Friday, December 30, 2011

baby #4 update

totally effaced, fingertip dilated. (i didn't dilate at all with em til i was in labor, & it's a c-sec again , so i'm not sure why we checked, but oh well.) baby is in a "very unusual presentation" per my OB. it's a footling breach, with the head by my belly button, butt to the side, one leg straight out into my hip & the other straight down in my crotch, so a foot & the back of one knee are against my cervix. he also thinks there may be cord issues that are preventing baby from turning, & said if this didn't already have to be a c-sec, it would be for sure now. he warned me there was some added risk during the surgery bc of the cord & odd presentation, even with a c-sec, but i have a lot of faith in my OB, & he'll be the one doing the surgery no matter when we go.
i also lost some weight, & baby is moving lots less, but still looks healthy & has good fluid. i'm having all kinds of icky end-of-prengnacy symptoms, so i'm kind of hoping for a 2011 baby (i know, only a day & a half left so the odds aren't good, but i can hope!). but til something happens-- it's still 9 days til baby

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

confessions

i have become one of the things i like least. i am a whiney pregnant lady. 3 years ago, when i was struggling to stay pregnant with the boys, i would have given anything to make it to 37 weeks. (shoot, i would have been happy with 35!) i hated listening to women who had reached term complaining about how miserable they were, while i watched my babies in the NICU struggle to breathe.
& now, not quite 3 years & almost 4 kids later, i have spent the last week whining to all & sundry over how uncomfortable i am, how sick i am of fake contractions, how hard it is to breathe with a breech baby, how my back hurts, i'm crampy, my feet are swollen, & i'm sure there were a few more complaints if i stopped to think harder. what happened to me over those years? when did i forget how to be grateful for each discomfort & every aching day & sleepless night, knowing that the time spent growing would help me bring home a healthy, thriving baby?
i feel guilty for being so anxious to be done, especially since this is our last & as much as i hate being huge, i know i'll miss the feeling of pregnancy. carrying a life inside you, nuturing & learning a new little person's ways & habits before you even meet them... it's pretty cool. i'm also dreading the repeat c-section, so why i'm so anxious to get on with it is a bit beyond me.
i don't even feel particularly ready to meet this little one. the baby still feels like a little stranger, which is a new one for me. i've been so busy this whole pregnancy that i've not devoted alot of thought to what this baby might be like. i'm not even that fussed over whether it's a boy or girl. 20 weeks ago, i was driving myself nuts over what we might have & now that i'll find out in 11 days, the topic doesn't hold much interest for me anymore. i love new babies, & my new babies most of all, so i doubt i'll feel any differently about this kid than i did my other 3, & i am excited to meet this little one, but in a hypothetical kind of way.
11 days to get my head on straight. & maybe it's a good thing this little one is in no rush, despite the aches & pains.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

holiday related bullets

- we're healthy (finally!)

- presents are wrapped. (except for those i have yet to finish.)

- gingerbread is waiting to be cut so we can decorate cookies tomorrow. it's our first real christmas-y activity, since we've all been too sick to do anything fun.

- i'm getting very excited to meet #4. on the advice of my OB i packed a hospital bag (mostly) altho i'm still short of an outfit for baby to wear home, i'll get it together sooner or later. we've never really been "prepared" for anyone's birth & it always seems to work out.

- my wonderful mom came over yesterday & cleaned the kids' bathtub that has been driving me nuts for ages now (i can no longer reach, even if i climb in & i HATE having a bathtub ring. who knows how the kids get so grody in the winter time, but they do.)

- val has given up on naps & has been truly horrid every afternoon this week. he clearly is not ready to give up naps, & it's driving us all crazy. on the plus side, he is finally sleeping in a bit more in the mornings (meaning we're up at 630 or 7 instead of 5.)

- i'm loving all the holiday specials. yup, i'm one of those cheeseballs who actually watches "its a wonderful life" every year.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

flu is evil.

i've been down since monday afternoon. the kids are all sick. this is miserable.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

worst fears realized

& i'm not being dramatic.
with N's job, my biggest fear, aside from him being shot or run over by a car (again, as he's already been hit once), is that he will be stabbed/poked/cut/bled on by someone with contaminated blood. & yesterday, he was. in the process of arresting 2 heroin addicts for possession, he was stuck with a used needle. the addicts were already off to jail & he was processing property when it happened, so he bled the cut & took himself off to the hospital, where they did a blood work-up, & gave him some anti-HIV pills to take. he luckily was able to track down the addicts (who had already been kicked loose from jail) & get them to agree to a blood draw (in MI, this has to be consentual unless there's a warrant), so if their blood comes back clean he's in the clear. until then, he's on these giant PEP pills for 28 days, which are pretty effective at preventing HIV from taking hold as long as they're taken appropriately.
problem is, the pills are horrible. he took his first yesterday & within a few hours was hallucinating, unable to walk for dizziness, acting like he was as drunk as he's ever been & then it made him just plain sick for a hour or so before it knocked him out cold for the night. totally worth it to prevent a much worse possibility, but not fun.
this week started with me in the hospital, moved on to N in the hospital, a sick kid, & then wrapped up with N getting stuck with a junkie's needle. needless to say, not one of our best weeks ever. i'm so glad it's sunday. we could use a fresh start.

