Friday, August 20, 2010

Baby Steps

Today was like my birthday. Not only did Lily watch my kids all day long, but Chasm's Lady sent supper over and Aunt Casey spent all day helping me unpack stuff that's just been getting shoved from one room to another! We worked on the stuff I've been procrastinating on unpacking because I didn't have enough time to focus on finding spots for it and putting it away!! I found so many thing I've been looking for too. Dry erase markers, the yard waste calendar, yard waste bags, the 'play' sprinkler, my small bottle of vanilla extract and the grocery list pad that has a magnet for sticking it to the fridge just to name a few! We got picture frames hung, kitchen cupboards more organized, a box of stuff collected for goodwill and even the curio cabinet curios finally in the cabinet. And we sorted out the stuff that needs to go to the storage unit from the stuff that can be put away here so I can make a trip out to the storage unit tomorrow. It's progress, and it feels so good! The Bird Room looks like it lost a ton of weight, the living room is down to just a few boxes, my room is almost box free and there's only a handful of boxes left here in the middle room. Getting so much done was wonderful, but all the help was even dearer. I'm often reminded of what a loving God cares for me by the people He's put around me who are so selfless. It's nearly overwhelming at times.

Butler took his first steps today! I caught him playing in the toilet and I think he was trying to get out of trouble and wasn't thinking as he dashed towards me taking at least 6 little steps before crashing into my arms. By the time he went to bed even he knew what he was doing and would take a step, catch his balance again and then take another before trying to dash/lean and toddle into my arms. I totally forgot to address the 'playing in the toilet' issue in all the excitement of coaxing him to walk. I'm sure the matter will arise again. This wasn't his first visit to the toilet bowl as I've often found toys floating in the water once the culprit has moved on.

And PC is on his first Sleepover. Aunt Casey took him home with her - it's been planned for a few weeks now and PC has been looking forward to this weekend so intently, it's been a blast to watch. This morning he woke up and told me, "Mommy! I get to go to Aunt Casey's house today!" "I know!" I enthused then he continued, "But I need to wear long pants because Uncle W and I are gonna make fire and I need to be safe." He called me before going to bed tonight to tell me that after dinner they went and "saw a lot ah lot of airplanes!" landing. My little shadow is growing more and more independent all the time. Sometimes bittersweet for me, but really it's a good thing for him. I just need to get all the hugs I can while he still offers them!

Anyway, it's getting late, and I'm tired. Last night all four kids were up between 4 and 5am because I accidentally missed the charger when I put our cordless baby monitor down on my nightstand. Consequently, I didn't hear Butler wake up the second time because he was still hungry, and I didn't hear him wake PC and Emma up and I didn't hear Emma wake Dolly up until they were all wound up and I finally tuned in to the commotion from the other side of the house. When I rushed to the rescue, I found PC shining his flashlight for Butler "to make him be happy" and while I started settling the boys down I could hear Dolly telling Emma that she (Emma) was just pretending to be scared which only upset Emma all the more. So, I left the boys which didn't make Butler happy and took care of the girls before going back and addressing the boys. By the time they were all quiet, I was finally awake and it was starting to get light out so going back to sleep was a little tricky at first. At least they all went to bed without any fuss tonight!

And now, I'll follow suit!

Friday, August 13, 2010

After two months...

I finally found my knife block! I found the casserole lid I was looking for too. And the back of my CD player remote.

Now just to find the WD4D, the dry erase markers, the calendar that tracks what day the garbage pick up is and the 3gal gas can.

One ceiling fan is up, the discovery that the electrical here is... is 'unsafe' too strong a word?, and a house routine is slowly taking form!

Now - off for groceries.

We're making progress.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The List

Next to me the laundry waits to be folded.
The birds need to be fed.
Lunch dishes are still on the table and it's time to start making dinner.
My bed needs sheets put on before bedtime (define bedtime).
There are boxes in the living room, boxes in my bedroom, boxes in the boys' room, boxes in the sewing room and boxes in the middle room (the room outside the kitchen that really has no name) that still must be unpacked.
My Sunday school lesson awaits preparation.
As does my PR card paperwork.
I still have to put the camping stuff up in our loft.
There's ironing - there's always ironing.
If I empty the dishwasher, then it can be refilled and control might be regained in the kitchen.
I'd rather be working on the last two camping posts - they're only half done so far.
Butler wants to nurse - now.
If I don't start making dinner now... we'll be eating late - again.

I hate do not like prioritizing.

There's always a bright side to look on though.

