Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Days of Tomorrow

There was nothing that stuck out significantly to indicate that this night's established 'tucking-in' would be different from any other night.  The floor of Evan and Nicholas's room was finally clear of toys and after lighting the Cars stoplight nightlight, I pushed play on the CD player to hear the introductory notes to the theme song of their bedtime story CD.  I wished both squirming boys 'sweet dreams' mixed with 'I love you's' while giving multiple snuggles.

Turning off the overhead light I slung Dylan into his customary place on my hip and made only a feeble protest at taking him with me down to James and Morgan's room.  It's not that I don't want the munchkin with me, it's the busyness that trails alongside him I could sometimes do without.  To say he is distracting is an understatement.

Entering their room, I immediately knew Morgan was upset.  Only their sleepy faces peered at me from their mounds of handmade quilts, overstuffed pillows and various plush and hard toys.  While James's eyes lit up with pleasure at seeing his baby brother to say 'night-night' to, Morgan's red-rimmed eyes threatened to spill unshed tears.  Dylan pushed away from me wanting to be swung to the floor, forward momentum immediately propelling him in his climb up and over Morgan so he could get a drink from the nighttime water cup sitting on the bed shelf.

I stepped up onto the ladder for the top bunk and brushed a kiss across James's cheek. His skinny arms twined around my neck to hold me close so he could return the kiss and nuzzle his cheek against mine.

"'Night mom," he said.  "It was a good day today.  What took you so long?"

"I had to help your brothers put some things away,"  I answered.  "Dylan and Nicholas dumped out the Lego and dinosaurs."

Pushing at my legs, the small whirlwind informed me it was his turn to say good-night to James.  I stepped sideways off the ladder as Dylan's compact body slipped up the ladder like he had been climbing since birth.  Lowering myself to sit on the edge of the mattress, I rubbed my hand along Morgan's slim back as I leaned over to kiss his cheek.  His beautiful brown eyes filled with emotion blinked tear-soaked lashes.  He glanced at me then quickly away causing a few rogue tears to escape and trickle down the cheek I had just kissed.  He turned his face into the pillow in an attempt to hide the emotion.  Morgan's sensitive soul often causes his heart to hurt.

"Morgan, my boy, what's the matter?"  I asked him.

Inhaling deeply, he bit his lower lip before answering.  "I was just thinking tonight about when we grow up.  What are you going to do when we grow up?  I mean...", he paused, his big eyes turning to me with absolute anguish in them, "...someday we're going to grow up and then you'll be home all by yourself all day.  And dad is at work all day.  And you..."  another pause as he buried his face in the pillow again.  The next words were muffled by both the pillow and the emotion he couldn't contain. "You'll be alone all day and you'll have to do all the work yourself.  We won't be here to help you."  Looking at me again his long, dark lashes had matted together, the tears still brimming.   "And I just don't know what you'll do when we're all grown up!"

I ran my hand down his soft boy cheek.  Our bodies shifted as Dylan clambered between us, his elbow caused my glasses to shift sideways and his knees dug into Morgan's chest and arm.  I adjusted my glasses back to their rightful position before scooting Dylan off of Morgan.  Dylan began burrowing into the blankets, his feet bumping the wall and his head colliding with Morgan's shoulder.  I gently brushed those heartfelt tears from the cheek of this sensitive child and cupped my hand under his chin to turn him to face me more fully.  My mind fast-forwarding to days where floors are free of Lego, laundry piles have dwindled, to-do lists are checked off and the walls ring only with echos of laughter and screeching.

"Morgan," I said as I lowered my forehead to lean against his, "those days are a long time in the future.  We don't need to worry about them just yet."  But even as I said the words, I didn't fully believe them myself.

A long heart-to-heart kept our heads bent close until we finally brought our quiet chat to a close by lifting our burdens for the future in prayer.  He gave me a small smile, his eyes now drooping heavily with sleep.  I tucked the blankets more snugly around his shoulders before straightening myself to do the same around James's sleeping form.  From the doorway I looked back over my shoulder to make sure both sets of eyes were closed.  Turning out the overhead light, I left them sleeping peacefully to discover what trouble Dylan might have found when he left the room ahead of me.

I can only trust that there was soothing balm for Morgan's hurting heart in the words and prayers we spoke.  I can only pray that he always remembers those precious moments when we shared our worries of the future together, even if they were in the midst of chatter, busyness and bumps.  Because sometimes it doesn't matter what else is going on, there is a heart that needs tending to right now.

