Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I am so happy that I finally have Jaxon's adoption finalized! The big day was May 31. I am now unlocking this blog and making it public. Please note that his name used to be Jordan so anywhere that I have written about Jordan, be aware that it is the same little guy. 

I had such a hard time naming this one. When i dialed the number to call the attorney with his new name, I truly didn't know what was going to come out of my mouth. What did, was Jaxon Malachi. People seem to either love it or hate it,  and the ones that hate it seem to feel free to tell me so. And that is fine. They don't have to like it but because he is my child, I have taken the liberty to name him EXACTLY what I wanted to name him.
Here are a few photos of the big day, for those of you who are not on Facebook. It was a beautiful and perfect day. The temperature was just right, all my favorite people came, my house was clean, I even had a new dress for the occasion which does not happen very often! 
 Walking the streets to the court house. What a lovely morning for the special event. I was so ready to have my sweet boy be legally my son. This baby that I was afraid I would have a hard time loving. that is funny to even think about now! He is firmly and securely attached!
 Ugh! This is not the photo I planned to use. Some of my other "judge" photos are better then this one. But I am way too lazy to change it. This is my third adoption with this judge!!!!!
The photo below is a fruit "truck" made especially for Jaxon by a friend. Because of his many food allergies, he can't have cake so this was a substitute!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Life is speeding by at a dizzying rate. I wish I could freeze my life just like this. I don't have children old enough to be in serious trouble. My youngest are old enough to be on a good schedule and sleep all night. I love living in this house, even with some of its worn and not-so-pretty spots. I love the backyard and barn and my little garden and my chickens.

I have more energy then I have probably ever had in my life. I got up at 5:30 this morning. I picked up and organised the living room and play area, cleaned the bathroom from top to bottom, scrubbed the kitchen floor, packed three lunches, fried pan after pan of scrapple and eggs, doled out vitamins and meds and eyedrops, combed nad braided Marissa's hair, read the children a Psalm, welcomed a respite baby and got her settled, all before 8 AM. Oh, I got Jordan up too, and settled in his high chair with his breakfast. Then Christopher, Micah and Marissa all rushed out the door in a flurry of good byes and love yous!

An adoption worker came at 9:30, so I tidied up the kitchen from breakfast, then changed two soggy night diapers, washed up and dressed and fed the toddlers. That takes longer then you would think, they are two time consuming kiddos! Sweet precious Baby Dear was here from 7:45 till 3 and we got to love on her for awhile. Aaliyah is sharing her doll with Baby Dear. The doll is almost as big as her! If you look closely, you will see Aaliyah has a baby spoon and she is leaning down pretending to scoop up food from a dish for the baby, then she would put it to baby's lips. So cute and smart! Baby loved all the attention.



Lunch time came all too soon. It is always an interesting affair when their is only one set of hands to go around. The photos above tell the tale.In the first one, Aaliyah has just taken a piece of celery awy from Jordan, in the second she is exploring it. Jordan had been reaching for it and asking for it, until he got distracted by my camera. Third photo shows how Jordan ended up eating his lunch. Not to keep him IN, but to keep a certain other little person OUT!

After the babies had their lunch and were down for naps, I made myself a power meal. Chicken liver -n-onions, an egg, a coconut flour waffle dripping with homemade butter and a large mug full of kefir!! mmm...it was so so delicious. No wonder I finally have energy! Emoni was picked up at 3:o'clock.
This afternoon I got to work outside for a while! At the beginning of the winter, I had bordered my compost pile with a couple bales of straw. They have been rotting down for a couple of months now. I scooped up the rooted straw and the rich earth underneath and carted it to my precious little raised bed and spread it out. Marissa took this picture for me when it was almost dark. the weather was balmy and pleasant, close to sixty degrees. I can't wait to plant this full of veggies. Its not much but it will satisfy my urge to dig. At this point, I am not willing to go to great effort to have a larger garden. there was no garden here, so it all has to be done from scratch. We were only promised a year and a half in this house and that is up at the end of this year.The landlord said it is extremely likely we can live here much longer then that but that is all he was willing to promise. So, I dont want to have to soon leave something that i worked so hard for. I am hoping we can live here a long time, but here we have no continuing city.
Then tonight this little sweetie stayed with us for a couple of hours. Both of the little girls I cared for today, were born healthy and normal. But, they were severely injured by the very hands who should have loved and protected them the most. But what Satan meant for evil, God turned around for good. They are both in very loving Christian homes. They are cherished and loved and wanted and enjoyed. And best of all, there is no doubt that someday they will sit on Jesus's lap and enjoy the glories of Heaven forever.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fighting for the Souls of our Children

About two weeks ago, a young man died at 32 years of age. A tragic senseless death.

