Life With Nine Kids

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Life is Grand

The Renaissance Faire!
I am so behind on the day but I have to stop and write about Beatrice at the Ren Faire yesterday. We always have a lovely time at the faire. We love and enjoy everything about it. It's small but not tiny, it's easy to get around, all the people are always so friendly and lovely, and the venue is an absolutely perfect backdrop of lush woods and enchanted forest. I feel like I'm in a place of magic each time we go, especially when the humid day cools and we are gifted with a soothing shower of light rain in the afternoon. We enjoy shows, food, and each other. I also always wear the beautiful moonstone necklace Ricky bought me at the Ren Faire four years ago. I love traditions. This year we made pirate flags & balloon wands, visited tiny fairy houses, and bought pretty soaps and essential oils from a dear friend. We enjoyed the funny "Crazy Boy Coy" show; he was a fabulous juggler and talent (not to mention fire eater!), a very funny performer and great with the audience.

The kids were happy and content and Everett (3) was calm and collected. I think he is finally maturing a bit and finding more patience to observe things. Ricky and I had a few beers together and we enjoyed some golden honey mead. It's always just an all around great time when we go. Every year the kids look forward to funnel cake and other horrendously fried dessert foods. We always stay for far longer than we think we will stay and spend far more money than we think we will spend! The teens enjoyed buying many goodies from the shops with saved birthday money from last year. I bought a simple woven and fabulous hand held fan to cool a hot and sticky nursing baby and mommy with. (This will be kept with us all summer now! Especially since our air conditioner is broken! )

So, 11 month old Beatrice at the faire... She loved every moment of it. Kids are given a coin at the entrance for the troll in the wishing well. Charlotte was holding Baby Bee and I told her to wish for luck. So Beatrice made a wish with the troll to always be lucky in life. He granted Beatrice's wish and gave her a small pebble (which we have for safe keeping) and she flailed her arms and smiled big at him trying to grab him. It was the most adorable thing EVER. Even a bystander said out loud, "Oh my gosh, that is SO cute." I was trying to take a picture and discovered our camera battery was dead. It was quite disappointing and the only bad thing of the whole day, but all the more reason to write down what pictures didn't capture I guess. In the past we've come home with MANY wonderful pictures, but this time would be different. Charlotte did manage a few shots with her ipod though, just not with the troll unfortunately.

Everett (3) wished to have a super power. The troll asked him which one he'd like and Everett said orange. (Orange is his favorite color.) The troll laughed and told him that was the most creative wish he's ever granted, and he now has the super power to turn anything he wants orange. Everett loved it. The troll got a real kick out of it too. Sebastian (5) wished for many dollars and the troll said "Wish granted, I will give you many doll hairs." It was hilarious. The troll started plucking hairs from his beard explaining that they are just like doll hairs and will do just fine in place of real doll hairs. It was a fabulous encounter. 

When we sat down for a show of fire and juggling Beatrice was all-in. She clapped and smiled and watched the whole show. Afterwards we ate lunch near the stage which now had a belly dancing show going on. Beatrice barely took her eyes of the belly dancers. We were happily watching her because she was having so much fun!

On our adventures through the woods she saw adoptable doggies and some horses she liked. She watched people. She watched me and played with a marker while I made her a pirate flag. (Her flag has a sword and bumble bee on it.) She enjoyed meeting my friend Beth for the first time and their little adorable doggie (a Teacup Chihuahua!! OMG he's so cute.)
She sat with us in mud and clay in the rain to watch a jousting show. She looked so cute with rain drops wetting her hair.

When we stopped for our traditional funnel cake feasting she made us laugh because when Ricky handed me the funnel cakes she went crazy squealing and jabbering while reaching for them. She had no idea what I had but she just knew it was food and wanted some. I placed the hot paper plates under the stroller so we could find a quiet spot in the woods to enjoy our traditional family funnel cake picnic. She hollered and screeched and reached off to the side of the stroller trying to get to the treats. It was SO funny. I laid a blanket down and everyone piled on with the funnel cake. I plopped little Bee right in the middle. She was so happy. She was a part of everything yesterday. She was so joyful and thrilled to be at the faire with us.We all noticed how involved she was. She wasn't just a baby along for the ride, she actively participated in nearly everything!

