Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holy In-Santa-ty

Things have been way crazy around here ;)

But we all had a wonderful Christmas! The kids were so thrilled and so excited. Funny, Baby Girl totally got it this year, a year sooner than Little Man. But he was way into it this year too.

Anyway, the kids have been running around hopped up on stocking candy for the past couple of days.

Lazy Baby has had a fever since Christmas...

My house looks like it barfed up a bunch of dishes and laundry...

and toys...

So, just popping in to say I will return after these messages... ;)

Friday, December 11, 2009

In the Thick of It

I'm insane, I freely admit that ;) Every year, for the past 3 or 4 years I have crocheted gifts for all of our nieces and nephews. We just can't afford to buy them all gifts, there are just too many of them! And this year there are 3 new ones, so that makes the number in the higher 20s. I usually start in October. This year, October came and went. And I realized that I was just not going to have the time this year. Last year I was madly crocheting up until I had to get the stuff out in the mail! So, I was trying to think of some minor crafty thing that would be super cheap and not too lame. I was struggling with this until my husband said we just can't buy for them this year. And truth be told, I was fine with that. On his family end anyway. I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but all his brothers and sisters quit buying for our kids when we moved up here. I continued to make things for their kids, but probably only because I was still making things for my side... Anyway, my brothers and sisters have gotten gifts for my kids every year, and I know they have this year, so... this week (and probably next week too) I am speed crafting my butt off in the sly... so that's where I've been and where I will be until I'm done ;)
So far I have knitted 2 wrist purses for 2 of my nieces, knitted 1/4 of a scarf for one of my nephews... I will be crocheting a scarf for 1 niece, sewing 3 dora purses for 2 nieces and my own little dora fan ;), crocheting a hat for a nephew, and making a pair of moccasins (and putting a little beadwork on them) for my mom. And I'm thinking about crocheting hats for my brother's girlfriend's two kids? I probably should, but I guess I will if I still have time!
I will be catching up with y'all in a week or so! Until then, happy X-mas shopping!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Best of the Worst

So every year I have a horrible time thinking about what to get my mom for her birthday (Dec. 21st) and X-Mas.

I noticed while we were visiting in August that she has like NO pictures of my kids around her house. She has tons of all the other grandkids. Why? Duh. I don't send her any pictures! I can't fault her for that.

So this year I decided that I was going to take a picture of all my kids and buy a nice frame. Genius. Except for the photo part. Here's how the photo shoot went down: (notice I did actually get all the kids dressed yesterday, specifically to get a picture!).

Shot One: Baby girl covers her face

Shot Two: Have Tweenie hold her arms and Say Cheese - someone got a little too cheesy!
Shot Three: Hmmm. Not bad, but neither of the boys are looking anywhere near the camera...

Shot Four: I Tell them to look at the camera...then Tweenie does, which gets their focus ;) and I get her pointing.Shot Five: Lazy Baby = Done

Shot Five: Lazy Baby Out! ;)Now which one of those do I put in a frame for grandma? ;) I guess I'm going to keep trying until I get one that's somewhat passable...

Though after your comments about the photo for my Christmas Card, I totally see the genius in taking all their pictures separately!! So now I'm thinking multiple collage photo frame. Hopefully I can find one that says Grandma... or maybe I could craft one up? How hard could that be? It would probably take much less time than trying to get 4 kids to look and smile at the camera at the same time. Plus, we would still have the step-tweenie issue - she needs to be in the photo too... so I just managed to take most of the pressure off myself in two little sentences ;) So glad I have smart bloggy buddies!! ;)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

For the Dogs

So Tweenie says to me the other day that a puppy would be a great Christmas gift. So I asked her who was going to take care of it and potty train it? Of course she said that she would. Her 2 jobs around the house are taking out the garbage and feeding the 2 dogs we already have. Does she remember to do either without having to be reminded? Nope. I told her she couldn't even remember to feed the dogs we have and she bet me that she could remember. Guess how long she remembered to feed the dogs without having to be told? That's right, not even one day. I gave her until after dinner to remind her. Good thing she didn't bet any money.

My husband has been after another dog for a while too.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love dogs, and love the 2 dogs that we have. Even though the mini-wiener dog rubs her stank all over everything in the house.

But, aside from the fact that I will be the one having to do all the training and taking care of while Tweenie is at school all day and the hubs is at work all day... the hair is driving me to the edge.

Years ago, before I was even close to having children, a lady I worked with told me that once she had kids she ended up getting rid of her cats ~ because of all the hair.

Back then I thought so what's a little hair? Of course at that point in my life I was well on my way to becoming a crazy cat lady. And thought that there was nothing in the world that would ever force me to get rid of my beautiful cats. Then I became horribly allergic... so adios beloved cats, and hello dogs.

And now, I totally see her point. Last Thursday or Friday I swiffered up all the dog hair in prep for actual sweeping of the kitchen floor. Kid you not, I used at least 8 swiffer pads. And then, after a good sweeping of about 1/4 of the kitchen, the baby woke up. It did't get finished. I noticed the gradual building up of dog hair around the edges of everything in the kitchen, and decided last night that I just had to sweep up the hair! Sure I can dodge tufts of dog hair all day, but now that it is footie sleeper time and little man seems to have some kind of paranoia about pulling his jammies up in the bathroom - he ends up sweeping the floor with the arms of his fleece sleepers on his run from the bathroom to the middle of the kitchen. So...

I swept it all into the middle of the room, instead of wasting a bazillion swiffers...

I'll spare you the photo I took.

I called Tweenie in to see it and said "I can make you guys another dog with all this hair!" Seriously, it was at least a jack russel terrier's worth of hair! And that was a mere 5 or 6 days worth.

Next time I think she's going to be sweeping it up.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oh The Christmas Cards

I have a conundrum this year having to do with the Christmas cards.

For like the past 5 years or so I've done pictures of the kids for the card. It's nice for friends and family who don't get to see the kids very often.

So, this year we haven't and won't have an opportunity to get a picture with ALL the kids, as we won't see Step-Tweenie until the day after X-mas. We haven't seen her since our trip in August. She has not wanted to come up to visit. She is being a bratty little shit. We have many issues with her - and the biggest thing is that #1 she is an only child at her mom's house, so is used to being the big cheese and does not appreciate being one of many and having to share attention. #2 she gets absolutely NO discipline at her mom's house. She is horribly spoiled and she is mean and nasty to her brothers and sisters when she's here. She clearly does not see herself as part of our family.

I still want to do the picture of the kids x-mas card, but even though step-tweenie is a brat I don't want her to feel left out. That would probably only encourage her belief that she's not a part of our family.

I'm just wondering what I should do and how I should handle it? Do I ask her mom to take a picture of her in red or green and email it and make it a 2 picture card? Do I just scan and include her school picture (even though she's 13 and has a cleavage bearing school pic!). Or do I call and ask her how she feels about not being part of the x-mas pic? I just don't know what the best thing to do would be.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks

I have so much to be thankful for. I'm very aware of how lucky I am. I know I use this space to complain and vent and try out my crazy on you guys ;) But I have no one else to complain to, so it may seem like that's all I do... Anyway, here is a list of what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving...

~~I am so thankful for my children :) My life would be nothing without them.
~~I am truly thankful to my husband for giving me all of these beautiful children. I just can't take all the credit on their looks.
~~I am thankful that we all have our health.
~~I am thankful that Lazy Baby's colic seems to be waning.
~~I am thankful that my husband decided to stay home and help me cook yesterday instead of going hunting! Otherwise we probably wouldn't have had any food!
~~I am thankful that I have a man who knows how to cook a turkey! AND make the gravy like a pro!!!
~~I am thankful that this year we decided to do the low key just our little family Thanksgiving. No pressure, no having to run around and clean like a mad woman while trying to cook. No having to load up the kids to go anywhere. When we lived close to family we were obligated to attend 2 Thanksgiving dinners... and that was always just too hectic! And for the past few years we have invited my husband's brothers and sister. Last year none were going to come, but some of them came anyway, which I was grateful for (even if it was only because they couldn't figure out how to work their newfangled digital oven). But this year I was too overwhelmed and the house was just too messy!
~~I am thankful to have a genius for a husband. If something's broke he knows how to fix it. If something happens, he knows what to do. If we have a problem, he usually knows how to solve it or knows how to find the solution. Back in October something happened to our antenna. We lost our NBC channel and were stuck with only PBS. We are too rural for cable, and we can't afford satellite. My husband had the wonderful idea of hooking up our computer to the television so we can watch full episodes online!! Now we are not limited to watching only shows on NBC and PBS! Now we can watch Glee! And shows on FOX, ABC and CBS as well as some of the cable channel stuff that they have online! The only drawback is that none of the somewhat local news channels stream live at 10pm. And of course none of the national news programs stream live... so we have to get all our news online... But we were able to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade streamed live by some people from their apartment windows! It was awesome and the kids loved it!!! :)

It was a good Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Addicted to Babies

I have a problem. Yep, you guessed it. Oh, the title gave it away? I have a complete and total addiction to wanting to have babies.

