Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Birth Story number 4. It's Monkeys 5th Birthday!

FYI: I am losing my hair. So much hair. It is all over my house, all over me and all over my baby, and every time I put my hand to my head I come away with a fistful of hair. My ponytail is half size! I know this happens to some degree after I have a baby, but this is nuts! I can see my scalp! I can never see my scalp because I normally have so much hair.
Sorry, I had to get that off my chest, it is making me batty.

So my Monkey boy is 5 years old today. His journey to this earth started on Kalila's first birthday in April 2003 and unfortunately, her death coloured most of my pregnancy with him. To put it mildly, I was scared to death. When we had told the boys that we were pregnant with Kalila, they jumped for joy and cheered. A year after her death we announced to them that we were pregnant again and they said, "Oh." They were scared too. Afraid to hope that they might get another sibling, a live sibling and that made me so sad. They were far too young to have so little hope.
As Monkey grew in my belly and the boys saw how big my belly was getting and felt him moving around in there, they did get more and more excited. It was really a wonderful time in our lives, our first year of homeschooling, doing a ton of fun activities with our best friends and other homeschoolers. And our best friends were also expecting a baby, 3 weeks after ours. Shay and I spent a lot of time together eating ceaser salad, steak and chips. A lot of chips.
I had many scared moments, thinking my baby had died inside of me. Every doctors appointment was filled with apprehension. I only went to emergency for a non-stress test once though, Monkey was an active baby and managed to assauge my fears usually before I freaked out too bad. It was a pretty wonderful pregnancy though. I was healthy and active and I only gained, like 12 pounds. I loved the way I looked!
As we neared the end of my pregnancy the doctors kept close watch over me, sending me for lots of ultrasounds to keep an eye on my fluids which seemed low and to make sure that my womb was still a hospitable environment for Monkey. Just after Christmas, in a better safe than sorry move, they decided that it was time to get my Monkey out of there. He was due on January 9, 2004, but on December 30, 2003, I was taken in for induction. Because there was a bed, the doctor decided to start me on the oxytocin drip immediately, rather than doing a cervical ripening first. If I could do it over again I would have insisted on the ripening first. I also would have asked them to wait a few days so that he was born in January, but that is neither here nor there.
I have little to say about the first 12 hours of labour other than that they were excruciating and unproductive. It would be an understatement to say that I was frightened and tense. I was so tense that every contraction (They happened every 90 seconds and lasted about 30 seconds for hours and hours) was extremely painful and did absolutely nothing. I would brace myself against the pain, my thighs tightened up and I tried not to cry. The doctor kept suggesting an epidural, but I was afraid of that as well.
At some point in the evening, we started to lose Monkey's heartbeat with every contraction. The doctors talked me into having an epidural so that if they had to do an emergency c-section, I would be ready. So I went for it. It did dull the pain and help me relax a bit, but I was still breathing through contractions so they turned it up and gave the (regulated) controller to add an extra burst now and then.
Finally I started to progress, started to open up. But as that happened, and while my nurse was on her lunch break, the alarms on Monkey's heart moniter went off. No heartrate measured, it didn't come back when the contraction stopped, or when I rolled to my side. Brent called for the nurse, screamed actually, and I was crying. The replacement nurse came in and yelled at him impatiently and told us that we were getting upset over nothing. "First-timers," she muttered under her breath. Well, my hubby gave her a piece of his mind, telling her that this was our fourth baby and the last one was born dead, so she better make sure that this one was okay.
She couldn't find his heartbeat and called for the doctor who ran in and called the neonatal resuccitation team.
They told me to push, she wasn't sure I was fully dialated yet, and we couldn't get my contractions to show on the moniters, and I couldn't feel anything. But I was to push, push for my baby's life. And I did, I just kept pushing until his head was out (at 1:47 am). Then they made me stop as they unwrapped the cord from around his neck. And he didn't cry. "Why isn't he crying??" I kept repeating it, but no one would answer me. No one answered because my baby was fine! His apgars were 9, he was just fine. They let me see him for a moment and then whisked him off to the table to make sure he was okay.
It turned out that he was so teeny that he turned around in the birth canal and wrapped the cord around his neck, so during the contractions the cord was compressed, cutting off his lifeline. He came out face up and even though he was 2 pounds smaller than his siblings, at 6lb6oz, he ripped me up nicely.
But he was safe, and healthy and perfect and exactly 5 years ago, this moment, I was begging my doctor to let me take him home to my family, so that I could spend New Year's with them. And she did.

Happy New Year's everyone, I hope you ring it in with those you love. We will be. I had hoped to go to Monkey's fireworks this evening (they have early one's for kids in a nearby neighbourhood) but it is blizzarding out, so we may miss it. But we will be together, ringing in the New Year and celebrating the birth of our amazing Monkey. Love!

For a Christmas photos link (I am super lazy) and a cute layout of Zed, go here

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

taking a breather

So I thought I was going to have the 26th and 27th off and to myself, boy was I wrong. Today I finally have some time, baby is fussing but I am determined to write something on my blog! I have a Christmas post in the works, but not done yet and it is already the 30th.

It has been a bit frantic around here. Cleaning, visiting, skiing, cooking, visiting, shopping. Fun, but I am done and I think Zed is too, he seems to have a virus of some sort and he was up most of last night. I am obviously fighting something off, as I have a nice cold sore on my lip. Yuck.

The year is almost done, and it has flown by, well except for a few very pregnant weeks in the summer. Those days dragged their feet a bit, but since Zed has arrived the days seems like moments. Tomorrow is Monkey boy's 5th birthday. Fifth! I have been thinking of him as my baby boy for so long and now he is five, no longer a toddler or a preschooler. 5! He really is still my baby though, he is a teensy little powerhouse, a force to be reckoned with one moment and curled up in my arms like a baby the next.

He so wants to be like his big brothers, to do everything they do. He is 'cool' not 'cute.' He no longer plays with his Thomas trains, but with Lego and Playmobil like Superboy. He doesn't want to use his leapster, but one of the boys' Gameboy DS'. His favourite movies are Star Wars instead of Diego. He sings rock songs instead of nursery rhymes and taught himself to read in a matter of weeks, so that he could walk around with his nose in a book just like the bigger boys.

Poor Girly had lost her playmate recently, Monkey wanted nothing to do with her, he just followed his brothers around. Thankfully, since Christmas, that has changed again and they have been playing together. I have caught them splitting the dollhouse into two houses and playing together. All Monkey's Lego Star Wars characters were laying in a dolly bed with their helmets on the floor.

I have to say that even though Monkey is becoming such a big boy, I am thankful that he still wants to cuddle with mommy every day. He gives the best snuggles. And I still think his thumb sucking is cute, but it is time to stop. He agreed that when he was five that he would stop. So we need to go and pick out a finger puppet today that he will wear on his thumb to discourage the sucking. Hope it goes well!

I guess today won't be quite as relaxing as I thought. I need to make a birthday cake, get my house ready to have dinner guests, buy a birhtday present... oh and fold laundry! So much laundry!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well, I am just on my way out to finish my shopping. Nothing like leaving stuff until the last moment. I still need to deep clean my house, wrap presents, make dough for the buns and dessert for tomorrow. I took your advice and decided to forget about trying to crochet Zed's stocking in time for tonight and a good thing too. I am so behind and so freaking out. I waited way too long to order my gifts and half of them aren't here yet! I haven't even finished decorating my tree.
I am excited though, I can't wait for tomorrow, for Zed's first Christmas, for our first Christmas with 5 kids sitting under our tree.

I wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. I can't wait to visit you all on Boxing day, I can't bear the thought of more shopping after Christmas, so I plan to blog and scrapbook. Hubby will be working and skiing with the kids while I am tucked in with my latte, my laptop and my babies by the fire. I can hardly wait.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bitter Sweets!

Note to self: Trying to make candy while mothering a baby and 2 preschoolers is pointless. And a week is far too long to go without blogging!

