Day 4: Sometimes you just need…

Viewing the Jezreel Valley from the Nazareth ridge
Viewing the Jezreel Valley from the Nazareth ridge
Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth
Paul's view from the hotel in Nazareth (oh yes, I am jealous)
Paul’s view from the hotel in Nazareth (oh yes, I am jealous)

IMG_1254Today really was fabulous. The morning was great; lunch has been fine (as that was a concern seeing it is the biggest time the girls see Paul). Naps happened early and then we were off to do an errand, which led to a surprise visit to the park, which led to dinner with a friend and her little girl. Hooray for unplanned happy occasions!

Even coming home and bath time went great. By the way, the girls really climbed at the park. I was so proud; being a lover of climbing myself. It was so fun to see them try things that they had never done before.

Anyways, what I’m about to tell you is going to seem like it has nothing to do with what I’ve said previously, but just hold on:

We only have one santa hat in the house. Doesn’t sound like a problem? Oh, it has been. Especially between Hope and Sophia. Let’s just say that Hope decided she wanted to wear it first today and that gave us a great little opportunity to teach Sophia about being happy and content even when someone else has something you want.

Right before bed, Sophia grabbed the hat and put it on, planning to wear it to bed.

“No, no santa hats in bed.” I took the hat and put it out in the hallway.

At some point in the middle of the night, Sophia came into my room, crawled in the bed and asked for a drink. I’m not as tough in the middle of the night as I am during the day.

“Okay.” We got the drink and then visited the bathroom. (Did you know that’s one of the hard and fast rules of parenting? It’s okay to give a kid a drink in the middle of the night, but always take them to the bathroom as well. You’ll never regret it. = )

After walking back down the hallway and entering her room, I realized that she wasn’t with me. “Where…what…” my groggy mind thought.

All of the sudden, she came around the corner… wearing the santa hat!

I don’t care. Wait is there a way that it could be dangerous for a three-year old to wear a santa hat in bed? Because if there is, then I’m going to have to say no and that would be really sad. 

Before I had time to decide, she pulled off the hat, wadded it up, stuck it under her arm and dove in bed.

Smiling to myself (and not a little unrelieved that I didn’t have to deal with it), I tucked her in and left the room.

You know, sometimes when your dad is on the other side of the world… you just need a santa hat under your arm in bed.

Thanks for reading my first series: Taking care of four little girls alone (while my husband is on an amazing study trip to Israel). Here are links to the other related posts. 

Series coming soon

It’s official: the Israel trip is on

Official introduction

Day 1: to turn out that last light

Day 2: lonely in a crowd

Day 3: Is something wrong with me?

Day 3: Is something wrong with me?

Harod Valley
Harod Valley
Harod Valley
Harod Valley
Harod Valley
Harod Valley
Place of the spring where God tested the men of Gideon, Judges 7:4-7
Place of the spring where God tested the men of Gideon, Judges 7:4-7

Not much to say for today, we went for a walk in the morning (my very favorite thing to do). Mckayla even walked with us most of the way instead of being carried. ***cue Halleljuah chorus***

Lunch was good. Naps were good. Playtime was good. Dinner was good. Bedtime was good. And though I still don’t enjoy going to bed by myself, it’s going fine, and by God’s grace, I’m getting rest.

So I’m starting to wonder, is something wrong with me? Should this be harder? Should I miss Paul more?

Except for the last hour or so before going to bed, everything feels normal. I guess we’ve just gotten used to the seminary schedule.

I still haven’t heard from Paul, but I know he’s fine through the social media grapevine.

As it stands tonight, I just hope he’s having so much fun and not worrying about us at all. And I’m looking forward to more fun time with my girlies tomorrow.

Thanks for reading my first series: Taking care of four little girls alone (while my husband is on an amazing study trip to Israel). Here are links to the other related posts. 

Series coming soon

It’s official: the Israel trip is on

Official introduction

Day 1: to turn out that last light

Day 2: lonely in a crowd

Day 2: lonely in a crowd

IMG_1209
Moat built by crusaders at Caesarea Maritima
IMG_1231
Gate built by Solomon at Megiddo
IMG_1227
First century rolling stone tomb

We go to a big church. I love our church. Today, it was incumbent on me to get myself and my four small daughters to church alone.

