Monday, June 4, 2018

On Wrapping Up

Well, we have orders and a move out date and we are down to two and a half weeks before our packers arrive so naturally we are trying to cram in as much sight-seeing as we can before we leave.  Like all the things you would have thought we would have gone to see living this close to the capital but didn't because we obviously had so much time left and didn't need to rush :)

Memorial Day weekend we knocked out Luray Caverns, drove the Skyline Drive, and made a quick visit to our old favorite, Huntley Meadows, where we re-homed the most adorable baby turtle that you have ever seen.  Chris really wanted to keep him but I persuaded him that it was best not to take a turtle across state lines since we would probably want to set him free after the cuteness wore off and even I know that you don't set Virginia turtles free in Vermont.  Luckily, prudence beat out baby animal cuteness.  This time. 

There are so many more things I want to do before we leave but unfortunately there are even more things that I have to do, so I'm feeling very pinched for time.  We never took the kids to just walk the mall and see all the memorials so I feel like we definitely need to do that if nothing else.  I'd take them by myself but apparently I'm allergic to driving into D.C. on weekdays, which explains why we haven't seen nearly as many things there as I thought we would. 

I know that I haven't fully processed the fact that we are really about to move again.  I'm just going through the motions of someone preparing to have all their worldly goods packed up into a moving van and hopefully shipped undamaged to a whole new state, but it still doesn't feel real.  I don't think it's going to really sink in until we start saying final goodbyes to all of our friends. 

That or the boxes are actually loaded onto the truck and our house is empty. 

Which is coming up rather quickly. 

What would you go see in D.C. if you only had three weeks left? 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

On Turning Eight

We decided to celebrate Henry's birthday a day early this year so that daddy could attend the festivities.  And by "festivities" I mean the special birthday dinner he chose of mac n'cheese from a box which the children almost never get to eat and therefore has become somewhat of a coveted delicacy here, reserved only for the special-est of special occasions,  and of course cake and presents.  Henry requested a coffee cake which I was pleased to make for him since it's not only something I would actually like to eat, but it also didn't involve me making frosting.  A double mom win. 

Microwave mac n'cheese and coffee cake--my son obviously has a very refined palate. 

He received some pretty excellent presents so far, including a new sword that is almost as tall as he is, a camouflage watch and wallet, and my personal favorite--Legos from his brothers that they bought with their own money.  The boys have been saving up for months to have spending money for a family vacation we're going on soon but they can't quite seem to stop themselves from buying gifts for every special occasion that comes up, so I'm afraid they won't have much left by the time we get there.  I'm certainly not going to squelch their generosity though.  The delight on their faces when they give a gift that they worked hard to earn the money for, picked out, and bought themselves is balm to a mother's heart.  They might bicker constantly but they really do love each other. 

That or they're hoping for a turn with the new Legos.  It's hard to say for sure.  Let's just assume it's love. 

We had planned to go the zoo tomorrow to celebrate the big day on the actual big day but half of the family is sick so Henry graciously agreed to postpone the trip to later in the week when everyone is hopefully feeling better.  After all, according to my little marshwiggle, at least one thing always goes wrong on your birthday.   

Henry also designed his own birthday shirt with an old t-shirt that I told him to throw away because it has a hole in it and a dry erase marker.  He was pretty excited about turning eight--even if he did know something was bound to go wrong in the end. :) 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

On Attempting to Be at Peace

"Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day.  Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually:  'The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped.  He is not only with me but in me and I in Him."
~St. Francis de Sales

Mary Lenaburg had this quote printed on a handout that she passed around at a women's retreat last weekend that I attended and the message couldn't have been more timely for me--although it's certainly easier said than done.  To say I've been entertaining anxious thoughts as of late would be a bit of an understatement.  Any of you who know our story know that I've lost two babies in my second trimester over the past few years so I'm, I would say understandably, a bit anxious until I can at least feel my babies kicking and have a little reassurance of their well being. 

I just had my sixteen week visit last week, and everything was completely normal, but I went about preparing for that visit in a way that probably wasn't.  Before every second trimester prenatal visit I find myself mentally preparing to not hear a heartbeat.  To see that concerned look in the doctor's eyes as they're wielding the doppler.  To have to deliver the baby that afternoon.  So, instead of being excited to see how the baby's doing I spend the days prior to my appointments:

  • cleaning the house in case we have to call in friends to stay with the children while I'm in the hospital.  
  • checking to see whose feast day coincides with the day of the appointment so I'll have a name ready just in case (thankfully, we won't be adding a Julius to the family this year).  
  • sitting down and realizing that my heart is racing because I'm having a bit of an anxiety attack without even realizing that I was worried in the first place.  
  • giving myself a pedicure because you forfeit enough dignity when you're delivering a baby as it is--you should at least be able to look down and see that your toes are presentable even if nothing else is. 
  • and just sitting around in general and imaging the worst.  

