Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ta da

Mystery solved, thanks to 2lilreds. Jenni--I'd love to have some of those penstemmons. What a luverly flower.

Thanks so much for your diligent search. Applause, applause!! (Wish I had something good to offer as a nice reward.)

A satisfying end to an exhausting day.

Ahhhh. . .

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Folks, we have a genuine mystery on our hands. I've looked at the pictures of "dragonshead" flowers online and they are something completely different from what's growing in the yard. These guys work just like snapdragons--the flowers "snap" open. But they are tall and skinny, the foliage lighter and slightly grayish green. The pink ones have some slight variation in their pinkness within the flower itself. The actual flower is approximately 1/4" across. In the pictures the stalks have grown so tall that they are sort of laying over. The plant will send up new shoots from the ground. They begin to bloom at about 2' tall, but reach 5' easily. The foliage is smooth, sleek, even. No fuzz at all as on snapdragons. The leaves are flat, not curling at the edges. The lavendar self-sows freely, but the pink seems to be recessive--we started five years ago with three pink plants and a lavendar and now only lavendar remain. The nursery where they were purchased didn't know what they were called, but did say that the pink does not produce seeds. They are perennial.

So. That's what I know about the "mini-snaps." Not much, eh? Any ideas? (Do you like the bee? We became friends, but he's shy.)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Lately, in pictures

From our hike a week ago.

See the little green huckleberries? We'll have to go back next week and see if the bears have left us any ripe ones. Yum.

Another shot of the lake from the trail.

Flowers in the yard. We don't know exactly what this is, but we call it a mini snapdragon because it functions with the same little "snapping" flower idea but the flowers themselves are teeny, though the stems can reach over five feet. It's also gorgeous in pink. Any ideas what it really is?

This would be the severely top-heavy clematis. It decided to bloom almost all at once this year.

The Butterfly bush (buddleia). It's very tall, the bees and butterflies love it but I can never snap one near it. Or if I do, they're always in a blur.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I should be either folding laundry or sleeping, but I need to share.

My little guy has the softest cheeks in the world (with apologies to other mamas of wee babes). It's true. Soft. Smooth. So fat the sweet little peach fuzzy skin is taut. So fat that if he opens his mouth wide you can see the fatness hanging over his gums into his actual mouth. I've never felt the need to say this with any of the other kids, but I could just eat him up. Or at least nibble him 'til he's annoyed. Cheeks, fingers, stinky cheesy baby niblet toes (doesn't matter how often or with what I wash them). His belly is round and soft, squishy even when it's full. His legs are like overgrown sausages, adorable in their roly-poly-ness. Even his feet are fat, with the toes as sort of an afterthought, stuck onto the roundness. I love fat babies, this one best of all.

An update, then: Last week, Q's PT said that she's seeing a lot of "real progress." He was happy, babbling, engaged and responsive--more than he's ever been during his therapy sessions. He's gaining on the whole sitting thing. I went today and got him a little chair at Target. It's just like the one he uses at therapy, right down to the color.

Q has three sets of splints, two (one to wash, one to wear) for daytime use, one for nighttime. The night splints are rigid, seeming to me (paranoid mama) to resemble some sort of infant torture device. He seems unbothered by them, though we're still only working up to him wearing them for extended periods of time and he does wiggle marvelously well when I'm trying to get his hands and arms positioned correctly. I don't know why they seem menacing (to me). They're quite soft inside and they have little sections of ducky ribbon sewn on the straps. Maybe that's it. Maybe they seem like they're pretending to be cute when it's perfectly obvious that only a baby facing some serious issues would ever possibly need such contraptions.

I shall post pictures of all these things. I don't feel I could describe them adequately and to attempt to do so is more than my psyche can take just now.

I've been asked lately what Q does. The short answer is not much, for his age. He rolls accidentally--because he's top-heavy--from front to back, but not back to front. He doesn't wiggle much when left lying on a flat surface, though when he does, he seems to do it in spurts. He'll rotate and creep on his back during several days consecutively, then nothing for weeks. I think he's more mobile recently. He sometimes holds himself perfectly erect when seated or held, but often does not and will slump to the point that he has to be repositioned so he doesn't fall over or out of someone's arms. When placed on his belly, he does not reach his hands out to support himself. In fact, if one positions his hands for him to do so, he will nearly always pull them down to his sides. Sometimes his jerky, repetitive, "spastic" movements remind me pointedly of the descriptions of seizures. The ones he's "very likely" to develop. That part seriously freaks me out.

