A Typical Sunday Morning

Sundays tend to be crazy around our house. Noel is the main sound guy for our church and he is a musician on the worship team. Or church band, for those that don’t speak Christianese. Pretty much every Sunday he is doing one or the other (sometimes both which is tricky). Our church also has 2 services on Sunday and Noel is usually involved with both. So he leaves home very early. Sometimes he brings the 3 big kids with to the early service and then Riley and I just meet them at the “regular” later service. This is a typical Sunday when he hasn’t brought any kids with him

8:00 Wake up to big kids playing the wii. Tell them to turn it off and we need to get ready to go. They are confused. They can’t figure out where we are going because they think it’s a week day since Dad left so early. I tell them it is in fact Sunday and we are going to church. Cue excitement and hyperactivity.

8:05 I calm kids down and get them on task with eating breakfast and getting clothes ready to put on after they shower or bathe.

8:12 I buckle Riley into his highchair and give him food and drink. Clock starts ticking on how long he will be content in his chair.

8:15 I hop in the shower

8:17 First kid comes running in to use the toilet.

8:18 Second kid comes running in to use toilet and nags, whines and cries at the first kid to hurry up because they have to go really, really bad. I sing a little louder so I can ignore what’s going on and relax a little.

8:20 Bathroom starts to stink and my shower scalds me as the toilet gets flushed.

8:21 I hear Riley crying out in the living room. I yell out to someone to tell me what’s wrong with him.

8:21:30 Kid comes in to tell me what’s going on with Riley. They fail to shut the bathroom door, so Riley(who has been released from his highchair) comes in too. After exploring the wonders of the toilet seat and touching it sufficiently enough to get e-coli, he tries to climb in the shower with me. He cries when I won’t let him in fully clothed and full out bawls when the one who left the door open escorts him out of the bathroom.

8:22 Listening to Riley blood curdling screaming right outside the bathroom door as he jiggles the doorknob trying to get in. Hear loud thumps and feel the whole house shake as the big kids are apparently jack hammering our home. That or they found an elephant wandering around outside and they let it in our home.

8:23 Give up on shower, rinse conditioner mostly out of my hair. Get out and wrap hair up in one towel and body with another.

8:24 Exit bathroom and am greeted by sobbing Riley, and 3 big kids who have not found clothes or eaten breakfast. They have been doing other productive things, like coloring and chasing each other around the house.

8:25 Apologize to kids after hollering at them for not obeying and “We need to hurry so we are not late for CHURCH!” Sigh.

8:30 Get Natalie and Riley in the bath.

8:40 Dump water over a screaming Riley’s head and a whining and screaming Natalie’s head.

8:40:30 Quietly thank God that I only shampoo their hair so I only have to rinse them once.

8:43 Take a still-screaming-from-the-water-dump Riley out of the tub. Wrap him in towel and put him on the changing table.

8:45 Dry off Riley while giving Nat directions on getting out and actually drying off instead of sitting on the rug wrapped in a towel as Ethan and Will come in the bathroom and argue over who showers next.

8:47 Pat self on back for remembering to clean Riley’s belly button with Q-tip dipped in alcohol.

8:50 As I’m putting Riley’s pants on as he stands on the changing table I notice the alcohol smell is still strong. That’s odd.

8:51 Tell Natalie she needs to get off rug now and get clothes on and brush her teeth. Remind boy in shower to use shampoo, not just water, and to rinse thoroughly!

8:53 Feel something dripping on my foot as I am still getting Riley dressed at the changing table. Look down and see rubbing alcohol puddled around Riley’s feet and dripping down through clothes and diapers to finally land on my feet. And my dress pants.

8:53:30 Yell at boy not showering to bring paper towels double quick! Pick up knocked over bottle of alcohol that apparently had a loose cover.

8:54 Use half a roll of paper towels to mop up stinky alcohol mess while holding half dressed Riley so he doesn’t get covered in it.

8:58 Tell Natalie to put a clean shirt on. Tell boy in shower to hurry up and other boy to be ready to hop in shower.

9:02 Riley finally dressed, last boy in shower. Riley is being clingy and cries if I set him down. Now do everything one handed while lugging an extra 25 pounds around.

