Saturday, January 31, 2015

I Have Seven Daughters

 

(Posted By Scott)

I love my daughters. I have a lot of them… and I love them.

“How do you handle it??” people ask.

“Wow, you must be busy.” I hear that one a lot.

“Your poor wife…” That’s always a compliment.

“You’re going to need a gun when they’re teenagers.” Ummm… okaaaay. (You would be shocked how often I hear that statement from people, and even more shocked at the people I hear it from! I have a big, black, over-protective Great Dane instead.)

Can you imagine what it would be like to have seven daughters? Try this; can you imagine what it would be like to have six sisters? I guess for some people who have less than desirable relationships with their siblings that could be … a troubling thought. But for this particular group of girls, they wouldn’t change a thing.

This house is like a full time camp/sleepover/playdate/girls dorm/MMA event. Sometimes Jaclyn and I just sit with a cup of tea and watch. It’s always eventful. There is always something going on. I really am sometimes overwhelmed when I consider how God has entrusted to me this group of treasures. It gets me sometimes. I will be sitting here, watching home happen, and I will just have to bow my head in humble thanks that I get to be a part of something this special.

I blame the great “girl” culture in our home on the relationship Jaclyn and Keona have always had. From the beginning, while I was at work, my wife was all Mom. I mean, Keona and Mom did EVERYTHING together. Making dinner, reading together, doing laundry, all of the daily things that happened while I was out, were opportunity to build that relationship.

Keona was the ideal little kid. I wouldn’t change anything about her. I remember saying, “I would take a bunch more just like this one.” She melted me when I was tense. She loved to show off how she could sing. She would make me sing her songs and read her books before bed. She would do it not by whining and crying if I didn’t, but by asking so sweetly and nicely that I could never say no. In every stage of Keona so far, as a person, I have thought, “I hope they are all like this.” She has set the tone of respectful, sweet, intentional, good behaviour that has given us a third influence for all the others.

However, I cannot escape some of her side effects. For instance, nothing in this house is safe. I’ve literally seen stacks of dishes broken in bulk right before my eyes.

Today Lily was just standing there holding “her” iPhone and she dropped it, for no reason but genetics, and just looked down at it and said, “Wow.” Then she picked it up and went back to her day.

“Oops. Sorry. I didn’t mean to.” is definitely one of the top ten phrases used in our house. She caught it from Mom and has passed this blessed destructiveness on to all of my little princesses. I promise to post public warnings in just over a year when she begins driving. My poor insurance rates!

So then we had these triplets.

Jaclyn called me at work following a doctor appointment. (Her second pregnancy was going a little differently than the first, and it seemed like something might be wrong.) She asked me if I was sitting down. So, I sat down.

“Yes. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. We’re having triplets,” she replied.

“Are you serious?” Ha! … I thought she might be messing with me. Come to find out it was just God messing with me.

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I remember how excited and shocked everyone was as we told them about the coming batch.

My boss, John, he was fun to tell. He just sat there like it was him having the triplets. “Oh man! OH MAN!” He kept saying.

My friend Greg just started laughing at me. Like I had told him the funniest joke he had ever heard. Hysterically laughing at me. How do you take that response???

I guess looking back, it is kind of an odd and exciting circumstance. We were SO young. We were ready for it. We were excited about it. We prepared for it, and braced ourselves, and after what seemed like 2 years of visiting Jaclyn in the hospital on bed rest downtown Toronto, we finally got what we had coming to us!

For the few weeks they were in the hospital the nurses treated me like a celebrity. “This is the triplet’s dad.” Oh yes. That’s right, ladies! Superman is coming through! Now I realize that was to be my new name for all time. “Who are you? Oh you’re the triplet’s Dad.” Yeah, thanks. I have a name too other than “the triplet’s dad”. However, I would be happy to be called that just the same. I think I am more blessed to be their father than they are to be the triplets.

 

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Have you ever tried to bottle feed three babies at once? I have. It was a bottle in each hand and one between my feet while Mom caught a nap. Often there were three baby swings rolling like a cheap theme park in the living room. Occasionally, it was me getting a tired arm trying to keep up to spoon-feeding three little piggies at the same time. (I would use peas and beans because they would eat those slower and I could keep up!) I got to do those things.

Here you are thinking, “What a crazy man - having that many kids.” And here I am thinking “That dude is so missing a whole chunk of life experiences reserved only for those willing to have this many kids.”