What he is very good at is being cute and engaging. To whit: he laughs and crows and gets his sisters laughing. When G talks to him, he often giggles and coos in reply. When we do bedtime prayers, he says "ngoo" after everything he's "prompted" to say as long as the person saying it pauses appropriately. He really does behave very interactively when it comes to vocalizing. He delights in exchanging sounds as in real conversation, and tones/moods are immediately reflected in his burbling. He sometimes gets things into his hands, but it's not clear if he means to or it's just a happy accident (to quote Bob Ross). His visual capabilities seem to be improving, but it's not clear to what extent. It seems like his eyes are functioning better together, though.

What I'm doing: When nursing, I pull the arm on the underside up to extend it fully over his head in order to stretch pectorals and latisimus dorsi. His PT thinks it's working. I do "This little piggy" while stretching and massaging each digit, hands and feet, with tickles on the "wee wee wee." I make his hands do the motions for patty-cake, The Itsy-bitsy Spider, and So Big. I also make his feet and legs do them, which he finds hilarious. All of this is about stretching and encouraging him to utilize what he has and be more aware of what he's got. I put his splints on and take them off, washing when appropriate. We're still doing the spinning thing, though not as often as I should be. I do lots of holding and carrying--the motion is good for him, helpful in vestibular and proprioceptive function. Of course, there's the usual toys, texture, colors, all sorts of good stimulus.

I can't think of anything else right now.

I must admit that this makes me tired. I love the little guy to bits just as he is and wouldn't trade him for the world. I just find myself stymied and exhausted by the drill, never mind trying to stay on top of something which doesn't even have a real label (whatever that would be worth, dubious value there). The funniest part, for contrast, is that I'm not dithering one bit over homeschooling subjects or curriculum or even whether or not it's the right thing for my kids--doing so seems silly now in light of Q's issues. Much that used to be life for me and mine seems silly in light of what we're living these days. Perhaps I will benefit from this experience via my continual boiling things down: if it can be simplified it should be and if it isn't useful, out it goes. Philosophy as well as tangible stuff. So if it really doesn't need fretting over, whatever it may be, I should maybe leave it in the hands of Someone who could actually do something about it. There's a thought.

I'll be back with pictures. For now, I'm off to catch some rest whilst the little ones snooze. Bless them. They sure are cute when they're asleep. ;o)


Monday, August 21, 2006


I've been reading a little this evening. . . Could someone tell me why there's so much depression floating around? I don't know, it seems like every time I turn around there's someone crying about nothing, or crying about everything, or crying because they can't remember when they last cried. Not me though, I just get teary at good songs, perfect moments with my kids, memories of you-know-who from you-know-when, and sometimes, chocolate. You heard me. At least I know why I'm teary, right?

Seriously. What is the matter with us? We're most of us thirty/forty-somethings, revelling in the confessed and visible bliss of parenting, some of us doing it solo, some not. Most of us wouldn't really change the actual circumstances of our lives for anything: we each love our spouse, kids, dog, etc. Sometimes one of us decides those people/pets are the problem and proceeds to change that--my mom refers to this as the "I hate myself so I'm leaving you" syndrome. Is that it? Are we all engaged in some level of self-hatred? Or has pop-culture seeped into even the most carefully guarded brains and nipped at our roots 'til we can't be satisfied with the beauty before us?

My vote (for at least one facet of the problem) is that we're living in a rapidly degrading environment (think zero entropy, look up the laws of thermodynamics--yes, I homeschool my kids, yes, we just talked about this last week, thank you M.), and as such, the available nutrients are seriously diminished. So you eat well. It's now more difficult than ever to get what you need out of a reasonable number of calories. Say you need CoQ10 (or one of the other supplements mentioned in the article)--got any grass fed bison in your back yard? No? Why not? Don't you know how important it is to ingest lots of CoQ10 to avoid heart problems? Did you know that CoQ10 can actually repair heart valves to the point that conventional prescriptions can be discarded and surgery be avoided? See my point? Don't feel bad if you don't, it's late, things are muddy in my brain...

