Saturday, January 31, 2009

Favorite Pics and Quotes from January

He's perfected the pout, hasn't he?!This was an attempt to get them to smile one day while we were at the zoo. What a couple of goobers. Into anything he can get his hands on...
There were several really warm, really pretty days in January, and we got to play outside a lot. Here's a few of my favorites:
Like I said, into everything...
They wanted to sleep on the floor the other night. How cute is this?
Conner is reading to Micah the other day. This picture doesn't capture just how sweet it really was.
Yummy, yummy macaroni...and a candy cane for dessert!
Conner gave me some flowers while we were outside. I asked him to smile for the camera, and this is what a got.
Joey love, love, loves his Daddy's djembe drum!Daddy's boots are awesome!
While we were at Mom's and Dad's watching the quail hatch, Dad also got the big brothers to help him plant some vegetables for the greenhouse. They had lots of fun (see the quotes below), and Dad was so sweet. He called it "burying the seeds," because the seed has to die in order for the little plant inside to come out. Dad was teaching them about Christ without them even realizing it, but I hope that someday they'll make the connection.

They look sweet here..but I about .783 seconds after the camera flashed, Joey was crying and squirming off the couch, Conner desperately trying to hang on...And a couple of pictures from the visit to Gammie and Poppy's. (She's always so sweet to share her pictures!) Remember that game, Cooties?
Quotes:

Micah: "Mom, come quick! Joey is cwapping in his bed!" What?! As I walked to Joey's room to investigate, I was racking my brain trying to figure out where Micah had heard that word. When I walked in the room it dawned on me that Joey was clapping.

Conner, during a prayer one night: "Dear God, please keep PeePaw safe in heaven."

Micah, when asked when his birthday is: "Feb-a-wawy tinp," (February tenth) and he'll be "gwee" (three).

My dad was preparing to plant some broccoli and tomatoes. He wanted to plant the seeds in little containers in the house to get them going before planting them outside. Figuring the big brothers would love to help, he asked, "Do y'all think you would like to play with some dirt in the house tomorrow?" Immediately, Conner perked up. "What? Dirt? In the house?!" Micah chimed in, "Eeeew. We don't have dirt in the house!" I don't know that I've ever experienced such a weird combination of pride that they knew better than that, and shock that they said that instead of jumping right on it.

I don't know why, I don't know exactly when it happened, but Micah has taken to calling Conner "Captain" sometimes.

At the Bounce House while visiting Gammie, some kid apparently pushed Micah and knocked him down for no reason. As he was flying through the air to push the kid back, Conner exclaimed: "Don't you push my brother!!" Then he went back over to Micah, helped him up and said, "Come on, let's go play somewhere else." While I don't normally condone pushing other children or similar behavior, I must say that there is a part of me that's a little proud...

Conner was reading a book about animals one day. There was a little article (with a picture of a big ugly rat) about how rodents caused the Bubonic Plague to spread through Europe. He came running up to Bret with the book and said, "Dad. This is one bad rat, watch out for him. He killed 50 million people in Europe!"

Friday, January 30, 2009

Squirmy Wormy Super Baby

The other day, we were trying to get a picture of Joey waving, "Bye Bye." He's so cute waving that little hand, and we haven't quite gotten a picture of it yet.

The following is the fruit of our failed attempt. Keep in mind, according to the time stamp on the pictures, these were all taken in less than one minute.

Can that kid squirm or what?! No "bye bye" waves, but there are some great "super baby" poses. You'd think my arms would be beautifully toned, as much as I juggle that nearly-25-pound wiggle worm...darn.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spike

The boys got a Spike the Ultimate Dinosaur for Christmas. Some of their aunts and uncles just couldn't resist. Now, for those of you who don't know what Spike is, he's a remote control dinosaur. And not just any dinosaur -- he's a little over 2 feet tall, he walks, he stands on his hind legs, his spikes light up, he roars, his mouth opens and closes, and he burps. This is a very cool dinosaur.

Well, our original Spike had a short in the wiring or something and had to be returned. The replacement finally arrived last Friday. We have had so much fun!