The prospect of getting four little girls up and out the door early might sound daunting, but I wasn’t really worried about it. Deep down, I know what it takes to get places ready and on time; I just get lazy and leave things ’til the last minute and then pull out the old, “but I’ve got four little kids!” excuse.

Anyways, times like this I realize I’m going to have to be on my game and what do you know? Things normally turn out fine.

***Interpretation of everything I just said for a male: Everything went fine getting the girls and I to church.***

I dropped them all off at their respective nurseries and classes and headed upstairs to our adult Bible fellowship. Our room is at the end of a long hallway opposite of the stairs. Walking past people, it seemed that everyone had someone to talk to. Of course, people said hi and everything, but it was the first time I really felt alone.

I sat and learned and talked to people and everything like normal, but it was all so un-normal because Paul wasn’t there. I guess you don’t know what a privilege someone’s presence is until it’s gone.

Thanks for reading my first series: Taking care of four little girls alone (while my husband is on an amazing study trip to Israel). Here are links to the other related posts. 

Series coming soon

It’s official: the Israel trip is on

Official introduction

Day 1: to turn out that last light

Official introduction: Taking care of four little girls alone (while my husband goes on an amazing study trip to Israel)

Hello and welcome to my first series: staying home alone with four little girls (while my husband goes on an amazing study trip to Israel.) For fun, I’ve included pictures from Paul’s trip. Israel is a truly beautiful land.

Caesarea Maritima
Caesarea Maritima

This series begins on the day that he left, after working until six o’clock the previous night, spending the evening with the girls, deciding to start packing at 11:22 pm, running to Walmart at midnight, and finally going to bed… oh, about two.

I possess a strange set of emotions; most of the time they kick in way after the fact. I’m saying this because I really had no idea how I was going to react to him leaving. Would I cry? Be scared? Try to remember every detail of his face in case it was the last time I saw him? Not feel anything at all? Act tough? Act wimpy? What would the girls do?  

Two weeks before he left, I went through several days of wondering if I was going to survive. Like literally, survive. He’s gonna die; or I’m not going to make it; or something… I’m pretty sure life as I know it is over. 

Thankfully, with the next week came some hormonal straightening out and I began feeling nothing. This is cool. We’re going to be fine. It’ll be so fun to have the car (for the first time in months). 

I began to wonder if something was wrong with me for not feeling more sober or anxious about it.

Planning my grocery list and menu for the week he would be gone gave me the first feeling of true nervousness in my stomach. All right; so I am normal. And yeah, this is going to be okay, but it’s also going to be hard and sad and lonely. 

When Paul got home from work the night before he left, the sadness hit hard. That’s it. There’s nothing between him and this trip now. 

The theatre at Caesarea Maritima
The theatre at Caesarea Maritima

I loved the girls reactions to him when saying good-bye on the morning he left.

Hope began truly crying, “You’re going to be gone for such a long time!”

Sophia smiled at him excitedly, “Are you coming home for lunch?”

And what did I feel? Excitement for him. I’m sure some mental compartment noted that him going down the stairs that last time meant I would be on my own for two weeks, but all I could think about was how much he was anticipating this incredible opportunity.

So there you have it. The next post will start with our first day on our own (while Paul got stuck in airports for hours, had flights canceled, gates changed, and ate a lot of Five Guys.)

A happy place

blogpics 006This kitchen will never be featured in a magazine. It will never receive enthusiastic compliments from friends and visitors. It’s only future is to observe my less-than-perfect cooking skills and to endure my fledgling attempts to keep it immaculate.

But this little room is a happy place for me. Want to know why?

I get to teach my little girls how to make macaroni and cheese here. (And hopefully insure that they will never try to make a homemade salad dressing out of a raspberry crystal light packet)

What could be more fun than sitting on a floor with a four, three, and two-year old making lunch while the one-year old sleeps?

blogpics 002I wish you could have seen their delight at all they got to do; unwrapping butter, shaking in salt and pepper, adding and stirring the cheese. Hope was cheddar, Gracie was mozzarella, and Sophia was parmesan.

