So I'm sure after reading the title you all must think that we are crazy to have ventured out to the snow with three little boys four and under and me fifteen weeks pregnant with our fourth. Well, think we're crazy because...we did it and it was so, so much fun! Our wonderful friends have a family cabin up near Lake Tahoe and they asked us and another family to join them for a few days of fun in the snow. Of course we signed up right away knowing it would be crazy and hectic but hey, it's crazy and hectic at home so why not add in a bit more chaos and have a good time too!! We left the day after Christmas and finally made it up to the cabin around midnight. When three families of little children are all traveling together it can make for a long trip due to multiple stops and such. But we made it. Babies were nursed. Children were taken to the bathroom and the Dads even got to have a stop at In-n-Out to get some fuel to keep driving. When we arrived, all of us moms were busy getting the sleepy children into their beds while the Dads all unloaded the cars. Luckily, everyone went back to sleep fairly well, us moms organized all the food and meals brought up and the Dads got to drink a beer and hang out in the freezing cold to "cool off" after unloading everything. It was a perfect start to our trip.
The next day us parents got lucky that everyone slept in a bit and then it was off to start our day. The older kids took a hike out in the forest and played in the snow. Joshua only lasted about fifteen minutes outside. He was just too cold and didn't like being bundled up like a mummy. So he and I went back to be with the other smaller ones. The rest of the day was spent playing with the Wii, playing cars, shooting nerf guns and just being together with friends. After all the kids went to bed, us parents played a game of Scrabble and our friends quickly found out that my husband LOVES games and he's quite good at them! The next day we ventured out closer to Tahoe to go sledding. We had a great time. However, there were a few snafus. For one, there wasn't any indoor area and all three of us moms had little ones who just couldn't be out in the freezing, snowy cold for hours on end. After about two hours Joshua just wouldn't stop crying. He was miserable. The older boys were cold too and so after much deliberation, Steve and I decided since it was late in the afternoon, we better head back to try and get Joshua a little bit of a nap. We also weren't able to make it up to the sledding area until lunch time making it a very late afternoon. So everyone got hungry and tired pretty quickly. But even with these set-backs sledding was still fun and we had a good time. The other two families stayed for another hour or so and then came home. It was also snowing a lot for the few hours while we were there so it was fun to see the snow fall. It just got pretty cold! The next day we went out to breakfast and then headed home. However, we made a few stops on the way. We stopped to visit my grandmother in Pleasanton who is in Assisted Living. She is so sweet but she has Alzheimer's and has no idea who I am anymore. She did love seeing us though and especially loved the kids. We'll have to see her again soon. Then we stopped in San Jose to meet my new nephew who was born while we were gone. My brother Jason and his wife Theodora just had their first son on Sunday, December 27th named Christos. He was 6 lbs 7 oz and 19 1/2 inches. He is just beautiful. After seeing them it was time to hit In-n-Out one more time before heading home. We finally pulled in right at bedtime and threw everyone in bed. We were all exhausted! But we had such a good time. Some of the funniest parts of the trip were managing all nine children, three families and all of the different schedules. Fortunately we are all very close friends and so we know each other well making it easy to navigate through the craziness. But trying to pack up, dress, feed, herd and direct nine little children (3 four-year-olds, 3 2-year-olds, and 3 babies...15 months, 8 months and 2 months) was quite a feat and to be honest, we were all surprised that we got as much sleep as we did. It was really a good time. And even though we'll have another little one next time, we're already signed up for next year!
For the fourth time in five years, I've come to the point where I need to hang up my shoes and cease running for awhile. I knew it was going to come at some time I just didn't really know when. But my body has been showing signs of needing to slow down after I've gone on a few relatively easy and short runs lately and so I figure it must be time.
Running to me is like an old companion. I've been doing it regularly since junior high (except for a period of time in college when I stopped for awhile). Sometimes it takes a bit to break your shoes back in but after a short period of time, your feet fly again, your heart races and the wind runs through your hair giving a sense of freedom and stress relief that no other exercise can--at least for me. But for now, it's on hold. Once again, my body must rest, gain strength, and nurture a little one inside. It's time for less strenuous activities. It's time to walk again.
But soon enough, I know that once I've rested and once this new little one has come, I'll somehow find the time to run. Because to me, there's nothing like an early morning run when it's cold outside and the sun is showing all His glory in bright pinks, purples and bursting yellows. These are the mornings that help me get through the day caring for my children. For when I've emptied myself physically and spent time in God's creation learning, knowing and seeing who He is, I feel like it's a new day and I can keep going. Running off frustrations and worries and filling my mind with good things, always keeps me headed in the right direction. It's also one of the only times I get to be by myself to think, reflect and to pray.
