10 Things While My Baby Daddy was Gone for a Week

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John was out of town for five nights this past week. The longest trip since Jed has been born. I get it that other Mama’s have husbands gone much longer than me. And, let me just say, I’d rather give into the back-in-style-high-waisted Mom shorts rather than have him gone more. So, since I’m drinking ALL the coffee and still trying to recover, I only have energy for a brief top ten synopsis of my five nights alone with a 4 year old, 3 year old and 6 month old.

10) Leaving the airport, I totally thought I had it all figured out. “Oh, I got this.” YOU SO DUMB. One of them is asleep! You pacified the 4 year old with a sip of soda to stop the wailing of Daddy leaving! (You should buy more soda to try that trick again later) They’re strapped in the car seats, so they can’t go anywhere! It’s sweet to think that you’ve already got made…

9) By the time I get home, I had the big kids play outside. There were pooped panties. It was gross. I thought it was my worst poop situation of the week. I was wrong.

8) A {very} newly potty trained 3 year old can poop on the floor of her bedroom and use her feces to paint her wall in the time it takes for me to eat a fast lunch. Yes. Feces painted on the wall. If I could go back in time, I’d either potty train a year ago or just never.

7) Sometimes you ugly cry with a roll of paper towels in your hand, multiple disinfecting items at your feet, poop surrounding you, and drawings on the wall with poop that must resemble early caveman drawings. The 4 year old might say “Oh. Mommy’s crying.” But, not long after go back to general mayhem. The tears might get stronger.

6) You might think poop on the walls could be the only possible thing to induce tears that day. Well, you would be sorely wrong. In the time it takes to send a few text messages, the 3 year old can flush 5 brand new head wraps down the toilet. Miraculously, the cheapest toilet at Lowe’s won’t clog. It’s like the toilet knew John was gone and decided to cut the house some slack.

5) The second ugly cry of the day will cause the children to realize that, in fact, they have broken me. The 3 year old will sweetly say, “Oh, Mommy, don’t cry”. But, the 4 year old will turn on her, complete with actual finger pointing “You made Mommy cry! You flushed the bows!” Both of their Little personalities in crisis mode. Bless.

4) Chipotle is crazy crowded at 12:30pm on a Thursday when it’s your final day to care for the brood. But, thankfully, Angus Jack is not by 1pm. But, as soon as everyone gets settled and the baby finally sleeps, everyone will have to put the circus in the bathroom because the newly potty trained one has to go potty NOW. Instead of “Hold it because otherwise the food will get cold”, I wanted to avoid a bullet point number 8 in a public place, and traipsed to the bathroom.

3) Sometimes, two middle aged women will just stare at me while I take my three kids by myself to lunch at Mama Fu’s. They got a tad bit snarky with “Oh. You’ve got your hands full”. But, I was too tired to respond with my normal “Yes. Full of good things!” And, instead of giving the snark back, I smiled. I should’ve gotten some free edamame for that restraint. Or, maybe my prize was eating out for half of the meals while John was gone because WHO CAN DEAL WITH MEAL PREP IN CRISIS MODE?

2) Trying to take my first pictures for What I Wore while the photog husband is gone and the Littles run amuck? Awkward selfies.

1) I survived! And, more than survived, I actually thrived. These kids are the ones I’ve longed for since I was a kid myself. While I definitely love the fact that John and I parent as a team, I’m glad to know that Jesus will give me exactly what I need when I need it for these Littles

Birds

IMG_9999Okay, I’m always trying to make some kind of special moment with the kids. Before I became a parent, I was the best parent. Like, I was AWESOME. My kids never talked back. They went to sleep promptly at their bedtime. We played educational games. We never watched TV. And, we only ever ate the healthiest of food.

Imaginary kids are so easy.

Now that we all see where I’m headed with this post, I shall give you the latest and greatest of my “precious moments” parenting….

Apparently this is like bird birthing season because we have two nests at our house right now and I see another at the neighbors. Well, the one in the backyard was conveniently built on top of the fireplace exhaust (is that even what it’s called? BEATS ME. I’m from Florida). But, whatever it is, it gets hot when the fireplace is on. So, to avoid accidental scrambled eggs, we’ve been diligent to make sure that loose-hands-Charlotte isn’t allowed near the fireplace switch.
OKAY, TRUTH POLICE! Charlotte flipped the switch on once. But, John {believes} he caught it pretty quick.