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These four ladies are mini Moms. They do laundry, and dishes, and cook, and bathe the younger ones, and feed the baby, and rock (sometimes violently lol) Addy to sleep. These four want to learn how to make fresh bread. (Which I currently smell!) They want to help host Christmas dinner. They want to paint art, and plant gardens, and grocery shop. They want to hang out with Mom while she does a photo shoot. They come with me to the store or somewhere “just for the ride”. I dreamt of them as teenagers, and my dreams are coming true. I always have someone to play a game with me, to cuddle me, or to joke around with. I bother them, and it’s just as fun as bothering their mother – except without the pain! These four little ladies make it all work. I am so thankful that they are mine and I am theirs.

Princess Arabella is, however, an entirely different animal. Where the oldest four are awkward and clumsy when they run and play sports, this kid is a Flash Gordon. Everything she does is at high speed. Where Keona requires.. ummm… inspiration to movement ... Ella is a raging comet of fire blowing through the house like a Road Runner, unable to ever be still.

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The only time she sits still is when she has snuck up on me to cuddle. Have you ever had a cat sneak slowly into your lap and magically trick you into petting it while your mind was on something else? Ella has this skill. I call her my little Hobbit. She crawls up beside the couch like a burglar and slowly climbs right into a perfect cuddle spot and then completely relaxes you inducing a comatose state. I don’t know how many times we have fallen asleep watching movies together but it’s an awful lot. And I think it will be many, many more times. I can picture her in her mid-twenties breaking into my house and sneaking across the floor and crawling up beside me to watch the Leaf game and steal my chips. While everyone else’s initial response to “let’s watch a movie” is “Can we have a snack?” Ella immediately asks, “Can I cuddle with you?” She is a Daddy’s dream come true.

But there are side effects of her energetic condition. The thing is noisy. Ok don’t get me wrong, she’s nothing compared to the triplets. They have voices like thunder and fights like Baboons at the zoo. But Ella likes EVERYTHING loud. If you give her the TV remote and leave the room, it will be JACKED instantly. When she gets a hold of Mom’s phone to play Temple Run or Minion Rush, she can’t play on silent. “Ella TURN IT DOWN!!!!” Sadly Lily is now picking up this noisy trend! It’s all Eve and Prayer’s fault I tell you!!!!

I should make another well-merited note about the noise in this house. The noise in this house is enough noise for several houses. In fact, it’s a lot like a mall food court, or a day care, or bumper cars, or all three combined. In fact, it IS all three combined. Eve is like the dude on the loud speaker at bumper cars yelling “Turn the wheel all the way to the right!” (And if Eve is that dude then Prayer is definitely the blonde girl stuck in the corner turning her wheel all the way to the left…)

While in my nice sitting room a couple of kids play with 62,345 Little People of all races and creeds to our right, and to our left a little almost-crawling mini practices her new skill of screaming at everything that moves. In the kitchen one kid sings, while another kid whistles, while another kid has headphones on saying French words to a computer, while another kid with headphones hammers keys on a keyboard, and another kid begs another kid to get her a snack. Please pass me the almost empty value-sized bottle of Advil.

I feel like when the house is empty one day it will be a big change for us. There will be less Advil and more reading old posts like this one. I will miss the noise… one day.

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Lily is unique. Well I guess they all are unique, other than the three with the same DNA. But Lily does so many things we have never seen before.

For instance, she is incredibly advanced mentally and socially at such a young age. Oh wait, that’s what every parent says about their kid… This kid seems genetically designed to challenge me. Sometimes I may tell a kid to do something or tell a kid off for something and Jaclyn will gently oppose what I have to say. Lily immediately turns on me. “Yeah Dad … such and such.” Each and every time, Jaclyn hides her face and tries not to laugh. The authoritative, finger-pointing, degrading, head-tilted way that Lily looks down at me from two feet off the ground is the punchline. You can’t help but laugh. Sure we have to remind her not to argue with Dad but really it’s all Jaclyn’s fault. I crave the day when she gets a taste of her own medicine from this mini Jaclyn. She is soooooooooo much like Mom. So smart. And so sweet. And So gonna take no guff from anyone. It’s amazing that the 8th child has such an older sibling personality. It’s amazing to me how they all have such differing personalities.

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I believe it should be noted that Lily has great hair, and she knows it, and she knows how to use it. She practices using it in the mirror often. Challenge her to a Barbie style “pose off” and you'll see.

Lily and I have a special relationship different than all the other girls. It’s sweet and storybook like. I can sing her to sleep. I can calm her down. I can reason with her. She comes over to me every morning and says; “Can you save me some?” whenever I have food or beverage to her liking. She’s promised to be my buddy and love me forever.