But there are seasons in life and like many seasons before, it's time. Soon enough I'll feel this little one rolling around inside and sooner than I know I'll be holding this baby in my arms. And when I feel strong enough again, I'll pull those shoes back on, step out into the day and feel that familiar urge inside to go and pound the pavement.
......But six! That's right folks. It's time to announce to the blogging world that we are expecting our fourth child at the end of June! Don't ask me if it was planned because, well...it was planned by the Lord and so we're excited! I officially hit 13 weeks today and I'm feeling much, much, MUCH better. My goodness, with each pregnancy it gets a bit harder to keep up with everything, especially in the beginning and near the end. The nausea hit me pretty hard this time (for me at least) so coupled with that and major fatigue, I've been pretty out of it for the last three months. Poor Steve literally carried me to bed almost every night for a long time as I'd fallen asleep on the couch after the boys went to bed! But God is so faithful and I have an amazing husband, so we've all pulled through just fine. Sorry I haven't been blogging much. I'll back in the swing here pretty soon! Also, as you can see from the stellar pictures that my four-year-old took, my belly is already out there at 13 weeks! Wow...the body just sticks out faster and faster every.single.time!! Good thing my jeans still fit although it won't be long!
I can't believe that in a few short months we'll be a family of six. Good thing we planned ahead and got a car that seats 8! Go Honda Pilots!! Wow...I'm not sure how I'm going to handle all of it but I know God will give me wisdom and tons of strength. It's good to be weak and not know what we're doing anyway. "Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God." Is. 50:11 b Amen and amen. We thank God for blessing us yet again. To God be the glory.
Pockets are really a wonderful thing for a mom. Without them I would be totally unorganized. All throughout the day I might find a piece to a game, a toy that needs to be put with a set, a piece of trash or something of the sort and I usually don't have time to put the particular item away at that time. One of the major culprits right now is anything small because Joshua eats anything he can get his hands on and so I find myself picking up paper clips, pennies and bouncy balls--all in the name of safety you know. But then, someone starts crying, needs a hug, correction, food, water, to go to the bathroom...and the list goes on and I usually can't make it to put the item I just found away. So I just stick it in my pocket and I can put it away at my leisure. It's kind of like my own little middle pile that doesn't dirty up the ground. At least in theory that's how it's supposed to go.
And then it comes to be laundry day and I clean out my pockets and find screws, change, bobby pins, Hershey Kiss wrappers (did I really eat all those?), erasers and nerf gun bullets. And that's just a start. Then I think to myself that my system probably isn't working but, like a creature of habit, I just sort through what I can, pile the rest up on the dryer and put the stuff away as I get time. The funniest part is when I clean out my pockets in front of my husband and he just looks at me so strangely when I start pulling out all sorts of foreign objects. I give him that knowing look and tell him "Don't ask!" He never does.
Yeah...I think pockets are absolutely indispensable. If I didn't have pockets I'd never be able to find all of those long lost pieces and the baby would probably be choking on small items on a regular basis.
To whoever invented the pocket idea, a big "Thank you!" from all of us moms who use them faithfully.
So after writing my last post about work and romanticizing about living the life of a pioneer, I am humbled and reminded once again how I am completely unprepared for such a life and am a totally spoiled American. We've been without running water for three days and just an hour ago got back up and running (literally) and it has been quite the adventure. Now, I will say, that if I wasn't accustomed to water running out of my faucet on a whim or my toilets flushing when I want them to, then I may have adjusted a bit better. I really did try my best, but having no running water for a family of five can be a bit challenging.
I mean you need water to wash dishes, clothes and faces never mind the toilet flushing. And for us, when our water goes out, it means we don't have drinking water since we drink water from our fridge. Luckily, we have family nearby and so my dear hubby could take a shower at his brother's house down the road and then was able to fill up numerous water bottles at their house too (thanks guys!!) to get us through each day. Even though this was a mini crisis, I was determined to try and stick things out without going and spending a TON of money on paper plates and water from the store. However, if it would've gone on much longer, I wouldn't have been able to avoid it especially since my dear little Caleby ended up getting a rather high fever right smack dab in the middle of the madness.
Nevertheless, the water is on. It is hot when we need it to be and it no longer runs brown. Lucky for us, there was a major storm last night that dumped a ton of mud into the broken pipe so all that mud and sand had to come out this afternoon before I could use the water. But it's crystal clear now and we're back in business.
My best friends on this three day journey were a spray bottle full of water that I could use to wipe things down since I didn't have a wet rag, lots of paper towels and the best tool of all--baby wipes. Those things are good for everything from wiping dirty dishes, to cleaning dirty rear ends. Thank God I had a HUGE box full of those!
And tonight, after all three boys are in bed, I am taking a nice, long, HOT shower and I'm not coming out for well...a long, long time! And I will very much look forward to brushing my teeth and washing my face.
