What Do We Do???

If you’re just joining, start with the previous post before reading this one Luke’s Lack of Enthusiasm Towards Heaven

 “We’ll see” turned into a discussion with Ryan the following morning after he brought the excited kids to school while passing the same sight of wonderment  where he may or may not have implied slightly better chances to these eager humans than their mother had offered the previous evening.  

It seemed to me, that by the end of the day, they were under the impression that it was more like a 90/10 percentage, 90% yes, we probably will go, 10% no, we won’t go. 

We both agreed that it was something we needed to discover more about, for instance, the price.  We were under the assumption that it would be high, but we reasoned that maybe we could pick the kids up from school on Friday afternoon and then attend as a family for a few hours before heading home for bedtime.  Our thought was we would give each child an allotment of rides and they could pick out what they wanted to do, possibly saving a little money and since it would only be for a few hours Luke could come along, and if he became bored I would sit in the car with him, entertaining ourselves with Veggie Tale videos and of course, my Iphone until the rest of the crew was ready to depart.  That was our thought until….

We discovered that the only way to obtain admission was to pay the $20.00 wrist band charge for unlimited rides.  We went back and forth, struggling with our moral compass of not necessarily wanting to paint the picture to our children this idea of whatever they want they get, Ryan, struggling with the concept of disappointing the kids, me struggling with the immense amount of money a few hours was going to cost, money that in all honesty we needed to be spending in much more appropriate areas such as getting our house looking like something not entirely resembling a residence in the back hills of Tennessee.  We struggled, pushing back and forth, our own agendas and ideas, mine, growing up with so many siblings and never having been under the impression that things were owed to me just because it was in front of my face, him struggling with different disappointments in  life and not wanting his children to feel that same pain, and then of course, the Luke issue and how much work he adds to the equation, especially in an environment swarming with other civilians.   We finally came to an agreement and prayed that it would be taken well.  We wanted to do something fun as a family, we wanted our children to feel joy, but we knew that it was not a responsible way to use our money at this point by spending $200 on a few hours of fun.  The plan was in place, now it just had to be implemented.  Dad drove to school to pick the kids. 

As they piled into the car he hesitantly said, “Kids, I know you’ve really been wanting to go to this carnival but mom and I just don’t feel right about spending so much money on something that is only going to last a few hours.  Instead, we’ve decided to pick up McDonalds and spend a family night at the River fishing and swimming.

The car erupted.

With joy.

Uncontainable joy from all of them. 

“YES!  We get McDonalds!!!  And we’re going to go swimming in the River!!!!  Is Luke coming too? 

“Yes, Luke is coming too.”

“YES!!  A REAL family night!”

“Can we get shakes at McDonalds?”

“Yes, you can all get a shake at McDonalds.” 

“YES!!!!  THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!!”

AMAZING…  Apparently all the hype touted by the professionals is really true.  Kids don’t care about the money, they just want our time.  All in all, we saved about $165.00 that night and we heard the same resounding theme from every single child on the way home,

“That was way more fun than the carnival would have been.” 

We are blessed. 

Just keep livin!!

momjoshJosh wanted to do goofy faces with mom
 

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lukebeachLuke hanging out in the car watching VeggieTales

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Luke’s Lack of Enthusiasm Towards Heaven

Allow me to paint a recent scene…

It was my turn to pick up the kids from school and so began the peaceful 30 minute trek to retrieve them.  As I neared the edge of our town I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, something intriguing, something interesting enough to interrupt my best Carrie Underwood impression while belting out her latest hit, something that looked pretty expansive, colorful, and shiny. I glanced in the general direction of the scene that had caught my eye, causing a momentary distraction from my American idol moment, and noticed something alarming, something that caused the hairs to stand upright upon my pale skin, something all proud towns boast of at some point in the Summer; I eyed a big, swanky, joy promising, heart pumping, mouth salivating sight, A CARNIVAL – smack dab on the edge of town and smack dab in the process of being set up for the weekend. 

