Tuesday, November 25

A school night with five kids ten and under

The scene in our home at 8pm tonight. We try to aim for a 7:30 bedtime on school nights, but . . .

Morgan (6) is bounding from room to room like a clumsy puppy trying to throw everyone off the scent of who her Secret Santa person is. Ryan printed "Your Secret Santa was here" tickets up last night for FHE after we drew names. We can place a ticket for our person to find when we do something nice. Morgan and McKay are totally into this! Lego figures are left on pillows, beds were made for the first time in recent memory, rooms were picked up . . . and yet someone is upset because someone else isn't keeping good enough secrets. Morgan and McKay keep letting people know there's something for them to check out because our printer only made 4 tickets before going on the fritz and it's hampering their giving spirit! I'll take her joyful Secret Santa any day over her tantrum throwing because chores have to be done every single day. Finally she settles in to draw and color yet another self portrait because it was McKay's homework yesterday and she's a big kid too. And a bright, beautiful one at that!

 McKay is trying to get ahead of the coming week's homework before the Thanksgiving break his international school doesn't have. We'll have family visiting Friday through Dec 7th and homework is now the buzz kill of travel for me instead of laundry and not sleeping well. McKay's German translating resources are my basics, Easton's basics which are better than mine and he can pronounce them correctly, Google translate on the iPad but the internet connection is agonizingly slow tonight, and Ryan on the laptop using Google translate. McKay's question, "How do I spell 'He is cooking breakfast?'" begins a conversation over the words "cooking breakfast." McKay's German is probably the best in the family but spelling is not his forte yet. While he's becoming more diligent in doing his homework, he's rather picky about your input even though he's asked you for it. He also would do best going to bed at 7:30. This active kid needs his sleep! But late nights of homework are sadly becoming a norm for him because he forgets what's due when and panics at late dinner. Insert my heavy sigh. Sunday nights are torture lately for this reason. But he's coming right along and enjoying school so we're so grateful!

Easton is sitting patiently as I finish cutting his hair. I can't seem to ever figure out his cowlick in front. I need my mom! She did an awesome job when she was here! Easton's trying to subtly ask for a Dr. Who episode without getting on our nerves. With homeschool, his work is done by the time the kids are home which has been a real godsend of this new experiment. It is so great to see him so relaxed in the evenings unless he's pining to watch Dr. Who and upset that everyone else can't get it together to make it happen. He's trying a new tactic lately of coming into our tiny kitchen to ask me if he can help while starting conversations about what's on my Christmas list? Did I like college and why? Or today's topic of interest - tell me about all the boys you dated before you met Dad. Part of him is trying to butter us up so he can watch a show, part of him is craving social interaction and parents are more interesting than his siblings lately, and part of him is just plain growing up. Insert my heavy sigh, I'm not ready for him to grow up!

Jake is wielding a wooden hammer and wearing a cape because he's Thor. He keeps asking if his 'pidew-wan 'tume (Spiderman costume) is clean and melts down because I can't remember if it got into the load I put in but then forgot to start the machine. He knows he's next getting his haircut and is trying to warm up to the idea but playing coy til then. In the meantime, he is the particular recipient of many Secret Santas and he just doesn't get it yet, much to Morgan's chagrin. He wants to 'nug Dad for now.

Aliza is fast asleep in her bassinet by my side of the bed, thankfully. At 7:00 after we'd all finished dinner I heard her and groaned. She has not slept much today and woke up every couple hours to nurse last night. She must be growing. We close the door, turn on the noise machine and I pray for another hour or so to get the boys' haircuts done before her next feeding. Boy do I crave her smiles first thing in the morning! When she sees my face or hears my voice she lights up! It buoys me for the impending morning face-off with Morgan. Can I get her out of bed and dressed without tears today? Back to Aliza, we tried the Bumbo seat today and the kids sure liked trying to entertain her with every toy they could put on her tray. Talk about sensory overload! So I rescued her and carried her in the baby bjorn while I chopped dinner veggies. She was soon out cold and I put her down.

Ryan's in his chair as our whirlwinds swirl around him. Tomorrow he doesn't have to teach early morning Seminary to the ward's high schoolers and can run the kids into school so I don't have to. Hurray! He is very busy at work with this promotion leading his team. He'll take off on Friday with Easton and McKay for Paris to meet up with Nancy and Mark, tour around town and join them up in Belgium and Luxembourg, returning on Wednesday with a brother or two flying in. Christmas market season is here!!!

Time for bed now, all is quiet. Life is full and so very, very good.