Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Just add water (and gratitude)

After a hectic morning, the big kids were off to school, and I sat down with my remaining 5 children (2 borrowed.)

Five kids, 4 and under, and we planned to be home all. day. long.
I often love these kinds of days, but I was not feeling like I would be loving this one.
All the little people were so.... needy! and LOUD!
and, why did they all need to keep TOUCHING me?

I tried to drink my coffee, but two babies insisted on sitting on me.
The boys fight. Again.
Hey guys, look! Cartoons! Everyone, can't you just watch a cartoon for one minute while I catch my breath?

Breakfast explosion remained on the dining room table.
There wasn't even a big kid around to put the milk away.
I sat under the babies. I slowly moved them aside. I inched off the couch.

I snuck away to go to the bathroom, and came out 30 seconds later to 3 kids screaming, one boy injured, one spill, and one child smirking.

I'm not terribly happy about the situation, either.

It's only 8:00. How, Lord, are we going to make it through this day?

I resort to my three most common coping strategies:
Coffee, Outside, and List Making.

The coffee was gross because it had been sitting there for an hour, but I didn't dare sneak away to microwave it. I was not allowed out of the room for thirty seconds. They had just reminded me of that. I guzzled it down, gross and cold, and hoped it would at least give me some energy.

Going outside always improves my mood when the weather is nice. I could only hope it would do the same for the kids.  My four year old pushed one stroller, while I pushed three kids in another. (Our road is narrow, and I didn't want anyone running around loose!)  We visited the neighborhood cows.

While we walked, I began to make my list. First, I prayed:  Lord, help me see these kids as something other than squawking bundles of NEED. I need you to open my eyes again!

The List
Marcus wants to make a list of things we are going to do today.
I give in, just to make him stop pestering. Maybe he will come up with something good.
We make our to-do list, (we put the cows on the list first,) and that reminded me of a gratitude list.
Fine, I'll try.

Though I feel no gratitude, I write. I fake it.
Beautiful morning, birds singing, fat baby thighs, and so forth.  Blah blah, blah.
God, change my attitude!

I decide I'm grateful for Marcus's help with the stroller, and the fact that she thinks it is funny when they almost crash. I'm grateful that there's only been "almost" crashes.

It's too wet for the playground. They hop in puddles, and I'm hot from our walk, so I don't mind.
I'm grateful that I get to count my morning as exercise.
They argue about what to do next.
We go back home.
But I can't bring myself to bring them back in the house, where we are all on top of each other and nobody wants to do anything.

It's hot. I have an idea. Maybe it will be good enough to earn me a second cup of coffee.

Then, water.
Towels and Cheeze-Its.
More water.

My list grows, and suddenly, I mean it.
Thank you, God.

I see them again: the blessings.
They're everywhere, and all over me, like children.



My list has turned incredibly long. What follows, I post for my own enjoyment. It is a bit sappy, and I could be accused of gushing. Proceed at your own risk.