Point being, we're suffering the effects of our surroundings. So if we are at such a disadvantage nutritionally, why wouldn't it show up in our brain chemistry? I take fish oil (and calcium--both known for their effect on brain chemistry), among other supplements. My kids do too. I notice a difference in my skin, my son's asthma and focus when we're all taking it regularly. Perhaps the collective ennui of my generation is based nutritionally, who knows. There are other reasons that spring to mind, but it's late, and I believe there was a certain TV show made just to address this. What was it? Oh yeah--Thirtysomething.

I believe, if you haven't seen it, the entire story could be summed up with, "I love my spouse and kids and pets, but... isn't there supposed to be something more?"

My opinion? No. There isn't. You make your great moments where you are or you don't have them at all. I don't believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence no matter what you're trying to escape (obviously abuse and addiction are exempted). Erma Bombeck got it right: the grass is greener over the septic tank. Guess why.

Another oft-quoted apt saying: Wherever you go, there you are. My first thought in regard to this is that we (at large) would do well to take up meditation. The practice of sitting quietly with one's own self, waiting for the still, small voice is a discipline most of us shun. Someone is always needing something from the mamas of the world (certain papas too) and we are very, very good at placing ourselves and therefore, time spent seeking the face of God, dead last.

I find myself wondering how much of this malaise could be circumvented by consistently keeping a gratitude journal. I also find myself wondering how long it will take our silly society to get far enough over itself to admit that people who take antidepressants are not automatically marginalized as citizens. The facts certainly say otherwise: the bravery lies in admitting there's a problem and then doing something about it. That "something" varies from person to person, but one does not get points for suffering doggedly, perpetually, when help is within reach.

Well. Now I'm just rambling randomly. Alliteration alert! (Bad, bad pun. Smacking fingers...)

Please take this as you find it--the meandering thoughts of one tired mama who has had enough completely needless crap in the last thirteen months to suffice for a lifetime. If you are suffering (sobbing, even), please don't. Go see your doctor. Ask for thyroid and iron checks, a cholesterol panel. Speak honestly about what you really feel and think, then take his or her advice and follow through. Unless you've found a dolt--but you're smart, you'll know what you need to do and if you don't know, ask the people who love you most. They'd give anything to have you be okay and they will help you get where you need to go. Take meds if you need to, baths if you like 'em, walk or bike or kick soccer balls 'til you're sore. Exercise often corrects brain chemistry magnificently. Find people who need hugging and hug them. Extending empathy and compassion often enlarges even badly broken hearts. Do keep a gratitude journal, do write down all sorts of thoughts. Vent on paper and to friends. But do not mistake your internal, nameless pain for a personal failing.

Be well. Be at peace. Do not accept the mantel of stigma that has too long accompanied pervasive sadness in life. Again, be well. Be at peace. (And if you need further encouragement, read up on the neurobiology of depression. Would you tell a diabetic to go eat some doughnuts? No? Okay then.)

Breeeeeeathe. There you go.

Quick stop

Hi! (waving) We're still here. Q's been sick--he's sleeping right now, and not ON me for the first time in a couple of days. This is the part of motherhood that just sucks it out of a person. I am sooo grateful to have my folks, but they can only do so much, and we're all pretty wiped out right now.

I'm knee deep in school stuff. Trying to stay on top of planning and scheduling and phone calls and driving and piano lessons and... You get the idea. Q has splints--I'll be back to write about that. And the kids survived the first week of school, poor little ducks. They're feeling less "abused" now that they understand that their silly mama didn't intend for them to only do school two days a week--it's just the co-op that's meeting two days a week. We're still doing school full-time. Even better, they learned the other kids suffered the same misunderstanding. Whew! It's always nice to feel like you're not alone, isn't it?

Speaking of which: If you could remember my crew on the thirty-first... There will be much going on in a certain room. I'm praying once again for cool heads, clear words and thoughts all around, and that the very best thing happens for the kids. I will suck up whatever I must, but the children shouldn't have to experience any more crud than they already have. Thanks.

I've much to say and share but I really, really need to sleep.