I have been trying to get some Christmas stuff done, I feel Christmassy, but time and energy have been lacking. Today the kids and I are going to do up a bunch of gingerbread and shortbread, the dough is made and ready to roll out. While waiting for the gingerbread to chill for 2 hours, I thought I would make up some toffee.
I nursed Zed and put him down asleep, I put the butter and sugar in the pot and started to bring it to a boil. Then Girly starts yelling, "Mommy! I need to pee! I need your help!" So I got the boy to come and stir my candy while I went to wipe her bum. I peeked in on Zed and saw that he was now awake already. ugh.
I got the boy to hold Zed while I continued making the toffee. The recipe says to stir for 13 minutes until candy is 300 degrees and separates into brittle threads in cold water. So I stir. And Zed starts to scream, apparently he feels that I am ignoring him and he wants me. Now. Then Girly starts to scream. I guess she realized that she had more to do in the bathroom and now she needed me to wipe her. again.
I have ten more minutes of stirring and 2 screaming kids. They scream louder and louder and I stir faster and faster, wishing away the minutes, calling out consolingly to the kids. If I stop stirring now, the candy will be ruined. Louder and louder, faster and faster....
Then the butter starts to separate from the candy and I can't get the dumb stuff to make threads and the kids are freaking out. So I dump the candy on the pan, hoping for the best, cuddle the baby on the way up to wipe the little bum. ahhh...
Then the best thing happens. My hubby calls and I tell him my story. He says some lovely words to me, "Would you like some help?"
What?! Yes! He is on his way home from work early, yay!
So we are going to decorate our tree and make cookies now, with an extra set of parental hands. Perfect.

ooh! Zed just did the cutest thing. Monkey is watching Diego and there was a bird sound. Caw...Caw...caw
Then Zed copied the sound.
Then the movie bird cawed again,
Then Zed cawed again!
So cute! So freaky!

Hope you are all enjoying the hustle and bustle of the season, you are all in my thoughts, even in my absence. I don't imagine I will be around much until Christmas is here, but Merry Christmas from our home to yours.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snapshots of Mighty

Monkey boy was hiding in a box and wanted me to take his picture!





Zed is 3 months old!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

And the Mighty shall fall...

Remember how I was able to laugh off the craziness of the other day? I was all, oh yeah, it is crazy here, people screaming all the time, but it's cool. I can handle it.
Yeah.
Not handling it so well today. Sitting at the table with them as they are doing their school and they won't stop fooling around. They won't stop chattering about video games. The little kids are climbing on the big kids or running around and screaming, or fighting with each other. Zed can't sleep because every time he starts to drift off, someone bops him or screams or jumps on my shoulders from the back of the couch like a cat. It is a zoo. And apparently the animals are in charge for the day.
After repeating my firm reminders to smarten up, sit up, stop fooling, screaming and fighting hundreds of times, I started to lose it. SHUT UP! was heard from my mouth. STOP IT NOW!! at top volume. IF YOU DO THAT ONE MORE TIME... IF YOU DON'T STOP...

Yep, some stellar parenting happening over at casa de Mighty. If you are my neighbour and you are reading this, I apologize for the lack of volume control today. Apparently, today I suck at this. This whole parenting thing. Or at least the parenting on too little sleep, day in and day out thing. I just made Girly cry because she is kicking my hands off the computer and I told her to stop or to go and get in her bed. nice. (She really does need a nap, Daddy doesn't get home from work until 8:30 or later and they have been waiting up for him the last few nights.)

So today I get an F. sigh... But I will end it with hugs and apologies and maybe some nice hot chocolate as we go through our advent study and Bible reading. Maybe we can salvage something.

And tomorrow? Well tomorrow is a clean slate, yet to be written. Thank you, God.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Babies, babies, babies

Aaaah! Guitar practice time. What was my dad thinking, giving them an amplifier! My eldest just discovered the joy of minor chords, ugh.

Yesterday baby Zed was 3 months old. I can't believe how quickly the time is flying by. He talks and coos and laughs, he thinks his big siblings are hilarious. When I let him grip my fingers, he can pull right up to standing from laying, stiff as a board. He can sit for a second or two, with his hands on his knees. He rolls 3/4 of the way over whenever he wants to nurse, sometimes he ends up on his tummy by accident. Even though he is number 5, it is all new again and just as exciting. He is just the light in all of our days. ( I have some pictures to post, but I can't find my upload cord for my camera!)

And yesterday, my nephew was born. He is the first baby, outside of my kids, in my hubby's family, so everyone is pretty thrilled. Brent's brother kept calling him while his wife was in labour, it was cute. He was 10lb 15 ounces and 23 inches long, he is huge! She had a cesarean, thank goodness. Congratulations guys, we are so very happy for you and can't wait to cuddle your sweet baby boy.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Thankful, even in thanklessness

My hubby called at lunch today. I went up to my room to try and find a quiet place to nurse Zed and talk to Brent. Zed was really tired and having a hard time calming and going to sleep. He kept arching his back and screaming (turns out he was trying to have a bm ;p). Girly came in and started trying to make Zed feel better. This comprised of her turning his head and yelling in his face and then jumping on the bed yelling. Brent said he had to turn down his phone. All I could do was laugh, I couldn't turn down the noise.

I repeatedly asked Girly to stop jumping, to which she laughed and jumped out of reach. Then she hit her head on the chandelier. She started screaming. More out of anger than hurt and then she thought she should come and take it out on me and Zed. When I told her to leave him alone and tried to comfort her, she scooted away and blew me a raspberry!

I sighed to my hubby about how thankless my job is. They either think I am an ogre or an idiot most days. She hurts herself, then is mean to me as I try to comfort her and she blows me a raspberry! From the biggest child I get huge eye rolls and sighs when trying to do my job. From the second, I get the doe eyes when I call him on anything. He seems to think that if he opens his eyes wide enough he can get away with anything.

We laughed and then he told me how thankful he was for all I do. I then had to laugh harder as I asked him why, if he was so thankful, did he leave all the crap from the bathroom on the hall floor and about a few other surprises he left for me this morning. ...big sigh...

There definitely are days and moments when motherhood seems thankless. But the rewards are too numerous to mention, though I may not see the fruition of some for many years to come. One of the best things about my job is the absolute knowledge that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. This is God's plan for me for this season. This long season!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Buy the Cow

I am in desperate need of a dairy cow! I think we have steamed 4-6 litres (1 to 1.5 gallons) of milk with the new espresso machine already. In two days! On top of my lattes and cappuccinos the kids have been having endless vanilla steamers and hot chocolates. Hubby picked up vanilla syrup as well as the Bailey's and Kahlua, endless hot milk and coffee possibilities. I need to run to the store and get a few more gallons of milk.

We just finished our Advent readings together and the kids are getting ready for bed. I am thinking about that dreaded to do list again and I feel like burying my head in the pillow and ignoring it all. Like the school prep I need to do right now, and the scrapbooking/calendar making that needs to be finished.

Maybe I will just make myself some hot chocolate and pull out my crochet bag. I can work on Zed's stocking while watching some tv with the hubby.Tomorrow will come soon enough.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

It will all be worth it.

Yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind. We went Christmas shopping in the morning and blew our whole huge wad of gift cards that I ordered from airmiles on the kids and hubby's Christmas gifts. We got some great deals and didn't spend a dime!
We then picked up the kids and took them for haircuts, then to Costco for hot dogs and groceries and then to Mexx to outfit The Boy for his Christmas banquet. He bought his first tie and I must say he looked so handsome in his charcoal, fine wale chords, deep plum button-up, charcoal sweater vest and grey/plum tie. He actually has pretty good taste for a 14 year old and he looked terrific. So grown-up though.
We raced home for him to shower and then dropped him and his buddy off. I mentioned to Brent that I was so surprised at how he looked in his tie. I expected him to look like a kid wearing Daddy's tie, like his buddy who is a few months younger. But he didn't. He looked like a young man, comfortable in his own skin and his clothes.
In the midst of this getting ready last night, and putting the groceries away, we discovered that the deep freeze in the basement had been accidentally unplugged. We have a whole side of beef in there that we bought from my friends parents when they butchered a few this spring. Hundreds of dollars worth of meat. It had evidently been a few days, long enough for at least half of the meat to be mostly defrosted. Thankfully very little was actually spoiled. But we have been cooking beef and other meat for hours and hours. Must have done up 10 lbs of hamburger last night. Trays of meatballs are now cooked and in the freezer. We threw 2 roasts in the oven and now those are cut and frozen again. Another roast is in the slow cooker. Hubby has been cutting up steaks all day and sauteing them for future fajitas and stews.
I am even more thankful that hubby has this time off, because I would not have handled that emergency well myself. I hate meat, especially beef and pork! Well, I don't mind eating beef occasionally, but I hate handling it. I am a big baby!
My house just reeks of cooking meat, but at least it isn't the smell of rotting meat.