Each time we’ve gone in the backyard, we check on the nest. It has been my “I’m rocking this parenting thing. I’m all, check out this nature. Check out life. Let’s observe and learn and cherish this together“.

Why do I think these things?

The girls have been super into it. {okay, okay, other than the very initial discovery and we tried to lift Ella up to look at the nest and she screamed as those we were lifting her up into her demise}.

IMG_0094Several days ago, the eggs hatched. We’ve loved checking on them every day and seeing their little balls of fluff hanging out in their nest. Then, it happened…

So, the girls asked to play in the backyard. Since Jed has been born, they’ve gone out to play in our fenced in backyard on their own. I open the window and they can come in and out the door {okay, okay, not a million times and I may say things like “IN. or. OUT.?!”}. But, it’s been a good little set up lately while I nurse Jed or get dinner ready. So, I’m nursing Jed and looking out the windows at them while they play. Ella whizzes by and swings the door open…
{panting heavily} “MOM!! The bird was flying and walking and hopping and…. The bird fell. We hit the bird

WHAT?!

I immediately stop feeding Jed (yeah, he was thrilled). I lay him on the ground (again, thrilled) and go running outside. At this point, Charlotte runs up. I ask them to take me to the bird. Way on the other end of the yard, I approach a bird on the ground with its wings flailed out and…

UNDERNEATH A TENNIS RACKET

Like a little bird prison. I immediately yell tell Charlotte to remove the tennis racket. I notice the bird is still breathing just fine and just staring around. I start frantically answering for the story.

IMG_0153I start to surmise that the bird was minding its own business, fell, and Charlotte put it in bird prison. I then begin to grasp that the bird prison was an effort to catch the bird and they began to say they wanted to hold it.
Well, I’m panicking now.

HAVE WE PARALYZED THIS BIRD?!

What is my logical next step? Call John. You know, because he’s totally sympathetic to the needs of me and this bird.
His responses were things like:

“Ohmygosh, first thing is to have the kids wash their hands so they don’t get bird germs.”

“It’s just a bird. If it dies, it dies”

Next thing I know, I’m screaming talking at the girls to go inside and wash their hands (because of bird germs?). And, don’t touch Jed. Then, I kept John on the phone while I knelt down by the bird to try and figure out how I can scoop it up to get it back in the nest.

I get down next to it and start to whisper sweet nothings while trying to gather my nerve. Turns out, the bird was a liar and wanted nothing to do with our family moments anymore. Guys, that bird done hopped up and flew away while squawking for backup. Next thing I know, birds are squawking from trees and everyone has been alerted to kill me. The second that bird jumped up I screamed the name of Jesus twice. Cue John bursting out laughing

“Are you screaming for Jesus to help you with the bird??”

Uhhhhh, YES, I am. It is telling its Mama bird to come peck my eyes out.

I realized that it was one of the baby birds and it was obviously just now learning to fly. Just the day before, the birds were in the nest and now all of them were out of the nest. I realized that the girls had nothing to do with the bird falling. They were trying to use the tennis racket to hold the bird and analyze it closer. They were somehow gentle with the racket and no injury to the bird. But, I mean, here’s the deal, if something insane (rather than precious) is gonna go down, it’s gonna go down with us.

Excuse me, I’ve gotta go see if it’s time to put the front porch birds into bird prison yet…

{Linking up with A Little R&R Wednesdays!}

Home

The idea of home has intrigued me so much lately.

Home town.

Home state.

Home church.

Home is where the heart is.

This earth is not our home.

So much seems to center around this idea of home, whether we realize it or not. What is home? How does one get home sick and what does that even mean? Why do we even care about the idea of home when we’re told that this earth is not our real home?

Last month we loaded up the car with all of the babies and all of the things to survive a week of vacation as a family. I haven’t been “home” to Orlando in a year and a half, so I had really been looking forward to getting back. A 17 hour drive {not including stops} was quite a task to take on with a just-turned-4-months-old-that-day, a 3 year old and a 4 year old, but we can do it! Especially to stop in Georgia, which will always be a “home” to us because it has our son’s final resting place.