Micah loves to make Spike open his mouth, and then make him shut it on a bone. Very cool -- especially when we get him to burp after "eating!"
Conner has been building towers, and then making Spike knock them down. We've all had fun with that.

(Sorry, that last picture was free. That's Micah "helping" to build the block towers. I just thought it was funny -- Micah's always the goober.)

Josiah may be the funniest, though. He seems to think that we actually have a new pet. He follows along behind Spike and pets his tail -- and sometimes he's a little scared, I think.

Spike, you're too cool. Thank you, aunties and uncles!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FairyTale Lands

When we woke up this morning, there was a fairly thick coat of ice covering everything outside. There were also quite a few patches where some sleet had accumulated -- looking much like snow.

Conner has been dying to see snow for several years now, and he of course thought that's what he was seeing this morning. "What?! Is that snow?!"I had to explain that no, it wasn't. It was actually ice that just kind of looked like snow. It wasn't soft like snow. It was actually very hard and slippery. We could not build a snowman, we could not make snowballs. We could, though, go outside and check it out. He got real quiet for a minute and then looked at me, tears welling up in his eyes, "But I really wanted to play snowball fight."He got over it pretty quickly, though. Daddy got up, we got everyone bundled up, and were ready to go explore the FairyTale land outside.They had lots of fun crunching the grass,
but they got cold pretty quickly and were ready to go in to eat their oatmeal.
They were outside long enough to see the sights, though!

Then after they had come in, eaten some breakfast, and gotten warmed up, we discovered that we were in another FairyTale Land...and we were in this one ALL day.

Apparently there was a bomb in Conner's and Micah's room. (No, not really -- FairyTale Land, people!) Micah set off the bomb and it blew he and Conner and Josiah to Canada.

Strangely, at the same time, there was tornado here in Burleson. It hit another house just like ours, except it was blue and gray. The names of the people who lived in this house just like ours were Bret, Rachel, Conner, Micah, and Josiah -- just like ours. As the tornado carried the house through the air, Conner and Micah and Josiah fell through the chimney and landed in our house. Their parents, however, held onto the house and the tornado blew them all the way to Brooklyn.

Okay, follow me...our boys were in Canada. The boys who were here just happened to be just like our boys. We spent the whole day finding all the ways they were alike. (Well...mostly just me and Conner...Micah quickly tired of the game, but Conner kept going and going and going.) "Rachel," he would ask. (Yes, he called me Rachel all day. After all, I was not his mother. His mother was in Brooklyn. My Conner was in Canada.) "Rachel," he would ask, "Does your Conner have two wordsearch books, one about animals and one about sea creatures?" "Yes," I would say. "Oh, so do I."

"Rachel, does your Conner love Pokemon books?" "Yes." "Oh, so do I."

"Rachel, is your Conner almost 5 1/2?" "Yes." "Oh, so am I."

"Rachel, did you know that we have a trashcan in our kitchen, just like the one right there?" "Oh really?" "Yes. This is just an amazing day, a really, really amazing day. We are so much alike!"

...and we went on and on all day. No really, it started before lunch, and he was still going strong after dinner, until we convinced that child to take the train back to his mom and dad in Brooklyn, and on the way to stop in Canada and send our Conner (who called us Mom and Dad) back home. After all, even though they were just alike, we missed the real Conner.

FairyTale Lands are exhausting.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crock Pot?

Joey has a radar for open bathroom doors. If the door is accidentally left open, you can bet that he will discover it and be in there in about 3.7 seconds. With two little guys going into the bathroom anytime one of them needs to go potty, wash his hands, get a Kleenex, or brush his teeth, the bathroom door is opened and closed about 1700 times a day -- it seems like someone is always forgetting to close it behind them.

Well, like any good ten-month-old, the first thing Joey checks for upon entering the bathroom is an open lid. Once again...we try to keep it down but with two little boys, well...

