Saturday, September 30, 2017

We Forgot Him at College

Nine people, 2000 miles, 30+ hours driving over 13 days.  What was I thinking!  I was thinking I wanted to eek out every last second with my oldest, Isaac, before dropping him off at college.  I was thinking, I'm not ready to let him go. 

Florence & children
Molas Lake, Colorado

Peter & children
Silverton, Colorado

I am not ready for this new stage of parenting, but who really is ready for anything?  I keep telling myself it is a beginning and not an end, but it is hard to convince my heart.  


We all gave Isaac cards--here are the 3 little's cards:

College, Miss You, Asher (He started to write love but got too tired)

We will miss you.  We love you and I hope you have a good time at college. Eva

We are an extremely close and open family, so it wasn't from lack of feeling or love that no one cried when we dropped Isaac off.  It was because traveling with seven kids is like trying to herd cats.  There wasn't time to let yourself feel much.  When feelings started to bubble up---the baby cried and needed to nurse or a child fell and scraped their knee, or got stung by a bee, or wanted to know what we are doing next or when we will eat or HOW MUCH LONGER?

Hiking at Arches
Moab, Utah

Two days after getting home, as I was attempting to unpack between bouts of nursing, my throat tightened and tears started to come when I saw my homeschool bookshelf.

I was ready to have a good cry and release, but then someone--or three--needed me.  One of these days, I promise myself, I'll take the time I need to cry, but for now I'm still trying to put the house together and my 6th has come down with a stomach bug and my husband and 3rd are off on a camping trip, and someone forgot to lock the chicken door after collecting eggs and we had to gather the chickens.  

A few days after getting home from dropping Isaac off at college, Asher (4) said, "We forgot Isaac at college!"  When I explained that we didn't forget him, but that we planned on leaving him, Asher had a stream of questions, "Why did he not come in the car with us?  Why does he not share the bunkbeds with his brothers anymore?  Why does he have to stay there?  I miss him.  Mommy, when do I grow up older than Isaac?  Why does Isaac have to learn to be like an adult?"  As I went through pictures of our trip, Asher was by my side and said, "That's when we were keeping Isaac."  I am so glad I chose to homeschool, because the biggest gift it gave me was time together.  I taught Isaac for 17 years and I'm going to miss teaching him.  However, I'm excited for the new adventures that await him.

During our drive from New Mexico I entertained and sang lullabies to our youngest, Eleanora, almost the whole time.

Vocals are quiet, but oh how I love her sweet smile.

Finally asleep after an hour of singing lullabies

It is a balm to my soul that I get to do this for at least 17 more years.  The privilege of intimately knowing another human being, one that I made, no less.  I take comfort that my oldest, might not need lullabies anymore, but thankfully, he still needs me in a different way, because no one ever stops needing the ones they love.

Isaac--our last Sunday home together

Monday, December 21, 2015

Paved in Gold

October was a month full of milestones.  Peter and I started the month off with our first trip away as a couple and my first time away from Asher (2).  The time was right.  Asher had mostly weaned himself, which led to my supply diminishing and he had longingly declared, “Milks broken.  All-gone milks”.  

Asher is usually charming and adorable, but has also entered the “wild beast” stage.  The smallest thing sets him off.  Wrong color cup, wrong chair, wrong shirt, or just doing something that he wanted to do that we couldn't have known without telepathy. The slightest “offense” brings on a raving beast.  Something as intolerable as me refusing to let him ride his bike down the stairs or off the table.  I must be terribly unreasonable with all the wailing going on over here! 


He is my sixth so I take this phase in stride.  I know it will pass and it won’t last long, but a break away, even for a night sounded delightful.  

I love every season, but autumn the most.  The leaves were changing, the air was crisp, and I decided if we were going to be alone, that we should be completely alone.  

I love hiking with Peter.  When we hiked the Blue and Red Dot Trail in White Rock the previous month he was so supportive and encouraging.  

The Dot trail was around 5 miles and steep enough that I felt like a mountain goat scrambling.  However, we did find this nice oasis at the bottom.

  We had a nice dip--and may have taken off a tad more than this...

When I’m giving birth, I crush Peter's hand, while he whispers in my ear—you are strong, you are amazing, you are beautiful.  Truly, he is my champion.  Well, he does the same while we are hiking.  It isn’t like he is dragging me along--unless it is the last few miles up Timpanogos--but I do love how he loves me.

Timpanogos, Utah

August 1998
11,650 ft
18 miles round trip

Timpanogos Front Side
December 2014

Nambe Lake Hike
So we decided that our first night away should be a backpacking trip in the Pecos Wilderness to Nambe Lake.  We bid our babies farewell and headed to the mountains where Mother Earth enchanted.