Oh my… I knew this would be an intense car ride home with 5 children who were bound to notice the newest addition to our scenery unless I could come up with some sneaky way to distract them.  

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the joy a carnival can bring, I do, and this sort of outing would generally be a wonderful family memory with a nice, ordinary family having a standard amount of children, say 3 or 4, but a carnival with my crew, or any major event with my crew, fair or not, is intense.  These kinds of outings with the whole family feel like we are packing up our own version of circus like creatures and bringing them to participate as an official act in the show; it’s a lot, emotionally, physically, and mentally, A LOT.   Not even so much with 6 of the children, but the 7th one, our beloved miracle child, our nine year old boy, can cause anything that would normally be a fun, family experience into something feeling very much less than an enjoyable experience.  We adore this child and what he stands for, but the reality is, he makes anything we do as a family much more difficult and strenuous.   

Our options when presented with the idea of a family outing such as this one include; hiring a babysitter for Luke and shelling out an additional $50-100 for his care on top of the cost of the family outing – now looking at approximately $400 – most normal families can do Disney for something close to that amount.  Our second option, mom stays home with Luke and once again misses out on all of the family fun.  Ryan may dispute the “fun” part of this statement; however, he has never been seen eagerly raising his hand volunteering for this position either.  We both realize that with the fun comes an immense amount of work, but neither one of us wants to sacrifice the family moments to sit at home, in the peace and quiet, to tend to Luke, (hummm, that sounds weird when written out…) which brings me to the third option, we bring him.  We clench our teeth and grit our guns (not sure what that means but it sounded right in my head) and load every single one of us into tight quarters within the nine passenger expedition, a chatty 10 year old in the middle of Ryan and myself, and drive 30 gloriously tense minutes into town and upon arrival, dad takes 6 of the children and mom takes Luke (the equivalent of 6 of the children) and then for the next however many hours, mom gets the coveted position of keeping the loud “ALL DONES!” in check, see previous post Worst Travel Companion Ever… and keeping a 9 year old child entertained who has no comprehension of what or why we are doing what we are doing (to create FUN memories Luke, can’t you tell, this is so fun) by shoving constant food into his mouth,  which in turn becomes a very thin line between stuffing him to the point of nausea and keeping him somewhat content as we cart 6 other little bodies to and fro, on ride after precious ride, all while trying to snap pictures of the “fun” in between Luke attempting to wriggle his extremely flexible little body out of his wheelchair and keeping a semi eye on two curious three year olds. Exhale…..

 And, because he’s eating and drinking for an extended amount of time there is bound to be a potty emergency at some point adding the additional bonus to my already excruciatingly enjoyable duties as mom of locating the nearest toiletry option, which at a carnival I’m sure includes only the finest choices in porta pottys, provided to highlight my carnival going experience and then somehow managing to change and clean a nine year old’s bottom with something resembling toilet paper but feeling more like embarrassingly thin sand paper in these elegantly designed tight quarters all the while combating his attempts to reach with incredibly long appendages into the gigantic hole in front of him that has since peeked his curiosity as I am now dripping with sweat and anxiety because I’m squashed into this small space resembling something more like a furnace than a toiletry option, trying to accomplish this one, tiny task, and in the process attempting to NOT breathe through my mouth which can be difficult as the hissing of “NO! Don’t touch that!” repeatedly escapes my lips (along with some other choice unmentionables that I pray Luke doesn’t add to his very limited vocabulary).

This is our reality and this is what goes through my mind when I see that the carnival has come to town.  

The kids bolted out of school, loaded into the van one by one and the count down began.  The bright, shiny, welcoming trailers and equipment quickly made their way into our view.  My eyes shifted back and forth, towards my children, towards the fairgrounds, hoping that maybe, just maybe their dad could deal with the begging on the way to school if I could somehow distract them from noticing, mustering up really intriguing conversation starters like, “So kids, what did you have for lunch today?  Oh corn dogs?  Wow, that sounds great. Did those corn dogs come with anything?  Oh applesauce and french-fries, Wow, was the applesauce really sweet?  Yes? Yum, that’s my FAVORITE kind of applesauce. Were the fries salty? That is so…. Oh no, no, no, no…I’m losing them, Oh Lord, help me… their heads are all turning, hold on, here we go……..!!!!”

