Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tender Hearts

I've been asking Adelle to clean her room for the past week and a half. Still trying to figure out my girl and what works for her. Do I make her do it herself? Do I help her? Do I turn on her radio and make it a dance party? Do I do it by myself while she is gone? Do I punish her for not cleaning it? I've tried all of those things.

Her room is usually a disaster with clothes carpeting the floor and millions of loose papers, scissors and pens. She's got projects started and unfinished. She's got jammies stuffed in pillow cases. Necklaces adorning every shelf and hook. Reminds me of my room when I was a highschooler, or probably even before that actually. Reminds me of my husband's side of the room presently.

Today her and a friend were playing in her messy room. She came down to the computer while I was on it and asked me if I could make them a color copy of a picture they had made. I was working on some business paper work and she wanted me to do it right then. I asked her if her room was clean? She said, "no." I said, "Did I ask you to clean it?" She said, "Yes. A long time ago"(meaning a few days ago).  I said, "So sis, why should I do what you need me to do right now when you didn't do what I needed you to do in regards to your room?" She understood.  I made her the copies, she continued to play, and when her friend went home she cleaned her room. It took her a long time. She did it all by herself and smiled and didn't complain the whole time.

Braxton and I went and ran some errands to prepare for his birthday party tomorrow.  While we were out he asked if we could go to the scout store to get him his new shirt for when he earns his Arrow of Light next week. I said we could. We went to the store, and $48 dollars later he had a big smile and a new shirt and patches. He told me thank you and we continued with our errands.

At the end of the day I found Jeff on the couch in the middle of all four of our kids. Adelle had found my book, "Oh the Place's You'll Go," by Dr. Suess and Jeff was reading it to all of them while I was upstairs tidying up. I came down and cuddled in next to Braxton who was on the end. I told him how much I loved him and he smiled.

After the kids were tucked in I went up to my room to find a note from Adelle on my pillow. It was beautifully colored and had writing on it that said, "I'm sorry I didn't clean my room when you asked me to. I love you!!!!!!!" Laying on top of the picture was a selection of some of her favorite jewelry and another note that read, "pick one." My heart exploded. I love my girl.

And this is all real but really crazy that it all happened at the same time!

Then I walked over to my night stand because glancing that way a $20 bill caught my eye. I walked over to find a $20 and a $10 next to the receipt from the scouting store that Braxton and I had gone to. He had taken the bag with the shirt, patches, and the receipt up to his room earlier and apparently decided that he should pay me back for some of it? It wasn't the full amount that I spent but it was more than half of it and I never even mentioned how much it was or what a rip I think the scout store is.

I couldn't contain myself. The tears came, full on.  Happy, mommy tears. So blessed to have these kids as mine.

This one time

This one time my love and I sat on our hand-me down couch and dreamed about the day when we would have our own little homestead. Chickens, because by now we were already egg snobs, pigs, cows, rabbits. The brainstorming continued, accompanied by giggles from me and miles of exaggerations from Jeff. The sky was really the limit for us when it came to talking about our dreams. It was so easy, and dreamy, really. And fun.

So we started with animals, all the ones we could think of. And bees, if those should be considered separate from animals. And then it progressed to the multiple children we would have, the parcels we would maybe divide for them and their children. The orchard we would design and all of the fruit we would grow and harvest, can and dry. The fruit pies I would hand make and sell at Our Diner which would sit in front of our house and serve everything farm fresh from our own yard.

We decided we would homeschool our kids because naturally we would need them around to help work on the farm. Not only that, but more importantly, because kids should have the chance to run around dirty and stay up until dusk without having schedules ruling their little worlds. We would do yoga in the backyard together and find frogs to dissect. We would write letters to our grandmothers in cursive and paint watercolors of the sunsets.

We would do summer kids' camps when the weather got warm and all the kids could come and feed chickens and collect eggs and then we would pick blueberries and make jam. Each kid could sleep in their tent or under the stars and go home the next day with their own little jar of blueberry jam and a developed appreciation for the outdoors.  After we all ate scrambled eggs for breakfast, of course.

We would plant a garden that outstretched as far as the eye could see and we would become one with the earth as we tended to it. We would cultivate our very souls together, in the backyard, planting seeds and discussing parables and requirements for seeds to grow strong plants and bare good fruit. We would grow exotic melons and lettuces and serve specialty salads at Our Diner with homemade dressings and kombucha.

And then this one time we sat on our new, gorgeous, white leather couch (now dirty from our barefoot, happy kids), and mentally checked off all the dream boxes that for so long were safe in our heads. They were happening. We were making them happen. And we wanted to cuddle, and laugh and dream out loud. But we were tired. And the sun would come early. And we were grateful, in an exhausted sort of way.

And in her own head the farmers wife gave thanks to God. Because He is so good. And then she kissed the farmer. And fell in love with him in a different sort of way. He looked a little older, up close, and she felt a little more close to him. Knowing where many of those lines on his face were born. So she grabbed him and she told him that he was her best. Best everything. And that it doesn't really matter if they are on an old couch or a new couch. It doesn't actually matter at all. As long as they are on the couch, together.

My baby is 4!

Dear Gage,

I have 6 favorite dates a year and yesterday was one of them. The day you were born will always be special to me and memorable on so many levels. The emotions I felt that day were all over the board but the most prevalent was unconditional love for you, my baby boy. You joined our family here on earth that day and we have all been so blessed because of it!

