Finally . . . A Project!

For months--14 weeks--to be exact, I have been itching to do something creative; to move furniture; to totally throw the whole house in chaos. . . . Having a newborn however pre-empts that. It's really just surviving that first bit+the other three kids+soccer and, just, life!

Tonight, I finally got some of that itch out. We moved all the kids (excepting R who is still in our room) into one bedroom and turned the now spare room into a school room. I have had this recurring dream that I find a spare room in our house. Although this is not quite the fulfillment of that dream, it is kind of like gaining a bonus room!

We have a small-ish house which I LOVE. I like small space living a lot. However, the reality is that there is one dining room, one living area, our laundry is in the kitchen and there are no bonus spaces. So up until now school happened at THE table. The one we breakfast at, lunch at, have company at. This meant that after breakfast we pulled EVERYTHING for school out and whether or not we were done at lunch, EVERYTHING had to be either stacked all over the dining room or whisked away. And being sort of laid back (and a bit lazy) and loving naps, the thought of picking up with lessons after lunch (and dragging it all out again) was enough to call it quits for the day.

Now that we have a dedicated space, it will be much easier to run down for lunch mid-math lesson, leave everything out and after lunch get right back to work--at least I hope so! We can also let Mr. O nap in his own bed and J can still play with his toys.

We are putting the kids in the smaller of the two bedrooms because it has a bigger closet for clothes storage and the schoolroom will also serve as the play room. The kids are excited to be together and have a play room. Miss A has gotten this idea that the playroom is going to have a ball pit. Yes, indeed. A ball pit. This cracks me up because of the idea of it and the fact that no matter how many times we explain that, no, we will not have a ball pit, she keeps on believing.

Things are not really "done" yet, but I thought I'd share pictures thus far because it's been so fun to work on this. The pictures are all leftover from the boy's occupation. After T finishes the bunk beds, the black desk will probably go into the kids room.

 Looking in the door. Yes, that's a trampoline. I guess if you have a trampoline in your bedrooms, there's no reason why a ball pit doesn't make perfect sense!
The curtains really need hemming. Also, the beloved German Shepherd needlepoint is crooked! Gasp.
 Here is another view of the table. This table was in our first apartment and house. I had forgotten it was in the attic (I know, right, I hate it when people are all like, "I had furniture in my attic that I forgot about and we just pulled it down and it worked perfectly for us" and here I am doing just that). I had not forgotten about the chairs, though. Love these girls and am glad to have them back in use. Stink! Another crooked picture!

The blue bookshelf is called "the Library" in our house it holds all of the little children's books. We have a mate for the blue bookshelf that is in our room right now. Whenever we find a piece of furniture for our bedroom to replace it, I'd like to put the other shelf beside the kitchen. Now that J is beginning to read, I'd like to have the big kid stuff more accessible.
 Almost all of our toys but the Thomas track are in this room. Miss A has my old dollhouse and all the doll "stuff" is kept in the drawers below. She is a bit of a messy housekeeper and her domestic sphere is rather dismal.Wonder where she gets that from?
And the closet . . . blergh. It needs some serious work--mostly another shelf to separate school stuff from toys. It's very visually bland and I'm only sharing it because 1, I always wonder what's behind closed doors, and 2. Maybe it will motivate me to do something about it!

That's the schoolroom so far. Still a few things to move into the room like games, puzzles. I'm very excited that with the holidays coming it it will be easier to host folks and keep up with schoolwork. I'll try to post more as we do more.


The Storm

(This took place on Tuesday)


And I want to remember.

I should have known. There were signs everywhere that today was going to be odd--something was up. It was a lot like the feeling one gets when a severe summer thunderstorm is coming. Things are just a bit off and the atmosphere is different. Baby R woke up at 3:30 to eat (which is odd) and again at 6:45. When she finished, Toddler O was up, so T kindly took them downstairs so I could get a bit more sleep.

"A little sleep, a little slumber..."

I woke up much later than planned and started dressing for a church luncheon. Baby R was asleep and the big kids were mostly dressed and ready to head to town. Looking at the clock, I realized that we were in a "tight spot" for nursing. It was time for R to eat, but I decided that since she was happy, I'd to put off nursing until we got to church.

Everyone was loaded up and I just could not get out the door. I kept forgetting things! In and out, in and out. My sunglasses were hiding somewhere. We finally got on the road, flew through McD's for the kids lunches and by the time we reached the stacks, Miss R was M-A-D. We pulled in to the church parking lot which was particularly full and parked VERY far from the nursery entrance. Baby R is a 45 minute nurser and by then it was really too late to nurse if I was going to get everyone dropped off and in the nursery by the time the luncheon was starting. Thankfully, I had a bottle on hand.

We unload from the car, I get everyone's happy meal in a bucket in their happy hands and we head towards the nursery from the far reaches of the parking lot. Halfway there, I realize we'd left the emergency formula in the car. We turn around and go back to the van. Did I mention that baby R was STILL crying?

By the time I herd all the crew down to the nursery, get screaming baby R settled in with a bottle and the big kids in their rooms, I was a bit frazzled. Someone asked how I was doing and I just laughed. It had been a morning!

But that was only the beginning.

After the luncheon, my plan was to put a movie on the portable DVD player and nurse R in the car. It had been six hours since she'd last nursed and may I say it was time?

The clouds were gathering and the winds were blowing while I was at the luncheon. When I picked up the kids, everyone was fine except J. "My waist is hurting!" He kept saying that again and again. On the way to the car, Toddler O fell in the parking lot and hit his head on the concrete. A lovely scrapped goose egg was popping up on his temple/forehead.

