Monday, August 22, 2016

Best & Worst: The Great Family Project

So, we are adding a new blog to our family collection of started projects.  Hopefully this one lasts longer than a week or two...  Check it out and join us in our great project!

Follow the link below:

Best & Worst: The Great Family Project: As parents of nine children, we are always on the look-out for anything we can do to help them navigate the astonishingly complex and d...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Brief History of Moms from 1970 to the Present

Eight?  Really?  

My kids and I watched the first episode of the first Sesame Street ever th'other day.  Although (due to some hippyish no-tv, no-Barbie tendencies of my mother that lasted through exactly one daughter) I never watched it before (OK, to be precise, I had never watched THIS episode before.  Once I had children of my own, they watched the occasional Sesame Street.  This is not about Sesame Street, really--why are we still talking about it?)--the people all looked familiar.  

This is not about Sesame Street--it's about the clothes.  And the people.  The moms looked exactly like I remember the moms of the 70s to look like--sort of homely and comfortable, and not particularly beautiful unless you think big glasses and bushy hair are beautiful.  And make no mistake, if that's how your mom looked, that was beautiful.  

The Mom Image has gone through a lot of changes in my life--there's the 80's PowerMom who has a career, latchkey children, and shoulder pads; the 90's SoccerMom who runs her children around in a minivan, the 00's SuperMom who blogs about birthstories and shares pictures of homemade (and elaborate) everything from Halloween costumes to birthday parties.

So now I have, incredibly, eight children.  All wanted, planned for, wonderful.  And I am their Mom and they love me and think I'm wonderful.  Even with my near-constant directives to do this and that and the other, I am often the Most Popular Person in the Universe.  We will take a family walk, and people will be shoving each other in order to get the chance to hold my hand (which, in a different generation, might well have gotten the Stinkeye of Death). 

This family thing is pretty great.  Wonderful little people who are filled with light and love and joy and freely share it with you in return for some food and hugs and not-exploding when they are eating sugar fist-over-fist.

And the new baby?  Wonderful,  Precious, Sweet  (to quote the two-year old).  Smiles that stop your heart.  A good sleep-ethic. Every bit as special and wanted and needed as the first.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Lab

I had to take a glucose test at the lab a few days before Halloween.  Luckily, I had my four youngest with me to cheer me on.  They were fascinated by the whole procedure.  Briellen saved the moment so beautifully that I couldn't keep it to myself.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We tried minimalism, but it's not for us . . .

 So, when we sent our furniture and etceteras towards the States in June, I tried very hard to keep the absolute minimum needed for clothing, feeding, cleaning, and entertaining the family.  We did pretty well--except the one kid who grew out of all of her clothes within two weeks.  And the other kid who grew out of all of his shoes.  And let's not mention the Stomach that went from fitting-in-regular-jeans at 20 weeks, to gargantuan at 21 weeks, which of course called for all new clothes or endless embarrassment (Lucky me, I went for both options, since none of my maternity jeans will stay up.)

Entertainment-wise, I let each child keep One Toy (which generously expanded to about three each), and we went through three reams of paper and six boxes of crayons.  It was a good summer, full of walking in Prague and Paris, and playing in Colorado Springs.  But two days ago, it got cold.  Really cold.  We had light summer jackets and fleeces, but no hats, scarves, or gloves.   And sleeping on a borrowed mattress on the floor for six weeks is not all that it's cracked up to be.

 So imagine the joy when our Stuff got here yesterday.  Sleeping in my own bed--pure delight! (Not to mention, we retired the thrift store quilt with the awesome car-airplane-helicopter design.  It will eventually go on the wall of Brigham's room, but yeah, I sort of felt like a five-year old every night.  Which is not the worst thing ever.)  

Seriously, if you have a family of almost-10, there's probably some little bit of you that hoards things.  Or wishes that you had when the inevitable needs for random things come up.  All of our hoarded stuff is back-books, art supplies, extra clothes.  And our children are zealously breaking open boxes in search of More Stuff.  So, I like the Idea of minimalism, but from now on, we'll pass.  Except when I get those Mom Urges to Purge everybody's junk.  Those are fun, even if they're a little terrifying (for the everybody else, anyway.) 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Na shledanou

Is this really the end?  Praha, we will miss you.  We will miss rohliky, children's parks with climbing towers made out of rope and zip-lines, cobblestone streets, young men who give up their seat on the tram for older women and children, castles around every corner, and good friends.