Lazy Baby got the label of my last baby. And I really meant it. For many reasons.

~~I just turned 40!! I know, people are having babies later in life, but seriously, I will be 60!! when Lazy Baby is 20!! My husband will be one year from retiring. He thought 40 was old to be having a baby (he turned 40 one month before our first Little Man was born).

~~I will most likely have gestational diabetes again. From the start. And that totally sucked!! That alone should be enough to make me be done!

~~My hands are overly full these days. Truth be told, I was overwhelmed with 2 little ones. And now here I am overly overwhelmed with 3. It wouldn't be so bad if I had friends or family or lived in an actual city with actual neighbors. And if I didn't have to drive at least 25 miles to get diapers and milk.

But in theory I would love to have another. I always wanted lots of kids. Of course the reality is: no way should I even be seriously considering having another. Really, I would be too embarrassed to even tell anyone if I was pregnant again. Everyone thought I was a tad on the crazy side last time. There would be no question in their minds if I did this whole thing one more time.

I was 2 days late this month (ordinarily it wouldn't be a big deal, but I had been starting 3 and 4 days early). I had 2 whole days to sit around and worry and think about it. I was terrified. But the thing was that when I finally started I was both relieved and disappointed. I was really taken aback by the whole disappointment thing. What the hell is my brain and body up to?? ;) I mean really, disappointed?? Hello ovaries, I know that you are so glad to finally be able to work and all...but lets not overdo it here.

I have spent most of my adult life trying to get pregnant. I started wanting babies when I was somewhere between 18-20. I started seriously trying to get pregnant around the age of 23. I guess a habit like that doesn't just die easy. It was more than a habit. It was a way of life. It was the guiding force in my life for all those years I was unable to conceive.

And now? I don't know how to quit. I don't know how to let my brain and body know that I'm done having babies. I'm done trying to get pregnant.

But the other day I was going through some baby clothes. Putting away the ones Lazy Baby has outgrown, going through Little Man's baby clothes, and going back through Baby Girl's clothes to pull out the unisex and Christmas stuff... It seems like such a waste. I had so many baby girl clothes. So many cute things. I found a few things that still had tags on them. I found some adorable outfits that she only wore once or twice. I found stuff I never put on her. For a few minutes I thought it would be nice to have another girl. And really, my OCD is all about evenness. In a way things are all even at home now, we have 2 girls and 2 boys full time. When step-tweenie comes it's uneven because we have 3 girls and 2 boys. So if anything we are short a boy sometimes. But on the other hand: I've given birth to an uneven number. 2 boys and 1 girl. Oh well. Some things are just meant to be uneven. And I'll just have to get over it. Because there is just no way I could possibly handle another. I have to recognize my limits and stick to them.

But the reality is: no matter how crazy and hectic my days are, no matter how much I complain, no matter how little time I have for myself, at the end of the day, when I kiss my little ones good night and crawl into bed with Lazy Baby to nurse him to sleep I feel blessed. I feel like I could do it a million times over. There just aren't words enough to convey the beauty and joy and wonder and amazement. There are so many moments in each day that I just look at one of my children and feel overwhelmed with emotional bliss. Is it any wonder I'm addicted?

OK now I know pregnant brain lasts while nursing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

And Now We've Discovered the Screaming!

Lazy Baby has taken to screaming.

A week or so ago he started screaming in delight. It was beautiful. He would watch Baby Girl or Little Man whiz by his exersaucer and scream because he was so excited. I'm sure he can't wait to join them in their running through the living rooms like banshees.

Then he started offering up a little scream or two when he was getting bored or tired or just wanted to be picked up. It was kind of cute, a little funny. It was like a little warning signal. Um, get me now or I'm going to start really crying!

Now, he has realized the full power of the scream.

Over the past few days he has used that power pretty much exclusively.

He will fuss a little, for about ten seconds or so, and then move right on to the scream.

And I'm not talking little scream.

I'm talking ear-splitting, blood-curdling, I'm being axe-murdered scream.

Thank God we don't have neighbors.

Otherwise I'm sure they would have called the authorities. Because screams like that could only indicate mass carnage.

It's amazing how ear-piercing a scream from an almost 5 month old can be.

Lazy Baby totally has my number.

And he sure doesn't hesitate to use it.

He's absolutely incorporated that shrill scream into his nightly colic episodes. At least they aren't lasting as long these days.

I feel like such a meanie when I laugh at him. But who could help laughing at such serious screams coming from such a little guy.

He's just lucky he's so darn cute ;) Wouldn't trade my screaming banshee for anything :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's My Birthday and I'll Vent If I Want To!!

I'm not one of those who get all excited about birthdays or anything. And my husband just doesn't do shopping by himself. So generally my birthday consists of going to Wal-Mart and getting whatever decent movie came out that week. And I'm fine with that.

But here's what happened yesterday - on my 40th birthday...
Someone (the husband) decides to wake me up at 5am poking me in the back with his you know what. Anyone who even marginally knows me, knows that I love sleep and I'm very much lacking it. I wouldn't appreciate being woken up at 5am on ANY day, let alone on my birthday! If you love me, give me an extra 15minutes of sleep!!

So all morning he was mad. To clarify: HE was mad because I wouldn't do HIM a favor on MY birthday. Hmmm.

He tripped over a laundry basket in the kitchen and started bitching, I picked it up and took it to the bedroom and slammed the door on my way out - which knocked a photo off the shelf above the door, which flew to the ground and broke all over the living room floor. Score, I also get to clean up broken glass and vacuum on my birthday. I will admit, it was my fault.

We had to take a 45-50 mile road trip to renew my license (he had the day off due to Veteran's Day). He didn't say 2 words to me the whole way.

After I got my new license he asked where I wanted to go. I said Wal-Mart because that's kind of been our tradition. He asked why I wanted to go there. So I just said forget it, let's get some lunch and go home. Instead he drove to the 5 store mall. Why? To go to the sporting goods store (so he can check out all the hunting gear). Whereupon he suggests I buy myself some long underwear or sweatpants for my birthday. I picked out a pair of pajama pants. I do spend most of my time in my jammies anyway.

So then we get lunch and go home.

And on the deserted backroads roads that take us back home...he has the nerve to suggest I give him a you know what while he's driving. ????? As if it was his birthday or something. Unbelievable. Worst birthday ever.

On the way I realized that I really had meant to go to Wal-Mart to at least buy myself a birthday cake. I had a cake mix at home, but no frosting. There was no place to stop on the way home. I told him to go to the gas station past our house. He felt a little bad then, but no where near bad enough.

So we get home, all the kids are cranky, baby is screamy... and I'm trying to get the cake mix done... amazingly he picked up the baby, but then 2 minutes later says he has to poop! UGH!! He does that every single time he is holding the baby. I've been pooping with babies on my lap since about 2005!! So the cake was on hold for an hour or so while I took care of the baby.

I had to frost the cake and re-heat some leftover soup for dinner while the baby had a screamy fit. He was pretty much fine while we all ate dinner, but then got screamy again as soon as the cake and ice cream were out.

Anyway, the highlight was that tweenie had made me a card at school. She's so funny, it said "Happy 40th Birthday, may the insanity go down with your older age (if that's possible)" Haha!! And the card from my husband? It said "Turning 40? you can tell you've reached 40 when you wake up with that awful "morning after" feeling...and you didn't do anything the night before" and he wrote in "literally" underneath it!! Ugh. Men.

The worst thing about it all? While I don't expect much from a birthday, I at least expect it to be a marginally better day than most others. And it ended up being worse.

I always go out of my way to do something special for him on his birthdays. I've decided I'm just not going to next year. That is if I can remember all this for 10 months! I bet I can hold a grudge that long. But he will have totally forgotten all about it...

Friday, November 6, 2009

There is no "me" in Mommy

Nor in Mom. But there is one in Mother if you look hard enough. And it takes a little work. Some people are pretty successful at finding the "me" in Mother. Some aren't.

**If you are here for the award scroll down to yesterday's post (I know, 2 posts in 2 days is so unlike me!)

**digression here: my son insists that my name is "mommy," not "mom," not "mother," it's "mommy." He will correct people in the store. "No she's not my mom, she's my mommy."
He asked me what I was going to be for Halloween, I told him I was going to be a "mom." The day after Halloween he asked if I was "mommy" again since he was no longer an Astronaut, or whether I was still wearing my "mom" costume. Cute kid.