This morning my hubby tried out my new Christmas present, also from airmiles. My espresso maker. He made me up a vanilla latte and I had that with a croissant and mandarin orange for breakfast. So decadent!
Tonight we are gonna do up cappuccinos with baileys, so yummy, our reward for putting in a long day. We will do some hot chocolates for the kids and maybe decorate the tree. Hubby's idea, I usually do it about the 21st! In the mean time, more cleaning and cooking for us.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Lucky Ducky

What a great week! I have won stuff from two of my favourite digital scrapbook sites! I won a Memory Makers journaling book from the wearestorytellers.com blog and this fun kit from weedsandwildflowers.com. If you ever check out my layouts at Immortality Art, you would soon realize that I almost always scrapbook with stuff from these 2 sites, so I am totally psyched!

I was thinking about my nieces this morning. They are both six. My sister Angela got pregnant first, then six weeks later Hayley (whose son is the same age as Superboy) was pregnant. Six weeks after her, I got pregnant too. (An amazing feat considering I had only been ovulating once or twice a year for the eight years since my eldest had been born.) It was such a novelty to be pregnant together, I went up to visit them and we were fully immersed in our expectant states. I was about 16 weeks and felt Kalila's first movements as we preggo sisters sat together. She was saying hi to her cousins. Her belly buddies.

My sisters decided to come back to Calgary with us for a visit and to shop for maternity clothes. My poor husband had to make that 800km drive with 3 preggo ladies and 3 small boys. I am sure there were never more bathroom stops made on any road trip ever!

We spent our short days together shopping in maternity stores, playing card games and eating junk food. What's the point of being preggo if you can't get good and fat?!? At one store, the shop girls were quite taken with the 3 preggo sisters. They thought that I was the youngest (I am the oldest!) and more pregnant than I was, I was thrilled. I bought the very first pair of non-panel maternity jeans they had in the city, and a gorgeous wrap shirt that I have worn for the last 3 babies as well.

It was one of the happiest times of my life. I just knew that I was going to have my long awaited girl. And I had no inkling that my whole world would implode in a few short weeks.

They were still born at six week intervals. But Kalila was first, not last; dead, not alive. And instead of tears of pure joy attending all of their births, I cried bittersweet, mixed tears of joy and utter sorrow at each of their births.

I adore my nieces, neither of them are terribly patient with my affections, but if I could I would wrap them up in my arms for hours at a time. They were to be my daughter's bosom friends, her forever playmates, her cousins. All of us imagined the holidays we would spend together watching them play, seeing their triplet faces light up at the presents under the Christmas tree or covered in chocolate after the Easter egg hunt. We wondered how they would work out the problems of being 3, if one cousin would end up feeling left out. But one of them is missing. And her absense is always felt most keenly when we are all together. When there are 2 little girls, instead of 3.

I miss my daughter. I miss my nieces too. One of them, E, just lost her first tooth this week. I so wish I was there so that I could see her gap-toothed smile! E calls me Auntie Ducky, so named because of my rubber duck covered bath robe that I wore when she was small. A has already lost a few teeth and I missed those too. And I am reminded, in those darling, gap-toothed smiles, of my daughter and what might have been. A Christmas morning photo of 3, gap-toothed girls giggling by the tree.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Future Rockstars

The soundtrack of my childhood was based on the sounds of my Dad's guitar. All the warm memories came flooding back this past weekend as my Dad sat with my boys and gave them lessons. Just hearing him tune a guitar makes me reminisce.
He bought all 3 big grandsons electric guitars a few years back, but none of them have shown much interest until now. They may have dreams of rock stardom in their heads, but for me, the sight of my boys and their Papa sharing their love of music and making memories fills me with joy.
(check out The Boy's beautiful musician's hands!)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

4 am means crappy writing.

4am.
I have been up since 4 am. For no reason, I just couldn't sleep. And it is getting really difficult to function and accomplish anything on no sleep.
Anyways... sorry to complain, it just sucks and I feel all teary when I think about it. I lay there praying for sleep last night. ugh.

Of course the scary political situation here in Canada probably didn't help. Our 3 opposition parties have agreed to topple our governing party and take over the government in a coalition. What the heck? Doesn't the fact that we just had an election and democratically chose our government mean anything? Doesn't the fact that the economy is already on shaky ground and that political shenanigans (like staging a coup) make it worse, mean anything to these guys? Or the fact that one of the parties involved exists for those in Quebec who want Quebec to separate from Canada?
I am not all that politically informed anymore, I must admit, and I am not one to share my politics here or anywhere, but this is all a bit scary to me. I guess I can just pray for the best resolution for all of this.

Personally, I am having a lovely afternoon. Cup of tea, cozy in my house while the snow blows outside, kids all occupied with paints or computers. Baby just started to cry, so I guess I am done blogging for a bit, but I hope you are all snug and warm with your families tonight.

HP Giveaway!

I know I don't usually do this, but this is an amazing giveaway. Over 6 grand in HP computers and accessories! Check it out. http://jk9.qlnk.net/ #glmagic

Monday, December 01, 2008

December 1st???!!!!!!!

It is only the first day of December and all of a sudden I am feeling anxiety. I haven't done any shopping! I don't have any extra Christmas money tucked away! I am still working on my gifts! I haven't done Zed's stocking! My house is a disaster and I still have no flooring! Oh! Maybe I should do some baking! The kids want to make a gingerbread house! I need to make it from scratch, don't I?? Church performance! Charitable service! The tree! The lights! ack! argh! I am running out of time!

Girl! Take a breath.... slooooooowwwwww ddddoooowwwwnnn..... You still have 24 days.

24 days!!!! Only 24 days!!! What am I gonna do?? How can I possibly do it all??? Ack! Argh!

Okay, sitting down with my tea. Taking some deep breaths. in.............. out............
Remember I was talking about priorities? Well, I have to keep reminding myself of that in regards to Christmas. Christmas is the birth of Christ, that is what we are celebrating. So my time and energy needs to be concentrated there. And then my family, my kids and husband. The things I do should keep them in mind and most of my resources should be there. Teaching them about Christ and doing for others and making Christmas magical for my family. Spending time with those I love, rather than screaming at everyone to get their buts in gear with their chores and stop messing up my perfectly decorated tree.

So I know all those things, and that is part of why we are observing Advent this year. Today we are making doves for our Jesse tree. But, in reality, I know that I will do all those things on my list. I hope to not make my family hate me in the process... or wrap the baby up in a gift by mistake. And more importantly I will try to be present to what I am doing and find the joy in each task, rather than worrying about all the other to do's on my list. There is really no point in all the traditions if we do not do them with joy and love.



And I can get my Superboy to do the baking!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Sunday! Have to run out and get my wreath and candles, the kids and I are going to learn about and observe Advent this year. I am totally excited about it, I think the Church calendar is fascinating and have never been part of a church that follows it. So we are on a journey of discovery.
I may have missed black Friday shopping, but I won't miss out on the rest of this Christmas season!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We have a winner!

The winner of our Heritage Makers Calendar credit draw is Laura! From Lunatic Fringe!
Congratulations Laura and to all our entrants, thank you and please let me know how I can help you immortalize your family's memories.
  1. 13 1 . S, Laura
(you have to try random.org, so cool!)

Friday, November 28, 2008

TGIF and last day for give-away!

Today is the last day to enter my Heritage Makers giveaway! Remember to sign up for your free account and leave me a comment to be entered in for your free calendar credit.