He was the son of a friend of mine. She is also a single mom who has been involved with foster care and adoption for over thirty years. She had adopted him when he was a toddler, I am thinking right around a year old. Him and his sister. Fot his blog post, i am going to call my friend Anne, and the son I will call  Lee, though these are not their real names.
For years, Anne has lived in a double house with another lady. they both have done foster care for YEARS and have had many many children. They are now both nearing 70 and have slowed down but back in the day, they used to each have six children pretty much all the time. Anne adopted Lee and his sister and one other girl, who has disabilities. The other lady, whom I shall call Lena, adopted two children. A girl with Downs Syndrome who is now in her late twenties, and a boy who died years ago of a brain tumor when he was 18 or so.  I actually know Lena a lot better then Anne and have a lot more contact with her but I have also known Anne for a long time.

I have known these 2 ladies for about exactly ten years which is quite a long time to be friends with someone. But even then, they were not in their prime anymore. They did have a lot more children running around then, then they do now, but certainly not six apiece. They have always fascinated me in many ways, I guess simply because they have lived the life I am now living. They are now getting old and tired. Sometimes I see them looking at me with my brood with a look in their eyes. Of remembering, maybe some pain, maybe a bit of envy, wishing they wudnt have to get old and slow down.

Anyway, one Saturday morning, Lena calls me and tells me that Anne's son Lee had died the evening before. they had gotten a phone call around supper time from Anne's married daughter, that Lee's girlfriend had called her and said she is taking him to the ER, that she is not sure whether he is alive or not. Shortly after that, they got a phone call that he is gone. He was deep into drugs and alcohol, that day, for the first time, he had been using heroin. I don't know whether he died of an overdose or because of a reaction from mixing the wrong drugs, but somewhere somehow something went terribly wrong.

A phone call like that is the worst kind of a mother's nightmare. To top it all off and make it even sadder and weirder, Anne had had surgery that day on her shoulder. It was outpatient surgery but it was still a long day and with a lengthy and painful recovery period. She left the hospital late that afternoon not all that long before her son was brought in. So that evening she was exhausted and drugged when she got the news. Another strange twist to this story is that Lee died 13 years to the day after Lena's son died.  How unusual is that?? They had grown up together under the same roof, just on the other side of the wall from each other. Lena's son had some disabilites, and then died 2 weeks after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

We did not know Lee at all. It was a little strange, but as well as I know Anne and Lena, and as much as I had heard about Lee, I had never met him. he was grown and gone by the time I came on the scene. Anne has legally adopted the three children that Lee had fathered. At 70 years old and in failing health, she is raising them and caring for her adult special needs daughter.
Lee had been raised in a Christian home and went to church all his growing up years. As a teenager, he accepted Christ as his Savior and was baptised. I don't know what went wrong after that, or how it all happened, but he ended up in the lowest pits of sin you can imagine. In and out of prison, using all kinds of illegal substances, divorced, losing custody of all three children. (who by the way are all three full siblings, he was married to the same woman for a couple of years. The children were taken from them by CPS before they separated)

I took my children to the viewing, along with Ashley, my youngest sister. Lee had not been going to any church for a long time, but Anne's church was kind enough to offer to have a funeral and burial for him. So that evening we drove to the little country Mennonite church house. I dreaded it, knowing what a sad time it would be. We drove into the parking lot past a huddle of people grouped around a couple vehicles. They were smoking and carrying on but as I walked past with my five innocent children pressing against me half in fear, they fell silent and stared at us. I felt great anger rise up within me as I saw what kind of people they were and I said aloud, "Satan, you WILL NOT have my children." they were the people who had dragged my friend's son down into the pit of hell, and they reminded me of vultures, hanging around the fringes, looking for their next victim.

Inside, Anne sat beside the casket of her son while family members, church people, Lee's birthfamily  and other friends streamed by. And mixed into the crowd were the people who Lee had associated with. In they slunk, many with sagging jeans and t-shirts, with long stringy hair pulled back into a band, an amazing number of them appeared to be toothless. their faces looked old and dried up and like those warning ads you see that say, "this is the face of meth."