I’ve dreamt of getting a picture of Jed as a baby next to his brothers resting place. Every time I think of it, I cry. Brothers. Grace. Mercy.

Well, we all got on the road a little later than expected. Ella woke up and had a poop accident. Yeah, what is it with our family and poop on road trips?! So, we hung out a little later to see if she was a fluke or a real illness. I also had a minor mental breakdown because we hadn’t started the world’s longest drive yet and I had a potentially sick kid.

Once we realized that Ella hadn’t needed the bathroom again and I pulled myself together, we loaded the car and left.

“OKAY. We can soooo do this”

There were even talks of “Let’s just drive this whole thing. We’ll take shifts and we’ll be there by tomorrow morning”

Well, because it’s us, we stopped approximately 37 times to get a mere 2 hours away from home (which we squeezed into four). Ella had to keep going to the bathroom. Each visit was a little more suspect than the last. BUT, she didn’t have any accidents and we kept stopping in time. No one else was sick, so maybe we should just keep going. I really debated turning around when we were only 2 hours out, but we’re already packed.

We can make it. 

Except, we can’t.

We get to Tupelo, MS, which is 6.5 hours away from our home. Or known to our family that day as 10.5 hours away. We stopped for dinner. And, when I pulled Jed out, I noticed that his eye was oozing a whole bunch of green. I thought it looked a little off, but now it was a whole lot of green.

I had another minor mental breakdown.

Therefore, let’s just stop here for the night because things are going crazy. Let’s get some sleep and we’ll hit it hard tomorrow. We all finally fall asleep.

Around 2:30am, John and I both wake up because the beds were horrible. Baaahhhh. After some whispered conversation, we decide that we’re both pretty wide awake. Let’s transfer the crew to the car and book it to Orlando. Ella wakes up from us shuffling around.

Bathroom trip.

Ugh. Okay, it’ll be fine. Let’s just get Jed up. I’ll nurse him and we’ll go. 

I get Jed.

His eye is now completely crusted over with green and swollen. Lovely.

Cue another mental breakdown. (Third one in 24 hours if you’re keeping track. Let’s also remember postpartum hormones. Yeah, I know. I feel sorry for me, too)

While I nurse Jed, John and I try to look up pediatric walk-in places in Orlando. We found a few, but then look at each other and realize, what the heck are we doing? We’ve got two out of three kids sick. And, coming from the last time we ignored the writing on the wall, we should probably just get home while we’re ahead.

So, we headed home. Like, Arkansas home.

I cried half of the drive. But, each time I cried, it was about time to stop for another poop trip for Ella.

We were so close to seeing Warner. But, so far.

We were so close to vacation. But, so far.

We were so close for me to get home for a bit. But, so far.

We’re not sure when we may be able to try again. We’ve tossed around the idea of just Jed and I going to Atlanta for a short trip to see his brother. The thought that Jed hasn’t been to see him yet really hurts my heart.

We’ve also tossed around the idea of going to Orlando this Fall. Whether I’m being a negative Nellie or a realist, I’m unsure. But, I just doubt that it will logistically work out. And, once we hit the Fall, it’ll be two years since I’ve been “home”. Like, Florida home.

Why is there such a pull to visit home? I’ve struggled with that since our failed attempt. But, I think the Lord has finally connected the pieces to the puzzle in my mind.

Our earthly home (whether it be a place, a town, a church or whatever) is one of the closest depictions we can get to the feeling of Heaven one day. A place to feel known, secure, loved, comfortable, renewed, and at peace. A place where you can take a deep breath.

Obviously, I feel “at home” with our little family. And, wherever they are is where I want to be. But, I don’t doubt that one day, when they’re off and married with their own families, the thought of coming home will be a gift that they treasure. At least, I can only hope that we will create a home where they feel safe and loved.

But, for me, today I sit and long for Heaven. If I don’t get to touch the ground of two of my earthly homes today, I can’t help but picture how much greater it will be to enter into paradise one day. No more botched road trips. No more graves to visit. No more missed friends and family. One day…