This is our family now, for today.
I am in awe of the truth I am experiencing, how losing yourself in service for someone else lifts the burdens of grief and other struggles.
We are settling, all of us, into our routine and into each other.
Getting ready for church this morning was easy-peasy, as far as getting four kids ready for church can be easy. We have a rhythm now, where I get up for my study and shower, then get the kids up starting with the oldest and working my way down. Nathan does his shower and study while I do the work of laying out clothes and brushing hair and teeth and getting them started on breakfast. Then while I finish getting ready, Nathan helps them do their dishes, and finishes up the boys while the girls get dressed. He plays piano and they sing while I gather my YW things and go back and change out of house shoes into church shoes. Then we say family prayer and head out the door, smooth as things can be.
It is sometimes loud, and a lot exhausting, but no real crises.
Church went more smoothly, too, now that everyone understands what is going to happen and where they go and who their friends are. They all were very good all the way through sacrament, excepting for the youngest randomly busting out into I am a Child of God during the passing of the bread, and a rousing rendition of Follow the Prophet during the passing of the water.
After that, it was trickier, with one more bathroom trip for the little ones, and some arguing over who got to use which crayon when, and why those Lamanites forgot their shirts.
But really, considering, they all did great!
And the best thing was that everyone stayed in their Sunday school classes the whole time, which meant Nathan and I got to talk with grownups and snuggle all during second hour class, and I got to fulfill my calling with the young women third hour.
Nathan had all the kids rounded up again before I even got out of class, and we headed home for lunch.
It was our first Fast Sunday with kids, where we had to cook a meal for them that we ourselves could not yet eat.
They were a little rowdy after all that sitting still, and preparing lunch was tricky while being cranky from hunger and dancing around little bodies that all needed something instantaneously. This called for either some of us to die, or a quick reorganization to a game at the table so we could positively interact while I could still get lunch ready quickly.
They have come so far, all of them finishing their tuna and vegetables and loving the watermelon balls that Nathan made. They are eating well now, though all of them still testing malnourished and anemic enough that each of them has 2-3 nosebleeds a day and they bruise easily. But we are getting there, ever so carefully.
The 5 year old got his assignment for the primary program, which was to fill in the blank for how he can be like Jesus. He chose “be patient and good”, which I must say to him too many times. The 7 year old for the assignment to fill in the blank for what can strengthen her family, and she said “praying to God because my other family knows God but never talks to him and we are a mess. We have to talk to God all the time here, and it’s a blast!” We did some editing before writing down her answer for practice.
It will be our first time for having kids in the primary program, and I am a little bit terrified!
Then the kids were down for quiet time (we don’t do nap time, though naps are often accidental, but just “no noise or toys” and they can lay in bed and read books). While they were down, I went through all the pictures of them we have taken, and got their life book organized and put extra copies of the pictures in a stack for their mom, with a few favorites sticky-tacked all over their bedroom doors. They loved waking up to this!
I got them organized at the table for making cards and letters for their parents again, and left with the oldest to go to the Broken Arrow building to speak to the youth about addictions, pornography, and chastity.
When we got home, Nathan had started our favorite homemade tacos. We all finally took off our Sunday clothes, put on pajamas, and feasted! Then we read the first General Conference talk from last April, as we start to prepare for October. Nathan read to and tucked in the boys, while the girls got to stay up playing in their room since there is no school tomorrow.
The girls were so good that I made them peanut butter brownies with chocolate sauce, which they loved “more than really really good”.
Also, today the younger girl made me this, which is a book about how happy she and her siblings are since they got to come to our house. It has a page in it with a drawing of Nathan that says, “You need to listen! Follow directions!” That made me laugh as much as the whole thing made me cry.