Ever since that evening, I have been more burdened then ever for my children's future. The devil has no mercy. I believe that foster and adoptive parents are in the front battle lines. I believe that is why christian foster and  adoptive families have so many battles, the devil is ANGRY with them. He does not want children being placed into Christian homes. I have my own testimonies of Satan's attacks right over the times when my children were placed with me and especially over the time of adoption finalizations. He thought he was going to have these children and he does not want to let go.

My sister Mary asked me why I think Anne and Lena have had such an incredible amount of awful things happen to them. And that is my belief. They have been in the frontline for years. Satan does not give up in trying to hinder and discourage.

Praise God that he is SO much more powerful then Satan. There is hope and victory. Evil heritages can be broken and made totally null. But so much lies on us, as parents. In this day and age, parents cannot afford to be lax, and adoptive parents for sure not. I am still so learning this and I really don't have a lot of answers. But one can never go wrong with praying, with covering your children with God's  word, with staying connected to their hearts.

I think of the verse in Lamentations 2:19.

Arise, cry out in the night; in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water in the presence of the Lord.Truly, we have gathered in

our children from the streets. They were faint with hunger for the love and security that God's people have to offer. And it says to get up at night to pray for them and cry out to God for them. A couple years ago, when Marissa was going through her hard time, I did this on a regular basis. I would get up at 3 AM and get out of bed and pray for her for awhile. I want to start doing this again, at least a couple times a week.

I believe it does not have to end like it did for Lee. Not in our own power and might, but because of the power available to us through God and His Word. Teach me, O God.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day five of gaps is over. The only cheats have been one teaspoon of milk yesterday and today I ate a bit of sourkraut when I should have only had 2 tsp of the juice. Not too bad I would say! Tonight I made the children sandwiches to eat with their bowls of beef veggie soup. I almost felt faint, I wanted to bite into one so bad. Fresh sourdough bread, homemade butter, colbyjack cheese and sweet lebanon bologna. All my favorite stuff. I did have a bowl of the soup, just a slightly different version of what the children were eating. Mine had no potatoes and I cubed a fairly lagre piece of beef liver into it. It was absolutely delicious but in a diet-y sort of way. It was good because i was so starved and it was warm good food, but not what i really like or wanted. I am down five pounds.

Tomorrow is an exciting day because I can move to stage 2. That means in addition to boiled non-starchy vegetables, boiled meat and broth and a tsp of sourkraut juice, I can have egg yolks, any cultured vegetables, and I can roast the meat and vegetables. I think those are the only changes, will have to check again. Maybe I can have avocado, too, not sure. I am enjoying the detox baths. I alternate baking soda, epsom salt and apple cider vinegar, adding a cup to a hot bath and staying in as long as possible.

I am so pleased to have gotten 8 more laying hens today and a rooster. They are good quality layers, i think they are sex-links. We already found an egg in a nest after they were here only a couple hours. It is good to be finding eggs in the chicken house again.

The horse is a bit of a learning curve for us, esp so for the children. They have to learn to stay calm and firm with the horse, to NEVER EVER let go of the rope when she startles or gets the rope in her feet and starts jerking. Almost every afternoon, I choose one of the children to go out with me and have a lesson. We get April out on her rope and let her eat grass for awhile and lead her around. It is Marissa's job to take her an apple every day after school. I am learning to do much more intensive and patient job teaching. My children WILL learn to care for the horse and respond properly to April eventually, though it might take three months of practice and patience and explaining and demonstrating. I am just going to work on it as long as needed, instead of selling the horse and saying it didn't work out.

Same thing with kitchen clean up. It is going well but still a lot of work for me. But little by little we make progress. Even the tiniest bit of progress will get us to the finish line eventually, right?? Since I have been able to get a hold of that truth and apply it to my children's ability to do jobs and chores, i am not nearly as impatient and discouraged with them. Sometimes "I" am the slow learner, obviously. I used to get so frustrated right away when things didn't go well.  I never clean out the lunch boxes or wash the thermoses any more. They are totally responsible for that and even just that is huge.