Friday, December 9, 2011

more whining. (sorry.)

my doc offically diagnosed me once again with an "irritable uterus". basically this means that i have semi-painful contractions all day long in a regular pattern that do not lead immediately to labor. this happened with the boys as well (although in their case it DID end up leading to labor), & it sucks. if you're not familiar with the feeling, think braxton-hicks with the intensity of early *real* labor pains, every 10 minutes all freaking day.
i have meds to take that help in the mornings & are useless by lunchtime, & am supposed to be taking it easy, but it's the holidays & i am on my own with 3 kids under 3 for 14 hours a day. "easy" has no place here, so unless the doc tells me this is essential to prevent labor, i plan to soldier on as usual. there's just too much stuff to get done before baby gets here.
this plan doesn't do much for my mood, however, so i've been attempting to just keep quiet if i have nothing nice to say, which is resulting in quite a lot of quiet.
i'm thinking a few moments of meditation would improve my mental state a bit, but i'm failing miserably at that as i can't seem to get comfortable, in any position, ever. maybe there's some new form of meditation that involves embracing the discomfort? i could use a few moments of peace in my days.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

a fall down the stairs & back into sanity

i fell down the stairs a couple days ago while holding emma. i went the entire way on my back & she rode me like a sled, so both she & baby #4 were just fine. (shaken, but fine.) but i have been in some major pain for the past couple days & completely miserable.
the plus side to this is that for the very first time, i felt like i was ready to be done being pregnant. like really REALLY done, not just done for a while. after being continuously pregnant &/or nursing since august of 2008, (& pregnant at least once a year since 2007!) i think my body is finally done & my mind is catching up.
i was looking at pictures from last christmas, when emma was about 6 mos old, & thinking how much fun it will be to have another baby to cuddle & watch grow. i was imagining our christmas next year, with a new almost-one-year-old added to the mix & felt excited about our pending family of 6. i'm sure i'll still have pangs of wishing we could afford another child, especially if we have another boy. (not that i wouldn't love another boy-- i adore my sons. but i always wanted a sister, & i'd love for emma to have that experience. we'll get what we get though & i'm ok with that too.) anyways, while i'm sure i'll still have moments of "i wish..." i'm getting on board with 4, & i think the amount of pain i've been in has alot to do with that.
funny how a fall down the stairs could do so much to change my perspective, but maybe it knocked some sense into me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a list, bc it's easy

i have been an absent blogger & a lame commenter lately. i still read & need to get back into the swing of things, bc blogging is no fun without the interactive part.
so as not to challenge myself too much, we're running with a list today. (apologies!)
- i hurt. my hips hurt, my back hurts, my ankles hurt & it's all keeping me from sleeping. not counting getting up to pee, i woke up 10 times between 1030pm & 5 am last night bc something hurt bad enough to wake me. i haven't been this uncomfortable sleeping since i had the twins.
- i am tired. combined with the not sleeping well, the doc tells me i have low iron & despite taking extra supplements for a week now, i feel not a bit different. my hobbies/friends/house are all suffering, bc i try to reserve my stores of patience & energy for the 3 little hoodlums & occasionally my husband.
- meat grosses me out lately. actually food in general is super unappealing unless it's ice or covered in frosting. (i know ice isn't food. it's still all i want to eat.)
- our christmas decorations are up & the kids are loving it. this is the first year i haven't had to fight N to get everything up. when he saw how much the kiddos loved christmas lights, he went out & bought loads more. so we are now "that" house on our street & i love it.
- chunk, our long-suffering toothless-wonder cat, is slowly recovering from surgery on his ear (tumors-- they removed part of his ear canal.) his weight has been up & down, & we just had his thyroid checked. N is convinced he's on his way out. i say he has at least 5 good years left. we're devoted to our critters & it sucks when they're sick.
- we got our first snow last night. (maybe an inch.... barely enough to call snow, but it was still cool.)
- i am almost done christmas shopping & am kind of excited about it.

sorry for the whiney list. i'm promising myself to suck less the next time i blog.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

early baby blues?

i feel really sad lately that this will be our last child. i know, i'm nuts. we're about to have 4 kids under 3, i know how blessed we are & how insane our house is, but i still feel sad. i know that 4 is enough for us, & that this is a good & responsible place to stop. so i AM on board (mostly) with the plan for a vasectomy, but the thought of not having any more babies to love on really bums me out.
i think it's bc once you're done having kids, (as wonderful & challenging as the parenting process is) you're basically teaching your kids independence & watching them grow away from you. & for this SAHM, that's a seriously depressing thought. although maybe that's why they make the teenage years so hideous, so the leaving process is easier?
after having emma, i was actually at a place where i was ready for a break. i felt good about our little family & thought it would be fun to settle down to the business of raising kids instead of having them, but i'm not there this time. i'm hoping that after a few weeks of newborn hell i'll be back in that place & be able to feel wholely positive about our decision not to have any more kids. or maybe this is just holiday nostalgia & pregnancy hormones talking & i really am nuts.

Friday, November 25, 2011

mmmm...funfetti....

i bought funfetti cupcake mix today & am seriosuly considering making them despite the fact i still have a whole pumpkin pie sitting on my counter. i'm pretty sure i haven't made funfetti cupcakes since i was about 10, but the box was drool inducing when i saw it at the store & i couldn't stop myself. i figure i've been eating so much ice instead of food lately that i can afford some awful cupcakes. (yup, ice craving. low iron. taking supplements, still want the ice. go figure.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

