Monday, June 30, 2008


Yesterday after church, our family went to our somewhat-of-a-tradition Sunday dinner at my parents’ house. The kids “swam” while Grandma finished the lunch preparations. Two of them were even brave enough to take off their arm rings and inner tubes (4 feet of water is truly daunting when you’re 3 feet tall). I tried to help with dinner, but I’m not sure putting baby silverware on the table lightened the load any. I can guess, though.


Anyway, after the scrumptious surf-and-turf lunch which we all eagerly gobbled up (pass the tartar sauce and A-1, please!), my mother offered to watch the children if Ethan and I wanted to get away.


As Ethan stretched and yawned, I shouted (because it’s hard to hear when you’re yawning), “WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?”


I then yawned through whatever it was he said (too quietly), but I can speculate it had something to do with my parents’ leather reclining sofa. I ignored the speculation and reasoned that he would want to do something with me apart from the children. We opted to take Jonathan as he is one of those lingering nursers that nurses for 3 minutes until falling into a deep sleep from which the only way to awaken him is to set him down. And then the only way to make him stop crying is to nurse him.


And once we got away, we just walked leisurely together. As we strolled, Jonathan fast asleep in the baby sling, a grandmother with her daughter and 9-mo. old grandson stopped me. “Oh, how old?” she asked. I answered that he was almost 2 weeks. “Is this your first?”


“No, this is number six.” She did the obligatory eye pop and then asked how old the children were. When I gave their ages, the oldest being six, she asked in a sort of sugary tone, “Oh, do you homeschool?”


I don’t know who decided that large family means homeschooled. I mean, I won’t even get near a denim jumper, I don’t have to move my hair out of the way before I sit down, and I don’t think two-piece swimsuits are sinful.


But the kids? They are just a dead giveaway. I mean, I didn’t even have to deny being Catholic, Mormon, or married to a Marine first! She jumped right to homeschool!


Anyway, once her suspicion of homeschooling was confirmed, she said, “Oh, I don’t know how you do it. I had five, and I LOVED when the school bus came in the morning!”


Even as she said that, I thought what a nightmare that would be for me. Theological, social, and safety misgivings aside, if I had to load school-aged children onto a bus every morning, I would be losing two of my best helpers. My two oldest are only 6 and 4, but there is A LOT that 6- and 4-year old arms can do. Especially if the only other options are two sets of 3-yr. old arms, a 17-mo. old set, and a 2-week old set. Oh, and a thirty-one year old set.


As providence would have it, today I got to test that theory. My two oldest are off to magical thrills unknown with my two sisters, brother-in-law, and two young nephews, as they go to an amusement park for the first time. And I already miss them terribly! Fortunately, I did get Ben to change the kitty litter (one of his daily chores) before he left, but OY!


I have had to read the same book four times in a row. And it’s not even a Boynton book. It’s a Little Golden Book. One of those weird ‘80’s ones. Normally Ben does this, and he will pick a selection of books. I have been frozen in the corner of the couch with a sleeping/nursing/whatever-it-is-he’s-doing baby.


I had to fold all the clothes that came out of the dryer (fortunately, the 3-yr. olds emptied the dryer for me) and put them away.


I had to empty the dishwasher, get everyone’s drinks, clear the table, soak the dishes, load the dishwasher, play with the twins and Eden, hide Lily’s doll that everyone was fighting over … all while carrying a baby that usually falls asleep on his brother’s lap (the lap of the brother that’s 6. He wants nothing to do with the lap of the 3-yr. old brother). And after naptime, I will have to get Edee out of bed, fix her drink, get drinks for the twins, and think of a fun game. Only mine probably will not involve jumping from the back of a couch to a much-too-small-and-terribly-lumpy couch pillow on the floor.


The one redeeming thing is that when everyone went down for a nap, EVERYONE went down. Meaning I have time to sit here and write this long-winded post (so maybe not so redeeming?). But on the other hand, there is no 4-yr. old to brush and style my hair, whispering, “I love you so much, Mama. Are you so glad I’m your daughter?” and no 6-yr. old to “surprise” me with his daily offering of a glass of chocolate milk.


Why do I have six kids? Because four is just too much work!!!



Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Now We Are Eight

Well, as of a little over a week ago.




Jonathan Van Til Allison

10 lbs., 20 inches

Monday, June 16, 2008, at 7:14 A.M.


Finally, a boy with brown hair and brown eyes.


And more than enough chub for kissing!


Abraham and Jonathan

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rocks in the Road

Usually I am all for smooth roads, figuring that they make for easy paths, whether I’m driving our green GMC Safari or just myself crazy. And, admittedly, this month has not been our month for smooth roads. There have been quite a few bumps…the one on the front of my being that HELLO COULD BE BORN ANY DAY NOW AND WHY DON’T YOU HURRY IT UP I HAVE OTHER THINGS TO COMPLAIN ABOUT!!!, the fact that we have 17 more days to find a place to move, finish packing up our house, and move there, and the continual search for the church where God would have Ethan serve. Not helping this is my inability to do anything (or, OK, perhaps it is “my choice” to do nothing – but if I put it in that light, I will have to deal with my attitude and how even in this God is sovereign and I am being a whiner and choosing not to glorify Him – let’s just stick with “inability”) but dwell obsessively on my desire to be rid of this huge, morphing, heartburn-inducing, varicose-vein throbbing mass inside of me (oh, and um, I love you, little one).


