Friday, June 27, 2014

The Life of a Stay at Home Mom with NO Kids

BIG dreams were what I had for this week of no kids.

You may ask how did a mom with 7 kids, have  a week free of any kids for one whole week... well let me clarify that. It was not a whole week... technically it was 96 hours not 168 hours and I saw them every morning at 7 for med distribution, and Tuesday night one slept at home because of injury...

Here is my formula for how I scored a large chunk of my week to myself.  First, you leave one behind in your home state and travel to a new state 1100 miles away.  Secondly, you send another child to sleep away camp for 8 consecutive weeks to serve the Lord in upstate New York. (her choice not mine). Thirdly, you praise the Lord for a new church home, that has an opportunity for your kids to serve the Lord in a mission minded week long camp, and begin making new relationships, in a safe environment,with plenty of supervision, and three meals a day!  Score!

Back to the opening statement of this post, I had BIG dreams for this week of no kids.  I envisioned sitting alone by the pool, (because I have one of those now) reading, working on my tan, cat napping, shopping (so I could get the lay of the land here of course) and maybe treating myself to a manicure or pedicure, or both. 

But the reality is that I did none of those things.  I did however work on making our new house a home for our children that were away for the week. 

I spent two days touching up paint in their rooms, hanging their photos and artwork and making sure that their rooms were organized the way that they had been in PA.  I took great pains to reorganize their dressers and leave notes for them about where things are currently if I moved them.  (The notes were really for me because when they come asking at noon today, I will not be able to remember where I shifted things. )  I left them "love notes" on their pillows of their newly changed and re-made beds expressing how proud I was of each of them to stepping out of their comfort zone this week and working for the Lord and about how excited the Prince and I are to hear about all the activities from the week.

I organized and cleaned their bathroom.  Which included more painting touch up. ( I have to say Dopey made it easy, his painting skills are improving!)  I spent a great chunk of time in the "media" room or kids den on their floor as well, securing the space as the coolest in the house.  A room just for them to relax, watch movies, play video games, play a board game, do a puzzle.  Hung more artwork, and black out curtains (can't have glare on that big television, #teenageproblems)The house had been empty for a year and when Bryan moved in his focus was demolition, not cleaning so for Bashful, I cleaned away all remnants of bugs, cobwebs, and the like, that tends to send his freak meter off.

As I moved through the house, I constantly kept that washer and dryer spinning, as well as worked on the other areas of the house.  I painted the entrance way of the house, and because I had a lot of bleed through under the tape for some reason, I repainted the white areas as well ... painting always makes me want to curse. I continued to remove cobwebs and bugs, kept up with the dog hair and the dishes, stuff that all of you moms out there do! (Dad's too).  I continued to organize and reorganize our new spaces, trying to find the best home for our treasures.

In the midst of all this busy work, I prayed. I prayed for friends that lost a loved one recently, I prayed for my kids and their struggles and their adjustment to camp and making new friends, I prayed for a friend that is struggling with health concerns, for another that is struggling with kid issues, I prayed for my family that I miss, and that they would all be so busy at home that they would not be missing me as much as I was missing them, I prayed over the rooms of this house, that they would become rooms of a home, filled with love and life, and that even here in Florida, it would be a resting stop for the weary, a filling station for the hungry, and a haven to those that need peace.

My alone time is coming to an end.  As I look back over the week, it is hard to believe that there are still rooms that are in chaos, or at least mild distress.  That I did not get to the salon to have my nails done,  I did not read that great book, or work on my tan.  I am a bit sad that I did not get a nap or 4 in, and that my to do list is some how longer than when the week started.  What I am excited about however, is that our house, is more of a home than 96 hours ago.  The pieces are all fitting, the spaces are all filling, and the only thing missing is the noise and the chaos of my kids, while we are not 100% there yet... we are in the home stretch, we have turned a corner towards putting down roots, towards securing our position and relationships in this area, and to calling 6114 Cypress Circle our home!

You really can't make this stuff up. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Be careful what you wish for!