Anyway, back to the point. Anymommy had this post yesterday that really made me think (OK, she usually comes up with thought provoking posts, so that part is nothing new). She was talking about the fact that she doesn't cook. And she doesn't do scrapbooking, or crafty homemade stuff either and she's fine with that. She realizes, that as a mother of 4 small children, you simply can't do everything. Even if you're a stay at home mom who doesn't work outside the home. And she is so right on about that. Some mothers will think those kinds of things are expected from them, especially if they are a stay at home mom ('cause those mom's have all the time in the world don't they?). But it is one of the most unrealistic expectations.

My mom was one of those moms who had to do it all. We never had a store bought cake for our birthdays. Each of us had a specially baked (probably even from scratch!) and extraordinarily decorated cake. Whatever we were into at the moment was reflected on our birthday cakes. I wish I had some of those pictures! She made cookie monster, big bird, trains, care name it. She was such an artist. She sent us with home baked goods to share with our classes for our birthdays or for holiday parties. In my Halloween post I talked about how every year we had homemade costumes. She also sewed costumes for school plays and concerts.

She was in PTA, she was a homeroom mom for at least a couple of us at a time (there were 5 of us!). She was a den mother, cub scout leader, brownie/girl scout leader, soccer/softball coach... the list goes on. We were involved in absolutely everything and she was usually in charge of it.

Sounds perfect doesn't it? She knocked herself out. She stayed up late at night doing things, sometimes she was up all night finishing whatever her latest project was. There was always too much on her agenda. She never said "no" to anything. She aimed to please. And it was all for us kids. Or was it? Seems pretty selfless. She never did anything just for herself. She rarely even bought herself new clothes.

Once, when I was in high school and messing up royally (staying up late and not making it to school in the mornings), my step-father gave me this huge lecture on how much my mom had done for us kids and how much she sacrificed for us.

And I bought into it. Until many years later when, as an adult, I witnessed my sister being that mom with her children. I say with instead of for, because it's really not for the kids. Mothers may kid themselves into believing that, but it's false. My sister followed in the footsteps of my mother to a "t." She is involved in everything at the school. Her kids are involved in everything at the school. She is so busy doing everything that who gets left out? Yep, the kids. Who's losing out on this one? The kids.

When she's not busy planning and organizing for something at school or all of those athletic activities or brownies/girl scouts/boy scouts, she's busy gossiping with other mothers. Whenever I talk to her it's all about other families, the kids' friends etc... it's like her kids have taken a backseat to all the other things they are involved in and the families that are involved along with them.

I have never seen her just spend time with her kids. They never relax. They are always doing something. The time she spends with her children is when they are playing a soccer or softball game, when they are in brownies/girl scouts, when they are doing some school activity.

I can sit back and judge because I'm not that mom ;) and it's so much easier to judge someone else now isn't it? Honestly, I don't feel bad judging my sister like this. I know that she and my mother judge me for not letting my daughter do everything that she wants. They judge me for the type of parent I am all the time. Because I am not them. I'm not their type of ultra-involved do everything homemade mom.

I'm not saying that involvement is bad. As a matter of fact, I wish I could be more involved at the school. But really it's because I need a social life ;) No, seriously, I think some parental involvement is good. But too much is the opposite of good.

I limit my school age daughter to one extracurricular activity a school year. One year she played soccer, the next year she played softball, this year she wants to try basketball. I will do the same with all my children when they get to school. Children need down time. Why pressure them to be busy all the time? Maybe I just value relaxing too much ;) But why teach them to spread themselves too thin right from the start?

If my child doesn't have a homemade birthday cake on their birthday, I feel guilty, but then realize that I just can't do everything, and in the end it won't make that much of a difference. I really wanted to make their Halloween costumes this year, but in the end I realized that it would mean spending a couple of days working on their costumes instead of spending any time with them. And really, the $10 costumes we got them were so much more cost effective (my sister spent $50 on the materials for ONE of her kids' costumes).

I do what I can and try not to sweat the stuff I can't and pray that they will turn out the better for it ;)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Who Doesn't Love an Award?

One of my new bloggy buddies, Krimson, gave me this wonderful award!! She's so awesome!! Thank you Krimson! Totally go check out her blog, she's hilarious.

Here are the rules of the award:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link to their blog.
2. Share 10 honest things about yourself.
3. Present this award to 7 others whose blogs you find brilliant in design or content.
4. Tell those 7 people they have been awarded.

So onto the 10 honest things...
  1. I should totally be doing my dishes right now instead of this! Seriously, it's been 2 or 3 days and reaching the point of disgusting.
  2. I should also be taking control of my laundry... sadly, my husband had to go to work in dirty jeans again today. And I have a basket of clean clothes that have been sitting in my kitchen for 2 days waiting to be folded and put away, or at least taken to the bedroom they belong in...
  3. I will be turning 40 in less than a week. I just don't feel that old. I'm not that bothered by it though. I was more bothered about turning 30. Just because I wanted to have all my kids by the time I was 30, so that age hit me really hard. Well, a decade later I accomplished that goal. Evidence that I am in fact a total procrastinator.
  4. I totally pigged out on the kids' Halloween candy. Until I broke a tooth on a tootsie-roll and decided I'd better call it quits. Sad times :(
  5. I was entirely too amused by the fact that my baby girl's first words after mama and dada were "waw-mawt." And the fact that my son thinks absolutely everything can be bought at Wal-Mart.
  6. I'm trying to limit my computer time these days. I spend way too much time on Facebook... It's my homepage, so every time I turn on my computer I first have to see what everyone is up to, and then like 2 hours later realize I forgot what the heck I turned on the computer to do. I've actually gone 2 whole days without turning on the computer! That's a record.
  7. I suck at organization and planning. I think it's just too normal for me to be operating under chaos and disorder. And that just doesn't help things.
  8. I am usually the loser in the battles with my children... they know that I will eventually give in, so they just keep it up until I do. I totally need to find some patience and some energy - otherwise they will be walking all over me forever. It's hard though when you have a screaming baby and a determined 4 year old. I do stand firm on the important things though...
  9. I just realized today that I haven't taken my prenatal vitamins in about a month!! The crazy thing is that I've been pregnant or nursing since 2005, and have religiously taken them everyday since!
  10. I only get dressed if I'm going somewhere, which is about once a week. Otherwise you will find me and my kids in jammies all day.
Now comes the hard part: choosing only 7 people to award this to! :(

Becky from In The Trenches She's always got something interesting going on and has such beautiful children!

Helene from I'm Living Proof that God has a Sense of Humor Her kids are always up to wicked shenanigans! She makes my life seem somewhat sane ;)

Hattie from Warning: Just a Little Bitchy who also leads a crazy hectic life with 4 boys!!

Mel from The Bubble... she's got the cutest little man ;)

Yaya from Yaya Stuff. She's been one of my favorite bloggy buddies for a long time! I'm fairly certain that she's already gotten this award before, but I don't care ;)

Stacey from Is There Any Mommy Out There. We've also been bloggy buddies since about the time I started blogging. We had our last babies one day apart ;) and if you haven't checked out her blog you really should. She has beautiful and hilarious posts that are completely addictive. She's participating in National Blog Posting Month, so maybe this will help her out if she comes up blank someday ;) (which I super doubt)

That Girl from That Girl Blogs. She has herself a 3-ring circus too ;)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spooky Stuff

WooHoo, I'm making it two weeks in a row for MamaKat's writers workshop!

Here are this week's prompts:
1.) Show your spooky side.

2.) Show and Tell using your favorite Halloween home decor.

3.) Write a poem to your child as their Halloween character (for example I may write a poem to "Pongo"...the 101 Dalmatian Laina is going to be for Halloween)

4.) Post a vlog of yourself playing a Halloween prank on a family member or

5.) Describe a favorite Halloween costume or moment you wish you had on video.

I'm thinking this will be a combo of #1 and #5 ;) but it's pretty much just #5.