9:04 Brush Natalie’s hair as she screams the entire time. Even before the brush is actually touching her hair. All while holding Riley- who is trying to take the brush from me and crying because I won’t give it to him.

9:08 Wow! Realize everyone is dressed! We are going to be early!

9:08:30 Realize I still have my pajama shirt on. And no makeup. And no socks. And no bra.

9:12 Remember that there is no Children’s Church this Sunday for the big boys, so remind them to get things to keep them quietly occupied. Double check that I have a fully loaded diaper bag. Realize I need a snack for Riley.

9:13 Start putting Riley in his car seat, tell Ethan to go start the van. Will suddenly remembers something that he HAS to bring with to church. He goes to search for it.

9:15 Ethan races in the house saying, “I don’t think we’ll be able to go to church today, Mom!” Cue hysterics from kids who really, really, really want to go to church!

9:17 The hysterics and freaking out are now quieted enough that I can hear Ethan tell me why we can’t go to church… The doors are locked on the van and the keys are in it.

9:17:30 I remember that we have an extra fob somewhere in our house that I can unlock the van with, if I can just find it.

9:20 Try calling Noel after not finding the fob quickly. Quietly thank God for the car Noel just got that I don’t like but can fit all 6 of us if needed. Laugh that I’m not even at church and God’s teaching me…

9:24 Got Noel’s voice mail, so I furiously dig through our 2 junk drawers looking for our fob. Find 3!!! Fobs that are not for our van.

9:28 Finally find fob and get van unlocked. Seriously contemplate changing my name to Momgyver. Ethan runs out and starts van.

9:30 Get Riley’s shoes on and find his pacifier (Yes! He still has a paci at 20 months. Go ahead and judge me) Harp on Will and Nat to get their shoes and jackets on!

9:33 Apologize to kids again for being so sharp.

9:34 Ethan runs into the house looking for something. I give him a few minutes to look. Then he informs me what he’s doing and I tell him now is not the time to be finding your phone charger to charge Dad’s old phone that you play with.

9:38 Finally get Ethan out the door. We are all outside now. Instead of getting in the van, Will and Nat have been playing in the snow. I decide they can go to church wet.

9:42 Everyone is in van and buckled. I hop in and realize I need to scrape the windows to drive safely.

9:47 Van scraped, I’m covered in snow. Finally time to go to church. It takes 15 minutes to get there but highways are slippery so it takes a little longer.

10:10 Arrive at church 10 minutes late. I get Riley out of the car and wait for the kids to get out.

10:11 Still waiting. Tell the kids to hurry up.

10:12 Still waiting. Tell the kids to hurry up

10:13 Finally they figure out how to get out of the van we’ve owned for 4 years and we head in to church.

10:15 Bring Natalie to her class. Go into the sanctuary to find a seat near the sound booth so the kids can be with their dad if they want and not disturb the entire congregation.

10:17 Take jacket off and have horrific moment of wondering if I did indeed change my shirt and put a bra on. Casually glance down and see that yes, I did indeed actually finish getting dressed.

10:17:30 Silently thank God that I somehow remembered to dress myself in the chaos.

10:18 Snuggle into my sweet baby in my arms and thank God for my kids and chaos. Realize it’s not so hard.

10:19 Leave the sanctuary with screaming Riley and disobedient big kids.  Appreciate that God appreciates irony.

10:20 Choose to laugh instead of cry.




Why I no longer use acronyms or abbreviations

Late last summer I started taking a prescription for my under-active thyroid. I had to get my blood drawn after 6 weeks of taking the medicine to see if it was working, the main level they check is TSH (remember this, it’s important later.)

It’s now September and I go in to get my blood drawn. I scheduled it for the morning because it takes 25 minutes to get to the clinic, my husband was out of town, I had to bring all four kids and I wanted it to minimally impact our (school) day. I was up a lot the night before with Riley, so I was very tired. When I’m very tired my eyes get really, really bloodshot.

I get everyone up, breakfasted, dressed and in the van and we actually make it on time!  Proud Mommy moment! So we’re sitting back by the lab waiting for my turn. My three big kids are all asking 100 different questions about everything they’re seeing. I’m getting a little frazzled.. Finally a lab tech comes back to me and asks why I’m there, what levels I’m getting checked. My brain quits working. It finally gets back up to speed and I’m thinking thyroid levels, TSH; but I say THC. Her eyes bug out and she takes in my bloodshot eyes, frizzy ponytail and four kids, (3 of whom are school age and it’s a school day). I realize what I’ve said and yell, “No!!! No!! My TSH levels! My thyroid!”

