Sunday, March 20, 2016

Nip It In The Bud!

A killer frost descended across Oklahoma over the weekend, nipping our glorious spring blossoms in the bud.

I know this because I kept getting updates on my phone and they were extremely annoying.

Annoying because they invariably chimed whilst my head was stuck in a trash can, for alas, just a few hours after my last hope-filled post I became ill.  Very ill indeed.  I betook my bed and did not forsake it for 36 restless hours.  The only reason I'm out of bed now is that the rest of my family also became ill, very ill indeed, and desperately needed their mamma.  Being temporarily bereft of an upstairs maid, downstairs maid, governess, nanny, housekeeper, cook, butler, chauffeur, or even a lowly scullery maid, I hefted myself off my fainting couch and sought the arduous way to Ye Olde Wal-Marte.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Sweet Miss Sherry had saved the day on Friday by delivering Gatorade, crackers, homemade soup, anti-nausea drugs and love.  I couldn't even sit up straight and without her we would surely have all perished.

My handsome Knight in a shining Suburban took all the kids on errands Saturday morning as I continued to convalesce.  I spent several happy hours sipping beef broth and reading The Fellowship Of The Ring.

But evil was astir in the Shire.  Something was not quite right with my happy hobbits.  Sure enough, they began to drop like flies.  One after another they all began puking in inconvenient places, which called for my return from my peaceful bedroom exile.  By the late afternoon it was clear, we needed more Gatorade!  I tried my best to think calmly and rationally about what else we might need, but I was thoroughly discombobulated.  Shortly after my return Robert got sick.

After an icky night with icky sounds echoing from all corners of the house, I woke up feeling utterly contaminated.


That's what I forgot to get at the store. 


All I received was blank stares and eye rolls.  Like anyone ever brushes their teeth uncoerced around here.  I quite literally could take all day to replace the toothbrushes and no one would care.  It was kind of a luxurious feeling.  But there's no time to luxuriate.  I became the skilled nurse, cook, parlor maid, nanny, butler, and all round slave to a household held hostage under the black flag of the Norovirus. 

It didn't take long for me to look around at the chaos of my surroundings and get Fed Up.  Fed Up with scores of junky plastic cups covering every flat surface but none belonging to any individual.  Fed Up with spilled drinks and grimy toddlers who have contaminated each and every drinking vessel.  (Wonder who got us all sick in the first place.  Not blaming anyone in particular, Ana!)  Fed Up with medicines and medicine cups all over the cabinet and counter and even more fed up with calling poison control every time Ana figures out how to open yet another bottle.  Fed Up with never having what I need on hand when the dreaded stomach virus strikes.  Fed Up with feeling yucky!  And when I get fed Up, this happens:

What is this? you might ask.  These, my friends, are two boxes that once held Pioneer Woman dishes.  Dishes that my Knight in a shining Suburban bestowed on his beloved for her birthday present.  These boxes are awesome!  The box on the left holds all of our medications that we don't use every day, separated and organized by my favorite invention ever, ziploc bags.  The medicines and vitamins that we do use everyday fit neatly on one shelf of the kitchen cabinet, out of Ana's reach.

The second box, on the right is my handy dandy Stomach Virus Survival Kit.  Contained in this stylish and 100% recycled container:
disposable gloves, for touching the untouchable
paper towels, for cleaning the unspeakable
anti-emetics, to be carefully hoarded until the next emergency or Miss Sherry needs them back
gatorade powder
ginger tea
saltine crackers
ramen noodles
canned soup for whoever is not sick and needs a quick meal
and not included, but it would be a great idea, a fresh pack of toothbrushes

Next on my Fed Up checklist, those pesky cups

I purchased these sports bottles for each child, being careful to avoid the ones with the plastic straws.  I have very bad luck with plastic straws.  They tend to get lost or moldy.  I'm never convinced that they are clean enough.  I like these because they are heavy enough to not fall over willy-nilly when empty, the cover pops off at the push of a button and they are perfect to take with us on the go.  I took the tray that heretofore had housed Cy's various and sundry medications and turned it into our official drink tray.  Each child has their name written on a piece of paper which is tucked into a ziploc bag.  Voila!  Instant waterproof name tags!  Each bottle is expected to be placed on the appropriate name tag.  No leaving them in the bedroom or the living room or outside.  No drinking out of a random stranger's cup.  No drinking out five separate cups and then claiming to not have a cup out at all.  Did I mention I'm Fed Up?!

I'm also Fed Up with never finding a pencil, eraser, scissors or markers when I need them.

So, I bought myself a combination locking pencil box!  There are pencils AND erasers contained within.  No more being lazy with ink pens and just scribbling and writing over the wrong answers!  There is also a full complement of colored pencils, crayons, permanent markers and dry erase markers, to be dispensed by me and to be promptly returned to me.  I will count the pencils each night! Mwhahahaha!  I love the power!  My Precious! 