Within 1.5 seconds of the shininess coming into view, one of the human beings, the quiet one in the back who I thought would be the safest one to avoid engaging heavily with, the generally tired one who even on occasion has been known to pass out on the car ride home, was fantastically wide awake in this memorable moment as she gasped in complete wonderment and ecstasy, declaring loudly and excitedly, “MOM, LOOK!!!!  There’s a carnival!!! CAN WE GO???? Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Please???

And the car erupted, 5 extended seconds of taking in this magnificent display of pure enjoyment and delight for a child’s soul, literally the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven upon our fallen world as their eyes bulged and their spirits soared imagining the absolute joy they would experience if they could just step foot upon this wonderland of excitement.  Eight little eyes urgently searching my face for an answer, desperately hoping against all hope that Yes, they would be one of the elite to venture forth upon this Heaven on Earth.   

“We’ll see” I said, sighing deeply, making absolutely NO promises.  We’ll see is generally a 50/50 chance, and they know this and then I continued, “We need to find out when it’s running and how much it costs before Dad and I make any decisions.”  This pacified the eager panting for the moment.  

To be continued….

 

Just Keep Livin!!

Civilized Nonsense.

Sorry for the delay in posting, lightning struck our telephone line on Sunday and we’ve been without internet until now.  So continuing…

I was restless last Saturday morning so I coerced my three daughters into going to Jackson, the closest civilization we have, about an hour away. We basked in the glory of chain restaurants: Ruby Tuesdays, TGI Fridays, Panera Bread, and Outback, and the stores, multitudes of retail candy awaited our arrival:  Ross, Marshalls, Hobby Lobby, and Old Navy.  We had so much fun, shopping, lunching, and picking out new outfits – good times; great memories.

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civ2It was a tad bright out

 Later that night we did crafts by moonlight on the deck, mom straight out of the shower looking VERY fresh faced and exhausted.

civ4civ5Love this human

In other Ronne late breaking news,
One afternoon Josh noticed this stone bunny rabbit, inherited from the previous owners, sitting peacefully on our patio and came running inside, dramatically declaring, “Mom, Mom, dad shot the bunny!”  He apparently thought that’s what a dead rabbit looked like.  Maybe he should have been exposed to the real thing on Ryan’s previous birthday, detailed in Ronne Recap and other Nonsense.

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In an attempt to eliminate the fighting that generally ensues with game playing around the Ronne homestead, I took some time out of my morning to teach Josh and Jada how to actually play Candy Land, which they then proceeded to play for two hours straight, with Josh winning every, single, time.  Not sure how fairly the game was being played…

candylandThe kids found a pear tree on the property and will go to great lengths, climbing on buckets, shoulders, and each other, to obtain these free, “unlimited” snacks all day long.  As I detailed in an earlier post, Chocolate Cake, we don’t do snacks because my children don’t eat their meals with snacks (except for all the pears their bowels can handle).  I realize this goes completely against Super Nanny’s philosophy, who I do highly respect on most levels, but on this issue, I’m sticking to my guns.  

pears
In back to school news, Mabel has really surprised us with extreme diligence to her studies, almost having a bit of an OCD attitude about it.  This was our child we were a little concerned about as a three and four year old, wondering if we were going to get frantic calls from the principal when she entered school admonishing us to “take her down from the flag pole. “ We have been pleasantly surprised at how mellow she has become in her old age. Here she is, straight out of the car from school, completing her homework on the sidewalk…..

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Josh and Jada started preschool on Tuesday.  They absolutely loved it.

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Last but not least,  I made homemade bread that actually rose, this being dangerously close to the miraculous.  I love the concept of making bread, however I have not been very successful in the bread actually rising department.   Yay! I’ve finally established myself as a legitimate country wife and mom.  

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Just keep livin!!