As a runner, I often think to myself, what a great wide berm there is on this highway, or this road goes on for miles and it is flat and straight.  I could run everywhere I wanted to go if I could run on the interstate. 

Well that was until we hit exit 9B in South Carolina, my wish came true.  Except it was not how I envisioned it... none the less, be careful what you wish for! 

It was about 9 hours into our trip and the car hauler my husband was pulling behind the moving truck in front of us,  has a low tire. We had stopped and filled it up, at the last fuel stop, but it was depleted of air again, and was starting to smoke.   Eventually the tire blew, which is really a post all on it's own,  but leads me to the run on the side of the road. 

To say that we were an impressive line up on the side of that exit would be an understatement.  But in true Lingle form, we attacked the situation with gusto and made a plan.  A plan that included 5 children, 3 adults and 2, 80 lbs labs.

To say that it was hot would be an understatement.  It is the heat of the day, and the wait time for just the call back on the service repair was estimated at 30 minutes.  From there it was over two hours for the service technician to arrive and for the repair to be made.  So off the side of the road was a nice shaded area.  We all piled out of the vehicles and went down to the shade, where we fed the dogs, watered the dogs, made small talk, snacked etc.  Things were good, or at least the best they could be in the situation for 2 hours and 20 minutes perhaps....  Then Bashful started to melt down.  Literally, he was sweating and his attitude was also suffering significantly, so in an attempt to smooth things over, I took him back to the van for some alone time and for the diversion of electronics. 

 As we are settling in, the service repair man comes and starts working on the flat.  I get a text about the same time that one of the dogs ran off.  I think for sure this must be a joke, they are leashed.  But no it is not a joke.  Lucy has managed to slip her collar and leash and make a dash for.... well I am not really sure what for but she is dashing.  The other dwarfs wrestle Lola, her sister to the van.  Shut it up and start the air.  I rush to the area where Lucy was last seen, with Grumpy, in hope of seeing Sleepy and Dopey with the dog already in hand. 

I am such a dreamer!  I send Grumpy with some treats in a metal bowl, shaking it as he runs in the direction of Lucy, calling out "Treats Lucy, Treats..."  over and over again.  I take the high ground and start running in flip flops, through the grasses and weeds in the kids direction as well ( I am just older and slower. )   We get about a quarter of a mile from our exit, and I look up to see Lucy bounding right at me.  She is running with wild abandon, and looks like one of those cartoon dogs, ears flopping, legs pumping, raised high ... I think, I have one chance.  She is coming straight at me, I will drop on her when she gets to me and hold her til the kids come with the leash and collar.  So Lucy and I are running top speed towards each other,  I am calling to her " Come here Lucy girl" .  She is still flying in my direction.  I stop and prepare for impact.

She sprints in another direction!  Grrr did I mention I am not a fan of dogs.... Okay, well I am startled to say the least, I can hear the kids getting closer, but do not know what to do, because now I am the leader in this race and the kids are bringing up the rear.  So I bolt (okay that may be a bit strong of a term, but for story telling purposes it works) into the area that Lucy headed, which was filled with jaggers and wild berry bushes.   Fact:  The dog is faster than any human.  She again darts off the path and starts heading right down the side of the interstate towards the rest of the family and the Prince, and the repair man, and traffic flying by at 70 mph.  I do not know if any of them are watching for her, so I stop, gather all the air I can into my lungs and start yelling for them to look for her.  Fact: The side of the interstate is a noisy, noisy place and your voice doesn't really carry well.

So... she runs towards the Prince, and then darts out to the drivers side of the van, right in traffic range.  The Prince manages to call her to the other side of the van, where her sister is already waiting for her.  We get her into the van,  and she is a shaking mess. 