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Addy adores me. And I adore her. She is an example all-in-one of all of the above. When she was in the womb I used to talk to the belly and say “Daddy loves youuuuu.” When she was in the NICU for a few days I would sit beside her and say over and over “Daddy loves you Addy.” Now when she is upset or freaking out if I just raise my voice a little and call her name she stops to look at me. If I am in the room, she is looking at me. She turns her head, takes a spoon full of food and then looks back at me. She’s my little paparazzi. It’s unique, and it’s so special.

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It still hasn’t “sunk in”. I have seven. God’s number of perfection – I agree. Would I go back and change that? – Yeah right.

Having seven daughters is crazy amounts of fun.

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(A couple of years back)

The girls, I think, sometimes forget they are girls. They each have their own lightsabers. The battles are epic. Usually they transform the backyard into a full on Geniosian battle arena. The poor dog doesn’t know what to do. He gets between anyone involved in physical altercations in our home, but when the backyard breaks into galactic conflict, he just runs from one kid to the next trying to take their lightsabers or push them back. We literally just sit in the window and watch them all go. It’s way better than TV in my opinion. Also, watching Lily chase down and beat her twelve year old sister (any of the 3) with a red lightsaber is kind of, well, kind of hilariously appropriate.

I’m not a big fan of “girly” board games but when I do get talked into one, it’s never a dull moment. My girls were given Cranium this Christmas. I guess you have to act things out sometimes and draw things sometimes, or something. I wasn’t really on board to be honest, until Prayer had to act out the character “Captain Jack Sparrow”. Wow. The dramatic capabilities of these three are, abnormal to say the least. The confidence and willingness to in full hyperactivity make complete fools of themselves is the real value in any game we play together. Captain Jack’s famous “crazy walk” was depicted perfectly by Prayer, much to my delight. I nearly had a stroke I laughed so hard at the kid. Seriously, if you are ever bored, just borrow these triplets, give them each a can of Pepsi, and play a board game with them.

I have seven daughters, and so far, they all love the Lord and want to please Him. Often I find children reading a good book, randomly cleaning up things or taking care of things Mom would have to do. Why? Well because they love their mom and know that honouring her is worthy of their time.

I think it is right that I thank God for the privilege and abnormal opportunity to have seven daughters. I am blessed far beyond anything I could have planned or imagined. Lord, thank You for my girls. May they always live blessed and to be a blessing, for that is what they are to me.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

6 days to go! (Mom’s turn)

Prayer has been doing an amazing job at blogging. I’m so glad that she decided she wanted to do it for the month of December, because there is no way I would have kept up with it! But seeing as she’s at a friend’s house for a Christmas party with my other older girls, the boys are out with Grandma, Ella’s out on a date with Scott, and I’m home with the two littles… I thought I’d sub-in for tonight.

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Yesterday was one of those days that you don’t really blog about. I got up and tried to get the house in order before dropping some kids off a friend’s house. Then I took three kids and went grocery shopping. After that I had to run over to Target and pay for a spatula my three year old stole. She’s on a roll this week! While shopping the other night, she was sitting in the cart holding onto the spatula. She kept dangling it over the side threatening to drop it. I told her to stop and didn’t think about it again. We got to the checkout and the spatula was nowhere to be found. I asked her why she dropped it after I asked her not to and she replied, “Oh… I sorry, Mom. We can go back and get it!” But at that point, I was in no mood to walk back across the store for a spatula, so we left without it. We got home and she was showing Ella the doll that she bought with her birthday money when the spatula fell out of the box. So… back to yesterday… I went BACK to Target to pay for the spatula. Then I picked up a vacuum that I bought on Varagesale because ours has a broken plug and we haven’t had time to drive it to the repair place and we really can’t go more than a few days without vacuuming in here. (Also, if you don’t have the app Varagesale… you NEED the app Varagesale! Can’t tell you how much money I’ve saved on gifts this year using it!) Ok.. then to pick up kids and rush home. Then we clean, vacuum, scrub floors, make dinner, and head out to violin lessons.

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Let me tell you, by the time we’re on the way back home from violin- the last thing I feel like doing is some advent activity. Funny how once I decide to force myself to do it- I always enjoy it! So we decided to grab some donuts from Timmy’s and drive around the neighbourhood looking at all the Christmas lights. We usually pick our favourite house and bring them a Tim’s giftcard before Christmas.

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So the kids oooh’d and ahhh’d over the lights while I enjoyed a donut and felt my blood pressure return to normal. Thankfully, yesterday was an abnormal day for Christmas break. My favourite part of the holidays is definitely the loose schedule that allows us more time.

Time for family and friends.

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Time to play with the kids.

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Time to read books and draw pictures together.

Time to sit and enjoy breakfast with my hubby in the morning. We actually went on our first breakfast date since Addy was born this week. The girls babysat and let us sneak out for 45 minutes while she napped! That was refreshing.