Today I feel wrung out. The weather is gloomy, the sky is dark and I am still not sleeping.
But.
We have had a fabulously productive week. (As I wrote fabulously, the Schoolhouse Rocks adverb song went through my head. Love!) My second son, Superboy, is a new boy. You should see the pride and self-confidence radiating from him after 3 or 4 days in a row of quickly finishing his schoolwork. He has spent the last 4 years inventing every possible way of dragging out each assignment. He could literally spend 8 hours sitting at the table, staring at one math lesson. Many of those days resulted in me losing it and one or both of us in tears. The frustration reached epic proportions and I am ashamed to admit my failures. Some days I would just retreat. Hide out in my room, or on my computer and stop dealing so that I wouldn't explode.
We have tried every tactic imaginable to help Superboy to just get done what he needed to. Changing curriculum, acting as his scribe, reward systems, punishments, taking away electronics, yelling... many disciplinary measures would result in a day or 2 of compliance. But we have never found a way to create good habits in this child.
For some reason, this week, something clicked in him. Like he finally realized that if he concentrates for an hour or 2, he can complete all his assignments and then his time becomes his own. And Mommy is happy! And cheerful! And wants to hang out with him and do fun things!
Now, I have spent a lot of time and energy concentrating on all the kids and their school and chores. Sitting with them, doing chores with them, reading and praying with them. I have not always done that. Some weeks I am very remiss in my duties, handing out assignments and expecting them to just do them. But it seems to be what I need to consistently do, actively participate, to get results. And maybe, just maybe, Superboy is growing up a bit.

Girly is really loving the 'school' we have been doing, especially printing on the slate, she will make letters for an hour! Monkey gives me a hard time about every thing I ever ask him to do, but once he gets started he does seem to enjoy it. They seem to be blossoming before my very eyes, the changes are thrilling and a bit sad at the same time. I miss my baby girl. I caught Monkey reading one of those levelled readers to himself the other day, in his head. I just can't believe wrap my head around how quickly the reading progresses. I am awed. I have a feeling it won't be too long until Girly is reading books to herself too.

After this long week of being on, I am wiped. I need a rest, and maybe, just maybe, someone else to tag-team (anyone else miss eighties wwf wrestling??) with me a bit. My hubby really needs a day off! I need him to have a day off!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Canadian Blog awards!

Hey! I just found out that I was nominated for the Canadian Blog awards for best Family Blog!
Thank you to whoever nominated me (Laura!?!), so sweet. mwahhhh!
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

I am still here!!!

I miss you! If any of my blog friends are still out there, I miss you and I apologize for not coming by much in the last few weeks.

As you may have read last week, I have been feeling overwhelmed by all I have committed to doing, all the 'I shoulds', and especially all the 'I haven't gotten to yets'. So I made a decision. I need to be realistic about what I can actually do and I need to prioritize so that the most important things actually have a chance of getting done.

So, I have been making a concerted effort to concentrate on my kids during the day. I home educate, so that means a significant amount of effort and attention needs to be paid to their 'school' stuff. The buck stops with me, and I have been dropping the ball, often. This renewed commitment on my part has paid big dividends with my kid's effort and output. Today was a particularly great day!

My hubby has been putting in 14 hour days, 7 days a week and that means that everything at home falls to me. So I have been making a bigger effort in keeping up the house on a daily basis, helping the kids with their chores so that they are actually finished and making sure everyone has healthy meals and snacks. We have been doing tons of smoothies with frozen fruit and yogurt and a bit of protein powder, smoothie time is a great opportunity for us to sit together to do our devotions and reading aloud. We are reading Rudyard Kiplings' The Jungle Book together. Today we made a quick whole wheat pizza dough and had pizza for lunch, yummy!

With hubby working such long hours, I either have no car or I take him to work at 6 am and get back at 8:30 or so and leave again at 7 pm to get him and back home again after 9pm. If I take the car, I can get out and do some stuff, but I have absolutely no time to myself either before the kids get up or in the evenings. And that means.... No Blogging! and No scrapbooking either. Wah!!!

I am also pretty darn tired, so the days that I do have some time to myself, I don't really want to open my computer. My eyes are scratchy and droopy, I just want to curl up in my bed and sleep. So I have been trying to do that.

I do really need to finish making my Christmas presents on Heritage Makers, hopefully I will find the time this week. Then I need to crochet Zed's stocking before Christmas. Girly's took me 3 years to finish, oops! The Christmas before I had her, I crocheted 4, so I can do it, I just need to steal the time from somewhere.

I do feel much better about everything, thank you all for your encouragement. I am trying to be more accepting of my situation and my limitations, and doing the best I can.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Crybaby! and giveaway is back on!

The Give-away is back on! All you have to do is sign up for a free Heritage Makers account here, or leave me a comment with your email addy so that I can register your free account and you will be entered into a draw for a free custom calendar credit and my design help if you desire.
Draw is Nov. 28th. Good luck! and all of you who already signed up during the glitch, will be entered as well. Thanks!

***
What a week! I am feeling very overwhelmed by my life right now. So many 'I shoulds', ack! And I feel like I shouldn't complain because this life was my choice. I know there are those in my hubby's family that feel that way, I chose to have all these kids, despite their advice, therefore I dare not complain. Or if I feel overwhelmed, frustrated or tired, then that it yet another reason why I should put my kids in school... (not all of them feel that way, they are pretty darn supportive actually!)
I did make these choices, because I thought, and still think, that they are what is best for my family. Most of the time. Occasionally, like today, I feel like I must be insane to think for one second that I can make this work. And honestly, on my own strength there is no way that I can be successful at any of it. Funny how, as I write this out, the answers come to me. (apparently my grammar is failing me, but...)
The answer being, that I don't have to do it on my own strength. I can rely on my heavenly Father. My God is sufficient for all my needs. Let me repeat that to myself for a moment... My God is sufficient for all my needs. repeat until absorbed.
Why is that so easy for me to forget? I have been running around like a mad woman, lamenting all that I 'need' to do, but can't seem to accomplish. Having a good cry, at least daily, at all my failures and frustrations. I just can't do it all. I can't get my house to stay even remotely clean. I can't blinkin' get it clean at all! I feel like I am a complete failure as a teacher most days, just the thought of planning, implementing and facilitating the 4 learners in my home is so daunting that I want to pull out my hair. And all the extras? Where do they fit?
Why do I fight God so much to try and hang on to all this. He just asks for me to give it to him and lean on him. I know I can't do it on my own, and yet I resist giving it up. Silly, silly girl. I guess this is one of those growth things. Isn't that the point of my blog name? To keep morphin' into the woman he intends me to be?
Okay, okay, I get it! I really do. I am trying here God, thanks for yet another chance. Giving it to you, right now. Deep breath. I can't do it all myself, thank you for helping me, uplifting me, carrying me. Thank you for covering over my mistakes, especially with my kids. They are pretty darn terrific, in spite of me some days. Thank you.
'K', feeling a bit better now. ahhhhhh.

***
For those of you interested, there is a Heritage Makers virtual workshop tonight, learn all about storybooking and my terrific business. Here is the link:
8:30 PM (Pacific), 9:30 PM (Mountain), 10:30 PM (Central), 11:30 PM (Eastern)https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/453240517

Monday, November 17, 2008

wee bit of random

Happy Birthday Shalagh!!! I hope you eat lots of cake and get wonderful gifts. I love you to pieces and still miss you always.

***
So Brent's mom is home from the hospital and doing well, she had an angioplasty and a stent put in her heart, hopefully that will prevent any more angina. Thank you so much for your prayers and care. I think we are feeling a bit less stressed here. In fact I actually feel rested this morning, I got a bit more sleep than I have been! I let myself stay in bed until I was ready to get up, so nice.

***
We took the kids to a free preview of Bolt on the weekend, it was so cute. And free is definitely the way to go to the movies when you have 5 kids! We still spent 25 bucks on treats! It must be free week, because my kids are going to a choral performance on Wednesday that includes an educational time with the performers and free pizza! mmm pizza...

***
I can't believe how Baby Zed is changing! He can be so sweet and sunny, laughing at mommy, taking a wee nursing break to smile up at mommy. Aw, just reaches in and pulls on my heart. He, thankfully, started taking a soother last week, so he isn't suckling all night. My poor back is much happier.

***
The Boy, my eldest, turns 14 tomorrow. I have to say, this having a boy in the midst of his growth spurt is so much like having a baby. The changes and growth happen so quickly that it is overwhelming to my mommy heart. I revel in each milestone on the road to manhood, while mourning the little boy he is quickly ceasing to be. He can get his learner's driving permit tomorrow! Yikes!

Someone pass me a tissue so that I don't get tears into the birthday cake I need to go make...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ack, a glitch!