Here come the kids.  Sleepy has lost one of her flip flops, and the Prince can't find it.  She has cuts all over her feet because she made the interstate run in her bare feet.  Dopey is cut on his legs as he plowed through all sorts of jagger bushes and such in the pursuit of his dog Lucy.  We hear the tale of Lucy bolting across two on ramps and cars stopping and horns blowing and how one woman almost had her in her car, before Lucy got scared and ran again... I do wish that Lucy could share her version of the story with us...  We get the kids and the dog situated and cleaned up about the same time the repair to the trailer is done.  After about three hours and a little change, we are on the road again.

One of the dwarfs insightfully proclaimed as we re-entered the highway, " Mom, at least Lucy ran away while the repairs were being made, that way we did not have to waste anymore time sitting on the side of the road waiting."

You really can't make this stuff up!   

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Eavesdropping? Why yes I was!

Is it okay to eavesdrop on your children's conversations?  Typically, I would say, NO.  However when the conversation is directly in your earshot, and your child is talking rather LOUDLY, then eavesdropping it is....

Yesterday, Grumpy wanted to reach out to a "friend" from home.  So with much hesitation, I gave him my cell, took him to a spot in the house that has good cell reception, and told him he had 15 minutes to talk with his friend.  I went back to doing what all good mom's do, laundry and cleaning and such.  

As I was putting away laundry, I hear that Grumpy is becoming more animated in his conversation with his friend.  Words that should never in my humble opinion be used when having any kind of conversation are being thrown around, "Yo, Homie, Nah, Yup" ... Of course Grumpy is exaggerating facts, and is spinning things to make him seem AMAZING... but the one conversation starter that pricked my ears the most was, "Yo Homie, I was being chased by the cops today."  Now I ask, what mom in her right mind is going to leave the room at this point?

So I listen to Grumpy continue to tell the story of how he was being chased by the cops today while he was on his bike ride, for not wearing his helmet.   At the conclusion of this story, before  he has the time to launch into another tale, I go out, and remind him that his time is up. 

At the conclusion of the call, I go retrieve my phone from him and sit down and ask him to explain his "being chased by a cop" story to me.  At first he seems shocked that I know about the situation.  I remind him that if he wants to talk to people without being overheard then he needs to keep his voice down.  To which he nods his head in acknowledgement, but if you know anything about this dwarf, quiet is not his M.O..

"Well mom it is like this, he says,  I was riding my bike today and when I was out there was a police man in his car chasing me."  " Why do you think he was chasing you? "  " I know he was!"  " Did you do something wrong? "  "No, I just wasn't wearing my helmet."  " Well Grumpy, you do know that here in Florida you do not have to wear your helmet. "  " Mom he was chasing me!"  " Let me clarify something son, if he were indeed chasing you, then did you outrun him on your bike as he drove behind you in his car?"  "No."  " He follow you to our home and rang my door bell to tell me what kind of trouble you were in?" " No."  " Did he at anytime during the chase, talk to you, come along side you and address you, did he even smile and wave at you at anytime during this chase?"  "No."  "Son, do you know that our neighborhood has over 500 homes in it and that the police patrol through here about twice a day or so? " "No."  " Son, did it ever occur to you that it just happened, that you and the police officer, were going in the same direction at the same time as you were riding home on your bike and as he was patrolling our neighborhood? "  "No." somewhat sheepishly this time.

I explained three things to Grumpy this day.  One is that people are always out and about in their cars traveling in and out of the neighborhood, and there is almost always someone that will be driving in their car, going at least for part of the way, the same direction as you are biking.  The only reason that he noticed this particular vehicle is because of his hyper sensitivity to all things police related.  Secondly, I explained to him, that should this have been an actual "chase" the police officer would have made verbal contact with him, giving him instructions as to what he was supposed to do, and that a "chase" would only ensue, should at the point of being spoken to by the officer, he would choose flee the scene.  Thirdly, that friends can see through a tall tale, and if you desire to keep and or make new friends, one should always view the situations/stories  that they are discussing/telling in light of reality.  If one is unsure, it is always safe to keep one's mouth shut...or just simply state the facts.
"Today while riding my bike, I was a little scared when I noticed that a police officer was following me down the road."    But of course, what kind of story would that make?

You really can't make this stuff up!