Then the storm hit.

By the time we got to the car and had everyone strapped in. J was crying and repeatedly telling me his "waist hurt". Miss A waited until we reached the car (parked a hike and a half away from the church) to tell me that she needed to use the bathroom.

I don't know what other moms with lots of kids do in these situations, I really don't. How do you safely send a kid to a bathroom without getting EVERYONE else out of the car?

I checked J for a fever and looked at his belly which was distended. No fever, but I could tell he was really in pain, so we drove to the nursery entrance, parked in a handicap spot (I NEVER do that, but desperate times, folks) and I sent A to the nursery entrance to use the bathroom. Naturally it was locked and she couldn't reach the buzzer, so she had to run back to the car. I left my other three in the car on Pinehurst and dashed to let her in, then dashed back and had to turn right back around because she couldn't get the bathroom door open. I'm trying to call the pediatrician at that point and I'm on the phone running back and forth between the van and the door like a crazy lady. I propped the bathroom door open with a garbage can so she could get out and ran back to the van to make sure no one had stolen our lovely eggplant of a nine-year-old-Sienna (I hear they're a real hot ticket for car thieves-heh).

Quick call to the pediatrician and left a message with the nurse. Quick call to T for help and advice. By then A is back in the car and we are heading down State St. Since it made no sense to head home, we started driving towards the Peds office in Flowood. I called again and got the receptionist and begged them to work us in. It was 1:50 and there was a 3:00 available.

Now we are on the way down Lakeland, J is crying, I haven't nursed in seven hours, I've got a toddler who needs a nap and a mercifully compliant four year old. Not only was the thought of J being really sick  overwhelming, there were three other kiddos to care for, feed, etc. It was a logistically crazy moment. It was time for most folks to pick up kids from school and for the life of me I couldn't think of anyone to call on for help. T couldn't leave work, so I was on my own.


I called one of my prayer warriors, Sheila and filled her in. Just then J goes from crying to SCREAMING. I would have turned on my flashers and floored it down Lakeland, but traffic was too packed for speeding.

We reach the Cheddar's and J is begging for the bathroom. By the time we get to Chik Fil A it is too late. The plan to nurse in the car before the appointment was out.

We park at the Peds and I get everyone out, plus my nursing pillow, nursing cover, diaper, purse, and a jacket for J (why?). Oh, and R is in the carseat. We were quite the spectacle.

J goes straight to the germy bathroom and I sign us in and take O and R into the bathroom, leaving A in the waiting room.

Everything gets even more interesting at that point. J's pants are ruined and the turkey was going commando (!). O gives up his pants for the cause, so now I have one child stinking up the bathroom, a toddler wearing a T-shirt and diaper, a four year old who has no idea where we are (oops) and a baby who is waking up and ready to eat.

A kind mom brings A to the bathroom who simultaneously informs me that she didn't know where we were and that the bathroom stunk. No kidding. The receptionist locates a bag to put the stinky stuff in and I leave J in the loo and take R, O, and A back into the reception area.

R really needed to nurse right then and the only private area was in the newborn waiting room--since I had no idea what we were dealing with germ-wise and didn't want to expose any newborns or leave J completely alone, my only option was to nurse very publicly.

I'm a bit modest about public nursing, but that was the least of our concerns at that moment, so I plop into a chair, boppy and all and start feeding R in the well child area, while A and O (in a diaper and T shirt, mind you--no shorts) frolic merrily around the fish tank with the children from the SICK CHILD waiting area. I was beyond caring at that point and had moved from tears to laughter. I called T to check in and we both started laughing that at least DHS wasn't going to intervene because they were the group he was leading through our team building course right then!

When the nurse comes to take us back, I have to quickly re-dress, decide what not to take back with us (I mean, one small exam room, two adults, four children---there's just not much room for the carseat and boppy at that point, so I left those things and the bag of stinky stuff), herd O and A up, call J out of the bathroom who comes out wearing a pair of khaki shorts two sizes too small--they could either be described as hipster or skimpy, I'm not sure which. Naturally the worst has passed, so J is all cheerful and smiling, the others think its a big party and are all trying to be weighed on the scale at once and I'm completely oblivious to the fact that I still have my name tag on from the luncheon and the nursing cover draped as jauntily as a parisian scarf . . . .

"It was really awful--he was screaming . . ." I say this rather pleadingly, trying to sound credible to the nurse, who missed all the fun and was, I'm sure, thinking I'm some kind of drama mama.

Our pediatrician is always and ever wonderful and examined J, talked to us, joked and diagnosed constipation. The pain? Bowel cramps. The solution? Miralax, Miralax, Miralax.

The storm began to clear at that point except for R squalling at the check out.  We nursed in the car outside the office, while the big kids listened to Lord of the Rings. I figured if we were going to buy Miralax, we might as well do it at Target, so we spent a blissful thirty minutes in Target enjoying some retail therapy and left with new play-doh for everybody and a Venti Iced Latte for me. (If any day this expenditure was justified, I figured this was the day) O still had no pants on.

By the time we got home, it was time to nurse R again. J went to play a video game (again, totally justifiable at that point), A was busy with play-doh and O was sound asleep on the couch. T called to check in on us and everything was fine, dandy and sunshiney and calm. Just like after a storm.

In fact. It was so calm it was almost as if it had never happened.

But it did. And I want to remember.