Yesterday was perfect. I'm sorry you had a little cough and had to stay home from school but I know you liked, "skipping school," as you told the other kids, only to encourage the rounds of fake coughing that ensued among your siblings, who were a little green with envy. We cuddled and read book and then you got to watch a show, like you love to do, and be lazy in your jammies for a while. We had eggs for breakfast, your request, but not hashbrowns, also your request, because I didn't have time to make them. As usual you were forgiving and excited to be sung to at breakfast. I let you have a veggi/fruit juice box which more than made up for the lack of hash browns.

You were sung to at breakfast by your family and then you started getting text messages from other family members and friends, wishing you a happy birthday. You opened your present from mommy and daddy at breakfast, new long sleeve shirts and a coat, and from Braxton and Emmett, who shared with you some of their favorite football cards. Straight from their hearts.

The morning was clear and crisp with frost on the ground so we turned on the fire and huddled close. We took an early nap after the kids were off to school and you chose to read, "Scat Cats" while we laid in my bed. I love how you still respond to my, "I love you's," with, "I love you more," and then we batttle back and forth with, not possibles, as big as the worlds, never ever in your long legged life.... and whatever else comes out in the moment. You are such pure little joy nugget.

After our nap I asked you if you wanted to go pick apples at Bellewood, which you've been asking to do for a few weeks, because the day was so sunny and clear and we had some time before the kids got out of school. You excitedly said yes and went downstairs to pick out one of your new long sleeve shirts to wear. You chose the blue collared, button up shirt and it looked so handsome on you. You even put it on and buttoned it yourself and it was only cricked by one button. So you asked for help. I tried to layer it with the sweater on top, but that was pushing it, you didn't want to so I let it be and you wore your new coat. Which you took off in the car because it was warm enough that you didn't even need it.

The apple farm was busy so after testing a couple apples we decided to order some fries to wait for a cart to free up so we could ride ourselves out to the orchard to pick. Regular fries for you. Sweet potato fries for me. Ketchup for you. Tartar for me. Waters for both. We broke up lots of your fries to cool and laid them on the napkin to be blown on. I cherish these days that we have together to nap and eat fries. They are some of my very favorite. I sometimes wish they would last forever, that I could keep you to myself in your jammies all day, in my arms, but that would be such a dis-service to the rest of the world who needs your smile and your spark.

We ended up having to get boxes for the fries and take a range check for the apple cart and picking. It was time to deliver the eggs and pick up the kids so I said we could come back after that. We did. We picked up the kids and delivered the eggs and came home to meet two other girls from church that we were watching. We loaded them all up in our car and drove back, a block, to the apple farm. This time to score a cart right away.

I drove the apple cart and you sat in the back, rear facing, sandwiched between Braxton and Adelle and one of the girls we had with us. You were smiling the whole time. When we got out to the orchard you didn't want to pick so you just stood and held the bag and proved to all of us that you were big and strong. And I took pictures of you.

When we got home Emmett and two more friends got off the bus at our house. You played with all the kids while I made your dinner request, pancakes! It was easy for me and fun for all the kids to sing happy birthday to you as you blew out your candle on the pancake mound. Dinner was served, buffet style. Or maybe animal style? Then off to soccer went some of our family.

When you came in and asked where the cupcakes were I didn't know what to say. All month you have been telling me you wanted popcorn cake and now here you were asking for cupcakes. So I made them. Because your a little spoiled, but mainly because society makes me feel obligated to give my 4 year old cupcakes on his birthday if it be his desire. So luckily, I had a cake in a box, that I whipped up into cupcakes in bear shaped molds and after the company left you and Adelle frosted them with homemade butter cream frosting which you chose to dye blue. The best part of this whole thing was that later when daddy and Braxton came home from Scouts, you only took one little bite of your cupcake that you insisted on having! And then you were over it and onto the rest of the night. Sigh.

We skyped with Grandma and Grandpa Ashmore that night because you got packages from them in the mail. You loved the bow and arrow they sent you and the junior football. Just like you wished for. More so though you seemed to love the bubble packaging that the gifts were wrapped in. Typical. Adelle had brought her own money to Costco earlier and her and Emmett secretly picked out a Thomas the Train book and activity mat for you which they paid for without you even noticing, thanks to the helpful Costco employees who were distracting you by asking you birthday questions.
So you opened up that before bed as well and were excited to play with it. You really scored in the sibling department, by the way.

I think we sang Happy Birthday to you 4 times yesterday. Once at breakfast. Once at dinner. Once for cupcakes... okay, maybe we only sung to you 3 times but it really felt like 4. Oh!! I was 4 because we sung to you right when you woke up in the morning. I knew it was 4. Four birthday songs for the special 4 year old boy.

Before bed was the best. You were upstairs getting your jams on with Braxton, Adelle, and Emmett, and they were all done before you. So on any other night they all know that one of them has to wait for you to be done because you don't like being upstairs by yourself. But, last night you noticed Emmett waiting for you, patiently, and you told him, "Emmett, it's okay. You can go downstairs. I can be up here by myself now that I am four." Emmett was so proud of you that he came straight down to tell me the new. You are big Gage. Larger than life, actually. I love you, more. Forever.