Saturday, September 28, 2013

Family Photos

A few months ago, I asked Anne if she could help me with something and then quickly went on to say I was going to haul my couch out into the field. Before I could finish my thought, Anne had a bewildered expression on her face. I went on....and then I want to take family photos on it. I think early fall would be gorgeous. If you would take our photos, I would be happy to reciprocate and you can also use my couch if the idea appeals to you. Anne just stared for a minute and then hesitantly agreed to my suggestion. She finally confessed she wasn't sure what I was going to do when I started with hauling my couch out into the field. She anticipated spray paint would be involved. Greg believes I deserve this reputation. The sofa is safe. I think.

I realized this week there was a strong possibility we could pull off family photos on Saturday. I confirmed Anne would be available when I noted all my girls were off early enough to permit evening shots. I then emailed a few friends, "pray we can have all three girls convinced their hair is acceptable and Ty willing to cooperate. Never-mind. Pray for a miracle!" Getting this group together with willing spirits is an act of God these days. So, without further delay, some of my favorite outtakes.

Brutus spread out all over the couch, happy to be the center of attention as we attempted a few final shots. We then loaded up the family and took a quick tour of the neighborhood to horrify the teenagers. As Greg says, this parenting gig is far more entertaining now that we embarrass them more than they embarrass us.

Thank you for playing along Anne! We couldn't have pulled this off without you.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lofty Goals

Wednesday evening Makenna discovered blisters in her mouth. She had a headache, achy body, upset stomach and overall feeling of being ill. Thursday morning she reported she couldn't breathe without mouth pain so she was sent back to bed. After calling the school attendance line, I headed toward the bedroom with my cup of tea to get cleaned up for the day. Devyn arrived early, diverting my plan. But, I started my day with a to do list anyway:

clean floors
bake apple crisp
grocery shop
Kate's schoolwork
meet Karen for tea at 6

By four o'clock, the list looked more like this:
brush teeth
meet Karen at 6:15, come heck or high water (shower and combed hair optional)

Thank God for friends like Karen! I think she would have met me anyway. We sat on a patio for two hours. I didn't stop for groceries. It was glorious. That left today with the same to do list, Lauren's internship and two additional little ones. But Makenna returned to school. Kate wrapped up her school work; grounded for the evening but finished none the less. The extra children were fed, happy and relatively clean when they left my house today. Overall, it was a successful day.

Because most of the week looked more like this, which is it's own kind of success.

Ty is well on his way to full health restoration though. Today for lunch he requested oatmeal, hot dogs, pizza AND watermelon!

Lauren's internship, part time jobs and school transportation have become a royal pain. I am looking forward to her drivers license in December!
Pre-nap walks throughout the neighborhood don't go unnoticed, to say the least. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Is it Friday yet?

I am not going to lie. Nurturing sick people is not my area of expertise. My tolerance for illness in myself or those I love is about 24 hours. After that, I am over it and hope they are too.

This little guy brought hand foot and mouth to our house last week. We still love him. Ty and Devyn developed it this week. Ty is miserable and whiny. Really whiny. All.Night.Long.Whiny. Devyn is a pretty tough girl and not complaining. Just saying.

Ty is improving. He would feel better if he'd accept Motrin for pain relief but he swears he can only take medicine Colby's mom gave him. We all miss Robyn! She was the doctor who prescribed acyclovir for his on-going battle with cold sores. We still use it when he has a nasty outbreak. I tried fibbing to convince him Robyn wanted him to take Motrin. He saw right through it. He doesn't take purple medicine anymore. Mommy might though.

Kate has struggled enough with schoolwork the last few weeks, I reached out to our teacher for assistance. She set Kate up on an intensive language arts program that requires two hours online each day. It isn't the direction I wanted to take but am already seeing improvement. Kate was in tears on Monday because it was taking so long to work through her lesson. Eyes were tired and hurting. She couldn't see the screen clearly. It was so hard, etc....

I unearthed reading glasses Lauren wore in third grade. They were a very low prescription written by Uncle Brad to build confidence. As it turns out, that script is still effective. Kate's eyes were immediately well rested, the screen was clearer and the lesson easy. She looks pretty cute too.

Monday, September 23, 2013

So long......

The kids are grieving the loss of an old friend. Greg discovered a crack in the frame of the trampoline last week. On Sunday we took it down and located three more cracks hidden in supports. It scares me to think what could have happened had Greg not inspected it. My kids loved that trampoline. Heck, I liked jumping with them too. (Only when I assumed the neighbors weren't home!) Ty has sat in it's place a few times with his head down, sad to have said goodbye. Kate was mastering some pretty awesome flips and is also having a hard time letting it go. Even Erin who jumped late at night misses it. But, there is some good news. Kate put a trampoline on her Christmas list where a puppy used to be!