Sorry if this post is boring. I feel flat and boring on gaps.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Two days of being on GAPS is over. I have not cheated at all. This time around I know better what to eat, what fills me up and satisfies me so I don't crash. As far as the food goes, I am doing fine. the hard part of being on it, is that I feel so sad, lonely and overwhelmed. It has little to do with the actual circumstances in my life and everything to do with the fact that my body is going through a detox. So that means I feel incredibly sad when there is NOTHING to be sad about. It is normal the first while, and many people say they are an absolute mess emotionally, have crying spells and etc. I'm not that bad, but I am having a hard time. At the same time, I am very excited to be doing it and sticking it out. I dropped 1.2 pounds the first 24 hours and am eager to weigh myself again tomorrow morning. If I actaully hang on the full 30 days, I expect to lose at least 20 pounds.

I did have a long day today which I am sure contributes to the emotions. Jordan and I left at 7:30 this morning for the spina bifida clinic and didn't get home till 4:45.  Even so, I walked out before the last appointment. It was much later then I had anticipated spending there, and I told the lady I am sorry but I just have to leave and go home to my children. Running late, then getting into traffic, red lights, school buses, yeah, my adrenals were maxed out today. Tomorrow won't be much better with three people coming in the morning. It would be best to do GAPS at a time when you can take it easy and relax but my life has none of those times so I have to do the best i can.

And YIKES! I was asked to have a 15 minute topic at the next ladies meeting. (a monthly church function) The subject is supposed to be from Titus 2:4, about loving our husbands and loving our children. Someone else is having the husband part as I am not very qualified to speak on that! Then I am to speak about "Loving our Children."   It will be.....stretching. stating it mildly. And I don't know that I am qualified to talk about that subject, either. so, we will see what happens.

I am off to take my detox bath now. A cup of epsom salt in a tub full of hot water, take a long soaky bath! I think I can handle that part of gaps! Hope I don't fall asleep in the tub!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I have been wanting to get to the computer to write a post. But Jordan wanted Mommy to wock-n-sing.  Christopher wanted a game of Uno. Micah needed a list of meds and eye drops a mile long. And Marissa was patiently sitting on the couch with a book, waiting till I come read her a story. Aaliyah needed her nightly snuggle so she can go to bed without weeping.  So now it is 8:39, pretty much everyone is down for the night. And finally I can relax.

My youngest sister Ashley is here for a month or so to help me get caught up with some things and just give me a hand with the babies. Whew!! it is incredible what a difference an extra pair of hands can make. Amazing when a room gets cleaned with no effort of mine. For moms, little things are big things.

We had a great church service today with a wonderful shot-in-the-arm type message. Then a dinner invitation and a lovely meal and sweet fellowship. I slowly savored the meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, creamed corn and salad. There was also homemade bread, butter, jam, two kinds of cake, not from a  mix, and mixed fruit in a creamy sauce. I know what is coming tomorrow when I will be eating squash and broth and sourkraut.  So I just soaked up all that goodness and tried not to think about the future.

Later that afternoon when we were home, a family from church stopped by to see our horse and to show me how to tie her properly so that she can't pull loose. It is bitter cold so they didn't stay long but later I was thinking what a blessing it is when people show an interest in the little details of my life. I have very little family in the area, just my sister Amy who is in Haiti for over a month right now. I don't have a lot of people to just hang out with or to talk about and share the minute details of my life. The loss of my chickens and the addition of our horse is not really headline news to very many. But just to have some of the ladies at church be interested in those things is nice. They listen to my chatter about my animals because they know they are important to me.  Someone from church had come and kindly removed our dead chickens. now today someone else took time for us because of the horse. And they offered to help out with hoof trimming or anything else I might need for the horse. Again, little things are big things!!

I have been told countless times that I there will be a special place reserved in Heaven for me because of adopting my five children. Esp because many of them are seen by others as less then perfect. It has never made much of an impression on me because I know that it salvation is all through he blood and I have no special priviledge. I am an extremely ordinary person. Today at church someone made the remark that they don't know if Mother Theresa was a christian. Someone else strongly disagreed with that, pointing out how she spent many years of her life ministrying to the sick and dying and orphaned. He said we should be ashamed of ourselves for thinking of ourselves as so elite and that we shouldn't say that about her just because she was not in the "right" church.
I very much see what he is saying but I did not agree 100%.  Caring for orphans does not save anyone. Many gay and lesbian people are very caring people and many adopt and foster children. Even children that have profound special needs because they believe so strongly that everyone should be accepted for who they are. That is stating it very simplistically, there is much more to it then that. But that is the core of the whole matter. They believe strongly in equality for all, even the weak and helpless and the whole nurturing as part of mother earth thing. I have known some of these people personally and have seen how they love their children, how tenderly they care for them, how they accept and cherish even the most unloveable.