This evening after dinner, we realized that we hadn't seen or heard from Joey in a few minutes. I immediately checked the bathroom, and of course there he was. Playing with some forks from dinner in the potty.
Now I love opportunities to snap pictures of these kids that will embarrass them someday. I figured, "Hey, his hands are already in the potty, what difference will a few seconds for me to run and get the camera make?" I get the camera, and come around to the other side. I'll go ahead and address the elephant here -- yes, those are skid marks. Micah sits on the potty backwards...there are nearly always skid marks in this toilet...
"Ha ha, these will be funny," I thought, "but I need one with him looking at me, too." I push the button and talk to him, trying to get him to look at me, and as I'm waiting for the flash he moves his arm and the picture ends up:
Yup. We're so proud.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The 3T Overalls

A couple of days ago I wrote about my collection of little boy clothes, and about the memories attached to them. One memory in particular stood out that ay and I just thought I would share. As I was folding clothes and neatly placing them in a box, I came to the overalls. Five pairs of size 3T, snaps on the insides of the legs, overalls. I remember the day like it was yesterday, yet it has now been over three years ago…

It was late December, two days before Christmas – our fifth anniversary. We had been planning to go to Fogo de Chao (a nice, meat-lover-friendly restaurant in Dallas) for dinner. Conner, who was two at the time, was at Mom’s and Dad’s for the weekend. I was about 7 ½ months pregnant with Micah, and we were at IHOP eating lunch when we got the call.

Mom and Dad were on the way to the emergency room with Conner. He had been playing outside and had cut his finger pretty badly, and would probably need stitches. Okay…that stunk. But it wasn’t the end of the world. Mom and Dad were doing exactly what they should do, had a copy of the insurance card, it was gonna be okay. We would go ahead and go to my doctor’s appointment a little while later and then drive in to Glen Rose to check on him.

Then at the doctor’s office we got another call. Apparently this was more than just a little cut. Once they had gotten Conner calmed down and cleaned up, it became obvious that he had nearly cut the entire first joint of his right pinkie finger off – it was hanging on by a thread. Okay…this was a different story. “Don’t come yet,” they said. “They may transfer him. We’ll call you when we know what’s going on.” It was incredibly hard, but we did it. We finished up with the doctor, went home and packed an overnight bag, and waited for Mom and Dad to call back.

When they called, they said that the folks at the Glen Rose Medical Center wouldn’t touch it. They had given him some Tylenol with codeine, and were putting him on an ambulance headed to Cook’s. We would just meet them there. I don’t remember crying about it at this point, I just remember being overwhelmed. This would probably mean surgery, this would probably mean at least a night or two in the hospital – but how bad was it, was there any way in the world that he would be able to keep that finger? My poor little boy and I hadn’t even gotten to see him or hold him yet…

I’ll never forget the moment. We were sitting in the waiting room at Cook’s, and Dad and Lydia walked in. Dad was still covered in little pieces of dead grass from where he had fallen face-down on the ground outside the ER at GRMC, crying out to God to take care of this baby. There were no words for a few moments, just hugs and tears.

Then Mom and Conner came in from the ambulance. You would have never known there was anything wrong with the child, if his hand hadn’t been bandaged up. He was smiling, carrying a teddy bear that they had given him, and had apparently been singing Jingle Bells the whole way there. Bless his sweet heart…and hallelujah for codeine!

The folks at Cook’s assessed the situation, cleaned the wound, diagnosed him with a partial amputation, (yeah, seeing those words was a painful reality check), and called a pediatric plastic surgeon. We sat and waited for him to get there for what felt like forever – it turned out that he actually lived in Glen Rose, too.

Eight hours after the accident happened, we were escorted to pre-op where we sat with Conner and watched as the anesthesia kicked in. Then the nurses carried our baby, literally in nearly two pieces, into the OR.

An hour or so later (in which time the fire alarm went off and they tried to escort us out of the building while our baby was having surgery!), the doctor came out to give us a report. He was able to re-attach the finger, and said that there was a little less than a 50-50 chance that he would be able to keep it. If the tip of the finger did actually live, it was likely that there would be no fingernail. Only time would tell – and during that time we would have to keep the finger wrapped, cleaned, and elevated.