Trader Joe's 
On our way home we stopped off at Trader Joe's to pick up some gmo free corn tortillas.

Just tortillas. That's all I ran in for.

How do you think that went? Yeah $110.00 dollars later. Hah!

So originally I was just going to run in real quick while everyone waited in the car. I was casually browsing the fresh cut flowers as if I had nothing else to do as soon as I stepped foot inside the store. I quickly decided I needed a cart after all...for the big beautiful potted mums I had just picked out. As I finished getting my cart Ricky surprised me by coming in. He just stood there and smiled at me. I looked up expecting to see another customer in my way, or me in their way,  but I was really surprised to see him. The look we gave each other was like we'd run into each other after a month of dating and we were happy to cross paths. Seriously. It was exactly that adorable.

He said he just wanted to hang out with me. Moments like this make my life 1000 times more awesome. We love being together. It's true the simplest things in the life are the best. It's not where we are or what we are doing that makes us happy, it's just simply being with each other. I love him so much. I love the way he looks at me, the way he laughs at everything with me, the way he loves me. We loaded the cart up with yummy things and talked about how when we are "single" we'll only have Trader Joe's food in the fridge. We refer to all the kids being out of the house one day as our "single life" together. We say that instead of a once in a while trip to Trader Joe's we'll shop together there weekly for our small (but delicious!) meals. I can't imagine cooking for only two people, but I can imagine us being together just like we are now; happily picking out blueberry scones and organic banana-vanilla yogurt together. Life is so sweet and fun when in love. That whole 'falling in love with the same person over and over again' saying? It really can happen. It can happen when you have a new baby together, it can happen when you just look into each others eyes and smile, it can happen in the middle of Trader Joe's on a weekend afternoon.

We bought the kids vanilla bean cupcakes for waiting quietly in the car with the sleeping baby. They were happy, content, and quiet after a long, fun day. What a happy pretty day that even ended with a flirty date at Trader Joe's. I've said it before and I'll say it again, everyday of my life is made better with him in it. Aspire for great things and you can achieve great things... I always, always wanted a great marriage.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Baby Bee's First Birthday Countdown (and all those gushy mommy things I don't want to forget, like her frog legs, and noises, and floppy wrist waves, I go on and on)

Beatrice's first year is going by so fast. We expected it to. It always goes by fast but wonderful.

Baby Bumble Bee
She doesn't answer to her name Beatrice, she answers to Baby Bee. Everett calls her Baby Bumble Bee. We sometimes call her other nicknames like Honey Bee and just plain Bumble. Everett (3) goes to a preschool a few hours a week. At school he was asked to draw his favorite person. He was instructed that the person should have a  head, face, arms, and legs. He drew his baby sister and called his picture a baby bumble bee. His teacher thought humm okay....well he did what we asked him to, he drew a head and arms and legs. Later his teacher told me how he was asked to draw a person but it's interesting that he calls it a baby bumble bee. I laughed out loud with enthusiasm. I explained that he drew his sister Beatrice whom he calls Baby Bumble Bee. So cute!

I was just marveling at her sweet baby charm nine months old. She was grinning, waving her floppy wrists to say hello and batting her eyelashes at everyone she met. I was also just enthralled with how happy and content she was at ten months and how much she considered herself one of the kids already! It was so apparent. Hanging out with everyone, laughing or making noises when the kids would talk. Crawling over to her siblings and playing like a "big kid" next to them. How could I forget how fun and lovely ten month old babies are? Ten month old babies rock. Most aren't walking yet, but thoroughly engage with the world in so many other ways. Ten month old babies are precious.

She shook her head 'no' to me at 10 months, it was the cutest thing ever. I was offering her some food and she shook her head no. She looked like she was going to lose her balance as she did three off balance half shakes of the head. So funny and cute.

