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My Glorious Mommy Life….REALLY!

May 4, 2016

It’s been quite the week and it’s only Wednesday morning. I was struck this morning by the reality that our choices truly matter. I can choose to wallow in this ick that is our life this week or I can choose to laugh and persevere. I choose the higher road!

You see nothing is as it seems. Nate was so proactive and acquired a hotel room for Sunday night so that he and the big kids could get a good night’s sleep before testing. They could leave the house at 6:15 to get to the testing sight or they could sleep closer to the facility and keep everyone happier before testing. However, this is where the choices begin. Thinking Nate & big kids enjoying a fun dinner before heading to the hotel, I’m left with a few unaccounted hours before bedtime. I could run a quick errand to pick up milk (which of course we have none) and a few things for art class. I load up the little kids and head to Sam’s. Closed. Okay. Detour. Wal-Mart it is then. I send a quick email from the front seat as everyone gets unbuckled, only to realize Clare has moved to my side and throws up all over the floor and front seat. Well then. Sorry future shoppers, she did finish her business in the parking lot. Forgive me, but a car of people versus the concrete, I chose outside the vehicle. I strip her down shoving her soiled clothes into a bag. (Thinking we are still going to finish our shopping, she starts to cry realizing there’s no clothes to wear. “Mommy, people will laugh at me if I have no clothes.” Oh sweet girl. We are going home without milk.) I drive with the windows down praying for clean air. Unload the kids. Bathe them. PJs on kids and everyone in the nursery, even 19 month olds who is surely not tired after a late nap. Now back to the van to wash off the floor mats. Thank you Lord for floor mats!

Choice opportunity #2 this week. 4 a.m. and one almost 5 year old throws up on the bedroom/hallway carpet. Okay, so maybe earlier she wasn’t car sick. Shower done. Clothes changed. Sleepy girl sent back to bed. Carpet scrubbed. Laundry towels started. Mommy crawls into bed. I take a deep breath and hear 3 year old crying from the same bedroom. I go in to see a look of horror on her face as she declares she just pooped in her pajamas and spit up on her blanket. Well then. Shower #2 done. Clothes changed. Bed made on mommy’s floor. Sheets and blankets added to earlier towel laundry and restarted. I crawl back into bed (after changing my own clothes for good measure) and quickly realize said 3 year old on the floor is no longer tired. Cue the Roku and a kids’ movie. Dozing in and out of sleep is as good as it gets. Clare wakes to throw up a few more times, but without incident. Let’s just say I am so thankful she is almost 5 and can run to the bathroom to do her business.

Monday, 1 p.m. coming home from standardized testing, Michael gets out of the car to help pick up milk at the store, and bends over to spew onto the parking lot behind the van. Well then. You are on Daddy’s watch at that point. Whew.

Early morning PT for me on Tuesday (this PT manual soft tissue work is no joke y’all), but everyone at home is feeling fine and spunky. It’s been almost 24 hours, let’s go get free lunch at The Grub! Super fun and very yummy!

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Now. Time to rush! Pick up some friends. Drive 20 minutes. Teach a 2 hour art class; today it is difficult concepts for homeschoolers not accustomed to a group dynamic. Scissor skills. Following directions. Staying on pace with the group. Lots of perseverance, a few extra adult hands (thank you ladies), and I can say they did it. The sunflower pictures turned out great!

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Rush home with 15 minutes to spare. Time to tutor a precious little boy who I haven’t seen all month. Sent the kids outside with a snack and the older ones with homework while they supervise the play, only to hear, “Mom. She just threw up.” Well then. Choice #3. Cancel tutoring while taking off soiled clothing. Send naked child upstairs to get clothes from daddy (who is supposed to be working from home and hidden in the master bedroom). Disinfect the bathroom for at least the 3rd time this week, scrub the floor with OnGuard cleaner, wipe down the faucet and door, and inform the 12 year old that normally walking a sick child through the house isn’t the best idea. Let her finish her business outside and use the hose. 3-year-old comes back down and promptly goes back outside to play. What is it with little ones bouncing back? However, it had been 36+ hours and she’s sick again. Seriously? More carpet to clean. More laundry. Admittedly, while scrubbing I allowed the feelings of guilt to take root. Guilt that I had potentially shared our germs with those at the restaurant (our friends especially) and the kids at Art Class. How could I be so irresponsible? [The devil uses every moment he can, right?]