Conner woke up from surgery well, ate three rainbow popsicles, and we (to our pleasant surprise) took him home that night.

During the next few days, we had to figure out how in the world we were going to get this very right-handed kid to keep this hand in the wrapping, in the sling, and elevated. It was quite a series of trial and error, but what ended up working was overalls. We had a very elaborate system of safety pins, pinning the sling closed to keep his hand in it, and pinning the sling to the bib and straps of his overalls to keep it elevated. There was no easy way to get the overalls off now though, and Conner wasn’t yet potty trained. The overalls had to have the snaps on the insides of the legs. It turns out that was quite a tall order. Not many overalls in size 3T have snaps for diapers! I had found one pair, and was washing them every night, thankful that we had found something that worked. Then Gammie came to the rescue and found us four more pairs.

Three years later, I am happy to report that not only was Conner able to keep the tip of his finger, it even has a nearly normal looking nail. You would never even know anything had happened unless you were looking at it very closely. He has full use of the finger, full range of motion, and the best we can tell, he still has feeling in it. God is so good.

So the stack of 3T overalls that I was lovingly folding and placing in the box the other day were not just clothes. They are memories in themselves – they literally helped to save the tip of Conner’s finger. I never could get Micah to wear them, I can hardly get him in a shirt with buttons. He is truly t-shirt and running pants kind of guy. Maybe Joey will wear them someday…who knows. Either way, I’m just not sure if I’ll be able to part with all of them when we pass the 3T boxes down to Cousin Kaleb. I may have to indulge my Mommy-heart and keep a pair, stick it somewhere in the back of my closet as a reminder of a very challenging time in which God worked a miracle...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sick Babies...It's Really Not ALL Bad

For the past two days, we've had sick kids. Bret took a little overnight trip to Abilene yesterday afternoon, so I've had them pretty much to myself -- Conner with a cough, Josiah with a fever and stuffy nose, and Micah got the rough end of the deal with all of it, plus lots of sneeze attacks.

We've used lots of Kleenex, renewed our friendship with Benadryl and Motrin, had lots of whining, seen some impressive snot rockets, learned that the stuff you cough up is not drool and it's not snot -- it's called "snool", watched way too many movies, and been up in the middle of the night breathing the steam from the shower. And did I say there's been lots of whining? But I've also gotten lots of cuddles. I feel so bad for them when they're sick, but there's nothing like those "I don't feel good, Mommy" cuddles...

Friday, January 23, 2009

My Collection

You know those little “About You” forms that you have to fill out sometimes, where they want to know your favorite color, favorite food, TV shows you watch, hobbies, collections, etc? I always feel so boring when I am faced with trying to write it all down – largely because there’s not much to write. I don’t get to watch much TV, don’t have time or money for many hobbies, or space for collections.

Then today I found myself packing up 2 boxes of size 12 month baby boy clothes, and unpacking 2 boxes of size 18 month baby boy clothes (in addition to the one that I had already unpacked a while back). I then packed up one box of size 5T (in addition to several I had previously packed), two boxes of size 3T, one box of size 2T (again, in addition to several I had previously packed), and unpacked three boxes of size 4T. There are several random bags of size 8’s that have been passed on to us, that I need to go through and pack together too, but I ran out of time today.

As I washed, folded/hung up, and put away all of the 18 month and 4T clothes (3 loads of laundry in addition to the 1-2 I do everyday anyway), I realized that I DO collect something – little boy clothes! If memory serves, I think there were about 25 diaper boxes of clothes. (These were the ones that didn't fit anyone at the time -- the clothes that were hanging in the closet were in other boxes.) And I know the collection has done nothing but grow. I guess this could be considered by some to be a little insane, dragging all of these boxes around, finding a place to store them – but it is saving us so much money, to only be buying clothes for one kid instead of three.