Who doesn't love Halloween as a child? It has always been one of my favorite holidays. Every year as soon as school started I would start thinking about what I was going to be for Halloween. No matter what it was that I finally decided on, my mother was there to whip it up for me. I don't think we ever bought Halloween costumes. My mother was so creative and talented when it came to Halloween costumes! For several years in a row I was some kind of martian. One year my mom covered a box in tin foil and made me a tin foil hat with antennae and painted my face green. The next year she sewed a couple of extra arms on a shirt and I was a 4-armed alien with a third eye painted in the middle of my forehead.
But my favorite costume idea of my moms, the one that had everyone laughing at/with us, and the one I wish someone had videotaped would be the one where we all dressed up in black garbage bags and wore goofy orange wigs ;) It was simple, but effective. Can you imagine seeing five children and their parents all dressed up like this? I don't know where my mom got the idea. Maybe it was a year where she had no ideas and at the last minute threw it together? Not her most creative, but it was hilarious! My brothers were in boy scouts/cub scouts and they had a Halloween party for the scout families... we all sat together and would do this crazy laughing in unison. My step-father and youngest brother had these wonderful hearty contagious laughs. Every time we would do the laughing bit, everyone would laugh. We ended up winning the costume contest :) I wish I at least had a picture of it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


? I have nothing. Or too much. I get overwhelmed entirely too easily and just give up. It's been one of those days. Again. I think everyday is one of those days.

I've been in the same pjs for probably 5 days now. I've lost count. Thank God we don't have neighbors or friends ;)

My 12 year old daughter asked me if she could stay the night with her girlfriend and 2 boys next weekend. Um. Not a chance in hell. Nice try though. Now I'm re-thinking her attendance at the school's Halloween dance.

We let Little Man stay up late and watch the new Transformers movie last night. He kept us up last night talking about how his butt doesn't have a gun. ?? Did I miss something? Did one of the transformers have a butt-gun? I don't know where he comes up with this stuff. He was still talking about it this morning. But Mom, my butt doesn't have a gun. Not sure whether he considers that a good or bad thing. Sorry kid, your butt will hopefully never have a gun. Now I'm re-thinking letting him watch anything.

And now my 5 minutes of relative peace and quiet has been spent...back to the chaos...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

When Movies Really Strike a Cord...

I just watched "Marley and Me" for the first time the other night. I know, it's been out forever. And I really avoided it for several reasons: rumor of a sad ending, the whole feel-good holiday popular movie bit, I don't really care too much for Jennifer Aniston (gasp! but she always seems to be the same character), and I didn't think it would be all that good so I wanted to wait for it to go down in price (there are no movie rental places around here)...

Anyway, my husband caught it on cable this week while he was in a motel out of town. He said that it was really good, he might have actually cried - but it may have been the fact that his eyes were watering because he was sick (or so that's what he told him roomie)... But he also said that the couple really reminded him of us and our relationship and situation. His rundown of it was that the couple got married, got a dog, then she wanted a baby, they ended up with 3 and she had postpartum depression and got all mad when the husband mentioned it.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. There were so many things in the movie that reminded me of us. And of our life. I really wanted to point out how clean their house was until she had the kids ;)

But, yeah, tons of similarities aside from the ones he mentioned: the colic, the fighting, ppd, the chaos and exhaustion, the whole issue of parenting and being a stay at home mom w/no breaks...(I swear we've had the same fights!). It was almost like someone took my life and made it into a movie! I don't think I've ever identified so much with a movie. It had a certain amount of raw realism that a lot of movies gloss over. I would be willing to bet that a lot of stay at home moms with more than one child identified with the movie.

The issue of miscarriage in the movie was pretty unexpected and hit a spot in my heart. Not that I thought I was over it or anything, but it seems that when you least expect it, something will bring it out and unwind all those memories and feelings that you try to keep tied up. I am fairly certain it's something that I will never get over. I doubt anyone does.

We did have a dog somewhat similar to Marley. But we ended up taking her to a farm. She was a wonderful and beautiful Border Collie. She was awesome with the two older girls (tweenie and step-tweenie - when they were 6 and 7). She really kept track of them (when she wasn't eating the floor!) and would check on them all the time and did a lot of things really similar to Marley. Unfortunately when Little Man was maybe 5 or 6 mos old, she barked at him and almost bit him. So we found her a great home with a family that bred and trained Border Collies. And now we have a stinky wiener dog with attitude and an insane, but fairly well behaved black lab.

I was also quite impressed with Jennifer Aniston in this movie, she did a really great job and wasn't her usual same old Rachel from Friends character ;)

Something important that I came away from this movie with was having to do with the relationship... I realized that I am probably never nice to my husband. While the couple fought quite a bit, they always ended up being sweet with each other in the next scene, or the wife would be all nice and forgiving and back into the partnership. They always made up and came out stronger, more of a team. I complain a lot about my husband and his lack of engaging in our "partnership," but I am equally, if not more, at fault. I'm almost certain that my indifferent behavior (due to exhaustion at this point!) and lack of time for really engaging with him continues to keep a wall up between us and inhibits our ability to become more of a team. In that way the movie was quite the eye-opener. I'm so rarely sweet or forgiving or even nice to my husband these days. By the time he gets home every day I am so completely drained. And then within an hour or less of him getting home is when the colic clock strikes... I really need to make some efforts to rebuild our relationship. Or at least get it started in the right direction. It's just really hard to spend any energy there, when I barely have the energy I need for the kids. But honestly, the tone of our interactions permeates the house. If we were more together the rest of the house would surely sense it.

A little deep for what I thought was going to be some fluff movie ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flying By the Seat of my Pants

It's been a while since I have done Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop... I've been checking her prompts every week, but then not having the energy to write anything that would fit. This week #4 really struck me. I've been thinking about "How Motherhood Has Changed [Me]" since I became a mother.

I'd be lying if I didn't say it has changed me to the very core of my being.

I don't know what most women expect going into motherhood, but I'm guessing most believe what I did about becoming a mother: my life will continue exactly as it is now, but there will be the addition of a baby. I'll do the same things, be the same person, except I'll be changing a few diapers. And I'll have this wonderful bundle of joy and sunshine that I will carry around with me while I do all the stuff I normally do, and everyone will comment on how adorable and well behaved she is and pinch her cheeks. And I will be so overwhelmed with joy once my dream of motherhood has been fulfilled.

I started my journey towards motherhood with small steps. I first became a step-mother every other weekend and on holidays. Minimal changes. Pretty much led the same life I did without children, so hello motherhood, this isn't so bad. And I had a child for all the important and festive holidays. It was perfect.

Our next step was adoption. We adopted our 6 year old niece. I was so completely thrilled. I could jump right in and be that PTA super involved Mom. She was at that age where we could do all sorts of fun things together like crafts, baking cookies and playing games. We started out spending time with her while she was in foster care. We would have her every other weekend and on holidays. As soon as we finished with all the classes and preliminary paperwork we got to have her move in until the adoption was finalized. By that time I was about 6mos pregnant with our first baby. It was also the end of the school year, so I wasn't able to get as involved as I would have liked.

Having my first baby hit me like a ton of bricks. He ended up having colic, so basically he spent hours upon hours a day having screaming fits. I spent pretty much his first 8mos of life holding him and trying to keep him from screaming his head off all the time. We couldn't go anywhere, if we did he would scream the entire time we were in the car and wherever it was we were going.

It was then that I really understood the full scope of motherhood. Once you become a mother, you are a mother 24/7. It's so much more than a job. You don't get any breaks, and there is no quitting time. You are on the job all day and all night. I had never imagined myself a stay-at-home mother, but circumstances led to that being the only logical choice. I was, and still am happy with that choice. I wouldn't have it any other way. Motherhood is an enormous responsibility, and I wouldn't trust anyone else with the care of my precious children.

I never imagined how much of myself and what I did to be me I would choose to put aside when I became a mother. I didn't expect that motherhood would change me all that much.

But now I look at myself, my life and the mother I have become, and realize that I have pretty much completely lost touch with the person I used to be. At the moment I'm not sure whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. I am leaning towards the good, and trying to see the positive changes in myself that have occurred.

I used to be somewhat irresponsible and a little self-absorbed (internally speaking that is). Motherhood forces you to become a responsible person, or at least it should. It is no longer just your life that concerns you, there are the lives of your children that are of the utmost importance. And you really can't be too self-absorbed. You can't get hung up on yourself when you have to spend most of your time caring for others. So in that way motherhood has forced me to become a better person.

I am realizing now what a large and involved topic this is, and how little time I have to really do it justice... especially since at the moment, while I am trying really hard to use what little brain I have left to compose something articulate and worthwhile, I have a 4 year old who just will not leave me alone and has been nonstop talking and demanding the entire time I've been sitting here drafting... and a colicky infant who decided that now would be the best time to start a full blown screaming fit.

So I will continue on this topic in some future posts...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Wisdom of a 4 Year Old

I'm just amazed at what comes out of Little Man's mouth these days! I know where he gets most of it, but he clearly has an absolute understanding of what he's talking about.