a photo post with no pictures

a while ago my mom dropped off this purple courderpy jumper with matching puffed-sleeve reverse-button up top for emma. it had been mine 30 years ago & it cute is a super 1980s kind of way. my brilliant plant for christmas was to get a sears portrait taken of em in the outfit & pair it with a 30yr old sears portrait my mom had done of me in the same outfit. cute idea, right? so we dress up the kids & haul them off to sears after speech today & then spent the next 4 hours in sears photo hell.
usually we do our family photos with the photographer who shot our wedding. she only works in black & white, she doesn't use props etc, & just lets everyone play & move & shoots journalistic-style. i love it, it's very natural & totally un-posed, & also totally not what i needed for this christmas project, hence our first (& only!) venture to sears.
maybe your sears is better, but ours was sucked royally. apparently you need an appointment, they don't use real photographers, (at one point, N had to stop & show our "photographer" how to work her camera so we could finish the shoot.), & have no concept of things like time. we managed to get what we needed, but only after 1 hour of waiting for some one to make us an appointment, 2 hours of wandering the mall, 30 minutes of watching her struggle with a digital camera, & another 30 minutes of waiting for her to "process" our photos.
(did i mention that by the time we got the pictures done, emma had cut her lip, conrad had candy cane in his hair & val had a mysterious bruise appear on his forehead? yeah.... at least the photos will look realistic. we also let emma wear her skull print leggings in the photos. it just wouldn't have been "emma" without them.)
on the plus side, while we were in sears photo limbo, we stopped to see santa & the kids got to spend a half hour running around santa's village like they owned the place. (santa loved cops & his wife loved kids, so we were golden.) & we got a really cute picture of all 3 on santa's lap & all 3 smiling! (if you have more than one child, then you know what an achievement this is!)
everyone missed nap & i deserted daddy with the super cranky hoard as soon as we got done to go take a much overdue glucose test. usually drinking a cup full of horrible glucola & sitting still for an hour by myself is torture. today it was like a gift from the gods.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

dinosaur eggs!

the dudes are super into dinosaurs, so for one of our projects this week, i made some dinosaur eggs for the kids to hatch. we hid them around the yard & collected them, & then hatched our eggs. all 3 of them loved helping the baby dino out of the egg & it was a fun way to talk about eggs in nests & the way some animals grow from eggs.


i used this recipe for coffee dough to make the eggs:
2 1/2 c. flour
2 1/2 c. coffee grounds
1c. salt
1 c. sand
water

mix it all together with just enough water to bind the dough & form it around whatever little critter you're hatching.
we saved up our coffee grounds for a couple days, & i used craft sand, but i'm guessing any dry dirt would work fine. ours took about a week to dry totally, & they dried surprisingly hard. i liked that, as it made the kids really think about how to open them. (we tried kicking, stomping, throwing, & hitting with a little hammer... cracking the eggs was pry the best part!) i actually think these would make fun party gifts for a birthday or something too.
the kids all seem to be less psycho when we have daily "projects", so i've been trying to come up with different activities for us & this one was a big hit. next up i think will be homemade bird feeders (of the pinecone/peanut butter variety.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

random hot dog blankie


finished this last week after i did the boys' costumes (they're mountain men. mostly bc they really love their racoon hats. emmie is going to be an indian, since a dear friend- you know who you are!- sent us a indian dress a while ago in a box of toddler clothes.) anways, i'm really happy with how this doggy quilt came out. it's a pattern from "dare to be square", so i can't take credit for that, but i'm still really pleased with it.
i should be working on a little pink & purple girly extravaganza for a friend who just had a baby girl & wants to paint her whole world pink, but i'm not feeling in a very "pink" mood.
& that is the digger hanging out next to the quilt. something about quilts just seems to call to cats... & babies... & my husband... & the parrots... i think they just like to cuddle.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

go the f*** to sleep

i have been awake since 7 am YESTERDAY morning. i think my kids are conspiring to kill me. or at least torture me through sleep deprivation.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

who needs sleep?

for the past 6 mos or so, val has been waking between 3 & 4 in the morning & never going back to sleep. & skipping naps, despite being so exhausted he can barely make it through lunch. he begs to go to bed at night, but it takes him a minimum of an hour ot fall asleep any given night. the poor baby is getting maybe 7-8 hours of sleep in any given 24 hour period.
he's never been a "good" sleeper. he's always been up & down several times throughout the night, although he rarely needs us to go check on him beyond an occasional (speedy & quiet) diaper change. he doesn't cry or complain, just chats quietly to himself for hours at a stretch.
we have tried EVERYTHING imaginable to help him sleep. moving bedtimes, changing nap, eliminating nap, extending nap, waking earlier/later, changing snacks, changing dinner times. we have a steady, calm, bedtime routine every night involving a warm bath & a story. (works like a charm with the other 2.) we've conferred with other parents, the grandparents, the nurses at our doctor's office & nothing has helped or altered things in any way.
at first, i was willing to roll with it, since not all kids are good sleepers & with 3 such little kids in the house it's not like we get much sleep to start with. it's starting to effect his personality though, as well as his ability to focus. he's struggling in speech, he's whiney & unhappy & i know it's bc the poor guy is just exhausted all of the time. i know how awful i feel with consecutive days of no sleep, & i hate that my 2 year old has seemingly unexplained insomnia. we have an appointment with his pedi tomorrow morning. (the nurses we've been talking to at the doc's office finally agreed it was not normal toddler-sleep-issues & i am at my wit's end. i hate to seem him miserable when he's usually such a happy kid.)
there's not much point to this post, beyond the fact that we're all really tired & i'm worried about val. happy sunday kids!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

approaching beached whale status?





27 weeks with #1 & 2 (aka val & conrad):




27 weeks with #3 (aka emma):

27 weeks with #4

i'm feeling huge, & i think i may be starting to look huge as well... moments like this make me wonder why i married such a big man.

