Our busy summer keeps rolling on as we kicked off July with Gracie’s sixth birthday. How is it possible that my baby girl is six already? She decided on a “Pink John Deere” theme for her party, which is her in a nutshell: super girly and princessy, but enough of a farm girl to get muddy on the tractors with the boys. It’s amazing to see how my firstborn is becoming such a smart, independent little girl. She loves to read, do artwork, and listen to music. It seems like just yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital and giving her the grand tour of her house and introducing her to her cat. Now she’s heading into first grade and has three little brothers. The time sure goes fast!
Just after Gracie’s birthday, we headed to Pittsburgh for a week with another couple, their two kids, and 11 of our favorite junior high and high school youth from church. Our national church convention was there, and it was something we had spent tons of time preparing for. I’m a planner, and this was something I was having a hard time wrapping my type-A brain around. I like details, and the details of this situation were beyond my realm of knowledge. Besides being responsible for my own four kids, we were taking other people’s kids to another city, and were responsible for their lodging, food, transportation. Oh, so very many details.
But, like so many of the things I obsess and lose sleep over, it ended up being great. We had a few minor hassles along the way, but overall the kids did really well in a new situation. All four kids participated in the children’s programming, including almost eight-month-old Zachary. It was a new experience turning him over to childcare volunteers for most of the day, but he’s such a happy, easygoing little guy he ended up doing great. One day he pooped through every article of spare clothing I had for him, so I was thankful he made it through the rest of that day without another incident. He adapted well to nursing when I could get to him, and to extra bottles of formula when I couldn’t. He also started making serious plays for “big people food,” going after my lunch and dinner any chance he got. The kid’s a pretty big fan of Subway sandwiches and pasta at eight months old. I think it’s a pretty good sign that I’m a completely different mother with my fourth kid than I was with my first.
Since we usually travel with our camper, this was the first time we had stayed in a hotel with all four kids. Our room had a king-sized bed and a queen fold-out couch. The three big kids slept long-ways on the fold-out, and the baby slept pretty happily in his pack-n-play. We figured with the king bed for ourselves, we’d have plenty of room for anyone who malfunctioned in the middle of the night, but the kids’ days were so full and active they slept pretty soundly the whole week. Overall, it was a great experience, but one I couldn’t have imagined pulling off a few years ago when we were just starting out as parents of one baby girl. I guess Gracie’s not the only one who’s grown and changed over the past six years!