For example, after lunch he tells me that I'm not to talk to him ever again. I started laughing. Oh you should have seen the way he looked at me! He was so serious! Then he told me that I'm not supposed to be laughing because he's not joking.

A little while later he said, "The star is purple (he's coloring) but you can't talk to me right now. I'm never talking to you again. And you can't laugh at that anymore."

A little while ago he was talking loudly and nonstop. I told him to quit talking because I was trying to put his baby brother to sleep. He replied "Just do what you have to do mom!" LOL!!!!

His latest kick is when he says something to Dad and I answer him, he will tell me "but I was talking to Dad." Or he'll say "But I wasn't talking to you." This happens about 20 times a day because he's always talking and I'm always just automatically responding out of habit ;) And when I keep doing it when he's talking to someone else, he will tell me that I'm driving him insane! ;) I have no idea where he's heard that one before!

And it really amazes me how damn specific 4 year olds can be! My God. This morning he would not eat his banana because he said it was full of yellow stuff and he does not like the yellow stuff. He usually eats bananas... We've been battling for weeks because Wal-Mart changed their store brand colors. His crunchy granola bars now come in a white package instead of a green one. He wouldn't eat them because they weren't in the green package.

So many times a day now I catch myself looking at him and thinking about how fast he is growing up. How quickly he is catching on to the world. How perceptive he is, and how well he is understanding things. It's all been in the blink of an eye. He seems to be growing leaps and bounds by the day. It's really hitting me these days that he's not my little baby anymore. And he really reinforces that when he insists on doing absolutely everything by himself!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Getting My Craft On!!

So while hubby has been out of town, I have been busy crafting! Once I get the kids in bed at night that is... I've been staying up so horribly late!!! But I am so digging it!! I haven't been in bed by 1am since he left!

I actually broke out the sewing machine! Last night I made this really simple Fleece Gnome Hat. It's not the greatest picture, but it's darn cute!

My favorite is this adorable crocheted pumpkin hat!! Is that the cutest hat ever?? ;)

I started off by altering a girly booty pattern that I'm in love with, but wanted to make some less girly booties for my boy! The pattern is for mary janes, so I just had to fill in the stitches where the hole is and then added a couple of rounds in the cuff... I don't know what inspired me, but I was going to make them in red for a Christmasy set... but my orange yarn jumped out at me and I thought..hmmm...little pumpkiny booties! I was just going to leave them plain orange, but then I just happened to have this perfect green sitting out that I had made some other things with... and I thought I would add some edging to make it look leafy or viney... And after I finished the first bootie I thought I must have a hat to match!! So there you have it!

It's a wrap! I finally got around to making that baby wrap! And I LOVE IT!! I was (and still am) in love with the pouch sling, which is awesome for the cradle hold and to get him to sleep, but if he's wanting to sit up I have to hold on to him with one hand... but the wrap? Pretty much hands free!! I found the instructions here. Super easy!! Except I did it the hard way... unable to find jersey in the limited craft supply store here, I resorted to cutting and sewing a jersey sheet. Jersey is really awful to work with - at least the jersey this sheet was made of.
I was really set on doing more crafty stuff tonight - like make the 2nd bootie ;) But we had a long and exhausting day! I loaded up all the kids and road tripped it to a halfway bigger city about an hour away. Sadly because they have a bigger Wal-Mart that still has their fabric/craft department (the one we usually go to [30 mins away] got rid of that dept!)... so I got some more material to make some more slings with. I'm completely addicted! ;) Actually I wanted to make one for my niece who had a baby a few weeks ago... and maybe one for my mom's friend who just adopted a toddler and just had her 1st baby.

Anyway, we ended up gone all day! From about 11:30am until 7:30pm! All that staying up all hours of the night is catching up with me! ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Post Where I Don't Whine About Anything!!

I know, a miracle isn't it. Is it even possible? Seriously, don't blink or you might miss it ;)

My husband is going to be going out of town on business soon. I feel so evil being overjoyed at his being gone. Well, maybe not quite "overjoyed" as much as relieved. It's awful I know ;) With my hands as full as they are these days you think I would be saying the opposite (bordering on a whine here), but sometimes it doesn't make much of a difference whether he's here or not. Things just aren't quite as tense when he's gone. (Although I do think he's been making small efforts here and there to help out and do things with the kids).

Anyway, here's why I get a little party attitude going on:
  • I can sleep with as many lights on as I want! I must admit, I'm a little afraid of the dark, but he can't sleep with any lights on. We compromise by leaving a night light in the bathroom.
  • I can stay up as late as I want without having to worry about waking him up when I come to bed! I've always been a night owl. And he's one of those that has to go to bed just after the news. It's one of our biggest clashes. As much as I can't stay awake - I hate going to bed early! I feel my most productive time is when the house is completely quiet and full of sleeping people.
  • I can do whatever I want when the kids go to bed! I always have plans of doing dishes and laundry late at night when he's gone, but then I never follow through... always end up wasting a bunch of time doing nothing but stalking my facebook friends on the computer. Or playing those stinking addictive games on facebook.
  • I can fall asleep watching television!
  • I can watch a bunch of girly movies with Tweenie ;)
  • I can make whatever I want for dinner! He's kind of picky - kind of a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He hates it whenever I make anything fru-fru ;) I'm totally getting some Feta cheese and pita bread - oh and hummus! Mmmm. I love to make feta salads in pita bread. And I love pita and hummus. Sure I could buy these things for myself for lunch, but it just seems extravagant. And to be honest, I just now googled whether you can eat Feta while you are nursing. And yay that restriction is lifted ;) I just assumed that whatever you can't eat while pregnant you can't eat while nursing. I kept forgetting to ask my doctor after I had my first son, and I've pretty much been pregnant or nursing since then... and it's always been one of those questions I mean to ask after having the baby... I can't believe I haven't had Feta in 5 years! Moving on...
  • I can turn the heat up to something a little more civilized! And pretend like I have no idea why we went through so much propane that month...
  • I can drink martinis naked. Oh, wait, sorry - that was Dharma & Greg. If I wasn't nursing, I might actually make a few margaritas! Or a whole blender full just for me!
I always make all these lofty plans to get a million things done after the kids go to bed, but then I just so enjoy sitting around in the quiet that I don't want to disturb it by actually doing anything ;) I'm pretty boring and lame, so I just go to bed with the TV and lights on and fall asleep way too early!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

At a Loss

I feel awful. Today has been another one of those days. I think it's been about 4 or 5 in a row again! That's Lazy Baby for ya. 4 or 5 awful days in a row then one or two decent ones, then back to the 4 or 5 day crying jag. And the evenings are still just as bad. He'll have a decent one here and there where he'll only cry for 30-45mins and then settle, but still has to be held all evening. If I put him down he's right back to square one.

Days like today I just give up. What else can I do? Days like today, go ahead Little Man, take 4 cookies instead of eating your lunch that's been sitting there untouched for 2 hours! Just eat the cookies and quit pestering me.

I know why he keeps pestering me and I feel terrible. He acts up when the baby is having a fussy day. Every time. I can't give him any attention because the whole day is spent trying to calm Lazy Baby. Even with the baby sling these days are very challenging. There are a lot of things I still can't do with him in the sling. Like dishes and laundry. Now it's been about 5 days since any of it has been done.

This is the first break I've caught all day, and it's almost 3pm. And instead of cleaning a pan for dinner I'm sitting here completely frazzled and distressed and blogging. Well, I did manage to get a load in the wash first. And I will probably go clean a pan in the middle of this post while I still have a chance...

I just don't know what to do. I know this whole colic thing will end. I know that time is fleeting. My two toddlers will only be toddlers for so long. And I hate that I am not able to give them each as much attention as I should. I try to comfort myself by telling myself that it's just a few months... then I'll be able to dedicate more time to the other two. And in the evenings more time with Tweenie. But in the here and now it really sucks and I feel helpless and overwhelmed and guilty for not being able to be more available to Little Man and Baby Girl.

The other day I noticed that when Lazy Baby is at the height of a screaming fit, Little Man runs around like a maniac throwing things and flinging himself around like he's completely lost his mind! At first I thought it was funny. Then I realized how sad it was. And I felt even more awful! And I've been watching him these past few days and every single time he acts up in similar ways.

Anyway, days like this I really wish I had someone I could call to come over. Several times today I was at the end of my rope. I just had to give up and quit yelling at the two toddlers and just let them do whatever they were doing because I just couldn't deal with it. Baby Girl keeps climbing the gate and getting the baby wipes and wiping everything in the living room. She also keeps messing around at the window. And the worst thing is that now she's climbing the toy cube shelf! She's quick and quiet and sneaky! Today when she got up there she turned the heat all the way up (unfortunately the thermostat is within reach). A half an hour later I was sweating my butt off and thought I'd better check - sure enough! Last time she had turned it all the way down!

