Sunday, April 20, 2014

Arizona, Day 1

My dream had come true! I was going to AZ for a week to reunite with a good friend of mine from middle school and high school days, who now lives in Europe, but was back in the country to visit.

I was expecting to take all the children with me, but when it became apparent that I did not have enough money for that, I thought that was the end and I could not go. But at some point Thomas suggested I find a way to leave the older children with someone else (he had to work), and it got me thinking... I have a great friend in Raleigh who has a passel of children herself, whom my children happen to LOVE, and who also home schools! In a few days it was all settled.

And soon the time had come to go. Monday, March 31st I loaded up my children and all the stuff we would need for a week away, and drove down to Raleigh! We had a fabulous evening with our friends, and the next day at noon I was off to the airport with Pippa! I was driving myself to avoid my friend having to drive me with 11 children in her huge van! I ate an apple and a Luna bar on the way there and had the passing thought that I should have packed more food, but... oh well. Traveling. I parked at the Doubletree near the airport to take the shuttle service, and the woman at the front desk gave me two warm chocolate chip cookies. Little did I know how important those cookies were... they were to become both Pippa's lunch and her dinner, too.

That day was basically about food, and about surviving Pippa's moods and attitudes. It's true. She is quite the moody one sometimes. In the airport at the gate she threw herself face down onto the floor to have a fit, and I had to sit there telling her lovingly that once she could control herself, she could have her bagel back... with everyone staring at me. On the longer flight (4 1/2 hours), she not only abused my Kindle, but when I took it away as a result, had a very long writhing fit on the floor right at my feet until I thankfully smelled poop and that was my excuse to get out of our seat for a few minutes. (We were by the window, in a very full flight...) Never have I been so overjoyed to smell poop.

Anyways, regarding the food issue: airlines should print huge memos with their e-ticket confirmations that say, "Please, dear customer, remember to bring TONS of snacks, as feeding you rancid peanuts is no longer our practice (too expensive), and do take note that four Luna bars at the airport will cost you $14.37. He who fails to bring a rucksack of food will severely regret the neglect. Love, your caring airline." Before I got onto the first flight, I did realize my error and tried to find something to eat before boarding. But the truth was, that a tuna sandwich cost $11 at the airport, and I thought it was morally wrong to pay that much for tuna salad. The sad truth was that Starbucks was the very cheapest option, and that is saying something! i got Pippa a bagel, and me a soy mocha, just to get a little protein in me and tide me over. In the Charlotte airport, I again visited Starbucks, this time for a spinach feta wrap. And on the following flight, I was STILL so ravenous, that I was only too happy at the prospect of paying $9.50 for an airline asian salad, but when the flight attendant got to my row, he said they were ALL OUT of food! How is it desirable to sell all that expensive food off right away, and be faced with an angry, hungry mob in the second half of the plane? I gave him my credit card so I could buy a container of pringles. I don't even know how much it cost; I don't WANT to know!

So guess what? I was sitting next to a GERMAN woman on the plane! Yeah! Bona-fide! She was just freshly in from Germany, in fact, for a vacation, and was going to spend 3 weeks in an RV touring the National Parks of the western part of the country. They were starting in Phoenix to head up to the Grand Canyon first. Well I was so excited to be next to a German, that that woman was not going to get any English practice on me!

So, to recap: Pippa tired and hungry and oversugared and throwing fits. No food, no sir. Germanness. That was my day in a nutshell!

When we finally got to Phoenix, Na and Lauren had not yet arrived, so Pippa and I waited a bit longer, in our growly stomach state, and then wonder of wonders, there they were! Insert happy reunion here! And Na had YOGURT! and BANANAS! And PRETZELS! I just LOVED being home with my people. Oh... Pippa didn't, however. She screamed a majority of the way back to Tucson (a 2-hour drive). (Poor Lauren, who was driving. No kids yet, and after Pippa... possibly no kids wanted.) She had conniptions when we got to Lauren's house but then had to drive to Omi's, and switch her car seat (with her still in it) to another car.

But at the very last we did indeed make it to Omi's house, where I was to stay. Beautiful Omi's house! Omi had had a really busy week and was actually not home yet! She arrived on the scene a few minutes after we did, very lovely, and very pregnant. We had to say goodbye to Na til tomorrow, but Omi and Monty and I stayed up talking til all hours of the night! 12 AM or so... 3AM my time!!! Monty says that for jetlag, one must stay up late the first night.(And apparently, every night after that, as well. Hahahaha.)

Then they put me up in their new apartment off the back of their house, which felt like the Hilton to me! When Monty does something, he doesn't do it halfway. I was back among the turtledoves and the coyotes, and soft, arid breezes rustling the mesquite trees. I was as content as a bear in a honey tree.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sparrow the Bird, Age 8

Sparrow, you are something straight from the heart of God. You are not like anyone else in our family, therefore, we would not be the same US if you were missing!

I love your original perspectives, and how you always find the positive view and encourage yourself, just as you were meant to do. It is amazing to see in someone so young, when I myself still have problems finding the positive. Oftentimes you are the one who reminds us all of the good that we can still be thankful for. It is such a blessing!

I so enjoy sharing our love for literature and history, and laughing at things that the babies do. It's so fun! You are a wonderer, a thinker, a dreamer, my goofy girl who just loves funny stuff. God loves that about you. I can just see Him in my mind's eye, laughing with you, dancing with you. You are His princess. Never forget that you are precious and a jewel in the eye of God.

I have loved you imperfectly, as much as I do enjoy delighting in you. But He loves you perfectly and that will be the greatest strength of your life. You can do anything with His love inside you.

Thank you for giving us 8 years of such amazing fun. I can't wait for all the rest of them! Having you grow up in our house is such a crazy privilege. I just want to tell you I appreciate every effort you've made, every act of restraint, every time you've asked for kisses, every cheerful "yes mommy," everything you've shared with your brothers and sisters. You. Are. Seen. What I haven't seen, God sees and he knows your precious heart. He is filling it up with love every day. Submit to His love and goodness, and it will keep bubbling out of you now and for eternity!

I love you, from the day you were born, through Boo-kie and Gee-baby, and Punny-munch and all your other wonder-filled stages, you are my daughter. And I am delighted with you. Just be you.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

It's Always Sunny in Arizona

God granted me friends. And then he granted me money. To go see those friends. In the epic Arizona trip of 2014.

I took my baby with me.

I left my husband at home, working his steady job.

I took my other children to stay at my awesome friends' house in Raleigh.

Baby turned 2 while we were in AZ. I paid for her return seat. And yet she would not get off my lap. Irony.

What a beautiful time! I will expound more later! At some point when it is not past midnight and I desperately need to follow Brendon Burchard's advice and ask myself if I am adequately rested. I want to be a high performer, after all.

I might even summarize my trip in a heartfelt poem. Later. For now, I give you... the pictures.


Me and my littlest 2-year-old!