Keeping up with who’s in what size, which clothes currently fit, which ones need to be put away – that’s what makes me insane. Currently, Josiah is wearing size 18 month pjs and shirts, but is still in size 12 month pants. Micah is in size 4T shirts, but is in between 3T and 4T pants, which means that they’re all out. Conner is in size 6 shirts, but is in size 5 (not 5T – there is a difference there) pants. Good grief. Would it be too much to ask for at least one of them to be in only one size?!

My collection may be boring to some, insane to others, but to me it is valuable. It’s my collection, and it’s valuable to my family with its monitary savings. It’s valuable to me because of all the memories and mental pictures that so many of those little articles of clothing hold. It’s hard work, and mentally exhausting when I have days like this, but it’s fun, too. As I sort and fold, I am also sifting through mental pictures of precious little chubby faces, memorable events, sweet friends/family who gave us that particulare article of clothing, and funny stories.

So there you have it. I am a collector -- of little boy clothes, and the memories that are made in them.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Inventors

The other day, the big brothers had some blocks out, and were playing "Inventor." Their creations were numerous, too many to accurately log while I was washing the dishes...but here's the first four. I was laughing so hard, I just had to share.

Conner started us off with a bang, the HairDryer 4000:
("4000" I guess because there's four little thingies for the air to come out.)

Micah was quick on his heels with a little less elaborate Light Saber 2-5000:
A few minutes later Conner came in with the Metal Ball Shooter 3000:
Again, Micah was on his tail with the Ladder 5-6 (which I happened to find strangely similar Conner's MBS 3000):
I'm so glad I'm a mom. Kids are so fun! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Step-by-Step to Success

Donnie Conner, my Uncle Bubba, was featured in the January 2009 edition of Now Magazine, Midlothian. I thought that was pretty cool, and just thought I'd share if you're interested. You can click on the link below, or if it's easier for you I've copied and pasted the article here, too. (You have to click on the link to see the pictures though -- sorry.)

Click on the Midlothian edition at this Website
http://www.nowmagazines.com/currenteditions.php
Look on page 28 of the pdf file...(It's actually p 26 of the magazine)

Step-by-Step to Success
"As a coach, Donnie Conner is somewhat of a philosopher. The Boys Athletic Coordinator for Frank Seale Middle School and the pole vault coach for the junior high and high school equates life to sports. He believes everything you do in sports, applies to life. One of the areas he tresses is to learn the fundamentals in whatever you do. He said, “I tell the students, if they earn the basic fundamentals, they will be successful in everything they do. In your job, if you now the basics you will always be good at it, and you can always get better. Because you know the basics, you can build on those things to make yourself better. For example, in football you have basic principles, such as blocking and tackling. If you are naturally good at football but you don’t know all the fundamentals, you have nothing to fall back on. This is where education comes in, too. If you happen to be talented athletically, you may go to the NFL or something like that. What happens if you get cut? If you have a good basic start in education, you have something else to fall back on. The fundamentals help you be successful in everything. It is one step at a time. When they [the students] smile and indicate that they get it, that they understand, then I’m successful.”

Donnie believes motivation is important. He looks at his ability to motivate the students and their internal drive to succeed. He stated, “Those who don’t perform in the classroom won’t perform on the field. Students don’t come to school for athletics; they come to get an education. One of the great things about education is that if they excel in the classroom, they will have the opportunity to excel on the field. Physical talent is a lot, but mental toughness or that mental edge is what can make them very successful or just O.K. Kids who don’t have that athletic ability, but have that edge or a great work effort to overcome, they can always go to the next level. You get both of those together, the athletic talent with the mental toughness, and you have the makings of a star.”

Donnie understands what goes into making a star. During his coaching career, he has watched 13 of his students enter professional sports. Two of them are playing in the NFL — Patrick Crayton, #84, a wide receiver with the Dallas Cowboys, and Ellis Hobbs of the New England Patriots. In the area of pole vaulting, Midlothian has seen the talented efforts of Nick Frawley and Austyn Rapp who both have achieved success. Donnie has witnessed in all of them the ability to be successful in life by knowing the fundamentals of the game, being highly motivated to achieve and the willingness to keep going when things are not going well. He added, “A champion is someone who goes through hardship and becomes successful. You won’t be successful in life if you get knocked down and don’t get back up.”

