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.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Social Butterfly

I have been going a bit stir crazy here. I tend to cocoon at home and when I am tired and/or blue. Right when I need other people the most, I tend to hide out and isolate myself. I know that I need to get out of the house, outside in the fresh air and out to socialize with friends. So this week, I took the reigns and have made play dates and coffee dates to get me out.

Yesterday morning we went to the playground with a sweetheart of a friend and her little boy. She heard my pleas for sugar and fat and brought me pie! I had pie and cheese and tea for lunch, yummy. Thanks Carol! This morning I went for coffee with an old friend and her new baby boy. I had a starbucks' banana bread with my latte, terrific breakfast. We swapped birth stories and got all caught up, I so needed that girl time. Afterward I did a little window shopping before picking up the kids and running some errands with a mickey-d's stop for lunch. I even managed to take the kids to the playground this afternoon and ran into a neighbour.

I feel so much better after commiserating with friends and enjoying the unseasonably warm temperatures outdoors. I miss my friends, all summer I was in a bit of a funk and really not feeling all that sociable. Now, even though I am in post-natal fog, and probably not that interesting a conversationalist, I NEED to be around people. So much. Wanna come and visit?