We love all these stages, because each stage seems so amazing, adorable, and awesome. We love the needy rooting nursling, the opening of brand new eyes newborn, the wide eyed curious infant, the roly poly wiggle worm, the laugh-at-everything especially when somebody sneezes baby, the sitter-upper, the explorer, the primal crawler... Oh, and all those jibber-jabber noises! LOVE jabbery babies, how cute they are! Beatrice is a jabbery little one. I love her so. Oh, and she kisses me! I love wide mouthed slobbery baby kisses even if they are messy and gross to observe as a bystander. Haha! She was doing the wide mouthed slobber kiss around six months old and on, but around 10 months old she started just leaning in and pressing parted lips to my face without it being a face-sucking drooly kiss.

I have been in a drunken baby-daze for the past eleven months. I cherished it. Suddenly now she's starting to try and stand by herself and I know the infant-baby days are numbered. Ricky and I actually don't care if she doesn't want to walk for four more months! Once they start walking it's all over. They are part of the world in a totally new way and gain profound independence all too quickly. On all fours she explores at a different level both physically and mentally. I think with every kid we hope for the various baby stages to last longer and be more drawn out than they are. Scooting around in the grass, dirt, and house floor; it is like she's still a primal mammal navigating the world. Ricky just mentioned that last night in fact. I had forgotten until just now, but Ricky described her crawl and overall sense of her environment as primal, like a monkey. We really enjoy watching babies grow so much, which I suppose is why we keep having them. That is an interesting point: We like the kids, we love them, we enjoy them...but we also equally like, love, and enjoy seeing each other with them. 
 I love when Beatrice sits up with her 'frog-legs' bent-tucked under her; she bounces up and down so happily. Sometimes she lays belly side down on the wood floor and scoots around for fun, she looks like a frog with her legs bent like that. One day very recently she raised up and slowly stood all the way up on her feet. The first time she did it she looked really unhappy about it. It was hilarious! She rose up, ever so wobbly, and she extended her hands out for balance and to catch herself. The look on her face was adorable; she looked like she was out of her comfort zone but biologically her instincts took over. She locked eyes with us a whimpered. She didn't want to do it but there she was doing it. She tried standing again several days later and now does it a dozen times a day. We all clap and cheer and she smiles at us with her one tooth. She's going to really get the hang of the standing thing by her first birthday. They tend to learn how to walk pretty fast after mastering standing. I keep thinking about her wobbly baby legs learning to take steps, and then not long after that she will test her fate by walking down the front porch steps as we look on in horror. Always on to something new. It's amazing how fast they desire to master new skills.

I just realized over the past two weeks that she is nursing less and eating more solid food and she has been for a while now. She never goes without some solid food for each meal time now. I can't believe how simple and fast it happened. I noticed all of the sudden she's nursing at night more and during the day less. I noticed she's distracted and fidgety on me while she waits for milk to flow, she has started toddler type nursing-gymnastics (flinging her feet into the air, twisting and tugging and fidgeting her body around, and trying to roll over while still nursing or turning her head to see something). She is slowly starting to nurse more when she is tired and less when she's hungry. She's sill packing on many calories from nursing, but it's slowly becoming less frequent and for shorter sessions. All of this means she's heading towards toddler-hood. I'm ready and not ready all at once. She's a total joy to watch.

She will be a year old next month and we plan to throw her a great, big, grand bumble bee birthday party. She'll never remember it but she'll always have pictures of it, and we'll celebrate her. Our baby bumble bee.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Mother's Day Cards Are Lost

I bought cards for many mothers: my mother, other people's mothers, and especially my sister who is a brand new mother. I bought a card for my Aunt Sharon who is like a mother to me and grandmother to my children. I bought cute cards, funny cards, sweet cards. I bought cards to say all kinds of lovely thoughtful words. I bought them all early so I wouldn't run out of time. I told Ricky to buy his mom one early too. They were in a bag and the bag floated between my purse, the kitchen counter, and then my purse again. I looked for the book of stamps to mail them over a week ago, but the stamps were missing. No one knows who lost my stamps...but I'm sure it wasn't me. So back in the purse the cards went. So much for mailing early. Eventually I found one stamp in all of the house and it went on an envelope as I frantically mailed the kids' summer camp registrations...the exact day the registration was due. Made it in the mailbox one hour before the mailman came.

