It's six something in the morning and a sleepy Sean is handing me a wiggling Chase, whose face lights up when he sees me buried under the covers, though I'm pretty sure he's smiling more for the milk than for me. He snuggles under the down comforter, playing with my hair as he nurses.
I pry my eyes awake, running over the never ending "to-do" list posted in my head for that day. Overwhelmed I block the to-do list and turn to prayer, asking God to ordain every part of my day, help Aiden with self control, Andrew with his reading, Annaliese with math, Chase with biting, Ella with joyful obedience and me too, for that matter, might as well add myself in there.
Chase changed and grumpily put back into his crib, I hit the shower, do my hair and makeup and head downstairs to make breakfast, wistfully remembering spring days when I rose with the sun, or before, and walked and prayed the day in. It's a different season of life right now.
Groggy headed children come down to the smell of Sean's coffee making and banana cake in the oven, donning jackets, grabbing the compost bucket and heading out of doors to feed and water chickens and ducks, bringing me back eggs with an exuberant declaration of their number.
Eggs washed, lined in their carton, white, brown speckled and gray. Blue and white plates in two rows at the table, orange juice or water poured. Breakfast devoured. Prayed over by Papa.
Circle time of worship songs, silly songs, number counting songs, alphabet songs for all. Annaliese delves into her math and spelling books, Andrew snuggles by my side to read. Ella, Aiden and Chase play nearby. Play dough, paint with water, block towers, trains and cars are favorites while siblings do school. Aiden traces letters with me in cornmeal, saying their sound as he goes and Ella wants her turn, of course. Check Annaliese's spelling, use each word in a sentence, please. Johnny Tremain turned on CD, chapter two, part ten. We listen to history.
Wagon loaded with Ella, stroller with Chase, snacks hidden underneath, camera packed, nature journals and colored pencils in hand, we head up the road to a favorite hill overlooking this side of the Mohawk Valley. At the bottom of the hill we abandon stroller and wagon and scooters, load our arms and head up. Here we pick blackberries in summer under the hot son, daydream about the old road that runs no where anymore, hidden between the hedge rows of apple trees and sled with reckless abandon in winter. The sun in high as we plop in the spring grass, pour water, pass around crackers and fruit and watch the clouds float over the little towns below. Chase settles in to nurse, the kids play tag, chase grasshoppers, climb gnarly apple trees, find our house, the farm we used to get milk at, neighbors homes, all among the scenery below.
I try to pass off my crude scratchings as art in my journal, noting the date and what is in bloom, what birds land nearby, the happenings of the children. It seems the world lies before us at our feet and the blessing of perspective fills my heart.
Spring blows breezes as we dismount the hill. Andrew's pockets full of dried nuts from the winter before, hands full of bamboo he's collected by the roadside. Wagons, stroller, and scooters mounted, we head home.
Naps, quiet rests, a sink of dishes, dinner to start, foster paperwork, quilting a gift - the afternoon flies by.
Papa's home and children run, Chase squeals a broad smile and a throaty "Papa" rises from his tiny chest. The world seems whole again once Papa is home.
Dinner with talk of our lessons and adventures, egg count, troubles, and to-do lists. Blueberry crumble for dessert. Talk of picking blueberries again this summer. How many can we pick? One sad fellow who has to wait for his dessert until tomorrow. Blueberry mustaches all around our table minus one, his set aside for the morning.
They walk across the yard with Papa as I load dinner dishes into the washer. Ella comes back and tells me about apple tree blossoms that turn into apples and how many strawberries are in the garden. I remind her that they have to turn red like blood first. Morbid, I know.
Kids in baths, in fuzzy flannel pj's, in cozy beds with story tapes turned on. Tonight it is Mandie and the Secret Tunnel. Another night it was the book of Exodus and, "Papa, what does circumcise mean?" and an impromtu science/religion lesson at nine at night. The night before that, The Boxcar Children. Our kids love story tapes at bedtime.
I lay out the quilt on the living room floor, cutting a pale yellow sheet to fit it's back, pinning while Sean talks. He writes out answers for the homestudy and I turn to searching a filing cabinet for marriage and birth certificates, looking forward to the someday expansion of our family.
I get asked what a typical day in the life of our family looks like. Truth be, every one is different. We don't run on the same schedule each day, taking things as they come. Sunshine means a walk, rains means more lessons indoors and some baking. A teething baby means a longer nap, arguing children means the older ones are in need of a rest too, with soothing music or a story to bring peace. Friends for lunch are a special treat with hurried tidying in the morning before they arrive. Accepting each day as a changing gift I have limited control over has been hard, but good.
"Every day of my life was recorded in your book.Every moment was laid outbefore a single day had passed." Psalm 139:16