(p.s. sorry for the self-taken bathroom shot. i really hate those, but keep forgetting to ask N to take a pic for me, so we're rolling with what i have. which is me in my jammies, in our bathroom. my apologies!)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

little blessings

on monday N & i took the kids to cabela's (a giant hunting/outdoor goods store) just to get everyone out of the house. they have a ton of a taxidermy animals & a gaint fishtank, & the kids love it there. it's like a stationary zoo, & if we don't buy anything, it's easy, fun, & cheap entertainment, which was key for us this week bc we're a little broke at the moment.
honestly, money is always tight, but we make it work bc this is the life we chose. we walked from the giant salary, new car, maids & nanny lifestyle & have never looked back. that doesn't mean that it's easy, or that we don't miss going out to dinner every week. actually we have weeks where it's downright hard-- it sucks to be scrounging change to buy a gallon of milk when our friends are taking trips to the bahamas or buying new four wheelers. (just to insert a disclaimer here, we are by no means broke or destitute, or even very hard-up, but the money we set aside for retirement or in savings is sacrosanct, & our budget doesn't change from month to month. so if we have extra expenses--like we have lately--things can get very tight. raising soon-to-be 4 kids on a cop's salary takes a certain amount of creativity.)
anyways-- my point, which i'm meandering around, is that although we are totally comitted to living the simpler, family-oriented life we've chosen, sometimes it is really. freaking. hard.
with that background, after leaving cabela's we stopped at wendy's for lunch. we usually never feed the kids fast food, but lunch was essential (3 nearly hysterically hungry toddlers bc mom forgot snack) & wendy's was the cheapest option available. so we got the kids each a happy meal, & the 5 of us split all the food. while i was standing at the table, divvying things up, a man walked up to us, & said that he had 5 kids of his own. at this point i gave him a tight smile & said something brilliant like "how nice for you" bc i assumed he was going to be like every other well-meaning but clueless adult who smirks at us & says "you must really have your hands full" like it's a totally original statement & we should be thrilled to have caught their attention. instead, this gentleman tells us that his children are all grown & the last just left for college. then he smiles at our little ones for a second, looks at N & says-- "i've been where you are, & i'm buying your lunch today." he sets a twenty on the table, & was out the door almost before N could stammer a thank you.
i was so touched i actually started crying in wendy's. the man never gave us a chance to refuse (or we would have), barely paused long enough for thanks, & didn't subject us to advice or judgement. it was a little thing, but quite honestly one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for us. & that it came from a complete stranger was, for me, a beautiful reminder that the good you put into the universe will come back to you. so, universe, this is my promise to you & the kind stranger-- 20 years from now, when our children are all grown & we see a young family struggling with a pack of small children, we will pay it forward in kind. & in the meantime, i will be grateful for the reminder that the life we've chosen is worth it.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

a scary update

i had to use the baby heimlich (the tip them forward & whomp on their back version) this morning when emma choked & quit breathing. terrifying doesn't even come close, although i'm sure doing CPR would have been scarier. (perspective, right?)
she has pertussis (yes, we vaccinate, but lots of idiots don't so whooping cough is making a come back where we live & emma doesn't have full immunity yet.) anyways-- the pertussis causes a really phlemy cough, & there's so much thick crud in there that she couldn't clear her own airway. it happened twice, & we took her in to the doc, who said if it happens again she gets hospitalized. so right now, i'm watching her try to sleep (so i'm nearby, just in case she chokes again.) & praying nothing happens.
i have never been more glad we took all those infant first aid refreshers when the boys were in the NICU. emma is acting fine (sick, but breathing) & i'm still shaken over it.

& this on top of conrad having croup & me just getting over pneumonia. really, really hoping we're done with being sick for a while.

Friday, September 30, 2011

i'm raising hoodlums.

last night we went to a dinner at a local lodge for N's post (it's closing & they're all relocating to different areas). i met N up there with all the kids, who immediately started racing around the room saying hi to everyone they ran into. during a presentation for his former lieutenant, val marched up to N's sergeant at the front of the room & demanded to be picked up & then appropriated the man's watch, while emmie & conrad snuck up behind a detective & started going through his coat pockets. i managed to get their attention before the guy turned around & caught them. everyone knows our kids, so thankfully everyone was laughing, but it just figures in a room packed with cops, my kids are picking pockets & stealing watches. later, the boys also snuck into the kitchen & conned some nice trooper into giving them a plate of cupcakes, & i found emma in the lap of the scariest looking undercover dude there, eating potato chips off his plate & smacking his hand when he tried to eat some. the kids had a fabulous time, the cops all thought they were hysterical, & i gave up completely half way through the night.
i am very, very glad we're staying in tonight.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

what i've been up to....

i've been a very lazy blogger lately, but not so lazy at home. i've decided to can everything possible this year, so i've spent nearly all my free time in the kitchen canning fruit, making applesauce, tomato soup, loads of pickles, etc.
& now i'm tackling a home made exzema lotion for the itchy little ones. it's mostly coconut oil with a little olive oil, but i'm hoping it will help & involve a few fewer chemicals. (not that i'm anti-medicine-- we're totally pro-vaccine, etc, but i hate the constant use of topical steroids. if it's what they need, so be it, i just am hoping they'll need it less.)
anyways, all these hands-on projects have been keeping me entertained & busy. plus we've been doing alot of apple picking & zoo trips with the kiddos. for some reason i've been hit with the need to be constantly moving lately (& now i'm trying be justify my absence from the blogging world...) i tihnk its bc i know soon i'll be so uncomfortable i wont want to do anything, so i'm being as active as possible now.