The floor got a little messy; it took longer than if I had just done it myself, but that didn’t seem to matter.  

This little incident really impressed me, obviously enough to get a camera and take some rough home photos.

Why did something so insignificant fill me with this deep, abiding sense of happiness?

I think that true happiness always catches us off guard. How many times have I done things trying to manufacture happiness? But there was none of that on this particular Saturday; just got up, got the girls up, made breakfast, probably played or folded laundry, sent my sweet husband off to the library and hoped that the rest of the day wouldn’t be too difficult.

And for some reason decided to put the pot of noodles down on the floor so the girls could make macaroni and cheese with me. Weeks later, I’m writing about it and still trying to figure it out.

Happiness doesn’t depend on beautiful surroundings, ideal circumstances, or perfectly planned activities. It just happens; I think I would argue it happens when you’re thinking about yourself the least.  

blogpics 010Okay, I could easily make a long list of things that sound more fun than making macaroni and cheese with preschoolers. I’m a big girl; I have interests, desires, dreams; but for right now, teaching them and spending time with them are the steps I find myself taking. And the big picture truth I’m thinking about is that these small steps have right here, right now, brought me to a happy place.  

p.s. Thank you all so much for reading; you’re giving me unexpected encouragement.

Just you and me baby

If I had a wishlist of things to do with my girls, one of the very top items would be to spend time with each of them alone. As you can imagine, with four of them four and under this is nearly impossible. (Unless you possess an incredible skillset including organization and determination, of which I do not! Hmm…one of the reasons for starting this blog…)

Anyways here is the long shaggy dog about how my wish came true! Sophia began showing signs of mild sickness first, followed by Gracie and Hope. After lunch, Sophia and Gracie were laying around practically beginning to nap on the living room floor. I wasn’t sure that Sophia would actually take a nap, but after putting her in my bed and laying Gracie down, one look at her said she was out. By this time it was time for Mckayla to go down and voila! I had an afternoon with Hope all to myself.

I think sometimes it’s the easiest to bypass the oldest when it comes to giving individual attention.

Her first request was to work in her letter book (always my learner); then we looked at birthday cakes on pinterest and played the piano. Oops…forgot to fold the laundry, again. Actually the most bizarre thing we did was to look at pictures from superstorm Sandy the day before. She asked me if some cars could swim.

Next I got to play with Mckayla by herself. Gracie was still asleep and Hope and Sophia were resting in my bed. I nursed her and then she did the cutest thing with The Open Road. She would flip the pages back and forth and say “DA-Dat!” every time she saw the mole. I could almost promise she tried to say “flower” too, but I’m not biased or anything. I love seeing the pleasure babies get out of doing such simple things over and over. Then when that finally got old, I tickled her and she laughed and laughed. That’s pretty much our favorite activity when we’re together, her and me. = )

And Gracie. Well, to start with she napped from 2:00pm to 6:30pm, and therefore averted the sluggish yuckiness that had afflicted her sisters. (Insert hilarious non-related to title theme story: At dinner Gracie saw a bug, proceeded to clap her hands and proudly pronounce, “I got it!” Then she looked at her hands, wrinkled her nose and said, “Him gwoss!” Was there a bug in her hands? Of course not.) So, there was no way I was putting her to bed at 8:00 like her sisters. We sat together by the bookshelf and she picked books and I read them. Then she would go back page by page and ask a dozen questions about everything she saw. If you’ve ever wondered what love feels like, sometimes it’s not so much a dramatic explosion inside as it is thirty pounds of soft, squishiness sitting down in your lap.

As I write this, I realize that there’s no special time with Sophia recorded here. Does changing her from a wet bed at 3:00 this morning count? Actually, Sophia was the first one up this morning as usual. We normally enjoy hugs and cuddles before everyone else gets up. Actually, I’d say it’s split half and half between hugs and cuddles and bouncing up and down and running back and forth in the hallway …on her part of course, I just watch and adore and try to bring it back around to hugs and cuddles.

I wish I could have time with them like that every day. They’re absolutely wonderful all together, but when I’m with them alone I feel like I can really soak the moments up so much better. Their expressions amaze me; I never get tired of watching them.

I love you, girlies