Our day started out about 8:15 when Becky and Mitch dropped off the four kids as well as lunch and dinner. Yes, you read that right. As if getting everything together wasn't enough, Becky left two delish meals-- tater tot casserole for lunch and spaghetti casserole for dinner.
We loaded up the van, because we borrowed Mitch and Becky's mini-van you know. Dave looked like a total hottie behind the wheel if you ask me. I think he had a moment where he thought, "this isn't so bad..." hahaha. Anyway, we headed to Hy-Vee for a donut. Not because they love donuts, but because I do. And I am willing to take every excuse to get one, even if that includes parading five small children through Hy-Vee. Everyone loved their treat, and at one point during this, while sitting in the Hy-Vee cafe, Rugger stood up and started yelling, "Look, look. Darth Vader! He's here! Darth Vader! Darth Vader!" I didn't look to see who he was pointing at and gave my first stern Aunt Stefanie look and asked Rugger to sit down and be quiet, which he immediately did.
Church was fantastic. I just want to say how impressed I am with the Stonebridge Children's Ministry. They were incredibly organized. We got all the kids dropped off and had a great church service.
We came home to play in the backyard. When I say play I mean help Dave identify dog poop for him to pick up. Hmmm.... I see them begging to come back soon! Dekker played in the swing. Then we enjoyed lunch around the table and put the three little ones down for a nap.
While the kiddos napped we got to do some big kid activities. Like video games and computer games. I like to think that this redeemed us for the dog poop outing. Check out Ryleigh sitting in the TV chair. She's a natural.
We also enjoyed the low fat no-bake Strawberry Cheescake. We ate it without Rowen, who was over 3 hours into his nap at this time. We reasoned that we needed to eat before the spray park, and that Rowen could have a banana in the car, and then we could get out the door quicker. Poor thing. He did have a banana later and hopefully never knows what he missed out on. The kids loved it, they asked for seconds several times and each time I suggested they eat more fruit. Their mama would be proud of me. And I ate the leftover pieces the minute they left, and for breakfast today.
We owned the spray park! It was a total blast. We did have a rather heavy conversation on the way to the park about infant death and cremation-- for the life of us we don't know how they got on the topic, but my volunteering experience at the Ted E Bear Hollow prepared me to answer their questions simply and honestly and eventually they were satisfied and moved on to another topic. We just had a great time at the park-- We have pictures to prove it!
We came home and had a great dinner. Again, I loved having all those kiddos around our kitchen table. I gave them a half slice of bread and some fruit. Ryleigh asked why and I told her it was a "side." She explained, "We don't have sides at our house." Oh how I love these kids. I am certain that they have side dishes! Hahaha.
In the end, I loved surrounding Dekker with his cousins. I thought it was so sweet how his cousins played with him and talked to him and included him. We pray for lots more great memories in the future. Here is the closest thing to a picture of the whole gang I could get:
Having a large family for the day was fun. It kinda tugged at my heart to share my attention between so many kids, including Dekker. They said the funniest things, the sweetest things, some spiritual things-- a total joy. They are good kids-- so well behaved and such good listeners. Aside from the Darth Vader comment, and a few kids running away without telling a grown up at the spray park, my mean Aunt Stefanie face was almost never out. Whew! No one wants to see that.
On a side note, my right lymph node is swollen again and I feel like I am swallowing glass. Let's chalk this up to what is probably my fourth ear infection in oh, 6 or 8 weeks. I am totally stumped, and starting to think worse case scenario-- this is where my anxiety can get totally out of control (health, death, cancer, etc). So please pray that I would have faith that God is in control, and that I would find some answer and that they would quit coming back!
My final note is that my guilty pleasure every night is: Chelsea Lately on E! and CNN with Anderson Cooper. Quite the opposites, I know. Maybe they'll have a special on ear infections once the epic gulf oil spill and/or hurricane season is over.
On the journey,