Every time we move, we find that we are faced with many new things.  Prague has been full of many intimidating new things.  A different culture and a different language have been a challenge, as has the fact that every time our family goes into public, we are a miniature version of the Macey's Thanksgiving Parade.  We are an Event.  

The great joy for me, however, with each move is that we have been able to meet such amazing people.    With each new home, we have had the opportunity to come into the orbit of people who have touched our lives through their faith.  Some have had great trials, some have been an example of how to find beauty in everyday life. 

Prague has been no different.  The people who we have met here have been wonderful.  There are those who have shared their time and talents with us--just because!--and have been an answer to prayers.  And our Prague family, our brothers and sisters in the gospel?  Oh, what faith!  Some of the older members joined during the dark days of communism.  They were baptized in a pond at midnight, to escape the eyes of the secret police.  If discovered they faced extreme hardship and possible imprisonment.  In the current rein of atheism and promiscuity, the younger members have come one and two of a family, standing against the popular culture with faith and joy.  There are myriad struggles, too, but they only make the joy more profound.

Praha, we love you.  Until another day.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Vilate Update

Vilate was a little warm when she went to bed a week ago Sunday night, but she was a raging inferno by the time she crawled into bed with us sometime in the middle of the night.  She was also hallucinating/ talking in her sleep in a rather hilarious way.  (Ammon, stop biting me!  Brigham, move over!  Both of these fellows were in their own beds, of course).  After both children's ibuprofen-like stuff and children's tylenol, she calmed down and went to sleep.  After that, the morning seemed fine until we noticed that our resident albino had lost all the residual color in her face.  From there, it was a few short steps to the hospital and the rest of our week-long ordeal.

She was admitted to the hospital solely on the results of a finger-prick test.  She was, in fact, so lively during that time, that the nurses indicated that it was just a precaution and she would shortly be sent home.  Unfortunately, her CR-P levels (these indicate levels of infection in the blood) were sky-high, and she was immediately put on an IV and the wild goose chase for the cause of the infection began.  The first course of antibiotics was ineffective, and her CR-P levels rocketed up to even more horrifying levels.  She was put on full-time monitors and her organs were in danger of failing.  

Throughout the last week, she has been pricked, had blood taken every day, had countless ultrasounds and x-rays, contracted a bonus cold from her original roommate, been on an IV non-stop, been constipated most painfully, had to use her little potty in front of strangers, and been poked and prodded by what seems like legions of doctors and nurses (to whom she has been completely rude).  There has still been no Actual Diagnosis of something-or-other-its.

She's beginning to seem more like herself.  Yesterday she scurried under her bed every time a nurse came into the room.  She also turned into a kitten, a tiger, a dog, a dinosaur, and a rat.  I was the littlest bit scared of the rat.  She's also learned how to use the laptop fairly well--also scary.  (Funny little story--the first night we were there, we settled down to watch a movie on the laptop, only the sleeve full of DVDs had disappeared.  We were limited to the two movies downloaded onto the laptop--What's Up Doc and Nacho Libre.  So she chose the wrestling movie.  We got a lot of strange looks from the family sharing her room.)

Alan and I have traded off 24-hour shifts at the hospital, one of us coming home to man the fort, the other one promoted to Head Waterboy for Her Imperial Highness.  (Also, I have memorized much of Barbie and the Diamond Castle.  Although I can't think of an exact scenario when this may come in useful in the future, you never know).  I've come across many deep and teary stories that take place in emergency rooms, etc (OK, so my parents had a subscription to Readers' Digest), and the hospital seems to be ripe ground for spiritual experiences, for A-ha! moments, for changing into a better you.  I'm afraid that in my experience, I was mostly just exhausted. And hungry. (They don't feed the parents at the hospital.  You have to scout out your own food.)  And after a while I caught Vilate's cold, so I was exhausted, hungry, and miserable.   

But tomorrow, maybe (if all the new bloodwork and tests come back negative), just maybe, Vilate will put away her Pet Machine (the IV thingie) and come home.  I'll see my husband for longer than the 15 minutes a day it took us to trade places.  I will get to hold all of my children at once, and feel at peace for the first time in 9 days. 

Tangentially, having been immersed in a Czech-only environment for much of the last week, my Czech is WAY better!  I've had several long conversations where everyone has understood each other.  (Also a couple of notable lapses--I totally didn't get the whole sterile container thing.)