And I did let Little Man sit at the lunch table for 2 hours today. That was how long it took me to eat my lunch! The only saving grace today was that Baby Girl went down for her nap right after her lunch without any hassle. Thank God!! Because I really would have lost it.

I just don't know how some mothers keep their sanity, because I'm walking a really fine line these days.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Sling is a Magical Thing!!

I owe so much to my baby sling now! Thanks to the sling I've actually made it through the grocery store a few times, it's made going to the bathroom so much easier, and it's made the evenings go so much smoother! My poor arms and hands were getting so tired from holding this little guy all day long! Of course it has it's limits. Can't really do the dishes, I did load the dishwasher one handed the other day, but all the bending... and then not being able to get close enough to the sink...

I can help Little Man go potty, pull Baby Girl off things and all sorts of good/normal stuff ;) And the best thing? When I carry him around all day in the sling, he is less fussy at night! It takes less to get him calm and happy and sleeping. I just pop him back in the sling and start walking around and within a few minutes he's happily dozing!

Of course all 3 of the slings I've now made are various shades of purple! ;) Need to make one of a more masculine color. I'm thinking I may hit up the fabric store and see about getting a denim and lining it with something boyish. It just so happened that all the remnant fleece I had was either lavender or this dark purple (which actually looks blue in the pics!), and the jersey sheet was purple ;) The jersey just didn't work well for this type of sling. I really prefer the fleece, and now it's gotten cold here, so the warmth is nice!

I attempted once again to go to my one and only local fabric store (which is still a 30mile drive) only to be met with snobbery yet again. So screw it, they won't be getting any of my money (not that I have much to spend there anyway!). I'll drive the extra 15 miles (45 total) or more to buy from a fabric store that may actually be helpful. I think the local store only sells quilting fabrics for all the uppity people around here anyway. They are the only store I've seen that does not sell remnants. They take all their remnants and make them into pre-cut quilting squares.

Anyway, since I rarely post pictures here.... I'll leave you with a couple of my favorites from the past week or so (I take pictures like a maniac!). Lazy Baby has this little tuft of hair that will not stay down, no matter how many times I comb or brush it down! ;) He looks like Ed Grimley from SNL ;)

And Baby Girl is so sweet with Lazy Baby! She will come over and pat or kiss his head and say "poor baby [his name] don cwy" She is such a sweetheart! She's also started saying "I wub you," but she says that mostly to her Dora dolls ;)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Mother of Invention... or a day of Halfsies ;)

Take your pick. I couldn't decide between the two. And lawd knows I just don't have 2 posts in me a week ;)

I had been trying to make a wrap for Lazy Baby, so I could carry him around and actually be able to do something. I had a jersey sheet (the one and only fabric store here does not carry jersey or any other suitable fabric for a wrap! Imagine that. And the guy was completely rude to boot! [because it was all too apparent that I have no knowledge about fabrics and sewing!]). Anyway, so I really liked the Moby wrap idea, he would be close and tight. The front carrier I have (like a backpack) just doesn't work very well. So back to the jersey sheet... how hard could it be to cut it in half lengthwise and sew the two pieces together to make a wrap? Ugh! Have you ever tried to work with jersey? It just does not cooperate very well. And given the monstrous size of the sheet, just getting it laid out to half it was a feat in itself. Then it just wanted to stick to itself. I tried about 5 times to get it going. No luck.

So I looked up some different slings and patterns for them. I used to have your basic sling, a Peanut Shell, but they just did not seem to work very well with baby girl, and she really didn't require to be held constantly, so I ended up selling them (yes I had 2!) on Ebay. Major regret here now! ;) But it turns out that those types of slings are really quite simple to make!! I had a couple yards of remnant fleece, so I measured myself and made one! And OMG!!! HE LOVES IT!!! YIPPEEEEEE!!!! And I can do things!!! Like now, I'm totally typing with two hands!! I haven't been able to do that in soooo long! The only thing is that this is regular fleece and it's hotter than you know what! Which will be awesome in the winter, but after a while he just gets too sweaty.

Back to the jersey sheet. Nice thin material. Two nights ago I was able to cut out the piece I needed. Then yesterday, when I was getting ready to sew it all hell broke loose!!

Here's the thing, I'm very much a novice seamstress. My sewing machine was in it's box for a year before it came out to do something. That day I spent hours figuring out how to thread it and do the whole bobbin thing. So whenever I have something to sew I just leave in the thread ;) who really cares whether it matches or not. I'll be damned if I'm going to mess with something that's working.

Back to yesterday. I sat down to sew the jersey sling. 2 seconds into sewing, the main thread got all tangled in the bobbin! Of course I couldn't get it out by merely taking out the bobbin, I had to take all the casing crap out too!! UGH!! It took me at least an hour of swearing my butt off to get it all back in there correctly. There was *nothing* in the manual about how to get those pieces back in there right!!! Of course once I got it and closed the door- there it was on the outside of the door!!! And in the middle of that fiasco, Little Man knocked a glass of water off the table, which shattered all over my kitchen floor! So I had to stop everything and sweep the floor. Needless to say, it needed it anyway - I probably should have been sweeping and mopping instead of sewing! But just when I was about to fill the mop bucket my SIL called and was on her way over to look up some directions online... so decided to wait until she left to mop. In the meantime, I realized that I was still in the same PJs that I was in two days ago when she stopped over, and the same dishes were still sitting on the counter... well, I couldn't do much about myself, so figured I would at least do something with the dishes. I managed to get the dishwasher unloaded before the baby was up again...

So yesterday, I got my jersey sling halfway done, got the floor swept but not mopped and got the dishwasher unloaded but not reloaded. We totally had frozen pizza for dinner! ;)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Calming the Colic Cry-sis

Nope, not much closer to that. We have good days and bad days, and then most evenings are spent in cry-sis mode! ;) But it is getting better. It's hard to say whether the baby is getting better colic-wise or if I am just getting better at handling it and calming him. But we've got the major evening crying spells down to maybe 30-45mins most nights. But then I still have to hold him all night until bedtime. If I set him down he wakes up and it all starts again. The first couple hours of his sleep are pretty restless, every now and then I can feel his little body tense up and he will be on the verge of a scream - that's when I will get up and walk around and pat him and bounce him, and he'll drift back off.

I have been busy reading and researching. A BIG thank you to Helene, who recommended The Happiest Baby on the Block. I really hadn't thought of looking into any books. And the funny thing was that when she recommended it, after I went and read the description, my mother had also been recommending what she had heard about the 5 S's in getting your baby calm... (where she heard it I have no idea!) But the 5 S's are: Swaddling, Side (or Stomach), Shhhing, Swinging and Sucking. I almost didn't buy it because I WAS doing all of those things instinctively. But I went ahead and ordered it thinking that maybe I wasn't doing them right. And I was so glad that I ordered it. I'm not going to say it's been a miracle worker, but it has certainly helped. For colicky babies you need to do all 5 S's in a pretty specific way. I just haven't had the frame of mind to actually go all the way there. And really, I think I need to get the DVD, I need a visual ;) But I have most of them right and working for me.

I am still spending most of my days waxing and waning from complete and utter frustration to exhaustion and defeat. It seems the baby will have one good day and then 4 bad ones where I can't put him down at all during the day or night. Now he's been non-stop since Tuesday. I haven't gotten anything done. My arms are killing me! And I horribly need a break. I was contemplating asking my SIL to come and hold the baby and sit with the other two for a couple of hours on her next day off so that I can at least sweep and mop the kitchen! It's reaching the point of disgusting. OK, who am I kidding? It's been there for a while. The little breaks I've been getting I've had to use to catch up on the dishes and laundry.

But I did actually vacuum yesterday! And it was a thing of beauty ;) Here's how it went: I was totally at my breaking point, Lazy Baby had been screaming in my ear for almost an hour, Little Man had been non-stop for about as long, and Baby Girl had been busy breaking out all the wipes and diapers and climbing the gate which keeps our entertainment center safe... I had completely had it. Then Little man rolled up the big living room rug, and tugged a string out of the small one - as he had the string in his hand he said "I didn't do nothing. I didn't do this." I laid the baby down long enough to put him in time out, which made him start throwing a huge tantrum and the baby get completely hysterical... I just said "screw it, I'd been meaning to roll up that rug and vacuum." So I plopped screamy baby into the swing and broke out the vacuum cleaner. As soon as I started the vacuum cleaner Lazy Baby quit crying and went to sleep!!! Every time I shut the vacuum off he'd wake back up and start crying again. So I vacuumed REALLY good!!! I'm going to have to find a way to tape that sound and make a CD! Maybe I will just vacuum the kitchen floor today ;)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who Wants to See a 3-Ring Circus???