Hugs and blessing to you and yours. Kiss your babies (and your honey too). Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


See the little butterfly on the Pearly Everlasting? I took this just before dinner the other night. I love the hydrangeas in the background. The whole shot just breathes "meadow," doesn't it?

A rose by any other name is still hard to shoot when holding a wiggly baby. Do the petals not just beg to be stroked? Red velvet came to mind.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Latin on the lawn...

...or, the first day of school.

"Well, how did you get along?" Marilla wanted to know.

"Ask me that a month later and I may be able to tell you. I can't now. . . I don't know myself. . . I'm too near it. My thoughts feel as if they had been all stirred up until they were thick and muddy. The only thing I feel really sure of having accomplished today is that I taught Cliffie Wright that A is A. He never knew it before. Isn't it someting to have started a soul along a path that may end in Shakespeare and Paradise Lost?"

--Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

Saturday, August 12, 2006


It has been a looong week. I don't know why this one seemed so much longer than any other. Perhaps I've spent more of it awake than usual (not that I'm sleeping in at some other timein my life). Perhaps the news from London was just the sort that stretches time and warps it enough to make it feel both huge and compressed all at once.

Since I'm feeling all grateful and warm about how blessed I am, I thought I'd post a few of my "good things"...

  • A roof and beds for each of my punkins and me.
  • Flowers in the yard.
  • The world's cutest, smartest, and funniest children.
  • Chocolate. Of course.
  • Lots of fonts and colors to play with in Word. Had I known that there was a custom color option available, I would never have gotten around to writing anything here or anywhere else. Have you ever played with those colors? Maaan. Go do it, you'll see what I mean. It's downright addictive. The power! The variety! The spectrum!!
  • Language. It provides me the ability to communicate my love for my precious offspring, my affection for chocolate, my (transient) despair and perpetual delight at the goings-on of life. Without it, I would not have a framework for discussing theology, David would not have had the tools with which to express his relationship with his Maker. Can you imagine not having the Psalms? Proverbs?
  • Piano. Lessons for the kids, years of knowing how to play for myself. What an awesome way to unwind. I wish I could do it more.
  • Chocolate. It needed to be said again.
  • Cherries. We're at the end of the season, but boy, have they been awesome.
  • PEGS. It's working here, though today was a bit of a wash--fevers and headaches kept us from accomplishing all we set out to.
  • Lakeshore Learning Center's lesson plan book. I now own my fourth and love it as much as ever. I adore possessing handy tools, which this certainly is.
  • A decent brain. It needs some training and some rest, but it does well, generally, for my purposes and I am profoundly grateful for that.
  • Soccer balls and the muscles they help to grow as they're kicked back and forth between my kids and me. Exercise. Yessirree, where there's a will there's a way. (As an aside, have you ever noticed that youth sized soccer balls are astonishingly near the size of a, uh, human head? Talk about cathartic. I'll let you take care of the visuals there.)
  • Q loves to be outside (just like his daddy did when he was a baby) and is so, so happy to talk to the trees when out. This has been especially handy when we were planting the aforementioned flowers. You'll see them if I can ever figure out flickr. Argh.
  • Food. Enough. Good stuff. That looks nice. (That we care about how our food looks defines us as "rich"--ha. Very funny, though.)
  • Therapy for Q. Good resources every time I turn around. Smart people who know their stuff and aren't threatened by my desire to be clued in. Awesome.

These are a few of my favorite lala la, la lala la.....

Tonight I wish you restorative sleep, peace that passeth understanding, and security/excitement in love. Go hug your honey. (Then wash the sticky off--"Hands in the air!! Go to the bathroom sink. No, no, hands in the air 'til you wash! There you go. Good job." Sigh. You do remember that I have five kids? Am I excused for the mama reflex? Thanks. Mwaaaa.)

Sweet dreams.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Whyyyyy meeeeee

So the boy is still awake. It's 19 minutes 'til one a.m. I'm afraid my sense of humor on this subject is waning. Argh.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I have Vivaldi playing as I type. His Concerto in B minor, opus 3, number 10. Divine.

