Answering Your Questions Part 1 (Phoenix weather, and ‘Did you plan all those kids?’)

Earlier today, I posted, asking for questions.  I meant to start answering them tomorrow, but here I am at home — Martin has Ethan at his Little League game, and I’m home with the rest of our kids, two of whom are sick with high fevers.  (Grant got up to 104.1° last night!  Scary.  I had him in the bathtub at 3 a.m.)  Martin is actually playing tag-team with my Mom and Stepdad, because he had to leave early to go to kinship, and they arrived late, after work, and will stay for the end and bring Ethan home.  Anyways.  All that to say that I have a rare evening in which I can blog.

Daja asked first, about the love story of my husband and me, but that’s a long story, even for me!  So, I’m giving that some thought about how to best answer it.

So, for now, I’ll start with the (somewhat) shorter ones!

Adrienne asked:

I want to know what the weather is REALLY like in AZ.  We’re considering moving, and we need to be somewhere it doesn’t rain all the stinkin time.  I’m not sure I want to smolder in the 150 degree heat though!  So, how bad is it, really?  Does the vast amounts of sunshine and lack of rain make up for the heat?

Well, it depends on what you prefer.  We basically have six months of summer, from mid-April to mid-October.  Yesterday was the first day of 100° temps.  I heard on the news last night that the Phoenix area averages 89 days per year of 100+° temps.  I’m surprised it’s that low, frankly.  And, we only average 7.5″ of rain each year.  We can often go for 2-3 months between rainfall, then have a big storm that violently dumps 1.5″ in a short time.  I used to hate it here.  I really, really hated it.  It’s brown, hot, and dry.  I love the green, rolling rain-soaked hills, punctuated by 90 ft high leafy trees, with their roots soaking in a sparkling stream, all of which are in short supply in Arizona.  However, I don’t hate it any more.  Actually, I’m liking it better and better in Arizona, each year.  We have a vast complexity of life, both flora and fauna, and such striking vistas, and wide, clear blue skies…  Plus, travel an hour, maybe an hour and a half, and you’re in the mountains and cooler temps.  I have lived in the heart of the city (or near it), and on the fringes, and I like it on the fringes.  The scenery is much better.  🙂  In cooler climes, folks have to stay indoors nearly all winter.  Here, you have to stay indoors nearly all summer.  The summer days are literally like a blast furnace.  It’s too hot to roll down the window of your car as you drive.  It’s too hot for a walk, even at night, where it can stay over 100° even past 10:00 at night.  The norm is to travel from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car to the pool or air-conditioned other place, and back home.  Kids don’t play outside in the summer, unless you have a pool.  (We don’t.)  Or, if I do send the kids out to play, it’s early in the morning (like around 8:00) and they have to come in 20 minutes later, because they’re drenched with sweat because it’s already over 100° at 8:20 a.m.  So, you have to get really creative with indoor things to do for kids here in the summer, especially if you aren’t into video games and vegeing out in front of the t.v., like we’re not.  But… there are lots of things to like about the Phoenix area.  There are TONS of hiking opportunities, all year ’round, both within the city, and in the area around it.  As far as cities go, it’s really not claustrophobic;  it’s spread out (which is both good and bad — urban sprawl and all that).  We have lots of amenities, some great sports teams, a fairly good arts scene, pretty much any store you could ever want — I hardly buy anything online except for books!  I don’t need to, because it’s all right around the corner.  Right now, it’s uber-affordable to buy a house in the Phoenix area!  The market has tanked, which is great for first-time home buyers.  Some friends of mine had a house next door to them just sell for $45K.  Granted, it’s an extreme fixer-upper.  But, you can get a nice house for $100K right now.

So, that’s more than you asked, as I review your question, which was ~ahem~ just about weather.  Sorry about that.

