I have enjoyed my day so far, though the usual anxious urgency has been howling in the back of my head all day. I haven't taken a shower yet because I got up right when I needed to wake up the boys from school. Scarlett was up and down all night. And then at 3:45 she pooped. She has a terrible diaper rash due to this constant pooping from the combination of antibiotics and all the dairy I consumed on the cruise, so when she poops I have to wash her in the sink and then let her air dry before pasting her up with diaper cream and getting her dressed again. Then I held her while she was restless for an hour, and at 4:45 she pooped again....
So when my alarm rang at 5:45 and she was in a blissful wide open mouth relaxed state of sleep, I snuggled up and went back to sleep with her.
Needless to say, night weaning has been a lost cause since my last post. She has had 3 ear infections in a month, colds with night time congestion and coughing in between, and diarrhea almost all the way through. The diarrhea burned her so badly on the cruise because she was almost constantly leaking, and I just couldn't change and wash her as often as I needed to. I also only had a little vaseline along and not the heavy duty stuff we needed....and a load of cheap diapers when she really needed the premium kind. None of those are to be had in tourist shops in the Caribbean.
She had fun on the cruise though. She loved watching everyone, loved everyone always coming over to say hello. She especially loved the tinder boat ride to Belize on her 7 month birthday.
She is crawling now, all over the place. Pulling up on things. Sometimes letting go and standing by herself for a second before she topples to the floor. She waves hello occasionally, and gives high 5s when she feels like it. She smiles almost all the time. She loves the Tula my friend loaned me.When she is in it, she goes into this totally relaxed and snuggly state.
When I brought her to urgent care for her last ear infection a couple days ago and told them she was fussy, they looked at me incredulously. She was fussy...for her. She whimpers occasionally. She complains a bit. When she does get going, which never lasts long, she screams "Nananananana" just like Aquaman used to when he cried.
The cruise went ok. The kids had the time of their lives, and for that it was all worth it. They all wish they were "back on the cruise ship". Last night when I was rocking Scarlett in the boys' room, I heard The Dude murmering something in his sleep about "finding it on deck 4". There was a ropes course, plenty of hot tubs, bunk beds in the cabin, giant water slides, and 24 hour ice cream, so it was pretty much kid paradise. We relaxed our eating rules the whole week and let them eat lucky charms for breakfast because whatever....it's vacation. I thought when we got back they would have to detox and would freak out from not having so much sugar, but Aquaman said "I thought this normal food would taste bad when we got back, but it's actually really good" as he sunk his teeth into an apple. And that's pretty much how they have been about it. (On a side note, Aquaman has just started eating unpeeled apples, out of nowhere, and I am through the moon with gladness that he can finally just go get a snack on his own).
We stopped at each port and got out for approximately 30 minutes, just to say we had been there. None were impressive at all, but we can all now say we have been to Mexico, and Honduras. JT did not get off at Belize due to some family health issues, and I did not get off in Cozumel, but he got to take the older boys on an excursion to swim with sharks and sting rays.
East, West, home is best.
Our family is now so officially enormous that we had to have 2 rooms, and since we signed up late, they did not adjoin. So JT and I had to sleep apart each night, which was sad. There was also a lot of stress related to aforementioned family health issues (his family, not ours), and JT got seasick the first night. I, the one who was terrified of throwing up the whole time before the cruise, never felt the slightest bit nauseous.
But it is good to be home. Back to the chaos, back to more ear infections (Greystoke has had 2 in a row 2, which makes him act....very special) and worn out kids, first basketball practices and work. Back to sharing a bed together.
I am so proud of my husband. And as he said "those who go to war together, come closer together". I am more in love with him than ever after once again facing adversity together and coming out on top. We stayed a team. We are one. That was my biggest thankful this thanksgiving.
This morning, as a reward, he got to clean up Scarlett's poop since it "squirted from her like someone stepped on a ketchup bottle" and I had her diaperless to help the rash. Just before we headed out the door to school dropoff, Greystoke shattered a glass bottle. I took the kids and ran, leaving him with a million pieces of glass to clean up.
I am so glad he gets a break at work.
I do not get such a break at work because I almost always have Scarlett with me, and sometimes other kids too especially when they are sick or when I am making up hours from vacation. I am so grateful for my job, it is one of the greatest gifts from God, because I used to beg Him to let me be home with my babies, and now I can be there for them and still work. It is incredible. Not only that but when I first quit CMS I missed it and the kids so much. But now I have fallen so in love with my clients that I barely remember feeling that way. I love the opportunity to be a part of their lives. I lie awake some nights wishing I could do my job better, because I am so thankful for it.
JT took the boys to get a Christmas tree when I was at urgent care with Ruth a couple nights ago.
I told the boys we could get the decorations out when I got caught up on laundry....which has taken a while since the dryer broke on the first load of post trip laundry and then I ordered a new one and there was an "incident" hooking it up. No one was hurt.
Plus I am still making up hours from our vacation so today was my first school day off to get to work on stuff. Unfortunately there was way more to do than one day's worth.
Hopefully I can go finish getting it put away before we walk to pick them up from school today and we can break out the decorations before we tackle studying geography and multiplication and learning to read, both of which have not come easily at all.
There is soup in the crockpot, I spent 20 minutes peeling and cutting a butternut squash with a dull knife this morning, all the while bitterly wondering if my kids would just shout "eww" the whole time at my soup. At the last minute, I traded out tomato paste for diced tomatoes because Greystoke and the Dude won't eat tomato chunks, so I am hoping for the best.
The shower is probably a lost cause. Fully completing the laundry put away might be too. I'll shut the closet door.
I have left Jesus sitting in our spot in the kitchen more times than I care to mention this week. He's still there waiting for me, right beside my Bible. He loves me anyway, I don't deserve it. But He won't hold it over my head when I return.
I ordered an advent devotion, and am going to return to my tradition of trying to keep the holidays as simple as possible this year. We are going to make peppermint playdough this weekend. We have a snack craft to make at home and deliver to my clients (foolproof I hope, I am no good at this stuff). I asked the boys their favorite holiday tradition last night, and they were walking to see Christmas lights in the evenings, and making Christmas cookies with Aunt Katie. It is the simple things they love. We will probably never go on another luxurious cruise,but we don't need to anyway.
I heard this radio program the other day about a lady who adopted an older child, and she said she and her husband were not afraid going in because they were ignorant about how hard it would be, and she feels that God helped them obey by protecting them from all the truth. I thought about having a 4th child and wondered for a moment if it wasthe same. It has't been for me. I was happy with 3 kids, I loved my boys, I told God we were good. He told me we weren't. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be sweaty, and chaotic. But I knew it would be worth it. It is.
I struggle with a lot of mom guilt, especially when I am tired. The Dude needs so much help with school, and I haven't gotten to the reading curriculum lately. Greystoke has been watching too much tv. He also has a cavity. Scarlett has had multiple ear infections from exposure to older kids' germs, and the first child would probably never have the kind of diaper rash she does now. Aquaman is my "easy kid" right now, sensory issues, and poor study and eating habits, and inside out clothes and all. So a lot of times I ask a lot of him. A lot of times he gets lost in the shuffle.
But I am so glad JT and I followed God into this big crazy who knows what is going to happen next life. Because yes, He can be there on cruise ships and catching some sun on deck chairs, or sitting through a relaxing dinner not wondering if someone is going to break a glass (again). But I think even more so He is in the ketchup like squirting poop and the shattered glass. We can't see it all, but He is here. He is making all things beautiful. Even the broken things.