I've thought about music lately. It seems to provide us a soundtrack for our lives, no? After my first was born, I did nothing but hold him while we listened to the local classical station. Laundry, some cooking, yes, but I was tired (dangerously anemic) and a hair flummoxed at 24, a new mama on autopilot, far away from family while my husband's daily commute (in our only vehicle) totalled upwards of four hours. What I knew to do was feed the baby both at my breast and with music, as I had been. So I did.

Since last summer, I've had several moments which have felt very much as though they're happening in extremely slow motion, with appropriate pathos audible in the background. I don't know what was up with the guys of the era, but the Baroque period answers the need for a melancholy wail; beautiful and poignant in it's palpable pain.

Or it could be just me. Listen to Albinoni's/Giazotto's Adagio in G minor or Handel's Largo from Xerxes or Bach's Air from Orchestral Suite no. 3. Get back to me, will you?

Have you seen The Mission? A good movie, not for children, it was shown at a vespers when I was in college. It haunts me. The plot and "message" are compelling, true, but the music, all original compositions by Ennio Morricone, help to tell the story in a never to be forgotten tone. I have at times, though not recently, felt that I'm falling as did the man on the cross, over the water fall, practically suspended in the spray, an emblem of needless tragedy and loss hung for inspection in front of an indifferent audience. Thank God it's not ultimately the case.

Quote for the day:

Be excellent to each other.
--Bill and Ted


Sunday, August 06, 2006


The boy slept until nearly nine this morning. Even better, so did I.


A day in the life

So I survived. Ha.

I was right--the day did go well. This was because my baby slept. You know, when you close your eyes, slip into unconciousness and rest? Yup. The boy starting snuffling around in the crib at 5am (still longer than his usual stretch) and as I was about to get him, I thought to myself, "He's not unhappy. He may not even be awake. Why are you getting him out?" I snuck back into bed and he slept until almost SEVEN AM!!! So when I fed him and played with him a little, he was only too happy to go back to sleep in his bouncy seat after his sisters were out the door, which meant that I got a shower, plus the bulk of the day's cleaning/picking up done before anyone else was even awake. Nothing like a little progress to change a person's view on just about everything. As for the rest of the day...

10 am Feed and change the growing boy.

10:57 am Leave (late) for baby therapy.

11:11 am Arrive (late) for baby therapy. Q gets his workout.

11:50 am Traipse upstairs from baby therapy to OT department for splint fittings.

12:15 pm OT finally arrives. Daytime splints fit, sort of. She takes them and says that they'll be fixed by that afternoon, will I be in the area? Sure. The nighttime splints are still not right, plus he's growing, so we're trying that fit out again next week.

12:30 pm We're off to counseling for G and E. It is determined that G's turn is first this time, so I offer him the only granola bar and juice box I have and take his order for Trader Joe's. (Grocery with nicely prepared, mostly healthy deli type stuff.)

1 pm G heads in, E, Q, and I head off to TJ's. We encounter traffic. And construction. And it's a gorgeous Friday afternoon, so everyone that can is heading out for the weekend. Argh. We speed shop, grabbing salads, sandwiches, and veggie sushi to share, pack up and go flying back to the counselor's office. Through more traffic. E eats on the way. We are 15 minutes late. E heads in, G enjoys his lunch, Q enjoys his second lunch, I sip the organic Ginger Limeade which has now become my new favorite thing, next to breathing. G is noticeably more calm and "centered" than he was when we arrived.

3 pm We load up and head out. The therapy folks have called and Q's splints are ready to pick up. I call my aunt and we arrange to meet at the therapy unit so I can get the girls.

3:40 pm After more traffic, I load the girls' seats and the girls themselves in and off we go--with grapes and carrots and bags of fun stuff my darling aunt found shopping secondhand. Love that. Only free is better than gently used, but with free the quality tends to take a serious dip.

4 pm Arrive back at the house, unload TJ's stuff into fridge and freezer (it was a cool day, it was tightly packed, the groceries were fiiiiiine). Grab library cards (on stretchy keyring wristband thingies) and head out again. The books and DVDs were already with us, but we needed the cards because how can one go to the library for any reason and not check something out? Unless they're closed, of course. En route, call pharmacy to inquire re: violent Zantac flavoring.

4:15 pm Having gotten mail, started the dishwasher, and put away some groceries for a friend, we're now on our way to the library. Call other friend and arrange time for dinner and exercise.

