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Sunlight Burning at Midnight a memoir by Jessica Ronne


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Just some random, irrelevant, humorous, and hopefully inspiring musings on life, love, faith, widowhood, remarriage, adoption, blended families, caring for a handicapped child, mothering seven children, chickens, cooking, grief, over-coming grief, and everything else in between. Just Keep Livin!!

Corn Husking and Cows

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I’m tired! It’s been a busy, crazy week. Tuesday we packed for the big move, occurring in about six weeks, and I also had my ear literally glued to the phone all day while a lower region of my body was attached to a couch cushion in an attempt to find some answers about the kid’s school situation in Tennessee.  I have a bit of a phobia with cell phones and portable phones (radiation issues) so we have a quaint, little old fashioned phone, with a cord, void of caller ID.

People have questioned repeatedly how I live without caller ID. There is one major advantage to NOT having this modern convenience. When I don’t know who’s calling and it’s admittedly in my nature to not answer the phone  because I’m not going to have an actual conversation with a real person while seven kids run around, so I assume people won't be offended if I don’t answer because I am obviously not avoiding them personally – I’m just avoiding the whole human race. I discovered, during this extended phone time (and a tiny bit to my guilty delight) that all of the kids start school on August 5th _ they were scheduled to return here the first week of September. On one hand, I do feel badly for them, missing out on a whole month of summer vacation, and on the other hand… well, it sure will make the transition easier! The not so exciting news is that the new school starts at 7:30 in the morning. That is almost an issue that could motivate me to consider homeschooling, almost...

Ryan came home that evening, later than usual, to discover me singing, not along to music or even to one of Luke’s Veggi Tale videos, just singing a happy little diddy to myself.  Usually when he comes home I’m not in a singing mood, usually I’m in a stressed out, fried to the core, it’s been a LONG day sort of mood. He suggested that perhaps the absence of the older kids was causing my sudden surge of joy and as I thought about it, he may be on to something. The big boys in particular get bored, often, and decide to take it out on everyone in the house, usually the littlest beings, who then scream and holler at the top of their lungs trying to get mom’s attention. The big boys are also expressing their likes and dislikes very vocally at this stage in their lives – AKA, they’re mouthy. I’m not sure what to do about this problem, if anyone has a successful solution, please pass it along.  

Although stumped in the mouthiness department, I did produce a fantastic positive rewards system that is curbing some of the negative behaviors occurring in the family. This is what I came up with after a successful trip to the dollar store.

Josh’s problem is a complete lack of motivation to use the potty, Mabel struggles with staying dry at night due to excessive drinking before bedtime, and Miss Jada needs a little support in the “using kind words” department (probably brought about by her older brothers). If Josh goes on the potty all day and Mabel stays dry at night, and Jada uses her mouth for kindness then they get to pick one of these treats for snack time.  

Jada was the one and only treat earner on Wednesday.  I also woke up this morning bound and determined to REALLY accomplish potty training with Josh. We have bribed this child with everything, really EVERYTHING: a call from Buzz Light Year, a toy story movie, a huge airplane, candy, Disney world, anything if he will just go on the potty. During this tedious process I decided to run the sprinkles for the afternoon and stripped this child down to his birthday suit. He usually does well until a pull-up or a diaper is strapped to his behind and then he sneaks off to do his duty. I was determined that no shenanigans were going to occur on my watch! This child relished in his nakedness, go figure, he is a boy, and as they played outside, I continued doing whatever moms do inside until my calm was brashly interrupted when he ran full throttle, swinging open the door, full of excitement and joy as he proudly announced,

“MOM, MOM, come see outside, I went poop like a cow!”

“WHAT??” my mind questioned, “Surely, he didn’t really go poop like a cow?”

He impatiently ran to the field and pointed very proudly at what appeared to be a pile of something resembling cow poop. Back to pull-ups we went. Honestly, the thought of him using the great outdoors as his toilet was appealing, as long as I didn’t have to change ANYMORE DIRTY DIAPERS! Needless to say, we are still not successful in our endeavor to potty train him. I’ve been told to let it go, and I suppose I have to at this point.

Later that night the kids helped me husk corn, their first time ever and they did a great job.


Thursday was a mommy relaxation day as I had our babysitter come and watch the kids for a few hours. I had really good intentions of running a few errands and then going to the library to write, but I was sidetracked when a large, wonderful, antique thrift market beckoned me to enter. I love thrifting, and I found some fabulous little finds like this old basket. Later that afternoon, I spray painted it, added some small jam jars, painted the tops black and then wrote the names of spices on them in blue marker paint. It’s such a convenient little contraption to have right next to the stove while I’m cooking. 


Thursday evening we crossed or fingers and tried something unique with Luke’s bedtime routine, hoping to eliminate his diaper dilemma, discussed in the Father's Day post.  We cut the feet out of his sleeper and put it on backwards, being 90% confidant that there was no way he could maneuver out of the contraption. He was curious and confused about this turn of events in his bedtime attire, although he reluctantly seemed to accept the change. Reality isn’t always what it seems to be and this is what I found an hour later when I went to check on him, talk about Houdini…

Mabel had a successful Thursday night and earned her treat for Friday! This is what she wrote the morning of her success. I think this child needs a diary.

Saturday was busy. Early in the morning Ryan picked up the kids from Bible camp and then we packed all day long. We are taking the first official load down soon seeing that our time frame has been crushed considerably with the start of school in about 6 weeks!

Hopefully next week I will have the pleasure of sharing something that doesn’t involve any of my children’s bodily functions, cheers to that thought, huh??!

Just keep livin!!

Tagged in: life parenting
  • Guest
    Janet Wednesday, June 26, 2013

    Spanking for toilet training? Really? (!) As a therapist, with a background in child development, I would advise parents to only use positive reinforcement, when potty training a child.

  • Guest
    KJ Monday, June 24, 2013

    Just a share on the potty training...mine was 4 before he successfully conquered this obstacle. As you guys have done, we had promised him everything, Chuck E Cheese Day, I think my husband even promised him a new car when he turned 16! We also did every punishment we could stand, time outs, no TV time, no strawberry syrup in milk, even spankings (sorry, we believe in spanking, both our parents did & we turned out ok). NOTHING worked. Everyone said let it go, I stressed & combed the no avail. One evening, he ran in naked & yelled "I pooped Mommy! It was so easy!!" From that time to today, no accidents, not even at night. He flipped a switch, instantly. So, once again, although from recent experience, it will happen...ON THEIR TIME. But really, pretty much everything is on their time! Good luck on move guys!!!

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