Wednesday, November 18, 2015

4 for $4 at Wendy's

We have these frostie tags we've been using the last year.  Oh, it's been great.  We've definitely taken advantage of them, and Wendy's has definitely gotten us to buy more fast food than we otherwise would have.  When we bought the frostie tags, B was too little to need one.  So I just got 3.  That has probably kept us from going every day.  Because somehow in the messed up economics of my mind, having to pay $1 to get 4 frosties is a little steep.

Yesterday we went to get some frosties and found that they had something called the "4 for $4 meal."  Wonderful.  The meal includes the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, 4 chicken nuggets, small fries and a small (large to me) sugary drink. 

So we got 5 free frosties (thanks to halloween coupons) and the $4 meal.  We went to a nearby playground and got out the picnic basket.  While the kids ate their frosties, I divvied out chicken nuggets and fries into their wooden bowls.  The children were so happy and grateful.  They loved getting a sip of the orange Hi-C.  "I used to think it was Hic!" said M.  We shared the hamburger in bites.  G even ate a bite with lettuce on it.

They have had kids meals at Chick-fil-a.  The dentist gives certificates for them sometimes.  I notice that my kids won't sit and eat the whole meal.  True, Chick-fil-a has a playground that they are more interested in than even the fancy food. 

They were so grateful for their chicken nugget, handful of fries etc... 

I feel like the kids are very grateful and I love that.

Best friend, and inherited trait

I was talking to P last night and realized I could name 1 best friend for 4 of the 5 sisters in my family.  The eldest is 16 years older than me.  So truely, she was off to college and on her mission when I first knew her.

I remember these best friends in and out of our childhood homes.  My sisters would take me along to events, the playground and to their friends houses.  So growing up, these were my friends.

In HS I found my own best friend M.  She was eventually the valedictorian and went to Yale.  I was the 123rd in our class ranking...   We weren't in any of the same activities.  I sometimes wonder how we ever saw one another.  I'm grateful that we/are were friends.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

lovely times

I can't find the camera, so no pictures of these lovely times.  When we first moved here I felt so anxious because I always do after having a baby.  Also our downstairs neighbors complained a few times.  So I felt like I had to try and stay out of the house for 4 hours a day.  And that was hard.

When we bought our house I just loved being able to be home as much as I wanted.  And sometimes we hardly went to parks at all.  It was also hard to manage so many kids.  But here we are now with 5 kids and it has gotten easier.  I'm recognizing that the kids need more time to be out and running.  The weather has cooled down enough to make that outside time pleasant.  My oldest 2 are very able to just go and play.  Even my 3rd is 5 now.  So mostly I'm just managing a 2 year old and a babe in arms.

Today we went to the beach with the rocks.  The 3 oldest ask the now common question "Can we run ahead?"  And I said "Yes." as I more often find myself saying these days.  So as B and I worked our way slowly, so slowly, down the boardwalk, the kids were already on the rocks having a great time 50 feet away. 

M stayed close to lP as they navigated the giant boulders.  G was wearing real shoes, not sandals, and got to really hop around on the rocks.  B had wimpy flip flops on, and he's 2.  So his climbing was more constrained.  But he had so much fun climbing on to boulders above my head and crying out "Ahhhhhh!  I'm...Big!" in his sweet slow way.  Then he'd climb down and we'd walk a few feet over and climb up the next set of boulders.

We went to the pier and I was reminded of why we haven't gone there in years.  It's terrifying to think, and rehears in your mind, the steps you will take if one of the children falls off into the water.  Thankfully nobody fell in.

I'm so grateful to live in such a beautiful place. 

G goes to school at 12:30 and I've struggled on how to feed the kids lunch.  A recent epiphany is to take the kids to a park at 11 and have a picnic before we drop G off!  So now we're getting even more lovely time outside and practicing the routines I loved, and miss, from our homeschool group. 

Today M and P went off to the park and set up a blanket and picnic on it while I got B and L out of the car.  As I came upon them, under a poplar tree, among its leaves, I was just impressed by the beauty of it. 

These lucky girls.  These lucky kids.  We spend our days singing, working, playing... It's a beautiful time.  The girls like to bully each other.  But at least they always have an advocate, even if that advocate is sometimes very impatient with them.  And they have their sweet brothers.  I have very sweet boys. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

not too fast. Just right.

L is growing and developing.  They all are.  It is a sweet and busy time.  Folks saw "They grow up too fast."  But I'm pretty happy with how fast they are growing up.  I'm there for most moments of their life and I love watching them grow and learn.

kids getting baptized, or not.

Some friends of mine, that studied English and Drama, said that they'd never let their children become professional football players. I consoled them that the chances of their children ever becoming professional level athletes without major parental participation was very unlikely. Maybe they'd be offended if their children were not allowed to be on the football team at school. 

I understand about feeling excluded for something beyond your control.  I can't make anyone sign for G.  Despite knowing that a lot of people love him.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

lantern walk

Tonight we participated in a lantern walk celebrating Michaelmas.  We began going with our homeschool group friends.  We camped that year, not knowing what was in store.  We froze to death and almost didn't come again the next year.  But it's a nice evening and we've accepted that we can go for the dinner and lantern walk.  And that's enough, and worth it, to us.

The children carry paper lanterns and walk about in the woods to semi-remote location where a man waits to tell them a story.  The story is of St. Martin.  We value the idea that Martin got locked out of the city because he was making sure his fellow soldiers go first.  Then while outside for the night, he sees a beggar and cuts his cloak to share it with the beggar.  That night Martin dreams of Jesus, wearing the cloak.  Martin leaves the military and becomes a priest.

It's interesting being around a lot of strangers, going through a ritual that, maybe, few of them believe in.  I'm always sort of surprised that the story ends with Jesus.  But then, a lot of other Christian denominations don't have any problem with alcohol.  I always have a hard time understanding that.  Alcohol is so obviously a bad thing to me.  People getting drunk... it's ugly and cruel.

But I really enjoy the walking around with candles, and singing.  Perhaps I value this event so much because our family doesn't do Christmas caroling right now.  When I was growing up, Christmas Caroling and music on Christmas Eve was a major tradition.  We'd walk around the neighborhood with Becky Williams, freezing, singing, and burning our hands on the candles wrapped in foil.

I did take the kids out to carol a few years ago.  I hope to do that again.  P traditions are very different and while he loves singing, he doesn't like caroling...

But he took us to the event and was wonderful in helping manage the kids.  I got to spend a lot of time hanging out with my friend J. 

M thew 2 tantrums today.  When we went to the beach, The Beach On November 7th!, we brought boogie boards.  M wanted to climb on the rocks which were actually accessible as they hadn't been last week when we didn't bring boards...  M asked if we could do the rock and I made the mistake of saying later.  If I'd thought about it, and I did, later, I'd have realized that 3 of the 4 children that could walk, were wearing flip flops.  And you can't boogie board near the rocks...  So we would have had issues with splitting up the group, and with kids in flip flops wanting to go on the rocks.  AND we were only going to be there for an hour because it took the girls so long to clean their rooms, and there was a Gator Game at 12.

Then tonight at the lantern walk, she wanted to stay for the marshmallow roast.  P and I said "Maybe" with an eye to encouraging them to not throw tantrums.  We suggested that we have to leave when we HAVE to leave because of their behavior.  But then it was dark and we'd already lost B at one point...  We were done.  M started crying.  Several kind adults noticed.  And then I remembered how 2 years ago we did let them roast marshmallows and they got them all over the car.  So I should have said "No!"

I'm going to try saying "I'll think about that."  and "Probably not."  instead of "maybe".  No more maybe's.