5 something pm Grandma meets us at the library. Having nursed the baby in the same old rocking chair, we amass the selections (the young ones met the history section re: the fall of Rome--wheeee!), get everyone checked out, get bookmarks stamped. A bookmark full of stamps is part of the summer reading program and results in a Subway meal coupon. G had already found and checked out four dragon books before the girls had even decided which section to start in. E discovered the fairy tale section, finding The Red Fairy Book particularly appealing, deciding to leave the yellow and violet tomes for future trips. S, as usual, had made several selections from the Spanish video section, but cheerfully put them back after I pointed this out. I'm sorry, that much Disney in any language is just obnoxious. If we could just pick something not Disney, I'd be thrilled to let her watch--there are worse ways to learn another language.

5:30 ish pm Get gas with local grocery deal that allows ten cents off per gallon. Proceed to drive -thru pharmacy (in same parking lot) to get Q's Zantac flavoring adjusted. Nice pharmacist adjusts it on the spot and off we go. Bummer. It was clear, now it's purple. Ugh.

6 something pm Arrive home. Haul stuff in. Friend and kids arrive. Open cans of refried beans, nuke beans, nuke tortillas, grate cheese. Open jar of sweet corn salsa from TJ's and inhale. Yum. Find the low-fat sour cream, assemble burritos. More salsa (this for the mommies only), some avocado, good chips. Send kids outside with food.

7 something pm After staring at the wall for long enough, we've finally worked up the energy to corral the kids and head off to walk. We get to the track and start kicking soccer balls around with the girls and end up walking only one lap. My darling mom walks Q around and around so I can keep kicking balls. He loves walking and seeing the trees. The boys have "played basketball" while we were "playing soccer" but I never heard the balls being dribbled. Hmmm. Must remember that for next time.

Arrive home a few minutes before 9 pm. Chuck kids into showers, nurse Q while catching a few minutes of Bill Moyers' Faith and Reason. He was interviewing Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale). I so enjoyed their discussion. She asserted that she'd been raised a "strict agnostic" which Moyers' questioned. "Not atheist?" "No. Atheism is it's own religion." They went on to address dogma, etc. He asked her if she would, given her upbringing, if redesigning human beings, remove the desire for God that we have. She said no, and that to do so would require a removal of language. (Interesting assertion, no?) But she thought she would remove the desire to use God as a weapon. Yes. Though I certainly don't agree with all she had to say, I wish I'd heard more. I love to contemplate this kind of exchange. Ah, well. Life goes on.

I put Q down, sucking his thumb (a big deal--after about five hours in the splints, they came off and he put his thumb into his mouth! and kept it there! through the move into his bed!!), and went to get the girls down once and for all. Despite the unusual noise of rare Friday night activity in the neighborhood, all were soon asleep. Last night didn't go as well for Q. E ended up in my bed too. I had a nap this afternoon, though, which is why I'm still up now, I'm sure. Oh well. The boy didn't go down until after midnight, so I'm hopeful he'll be so sleepy that I'll get a few consecutive hours before we go at this again.

So that's how that day went. It's good to have written it all down. I don't know how much of this I'll believe later, when the memories of this season of life begin to fade.

Quotes for the day: (from Chicken Run)

Behind every thieving garden gnome is a chicken with a plan.

Over in America we have this rule. If you wanna motivate

So laying eggs all your life and then getting plucked, stuffed, and roasted
is good enough for you, is it?

I wasn't on holiday, Babs.

If they come at you, the best thing to do is roll into a ball to protect
your vitals.

Mind you, these may not be in the actual movie (which I do recommend). The quotes above are from a book K picked up at the library: Chicken Pies for the Soul. A girl after my own heart.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

A day in the life: predictions

Or, how I will spend the next 24 hours.

11:37pm Sit down to write, panicking at the next twenty four hours and the futility of it all.

12am Finish replying to emails, give Homeschool Tracker another shot.

12:05 am Alternately marvel at the genius behind HST and despair at the futility of trying to learn a new program under duress.

12:10 am Idly peruse the message boards, hoping to find someone posting to me who has, actually, found the magic wand and is frantically looking for me so s/he can hand off so I can figure out HST and stop panicking at the ever more quickly passing time. See how it slips through my fingers even now!