Hi guys,
I am having a problem with my site currently and have temporarily suspended the give away. I will get right back to you about it. In the mean time, if you want to sign up for a free account, please email me or leave a comment with your email addy and I will get back to you. If you do that you will still be entered into the draw when it resumes.
If you already did sign up will you please drop me a line, because the glitch in the site means that I don't know that you have and therefore I can't enter your name in the draw.
Thanks!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion & Give-away

I am super psyched!!!! In spite of still not sleeping, in spite of having a head cold and a migraine and a sick tummy, in spite of going a bit stir crazy with my kids and the cold weather....
I am so excited! Today I picked up my O magazine with my HBB featured as one of her all time favourite gifts and I got my first commission check from said business! Our business is also on the Oprah website!!!! I would love to show you how you can earn your own helping other people record their family's memories as a consultant, like me.
I also finished my first storybook, check it out below! Make sure you choose the full screen option, it may take a few seconds for all the pages to load.

As for the give-away... I am giving one lucky reader a Heritage Makers calendar credit and my personal help in creating their fully custom calendar. All you have to do is go here and sign up for a free Heritage Makers account and then leave me a comment. While you are there, I highly recommend taking a look at all our gorgeous products and awesome templates. Great gift ideas.

So go here to be entered. And I will be making the draw on November 28, 2008!

Preview











Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ode to Insomnia

Oh Insomnia
Horrid lack of sleep
I didn't miss you one bit
but back you came......

Okay, I am way too tired to write an ode. Or anything else. Baby is only getting up once at night, but unfortunately I am not really sleeping. At most 3 hours a night. I was trying to figure out why my eye won't stop twitching, then it dawned on me. Oh! I have only had one night of real sleep in weeks! It was enough to tide me over for most of last week, but apparently this week I need some more.
Sleep will come again, I know it will. Until then I may not be around much, the computer screen aggravates the twitch.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Updates

Well I guess I can say goodbye to nablopomo. I forgot what these out of town company weekends are like, plus I haven't had any breaks from the kids because hubby has been either working, at the hospital or helping his Dad on a job. He also went to floor hockey for the first time this week! I was so happy, I have been trying to get him to go and socialize and play for a while now. He works far to much and plays far too little.

Brent's mom is out of critical care and waiting for tests. She will be in the hospital for awhile I guess. We are all fine here at casa de Mighty, no more tummy flu for us! Today was a productive day for us, the kids got their school finished and I got to clean, cook and work on my Christmas gifts while my Dad played with baby Zed. I love having extra hands around.

My mom is also in town, she came and took the Boy out for a birthday date yesterday and bought him new pants. I was so excited about that, because all of his other pants are floods. All my kids are in need of a shopping trip, I don't know what happened, all of a sudden they have drawers full of teensy clothes. It's like they keep growing or something.

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day here in Canada, where we remember all of those who have served in the military, especially those who lost their lives to protect our freedoms. It also means a day off for my hubby. Thank goodness, I miss him.

I will try to catch up on my blog visits tomorrow, hope you are all well.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Health Matters

So hubby's Mom is doing well. There was no significant damage to her heart muscle. She is still waiting for a bed in the cardiac care unit and is under observation. They are looking for the cause.

Everyone here is good, I think Brent and his brother were a bit shaken by it all. It is hard to face the mortality of your parents. But she is a fighter, she has already survived breast cancer and we hope to have her with us for a long time yet.

I am also praying for my great grandma, who will be 98 on Monday. She has always been in fabulous health and leads an active lifestyle to this day. But last week it was discovered that her intestine had twisted and she went into surgery where they removed 2 feet of intestine that was becoming gangrenous. I am praying she recovers fully.

All this has me thinking about how thankful I am for my health and that of my kids. And that I need to be a good steward of that health by feeding us all properly and leading an active lifestyle. A good kick in the pants for me. And for my hubby too. He actually went to play floor hockey with the guys at church this week and, surprise surprise, realized he isn't twenty anymore.

And after the chocolate cake I made is gone, I will get right on that healthy eating thing!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Please Pray

Please say a prayer for my mother in law, I think she is having a heart attack and they are on their way to the hospital.
I actually think she may have had a smaller attack earlier in the week from what she had described to me, I pray that the damage is minimized and that she is okay. My kids need her!

Update: Thanks so much you guys. Okay, she is having a heart attack. She is being treated in hospital, so I am sure she will be okay. Thank you again for your prayers, so appreciated..


Today I am thankful that my m-i-l is okay. God is watching over her.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Life Swap?

I think I forgot to tell you all a funny thing that happened to me this summer. I got an email, supposedly from the show Wife-Swap, telling me that they had read my blog and thought our family would be great for their show. When I opened that, I laughed out loud and said, "Well, I guess that confirms it, we are freaks!" I haven't actually watched the show, but I would imagine if someone thinks we are fascinating enough for tv, they must think we are a bit out of the ordinary. 5 kids, homeschooling, in the middle of renos... craziness to be sure, interesting? I don't know. But hubby and I thought it was hysterical.

Anyway, the other day at dinner it was very loud. All the kids were acting nutty, I am sure it must have been a full moon or something. Or they were all coming down from a 3 day Halloween sugar high. In the midst of this craziness, I turned to my hubby with a somewhat helpless smile,
"Remember when Wife Swap sent me that email? At this moment I might just say yes. Yikes!"

Later when I thought a bit about it, I thought they would swap me with a woman with an opposite lifestyle to mine. So maybe I could go to the gym, have a massage and a manicure, lunch with friends, hmmm... not so bad...

Then I went to kiss my babies goodnight. I sang them lullabies and got 27 kisses from my Monkey boy and 10 hugs from Girly. My 11 and 14 year old boys kissed me goodnight and wanted me to sing to them as well. Still! Then I crawled into bed with arms around my teensy sweetheart and in the arms of my big sweetheart and thought how there was no where else I would rather be. I am so blessed.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Little Blessings


























Today I am thankful that both my preschoolers stopped whining at playgroup and went to play with the other kids finally! And my big boys finished the bulk of their school by 7 am. I am also thankful for little Z, he slept 7 hours 2 nights in a row! Little blessings to make my day a little easier.

New layouts

up at Immortality Art

if you need an invite, email me!

Oprah loves our books

Check this out!

Oprah Loves Heritage Makers





Just in time for the holidays! Heritage Makers is featured in the December 2008 O Magazine as one of Oprah’s All-Time Favorite Gifts! So exciting! Our hardbound storybooks are featured on this exclusive list. Check out the magazine on newsstands now!













As part of the celebration, we’re offering an amazing Oprah special! Get your pages for less than $3.00/page!

Special Offer #1:

Scrapbook pages - Buy 7, Get 3 FREE!

(10) 12 x 12 scrapbook page credits + 1 month FREE Studio Premier

Only $29.95 Save $34

Special Offer #2:

12 x 12 Hardbound Coffee-table Style Book

21-pages + 1 month FREE Studio Premier

Less than $3/page!

Only $69.95 Save $30

Go here to get in on this special Oprah offer!

To see the storybook that Oprah got that started it all, go here.


From the Heritage Makers blog

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Life Lessons learned

Baby Zed was just falling asleep on my breast, the boys were watching their Canadian History video on the couch beside me and I could hear that Girly was getting into something. That is what happens when she needs attention, when we are all too busy doing and not connecting with her. In she ran with flour on her hands and proceeded to wipe it on the ottoman. Ack!

But, and I am so proud of myself, I got up, told her to vacuum up her mess and asked her if she would like to bake something with mommy. Then I took Baby upstairs, laid him on the bed and went down to make cookies with my girl.

Monkey joined us as he hates to be left out. After we had a batch done, I put on the kettle and we all sat down for tea and cookies. I asked the kids who makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. There had been some discussion about this because they had eaten cookies made by two other women recently and proclaimed them both the best ever. My kids are nothing if not polite. *wink.

I was greeted with a chorus of, "You do, Mom!" Right answer.

But Monkey piped in with his Aunt's name. I said, "What?!?!" and laughed.

He looked at me very seriously and said, "Mom, I don't always think what you think."

Can I tell you that I was ever so proud in that moment? I am doing something right.

So thankful today to know that everything I say does not just go in one ear and out the other.


Oh yeah, I decided to do Nablopomo and 30 days of thanks this month, come and join me! Thanks Lori for inspiring me!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Afternoon laugh break

I hear a cacophony of Canadian Geese outside of my window right now. That is the only word for it, cacophony. Man I love saying that...

The sound reminds me that even though the day is mild, the winter is well on it's way.

