Can't. Stop. Laughing.

Poor Oliver was pretty freaked out. This evening he finally forgave me and let me wrap him up in my sweater to get warm and dry. He eventually napped in a blanket until he recovered. Makenna feels horrible and Oliver is honestly no worse for the wear but I couldn't resist taking his photo. He owes me the entertainment. After all, I pulled poop out of his fur today. Yep, I lead a glamorous life.

Fully recovered, I promise.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


I have been processing something lately that has challenged me. I will share in good time but for now, the journey has led me to appreciate the simple ways I am privileged to mother. I am not disillusioned enough to call it glamorous or even fun at times but I do respect that what I do moment by moment has eternal consequences and rewards. As I blow dry Kate's hair or snuggle with Ty the ten minutes he smells sweet after his bath are moments I inhale and capture with the camera in my mind. I don't want to lose those snapshots. God has called me to love these kids and to ultimately lead them to Him. The bonus is that I get to enjoy them too. In keeping it real, there were a few mouthy moments with a teen this week I considered sending a few of them off to live on a farm with abandoned animals but it was just a fleeting thought, not something in which I could actually follow through. God uses my kids to reveal His love of me. He uses relationships to grow me. I am blessed; exhausted and weepy too. But blessed.

I am praying through this season. Someone from our past has surfaced and our communication is frequent, raw and real. I am learning a lot about my ability to love unconditionally and and it's pushing me in uncomfortable ways. Not only am I coping with my emotions that range from joy to grief but I have found myself in the position of setting the tone for the rest of my family's reactions. The load is heavier than it should be. I want the freedom to celebrate and cry, even if that happens simultaneously. For now, I am processing quietly and am allowing God to work on my heart. I pray I am handling this with the grace He first bestowed upon me.
 Being a mom is a gift. I am blessed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I ended up having my van and only one extra little one today so I asked Ty what he would like to do. We should get out of the house when we can. I expected the library to be his destination of choice but he instead requested we go to see Erin at his "favorite restaurant", Subway. During lunch I asked him what he wanted to buy his sisters for Christmas. He insisted we go immediately to his favorite store, Target while he had all his best ideas. When I probed further to have a better understanding of his best ideas, I was told he'd show me when we got there. As soon as I had Anna secure in a shopping cart, Ty who happened to be wearing cowboy boots and a cape made his way into the jewelry department where he promptly picked up three items in a row declaring them perfect for Erin, Lauren and Makenna. We discussed one item further and decided to switch Lauren and Makenna's gifts. He then led the way to the toy department where he found an item for Kate he'd seen on a commercial. The fact he wanted to take it out of the package prior to wrapping it indicates that perhaps it isn't Kate who really wants this particular item but he hopes she likes it and said so no less than three times on the way home. We were in Target twenty minutes with fifteen of them spent seeking jewelry boxes for wrapping. He is very much his father's son. Get in, get it done and get out.

In other news, Daddy's Super Hero Repair Shop has been open for business. Ty's ornaments have fallen victim to the endless attacks by these two partners in crime. There's a reason they are pretty.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree

The day after Thanksgiving Kate, Mom and I exchanged our fall decor for Christmas. Kate was in her glory. We have scaled back the last few years, making the event much more tolerable for me. The highlight for Kate is always her little Christmas tree. Now that she shares a room with Ty, she is supposed to be sharing the tree but she's wrestling with that concept a bit. Mom helped Kate find the least breakable ornaments for the tree knowing full and well our tiny terrors could not be trusted. After several mishaps, Mom bought the kids a small collection of plastic decorations to adorn the little tree.
She gave Ty two superhero ornaments. Would it surprise anyone to know the ornaments are often missing from the tree because they are on adventures? Would anyone be shocked to learn that when they do hang on the tree, they hang from the star topper in order to be the most important? Kate is rather frustrated.

The cats are trouble and their response to the little tree in the bedroom confirmed my suspicion that a large tree in the living room is out of the question. They have knocked the little one over and assume all the decorations are their toys. Santa will just have to create a space for his delivery this year. Kate's working on a letter of explanation even though she has been assured Santa is aware of the chaos created by these two.
"Trouble? What's this trouble of which you speak? We do not know this trouble. Furthermore, if we did know trouble, we would not care. Clearly this does not concern us."


Friday, November 21, 2014

About this Week

Ty drug me into his room to play house Wednesday. Playing house is challenging when you have a real house to run. Playing anything with Ty is challenging when he wants you to play a specific role because all his imaginary people say and do very determined things. I fail to follow the unwritten script and upset the game often. He literally says, "we need to pause the game so I can tell you what to say next". He's bossy. So as I was being prodded down the hallway where I was to sit in Ty's room, in the far corner and "stay home" while he went to school with a loaded backpack of the most unusual school supplies I have ever seen, I was told that being the mom meant I just said no to candy. Don't I wish.

Lauren took Ty to McDonald's this week to pick up her schedule. Ty rode along because he loves outings with the girls, no matter how simple. Ty asked for a Dr. Pepper when they arrived and Lauren told him Mom would be mad. He looked her square in the eyes and said, "So! You are a grown up now!" She cracked up and has teased me with that line a few times this week.

We have a thankful poster mounted on the fridge this month. I started it with a few notes about things I am thankful for and the family followed my lead. Even Justin has written a few sweet contributions like "this family". And then there's Makenna who added, "tall guys that smell good".

Makenna rides to school most mornings with the neighbor boys. Brandon started playing Christmas music this week on the way to school. Makenna text me saying she was going to throw herself out of the car. I sent her a dozen different Christmas carols in response. After a period of silence she sent back, "I hate you." Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, Miss. Grinch.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Snow Day

The text alerts started at 5:30 this morning. It was a snow day for everyone, which is rare. The teens slept while the rest of us played.

someone came prepared for a snowball fight

After 45 minutes, wet gloves, hats, coats and pants went into the dryer while hot cocoa was made. No sooner than the dryer buzzed, they tackled round two.

I was pleased they chose Narnia over Frozen for our snow day movie. And surprised myself when I had thoughts of decorating for Christmas. I blame the cocoa. Clearly, it went to my head.
Our pumpkins are still displayed in five inches of snow. We'll manage one holiday at a time, thank you very much.