12:20 am Despair at the futility of finding the person in possession of my missing magic wand. Go to bed. Or, finish making bed. Stealthily, so as not to awaken Q. Creep in between sheets, praying that Q will stay asleep. Read three sentences before passing out.

12:40 am Q awakens. Q is fussy. Q would rather sleep across my belly (like he did last night) and cause my innards irrepairable harm than sleep like a normal child, lying flat or even with his head propped up. (Which is why I haven't just gone to bed already. I dread nights like this.) Tonight, however, I will remember to draw up Maalox before I go to bed and I will put it on the nightstand so that when he awakens, I will remember getting it ready and I will dose the baby and lo, the baby will SLEEEEEEEEEEEP.

2 am Q, the growing boy, needs to eat.

4 am Q, the growing boy, needs to eat.

6 am Q, the growing boy, needs to eat.

8 am Q, the growing boy, needs to eat at exactly the same time I am trying to get the little girls awakened, clothed, fed, and out the door for their counseling appointments.

8:30 am My aunt has left with the little girls, bless her. Now Q is asleep. I, however, am too wired to hold still, and if I do, I will get very perturbed at the futility of it all, so off to the shower I go, dragging all the way.

9 am I'm dressed, ready for the day, the other two kids and the extras are waking up, grumpy, because they didn't want to go to sleep tonight. As it's dawning on me that if I hurry, I could get something accomplished before the baby wakes up, Q awakens, howling, eyes shut. The growing boy would be happy to eat, but I hold him off a little, wanting to extend his feeding pattern just enough to get him through "baby therapy" (phrase coined by G) without having to stop for feeding or sleeping.

9:30 am The extras' mama arrives. The children act like hooligans for a little while as I race around trying to get something accomplished and said mama rocks Q as they resume their mutual admiration society.

By 10:45 am we're all off in opposite directions.

11 am "Baby therapy."

12 noon Feed kids lunch en route to afternoon counseling, Q eats in one of the parking lots. Make various phone calls while kids chew, doctor's offices, etc., make notes while sitting at stop lights.

1 pm G and E begin sessions. The rest of us "do school" on the floor while I'm nursing the growing boy.

2:40 pm We're done. Baby is changed. We collect our stuff and head off to the library for the weekly run, this time to reserve some books (for all ages) on the fall of Rome. Wheee!!

4 pm Done at the library, we head home for chores and more baby feeding. Kids clean bathrooms, I pick up stairs/entry area and clean out the van. Kids do PEGS, since the morning was hectic and make sure they have clean and ironed clothes laid out for church.

6 pm Dinner magically appears on the table. Tra la!

6:30 pm Bedtime!! Kidding!! Just kidding. Seriously, run a couple loads of laundry, pick up more, vacuum, dust, dishes, nurse... nurse... Maybe go for a walk or kick soccer balls around. Ever noticed Mia Hamm's flat stomach? Surely she got that by playing for about an hour a week with her kids, right? Right?

8 pm baths

8:30 pm stories, nightime vitamins

9 pm Lights out

9:15 pm Retuck the ornery little folks.

9:30 pm Bedtime, revisited.

10 pm Say emphatic things to last remaining alert child in stage whispers so as not to disturb nursing baby.

10:30 pm Q will be asleep, only to have to wake up to burp as I am about to get something accomplished. At least twice. Which causes me to wonder at the futility of things. Tra la! Perhaps I will actually go to bed when he does. At least he's not teething, right?

So we'll meet up here tomorrow night (if I've managed to survive) and see how much reality looked like my predictions. (Disclaimer: I'm sure it will go well, whether or not I get any sleep. But if I should not appear back here tomorrow night, let's just assume that I'm asleep, okay? Thanks.)

In the meantime, I've thought a lot about the following quote over the last several months and thought I'd share. It's from It Must Have Been an Angel, by Marjorie Lewis Lloyd.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Substance. That's pretty real, isn't it, pretty substantial. That's something to take hold of. Now tell me, if you have the substance of what you hope for, if you actually have it, what is the first thing you do? You thank God for it, don't you? So faith thanks God, thanks Him enthusiastically--even though it cannot yet see the thing it hopes for. Faith knows it has the answer.