The other day, as I drove through the magical, super saturated light that only touches us before the sun sets (and all afternoon in these northern autumn days), I saw a large gaggle of geese flying overhead. I pointed out their distinctive v-formation to my gaggle of kids in the backseats, "Look at the gee......... what the?!" And then I laughed and turned on the windshield wipers. Goose poops all over the window. Nice.

I am thankful today for little moments that lighten my days, for remembering to step back, gain perspective and laugh rather than get upset or yell at my kids. There have been so many overwhelming moments lately, so many where I could just give into my coarser nature, so many where I have. But I am trying. And therefore discovering the smiles in the rain, the laughter in the storms. I hope you find some laughter in your today.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween tricks.


















My two Monkeys and my baby banana!

What a strange Halloween. We only had the three little kids at home with us. The Boy left for youth retreat at a nearby ranch and Superboy went to the football game with the neighbours. So strange to not have all of our kids with us, I missed them!

The preschoolers were pretty hyped up, by the time we were finished dinner they were both in tears. Monkey boy really didn't want to put on his gorilla costume and Daddy had to reach pretty deep in his bag of tricks to convince him.

The kid practically ran from house to house yelling Trick or Treat, giggling and laughing. All the neighbours really enjoyed our little sweeties and we got to visit with people we haven't talked to much since the summer.

When we finished our cul-de-sac we left to go and visit hubby's relatives with our little monkeys. After one stop Monkey was crying again because he was so tired, and before we got to Gramps', he was asleep. Poor Monkey, too much sugar and anticipation.

By the time we got our Monkeys and Banana baby tucked in, we got a call from the youth pastor. I guess the stomach flu that hit the rest of us finally caught up with the Boy on the way to the ranch. Our poor boy had thrown up all over the bus and then hadn't stopped. Daddy drove out to get him. Poor kid didn't even get to gorge himself on junk before he got sick, he missed all the fun.

My kids are getting so big, this halloween is just the beginning of the kids having other places to be and go rather than hanging with us. Life is changing, our family is growing and growing up. I miss my boys already!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Remembering Callum

For those of you looking for an amazing baby gift or those of you with new babies I wanted to share an awesome sling with you. I had a HipMelon sling for my Girly (Love it!) and now I am getting a new one for Baby Zed, this one.
Here is this sling's story, from the website:
A pregnancy, a new baby: A time of excitement and expectation and hope. We carry our babies, love our babies, birth our babies and then bring them home to be raised, nurtured, and loved. We live happily ever after.

But happily ever after does not follow all pregnancies. In fact, some stories end more tragically than we’d like to consider.

Stillbirth: A dirty word to some, but a stark reality in 1 in every 115 pregnancies. Beautiful babies of 20 weeks or more gestation, fully formed with 10 fingers and 10 toes, who die before birth or during birth leaving shocked parents and families to mourn a baby they’ll never know.

We dedicate Carry on My Wayward Son sling to all the babies who did not make it out alive to the waiting, hopeful arms of their mothers and fathers. Babies who will never see a first birthday, who will never know the feeling of the warm sun on their little faces, who will never sense their mothers’ gentle kiss. And we dedicate this sling to the families that live with the anguish of this profound and traumatic loss every single day.

We ask that you remember, that you acknowledge their short, impactful lives, and that you join us in our endeavor to support efforts in stillbirth research and prevent a family from ever having to know the heartache of leaving the hospital empty-handed.

***

HipMelon Baby Wear will donate the full purchase price of all Carry on My Wayward Son slings purchased to stillbirth research in the name of Callum, son to HipMelon founder, Caterina Patterson, who was born still at 34 weeks gestation on November 1, 2007.

Carry on, sweet boy. Carry on.

So please consider buying a sling that will benefit charities trying to prevent this tragedy in other families lives.

Thinking of you today C., embracing you and dear, sweet Callum in my heart on this, his first birthday.

Friday, October 31, 2008

First Dentist trip


Hosted by Cecily and Mama Geek


The 4 big kids went to the dentist yesterday. It was Girly and Monkey's first real visit and they were so excited. They loved everything about it. Their Daddy has been going to this dentist since he was a boy and between him and his wife (and the awesome hygienists/staff) they made the kids first check up an easy, fun experience. Mrs. Dentist was so sweet to Monkey, explaining everything to him and everyone completely doted on the 'Princess'. Monkey Boy especially liked getting his teeth cleaned with sunglasses and a mirror! Both kids enjoyed 'tooth cam', seeing their little chompers on the tv.
Monkey was disappointed because he has some cavities. But he is excited that he gets to go back for fillings and another toy! The rest of the kids were cavity free, thankfully.
Mr. and Mrs. Dentist also had a little talk with Monkey about his thumbsucking. He finally said, "I guess I should stop, hey?" awww. He has been telling me for ages that he would stop when he is five and until now I agreed.
Mrs. Dentist had an awesome idea for us though. She suggested going and getting a special finger puppet and before bed (or any sucking prone time) Monkey Boy should put it on his thumb. Then he should talk to it and love on it and cuddle it to comfort himself to sleep. She said I should sit with him the first few nights to encourage this bonding and prevent the sucking.
I absolutely adore this positive, loving approach! I was a thumb sucker and all the icky tasting solutions and metal, spiky appliances in the world did not prevent me sucking my thumb until I was good and ready. The thumb puppet approach replaces the comfort of thumb sucking with another comfort object. Perfect! I guess we shall see how it works:)
Here are some dentist photos. (Polaroid generator by rawimage)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Inspiration Station

I am not sure what has happened to me over the past 10 days or so, but I am feeling so inspired! I feel like there is a teensy bit of spring in my soul even as I feel the nip of fall in the air. I have so many thoughts and dreams floating around in my brain and I can't wait to birth them into reality.
I have been having the hardest time falling asleep at night as ideas to further my plot of world domination whirl in my brain. Well maybe not world domination, but I have some really fabulous ideas for my website. Mighty Mama is about to take over the digital world... or something like that.
I feel like I have so much bubbling up inside of me, so much potential, so much, well I don't know, but I want to share it. I want really live, to be fully engaged in the world in which I live, to add to those lives whose bubbles join with mine. And I think I am finding some ways to do that. What could be more thrilling than to live out your purpose, to use your God-given talents (especially for the girl who thought God forgot to give any) in creative, meaningful ways????
Wooooohooooo!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Friends

I have awesome friends! My girlfriend, who also has five kids, has offered to take all my kids this afternoon so that I can have some time. Time to nap! Maybe even work on my Christmas presents without Girly sitting on my arm while I try to scrapbook! I am so thankful for friends who care enough to be there for you.
Yesterday I met another lovely friend at the park, it was a gorgeous day and we enjoyed each other's company so much. It is amazing how you can feel so much less alone in your journey when you share a bit of it with someone else. We made a date to start walking with each other in the evening. Or maybe just having coffee!
I am supposed to be getting ready to take the kids to playgroup, I drove Brent to work so that we could have the car and go and so far I haven't even got in the shower. I guess I had better run.

Don't forget about the card and calendar sale that ends tonight. I will be taking orders until about 10:30pm. Drop by my site and have a look at all our new templates that make all your storybooks and calendars easy as pie.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I get knocked down, I get up again!

Ah, the stomach flu. Technically not the flu at all, but a bugger just the same. Over the weekend it hit me. Of course me, I guess I am a bit run down. So the sweating, shaking, freezing, dizzy, toilet hugging stomach flu decided to make me hit my bed for the day. I slept all day Saturday, all night and then by Sunday I was just a bit weak, but feeling better in time to take over for the hubby when he got it.
We tried to talk ourselves into thinking it was just something we ate, but yesterday it hit the Monkey. Thankfully he is doing better today, a bit wimpy feeling, but not bad. I pray that the plague has now been purged from our home. There are 4 more healthy people here, let's keep it that way! Girly was actually feverish all weekend, but no other symptoms, so I hope that is all she gets.
I have been busy this week with my business. The business that I have ignored all year. I decided that it would be nice to make some Christmas money and get some of my scrapbook/storybooks published, so I am working it.
We are actually having a sale today and tomorrow, custom cards and calendars. Awesome deals!
Check it out! I am making calendars for all the grandparents for Christmas.
I will be taking orders til about 10:30 pm tomorrow night for the sale. Email me to set up your own free account , I would love to help you tell your family's stories in gorgeous hardbound books.


Here is a Christmas card I did up yesterday. The artwork is from weeds and wildflowers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bedtime words.

