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Thursday, June 17, 2010

be the cloud

so today i took the kids to the shedd aquarium in chicago with some friends. it was a free day and we thought it would be a fun thing to do. something besides the usual things we love in our backyard. so off we went. or off we tried to go. let me explain my day ....

didn't have cash so had to go to the bank
realized i forgot the stroller (can NOT have eli running round)
ethan falls asleep in the car
asher begins to clap at high volume and is asked to choose something else
he throws a fit
ethan wakes up crying
eli starts crying
asher continues fit somehow injuring his left arm (he is left handed)
ethan continues to cry as it is now time for him to eat
phone my girlfriend and we pull over so i can nurse ethan
she checks asher's arm, gives him a band-aid to make it all better
asher refuses to use his arm ... for the rest of the day
we finally get there
we find a caterpillar on our walk from the parking lot
we meet other friends
the line to get in is ridiculous (free day. in the summer. 'nough said)
~45 min later we get in
guy over charges us for the tickets (to be discovered later)
we go upstairs to decide where to go
there are a ridiculous number of people everywhere
mia disappears
paniced search ensues to find her in front of the huge circular tank a few feet away
we talk, i cry in relief, she promises to stay close
we realize the overcharge
i go to get refund
stand in line, wait, get clerk who is stressed out
smile at her and tell her to try to enjoy her day
she smiles back and her mood seems to lift for a moment
we go to see the sharks
ethan needs to eat
we stop to nurse
we enjoy the huge shark tank
eli loves watching the stingrays under his feet so much he lies down on the exhibit
we move on to see the dolphin show
we go to park strollers (remember eli needs to be contained)
asher decides i never let him do anything fun
we talk, he changes his mind
we try to enter the show, i can't find the tickets
as i search eli runs in and starts to climb on the fake rocks
i am given permission to get him
asher begins to complain again
i continue to search for the tickets
the boys continue to climb on the "rocks" i just got them off of
find tickets, find seats, sit down
eli gets up, down, up, down, jumps off the seat
continually touches the girl in front of us as he continues to move
the show starts
asher wants to eat
eli continues to move
mia wants to know why she wasn't the one picked to be in the show
eli continues to move
the girl in the show gets to touch the beluga whale, waddle with a penguin and see the dolphins
mia is wants to do each of these things
eli continues to move and wiggle
the dolphins jump and ELI STOPS MOVING
they go under water, he looks and me and simply says "MORE"
then begins to move again
the show ends, we go downstairs to see the underwater tanks
we are past nap time
we find a penguin playplace
the kids play until a group of older kids runs them all over
mia gets stepped on
she cries, we hug, she is better
asher doesn't get enough turns
eli won't get down so i have to get him (wearing ethan and trying not to step on afore mentioned big kids)
asher hits the wall when it's time to go
we still don't have the stroller, eli wants to run
asher is melting down
i am wearing ethan, holding asher's hand and trying to contain eli with the other
we continue to try to leave
asher continues to cry
i get eli under control and turn to talk to asher
a well meaning friend tries to pick eli up and let him do what i just got him to stop doing
i ask her very quickly (and a little too curtly) to please stop
return to conversation with asher while eli again begins to try to pull away
finally return to stroller and get eli in
asher sits down and refuses to get up
we have another conversation
he changes his mind and we start off
moms decide we should use the bathroom before we go
the afore mentioned big kid group goes in right before us
we skip it
we try to leave
the elevator is blocked
we try to use the revolving door
asher refuses
my friend and her kids make it through
mia catches her toe
as i comfort mia the volunteer tells me in no uncertain terms to use the elevator
we use the elevator that now is crowded and working (in a time span of literally 5 min)
asher continues to cry
we rejoin our with friends
i apologize for my afore mentioned curtness
we walk to the car
my friend's son looses her i-touch
ethan needs to eat
i take all 6 kids in the van with me and nurse ethan while she goes to look
no luck
mia will go home with her best friend to play
they go to leave
asher decides he has to use the bathroom
they return so i can take him
the port-a-potty is locked
we cross the street
he doesn't have to go anymore
mom decides otherwise and we have a conversation
find out he has had an accident
get back to the van, get fresh underwear and a loaner pair of shorts
asher melts down - he does not want the shorts
shorts are returned
we have a conversation
we try to leave again
ethan begins to scream
we pull into a parking space about 20 ft from our old one and burp ethan
we leave again and make it this time
all three boys are crying
asher falls asleep within 5 minutes
eli falls asleep within 20
we hit traffic which then mysteriously clears
ethan cries the entire way home
we get to our exit
eli wakes up screaming
asher wakes up angry at eli for waking him up
we have a conversation
we pull into the driveway
i get all three crying boys inside
i sit down to nurse ethan
i have a boy on each side, each with a blanket and tired eyes
we read, we read, we read