Donnie had the opportunity to teach the lesson of perseverance to both of his sons, Caleb and Joshua. Caleb in particular learned the lesson during a difficult time. Donnie explained, “Caleb broke his arm when he was younger and he thought it was the end of the world. He couldn’t play ball and was very upset. So, I sat him down and told him the story of Job in the Bible about how much he suffered but didn’t give up. When Caleb’s arm healed, he was able to play the last game. In playing a game of touch football, he stuck his arm out and broke the same arm in the same spot. He said, ‘I just don’t know what’s going on.’ I said, ‘Let’s go back to Job. He lost everything, twice. He had everything he could ever want and God took it away from him. He didn’t sit around, say poor me and curse God. He said, “Okay I’m still going to stay focused. It’s a setback, a detour.” You have to suffer through this to get to the next step.’ ‘Nobody ever said it would be easy.’ Caleb wound up being All-District Linebacker in DeSoto on a district championship football game.”

Hardships and disappointments are things Donnie understands. He motivates the students, as he did his son, to rise above the difficulty of the moment and continue to struggle to achieve positive things. He stated, “To win at anything, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort. I am willing to help the students excel. I want to win. I want the kids to learn how to compete. You have to know your kids to push them to their limit. It’s like a car going down the road with all four wheels turned in different directions. It is an inefficient way to travel and you won’t get very far. All the wheels need to go in the same direction for a smooth ride. Success is built one step at a time. We all have to work together to be successful.”

--Betty Tryon

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Reptile House

The picture says it all, doesn't it?! Creepy...

We went to the zoo today, and this time Daddy got to go with us! Our mission today was the Reptile House. This crocodile apparently thought Micah looked tasty. Micah walked right up to it's window, the crocodile turned and looked at him, walked toward him, and they then stood nose to nose. The picture is of Conner, though, who was not to be outdone...

My favorite part was the swans. The mama swan has babies hiding on her back keeping warm. You can see the little guy's head sticking up if you look closely.
Still lovin' the zoo!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Family

In our eight years of marriage, eight moves, and the birthing and parenting of three children, Bret and I have often found ourselves saying, “Gosh, how do people do it without family?!” And by “family,” I mean family in all the ways God intended – blood family, friends who are close enough they might as well be family, and the family we find amongst the community of believers in church.

Last night we were still at Mom’s and Dad’s house. The plan was to get up today, get dressed, load the van, and get home in time for church. Bret was needing to be there about an hour and a half early, so I was just planning to take the kids to play at McDonald’s or something. Then around 9pm, Bret looked at me and said, “Gosh, I have so much to do still. We are going to have to leave at 6am so that we can go home first and I can do all of this stuff.”

“What?!” I exclaimed. Was an hour and a half early to church not enough? Of course not…I knew better…“How ‘bout you just go ahead and go tonight. We’ll [the boys and me] just stay here and go to church with Dad. Then when you’re done with church and you’re ready, you just come and get us.” This was a good decision. Bret was relieved, I was relieved…I don’t know, Mom and Dad may have been anything but relieved, but they were certainly sweet about it! :) (Mom going to stay home with MeeMaw instead of going to church. MeeMaw had cataract surgery last week, started chemo, and is having a little bit of a rough time with it.)

The next morning, somehow Mom, Dad and I got everyone up, fed, dressed, and in the truck on time, with no big struggles or tears. Micah even embraced his "funny hair" and was eager for me to fix it! We were pulling out of the driveway at 7:34am. (They go to the early service that starts at 8:15.) “This is going to be a great day,” I thought. Sundays never start this good.

