Monday, June 20, 2011

Surviving Father's Day

Saturday night as I knelt beside my bed at around midnight, my nightly prayer sounded something like this: "Lord please, Please, PLEASE give me the strength to get through tomorrow. Please help me have the strength to physically accomplish all I need to do and to make it through the day."

Last week was our first full week out of school. We got home from the cabin on Monday and began our summer routine on Tuesday. The summer schedule had to be tweaked a few times but it has been working very well. The kids were excited to start it. We have had very little fighting and no need for me to tell the kids they have to do this chore or that activity.

However, for me the summer means me being very involved with my kids ALL day. I love that but it is physically exhausting. I also forgot to work into my schedule the "mom" things that I usually do when the kids are at school (like grocery shop and run errands and do laundry.) So with Jon working from dawn till after the kids go to bed I have been working extra hard to get all my stuff in while juggling the 5 kids.

By Friday I was pretty tired. I took all 5 kids to the library and then we ditched the family chore for that day and just read for a couple hours while Noble had his nap and I lined up a babysitter for the evening so I could go out with Jon. We then went swimming at a friends house and on my way over Jon called and said he may have to cancel our date. My dad had called and asked him to go to the cabin to put up some sandbags to prevent the flooding from washing away the driveway. This threw my for a loop. (I completely spaced the girls viola and violin lessons.)

Jon ended up leaving for the cabin with my dad around dinner time. I still went out that night just so I would have a break. But that left me alone for Saturday (my day to catch up and have help.) So Saturday morning (after being up twice with Harrison) I laid in my bed till around 7 a.m. while Annie got Noble up. I heard him moving a chair downstairs as I laid in bed. By the time I got downstairs I couldn't see a chair out of place. So I got everyone ready and we all headed to the "makeup" violin lesson.

While the girls were in their lesson, I took the three littler kids to Walmart to grocery shop. Not the most fun activity with tired boys. By the time we got home... I was spent. As we walked in the door my kids went to go feed the gold fish we were "fish sitting" for our neighbor. I heard yells and screams.

I looked over and there was the chair. Noble had fed the fish that morning... with the whole big full can of fish food. The water was now fish food slime. Amazingly the fish were still alive. I jumped into action to save the fish (I couldn't let the fish die on my watch!) As I cleaned the fish slime out of the bowl and got the fish settled the phone was ringing and the door bell was ringing. Kids were running to see who was here and neighbors were wanting to play and I was just trying to keep the little ones in the house and the fish alive. It was a scene of such mass chaos that I just have to laugh thinking back on it.

I finally gave up and let the neighbor come in the house so the door would be shut while I cleaned the stuck on fish flakes off the chair and table and floor all around where Noble spilled them. Then I fed lunch to the kids and got Noble down to bed. Next I got our groceries put away and started making dessert for our father's day dinner for my dad. By the time my dessert was done it was about time to head to my sister's for swimming and the dinner. I packed all my kids and the swim suits and their towels and goggles and pjs and underwear and hair bands and my side dish and dessert in the car and headed over. (that alone took 30 minutes.)

At my sister's we had a good time. The kids swam and we had a great dinner. The men showed up and hour and a half into the party. We headed home around 8. Back at home we got the boys to bed and I set the girls to sorting laundry and I called my friend Catherine to go walking with me. Luckily she agreed to walk with me and be my "body guard" as we walked from 9-10 p.m.

The walk was just what I needed. It put me back in good spirits and gave me the energy I needed to prepare my Relief Society lesson for the next day. I finished my lesson around 11:30 and headed up to bed.

That was when I said my prayer. I knew how tired I was and how tired I would be the next morning at 5 am when Noble woke up. I knew how hard it would be to get up and make the breakfast in bed the girls had planned for Jon. I knew how hard it would be to make the coconut truffles I wanted to make for my lesson and how much I would not want to clean my kitchen afterward. And so I prayed.