Time for a break.

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As I get older, and my kids get older, I’m practicing taking my time more. Rushing less. (I did say practicing- I’m not there yet! See above… ha!)

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(Patiently waiting for my daughter to finish feeding the “poor pigeon” a cracker in the middle of a parking lot)

I’ve always loved Christmas time, but hosting use to stress me out. I would be a frazzled, short-tempered mess while getting ready for people to arrive. I’m learning to enjoy it more. To let the girls help in the kitchen, to keep the menu simple so I have more time to spend sitting with family…  I only have so many more Decembers with these kids at home- so I’m doing everything I can to make memories.

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(After tobogganing in the dark!)

That really is the whole point of our advent activities. To make memories together, and to take time to talk about why we celebrate Christmas. To take time to be thankful for everything God has given us.

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If this blog does anything this month- let it be an encouragement to spend time with loved ones because you don’t know how many more times you’ll get to spend a Christmas together… and remember the reason we have this holiday. Take a moment to give thanks for the gift of a little baby born in a manger and all that He has already done for you.

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 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…

-James 1:17

Thursday, December 18, 2014

8 days until Christmas!

Yesterday was a normal day I promise. Well, normal for us.

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So yesterday morning we ate oatmeal for breakfast. And we all ate vitamins. (Yes, some of us are still sick.)Sad smile

Then we learned that some of  our good old friends were coming over to play. Yay!

So we cleaned the house a little bit, and made sure that the bedrooms were done.Smile

At about 12:00 they arrived! The first thing we girls did was play Barbies in Ella's room. That wasn’t for too long. Then me, Ella, and Ella’s new best friend went to play in the basement. We decided to have rollerblading Olympics. While Eve, Ashley, Brooke, and Charity played figurines upstairs.

One of the younger girls was playing with Eve’s reindeer  figurine from Frozen and she accidentally broke off one of his antlers!

I thought it was funny when I heard about it.Smile with tongue out

(The boys were playing Lego in the basement) After a little while we had lunch. I wanted a picture of this troublemaker but he was hiding behind his sandwich and I told him since he was hiding I would post a picture of him hiding.Angry smile

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After lunch we hung out a bit until Dad left for work, and then Elijah and his friend played a game on the computer and laptop, and the girls played Barbies again.

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Their princesses had the power to fly, to talk to animals, to just know when someone is the bad guy… they were very imaginative!

The boys were going to play Wii but they wanted to stay on the computer instead. So we girls played Mario Kart. You will never guess who played…

At first four of us older girls played. Then one of the younger girls and Charity got on one team, Eve and the youngest were on another team, and me and Ella were on a team. What I mean by team is that we had to share a remote because there was too many of us!

We older girls assumed that the two younger girls wouldn’t do very well. Boy were we surprised!

Charity’s special team mate got first place on a race!Surprised smile And Eve’s teammate got third!Confused smile

Oh, and did I mention that the 3 year old can play Temple Run better than I can?Laughing out loud On one race on Mario Kart she thought she was my racer and so when I won, she thought she won, when really she was in last place. I cried laughing at her reaction at the end of the race. I mean she wasn’t upset or anything she was trying to prove to Eve that my screen was her screen.SmileIt was really funny.

At about 4:00 they had to go, but we had lots of fun!

Then we had dinner. Mom wanted to go out with Lily so she could spend her birthday money. So we did chores while Lily and Mom went to Target. When they got back Lily had another baby doll! Yay!Open-mouthed smileI don't know smileThinking smile

The doll talks when Lily spins it  so she likes that about it, and it looks like her…

 

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She loves her babies! Hopefully none of them swallow batteries though.Winking smile

Now, the advent. I think this was very interestingly fun.Smile

Jed found it.

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Here it is!

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So we played hide-and-seek in the dark except you have to try to make it back to the living room without the counter seeing you. It was very hard with Lily.Confused smile

It was fun though, I only made it back to the living room once.In love

One round where I was hiding beside Mom’s bed with Lily and Mom rushed in and hid under a blanket  on Dad’s chair. I left Lily with Mom and went to hide somewhere better.Angry smile

Lily was so obsessed with the flash-light that she wouldn’t do a round without it!

So on one of the last rounds Charity had a good spot in the kitchen…

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Yah, she got really dusty, and she was wearing my pants and shirt!Baring teeth smile

After Lily went to bed we were going to watch a show but spent that time chatting with Grandma. She stopped by to lend us her vacuum. (Our plug broke.)

That about sums up our night it was really awesome!

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She is so cute, right?

-Prayer

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