Does that save them?

There is only one narrow way to Heaven and the door is Jesus.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This-N-That

I got up my courage this week and bought a mini horse. the children have wanted one for a long time, Marissa especially, intensely so. I thought, "Why not?"  Any good reason not to? I couldn't think of any good reason, not with empty places in the barn.  So, I found one on Craigslist, and Monday afternoon we brought it home IN THE BACK OF THE VAN!  Yeah, if you saw a conversion van driving down 322 with a lady driving it, children hanging out every which way and a miniature horse in the back munching hay and every now and then giving a loud whinney, it was me.

Goats are next. I will be picking up two pregnant Nigerian dwarf goats in February.  Call me crazy, I am having fun. the children and I are planning to just live in the backyard this summer. I don't want to slave over the kitchen sink all summer, I want to have fun. We have a fire pit in the back yard, close to it is a water hydrant and also a power outlet. What more do we need? We'll set up the tent and the babies and I will sleep in it, and the boys on the nearby trampoline. I can plug Aaliyahs feeding pump in the outlet. The garden is close by so we will pick the veggies and cook them over the fire and milk the goats and have milk to drink. And eggs from the chickens.  We have a small pool which we will play in all day and that will pass for baths. The children and I had great fun dreaming about this at length.
Then Marissa asked cautiously...naughtily..."can we just go naked?"

Me: No

Then can we just wear our underwear?

Me: NO!

Christopher:  Then can we just wear swimming trunks and no shirts?

Me: NO! I didn't say we were going to be savages!

its fun to dream even if we never actually quite follow through with it but we are greatly looking forward to summer and enjoying our animals and backyard to the fullest.

I am gearing up to join an online 30 day GAPS diet challenge. I have sourkraut and kimchee ready, beef stock in the freezer and am simmering chicken stock right now. I also stocked up on GAPS veggies- cauliflower, carrots, green beans and squash.
I feel very sorry for myself. I just plain don't want to do it. But nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. I am plodding on. Fifty more pounds to go. I think I can....I think I can...I think I can..... you can join me in feeling sorry for me.

Aaliyah's grandma called today and they are wanting to come for her birthday. sigh! Birthfamily issues! Ahh!!!!   I am too nice to say no.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Heart Ache on the Farm


I dreamed about having my own little flock of chickens for years and finally this summer that dream came true. When we moved in July, we were blessed with a small barn and no bans on farm animals as far as zoning. Almost immediately someone gave us five banty chicks, 4 hens and a rooster. Soon after, I bought four laying hens from another source, a brown one with a strange crooked toe, and three beautiful big black n white speckled Cuckoo marans who layed large brown eggs.

Marissa doted over the banty chicks and grieved when one disappeared never to be see again. The rest thrived and we anxiously awaited the day when we would find little white eggs in the nests from them. When they were about five months old, it fianlly happened! We were so excited! Soon we were finding three white eggs every day and the rooster was a magnificent and fiesty little thing, Marissa was so proud of him how beautiful he was and she was super proud when he was old enough to crow!

We let the chickens out every nmorning and they roamed the backyard all day. Their favorite spot was the compost and spent lots of time scratching and pecking around. We tried to always remember to close the barn door in the eve but here and there it was forgotten and nothing ever happened. But I still did not like it. Saturday eveing was New Years Eve. Soemtime after dark I thought I heard a disturbance outside, possibly the chcickens. I opened the back door and hollered out and listened but all was quiet. Usually Christopher and Micah run out together to close the door at some point, but that evening Micah went to bed and fell asleep. Christopher didn't want to go out by himself. Christopher and I were staying up to see the new year in, so i suggested that at 12 we would go outside and close up the barn before we go to bed.

When midnight came, gunshots rang out repeatedly throught the neighborhood. Remembering the girl in Ohio who recently died from a stray bullet, I changed my mind. I decided to just leave the barn door.

The next morning was the usual rush to get ready for church. As I was bustling about, i saw there was one brown chicken in the backyard. Hmm, thats weird, where are the rest?  I asked Marissa if she would like to run up to the barn and see why the other chcikens aren't out. But she said it was too cold so i said nothing more.