We now have outdoor toys occupying the area the trampoline was anchored. We're allowing some time to pass before deciding what Santa may or may not do about a replacement. He already lugged one onto his sleigh three years ago. The elves must have been cutting corners in the Orbounder factory in 2010. I mention their name deliberately because I told the new elves in charge of "customer service" I would. We had to replace some springs and the mat in 2011. The pad and enclosure didn't make it through 2012 and the frame fell apart in 2013. That my friends is quality craftsmanship. Take pride Orbounder. Take pride.

These guys created an elaborate super hero mission to rescue overturned construction trucks stuck in sand dunes on Sunday afternoon. Who needs Halloween for costumes or a trampoline for fun?

In all seriousness, if you own a trampoline, please inspect yours. I am so relieved Greg is as safety conscience as he is. Someone could have been seriously injured.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I love my children

Erin informed me tonight she wrote Makenna out of gym class today.

Umm, excuse me?

Yes, she needed to miss swimming. I let the gym teacher know she would join them next week but needed today off. I put my cell number for him to call me if he had any questions.

Erin, you are not her mother.

I know but I needed to continue my legacy and it's been awhile since I excused anyone from school.

The things I have learned since she completed high school.

And this conversation took place in the car this afternoon:
Kate mentioned my upcoming birthday. She then clarified 40 is old. Right?

Yes Kate, from what I have been told, 40 is old. Why?

Well, I am trying to think of people older than you. Daddy is older than you.

Yes he is.

And Grandma and Grandpa are older than you too.

Yes they are.

Mom, the only other people I can think of that are older than you are dead.

Thanks Honey.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Apples and Hair Cuts

Someone was a little confused. 

Anne and I took the kids to the orchard today to pick apples. Neither of us was able to easily capture photos this time because the kids are older and make very quick work of the process. We reminisced about our last trip to Huber's together. They've all grown so much!

This evening Kate, Ty and I had hair appointments. Erin rode along. Rosie is a smart lady so she took advantage of Erin being there and talked her into her first trim in thirteen months.
I love Kate's hair! She chose the length.

Ty got tired of waiting and laid down.  He requested spikes this time and worried about going to bed because they "might go flat".
Oh yeah. She loves haircuts. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Santa? In September?

Out of the blue today, Kate mentioned how much she loves Christmas because some of her favorite books are Christmas themed and they come out of the attic with the tree every year. Ty jumped in to say that he likes Christmas because Santa brings him a present. Taking the bait, I ask what he would like Santa to bring him this year even though I am thinking, "how are we having this conversation in September!" Ty quickly answered that he would like another Buzz Lightyear figure like the one he was holding. He obviously has not thought about it and would once again be thrilled with anything Santa brings. But Kate all too confidently stated she knew exactly what she was asking for this year. She is asking for a puppy again. I reminded her that Santa let her know last year that he cannot bring puppies. She informed me that Santa was not able to bring a puppy last year because they had a shortage and that Santa would have that straightened out by now. I.AM.NOT.KIDDING.

I discreetly picked up the phone and walked to the back of the house to call Jennifer. "Remind me to smack your sister when I see her next. Santa should have been off limits." Jennifer simply stated Kate is too smart and she's going to need a few days to process the latest development in this little saga. She then asked me how Brutus was feeling! If you care to read how all of this began, I invite you to read this post followed by this post.

I live in chaos.

Keeping it real

On Election Day 2004, we had an ultra sound and consultation with a high risk specialist to confirm we had a healthy baby due in May. We shared the news with three big sisters on our way to lunch that afternoon. All were excited but Lauren quickly added, "I wish we were getting a puppy instead". As it turns out, Lauren wasn't the only one who really wanted a puppy. Greg was also watching the ads for Boxer pups in our area and that evening he made a phone call to a local breeder who happened to have one seven week old male left. It may have been bedtime in our world, but Greg insisted we go see if we would like this puppy. As if there was any question we would leave a puppy there after introducing three little girls to him! Whatever. I was roped in and today we celebrate Brutus' ninth birthday. And by celebrate I mean, we bought him a bag of dog food. He was almost out anyway. Happy birthday old boy.

I am getting a lot of sweet comments about the photo of us sharing a moment yesterday. In an effort to keep things real around here, I have to share the photo taken immediately before that one. He is crazy. And I love him.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Weekend Review

Lauren assisted the little boutique she's interning with this semester set up for a remote barn sale on Friday. She fell in love with a blind baby cow on the farm she thinks we need to adopt. As cute as he is, T-bone would not be an appropriate name in Lauren's view so he is therefore, not being adopted by the Baughmans.

Saturday we participated in our neighborhood garage sale. It was a pleasant crowd, gorgeous day and a quick $200 in my pocket. The garage has since been reclaimed but only a little cleaner. I emphasize the word little because while I was busy unloading our junk, my children were collecting new junk from the neighbors. On top of that, Kate and Ty pulled multiple items from the sale before we even got started. I am now faced with the challenge of finding homes for toys that had been previously tucked away in the attic in anticipation of the sale. In the future, I will go back to hiding toys in goodwill bags while the kids sleep. It's just easier that way.

