Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bewildered Peoples and the Ice Cream that sustains it.

  I hopped off to town this morning with all 4 kids and my obvious baby bump. I was expecting a lot of judgment what with it being a school morning, the amount of children I have, and my (obviously she is too ignorant to take care of "things") baby bump.

  It was also to be a day of grocery shopping, which brings with it another level of judgment. Somehow a mother out shopping with quite a few children just screams food stamps. But never you mind, I take an almost diabolical delight in dispelling myths. I am not the kind of mother who gets a baby sitter so I can go get grocery's. Therefore I get to dispel family related myths about  every couple of weeks.

  My day starts with insisting each child has hair brushed, clean dresses on, or clean shirts and jeans with no holes as the case may be. Teeth must be brushed, faces clean, and nice shoes. I am laying a foundation you see. When one looks really clean and put together, then one can almost completely hide that all the clothes we are wearing come from the second hand shops. Except for the shoes of course. MrB is notoriously funny about shoes coming from the goodwill, so all their shoes are bought new or from a discount "new" local store. I of course make sure that there is no drool, snot, horse manure, dog hair, food, or toothpaste on any part of me or my clothes and off we go. (I am a farmers wife, and these bodily excretions are just part of my life)

  I set the stage with a nice little bribe. Everybody stay with me, don't ask for things, don't touch things, no pushing, shoving, pinching, biting, or looking at each other and you will all get icecream on the way home. Of course them being the little starved beggars they are, cheered mightly at this news.
 The music of choice on our 45 min drive to town was Slugs and Bugs by Andrew Peterson whereupon the two littles promptly fell asleep and the two oldest and I sang along to such songs such as Tractor Tractor, and Chicken Wiggle.

  Our first stop was Bed Bath and Beyond. I put the baby in the stroller and let big brother push him around. I walked holding the two girls hands. We explored that whole entire store. We explored it like a boss. Sure, we were a solid moving mass of chatter and glee. Sure, its true that we looked a little starved for pretty things as we ambled past the china (shudder) and on past the plastic cups (whew) past the outrageously priced quilts and pillows, where we paused so everybody could smell the curved bed pillow that was on display. Wait.. what? why are they smelling the pillow? I don't know, but I allowed it because it seemed harmless, and plus that young man watching probably needed the mental birth control anyway. On we went past the scales, where a small discussion of weight came up. Up up up to the cash register we went where we stood in line right by rows upon rows of brightly colored candy. Oh bliss, heaven rain on me, the candy!

   Here is where we encountered our first haughty look. I noted it with glee and proceeded to allow the kids to debunk the myths. How they ohhed and ahhed over that candy, "whats this called, Mom" and "what about this one" and "Oh I wish we could get some, can we mom?" Whereupon I smiled angelically and said "No honey, we are just buying a present for our friend today" The child smiled and said "oh yes, ok!" (I made a slam dunk gesture in my head) By now the lady had abandoned her surreptitious glances and had turned and was openly staring. She watched us as I calmly selected a gift card and checked out while my litter milled about me like little chickens. Nobody grabbed things, there was no begging for things, no pushing, no unhappiness whatsoever. She finally left looking deeply troubled and bewildered.  Poor woman has no idea how much the kids wanted the icecream.

  On we sailed to Aldi, where we briskly strode past the chips, the cereal, the candy,and  the cake mixes. Little voices echoed fond harbingers of happiness and wanting towards such delights, but they were already behind us with Mom not showing any signs of relenting. We grabbed a few dairy products, and loaded up on all the amazingly cheap fresh vegetables. To be honest, I don't know how much fresh raws we could afford if it were not for Aldi stores. We loaded up on organic baby carrots, organic bananas, mushrooms, cabbage, lettuce, avocados, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions. I was hungry when I went in and went crazy in the raw aisle. Once again I and my small entourage stood in line at the checkout. Once again the eyes around us were drawn inexorably to us. The man beside us watched carefully as I started to empty my cart onto the belt, his disbelief visibly grew as the piles of vegetables made their way down the belt line. His mouth almost dropped open when he saw that and some cheese was pretty much it. "yes sir, some people do still cook from scratch"

  By the time we got to Target for tissue paper and a card, things were getting a little sticky in the back seat, and assurances about the ice cream needed to be made. But we survived in spite of the litter really really wanting to walk through the toy aisles even tho we aren't buying toys today. The biggest badly wanted a tiny legos set, which he carefully explained to me the dimensions of the box as if that has anything to do with anything. The next to biggest in her fluffy white dress with the orange embroidery wanted a princess sticker book more then anything,ever-oh please please Mom"  (it kills me to say No, but I love my unspoiled children too much not too) The unassuming smaller one sat in the shopping cart happily looking at a tiny packet of craft eyes that I found on an end rack on discount, she didn't want anything. It was while we were looking at the cards, that the small one unraveled. So we yanked out the appropriate card and fled the store. All in all it was an extremely successful and fun day.