#4 is good... kicking the snot of my insides & keeping me up nights. & i'd be lying if i said i wasn't sort of enjoying the abuse :) it's the last time, & that seems to give even the uncomfortable moments a special luster. instead of thinking "ack... when will this end?" i think " aw, it's the last time some one will wedge their toes into my hip & kick my bladder..."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

lazy, lazy, lazy...

i have been a lazy blogger of late, & still can't seem to shake my blahs. so in lieu of an intelligent substantive post, here are some belly pics!



first up-- 22 weeks with the boys:

23 weeks with #3, aka miss emma:

& alst but not least-- 21 weeks with #4!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

the summer of tie dye

we've been tie dye crazy here the past couple weeks. it started with my cousin's annual "bring your kids & dye something!" party, & ended this weekend with the same cousin returning to my house to help dye a whole bunch more gear while the kids ran amok & generally wrecked chaos & had a fabulous time dyeing our garage.
turns out, i love dyeing stuff! we did t-shirts for grown ups, t-shirts for kids, onesies, socks & pretty much every white cotton fabric item we could find.
i had the brilliant idea to buy some white flannel & dye it to make a baby blanket for a girlfriend of mine who is expecting her first in a couple weeks. i had wanted to sew her a quilt, but my time & motivation is running low & i know i can make a cute flannel blankie with much less effort that still looks good & is nice & soft & cozy. so here are my 2 options:

and :

think either of these is good enough to use for a gift? (obviously the finished blankie will be lined, bound & edged.) emmie keeps carrying these around, so whichever we don't use for a gift i'll use to make a blankie for her. or are these not cool enough to give some one? should i try, try again?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

gender.... to know or not to know?

next week is our "big" ultrasound, & i still really want to be surprised come january, but it's SO tempting to find out! plus i'm worried that if it's another boy i'll be bummed out. not bc i don't love boys, i do. but bc i'd feel bad if em were the odd girl out all her life. i always wanted a sister & i wish i could give one to emmie.
one of my good friends in high school was an only girl with 3 brothers & she always seemed sort of out of place & uncomfortable in her own skin. i don't know if that was bc her mom wasn't the best female role model, or bc she wanted to be like her big brother, or if she was just a weirdo, but it's always lingered in the back of my mind as an "oh no" about a girl growing up in a house full of dudes. i worry that another little boy will only want to hang out with his big brothers & em won't have anyone to play her games. i worry that the boys would all game up on her or exclude her, or that she won't think that it's cool to be a girl. i worry about making the twins share a room forever while em & the littlest boy get their own rooms. i worry that the big boys will be nothing but annoyed with a little brother who follows them everywhere. basically, i just worry.
i think i'm going to tough it out & wait til january. this is our last, & i really want that "IT's A ___!" moment. plus, i can't be disapointed with a sweet little baby in my arms, no matter what their gender. so i'm just going to stress about it for months ahead of time, & hope that it could somehow be a good thing for a girl to grow up in with all boys.

(& of course i'm stressing over this strictly bc i have one of those mommy feeling that it's a boy. based on nothing other than my own intuition, which is faulty at best, but sure feels convincing!)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

i held the pig hostage.

lovies are pretty much sacred in our house. with 3 kids so close in age, everyone sort of HAS to share everything, & lovies are the one exception. no one else may play with/touch/hold some one else's lovey unless specifically given permission by the owner. val has a grey bunny, emma a Bunnies By The Bay bunny blanket, (i mention the brand bc i LOVE them. LOVE LOVE LOVE. best stuffies ever.), & conrad has a pink flowered sheep that he refers to as a ginea pig. lovies are the only toys ever allowed to leave the house, they can sit at the table for meals, & pretty much have the right to go where ever the kids want them to go.
today, however, i broke a lovey rule & used conrad's sheep/pig for leverage. i feel like the meanest mom in the universe.
it was naptime & he was screaming like a banshee, (one of those fake, i'm not really crying, i'm just being exceptionally noisy & whiney cries), while jumping up & down in his crib. this went on for a solid 5 mintues, upsetting his brother & winding up his sister, until i got fed up & told him to lay down & be quiet or "baby" (the sheep/pig) would go bye-bye. he held the pig closer, gave me the evil eye & upped the volume a few notches. so i made him hand over the baby & marched out of the bedroom. at this point he started crying for real with those big gasping, my heart is breaking sobs. & i only stayed away long enough to change em's pants & put away everyone's toothbrushes before i went back in & gave him the "you get baby back if you're quiet & laying down" line, & he got his baby back. which he then held in a death grip while staring at me as though i'd tried to cut off his left arm. (although he WAS quiet after that.)
i wouldn't have kept his lovey indefinetly, but i was at a loss for how to get through to the kid. & i'd been up since 2am. i feel that excuses a few flaws in my mothering today, right?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

sleep baby, sleep!

i have become consumed by gender. does it matter what we have? no, not really. i don't even actually want to know unti the baby is born. i just want to obsess over it continually. i am having the best time getting guesses & playing with all those super-silly old wives tales. yes, i am a dork.

val has been waking up the past several nights at midnight & staying up til 2. he is then exhausted beyond belief when i wake him in the morning & sleep walks through the whole day. he only gets a 2 hr nap & would sleep more if i let him. i called our pedi's office this morning to ask a nurse about it, & she suggested we give up his nap, at which point i politely stopped listening. whatever his problem is, it is NOT that he's getting too much sleep, the kid is pooped ALL of the time. is it a phase? could there be some physical reason for it? i'm not sure, but i'm going to continue to puzzle it out on my own for a while since the nurse was so unhelpful (although well-meaning.) & in the meantime, we're all freaking tired. midnights spent listening to val chatter are not restful for any of the fam. sigh.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

random thoughts, bullet point style

- some kind of fever/sore throat inducing crud is making the rounds in our house. val had it, i have it & conrad seems to be coming down with it as well. i hate being sick in summer time. it just seems all wrong.

- i dragged emma's quilt back out to finish. i've been thinking about quilting for days now, & i thought if i dragged my project back out i might be inspired to work on it, instead of just thinking about it. right now, it's sitting on the floor while i type. but i swear i am going to quilt a square or two before the kids wake up.

- speaking of kids waking up, the little goobers *just* freaking fell asleep. & it's 2 in the afternoon. it drives me nuts when they don't nap. i don't know what i'll do when they give them up for good.

- i've been on a soup bender for dinners lately. odd when the weather is 90+, but i love soup. & my throat hurts, so that's a good excuse, right? N's not much of a fan, but solves his problem by stuffing his soup bowls full of twice as many crackers as soup.