May those lonely days of the future never be fulfilled.  May the days of the present instead be as full of laughter and noise and dirty clothes and laid aside toys that the gusto of five boys bring with them.  And may all the fullness of life today spill forever over into my days of tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


It was a loooong time coming for James and Morgan.  We decided the multipurpose room downstairs would be renovated into a bedroom for the two of them to share.  However, the logistics behind that undertaking were extensive - at least for our limited space and the time we could designate to remodeling the room.

When Dylan was about four months old, the time had come for him to move out of our room.  The memories are a bit hazy, but I'm pretty sure I was still up with him when Luke's alarm was going off at 5:15 am.  I don't think I had even stretched out in bed that night; I was surprised Luke got any sleep at all between Dylan's fussing and my movements.  The next night I declared Dylan was sleeping in his own room!  It was an evening of bed-shifting: Dylan into the crib in Nicholas and Evan's room; Nicholas and Evan down the hall into James and Morgan's big boy bunk beds; James and Morgan into their new bunk beds set up temporarily in the living-room downstairs.

Although we functioned with the transitional setup, James and Morgan needed their own space.  They needed a room with empty shelves and floorspace, not just a makeshift area shared with furniture shoved over and instruments piled in the corners.  Their long temporary stay was in a room already full that quickly overflowed. Keepsakes and toys were without empty shelves to be put on. Clothes were without enough drawers or a closet to be put in.  And Lego was everywhere!

Luke planned and created.  I piled, shifted and finally sorted and cleared out.  And then one day, the room was finished.  The carpet was laid.  The walls were painted.  The waiting was over.

This is the beautiful end result.

A new space full of possibilities.  A room where they can carve their own story.  A room that inspires the possibilities of what decluttering and renewing a piled up area can deliver.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Too Much Stuff

It's been, well, months since I sat before a blank page writing a new post feeling it would be a justifiable use of time.  There have been piles to unpile and unavoidable deadlines to meet.  And somewhere in the midst of that meals still had to be made and clothes had to be cleaned.  I think my obligations are caught up enough allowing me to wedge in a few minutes here and there assembling my thoughts in print-form.

My last post was an assertion of my effort to rein in some of the chaos in our home.  A big part of this is ridding our home of unnecessary stuff.  I adopt an attachment to stuff when I acquire it.  Once it comes in the door, whether I want it or not, it's hard for me to let it go back out the door.  I'm not (quite) a hoarder and I'm not a collector.  But I am a saver.  I save things that have been given to me even if they serve no useful purpose for any of us.  I save things created, played with, used by or given to the boys.  I save things that might be needed someday.  I save things I dream I might have time to use in the future.

And I'm a piler.  If I don't know what to do with it, I put it in a pile.  If I don't have time to deal with it right now, I pile it over there.  This pertains mostly to papers, but it's also all the odds and ends that collect on counter tops and in corners.  Then, when I need to do a quick clean up, I get a box, pile it in and put it downstairs telling myself I will deal with that later.  The problem is that later never seems to come.

About six weeks ago, later finally arrived!  We were ready to have new carpet installed in the bedroom downstairs.  During a break in the renovation process this was temporarily unused space leaving me plenty of opportuntity to diligently fill it up with all that I'll-do-it-later stuff.  But the time had come to deal with it.  My piles of collected clutter had to be sorted and either put away or purged.  And I did it!  Between boxes painstakingly emptied and a huge truckload of stuff donated, it was time well spent because the result was a clear room.  The saying "a weight off my shoulders" truly describes how I feel.

This has made it all worth it.

A beautifully finished clean space for James and Morgan to call their own.  Now talk about a motivator!  Seeing such an end result spurs me on to reclaim the rest of the space I haven't gotten to...yet.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Time to Get Organized!

I have always found it difficult to accept the passage of time without regret that I haven't done more and been more.  I frequently reflect on what has been and what I've done.  More often then not, it motivates me to do differently in the future.  Sometimes I am successful; sometimes I have to try again.  And again.

2014 is now over six weeks old.  Whether one is given to setting resolutions or goals on New Year's Eve or not, there is something about a new calendar year that instills reflection and planning.  I'm not sure many people can truly escape the nostalgia that presents itself as the clock counts down on December 31.  Then that magical second between 11:59 pm and 12:00 am strikes and provides us unadulterated freedom to begin re-writing our own story.  A clean slate, if you will.  A moment is taken, whether willingly or unwillingly, to reflect upon our accomplishments, disappointments, happy and sad times.  It's a moment to speak to ourselves and make the promise of trying, once again, to do and be the best we can.