As we were getting into the van to leave, I told the children I was going to run up to the barn to take a quick look at the chickens and rabbits. Marissa hopped back out of the van and came trotting behind me. As I was going up the hill, I saw a horrible sight! The rooster and one of the cuckoo marans  mutilated just outside the barn door. A second later, Marissa spotted it and a loud wail of anguish burst forth. We stopped and STARED. I didn't want to go in, but I had to. Inside were a couple more, nothing was moving. Feathers were all over.  The rabbits are in a cage inside the barn. They were okay, but their feeder and waterer had been knocked down from the sides so I knew the enemy had been trying to get at them, too.

Meanwhile Marissa was still wailing, almost screaming at the top of her voice. And we have lots of close neighbors! There was nothing I could do for the chickens, I took Marissa's hand and we walked down to the van, both bawling all the way. We wanted to get away from the ghastly scene, so we started driving to church which thankfully is a good 20 minute drive. Marissa and I absolutely bawled the whole way. When we got there, there was no way we could go into church with our red swollen faces. So the two big boys went on in, while Marissa and I stayed in the van for awhile. We finally felt ready to go in, and by that time, we were a good thirty minutes late.

I knew there was no way, i was going to take my children home as long as those chickens were still laying there. So I arranged to have one of the men from church stop by the house and dispose of them before we got home. Thankfully we were invited away for lunch and we stayed almost all afternoon. By the time we came home, the only sign was a couple feathers floating around.  I have no idea what he did with them. Someone suggested we bury them in the garden but i knew that wouldn't work for us.

marissa and I immediately started searching craigslist for some more chickens and by Monday evening we had six new silkies in our barn, along with the two that survived from our original flock. They are not tame like our others but they are very beautiful and i am sure they will get more used to us and become tamer eventually. We have not let them out at all this week. Marissa whispered guiltily to me that she likes the new chickens but not as much as she loved our other chickens. I assured her that it was normal and I don't either, but that after awhile we will.

You might wonder if we didn't over react about just a couple chickens. Yes, I agree, not sure why it was so hard on us. I guess the shock of finding them like that and also for me, seeing how much it hurt Marissa, made it harder for me. Hard life lessons for a little girl.  Marissa and I still get tears about our chickens almost a week later, and yes its a little silly! :)

(I have zero idea why the font switched to italic like this half way through the post! I must have accidently hit some key, and now I can't figure out how to turn it off. )

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hope!!

The name of my blog is "rejoicing in hope," remember?

Well, tonight I have a bit of hope!

For fifteen years, I have been washing dishes, putting the leftovers away, scrubbing the counters and table, cleaning the gunk off of high chair trays, sweeping the floor etc etc etc.

Tonight I told the children I have been doing this for fifteen years and I am done. DONE, I tell you! A good portion of my life has been spent at the kitchen sink. Remember all those siblings I recently wrote about? By the time, all was said and done, there were twelve children in all.  There was no dishwasher or microwave, no TV dinners. Almost all of our food was cooked from scratch plus we did tons of canning. Dirty dishes were as much a part of our life as breathing.

Not much has changed for me, really. So, considering all that, I really have been doing dishes for a good 26-28 years. Its time for change. I can do them without crying now. but it would be fun to do something else with my life.

I made my announcement to my children. They looked at me, stunned. But..but...adventures in odyssey is coming on. We are going to miss it if we have to do dishes first, Christopher protested.

Aww, too bad, I said sympathetically. Hopefully, tomorrow evening we'll be done in time for you to listen to it.

I had it all thought out and have a plan for the great year of 2012. the year of liberation. The year when my children will learn to clean up from start to a beautiful, Momma-pleasing grand finale. I know my children. I know I have to break it down in small bits and practise over and over and I have to have incredible back bone to see it through. But this time, I am determined it can be done and will. Number one, in my strategy, is to have each of the three big children have their own specific jobs that they will always do. No rotating. My backbone and grit is not quite strong enough to grasp teaching all three children all the steps. Maybe in 2013. Small steps, you know.

This is what we did tonight and will stick with for a time until each job is done perfectly and with a good attitude. It is not a help and blessing if Mom has hassles to deal with. So my second stategy is NO HASSLES. None. No complaining. No excuses. No forgetting. Just cheerfully doing your duty.