Jessie asked:

Did you plan to have “all” those kids?  Lol!  I only put it that way (being a mom of 4 so far myself) because that’s the way people ask me! 🙂

Sort of.  Before we got married, my husband and I agreed we wanted 3-5 kids.  But, then, I had ONE, and suddenly extended grace to all the parents of only children, of whom I had previously stood in judgment.  It was hard, and I was done.  Fifteen months later, unplanned, we got pregnant with Grant.  That was a shock, but mostly OK, especially since Grant was such an easy baby.  Fifteen months after Grant was born, I got pregnant with Wesley, which was NOT OK.  I wept.  I didn’t understand what God was doing to me.  I was very ill, and getting worse.  Not many people knew about it, except my husband, because I was embarrassed, because “all” I’d been diagnosed with was chronic fatigue syndrome, moderate depression, chronic bone pain, intersticial cystitis, and a few other things, but none life-threatening.  Plus, in the 2.5 year search I had undertaken to find out what was wrong with me, I had twice been called a hypochondriac by two different doctors, which was humiliating.  And, I had been raised with a paradigm that Christians didn’t get depressed, so I felt guilty or something for that part of it.  So, I didn’t share much with others about how poorly I was doing.  And, at the height of me feeling like I was barely keeping my nose above water with regards to my self, let alone my husband, my 1yo and my 3yo, I got pregnant.  I really wept.  I had to make a conscious decision to trust God because this was a child He had decided to give us, so I had to trust that it would be the right child for our family, and would have a special, specific purpose in our lives.  As it turns out, Wesley’s diagnosis of celiac disease is what led to my own diagnosis of the same, and I really feel like Wesley saved my life, because celiac disease was the core of my problem, and all the other health issues I was having were symptoms of celiac disease.  So…  After I got healed up, and once my three boys grew just a little, I started wanting another child;  our family did not feel complete.  For a while, Martin wasn’t willing;  my health was a great concern to him;  he didn’t think I could handle another child.  But, eventually, he said to me with a grin, “Wanna try for #4?”  And, we did.  🙂  When Wesley was 4.5yo, Audrey was born.  Then, it felt like we had a set of siblings with the three boys, and little baby Audrey dangling off at the end, with no sister, nor any sibling really close in age to her.  So, we decided to try for one more child, and for the first time, were really hoping for a specific gender — a girl.  And, God said, “OK!” and Fiala was born when Audrey was 2.5yo.  So…. it was like all the kids were planned, then they weren’t, then they were.  😀  And in the end, we’re back to our pre-marriage plan of 3-5.  It is uncommon to have five children and not be Catholic, or LDS, or QF, or have it be an accident.  But, five it is, all planned for, more or less, and we’re really pleased with ’em!


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on April 22, 2009, in Arizona, Babies, Baseball, Celiac Disease, Christian Living, Christianity, Family, Hiking, Introspective Musings, Marriage, Medical Stuff, Memories, Motherhood, Pregnancy, The Dear Hubby, The Kids, Weather. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Love the answers. I am trying to come up with some. Thanks for the email. I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet but I plan on it today if things go well (I babysit on mondays and thursdays).

    BTW my son (that I emailed you about a LONG time ago) is 12. We have noticed that he goes long periods without any problems. That seems to be related to when we eat less bread. So we shall see.

  2. beautiful story about your little ones. We have 5 and one on the way (yikes!) and I find the biggest challenge is finding the money to feed everyone on a healthy organic gf diet!! Sometimes I just want to order pizza darn-it!!

  3. I really hesitate to use the term “Quiverful” or any other label for our family. I don’t want to call any of my children a “third culture kid”, our parenting style “attachment parenting” etc. I was just talking to my mom recently about this complusive need in our society to make labels for everything! It drives me crazy and as I cannot find a home in any of these movements, I’m not “in.” People see me and my herd comin’ at them and they assume we are trying to have as many kids as humanly possible. And that’s not it at all. Anyway…..

    Very interesting how you ended up with “all” those children! I thought you got yours from the Penny Shopper like I did! LOL!

  4. Oh my. Days and days of over 100 degrees? No grass? Um, I think we’ll stay here! A little rain won’t hurt him…
    Thank you for answering my question!

  5. glutenfree4goofs

    Thanks for sharing, you made me weep then laugh! 🙂 I feel like Davie (my girl) is “just dangling off on the end” but because of PPD (and she is only 7mo) Matt says STOP. I always wanted four but I expected all boys. We will see! My oldest, “saved my life” with the celiac diagnosis. Thank the Lord for ALL our little (and big) blessing!

  6. glutenfree4goofs

    Ade, you could come be my neighbor! 🙂 Much greener, warm and dry in the summer but the winters are killer! Not bad if you like to ski and sled. I like winter when I’m not struggling with depression. You can come too Karen!

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