Sweet nothings from my angels before bed.

Girly, "Mama when someone says God loves you it means that Jesus love you and you love me Mama, and I kinda like you."

Monkey, "Mom, you have unlimited hugs and kisses. Right? You never run out of kisses for us or hugs for us. Right? You could hug and kiss people all day and all night. but you would have to keep your hands on them. Right?"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

We waited. and waited...................and waited.

Edited to add: This adventure is entirely my fault. If I had checked my messages before heading out across the city, I would have heard the message that Dad left to say that I shouldn't go to the airport and wait because there were problems with the plane and they were delayed. I am a goof.

Had myself a very boring, little adventure the other day. My dad flies in and out of the city every two weeks on his way to and from work in the NWT. This was the day that I pack up the kids and we make the 45 minute drive to the airport to pick him up. He usually arrives between 3:30 and 4pm, so we left the house around 2:30 and stopped for cookies and coffee on the way.

When we arrived at the airport around 3:45, we pulled into at a nearby gas station where we didn't have to pay to park and, well, waited. At 4pm my phone rang. But it wasn't my Dad's cell, it was an Ontario number. A feeling of frustration washed over me, because all the phones at Dad's work are Ontario numbers. I just knew that he was still up north. Sure enough, they hadn't even got on the plane yet.
Dad said that they were supposed to be boarding right away and that he should be in the city by 6pm.

Okay. Well, we only had two hours to wait, I decided to stick around. I took baby Zed out to nurse him and close my eyes for a few minutes. I had one of my eye piercing headaches. The kids were happy with their video games and movies. At about 4:30, I put everyone back in their carseats and drove back into the city. There is a huge shopping complex right off the highway. I had no money with me, but I found the book store and took the kids in there. We hung out and read until 5:30 and then I thought we should head back to the airport. Traffic at the highway intersection was horrible and I didn't want to miss my dad.

We got back right at 6 and we proceeded to wait. My hubby called a number of times to see what was happening. He had managed to actually come home from work early. Every time the phone rang, I jumped thinking it was finally my dad. No such luck. The kids were starting to get hungry and thirsty. No one had brought the water bottles I asked them to grab on our way out the door. I didn't have money to get them anything. I hadn't brought anything!

Finally I found 4 bucks and ran in to buy some water. Then I had to take Girly into the bathroom and my phone rang. It was eight o'clock and dad was finally here. 8!!!
The good part was that there was no traffic on the way back home. I have to say that not many meals have tasted as good as that stew I had put in my crock-pot before I left home.

Poor Dad felt terrible that I had waited. He kept telling me that he doesn't mind making his own way across the city to our house. But I really love the drive out there, any excuse to get out for a bit and have a latte. Plus he lets Brent use his car while Dad is at work, so it is the least I can do.
The kids may think twice before coming with me again though. Or at least remember their water bottles.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday.

So 12 hour shifts are what the hubby is working this week. I preempted the sucky, mopey afternoon that would usually be the result of that news and took the kids out this afternoon. I was fully engaged in school this morning and we finished the bulk by noon. So after lunch we headed to the rec centre. The big guys swam and the little people and I headed to the indoor playground. I met a wonderfully sweet mom named Julie there and we chatted away the afternoon.
I am much more able to enjoy my kids running around and yelling when it is in a large room with other kids, than I am in my teensy house!
He will have to work those hours all week, but he thinks that he will have this weekend off, so I am thankful for that. I am sure we will be going to Costco to get groceries and maybe even get a date in between painting and paperwork. Exciting stuff.

***
Baby Z is 6 weeks old today. He is such a little character already. He totally watches our faces when we talk to him now, he sometimes responds with smiles or coos. Last night he was watching Daddy and I having a conversation, going back and forth between our faces until he ended up overstimulated and needed some quiet time.
You know how you hold your teeny baby and your emotions are completely overloaded? Your heart almost pains with love, it just bubbles over until you are laughing and crying simultaneously? The emotions are just overwhelming, I want to squeeze him to me and never let go.
I am often taken by surpise by this wave of emotion for my bigger children too. Over the weekend I was repeatedly astounded by my eldest's intelligent and mature sense of humour. Mature as in older than his years, but still silly. I am filled with wonder at my sweet man-child. Gosh I love him!

***
I want to ask those of you who pray to say a prayer for my sweet girlhood friend today. Her husband, who was only 43, died on Sunday. He had recently diagnosed lung cancer. My heart is just broken for her, I can't imagine what she is going through. Please give her a kind thought and give your spouse a big kiss when he/she gets home tonight.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gimme a Break

Remember me telling you about my hubby's new job that only required 40 to 50 hours per week and weekends off, every second weekend being 3 days long? Well, now that fall has arrived, it is no longer that easy. Now he is regularly putting in 5 - 10+ hour days and at least every second weekend he is working all weekend. This has been one of those weekends.
He thought they might be done by 3pm. At 4 he called. Not finished yet. I hung up crying. I just really need an itty bitty break. Someone else to hold the baby who is only happy when eating or sleeping, to just hold him for 5 minutes and give my back a break. I would like someone else to take a turn listening to Girly's lovely, wonderful, non-stop chatter. Someone else to play a game with her or build a puzzle. I would really like someone to give Monkey some of the attention he desperately needs and I am having a hard time giving him. I would really like....

We interrupt this whine to take a break...

As I sat typing this big whiny, feel sorry for myself post and crying, I stopped. I got up and went downstairs and told my big kids to get their stuff together. I went back upstairs and got my little kids ready to go out. I nursed baby quickly and buckled him into his car seat and put them all in the car. I realized that I needed a break and that it was stupid to sit around feeling sorry for myself. I would just have to make my own break.

I was going to take them all to the rec centre, but the big boys decided to go out and play with friends and have dad take them to the rec centre one evening this week. So my 3 littles and I drove to a nearby store. I got the stroller out, took my babies to the store to get a bag of cookies and then we went for coffee and hot chocolate. Monkey and Girly were happy because they got to have special time with me, sitting with me like big people and having a treat. Baby Zed was happy because we went in the car and that put him to sleep. I was happy because I had my hands wrapped around a hot latte and I was actually doing something other than feeling sorry for myself like I had all week.

I am realizing, once again, how easy it is to slip from tired and frustrated to overwhelmed and depressed. At almost 6 weeks post-partum, the baby blues should have abated and my hormones should be starting to stabilize a bit. But there are still days when I have to make myself get out of bed and deal with my life. Days where I don't really want to go anywhere or do anything. There are many times each week where I am in tears over little things. There are more and more moments of feeling completely overwhelmed. I think I am walking a fine line at the moment between regaining some balance and normalcy in my life and slipping into depression.

I had fooled myself over the years into thinking that I could keep depression at bay through sheer force of will. I hadn't allowed myself to fall into postpartum depression again for the past 3 pregnancies. (Never mind that pesky prenatal depression that plagued me for 4 of my six pregnancies to differing degrees) Even after birthing my stillborn baby I did not suffer from PPD. Does that sound weird? My baby dies and I was not depressed? Grief and depression are completely different animals. Completely. Of course depression can come of grief, but that didn't happen to me.

I had let myself believe that I had the tools to prevent full-blown depression. I knew the signs and could lift myself out of its evil grasp. And in reality, I have felt myself starting to go there a number of time in the past 10 years since my big post-partum bout. And each time I was able to (lucky enough to) avoid it. But I am realizing again that sometimes it is not avoidable, sometimes depression comes and you just have to deal with it, get help for it.

I am not there yet, but I can feels it's nasty breath on my neck. I am still coping, still have tools to deal in my arsenal. But I have the horrid awareness that I may not be able to prevent the fall this time.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Words.

I have so much to say. So many embryonic posts in my head just waiting to be birthed. I keep trying to jot down notes so I don't forget things, but most are lost. Of course they are only important to me...

Life is moving so quickly, I can't begin to keep up. It seems my children are growing up at warp speed and I sometimes feel like they are slipping from my fingertips as I grasp for them. My eldest (13 & 11/12) is in the throws of puberty, growing half an inch in a week or two. He is taller than us now, his feet are bigger than his dad's, a size and a half bigger than 2 months ago. His face is changing, but I can still see my sweet little boy there, with his round cheeks and eager smile. His voice is changing and oh. my. goodness. so annoying! I am so anxious for it to settle, because the screeching combined with his exuberance and loudness is grating on my nerves. I want to cover my ears and yell, "SHUT UP!!!" at the top of my lungs sometimes. Am I not a terrible mother?? Somehow I think that the sleeplessness of having an infant, was not meant to mix with pubescent voice changes.