Sir sold his extra laptop today (he's been trying to get rid of it for two weeks now).
He refilled the ink in the printer.
Designed maps to our house for our annual EOS bbq.
And he started looking into installing the ceiling fans.
I dropped off two boxes of stuff at second hand - it's been cluttering the living room (and driving me crazy) for weeks.
I returned the lawnmower that we borrowed from Sir's parents.
I took my dad's amplifier/radio and the outgrown baby gear to the storage unit.
Priced garden hoses at two stores.
Washed two loads of laundry.
Folded the huge bin of mis-matched socks.
Swept the whole house.
I guess that's all - it felt like more though.

The girls are not sleeping.
Butler insists on his sustenance.
I must go. Does unpacking always take this long?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

All in a Day's Drive...

Monday was BC Day and Sir didn't have to go to work, so we took the opportunity to visit Grandpa & Grandma in the Okanagan Valley. So, Sunday night I packed the cooler and loaded it into the van and after a short night's sleep (Butler and Emma woke up multiple times), we woke the kids up, dressed them and hit the road just after 7:30 the holiday morning.

Biscuit wrapped smokies - fresh out of the oven

The kids helped me make "pig-in-a-blanket"s especially for our trip. We did that on Saturday before heading to the fireworks. So, naturally that's what we had for breakfast on Monday - along with individually wrapped cheese sticks, Clementine oranges and boxes of juice - once we filled the car with gas and were finally out of town.

We made good time and got to Kelowna right about noon. The kids did pretty good on the drive over too. We had to make a bathroom stop and I tried to feed Butler while Sir took care of the other kids, but Butler was more interested in the scenery than anything else. Other than that PC asked if we were 'there yet' about 6 dozen times and we had to make a surprise stop for an unbuckled Emma - she can unbuckle herself and does so when she thinks we might not notice.

Grandma 'n Butler.

Looking for ducks with Grandpa.

Mama Duck & her baby.

Once we got to Grandpa and Grandma's house, the kids immediately set out with Grandpa to go find some ducks while Butler hung out with Grandma. The older kids were successful and I was summoned to 'come see' by an excited Emma. After the duck finding expedition, we had lunch which was a myriad of cold cut meats (Sir and PC couldn't have been happier), watermelon, potato and coleslaw salads an assortment of breads and a vegetable plate that included sliced tomatoes to Dolly's delight. It was good and even Butler got his fair share - he was thrilled.

On top of the world - er tree.

After lunch, Sir and I visited with Grandpa and Grandma while the kids entertained themselves mostly within sight in the backyard. They found the tree very interesting and when we noticed that they weren't in sight anymore, someone pointed out that the tree appeared to be moving. 'Turned out that it was too - after about 3 minutes of watching, we were surprised to see Dolly's head pop up at the TOP of the tree! We knew she was in the tree, but I did not expect to see her come out at the very top.

A new hobby.

Monkey see... monkey do.

Emma couldn't figure out how to get into the tree, but PC did and he soon joined Dolly in climbing in and out of the tree. They would have stayed there all day, but we finally decided that the poor tree could use a break from all the abuse and called the kids down for a while. After that, they stayed busy trying to see what else was scale-able while still being in sight.

Stealing Grandpa's chair.

Sharing a foot rest with Grandpa.

With all the tree climbing and attempts to climb other trees, the kids got quite hot and sweaty. Grandpa remedied this with ice cream cones. During the cool-down break I got to see a new level of prankishness in my oldest two munchkins. Dolly found quite the thrill in stealing Grandpa's chair - all three of the older kids had ganged up on Sir to steal his chair earlier, and once the chairs were all settled, PC impishly collapsed Dolly's folding chair just seconds after she hopped out of it to go talk to Emma. Dolly never noticed, but the rest of us got quite a laugh watching PC's expression at being such a rascal.

Eating ice cream with a view.

Little Emma - while the bigger kids were done with their ice cream and back at the tree climbing, she set up a table and stool overlooking the neighbor's flower bed so she could enjoy her cone and God's handiwork at the same time. After a few minutes, she set up a second table and stool should anyone wish to join her. It was special to watch her find a way to be content even when she couldn't keep up with the older kids.

Honey bee.

The kids started unraveling shortly after the ice cream was finished up. We let them climb the tree again before it was time to go, but by the time I had finished nursing Butler to sleep, PC was definitely showing his need for a nap. By the time all the diapers were changed, bathroom visited, kids buckled in and good byes said, it was already 4pm. We filled up with gas, settled the kids so they could go to sleep, and headed for home.