Christopher; put ALL clean dishes away from draining rack and dishwasher.
gather all dirty drinking cups, jars, measuring cups and thermoses and stack in dishwasher

Micah: clean high chairs
pick up anything that is on the floor

Marissa: put as much food away as possible
gather all silverware and put it properly in the dishwasher

So, as you see, it doesn't nearly cover everything yet. But its where we start. Another strategy is to not give Christopher and Micah jobs where they have to make decisions. Such as, what do i do with this bowl of food? The boy's jobs are straight forward and do not change. The cups always go on the top dishwasher rack. the pots and pans always go in this certain spot. But they aren't able to decide whether to put theleftovers in this dish or that. Marissa can handle that so she gets that job. She also gets the silverware to find all through the kitchen to put in the dishwasher. Silverware is smaller and harder to spot when you don't have good vision.

Micah was excited about his job. I helped him examine the high chair tray and seat that Jordan had made a good mess of. He bent down and looked at it closely with his dim little eyes. I taught him to first get a napkin and wipe all the food into the middle of the tray, then lay the napkin over the little pile of food and spread his hand over it, and pick it up inside the napkin. Same way with the seat. Someone recently gave me a box of stuff from a food bank which included a box or two of pre-moistened floor cleaning wipes. the kind of thing rich people buy, I suppose. Well, they are perfect for Micah for this job. He then used a wipey thing to thoroughly wash the tray, seat and rungs of the high chair. I showed him how to put the tray back on and then set it nicely in the corner where it belongs. He also picked up and put away the jars of food the babies had gotten out of a low cupboard and were playing with before supper.

I finshed everything else and dreamed of getting to the point where every evening the chairs would all get wiped down, stacked on the table, then the floor swept and mopped. EVERY evening!

A girl can dream, right?  But, I really do believe we'll get there!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Like i highly suspected, my reminiscing was quite short-lived. I don't really feel like writing any more but i am going to just mention a few more things.

When I was a little girl, my sister Eva who is 16 months younger then I, slept in a bed in my parents bedroom. The house was tiny and their bedroom was big enough for two beds. the other two bedrooms were tiny trailer bedrooms and each had three people sleeping in them already. I have no idea what age we moved out or where we slept then. I just can't remember. But we moved to North Carolina when I was ten, in 1985. I am pretty sure I didn't sleep in there till then but like I said, I don't remember.

When we moved to NC, it was into a tiny rental house. For a year, us four youngest little girls slept in the living room. There was just no other place. We didn't mind at all, in fact we liked it. We couldn't be bustled off to bed in a bedroom somewhere while the older ones stayed up! We had a pile of blankets and pillows that were spread on the couch and floor. In the morning it was all folded, then stacked in a corner of the older girl's bedroom.  It worked fine, but such a thing is unthinkable now to most people.

We had fun sleeping together like that. I was the oldest and thus the designated story teller. Almost every evening we would lie there while I told a long winded tale of some sort. I usually had some kind of continued story going, and each evening i would add to it. Most have faded away in the misty realms of days gone by, but we all remember the Hansel and Gretal stories. Woven loosely around the famous fable, it was about two children who lived in the forest alone and foraged for food and fought off wild animals. Eventually, they came upon a hermit and lived with him for many years. Once a year, one of them would go off with a wheelbarrow down the mountain to civilization, and buy a few things in a store. Obviously, this plot has the potential for lots of hair raising experiences and our imaginations ran wild!

After a year in that house, Dad bought a nice and very spacious farm house where we all had beds in nice big bedrooms. He had started a bulk food store which did well. Our life drastically changed and many of our make-do days became but a memory. But we learned valuable skills during those years. I was young enough it didn't bother me, but I know in some ways it was harder for the older ones.

We had cats for pets, and a dog named "Pup."  Pup was a black lab who lived with us for many years, I am thinking 10-13 years, but don't know for sure. As he got older, he became grumpy and twice bit the neighbor girl when she was biking by on the road. My dad, worried about a lawsuit, had him put down. Our way of dealing with it was not talking about Pup for a long time! We also had a very dear pet chicken. She was so sweet and tame we could pick her up whenever we wanted to. She was cream colored with a white tip on each feather and a big clump of feathers on her head, some kind of fancy bantam, I guess.

Okay! I'm done!   Every now and then I re-vist those days in my memory and share them with my children who are so fascinated that Mommy used to be a little Amish girl!