- my cats stink. they're on new food & it gives them the foulest kitty breath ever.

- i haven't felt any little flutters lately, & it's making me worry. i know 15 weeks is still pretty early, but i had been feeling them every day. now not so much. debating whether to call & ask for an u/s. my doc will do them as often as i ask, bc he is awesome. (actually, bc he's a very kind man, sympathetic to my history of loss, & understands the peace that seeing that little flickering heartbeat brings, but awesome is good shorthand for all of that.)

- i love pbs & i cannot wait for my homemade pickles to be ready for eating. (& no, those 2 things aren't related, beyond the fact that i'm watching pbs right now & i would like to have some pickles.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

who craves beer when they're pregnant?

um, me.

no, i'm not out guzzling beer, calm down. it just sounds delicious, in that obsessive, pregnancy craving, MUST have it sort of way. so i'm compromising by making beer cheese soup for dinner. it has to simmer for a while, so the alcohol will disappear & i'll still get a hint of beer.
my other obsessive craving lately has been faygo rock & rye. it's a local MI brand of pop, & i can't even describe the flavor, but i never drink pop, let alone super sugary faygo, & i've been drinking one a day for the last week.

i'm pretty sure i'm growing a frat boy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

newborn lust

i was at my OB's today for a routine checkup (baby is fine, was snoozing a bit & i got to count some fingers-- always a good time!). anyways-- in the waiting room there was a couple of very new parents with a brand spanking new little girl. (i could tell she was a girl from the copious amounts of pink frilly craziness they had draped over every inch of the child & her stroller/carseat/diaper bag). anyways, they were typical clueless, adorable first time parents-- holding the baby really awkwardly while she fussed & squirmed.
it took them a solid 20 minutes to figure out that she wanted to be held up to mom, snuggled heart-to-heart. the whole time i was pretending to read my kindle while sneaking frequent peeks at their little family & willing them to realize that she wanted to be snuggled chest to chest. (funny how you just *know* that kind of thing after having a baby isn't it? i never thought i'd be the kind of person who wanted to offer advice to random strangers. totally out of character for me.) i kept my mouth shut tho & seeing how proud the mom was when she finally figured it out was super cool. i love those parenting moments when that light bulb goes off & you have that "ahhhhhhh" moment of pure bliss when you have everything (temporarily) figured out.
seeing that tiny little one reminded me just how much i love newborns. yeah, i know they don't sleep, & cry alot, & they spit all the time & poop alot, but they're so freaking sweet. seeing a squishy little newborn making those squishy little newborn noises just made me melt. i can't wait for january & our last new baby, & at the same time i'm dreading it, bc it's our LAST new baby & then i'll be that crazy lady drooling with jealousy over other people's tiny babies. i guess a downside to smooshing 4 kids into 3 years is that i don't get much time to anticipate each brand new baby, but in all honesty i am as excited for #4 as for any of them. it just never gets old!

Friday, July 15, 2011

mommyhood & "me" time

a friend i used to work with in chicago, who is currently expecting her 1st (& second--twins for her too!) this december, asked me this morning what i was doing for "me" time this summer. i know she meant well, but the comment just made me laugh. i know she was looking for some hidden assurance in my answer that life wouldn't change all that much after her babies are born-- that there will still be time for girls' nights out, & all those little hobbies you treasure, quiet time with books, romantic evenings with your husband, etc, etc., & i still just wanted to laugh. i refrained from giggling outright & telling her life is about to change in ways she cannot yet fathom, & instead told her N & i are planning a weekend away at the end of the summer (true), & that most of my personal "me" time comes in stolen moments throughout the day (also true).
what i didn't tell her was that for a long time after those kids are born, "me" time will not exist, & that when it makes its reappearance, the shape of "me" time will have changed in ways she can't picture yet. my "me" time now comes in moments of zen found while grocery shopping, while laying in yard showing emma blades of grass, in quiet moments quilting while the kids all sleep. & even when you truly get away from it all, part of your heart & mind will still be home with your little ones (or at least that's how life is for me.) i don't obsess over them, but i know that they exist & are carrying on when i'm not there, & even while i have fun on my own, i wonder what they're up to. i find little things on my own adventures to bring home for them, & i know that for me now, the best part of "me" time is when it's over, & i come home refreshed & relaxed, looking forward to sharing my time & myself with the little people who took my "me" time away in the first place.
of course, i think all of that is far too much to dump on a soon to be new mom, who is desperate not to lose herself in her children. i remember feeling that way, & while i think i did lose myself for a while (& still do, from time to time), the new self i've found is a better & more complete, content & confident person. i just wish there were a way to express that to a new mom, in a way that they could believe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

long time no see (some bullet points, in the interest of time!)

- we spent an exhausting week up north over the 4th with my family. the kids had a great time, & we had a great time with my cousins, but i am taking a self-imposed hiatus from my father, who (in his spectacularly insidious way) managed to blame me for his marriage problems & trash my vacation. a week later, i'm no longer mad, but refuse to include him again until he shows some sort of understanding that his behavior was completely innapropriate. this is probably wishful thinking on my part. the man is (mostly) perfectly normal & pleasant most of time, but when he goes wrong it's pretty awful & after 30 years, i'm tired of forgiving & waiting for it to happen again. he's forgiven, but this time i'm not waiting around for him to lash out again. i'm married, & i have kids of my own, & my family has to come first. i hope at some point he "gets" it, but i'm not holding my breath.