An old cemetery on Hwy 8.

It was just before 6 as we approached Merritt and read the sign saying the Coquihala Hwy was closed. We stopped at the Merritt visitor's center to find out why the route we wanted to take was closed and to find a map. There had been an accident 25km ahead and traffic had been stopped in both directions for nearly an hour. We had two choices: 1. Hang out in Merritt until the highway was re-opened. and 2. Take the scenic route to the old Hwy 1. Since we couldn't find anything else out about when the Coquihala would reopen, we chose to take the scenic route - AKA: The Long Way Home.

The kids woke up from their naps just as we set out on our alternate route. They'd slept for a little over an hour so they were recharged and happy until they started getting hungry around 7pm. By 7:30 the sounds changed from singing/playing/chattering to whining/fussing/screaming baby. We'd originally planed to stop for dinner in Hope and had we taken the Coquihala, we should have been having supper around 8pm. But now we found ourselves pretty much in the middle of nowhere. There wasn't even any good places to stop for the kids to run around somewhere safe. Everything was either right on the highway or right on the river the highway was following. Both not exactly where you want to have your small children running around at dusk.

Split rail fence.

Heading to Hwy 1.

We set our goal for Spenser's Bridge - a little town where Hwy 8 was to meet up with Hwy1, only to discover it was pretty much a ghost town. Just a few houses and a confused dog wondering why there was so much more traffic than usual. By this time the crescendo had reached, what we hoped, was it's high, and we kept on looking for anywhere to stop somewhere along Hwy 1.

Train tunnels along the Fraser River.

Following the Fraser.

If we thought the little river on Hwy 8 wasn't safe, the raging Fraser River along Hwy 1 totally changed our minds. Finally around 8pm, we came to a little town called Lytten. We stopped at the hotel/cafe/restaurant to rush PC to the bathroom and to rescue Butler from his car seat and the rest of us from his wailing. Once the bathroom break was over, the kids and I waited in the car while Sir ordered some take-out burgers from the cafe. Then we went to the school playground overlooking the police station to eat and rest on the grass as it got dark. The kids watched a handful of trains go by and then burned off some energy by running from one end of the soccer field to the other until they couldn't run anymore. At 9pm we washed them up, put them in pajamas and loaded them into the van tired, full and preciously quiet. They were all asleep within half an hour and we were still hours from home.

By 10:30 I was so tired I couldn't stay awake any longer, and poor Sir drove alone for hours. He woke me up to talk to him around Midnight and I think I slept-talked until we got home at 1. We unloaded the kids and everyone was asleep by 1:30. Of course, the kids tell me that they want to go back to Grandpa and Grandma's house because their tree is easier to climb than the three in our back yard, but I think we'll wait a while for now.

Our Snowbirds.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

BC Pop Quiz

What do the words "Alexandra", "Yale", "Sailor" and "Saddle" have in common? The answer will shed some light on our trip to Kelowna and back yesterday, and help explain why we arrived home at 1am.
Sir says he thinks his parents and maybe Bashful might know what the words mean, but doesn't really expect anybody else to know without looking it up.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Dolly turned 5.

"One thing have I desired of the LORD, that I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in His temple."
Psalm 27:4

Six months ago - and a day- my little girl turned 5. Now in just a few short weeks, she'll be going away to school every day. Some things are bitter sweet.

I was just unpacking a box the other day which turned out to be more of my desk stuff. And there, amidst all the rest of the paperwork, were a whole collection of pictures that I hadn't even scanned to post yet. So, since yesterday we saw the fireworks and tomorrow we're going to visit our Nomads and I won't be around to work on the camping posts, I thought I'd pick a picture to scan and post. Dolly's happens to be the earliest picture in my collection of dust acquiring photos.

You can see I needed to trim her bangs - I actually got around to that the very next week. Just not in time for her picture. It's hard to remember what stages she was at half a year ago, but I can summarize her a bit now. She can read if she makes the effort. She'll insist that she can't read if there's any chance you might read the said matter to her. Dolly loves to mother Butler, and she is a huge help to me around the house. The rule is she's not supposed to carry him around, so she spends hours entertaining him wherever he happens to be. And that can be a pretty tough job sometimes.

She loves any kind of water and will get wet no matter how cold it might be. Beach, lake, pool, puddle - it doesn't matter to her. I'll breathe easier when I know she can swim though. I'm sure there's more, but I need to get our stuff together for the drive tomorrow. Preferably with some time left to sleep tonight too! Below is the extra pose we got with her package photo above.

Our little lady.