this is our day. it is crazy. it has it's moments. it is wonderful. my children get to see their friends, amazing animals and have an experience lots of kids may never get. it is wonderful because, perhaps, their mother has truly learned to be the cloud. to not let it get to me. to lean into my heavenly Father for patience that can only come from him. to be the cloud - where them being out of control does not get me out of control. so, free day at the museum?? in the summer?? bring it on baby. we will have a great day because .... be the cloud - say it, believe it, be it.

our photographer

it appears that we may soon have our own personal photographer. someone to follow us around and capture all those amazing little moments that make up our life. we are so lucky. she's relatively new to the field but i am very impressed with her work. her name is .... mia!!

she has been begging to use the camera everytime she sees it and i have been trying to let her (one of those parenting lines between let her do it and protect the expensive thing we can not afford to replace right now - more on that at a later time). so without further ado here is some of her recent work .....

(impressed eli is not a blur here .... it's hard to do!!)

and finally a self portrait ....

like i said ... amazing!! we are so lucky!! =)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

outside adventures

we love to be outside. my boys are often running through the house yelling about going outside and the mere mention of the idea can end a tantrum in seconds flat. we try to take advantage of the beautiful things that are around us. one of our favorite places to go is a "nature preserve" with walking trails, fountains and waterfalls. the kids love it.

we had a gorgeous day the other day so out we went. no plans other then to enjoy each other and the day. the boys had energy to burn and mia was ready to see the beautiful flowers.

every time we go there are:

fish to find,

flowers to pick (though we know we are not supposed to it is just so hard to resist!!!),

water to touch,

and trails to run on.

so here are a few more pictures of our adventure. enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

flowers with mana

we are so very blessed to have grandparents who live close. we know this is a blessing that not every family is able to enjoy. we treasure it. we try hard to foster the ever growing, expanding, loving relationships that our children have with our amazing parents. and we adore it when grandparents stop by just because.

we got that treat at the end of last week. mana stopped by with flowers to plant and basically just to hang out a little before her big colorado trip to see our new cousin laila rose (we are super jealous!!). we had a wonderful morning getting dirty and getting flowers into the big flower box in front of the house.
mia was more into the flowers,
asher was very into the shovel
(which soon became a weapon to take down any incriminating weeds)
and eli just loved the dirt.

it was one of those mornings that memories are made from. yes, the big trips are nice and will be remembered but what i'm talking about are the things that happen everyday that make up the fondest memories of childhood. those things that happen so often you almost take them for granted but really are the things that make your family yours. for us watching the loving, laughing, genuine relationships they have with the four amazing people they call grandparents is part of that. today is an example of the moments they get to share now that will be the memories they treasure later.

Friday, June 4, 2010

ethan's day

ethan and i got a rare day alone together today. it wasn't planned. it was a blessed accident.

we were suppposed to have a family day all together to pick some things up that we needed for the house ... until we realized we wouldn't all fit in the van with the stuff we needed. welcome to some of the surprises you find with four kids and four car seats. (those things just take up alot of space!) i admit i was initially a little bummed to miss out on time together but i chose instead to look at the gift of having my youngest one all to myself.

we had a wonderful day. we did nothing on the to-do list. we did nothing "productive". we nursed. we read. we nursed. we cuddled. we rocked. we nursed. we sang. we nursed. we snuggled some more. and no, all those nursing sessions are not an exaggeration. he's having a growth spurt so he filled his tummy every two hours like clock work.

so here's to a day that was a true blessing and cherished one-on-one time with a little one who completely melts my heart and makes me glad that i'm a mom.