So lately my boys and I have been reading through Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, Farmer Boy, where she very skillfully gives a beautiful snapshot of her husband's childhood growing up on a farm. If any of you are like me, I absolutely loved her books when I was a child and read them over and over and over and over again. I was delighted to start reading them to my boys.
One of the things that has hit me very hard in reading this wonderful little book has been the intensity with which these people worked. I mean, it is inspiring. From dawn until dusk they worked, taking care of animals, milking, threshing, planting, hoeing, hauling water, making everything they owned from clothes to shelter. It really is quite amazing.
And then I think of myself running my little dishwater, cleaning up tiny messes, putting my clothes in my washer machine, and buying all of my food pre-packaged at the store...and I think, "I have absolutely NOTHING to complain about ever!" I have it so easy compared to how these people lived. I have modern medicine that saves my children when they have a bad cold. I have stores I can visit to buy clothes rather than having to sheer the sheep and weave cloth to sew my own. I have water and electricity. Wow! Then why is it that our generation (myself definitely included) complains that we work too hard? How can this be when we obviously don't? Getting dinner on the table should seem like a piece of cake!!
I have been giving this some thought and I don't know that I've come to any amazing conclusions, however, one thing I do know, is that the way in which people used to work was good and I really think we've lost a lot in our modern advances. That's not to say that we can't be thankful for them and that we haven't gained anything but I do think we've given up a lot. Families worked together because they had to. They didn't complain much and everyone just pulled their weight. Why? Because they had to in order to survive. Children knew how to work from the time they were small and they felt useful, a part of the team. Truly, we've lost a lot there.
And I've been wondering, how can I, in the midst of all the wealth that surrounds our life, teach my little boys how to work when there's so little we all have to work for anymore? I mean, they help do dishes, set the table, sort laundry and stack wood with their Dad and Grandpa, but what about hard, everyday work? Where can I find this for them because when they grow up, they'll have to work for their families and I want them to be used to working from the time they're small. Playing is great and they do a ton of that, but real, hearty work is what they need and sometimes I look around and I'm at a loss.
How do I teach hard work in this modern world? I know it's possible. And we can't just go back to living on the farm because that's just not very realistic either. But we must find a way to translate the benefit of work to our children. It's so important. I guess one thing I can do is to stop doing everything for them and let them do much more themselves. It's hard to do this because they still do need so much help with many things. And sometimes I just want the kitchen swept or the counters cleaned quickly so we can move on. But maybe I should slow down a bit and let them do it, even if it's not perfect. Maybe if I just started there we could be on our way. I'm optimistic that it can be done but it will take much more effort than previous generations where it was just built in. It will take a lot more thought but it's so, so important.
I am Nikki Dauphin, wife to Steve since July 2002, and mom to four boys and one little girl. Currently my husband is pursuing his PhD in mathematics, so as you can imagine, with five kids in tow, there are many adventures to behold! I'm learning how to raise a brood of boys and one precious princess, be a homemaker, how to be a lovely wife to my handsome and dashing husband and how to love those around me. Stop and stay awhile. Family stories, recipes, musings on life and lessons I'm learning are all a part of this blog. I love the life I've been given and thank God for His many blessings.
Steve-My amazing, fix-it, brilliant, math-loving, puzzle-solving husband is a Math PhD student pursuing his graduate degree through Colorado State University. He is also a Year Round Graduate Intern for Sandia National Labs researching and working on projects related to national security and preparing for his dissertation. We met at Cal Poly, SLO and were married in 2002. Seriously, he's my best friend.
Isaac-Laughter. My precious firstborn. Blue-eyed, blondie, logical, lefty. Particular, orderly, courageous, funny, and intelligent. Sees the world in patterns, numbers, colors and shapes. My first son. My joy.
Caleb-Brave. My mischevious secondborn. Brown-haired, coal-eyed, soldier. Needs explanations about how the world works. "Mathy", inquisitive, architectural and mechanical. Silly, passionate, tough, long-suffering and smart. My second son. My love.
Joshua-Saved by the Lord. My irreplaceable thirdborn. Bubbly, gregarious, social and playful. Loves to be surrounded by his family. Cuddly, kissable, chubby and charming. Life of the party, full of joy, overflowing with humor and laughter. My third son. My light.
Elliana-The Lord Has Heard. My long-awaited daughter. Petite, dark-eyed, beauty. Strong, coordinated, cheeky and spunky. Sharp as a tack and a flitting socialite. Loved by every member of her family. My fourth born. My only daughter. My treasure.
Nathan-God Has Given. My fourth son. Yet, it never gets old. My youngest little gift. Gentle, strong, sweet, angelic. Blonde and light-eyed. Littlest of them all but full of life and love. My fifth born. My littlest man. God's given. My gift.
Hot Providence (too bad it's out of print) America's Test Kitchen Anything Williams Sonoma King Arthur Flour