Mornings are slow. The boys wake up first, and bounce down the stairs. They are shirtless and warm, hungry and bleary-eyed.
Kjel glides down later - sometimes hours later. Her yellow hair a soft cloud of curls, trailing behind her along with the white comforter that she drags to the couch each morning. She curls up and yawns and slow smiles spread across her face as she gradually comes to life.
Merit is, in every way, unpredictable.
Sometimes I nurse her back to sleep around six and she stays asleep till nine. Some mornings she is marching across her crib by five-thirty, other days she sleeps like a little lamb until seven and is sweet and starving and soft and her little hands and cheeks are cool against our warm faces.
Nights are long. I threw bedtimes out the window this summer for everyone except Merit. It has been an interesting choice. That's for sure.
After dinner, Merit gets ready for bed with Steven. He changes her into jammies and gives her infant medicine (a new tooth poking through), and gets her room all settled.
I put her to bed and the rest of the kids tromp outside.
They jump, catch fireflies, go on bike rides, and help Steven around the yard.
Kjel and I work on projects - last night we drove to JoAnn's and bought fabric for her new curtains.
We eat a snack and then Will goes to bed.
Gage and Kjel color and talk in Kjel's room. The sun is down now, and her twinkle lights give the room a honey-like glow.
Then we say, "Time for bed" and they both protest just enough that I know that they are actually really tired, and relieved that they can climb in between their crisp sheets and close their heavy-lashed eyes.