This year I determined to change my perspective even though I don't usually make resolutions.  I have always liked to be somewhat of a bohemian drifting with a come-what-may-for-the-day attitude.  However, with a large family to manage, a home that needs tending and work that has deadlines, how can I seriously continue to live in my bohemian bubble?  Oh sure, it was fine when there were mostly babies and toddlers in the house, but school has changed that.

I have spent a lot of time reflecting and have set some (ehh hmm) goals.  Aak!  I can't believe I am actually saying this!  I am NOT a goal-setter!  I'm not an organized, everything-in-its-place house manager.  I'm just not, it doesn't resonate well with me since I've never done it.  But for quite awhile now I've been looking at what is not working in my habits and our home.  It comes down to this: organization.  So, whether I like it or not, I will have to become organized.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I love the idea of organization!  My hurdle is that I don't know how to get there.  So, I've looked at the advise of what works for some fellow bloggers.  I've questioned my sister-in-law who, in my eyes, is the queen of getting it done and making it work.  I pinned anything I found online on Pinterest so I could find it again when I needed it.  And I have talked it over and over and over again with my very patient husband.

One day, not long ago, I took the plunge and started.  I actually took time to write out the many thoughts whirling through my mind to consolidate them into a list of goals.  I printed off some worksheets and guidelines I think will help keep me on track.  And to top it all off, I compiled all of these into a "household binder" so I can easily access it and use it.

Now I'm taking it one step further.  I am typing this out for others to read when they stumble upon my words either by choice or by chance.  Now I am accountable to at least attempt implementing these changes.  I have known for so long they are necessary but, due to both reluctance to change on my part and circumstances that I couldn't change, I have not yet begun. 

But what better time is there than now?  Tomorrow is a fresh new day ahead of me without any mistakes, disappointments or failed attempts written on its pages yet.  (Thank you Anne Shirley!)

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Canadian Winter

Snow!  It's definitely what winter is all about this year.  Snow and cold.  A true Canadian winter with piles of deep snow, huge snowbanks and plenty of snowstorms.

Personally, I like being storm-stayed at home when the winter winds are howling and the lake effect snow squalls are, well, squalling.  The forced isolation is a nice reprieve from the constant expectations of daily life.  It's an extra holiday from school for the boys.  Lovely wood heat makes our house cozy.  We are all tucked safely at home without anywhere to go or anyway to get there.

Near the beginning of January the first massive storm system moved through our area and shut everything down.  It extended the Christmas vacation from school for an additional three days.  The temperatures were a numbing -25º C (-13º F) with a windchill of at least -35º C (-31º F).  The snow piled up deeper and deeper.

When it finally stopped storming, it was time to dig out.  Friday afternoon Nicholas was already outside helping Daddy clear the deck when the big boys got off the bus.  Before they had time to get out of their snow clothes I sent them out to help shovel.  Under daddy's supervision, they worked hard dumping snow over the railing where a snow ramp formed from the ground below to the top of the deck railing.  Shovels were quickly abandoned to be replaced by sleds when they realized what they had constructed.  Daddy held the sleds in place while they scrambled up, over and on so they could fly down the ramp, across the backyard all the way to the edge of the trees.

Dylan and I watched through the sliding doors in the kitchen while I made applesauce pop tarts.  They were a yummy treat added to the expected cup of hot chocolate when they all finally came in. 

Although we hadn't set out to teach the boys a life lesson that day, they experienced the satisfaction and joy of playing on something built by their own hard work.  Weeks later the ramp is still there waiting to be used whenever it's not snowing too heavily, blowing too hard or just too cold to be outside playing. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My New Year Begins Tomorrow

The first day of 2014 is winding down.  Boys are in bed, dishes are done.  The busyness of the holiday season is officially over.  I sat drinking a cup of steaming tea while the Christmas tree lights still twinkled.

Tomorrow I will truly begin this new year.  I will fold the baskets of clothes that have sat unfolded these last days.  I will sort and put away the gifts still scattered beneath the tree.  I will sort out the pile of winter coats, skates, helmets and boots littered in the entrance.  I will once more begin the laundry cycle to rid our rooms of the mountains of unwashed clothes.  I will plan the meals we will eat for the last few days of the boys' vacation from school.

Tonight I will just sit and enjoy.  I will reflect on the year we left behind with the stroke of midnight barely 24 hours ago.  I will think of the happiness reflected on the faces of my boys as they enjoyed the wonder of the holiday.  I will make mental notes of how to accomplish it all in a more timely, less stressful way next year.

Memories were made.  Happiness was given and received.  Wonderful food was eaten.  The holidays were celebrated with family and friends.

Tomorrow I will start my new year and all the fullness that life will bring each day.  Today I will embrace the year we just made wonderful with laughter and music and smiles and hugs.