The infant (5 weeks) is also finding his voice. Making tons of sweet sounds, even when hungry, his cries are punctuated with plaintive coos. Love!

Girly (3) is continuing to amuse us with her words. Whenever we question her about something, "Girly, why are you all wet?"
We hear back, "I have NO idea."
Daddy and I have been rolling on the floor laughing at that one. Especially when it comes complete with hands on hips and an exaggerated sigh/hair toss combo at the end.

As for Monkey (4 & 3/4), he is discovering the incredible world of the written word. We are always hearing him pipe up with random words, looking up to see what he is reading now. He will read books over my shoulder, words off the tv or computer screen, signs, cereal boxes, passing t-shirts.
At first he would only read-aloud words he was sure of. But now he is trying more and more new words, no longer upset when someone volunteers the correct pronunciation. I love how his big brothers are cheering him on, they seem to be as much in awe of him as I am.

Even Superboy (11) is exploring with words, he is finding his writing voice and no longer seems so overwhelmed with the writing of his ideas.

As for me, words seem to escape me these days. I start to write and long before I am done, the words run out. My brain turns to mush. I reach for the phone to call a friend and find I have absolutely nothing to say. I just want to go back to my bed with a cup of tea and some quiet and be by myself. I am sure that I will find my words again. I ache to express myself. My hands itch to write. My mouth and ears long for conversations they seem incapable of having. Maybe my words are actually here fighting with my consciousness to come out, because I had no idea what I was writing when I started this.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Remembrance Day

Today is October 15, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States. Here in Canada we are in trying to have our government recognize October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month too.
Most of us know someone who has been touched by the loss of a much wanted baby, so today please let them know that you are thinking of them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Catch Up

My internet has been down for a couple of weeks now and I feel so out of the loop. I can sometimes steal a wireless signal from a neighbour, but it is so slow! I haven't been around much at all. I have also been really concentrating on my family and doing school with the kids, so I haven't had much time to spend with my blog friends. I miss you guys! Thank you so much for still dropping by, you guys rock.

My baby boy is growing and changing so quickly. He was one month old last Thursday. He is smiling and cooing now, usually quite randomly, but occasionally one of us is the lucky recipient of one of his beaming smiles.

Girly is still harassing, I mean loving on baby constantly, she just can't seem to keep her hands to herself. Every time I try to put him down for a nap, she is in there like a dirty shirt. Kissin' on him, patting him, poking at him. I have to try really hard to not get frustrated with her.

Every night for the last week, Monkey and/or Girly have been coming into our room in the middle of night. None of us are getting a ton of sleep, and I have been getting a bit grumpy with all of them. I need some sleep! I think baby Zed must be having a bit of a growth spurt, because he has been waking more at night the past few days. He was waking at about 2/3 am and then again at 6, so I was very pleased with that. Now he seems to be up 3 or 4 times, hopefully that won't last long. My eldest regularly slept 8 straight hours at night at 5 weeks. I don't dare to hope for that again, but 2 nighttime feedings were quite manageable.

Daddy was just holding Zed and Girly (dressed in a doctor costume with fairy wings!) said to him, "Daddy, give baby to mommy so that I can punch you." Unfortunately, she and Monkey did not wait until Daddy gave Zed to me before starting to beat on Dad. Dad was quick to pass baby off to me. The preschoolers have been exhibiting a lot of attention-seeking behavior lately. Whining, fighting, hitting. If the tv is on, they will turn it off. If the laptop is open, they try to shut it. If I am nursing Z, they will try to get between him and I. If daddy is holding baby, they try to wrestle.

So whenever I am not nursing Z, I have been really trying to play with my littles. If I am nursing, I encourage them to read with me or to me. Monkey is becoming such a great reader, he read this paragraph to me out of one of our science books the other day and I actually cried. I was so overcome with amazement in how well he could read. He is only 4 and a half! We have been including them in our school time as well, so they have been telling me all about bones and joints.

We all went to the science centre the other day as part of our science unit. The boys and daddy went to Body Worlds and then we checked out some exhibits and went to an imax show about the human body. Check out my detective Girly!




So life is good around here, a bit busy, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Walk to Remember

We were late and I wanted to be irritated. I considered not going at all, why bother when we were already going to miss the beginning. A woman approached us as we arrived on the grounds and directed us to join the procession as they were just starting out.

And so we walked. And I cried.

The surge of emotion took me by surprise. As soon as we joined the end of the long line of baby lost families, my knees went weak and sobs wracked my body. I have no idea who the tears were for. For my lost baby? For myself and my family? Or for the many, many families plodding in front of me. So many bereaved mothers and fathers. So many brothers and sisters without their siblings to run with and play with. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends all loving and supporting their loved ones, all missing their sweet babies who should have been cuddled in their arms.

I usually feel survivor’s guilt when I interact with other baby lost parents. I have been greatly blessed in the progeny arena. I have 5 living children, including a newborn baby. I understand how difficult it can be to suffer the sight of other’s pregnant bellies and babes in arms, when your arms are empty. My arms are full now, full of babies to love. But they know the gut-wrenching ache of longing. My arms know what it is to hold a ghost baby. And I feel guilt now that my arms are full while other’s are empty. I try to be sensitive to the feelings of those who may feel dismay at my current joy. But this day was filled with families. Families with full arms, but who knew the pain of empty ones. Unfortunately, not all the families are so blessed, there were many with no children to hold, those with multiple losses as well.

The whole event was just lovely and surprisingly cathartic. We hadn’t participated in any group rituals of remembrance before. We didn’t have a funeral for Kalila, we went to the funeral home on our own to say good bye. We didn’t go to group therapy or to the tree plantings. We mourned in seclusion. We observe the anniversaries quietly at home.

Being a part of a group of people like us, all celebrating the too-short lives of our babies-lost, was incredible.

I love the almost solemn walking. Being at the very end of the line, I was able to observe the other families and their interactions. There were happy, playing children. There were smiling, chatting adults. There were mourning mothers who were deep in their own thoughts as they walked beside hundreds of others. There were lost fathers, who didn’t know what to do with themselves, how to manage their grief. There were volunteers, smiling gently in support and care. We meandered along the pathway through the legislature grounds. Our walk ended as we walked past our babies’ names written in chalk along the pathway. Kalila’s was the very last name.

There was a brief service afterward. Kate from sweet/salty and Glow in the Woods spoke a brief message that touched every heart, and a tear to more than a few eyes. She was incredible, and so generous in sharing her heart with all of us, and leaving her babies across the country in order to do so.

The event ended with our babies names being read aloud as we released balloons, tagged with the names and our wishes for our babies. At first I felt that this would be an artifice riddled exercise. But hearing Kalila’s name read aloud, in front of hundreds of people, made her feel so real to me again. Releasing her balloon allowed my broken heart to soar to her. My Monkey kept asking me if the balloons were going to God, and I felt like I should explain the impossibility of that. I was then reminded that there is no impossible with God.

We also released a balloon with the names of some of our friend’s lost babies, and thought of them throughout the day, as we do often.

As the crowds scattered, we lingered with a family we are acquainted with from church. Their sweet little girl died at 21 weeks, just a few brief weeks ago. I have wanted to connect with her for a while. We briefly chat after Sunday services, but never really get a chance for realness. Yesterday was the perfect opportunity. They are in the trenches of their grief, and I hope that I was able to offer her a glimpse of hope of the future. That someday it won’t hurt quite the same.

I am very thankful that my husband was there and was able to speak a bit with her’s. In some ways, baby loss grief is more difficult for the men. They are not given the same permission to grieve as mothers. They didn’t get to carry their baby within them and know them like mothers do, but they are still mourning. Men feel the need to be strong for their wives and suppress their own hurts. Their peers expect them to ‘just get over it already.’ I think baby lost men need to be there for each other, to guide each other and to support one another in their way of grieving.

It was an incredibly uplifting day for us and I am so thankful to all of those who made it possible. Thank you to Lincoln's Mommy and Daddy.

Kalila's balloon and the one for our friends' babies.

















My family, bringing up the rear of the procession.