But when I ASK for there to be bumps in the road – say, when I purchase a half-gallon of ice cream that loudly advertises its bumps with the screaming title “Rocky Road” and large sliced almonds enticing me on its label – well, there better be some bumps.


But in a strange all-too-exasperatingly-familiar twist of fate, the half-gallon we purchased Tuesday night has not one bit of almond in it. Excuse me? ROCKY Road? Where’s the doggone ROCKS? I hate smooth ice cream!


When you can’t even console yourself with the time-honored balm of Breyers, something is terribly wrong. And not only is something wrong, there is no telephone number on the carton for me to call to inform them that something is wrong. I have to FINISH the ice cream, cut out the UPC code, and mail that with the code on the bottom to such-and-such an address.


In the frenzy of packing and tossing, I am sure we will lose some things. Probably a priceless heirloom, more surely my wallet, and definitely the van key.


But I will NOT lose that UPC code and carton bottom. They will be hearing from me. And they will either send me a coupon for a new half-gallon or choose to rename their ice cream. Something like, “Freshly Paved Asphalt, with Lactose.”



Friday, June 6, 2008


We drove home from my parents' last night, van laden with containers full of water and a new portable fan, to a very welcome sight...every window of our house was ablaze with light. Our light switches are horizontal, not vertical, and I can never remember which way is "on," so I guess they had all been turned on by children when the power was out and we didn't notice (because, um, the power was out). But Ethan and I let out a cheer when we saw that we had power. And no less than FOUR voices behind us let out a groan and said, "Oh, no, POWER!" (And I'm sure Eden [16 mos.] would have if she could figure out how to say "power.")


" 'Oh, no?' " I echoed. "You don't like air conditioning? You don't like getting to turn the water on? You don't like TOILETS THAT FLUSH????"


"I can flush the toilets at Grandma's," Benjamin (6) replied.


I tell you what. You just can't please all of the people all of the time. And children are nigh impossible.


But I, for one, promptly took a shower, drank a large water, and flushed about four times last night.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pow'r, Pow'r, Wonder-Workin' Pow'r

is not so wonder-workin'. Well, not if you depend on ye local power company, that is. After a thoroughly enjoyable celebration of the twins' third birthday (hold that pinkie down with your thumb!) hosted by my tireless mother and complete with all the finger foods two three-year olds could desire (pigs-in-a-blanket, cheese sticks, chicken nuggets, strawberries dipped in chocolate), TWO delicious cakes, and "scary funder and outside light" (thunder and lightning), we drove home an hour past bedtime to find our home especially dark -- plenty of "outside light" but none inside.
It helped that the children were worn out from the excitement of the party (and even the unbirthday-ers got goodie bags), so getting them in bed happened quickly. Getting US in bed was not so quick. Unlike my children, I have not been trained to sleep to the sound of the CD player (hurrah for batteries!), but my mind races without the steady hum of the air conditioner, or the rattle of the refrigerator, or the drivel of a movie. And there is no way my husband will ever be bedding down at 9:30 unless he is seriously ill. I did mention he's from Alaska, right? That's like 5:30 Alaska Time. (And, yes, after being away for over ten years, he is still on Alaska Time. He insists.) But being the decent, thoughtful husband he is, he went and got a Redbox DVD to watch on his laptop via this alternative power thingy (what is it called? It's not a generator...) so that I could sleep. Which I did, before he even got to the main menu.
And since we are on a well, when the power goes out, the water goes out. There is no electricity for the pump. Fun. Imagine having a bowling ball sit on your bladder -- wait -- change that -- imagine having a bowling ball dance on your bladder and then trying to find a good squatting spot in the dark outside (because, of course, the itty bit of toilet water that is left after your children have flushed wastefully is for the kitties -- what if they dehydrate in the night?).
So the first thing I did this morning after double-checking that the power was still out (sweaty? check. thirsty? check. bladder about to explode? check.) was call my parents, who fortunately live about 8 miles away and are on the city grid.
We have invaded their home, and I am LOVING the A/C (MY TURN IN FRONT OF THE VENT!), the endless drinks, the long showers, and the ever-at-the-ready toilet. Oh, and the high-speed Internet connection (what will I DO with the rest of my day?).
I guess I'll just have to revel in their wonder-workin' pow'r.

(And no, obviously I never made it past the first-round auditions for "Pioneer House.")


Monday, June 2, 2008

Moving Right Along...

Well, things have been busy around here. I guess it hasn't been any busier than normal, but this time the busy-ness has a purpose. On Thursday, a representative of our landlord (a developing company) informed us that we have thirty days to move. They are going to turn the surrounding fields into ballfields and parks, and our house will be used as a clubhouse of sorts (you mean officially?). The representative was apologetic and obviously uncomfortable having to tell us, which is to her credit. I mean, really, who can watch five young children playing in the front yard with their mother standing on the porch, 9-month pregnant belly extended past all reason, and NOT at least feign regret at saying, "Hope you can find another place"?


But we are actually very calm about it. We ended up reassuring her that it is the Lord's timing and we were anticipating a move this summer anyway (not with a two-week old, but whatever...). It has been God's wonderful provision that has allowed us to stay in this wonderful house, up on this hill with fields in every direction, neighbors far enough away to never hear our shouting (always gleeful, of course), with a month-to-month lease and ridiculously low rent.


He has provided, and He will continue to provide.


And so we continue to toss and pack, and I am loving the tossing part (Ethan can tell you I am no great packer). It feels so good to finally be getting rid of things that I don't know why we ever had in the first place.


And the adventure continues...


"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..." Phil. 3:20 (ESV)




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