So, back in the purse the cards went, then in the car, and finally somehow for some reason they laid on the back porch table. They were shuffled onto a picnic table outside near our driveway when we cleaned the porch...then they disappeared somehow. In all the chaos of cleaning and painting our nearly dilapidated porch I lost the cards. In all the hardship of leaky septic systems, new plumbing being installed and other service workers coming over, I lost them. In and out of all the busy days juggling kids to events, preschool, grocery shopping (at a store that doesn't sell stamps), cooking dinner for an army, homeschooling, and emergency dental visits, I lost them. Like all hardworking moms, life revolves around kids and not much else.

I have no stamps, no cards, no time. I have happy kids with sticky fingers and fixed teeth. I have a lot of stress, a ton of love, some tears, much laughter, lots of hope, a bit of  insanity, glimpses of peace, too much laundry, and a circle of vibrant women dear to me who would understand all of it because they are moms.

I love you moms! I really do. My birth one, my aunt one, my grandmother ones, my in law one, my  my sister one, my friend ones. I love you all for doing and being the best you can for your kids and families during the best and worst of times. It's not easy. And we keep marching on, and we keep loving on, and we keep our children's hands on our hearts.

I love you circle of moms. Cards or no cards.
Mothers change the world through children

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sebastian...the boy behind the fits

Two weeks ago Sebastian (5) said, "When I'm a grown up I will still live here because Everett will still need me to take care of him."
How totally precious.

 The other day I saw Everett in our tulip tree out front (the kid climbs up anything). Sebastian stepped under him and said, "I'll catch you!" Everett fell and they both hit the ground flat. Thank goodness they were both laughing and neither one was hurt. It was funny. Like a floppy Grover falling on top of another floppy Grover. Now Everett runs under Penelope and Sebastian when they are on the playground out back and says "I catch you!" He's dangerously copying exactly the brotherly love Sebastian showed him.
Tonight Sebastian had a monster size meltdown after we summoned him inside and took his stick away for the night. It was after he was yelling, being mean and repeated physical hurting/grabbing of people. At first it seemed like we might avoid a big fit but I think I may have exasperated the situation by making a point that I was taking his stick away too. Saying that he had to come in for the night and it was time for him to leave his stick outside (something we do each night anyway) would have been a gentler approach than me saying he had to come inside for the night AND I was taking his stick away too. Subtle difference but the way I made him feel powerless was huge to him. It showed too because he came back with the classic I can do whatever I want line. That totally translates to 'I'm my own person and I don't want to be controlled by you.'
So he yelled and cried for his stick for 15 minutes. I finally calmed him down by cleaning up his room and making jokes about stuff and making small talk with mostly myself. Soon he started up a conversation with me. This isn't always this easy (and 15 minutes is easy with him, he can go on in self-pity, anger, and feeling sad for a A LONG time) but sometimes it is easy. Once he perked up we finished cleaning his room together and then made some popcorn for everyone. Bath time and tooth brushing went smoothly and he was all smiles. I pulled down his covers and he said to me, "Even when I'm a grown up I'll still live here, did you know that?" I said, "Really!? That's cool!" He said, "Yup, I will live here so I can still help out."
I'm sitting here wanting to put into words what hearing that means to me. Since we are so "unfair" and so "mean." Since we aren't the bosses and since we can't tell him what to do, and since he told me last week that he could go run away into the woods if he wants to. To hear he wants to stay, to hear his ideas on why he'll live here when he's a grown up --that he wants to be a part of our family and that he clearly sees value in who he is in the family... it's priceless. He knows he helps, he knows he's loved and wanted. He knows his little brother Everett looks up to him. Penelope is friends with him. The older kids are helpers and buddies to him. His mom and dad feed, clothe, and love him. He is really blinded by it all when he's angry and frustrated, but when he's clear headed and being himself he's our happy, talkative, helpful, and vibrant Sebastian of the family. We wouldn't be the same without him. He's got a tough personality. I love him right through it.
Sebastian when he was three, he has not changed much. He's still an ol' scurvy dog!