- i am 13 weeks & in the 2nd trimester! (or close... i always forget when the official switch over happens, so i think this is close enough.) i even felt the first little flutters a few days ago-- very, very cool, as this is the earliest i've ever felt a baby. :)

- i had this kiddo's NT scan done yesterday, & the tech gave me a gender guess. we're planning on waiting til baby is born, so altho the guess was kinda fun, i sort of regret hearing it now bc N is 100% convinced that the guess is what we're having, despite my warnings that 13 weeks is really too early to count on anything. & i know a fairly even number of folks whose early scans got it right & got it wrong, so i'm not counting any chickens yet...

- the NT scan (in addition to telling me the baby is just fine) also told me that i lack the ability not to jump on information when it's offered. at our 20 week, i think i'm going to have to announce the instant i walk in the room that we want to be surprised, or i won't be able to say "no" when the ask about gender!

- we have no names for this kid. none. for either gender. no ideas, nothing we "kind of" like, no family names left, nothing. we've always had at least a clue what kind of name we wanted before, & we are up a creek without a paddle so far with this one. i could totally see the kid still being nameless 6 mos from now. hopefully inspiration will strike at some point!

- i really, really want to go see the last har.ry po.tter next weekend, but with the current bizarreness with my folks, & my cousin nannying all summer, we've lost all our babysitters. i am so bummed about this i actually debated asking my mom (which we swore off, as my dad thinks mom spends too much time with me & the kids & we're trying to avoid all conflict), but i'm not sure har.ry po.tter is a good enough reason for me to bend on the babysitting issue. i know my mom would be thrilled to see the kids, but then i feel like i'd be caving on the hard-line stance we've taken with my dad & his crap. sigh. who knew HP could cause so much internal strife?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

welcome to the 19th century

when everyone else is gettting ipads & smart phones & watching 3d tv, my household is reverting to the pre-indsutrial era.
it started when i freaked out at the kids a few days ago. the boys are going through a whiney/tantrum throwing/attention demanding toddler phase, & i had been listenting to nothing but whiney crying for days on end. N has been working non-stop long days, so i have been flying solo at home for quite a while. anyways-- all this resulted in my losing my temper, which is something i hate doing & try very hard not to do in front of anyone, let alone my kids. when N later asked what was wrong with me, i told him.
bc of our schedules lately, i feel like my husband has become a stranger. i feel isolated & alone, & i am not happy with the turn our relationship has taken.
N, being N, took this all super seriously & thought i was secretly planning a divorce & panicked. i had nothing of the sort in mind, i love my husband, i just want us to find some time to reconnect as a married couple instead of as business partners/roommates. he still feels happy & appreciated on a day to day basis, but i do not & i needed that to change.
anyways-- N has decided that part of our "reconnecting" should be technology-free time. the first night, we literally sat at opposite ends of the couch & stared at each other, giggling awkwardly, until we finally started talking. so far i think all it's showed me is that it's harder than you think to eliminate ALL media, even for just a few hours. i'm not really sure this is going to "fix" things for us(me), but it IS kind of interesting to see what happens when you shut everything down for a day.
so we're going to soldier on with our brief forays into the 19th century & see where it takes us. if i start spinning wool or churning butter, some one please send help!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

MIA

N has been working non-stop of late, & as a (fake) single mom, i barely have time to eat, let alone blog. but since this feels neglected & sad, i thought i'd post a pic of my mini-mozarts as a placeholder until i have some moments to myself again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

old business

since i think i have a few minutes to myself before i have to get the kids rolling, i have a few orders of business to attend to.

first: a couple of thank yous are in order. last week when i was feeling about as low & stressed & frightened as i have in months, 2 far-away friends sent lovely gifts. karianne, who's traveled with me down this road for a few years now, over at staying above the water, sent a beautiful & very tasty edible arrangement. i discovered a love of chocolate covered pineapple & conrad decided he likes melon (this is HUGE news for a kid with all kinds of eating issues). & justine, at a half baked life, a new-found friend of only a few months, sent some wonderful homemade muffins. they lasted about 2 days (yup, i'm a pig!) but they were light & delicious & perfect to ward off the breakfast queesies.
more important than the stuff they sent however, was the sentiment that came with the gifts. i so needed those smiles, & i am grateful that they took the time & effort to reach out to someone far away. you guys rock!

second item of business: we got emmie's x-ray results back & they were "negative." the wording confused me a bit, but the docs assure me that there is nothing physically wrong with her lungs & likely we're just dealing with asthma. not ideal, obviously, but we can handle asthma. & bc she is not in acture distress, we're going to hold off on treating her until we're certain it's asthma. i'm ok with that plan, since we have a nebulizer & meds on hand (thanks to the boys) should anything come up in the meantime.

item third: last friday i had another cramping/bleeding/panic inducing scare. we went in for an u/s & once again baby was just fine. the bleed is still there & the doc thinks that is where the spotting is coming from. despite the baby being ok, i had a minor melt down after the appointment. i have another u/s today, & am really hoping the bleed has started to resolve & baby is still hanging tough.

& with all that wrapped up, hopefully i'll have some more cheerful news to report next time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

fun with preggo pics

this is mostly bc i think it's fun to compare. i'm sure this is pretty boring for everyone else-- sorry!

9 weeks with #4 (i didn't take an 8 weeker... i have 7 & 9...i'm not very good about taking belly pictures.) i think this shirt actually camoflages the tummy pretty well...

