I haven't been blogging much lately, have I? Sorry, we have been on the road a lot this summer. And I do mean a lot. The kids and I have officially hit at least ten states I can think of offhand, and driven entirely across most of them. We drove to Arkansas (12 hours straight), spent a month there, drove back to Tennessee (12 hours back) and then to South Carolina (6 hours), where we joined Daddy. This was followed by traveling to North Carolina (4 hours?) ten days later. Then we drove back home to Tennessee (11 hours) and spent three grand days reorganizing disaster. Then it was off to Texas (at least 14 hours on the road; we split it into two days). We flew to Loma Linda, California after that, spent a weekend with my sister while Alan and I did seminars on relationships and Alan married off two of our good friends, Tim Arakawa and Sunny Kim, to each other. Then we rented an SUV (and wow, those things drink gas like we ought to drink water!) and drove to mid-California to spend the night at our good friends Bill and Heather Krick's house (only 4 1/2 hours). Then it was on to Weimar, California (another 3 1/2 hours) to spend the weekend with friends and for Alan to attend important meetings on the future of the great project Amazing Facts and Weimar are working on together. Then off we flew back to Houston, Texas to reclaim our car and drive back to Tennessee (another two days of driving).
Okay, I'll save you the trouble of counting that up. It was at least 81 hours of long-distance driving (3-12 hours at a time), plus all the in-between airport runs, etc. as well as two full days of flying.
If you have never flown or driven long-distance with three kids under the age of five, there is no conceivable way you can understand what that means. I won't even try to explain--the shrieks, the dirty diapers, the backaches from turning around to hand back toys and snacks, the nausea from going around corners when you're turned around...all that and so much more. Yeah, I won't even try to explain it.
But if you shrug and say, "So what's her big deal?" all I can say is, I hope you get the privilege someday. Take a videocamera, so you can send me a video and I can laugh my head off and say, "I'm so glad it's not me!" Because it never, ever will be me again. No way.
But here we are, home again. The kids are putting their toys away, we are having regular worships again, everyone under 5 is in bed by 8 every night, and when anyone needs a time out, I can put them in their rooms. When the kids have runny noses, I don't have to worry about who they're going to smear with germs, or how many people are frowning at them wearing dirty shirts, or having dirty faces, or messing up clean houses. Or frowning at ME when I give a time out, harrumphing, "You know, when I was a kid, I got spanked for doing things like that!" (Does it do any good to say, "Spanking actually makes this particular kid rebellious, and time out calms him down so he repents more quickly"?) I can do laundry in my own washing machine, whenever I have wet or smelly things, or just want an outfit again. I can feed the kids whole grains, lots of veggies and fresh fruit smoothies instead of chips and Goldfish crackers, and we haven't eaten store-bought bread in a week! We can play in the sprinkler without me wondering how we'll get those clothes dry before we leave. I'm not evaluating everything we eat to try to hide the most road-worthy snacks for later. Best of all, everyone's starting to sleep through the night again (hallelujah!), so I'm not worn out, and I am usually getting in my 8 hours too. This morning Seth got me up at 5:45, but since I'd already had 7 hours of sleep, I just got up and read the Bible for an hour. What a great way to spend a life, after being homeless for so long. I have so much to be thankful for. I even weeded the garden yesterday. What a luxury. And can you believe it, we have a babysitter we can trust (thanks a million, Kristin!), so Alan and I actually went out to lunch yesterday to finally celebrate our 7-year wedding anniversary! (Which, btw, was June 24, but we haven't had a break until now.)
Once again, if you don't have kids, I can't explain. And if you're rolling your eyes, I hope you have triplets someday.
I have to borrow something Anaya told Kristin the other day (Kristin is a wonderful student staying at our house until she leaves to go to Chad as a student missionary). Anaya asked Kristin what her computer case was. "It's a case to protect my computer. That way if it gets dropped, or if I take it somewhere, it will be safe, and it won't get broken," Kristin explained.
"You know that's kind of like people," Anaya answered. "When they drop their love, they get all filled up with sin."
Okay, so I'm not saying she's mastered abstract thinking. But I thought it was pretty sweet.
I have to admit, my kids are amazing. In all kinds of ways. Currently I'm thinking of their ability to stop mid-bloodcurdling-shriek when they're not getting what they want, and change to a watery, "Pweeze?" Even Skyler can do it!
So why can't they stop the shrieking thing altogether?
I guess because it's all a sinister plot to rob me of my sanity...or build my character...and I don't know which one it's doing more thoroughly.
I had warned Anaya about the consequences if she disobeyed, which she had most flagrantly. "Sorry, Anaya," I informed her. "You are going to have to sleep in another room away from your brothers tonight." Despite wailing protests, I banished her, along with a little mattress, to the extra bathroom (the only other room in the house where we were staying).
A little while later, Anaya called me to the bathroom with an important announcement. "Mommy," she began, sidling up to me coyly, "Did you know, SOME mommies and daddies CHANGE the consequences for their children after their children make bad choices? And they are good mommies and daddies, too!" she assured me. "Don't YOU want to be a good mommy?"