Last evening we hung out with neighbors celebrating their son's third birthday. Grilled burgers, cupcakes and a bounce house wrapped up a gorgeous evening.

After church today we visited our favorite Subway employee for a salad and some $5 footlongs. Ty likes "lunch Erin made". We then headed to a local festival to see some awesome antique tractors. Ty was in his glory and Greg took a walk down memory lane. He found a replica of the tractor he first learned to drive, a few models his father has owned and even a couple of favorites found on his uncle's farm.
This afternoon Greg helped Makenna study for a big health test. She has to identify and correctly spell 30 bones and 20 muscles in the body. As it turns out, sister has a better memory and willingness to work when Dad is throwing candy corn her direction for correct answers.

And this evening friends stopped by. It was relaxing and casual enough I almost didn't notice they were seeing my dusty house. It's been busy and preparations for the week ahead have not commenced.
Laptops make homework portable. Lauren, grateful to be relaxing after a long weekend of working at McDonalds still has quite a bit to do for school tomorrow. 

Ty's latest trick has him hanging upside down off the trampoline. 

Kate's toe touches are improving. She is as much a risk taker these days as her brother. Have mercy.
Tonight we hung out as a family by the fire and enjoyed being together. I am still soaking up all the goodness of the weekend. The dust can have my attention tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Call me crazy, but this is fun

I am not the only one anticipating cooler temperatures. These guys want to play outside!

Brycen caught me with the camera. He misses nothing.  

I love having these little partners in crime wrecking my house a few days a week. They are a good time. Maverick spends his days smiling and exploring, typically behind Brycen who is the class clown of the group. His toddler years will be entertaining; exhausting but entertaining. Maverick brings his pretty big sister along too. She is three and Ty is smitten. He is so much bigger and stronger when Gleason is here. Smile. I think someone has a crush.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Happy birthday Dad

My dad celebrated his birthday today. I watched the sun set this evening while talking with him on the phone about life in general and the world we live in post 9/11. He has a twenty year military background and sees the world through a different lens than me. I appreciate his world view even if I don't always agree with his opinions. We are generally safe to discuss politics and religion. I love that about our relationship.

Ask him how old he turned today and he will answer he isn't as old as my mom. He will then add that he won't ever catch up. I tend to remind him that he may have limited birthdays left if he doesn't lay off Mom. She's going to get even someday.
Kate finished her quilt. It is waiting in the cradle my grandpa made for Erin when she was a little girl. Tomorrow a baby doll will be cozy.


September has proven busier than ever. And hot. Still very hot. Go away 90 degree days, I am tired of you.

We have our annual neighborhood garage sale coming up next weekend so I spent last weekend pulling items to include in the sale. I don't typically hold onto items once they no longer serve an immediate purpose because storage is a premium in these parts. My five kids share two closets. We don't have a linen closet or a coat closet. We don't even have a pantry. How those details slipped by us when we found this house is beyond me. I think the awesome view out back and large bonus room upstairs clouded our judgement. In truth, the house isn't to blame for my refusal to hold onto things though. I am not a pack rat. I grew up a military brat, moving all the time. My mom was the original purger of all things unnecessary. She raised me well, although I suspect there were some seasons (the teen years) when she doubted she'd ever visit my house. I remind myself of this memory before entering the bonus room these days. The girls who live up there are messy.

So this weekend, I determined to clean out my closet because it is the one catch all location in the house. I knew there was quite a bit in there that needed to find it's way out of the house. I was prepared to make firm purging decisions. I was not prepared to be emotionally sideswiped.

My mom brought a few items from my grandma's sewing room when she put Grandma's house on the market last year. I wasn't prepared to deal with those items at the time so I placed them in my closet. Sorting through her fabric squares, each color separated by individual baggies, with her notations on post it notes in her handwriting hit me hard. I had all these little squares, literally hundreds of them sitting in my lap and had no clue what to do with them. So I sat and cried. It was the most mature thing I could do at that moment and for several afterward. I miss her. God I miss her. She had a way of saying things that sounded sharp but was direct and to the point. She raised six kids so she didn't mix words and told it how she saw it. Frankly, I appreciate her kind of honesty. It's rare. As if it weren't enough to sort through her items, smelling like her house and reminding me of her handmade pillows, I also ran across old photos of each of my grandparents holding my babies and even a few of them with a very young me. It was a tough process to work through.

I eliminated a closet full of stuff; none of it mattering much once I made it through Grandma's things. I have far more to sell than I originally thought I would but I still have Grandma's box. It isn't time to remove it; except for a few fabric squares. They created an opportunity for Kate and I to practice quilting this weekend. She chose her favorites from Grandma's pre-cut pieces and learned how to thread a needle, sew small straight stitches and lay out a basic quilt top. She's been hard at work the last few days. Grandma would be pleased.

Grandma would also be tickled by my son who spent the time Kate was diligently working on her quilt trying to determine which needles were sharp enough to draw blood on his own body. I swear I can hear her laughing.