   It is really not possible to put in one little blog post the pleasure and the pain of shopping alone with so many children. Every single child that stays right beside me, without me having to say anything, symbolizes hours and hours and hours of training. Every time a child wants something, and I say no, and they give up quickly and happily, symbolizes hours of training in so many areas, not just that one. Because saying "no you may not have that cheap little sticker book that I know you would have so much fun with" and having them turn without a word and hang it back up, means that I sweated blood and tears to get them to that sweet acceptance. It means that in my hands I hold their precious little hearts, and they have given in to my leadership completely.

  One big part of shopping with children, I have discovered, is to never get in a hurry. One must amble, and pause, and discuss. One must take time to smell the pillows and page through the empty recycled-materials journals that cost an arm and a leg. One must rejoice over a penny found in the parking lot which is then left for somebody who needs it more then us, and one must ohhh and ahhh over the delicious brilliantly colored polyester clothes.

  What all these people do not know is that life with children is painfully wonderful. Its both slow and fast. It has long hard days, and then it has bright sunshiny dancing ones. So don't stand there judging me in your tiny little spandex pants and your hips that have never birthed a child. Don't judge me until you care as much as I do, and know how it is. As we all know, well trained children do not just happen. They are not just born to certain perfect couples who have it all together. They are created, slowly, stitch by stitch, and probably by parents who find themselves failing again and again but somehow by the grace of God its enough. What would I do without my Father in heaven to hold and sustain me. To forgive and gather me up. What would I do if I tried to do this on my own?

  Well..... I wouldn't stop and smell the pillows, thats what.

Ps. They all got the most wonderful icecreams I could find. They earned it you see, and they ate it with the sweet sense of a reward well earned.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A White Homesteader and Brotherly Thoughts

I have always been attracted to the color white. I have also always been attracted to pickles and homesteading.
  This morning as I careened through the shower I had an incongruous thought. Why do I never see a homesteader dressed in white? And why I do never see a person who wears white, homesteading? Can these two be mixed somehow? Why has nobody mixed them before. 

(Brotherly love)

  As I shampooed my hair once again I had a brief panicked moment as I realized that MrB was probably strapping the kids in the car and here I was still shampooing and conditioning my hair, but then my mind turned away from the stress and I wondered if I could be *that* person. I drifted for a moment as I prepared my luxurious lather of special olive oil soap that I save just for myself, a soft wallow of yarns tap danced through my head. Off white, sage, the most gentle powder blue. Not one little bit of white. Not one little bit. How sad, I do so love white, and I am a homesteader, (or approaching one) but I have not yet mixed the two. 

(That cake was just so good, "look Mom, you don't even have to wash my plate, I licked it clean" sez the sugaraholic)

  But now I am shampooed, conditioned and scrubbed. Now the moment of madness comes. The count down. How to get from the shower to the car in 2 minutes. I don't really wear makeup except for the most cursory of eye shadow swipes. (anything more then that makes me feel the same way that a high waisted skirt feels) I pull on my new (used) jeans taking only a second to feel successful that I was still fitting in a size 8. I jerked on a nightgown
 (yes, I wear nightgowns under my clothes to keep my short dresses from creating a shelf on my *behind*) (laugh if you like, it works) I pulled on a dress. 
(yes, I wear dresses over jeans because I don't like looking manly)
 (not that you look manly if you are a jeans and T sort of girl)
 (all these little side notes are exhausting me) 
I could make this story two harrowing hours long (because I overslept) but I will spare you. 

(More precious brotherly love)

When we did finally get to church my husband whispered to me "I don't feel very reverent and churchy" 
Yea, me neither! 
But it was a glorious day anyhow! I don't think God really cares that much whether we "feel" right. We were there and we were hungry, so he fed us. Yes, thank you!! 

Meanwhile the 9 year old brother created this little leather shirt for Olive. While we hope that Olive will never actually fit into this, beings its so extremely small, this little missive of hope and delight in a new life will go into Olives baby box someday. 

(As far as the pickles, they really have nothing to do with anything, I just really like pickles)