And the next morning, I did all that. I got up. I made the waffles, and coconut truffles. I cleaned up all the cooking mess in the kitchen from the past 2 days. I got me and half the kids ready for church. (Jon stayed home with Annie and Noble who were a bit sick.) I went to church and did my lesson. Then I came home and exhaled.

I thought of how I really had felt "helped" to make it through the day. And I said a prayer of thanks. Then I got my "side dishes" together and headed to my in-laws for another father's day celebration dinner. It was fun (even though I fell asleep nursing Harrison for a few minutes.) We left around 6 and got halfway through the 30 minute freeway drive home before we heard serious SCREAMING in the back seat.  Annie and Sabrina unbuckled and jumped out of their seats screaming. "What in the world???" I thought.

Lauren was throwing up ... a lot. The last 15 minutes of that drive were ... less than pleasant. The hour after we got home while I cleaned up all the puke was also ... very much less than pleasant. The whole time I just kept praying I would not puke too. And my prayers were answered. I didn't.

If you are still reading... you are a really faithful reader. Thanks. This is a really long post about a really hard week/weekend. But I wanted to record it because I felt "helped." I think it is important to record times when you feel powerful answers to prayers so you remember them. Moral of the story ... Pray. He answers.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. It is so nice to know that everyone has those types of days. I really needed that.

Joyce Kay said...

I enjoy reading your blog. I too have 5 kids, a hubby and work 40 hours a week at my job. It is tough at times. Some days I can't find the light at the end of the tunnel but when I eventually find the light, I exhale and say I did it!

a.k.a. Jack said...

"If you are still reading . . ." you are a MOTHER! I could so relate to this post. So much so that I was totally caught by the title and couldn't stop reading once I read the first line. Oh man, those kinds of days, like you said, are the ones you can't help but laugh about when you think back on them they are so crazy, though they certainly aren't funny in the moment. You poor thing. I'm glad you survived and I'm grateful the Lord cares enough to help out. No doubt your grandmothers were ministering angels throughout the weekend. Hopefully you will have a fun, relaxing week to make up for it. :)

Taylors said...

I loved this post too! It really is good to know others have these days too and I couldn't help but smile as I read the whole thing. Thank heavens for answered prayers and the help to get through things!

Anonymous said...

Sounds awful! My husband works very long hours and often travels for work and I have no family nearby so I am totally on my own with my kids most days. The lesson I learn and forget over and over is if I make things easy for myself - simple meals, few activities, flexible deadlines, etc., my kids are a lot happier. And when I am freaking out my prayer is "Please help me calm down so I don't make things more difficult." And that helps me. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, totally understand those challenging & tiring days! And so true, the power of pray. He gives us peace & gives us exactly what we need at that moment. Just felt this last night with my prayers & while reading the scriptures. Thanks for sharing your day.

Vicky T

Sarah S. said...

Thanks for being so dedicated to our $1 fish! It is amazing they are still alive!

Anonymous said...

Your aplomb is inspiring.

Stephanie said...

Dear Anon (the one right before this comment),
Thank you so much! "Aplomb" is a new word for me. Thanks for the compliment and thank you so much for teaching me a new word!


shawni said...

Hey Stephanie, I've been thinking about you a lot lately and just wanted to come say hi. I'm so glad you made it through the craziness explained here and I'm SO glad you wrote it down. I wish I wrote more of the crazy stuff down so I can remember some day when life is easy what it was really like :) Anyway, you write SO beautifully and I'm so happy I get ot know you in person! Much love, Shawni

Emily @ RemarkableHome said...

So sorry your weekend was so crazy and hard. Life with 5 kids seems alot harder than life with 4. And life with 5 kids and a husband who is gone alot is incredibly difficult. Too bad I don't like closer so you oculd send some kids over while you grocery shop or run errands or need to take a bath in peace. That's what our moms used to do. Maybe I will get over there soon. Keep your eyes out for good rentals!

Tournesol said...

I have 3 kids and 4 pets and a husband that works about the same amount of hours at his own business. It gets overwhelming and lonely alot. I think I need to start praying for help a lot more.