When we got to church, Conner and Micah were very excited to see their friend Aurora. Aurora was the flower girl at Jodi’s wedding about 3 ½ years ago. She and our little ring bearers hit it off, and since then they look forward to seeing each other every time we visit. Today, Aurora wanted to sit with us. “Sure!” I said, the more the merrier, right? So church began with Dad sitting on one end of the row, and me sitting on the other end, four kids between us. All was good. Joey was eating wagon wheels with Dad, Micah was playing with stickers, and Conner and Aurora were keeping each other busy. The two oldest kids were playing so well together, that it was really like the addition of Aurora was not going from three kids to four kids, but more like from three to 2 ½.

Then it was time for the sermon, and something happened. Micah decided he was sleepy, and just had to “hode djoo” (hold you – sit in my lap). Joey’s sleepiness was coming on strong and he was fighting it with all he had. I traded with Dad, thinking I would be able to get Joey to sleep. Yeah, right. He went from nearly giving in, to suddenly jumping up and down and playing peek-a-boo with someone behind us, to fussing…and then went through the cycle again and again and again. Micah was digging through my bag, looking for a snack and making a mess, Conner had apparently spilled Gatorade on the pew and not told me, Aurora had dropped some markers and was under the seats trying to pick them all up. I felt the pendulum of control quickly swinging in their direction.

Finally Joey started making enough noise and distractions that I decided to take him out. A little wary of leaving Dad by himself, I walked out into the hall, thinking there was no way Joey would last long. Yeah, right. I eventually decided that I should go stand in the back of the auditorium so that I could keep an eye on Dad’s situation and jump in to help if needed. Good thing I did. Micah, who had apparently been inching farther and farther away from Dad, was about to make his escape. I gave up on getting Joey to sleep, grabbed Micah, and a few minutes later, we were standing to sing the invitation song. At that point, Dad had to get up to receive any responses. For the last few songs, it was me with the four…under control, but barely. I was so glad that Aurora was with us. She and Conner together were still much less maintenance than Conner (knowing from experience) would have been without her. I was so relieved when church was over!

We had to kind of hurry to clean up the mess (I had been too busy wrestling Joey to be able to get the troops to clean anything up) so that Dad could get to the class he was teaching on time. In the process, Conner hit his head on the pew, and apparently thought his head had fallen off, the way he was crying. (In fairness, he does have a little bit of a black eye now…) Micah was too busy sneaking Joey’s wagon wheels to be of much help, and all of Joey’s new friends in the rows behind us were coming up to him to congratulate him on his show. Folks who were wondering what in the world was going on that Mom was not there were checking on her. It was kind of a circus.

But finally we got it cleaned up and got everyone delivered to class. I opted to keep Joey with me, and soon found a quiet place where I warmed up his bottle, filled up his tummy, and got finally got him to sleep. Satisfied that he was probably out of it for a good little while, I grabbed the bags and made my way to my class. Relieved to see an empty seat next to a friend, a scooted my bulky, bags-and-sleeping-child-laden self down the aisle next to her. As I was sitting down, my beeper (that they had given me when I dropped Micah off) started beeping, and I kind of got stuck while trying to get the bags off my shoulder. Heather offered to hold Joey for me, her husband Brian, helped me get the bags unloaded, and I was off to check on Micah.

The beeper ended up being a false alarm, apparently the batteries were dying or something. I went back into class, and Heather asked if she could keep Joey while he slept. Of course!! I was able to sit though class long enough to regain some sanity when, with about five minutes left of class, Joey woke up. He looked up at Heather, and not recognizing her pushed her away. He was not awake enough yet to see me sitting next to her though, and started to cry. I took him back, gave him some apple juice, and thought we would be able to sit calmly for a few minutes…until he almost immediately started spitting raspberries, burping, and flirting with anyone who would look at him again. Oh, well…

Class was soon over…knowing Dad would be picking Conner and Micah up from class, and knowing they would probably be wanting to run amuck in the big fellowship area, I hurried out to help him. We got everyone collected, answered a few more questions about, “Where is Bonnie?”, got everyone back into the truck, and made it home.

Since Mom had been home, she had been able to clean up the whirlwind mess we had left behind, and had lunch nearly ready. MeeMaw was expecting some company from Robinson, the church she had to leave behind when she moved in with Mom and Dad six or seven months ago, and Mom had the house ready, MeeMaw ready, even a cake ready to share.

