Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A few things to love about this season of life

I have a window sill full of bottles the kids have collected from the creek, filled with Easter Lillies they picked. They have been outside hours upon hours enjoying the sunshine and finding everything from a squirrel skull, an old sink, a live snake and this very lovable dog, Max.
Max showed up in the yard on Friday morning, at first we tried to shoo him away but he was so sweet and kind, the kids immediately enjoyed playing with him and giving him all kinds of attention.
He had a phone number on his collar so we called and the owner said he'd come get him later that evening. Late that evening the owner hadn't come and via text told us he had forgotten about him. By this time, all the kids wanted to keep him and after we told his owner that, his owner said he is a wandering dog and loves kids and he wished Max would just find a home and stay there. Upon some more prodding the owner said, if he stays we can keep him. The kids were so excited and we left him untied to honor the owners wishes of letting Max decide.
That night the kids reluctantly said goodbye to Max and we all agreed at least they had alot of fun with him for one day.
To everyone's excitement and joy, he was on the porch the next morning. By this time, all of us wanted him to stay. Joe and I have promised the kids a dog whenever we move to our new place. Since we are living with family now we had no plans to get a dog yet, but Max was such a perfect fit and seemed like God's timing for us to get a dog. He was very gentle, yet active enough to take long walks and play with the kids. He didn't jump on the little kids, he didn't bark at night, he didn't dig. He had the kindest eyes that have that look of a trustworthy dog.
By Saturday, we decided to get him some food and a leash. He was loving all the attention and just laid around and stayed close to the house all the time.
Sunday morning, he was still here and I think that was the day we all thought he was definitely here to stay. The kids loved him and constantly hung out with him and spent hours outside playing with him and petting him.
Sadly, Monday morning came and he was gone. We thought he'd surely come back but hour after hour, no Max. The kids hollered and hollered walking over the property many different times looking for him. We haven't seen him since and are a little mad at him for abandoning us like this. The kids have surprisingly been tough about it, but I know they are sad he's gone. They were all down a little and at a loss of what to do with themselves yesterday.
We still hold a little hope that maybe he'll come back again but then, he probably won't stay so we have mixed emotions. Max definitely confirmed that we need and want a dog, but also that we really need a dog like him that isn't a puppy that will carry off shoes, dig holes, scratch and jump on the kids and drive us nuts.
These two girls are at such fun ages. Anne is almost 4 and Laynee 19 months and I just adore them both and the places they are at in life. They both bring me alot of joy. For reasons outside of my little home and family, I've been in a difficult season of life. These little stinkers keep me smiling.
Laynee is between the baby and toddler stages, definitely a toddler but still loves to cuddle with her paci and blanket. She loves books about animals and with lift-a-flaps. She loves sweet tea and Halos but can be a very picky eater one day and change the next. She likes to pick up toys and books, this family can use that. We have a lacing book, she concentrates and tries so hard to get the string on a hole and pull it completely through and then try again. She finds little doll shoes and has to find the doll and then insist on putting the shoe on and taking it off over and over. She loves learning new signs and going bye-bye and all her siblings. She loves when Joe comes home from work and loves sitting in his lap and still loves for him to sing to her.
She fell down the front porch steps and got her first black eye. She has learned to throw a stellar fit, even bangs her head on the floor. She always has an audience and enjoys seeing us laugh at her.
Anne and Laynee nap in the room with their great grandma's furniture. Anne calls it the hotel room. It was just one of those things I had to get a picture of yesterday.
 I call Laynee, Stink, Goober and Boo. I love kissing her cheeks and patting her belly.
 Anne is queen of the eye roll. She loves layering her clothes and changing outfits often. Hair ties are her favorite bracelets. I wish I could record her telling mixed non-fiction and fictional stories. Every time I try to get her on video she stops and rolls her eyes at me.
Monkey is still her favorite. It makes my heart happy to see her so carefree and laid back. Anne's days are awesome!
Anne's thousand looks and messy hair make me take hundreds of pictures.
I used to wonder how I'd feel about my kids getting older. It's no secret I love the newborn to little kid years, despite all the challanges. I guess there was some fear of what I'd do when these little babies grew up and became big kids. Now I'm finding myself here with 7 kids from 11 to in utero and can say, I love where each of them are and find joy in my older kids just like my younger ones. It's really exciting to see them changing and finding independence and responsibility. Don't get me wrong, it's exhausting to my patience waiting on them to finish a job for the 5th time because they didn't do it right, or at all, the first time. Nor the second, third or forth time. But then their toddler years were certainly no say-it-once training either.

The things I enjoy about having older kids are watching them genuinely enjoy their younger siblings, much of the time. Also, I love their help with their siblings or chores. Watching Bethany walking into piano lessons and knowing it brings her so much happiness and clarity of mind. Hearing Joseph quote jokes that actually make sense. Going to the library and watching them pick out a giant stack of books, compete to see who can read those books the fastest and repeat fact after fact that they learned from them.
I love spending rare time with just the 3 oldest. We all enjoy how easy it is to get in and out of the van and go from place to place. No holding hands, no loading up kids in the cart, just knowing they are capable of going an aisle over to get something for me at the store.
I love going to a restaurant and they can go get their own refill and especially this one, take their siblings to the bathroom!
I love seeing them see a need and meet it. I love hearing them share life with each other, I love seeing them growing. Of course the changes coming in the next 5 years intimidate me, but I'm confident there will be so many things to love about those years too. Right now, I'm finding a few things to love about this one. 

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