C'mon, the admission is free! ;) It just takes a few steps through my front door.

At 8:30am this morning my husband made his first call home for the day (he calls me constantly, because I have nothing better to do). He asked how things were going. At that point all was good. Things were going smoothly. Lazy Baby was sleeping and Little Man and Baby Girl were occupied with PBS. I was catching up with emails (OK I lie, I was stalking facebook and living vicariously through my friends with social lives). We had not yet entered into the breakfast phase of the morning.

Ten minutes later it was breakfast time. Which went a little like this:
Lazy Baby, sensing it was breakfast time, started pitching a screaming fit. Got Little Man and Baby Girl's plates ready amidst major cry-fest. Baby screaming as I got the other two into their booster seats as quickly as I could so I could get to calming the baby.

Immediately Little Man starts demanding crackers for breakfast. Won't eat his banana, won't eat his cereal, won't eat his donuts. He's cold and needs his jacket. He's jumping up and down on the bench saying he will take a bite of his banana for some crackers. We argue over the crying baby. But I'm not giving him his cheese crackers for breakfast.

Baby Girl decides her bananas look better in her hair and lined up on the back of the chair next to her. And her donuts look better smushed to the table and crumbled on the floor.

The baby is not calming down this morning. Some days are like that. Some days are better and he's calm for most of the day.

But today is not turning out to be one of those better days. And yesterday?? Not one of those better days either.

Yesterday I decided to take all 3 little ones to Little Man's 4-year well child appointment by myself.

It all started with getting 3 kids ready at 7am to drive dad the 20 miles to work so we could have the car. Then getting all 3 back into the house, feeding and changing Lazy Baby, cleaning out the bathtub and bathing Little Man and Baby Girl while Lazy Baby cried. Then getting everyone ready and out the door by 9:45am. Amazingly, I made my deadline without any major hitches. Except...I realized 5 minutes after we left, even though I reminded myself 20 times while getting ready, I failed to brush my own teeth.

I thought a lot about how I would mitigate getting all of us into the office safely. At first I thought maybe Little Man was big enough to walk the short distance holding my hand as I was one-handed pushing the double stroller full of Baby Girl and Lazy Baby. On second thought, the safest option seemed to be Little Man and Baby Girl in the stroller and Lazy Baby in the front pack. He seems to last longer in the front pack than in the carseat.

Lazy Baby lasted all of the walk into the clinic in the front pack. Luckily they got us into the room quickly. That was when all hell broke loose.

Of course I had to let Little Man and Baby Girl out of the stroller to play with the toys. Damn the basket of toys ;) Within seconds Little Man had *all* the toys strewn out across the room. And in between the baby crying and the tripping over toys I had to ask Little Man to do things such as balance on one foot, make a fist and wiggle his thumb, jump over a piece of paper... etc... and fill out his answers to questions on the form to make sure he is developmentally at his age.

And Baby Girl? Not so much fascinated by the toys. But was having loads of fun taking all the brochures and pamphlets off the rack on the wall. And she thought it was really fun to open the door and try to run out. She climbed in and out of the stroller, behind the examination bed and got tangled in cords, onto the Dr's stool and tried to get at the computer, opened all the drawers, threw a couple of things into the garbage...

All this and the baby having a major crying fit while trying to talk to the Doctor about Little Man. And then helping the Dr examine Little Man. I had coached him before the appointment.

"Now the Doctor is going to look in your eyes, in your ears, in your nose and in your mouth. Can you say Ahhh for me?"

He got it, he understood it and seemed to be fine with it. He did great with that portion of the examination. But I failed to mention the dreaded stethoscope. And the laying down and having the doctor feel his belly and check out his privates. Those things were challenging at the very least. Getting him to lay down was the hard part. He would not. lay. down. We got him on his back on his elbows and he would not lay his head down (she was trying to recheck the measurement of his height because for the 20th time her nurses got some measurement wrong and she had to re-do it!). The baby was still crying of course, but then Little Man was crying because he didn't want to lay down and we were trying to force him the rest of the way down. I kept my patience - only because there was the audience of the Dr. (I would have been yelling at this point if we were at home - I can only handle so much before the big yelling voice comes out)... finally I got him to lay down by laying the screaming baby down next to him and telling him to lay down next to baby brother.

As the Doctor was making her way out of the toy maze room, I started getting prepared for the shots coming... I put Baby Girl in the stroller and strapped her in, she started crying so I gave her Little Man's milk because he had lost interest in it, but as soon as I gave it to her, he started crying because he wanted it. So as the doctor was walking out the door I had all 3 crying!!

By the time the 4 nurses came in I had things calmed down (secretly I think they waited until I had everything calm to come in). Amazingly I had Lazy Baby settled too! Thankfully my doctor sent in an extra nurse to hold the baby so I could hold Little Man while he got his 3 shots. I thought I was just going to have to lay him down and let him get all worked up again.

We made it through the shots by some miracle. When the nurse returned with the baby and he heard me say something, he realized it wasn't me holding him and started his screaming anew... so I exited the building one-handed pushing the double stroller carrying a completely undone baby. Surely quite the spectacle. And felt guilty when an extremely elderly lady held the door for me.

Then it was back home to spend the afternoon cleaning up the messes made in the wake of rushing to get out the door on time!

By the time we loaded up to pick dad up at 4:30, I declared an "eat out" night even though we really couldn't afford it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On the lighter side ;)

Finally. I almost forgot that a week, two weeks, three weeks ago? I promised a lighter post. I meant to post something lighthearted and humorous about potty training now 4 year old Little Man! I started writing the post, but it became "Because Time Won't Give Me Time" which really wasn't lighthearted at all.

I'm a lazy potty-trainer. That and I really don't want to push it and make it a miserable experience for him. We've been working on it for probably about a year now in a casual sort of way. In January or February I decided to step it up a notch and started offering him treats for going. It worked remarkably well for a week or so. Especially if he really wanted some candy! For several days he would keep a dry pull-up. But I couldn't get him to try big-boy underwear. In my mind I thought the big-boy underwear would do the trick. I thought once he pees in those he will hate how it feels and will be miraculously trained!

Not so much.

I should have known that he goes in his "cool alert" pull ups all the time and it doesn't bother him a bit. If I didn't smell or check for poopies he would certainly run around with a poopy butt as long as I would let him.

He's been off and on, had his good days where he keeps his pull up dry all day, bad days where he is not at all interested in going in the potty.

A couple (few?) weeks ago he had two or three really good days in a row where he was pretty much keeping a dry and clean pull up all day! I coaxed him into his big-boy underwear. He did a great job all day. Then after dinner I checked with him to see if he had to go. He said nope. I talked to him and explained to him for the millionth time that day that he had big boy underwear on and *had* to use the potty every time he had to pee or poop. He understood.

Not two minutes later he was behind the rocking chair, eyes watering.

"You are not going poop are you???"
"Nope. I just peed. And pooped."


Let me just say that cleaning up the underwear isn't as big of a deal as getting those underwear down without any accidents. They should totally make big boy underwear that velcro on the sides for just such an occasion.

**Skip this paragraph if you get grossed out easily!!** Here I am desperately trying to keep those turds safely in his underwear while trying to get them off... of course two little ones fell out... I'm screaming at my daughter to get a wipe while holding my son and trying to hold the dog back... thought disaster was averted and proceed to get his underwear the rest of the way off when I noticed there was one other very small turn that fell out, and before I could even tell my daughter to get another wipe the dog swiftly snatched it up!! We both screamed! Tweenie said she was definitely NOT going to be kissing the dog that night!

I am totally going to make my own velcro-sided big boy underwear!!

On a completely different topic, I just re-discovered CafeMom. I signed up and browsed the message boards once about 2 years ago when I was just starting my first blog and then quickly forgot all about it. It seems to be like most other social media sites, (ie: trying to be like facebook in some way!) but I started a group there for Colic support. So if you or someone you know has a colicky baby, send them to my group here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A long road...The Beginning.