I'm a bit of a mess.  

Intellectually, I know that God will give me the strength to bear whatever comes because He has before.  I shouldn't worry.  I should assume everything is fine unless I find out otherwise.*  On the other hand, emotionally, I still haven't unpacked my box of maternity clothes, and it's not because I don't need them yet.  I've just been taking out what I need to wear and then putting it back in the box once it's clean again.  If you've ever had to take all the maternity clothes out of your closet and prematurely pack them back up in a box you understand my hesitancy.  

I've got my big ultrasound in two weeks and then another appointment two weeks after that so I don't have any more huge lapses of time to go without checking in on the baby.  Maybe after those I'll finally unpack my maternity clothes into my actual closet.  In the meantime I'll just keep reading this quote that I ripped off of the bottom of the handout and attached to my refrigerator with a magnet and try my best to be at peace.** 

It does help to have friends who suggest lovely nature walks to see the bluebells, even if nature walks with children are never quite as relaxing as you imagine they will be.  Especially when it's eighty degrees and they opt to carry Nerf guns in lieu of water bottles.  Also, I can't believe we've lived here for four years and this is the first time we've gone to see the bluebells.  

*I totally just had to change this from "until" to "unless."  Unless we find out something's wrong, not until.  We aren't necessarily going to find out that something's wrong.  I really am a mess.  
**Okay actually it's being held up with one end of a magnetic curtain rod that the owners of our house left behind so it looks even more classy than you are imagining.  

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Day

This year we decided to once again invite too many people to comfortably fit inside our house over for Easter and luckily the weather held out so we could be mostly in the backyard.   Our general hospitality plan is to invite everyone we know over and hope for the best and so far it's always worked out just fine! 

In the morning we went with our usual Easter routine and attended early mass and then came home and had a forced photo shoot before the kids were allowed to get into the house and hunt for their baskets.  Once everyone devoured their chocolates we did some major last minute tidying up and food prep before our guests arrived.  We got everything done in the nick of time, mostly because we sent the children outside so they would stop destroying every room as soon as I cleaned it up, like the darling little tornadoes of destruction that they are.  That and Chris strapped Christopher to his back. 

It's possible that I went a little overboard in making our cascarones this year.  We ended up with about 380 eggs give or take those that succumbed to some rather successful baby sneak attacks.  Our annual hunt was longer than ever since we had more eggs than ever, but in the end it was Margaret who had the glitter smashed into her hair.  She was fairly inconsolable about being hit in the head with an egg, but she eventually calmed down when she realized that she got the giant golden rabbit as her prize. Also, I probably should have listened to Chris when he suggested something other than glitter in the prize egg since it's so hard to get out of hair. 

I think everyone enjoyed themselves, but I should have been paying more attention as our guests were leaving because somehow we were left with two cakes, a pie, a bag of cookies, a sweet bread, two bags of chocolate covered pretzels, and six cupcakes.  I guess it's a good thing the Easter season lasts so long because we have desserts enough to feast through the whole thing :) 

I hope you all are enjoying your own Easter festivities and that no one else is having to clean glitter out of their children's hair!

Friday, February 2, 2018

On Turning Five

We had a bit of an emotionally draining week here at the Reintjes house but you can't let a little thing like that put a damper on birthday festivities.  I didn't manage to take many pictures of the actual day, it being a very busy regular Friday, but I did get a fair few of the previous day's spectacularly messy cake preparations. 

And yes, all of the children are sitting on the counter, and yes, there were eggs in the batter.  We live dangerously here.  Very, very, dangerously. 

At lunchtime Henry came up and whispered a request for me to drive everyone over to the local variety store after swim lessons in my sneakiest manner so that he could buy a birthday gift for John himself with his own money.  He picked out two packs of Pokemon cards, which John was ecstatic about receiving since the house rules are that mommy and daddy will under no circumstances spend money on them.  Judge if you must, but the kids all go through phases of wanting all the cards and then alternatively giving them all away to the neighbors in passionate fits of generosity.  That or they go through the washing machine and all that's left of them is that little bit of shiny paper in the pockets to let you know what once was.  So far John hasn't given any of the cards away, but he did immediately divide up all the coins he got from grandma and grandpa between his siblings.  He's a sweetheart that son of mine. 

When I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday he said without hesitation that he wanted to ride on a ferris wheel and eat fish sticks and french fries.  Luckily there is a rather large ferris wheel nearby at the National Harbor so Chris came home early from work to take him after his very fancy birthday dinner.  John was half asleep since it was so late at night (i.e. after seven) but I think he enjoyed himself, especially having all that special one on one time with daddy. 

Five is such a heart tugging birthday, they're so grown up once they're five.  Even if they do still stick their whole heads into the mixing bowl to lick it clean.     

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