TSH- hormone that stimulates thyroid
THC-chemical in marijuana

Only slightly different things, right?

Then I hear her talking to a nurse about THC, and I interrupt them with “It wasn’t a Freudian slip! Just a Mommy brain malfunction! All those letters get mixed up sometimes!”

The lab lady kept laughing at me. She said I’d made her day, so I guess it was worth it.


Of Owies and Ice Packs

Sir Riley fell as he was walking and hit his his head on a sharp corner. I was right behind him and as soon as he hit his head the area turned blue and started to swell. He cried and cried. I prayed and prayed. It was one of those scary times that give you an adrenaline rush. I shook for over an hour. Even though I checked him for concussion signs and he seemed ok, I couldn’t stop the adrenaline. I wish we could harness that energy and use it when we need it, not just when we’re freaking out.

I tried to do an ice pack. He didn’t like it too much…

Until he took it from me and held it himself. Then it was pretty cool.

His sweet smile was peeking out much quicker than I expected!

Little trooper.


That one time the kids and I were attacked by a flock of angry bees

I actually don’t know if they were bees, hornets or wasps. I will call them bees to simplify things.

One fine summer day, my 3 older kids were playing outside while the youngest was napping. I was on a phone call with a used car dealership, looking for a vehicle for a friend. The kids were playing in their favorite spot in our yard; it’s an area we don’t mow. Tall grass and a few small trees. They call it their “fort” and play there daily. I would pop my head outside every so often to check on them. Quite often I would send Riley out with them in his stroller. Ethan is responsible enough to keep an eye on Riley in his stroller and Riley loves being with his brothers and sister. This day I was very grateful that Riley was napping and not outside with the big kids.

I was on the phone with Mr Used Car Salesman. I heard some hollering frrom outside, but that’s normal with my kids. Why speak in a normal voice when you can scream?  The hollering got louder and more frantic sounding. I went to the front door to see what was going on. I wasn’t worried. (I quit getting overly worried by blood curdling screams after racing to my children one too many times, expecting blood, broken limbs or missing limbs based on the screams only to find them with sand in their hair or not getting a turn on the swing.) I see Ethan (the oldest) running to the house. He is the one screaming. This is unusual. I open the front door (Mr Used Car is still on the line) and Ethan screams, “I got stung by bees! I got stung!” I yell into the phone, “My kids got stung, I need to go!” And hang up. (yes for real, I didn’t hold him hostage). I see there is a bee on Ethan’s shirt, and he’s in the house now! I whack it off him onto the floor and squish it. He is screaming constantly. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! inhale AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! inhale. I pull his shirt off and see multiple stings. I then hear more screams coming from outside. (Ethan’s still screaming too). I look outside and see my sweet, tiny little 5 year old daughter standing in the tall grass frantically pulling at her hair and scalp while screaming loud enough to make me sick to my stomach. She’s obviously getting stung. I yell at her to run to the house. She doesn’t move. I yell again and she just keeps screaming. I race out to her screaming for her to run to me. (Seriously the sight of me and my flubberyness sprinting (barefoot) and screaming must have looked ree-diculous. Another reason to be thankful we live in the country.)

As I’m running to her I’m looking for Will. He is usually the one to be touching creatures or interesting things (like hives). I don’t see him anywhere. My brain quickly goes to a bad place. I’m thinking he’s been stung so many times he’s on the ground in the tall grass, unconscious or in anaphylactic shock. (When I was in 4th grade I read a book about a girl whose brother was mowing their lawn with a riding mower and he somehow disrupted a wasp or hornet nest and fell off the mower and died. That’s where my mind went.. Why did I read horrible books like this?)

I get to Nat, grab her arm and start running to the house with her. She is still screaming. I look at her as we’re running and realize her hair is filled with bees! I stop running and start pulling and hitting the bees out of her hair. Except they’re tangled in her hair from when she was trying to get them off. I keep pulling them out and hitting them off of her. Now I am screaming as I get stung (it hurts!). They’re on her clothes too. I finally realize that I have to get them off her before we get in to the house or I’ll have bees in the house. I’m trying to get them all off of her and she is so terrified, she keeps trying to get into the house. I finally just pull her shirt off of her and we race to the house.