Early to bed for everyone. 2 a.m. and 12-year-old wakes me with her great news. Now. 4/5 are sick or have been sick. Sweet girl. It always hits the oldest ones the hardest. Not good! However bittersweet, she’s independent, mature enough, and ultimately cares for herself.

Unaware of Katie’s night, Daddy goes in to wake Michael for their early morning drive (the Sunday night hotel before testing wasn’t such a restful thing after all). After opening the door, it’s clear someone is sick. Let the hunt begin. Phone flashlights are awesome. Choice #4. It’s the baby who happens to now be sound asleep. You know, after having 5 kids, a smart mother would consider all the options before putting her children to bed. Why, oh why, did I not remove all the stuffed animals from his crib. (They are his companions, he makes a little sleeping nest surrounded by and on top of them.) Where to begin? Remove all stuffed animals and blankets and begin laundry immediately. Remove baby from soiled crib, strip him down in the laundry room only to watch his pathetic, heart-wrenching pleas for his beloved stuffed animals a mere foot from his head and oh so off limits. Bath water run with a few drops of OnGuard Essential Oil for good measure. New clothes for both of us. Now to consider the nursery. Purify EO in the diffuser to clean the air. Trash bag in hand to take bedding straight to the dumpster outside. (My dearest mommy friend taught me long ago, sometimes it is better to just throw it away.) Wipe down plastic crib mattress. Reassemble with baby safe bedding.

[Despite the fact that he sleeps with his stuffed animals, I do take extra care to keep his belly-sleeping body from resting on the plastic infant mattress. Yes. I do all the things we are told not to do; but I also entrust my children to the Lord, trust His plan for their life, love hard on my children every day, and make decisions relevant to the overall good of our family.]

Add OnGuard to the nursery diffuser. Change laundry so baby who continues to walk to the laundry room begging for his friends and crying, will soon have dry, clean companions to love.

Choice #5. Oh no. Fiberfill everywhere!! Which of the crib friends lost their filling during their wash? Sure enough. With each item pulled from the washing machine, it has to be hand picked for lint before being put into the dryer. Yes. Everything. It’s hard to believe that this newest little companion has any stuffing left. I guess once he gets resewn, he’ll be extra snuggly in his new squishier self. It is in this moment when I realize I need to make friends with this family blog of ours. As I pull a clump of lint from here and another from here and another from there, I look at my week from above.

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Anyone who has ever cared for sick children knows that it is tough. The uncertainty of unknown eruptions is tough. Holding children who aren’t acting like themselves is tough. The endless laundry is always tough, on any given day. Food choices always possess an element of doubt…will they eat it? How much should they eat? Is it bland enough as not to aggravate an already uneasy tummy? Do I give in to the pleas for milk? How often should they eat? Where does it end, right?

I imagine in my less mature days of motherhood, I would have been completely overwhelmed. I think I can recall having been there, but God is good to smudge the clarity of those memories. Today, I choose to be thankful that there are little ones in my house that still need me. I choose to recall an article I just read about coveting the vacuum lines in the carpet. It is an unmet desire in my house too, but it is unmet because I have beautiful children, five of them, who live in this house 24/7. One day I will have clean floors, vacuum lines that last for days, laundry that isn’t begging to be done daily, and beds that haven’t had people sleeping in them at all. There will be no middle-of-the-night footsteps to my bedside waking me from a peaceful sleep to tell me I have choices to make.

So. Today, I pray that God allows me to remember this week. That he reminds me to treasure the moments I have here with my kids. To read another book, even if the words are read slowly and have only three letters. To remember what it felt like to have little bodies pressing to get as close as possible just to be part of the action of a slowly read book with only three-letter words. This. This is what I love. This is the simple moments of my mommy days that often get overlooked and yet these are the ones I want to remember most. Above, I listed six moments I had an opportunity to make a choice, but really, I make choices all day. Today, I’m simply reminded that these choices can have lasting consequences despite the fact that it really only effects a half dozen people or so.

Today we will stay home. Tomorrow we will stay home. Friday we will stay home and maybe even this weekend we will stay home. (You see, I never want to be one of those irresponsible moms who take their children around the world while they are sick. I really just didn’t suspect. I thought the rule was 24 hours.) Instead, I choose to be joyous in this change of plans. Thank you Lord for reminding me to slow down, for forcing me to be content with my crew. Grant us health, please. Pretty please, but thank you too for this opportunity. I choose to treasure it…all of it!

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