I travelled a long and hard road to becoming a mommy. I really started desiring this role for myself around the age of 18. So young. And really, I'm glad I never got pregnant so young - I don't think I would have been mature enough to handle it. When I got married at 22, I was desperate to have a baby. We started trying immediately. After 3 years of trying unsuccessfully, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The Dr I saw was hopeful. She put me on the pill for a year and said after that, I should be able to get pregnant. We tried for 6 more heartbreaking years - and no baby. We got divorced and I went to a Dr because I'd heard of some new treatments for PCOS. I wanted to get reproductively healthy should I find someone else... That Dr was flabbergasted that I had been diagnosed with PCOS, as I didn't fit the profile. Blood tests concluded that I did not have PCOS... So all that time, most likely I didn't have a problem, other than not being able to get pregnant. And of course my X wasn't as into trying to have a baby as I was, so he refused to go to a Dr... By the time I had met and married my current husband I had pretty much given up on getting pregnant. Although it was still lingering in the back of my mind.

I was totally surprised when a mere 2 mos after we gave up the birth control I got pregnant.

It's just amazing how things never go quite as planned, or at least not the way you imagine them. Especially with your first baby. No matter what anyone tells you, you just really have no clue about the whole labor thing and how much it really hurts. You see all these women screaming their heads off in the movies, but you think Well, I have a high tolerance for pain... haha!! And you go into the labor process all idealistic with all these romantic notions of how it's going to go.

My sister in law had hers all planned out (with our first babies she was due 2mos after us). She had everything completely planned out... she would get the shot when she was 3cm and get the epidural when she was 5... and it would all go smoothly. She ended up not progressing and having an emergency C section.

With my first one, everyone had convinced me that I was going to go early. So I was pretty much counting on that. And the Dr had estimated the baby to weigh around 8lbs if I carried to term. I got hung up on that and the fact that I had bought a bunch of newborn clothes that only went up to 8lbs! I thought I HAD to have that baby early!! Towards the end of that pregnancy my blood pressure shot up. The Dr sent me in for an ultrasound, and found that my fluid level was pretty low. At my last Dr's appointment before my due date my blood pressure was still up there so I went in that night for a prostiglandin gel insert, which was supposed to help the progress. If I didn't go into labor that night I was to go in the next morning. Of course the next morning the prostiglandin insert had done nothing and I was given the choice of either going home and waiting to go into labor on my own or being induced. I was bound and determined to have that baby so I chose to be induced. (Later I was assured by several Dr's that I had made the right decision with the blood pressure issue and the fluid level). But afterwards, when I heard from other people that when you are induced it is a much harder labor, I swore that I would never be induced again.

My first labor was 23 hours of living hell ;) Most of it was spent in hard labor. There were several complications. My blood pressure went way up, the baby monitor (the kind they stick to the baby's head) was malfunctioning, which scared the crap out of us for a little while. They had me getting into all these crazy positions and every time I would have a contraction we would lose the baby's heartbeat. But once they got the monitor on good everything was fine with the baby. But by that point I was begging for a c-section under the pretense of the issues with baby, but it was also due to the unbearable pain. I had the shot probably early on, and after a short while it had completely worn off. I sat in a warm bath, sat on the ball, and did all sorts of things to try to make things more bearable, but of course there is pretty much nothing that really helps much. I had been completely unprepared for how much it would really hurt. And I probably did one of the worst things - I tried to control that pain. If I would have been able to relax I'm sure that things probably would have progressed faster, but instead I fought it with everything I had.

I begged for the epidural when I was probably 4 or 5cm dilated. My husband and I fought about it. His first wife got an epidural with their baby and it slowed down the labor and she ended up in emergency C-section, so my husband was completely against my getting one. So under much duress I decided against it.

The next complication was when they couldn't get any urine out with a catheter. I think I was dangerously close to having my bladder burst. They kept putting the catheter in and taking it out... that was pretty awful...

Then came the biggest complication. A lip of my cervix was not dilating all the way. My Dr called in a bunch of other Dr's to check it out and see what they thought. This went on for at least a couple of hours if not more. That's when my Dr recommended an epidural. And luckily my husband agreed. They decided to go ahead and push that lip of my cervix over the baby's head. Thank God I had the epidural for that. (The same thing happened with Lazy Baby - luckily my Dr (different one) decided to just push that lip over right away, but this time I had no meds. Let me just say it was some wicked pain.)

Unfortunately the epidural slowed down my contractions too much and they had to give me some pitocin... and by that point I was pretty done and the epidural had already worn off - regardless I pushed for almost 2 hours before I said I just couldn't anymore.

That was when they tried the forceps. Oh my holy hell, I think that was the worst pain I have ever experienced. It was awful to say the least. The worst thing was that they couldn't seem to get a good grip and tried two or three times!

By this time there were at least 20 Doctors, interns, nurses the room. It was at a big University (teaching) hospital. It was the home of one of the big 10 football teams and this was all happening on the brink of the season opener game! So all the Dr's and nurses had to leave at different points to go move their cars. The stadium was right across the street from the hospital.

The forceps weren't working, so they tried the vacuum, which after a couple of tries worked and my first baby boy was finally out!

The best thing about labor is the relief you feel when it is finally over and your baby is there :)

It's really one of the most emotional and physical things that a woman goes through. At the end of it I was flooded with emotions. In a way I felt humiliated and felt like I didn't handle it very well. It was not at all what I expected.

But on the other hand, there was my beautiful baby. I had romanticized and idealised that moment forever. The one thing I never expected was that it would be so much better than I had imagined. I was so completely and totally in love with him from the moment saw him and held him in my arms. I wasn't prepared for how taken I would be with him.

Over the past 4 years I have found myself in moments looking at him, reminded of that moment, and still am completely taken with him. I couldn't have imagined anything better than what he was and still is. He's mine, and he's beautiful. He's one of my life's most miraculous accomplishments.

Little Man turned 4 yesterday!! It's hard to believe that 4 years have passed. It seems like just yesterday he was my little baby boy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Because Time Won't Give Me Time

I've lost my extra set of hands. Tweenie started school today. If it weren't for the fact that I know she really loves school, I would swear she was counting the days until she was off diaper duty ;) Really, she has been such a big help to me for the past couple of months. The one day I was by myself before she got back from summer camp I felt like I was changing diapers all day.

That is one of the many reasons I've been stepping up the potty training with Little Man. With 3 in diapers I am changing diapers all day.

Time is a precious commodity for mothers. And there just never seems to be enough of it to go around.

Before I had children, I was having a discussion with one of my co-workers who had two small children. She was confiding in me what a tough job parenting was. She felt it was really hard to resist that urge to baby your children and do everything for them, because really your job as a parent is to help them become independent. There's a fine line there. That discussion has always stuck with me because I knew it was the truth.

But I had no real concept of how hard it would really be.

My biggest issue is time. It takes a lot of time and patience to help your little ones become able to do things for themselves. For me, it is just so much faster to do everything for them. But it is also doing them a disservice.

The other issue that plays a minor role is the idea that in your mind they are still babies. Your image of them is that they are too small and too young to do things for themselves. Which is probably just your mind making excuses for all the time you will save picking their toys up yourself (taking 5 minutes) instead of asking them repeatedly to do it and helping them do it (maybe taking more like 15-20 minutes).

What really made me think of this was watching Tweenie help them do things over the past couple of weeks. Especially while we have been working on potty training Little Man.

Time is not an issue for Tweenie. She has all the time in the world. Her motivations are not to save time. Her motivations are to do as little as possible. Her motivations are having them do things for themselves because she doesn't want to do them. And it's worth it to her for the task to take 30 mintues instead of 5 if it means that SHE doesn't have to do it.

The amazing thing in all this is that SHE is the one that is on the right track.

Last night I heard her in the bathroom telling Little Man to wipe his own butt. My first instinct was to tell her that she needed to wipe his butt. He's just too young and incapable. But yet, a couple of weeks ago when I was thinking about sending him to pre-school I was thinking that he was going to have to learn how to wipe himself. Instead of telling her to do it, I listened while she patiently instructed him on how to do it himself. I was impressed, and also feeling a little guilty. Of course he's capable, of course he NEEDS to learn to do that on his own. But I haven't taken the time with him. It always seems that when he has to go potty I am in a hurry. I pull his pants down quick, set him on the potty and then quickly wipe him and get his pants back on because the baby is crying or because I was in the middle of something else...

A week or so ago I did realize the value of having him pull down his own pants and get himself on the potty as well as getting his pants back on. Probably because I was holding a crying baby at the time :) But also because when he goes to pre-school he is going to have to do all that by himself.

Time. Isn't it sad how sometimes everything boils down to time. The thing is, in the long run, by teaching him to do things on his own, I WILL be saving time! While it will take time and patience now to show him and teach him how to do things for himself... the more he can do for himself, the less time I have to spend doing those things for him.

And I just need to suck it up and claim him no longer a baby! How I hate to let that go :( My first baby boy is getting all grown up on me. He is going to be 4 in 2 days! He IS a big boy!

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