Uh, wait . . .  Please disregard that outbreak.  I've not been feeling myself lately, but I'm over it now.  And no, I'm not rubbing my hands together in a sinister manner and chortling under my breath.  I'm rubbing in lotion and humming.  Now if you will get back to the story . . .

There it is, a clean and uncluttered space with a plan to keep it that way.  I don't feel Fed Up and I don't feel quite so icky anymore. 

Tomorrow is Monday and once again I will take up my quest to bring order and harmony within the borders of my domain. 

Will the chilling frosts of untoward circumstances nip my fledgling schedule in the bud?

Or have I nipped the bane of Fed Up-ittiness and all around icky attitudes in the bud?

I guess we'll have to turn the page and read the next chapter.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hope Springs

Only a lunatic would implement a new schedule the weekend of the time change.

Don't ask me how I know this.

But, whining and grumbling aside, I am sitting down to write during my dedicated "blogging hour" for the very first time.  It's an exhilarating feeling! 

I better type fast, there's only six minutes left before the official "lights out" designation.

Dadgum Daylight Savings!

In other news, spring has defiantly burst the bonds of winter.  Daffodils, redbuds and tulip trees are in full bloom.  Bradford Pears are officially passe, having reached the height of their glory last week.  I am astounded how that two weeks ago, there was only the merest hint of life about the stately pears.  This week the blossoms cover the ground like snow and brilliant emerald leaves cloak from tip to trunk.  We have a freeze warning in store for the weekend.  Such is spring in Oklahoma.

The rising temperatures have also lit a fire under me to get school in hand and do whatever it takes to be finished with our lessons by the end of May.  This will require doing double lessons every day for the next ten weeks.  But, like the weather of the past two weeks, I am hopeful.  Maybe a chilling freeze will nip my optimism in the bud.  Maybe we'll crash and burn yet again.  Maybe I'll throw my hands up in defeat come Memorial Day.  But hope springs eternal and hope is what March is all about.

I am hopeful when I see my middle son, who has attention problems, get excited about reading his very first chapter book  all on his own.

I am hopeful when my oldest son announces that he has lost ten pounds and how happy he is about riding his bike every day.

I am hopeful when I see that the new schedule really is working and that locking five children in my room during the hours of 10 - 12 is not as cruel as it sounds.  Every day this week I have brought a bucket of toys into the master bedroom, collected the kids and locked the door.  Elle and Ana are limited in their destructive capability to one small area.  Alvin helps look after them in between Kindergarten assignments.  Cy is fairly self sufficient on the laptop at the desk, but I'm nearby if he needs help.  Dee is cloistered in the closet at with the older laptop.  It's really a pretty sweet retreat, perfect to give him the concentrated attention that he requires.  I circulate between the three boys and Ana, who is in the throes of potty training.  I also sporadically fold laundry on the bed, plan menus and grocery lists and sneak glimpses of Facebook.  When the clock strikes 12, I kick everyone outdoors and heave a sigh of relief.  Usually we have finished our two lessons in math, reading and grammar.  History, science and geography are saved for after lunch.  We might survive the school year after all!

I am hopeful when I hear snatches of murmured prayer coming from my closet.  I thank God for a husband on his knees!

I am hopeful when I settle into my rocker, coffee in hand to greet the new day from my new retreat, also known as the patio room.  Devotions in my bedroom simply weren't working.   Being able to look out across the backyard at the sunrise gives me such a peaceful and thankful start to the day.  I can't believe I've lived here six years without discovering this!

I am hopeful when I hear Elle expounding on who her favorite presidential candidate is: "Ted Cruz, he's just a winner!"  She's only four, but she can list all the major candidates of the season.  She's so much like her daddy.

I am hopeful when Cy spends the evening peeling potatoes with me and telling me all about the decline of the samurai and the merits of their code of honor (which he has copied by hand and keeps in his pocket to refer to throughout the day!)

I am hopeful when I see Alvin and Dee studiously copy words and phrases onto their artwork all day long.  Sometimes from the Bible, sometimes from the cereal box, nearly always it turns out unintentionally hilarious.

I am hopeful when Ana goes quietly to bed.  She stretches me every day.  But, oh is she worth it!  She is loud, fun, and determined.  She is on a mission to flush every toilet, wipe every wall, and open every childproof bottle cap.  She is delighted with the novelty of going to the bathroom.  She loves babies and animals of every sort.  She can be sweet and snugly one moment, angry and defiant the next.  She reminds me of how I must look to my Father above.

I am hopeful as this Resurrection Season rolls on, Christ living in me, the hope of Glory.

Thank you, Lord for March!      

Thank you for hope.