What I love about Marcus today
  • The tough guy, snuggles me on the couch while I hold Deandra, and says, “I love babies. Do you know why I love babies? Because they’re cute.”
  • He named the cow with black spots “Batman.”
  • I come in from outside, where he’s in the kitchen alone. He hears me, runs away, and says in an innocent voice, “nothing!”
  • He wants me to make a list in the morning of all the things we plan to do in the day. Then, he doesn’t care at all if we follow it. He just wants to make a list.
  • He tries to teach Eldon to feed his caterpillar leaves. Eldon refuses and runs away with the bug jar. Marcus looks at me, sighs, and shakes his head with a smile, as if to say, “Kids.”
  • At naptime, he calls for me. He’s been playing with the lamp, and the bulb fell under the bed and he can’t find it. He is so, so sorry (and tired.) I tell him we will find it later, but he is just so terribly sorry.  I look again, and find it. He’s relieved, and so, so very sorry. I leave him covered in kisses and grace, and his tears are on my face, too. He sleeps. 
What I love about Eldon today
  • He loves to pick out his underoos in the morning.  He looks for “Elmo” or “Elmo’s friends.”
  • He makes a joke by trying to put his cookie monster underoos on his head.
  • Somehow, he lost his underoos on one trip to the bathroom. We just move on with our day. They must be here somewhere.
  • I draw a heart with chalk “because I love Eldon” and he smiles huge.
  • His body, traced on the sidewalk, looks “like a ginger man mama! I eat me?”
  • He stops to look for cars in the parking lot, saying “always stop. Look.”  He does listen!
  • How hilarious it is to see him on the trampoline, with short legs and enormous effort.
  • His crazy sentences. "Mama, more please. Carrots."
  • How imitated Enola, wrapping his towel around him and saying, "Look! I'm a princess!"
What I love about Peter today
  • Those CURLS! Mousse and humidity are perfect for him! (I wish that were the case for me!)
  • How he whacks me and says “THAT” when he needs something.
  • When I stand, he thinks my legs make a tunnel, and he goes under them. Every time.
  • His attempt to sing “row your boat” with the kids today.
  • When tractors come by, he yells, “Tract-y!”
  • Kids say “Mommy’s coffee is…” and he yells “YUCKY!”

What I love about Enola today

  • We get out little girl stuff when she and her sister are here. It is fun to borrow little princesses.
  • She reminds me, several times a day, “I’m the big sister.”
  • She pats her baby sister, “Deandra is my best friend.”
  • She says she “loves the bounce-a-line”
  • She runs through the sprinkler with her "under-brella."
  • When the breeze blew her hair, she danced around the yard singing “I’m a princess! I’m a princess!”
  • She hesitated to play with sidewalk chalk, not sure it was worth getting “so messy.” But when she realized she could use pink, and even color her hands pink if she chose, she was all in.
What I love about Deandra today
  • More pink, and girly noises.
  • She cries when mommy leaves, but when mom’s gone, I am the backup mom.
  • Her thighs and her soft skin! She still feels like a baby!
  • She's tough. She stands up to my boys with hearty screaming. The red car is hers, and that's simply all there is to it.
  • The way she makes faces at me when I have the camera.
  • How she rocks her body when I sing to her.
  • When I lay her down, she puts her feet in the air as she grabs her blanket. Like a baby.
  • She hugs me, just because.

More cuteness, because I simply can't stop this list making...

Sidewalk chalk.
Hearts and gingerbread toddlers.
Add water and brushes. We "paint."
They are getting messy. I decide laundry is worth the fun.


Mess leads to mess. 
We add water.Photobucket

Time to add some more water- the frozen kind!


She sees me pick up the camera, and makes a face:


I like his face too, even when it looks like this:


I think we are ready for you to put up our pool!
There's no way we can all fit in this one!


Sitting on towels and eating Cheese-Its.
One of my favorite things, too.

The breeze blows, and he dances about it.


I put my head back and let the breeze blow through my hair.
Eyes, open.
Heart, softened.

I say, "Thank you Jesus for this breeze!"
Little voices echo me,
"Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus!"

Thank you, Jesus.


  1. Amen. I enjoyed this very, very much.

  2. I love how you thought of special things about.each child. Even things like them going through your legs "tunnel, every time. I can certainly relate :-)

  3. I love this Emily...thank you! This also might explain why tonight when it got windy while we were at the playground Enola was saying things like "All the wind for God" and "The wind is so nice for Jesus."

  4. Gorgeous post! Sometimes I have whole days to fill with my kids and they won't let me move an inch either, not even to get a bag packed to go to the park. It is so frustrating. Next time I am stuck unable to go to the bathroom or the microwave without a child or two attached to me I'll think of this post, and try to turn my day around!

  5. I really needed this "Gospel" post tonight. Thank you.

  6. I love Deandra's dimples. I have a sister who had dimples like that. They were so deep we used to call them M&M holders.


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