I sat down, a little overwhelmed with it all, and found myself thinking for the umpteenth time, “How in the world to people do it without family?” The web family that had played a part in the day, everyone’s needs being met by someone else, and any needs created because of that being met by still someone else. Bret was able to go home and take care of his business…so Mom and Dad took care of getting us ready and to church…Aurora helped us get through worship…Heather helped me get through class. Because Bret wasn’t having to help wrangle our brood, he was able to have some conversations with some folks that otherwise he probably would not have…and some more friends took him to lunch so that he wouldn’t have to eat alone…because there was company at Mom’s and Dad’s house, and we didn’t want to leave while they were there, he even got a few minutes to decompress before he came to get us…and because Dad was willing to meet him with us halfway, Bret only had to spend half the time in the car. MeeMaw needed someone with her this morning…since Dad had taken the three little whirlwinds and me to church, Mom was able to give her the full attention she deserved. Even friends from out of town were coming in to pay a visit, filling part of the void and loneliness that come from making a move. It was so obvious that someone from above had a hand in this, carefully tying each end together, putting his marvelous creation of family to work. It was beautiful, and I was so glad to be a part.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Hatching

Today, we were blessed with an opportunity to witness one of the many miracles of God's wonderful creation. Today, I was so proud/excited/in awe for the opportunity that my kids were presented with that I really thought I might bust. Today, I etched in my brain all of those same emotions on my dad's face as he watched his grandsons enjoy the fruits of his labor and research -- and God's creation at work. Today, I heard my boys squeal with delight as they got to do something very few kids get to do.

Today we got to see some baby quails hatch!

Dad got the incubator and eggs around Christmas time, and we have had this weekend blocked off since then. We have been so, so excited -- and those sweet little birds did not disappoint! Last night while I was talking to Mom on the phone they discovered that one of the eggs had already hatched. Worried that they would all hatch early, I considered throwing the kids in the van and leaving right then...but decided to wait. Then this morning we were relieved to hear that no more eggs had hatched yet...but were saddened to learn that the early bird did not make it through the night. We could hardly wait until it was time to leave for Yogi's house this afternoon!
In fact, we were so anxious that we got on Wikipedia where we saw some pictures of grown-up quails and learned that quails eat seeds and insects. Then we got on YouTube and watched a video of some quails hatching. I'm so glad we did that -- now the boys understood better what we were so excited about, and they were that much more excited!

We got there around 2:30, visited with some family who happened to be here to see MeeMaw (her brothers, sister, and sister-in-law), and were just getting ready to dig into some Mr. Jim's pizza. As Dad was walking to the table, he checked on the eggs and yelled, "It's hatching, it's hatching! Boys, come quick!" Sure enough, one of the little eggs was cracking and rolling around. Somehow Dad caught it at just the right time. We all just stared in amazement. It was the coolest thing. Then just about the time that little quail got all the way out of the egg, another one was cracking, and another one and another one. During a little lull in the action, we threw our pizza on paper plates and decided to just eat right there by the incubator while we sat watching.Soon there were four little quails hopping around and chirping...and not long after that there were six. At this point, Conner informed us that he had decided that three of them were boys and three of them were girls. "Their names are John, Susie, Frisky, Zack, Cody, and Slow Poke." That was several hours ago now, and we are getting ready to go to bed. Since then one more has hatched (it is a boy (according to Conner) and his name is Joshua), and a couple of other eggs are showing signs of life inside. We're anxious to see what will happen overnight. I just can't say enough how cool this has all been. Dad, thank you so much for letting us come watch. What a wonderful blessing!
***Update: As of about 7am Saturday morning, Conner says we have 19 babies, Micah insists that there are "gwennie" (20). There are really too many to count very well...except that we started out with thirty eggs, there are eight left, and one little guy didn't make it...I think that makes 21! There's enough activity in that little incubator that Joey is into watching them this morning -- and banging on the lid. :) Too cool.