The hike to Nambe Lake wasn’t terribly hard, only 7 ½ miles round trip, but we had packs and it was steep…at times a 58% grade.  

After hiking through beautiful fall foliage we arrived at secluded Nambe Lake at almost 11,500 feet.


We had the lake to ourselves, the night was clear and the stars were plentiful.  We enjoyed the solitude and each other.  It was magical to make a meal and only have to feed ourselves.  We ate out of the same pot, so dishes were minimal—unlike at home.

We laughed at our ineptitude at hanging a bear bag.  We guffawed at the eight times I had to pee after arriving in camp, a result born from drinking copious amounts and not peeing during the hike. 

My mom thought I was crazy for choosing to go camping for our first night away.  The heart wants what the heart wants.  After 4 years of living on an island, I wanted to go to the mountains. It would have been nicer not to be in separate tents, but not sleeping with a rock in your back is better.  Maybe our next trip will be one where we are pampered, but for now this was perfection.

Even with no children, Peter still did some bedtime tucking. We’ve mostly used our hammock tents in the Marshall Islands where it is hot.  Sleeping in a hammock in cold weather is a different case.  It was no easy feat with our winter gear and he kindly helped me get arranged.  

I prophetically said it would be awful to have to pee in the night after the fiasco of getting settled.  I had to pee 30 minutes later, and then two more times!  Between all the peeing, getting settled, and listening for a bear, I didn’t sleep much.  So when Peter woke up a little before 6 am, I told him I was going to try to sleep some more.  I didn’t wake up until 9 am!  I couldn’t believe he let me sleep that if I needed more proof he loves me.

I had taunted the children with the delicious backpacking meals we were going to have.  Dinner was a success, but breakfast was a disaster.  Serves me right.

After packing up camp, I was ready to see my little, wild beast again, so we headed down the mountain.  

On our way down the mountain we met various groups that were headed up to the lake.  That night in the warmth of our home we saw the mountains we had been on and they were covered in clouds and lightening, with snow in the forecast.  We truly went at the perfect time.

Epilogue--only fitting since this is about as long as a book
My sister-in-law, Marsha, was our emergency backup, but the boys did a great job taking care of their siblings. I had the boys sleep in our bed so they would hear the littles if they needed anything.  Thankfully, everyone slept through the night.  However, when morning came Asher ran into our room and was confused to find THREE boys in our bed.

To balance out the universe, here's the beast being darling...

Summer 2014

This trip alone was enough of a milestone, but the month kept giving and giving

• Peter’s parents visited us in New Mexico for the first time.  Peter's sister, Elizabeth & her son Nathaniel also came for a visit.  

• Caleb received his Patriarchal blessing from his Grandfather Parker.

Isaac got his driver’s license.  
     They postpone tests due to weather hazards, but I naively thought that only applied to weather that no one would drive in—like ice or snow.  Our first try they wouldn’t let him take the road test due to the rain being a hazard.  I'm not talking about a down-pour, but a let-me-look-out-the-window-to-check-if-any-moisture-falls-from-the-sky kind of rain.  Um, if they can’t pass the test in the rain, should they be driving at all?  He was able to take it the next morning, and the sun was right in his eyes.  I’d say that is more of a hazard, but I’m just glad it is done and I don’t have to pick him up from basketball practice any more.  Yee-haw!

• Our chickens began laying eggs 

1st Egg (Bantam)

More eggs!

• My uterus was declared to be small and tight---at least one part of me is, hooray!

• Isaac took the ACT for the first time

• We watched General Conference...this is our version

• I donated blood for the first time—apparently they’ve changed regulations and my Latin America-living, England-residing tainted blood is no longer an issue.  

• Isaac turned sixteen
Celebrating with cousins
Isaac (16) & Alyssa (14)

I loved Asher's hands while we sang Happy Birthday.

You're never too old for Pie Face

Asher's version...he's too scared to do it with cream.

 • Last Halloween our Marshall Island's shipment arrived.  This year we celebrated it without unpacking boxes. 

Panda, Richard Simmons, Moose, Jelly Fish, Alligator, Bats

Here's one where you can actually see Asher's face.

• And the one that proves that not all paths are paved in gold…
I was asked to be Relief Society President.  Gulp.

I told Peter this is what comes from me deciding to wear a bra to church.  After 4 years sans bra, I decided I could make the sacrifice and try to be a little fancy for the Lord.  Yes, wearing a bra is about as fancy as I get.  

The truth is I suppose God knew it was the only way to get me to church on time.

If it gets too hard, at least I know a place I can go to escape...