Aside: Right after I got to Nat and started running to the house, I saw Will peek out from the woods(I was so relieved!) and screamed at him to get in the house. He ran in before we did.

Nat and I get into the house. She is screaming. Ethan is still standing where I left him screaming. Will runs into his room crying, and slams the door. I realize that I am getting stung and have bees on me. I scream as I am stung and pull my shirt off to get the bees off me and kill them. I pull Ethan and Natalie into the bathroom. I have no idea what to do. They’re still screaming. I’m shaking and starting to feel the pain. I check them over. I see lots and lots of stings on them. I easily count 6 stings on Ethan and 9 on Nat. One of Nat’s knuckles is super swollen. It looks broken or dislocated. I wonder if she fell when she was getting stung. Neither of them seems to be having difficulty breathing (all that screaming was kind of a dead giveaway). I get them to calm down and quiet down. My ears are ringing from all the screaming. Riley is now screaming in his crib, woken up from all the pandemonium. I get one of my medical reference books and try to find out what to do with so many stings. Everything I see is just dealing with one sting.(Not helpful!!!) I’m shaking too much to type in google. I have lidocaine (topical pain reliever) and put it on the stings I can see.  I finally call Noel since the kids have quieted down. We decide not to go to the ER and I’ll just keep an eye on all of us that were stung to make sure no one has an allergic reaction. We come out of the bathroom and I go to the front door and see bees. In my house. I grab a shoe and kill them. Riley’s still screaming in his crib. Ethan and Nat are crying because the stings are starting to throb. I am in pain from the stings I got. (mainly the one on my neck and the one on my butt! Bee stung me through my pants! I hope he died a slow death…) I get Riley up and check on Will to make sure he’s ok. He is fine, just shaken up from the screaming and afraid that he might get stung too. I give all of us ibuprofen and make a paste to put on our stings. I play a movie for the kids and they all calm down.(movies are magical!)

I had Natalie sleep with me that night because I wanted to keep an eye on her. She ended up with 12 stings that we could see, and she is tiny. That’s a lot of “poison” in a very little girl. During the night she started whimpering and frantically hitting at her head. She must have been dreaming of bees. Broke my heart. By the next afternoon, the kids’ stings were almost unnoticeable. Natalie’s knuckle wasn’t broken or dislocated, but stung. The swelling went down on it rather quickly. Within 24 hours you could barely tell the kids had been stung! I was so grateful that no one had an allergic reaction and that Riley had not been outside with the kids! What is (now) a funny story to share could have been very tragic and I am fully aware of how close to tragedy we were.

What we think happened when they were attacked was that Ethan heard buzzing by his head and assumed it was a mosquito. He played in that area daily and had never seen bees before, so he had no reason to think it wasn’t a mosquito. He heard buzzing and swiped at the buzzing. He either killed or injured the bee and that caused all the bees to swarm.

The one positive out of all of this is that the three big kids are really excited to move now! (we’ve been wanting to move closer to town for a while) as long as I guarantee our new yard won’t have bees. I’ll make sure to hunt out and spray any hives or nests we see at our next home. One other “good” thing, now if my kids ever get stung just once, it will not be a big deal at all!   That’s keeping on the sunny side, right?

My kids are a little bit literal

One of our birthday traditions is that the birthday kid gets to pick what we have for dinner on their actual birthday. We usually have parties on a Saturday and that is all too rarely their actual birthday. During their birthday dinner, we all share what we love about the birthday person.

One birthday, we were eating dinner and I reminded everyone that they needed to think about what they were going to say because we were going to go around the table and share. We all finished eating, and I announced it was time to go around the table. Three chairs got pushed back and three children stood up and started running around the table… I told them to sit down, and asked what on earth they were doing!

“You said we were going to go around the table!”

They thought I meant we were going to run around the table as we shared our thoughts. (Do you see what I’m dealing with? Three little engineer brains against my dramatic, hyperbolic brain!) They were all so disappointed that I caved. We all marched around the table a few times.

And I have never again used that phrase …