8 weeks with #3, (emma!), with scout the bird hanging out for fun)

8 weeks with #s 1 & 2, (val & conrad), & sick as a dog. i'm surprised i was able to stop puking long enough to get a photo!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

it's always something...

at em's 12 mo check up last week, i mentioned to her doc that she's had a funny, persistent dry cough for about a month. after checking her out, he thought he might have inhaled something into her lungs & ordered chest x-rays. we got the results yesterday & they didn't find anything in her lungs, but one of her lungs isn't inflating properly. ("less aerated" was the offical medical term.) so they ordered more films last night & now we're waiting for results again, & i'm spending lots of spare moments with my had on her chest, making she she's breathing.
she's not in any acute distress, but that hasn't stopped N & i from freaking out.

my 30th birthday is tomorrow. my best friend just called to see how i wanted to celebrate, & i had to tell her not at all. i'm just not in a celebratory mood, which sucks, since i feel like i should want to mark this milestone somehow. & maybe i will in a few days, but for now with the worry for the baby i'm growing & the worry the baby in my arms, i just don't have room for a birthday.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

attack of the incredibly cranky toddlers! (& other news)

the boys chose not to indulge in sleep last night, so we've had a really fun morning.
i'm generally pretty ok with tantrums. they happen. we do time outs, remove the kid from whatever triggered the melt-down, or ignore as the situation required. they're 2. life is full of drama. i get it. it's cool.
i have limits, however, & 3 hours of screaming toddlers is enough. all i can say this morning is thank heavens for elmo, & for pb & honey sandwiches. (yes, i glued their mouths shut with peanut butter. don't judge me!)

the state is reshuffling its police posts again, this time by opening everything up for transfers. this would be cool if transfers were optional, or if the state was paying for relocation, but the transfers are mandatory & there are no payments for moving. hopefully N has enough seniority to get what he bids for. sigh. this is where being a one-income family gets stressful.

my little brother has moved back to MI, & in with the parents. this is mostly good news, since he has struggled on his own for several years now & really needs the support he will get here. the "mostly" part comes into play as long as my mother can maintain her sanity. she tends to lose it where ever her "baby" is concerned. (& the "baby" is now 26.) if she can refrain from catering to his every whim & attacking the rest of us for so much as looking at him cross-eyed, it should be fun to have him home.

it is now naptime, & the dudes are again refusing sleep. it's just one of those days.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

MIA

excuse my absense, i have been struck by a new round of extreme sleepies. my pink quilt is languishing, laundry is in unfolded (but clean) piles, & i've lost all interest in cooking because although i am starving, of course nothing sounds good enough to eat.
none of this is unusual, & since i've been spending all my free time on the couch trying to cat nap N has been picking up the housework slack, leaving me plenty of time to rest/stress like a mad woman over the stupid bleed they found in my last u/s.
we went in tuesday bc of some spotting, on an older machine they tell me all is fine, we go in wednesday for our scheduled appt & my doc sees a big subchorionic hematoma (a bleed behind the placenta). sigh. we've dealt with this twice before, once with the twins, & once with our second loss. it sucks. i'm stressed.
i know there is absolutely nothing i can do, & that is both helpful & incredibly frustrating. i have another u/s on the 15th, & til then i just wait. & stress. & quietly freak out.
i've had a worried, anxious feeling about this pregnancy from the start. i felt great with em-- i can't say i didn't worry, but i felt confident. this time i feel like the hammer is going to fall at any time, & i don't know what the difference is.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

it's not a baby, it's an elephant.


just kidding, it's a baby. how crazy is that 7 week bump though? i'm bigger than i was with the twins!
we had a cramping/spotting/suddenly disappearing symptoms scare this morning, so my doc squeezed me in for a quick u/s to make sure all was ok & we got a peek at baby #4. all is just fine, thank goodness, & i am feeling much relieved, so i thought i'd share this awful picture. (sorry for the took-it-myself-in-the-bathroom-mirror shot. i'm not generally a fan of those, but it's the best i could do this morning.)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

krispy kremes

yum.

N is working late (again), the kids are all asleep, I am watching the kind of tv N laughs at me for watching, digger the cat is asleep on my feet, & i have a whole bag of mini krispy kreme crullers to myself.

i so, so needed this after the week we've had. 800 errands, doctor's appointments, a wicked tantrum phase one of the toddlers is rolling through, and no more than 5 minutes at a time spent in the company of the only other adult who lives here, have made doughnuts a crucial part of my saturday night.

i love krispy kremes. yum.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

bittersweet birthdays

my baby girl is going to be one next tuesday. i loev first birthdays, but they're also kind of bittersweet for me. i love the baby stages, & it's hard to say good bye to those days, even though i know how much i'll love the toddler years.
we're having her birthday party sunday-- strictly a family affair, since her best friends are currently her brothers & the cats, we thought she'd be happiest with something simple at home. (i'm actually not a fan of crazy big parties for little ones. when they're old enough to start requesting what they'd like, then we'll start hosting bigger shin-digs. til then, family, pizza, cake, maybe a balloon or two. it's a good time, & plenty exciting for a baby!)

she is also almost weaned. i'm pry dragging my feet more than is neccessary in weaning her, since she will happily take a bottle & snuggles in lieu of nursing. & i know it would likely help the exhaustion i've been feeling if i wasn't trying to feed a baby at the same time i'm growing a baby, but i'll miss nursing her. she's growing so quickly, she talks all the time (mama, dada, bubba, kitty, ball, duck, quack, dog, bird, flower, bubble, night-night, bye-bye, hi, no, more, butterfly (fuh-fi), fan, & more i'm forgetting.), she can almost balance by herself & i know she'll be a real toddler in no time. which will also be awesome, i have no doubts.
i just don't want to give up her baby-hood quite yet.
i watch sister wives (love it! quilty pleasure- don't judge me!) & in an episode recently i watched as one of the moms tried to physically comfort her teenage daughter, who wanted none of it, & her mom just couldn't stop reaching out to stroke her hair, pat her shoulder, get in that one last squeeze. i could see my future there-- bc mom will always remember the time when her touch could make everything better, when baby's body was as much mom's as it was baby's.
sigh.
since i can't stop time, (& wouldn't really want to), i'll have to get my snuggles & squeezes while i can, & cherish her baby moments while they last.

Monday, May 23, 2011

i gave in for the last time

& called my doc for zofran today. i don't know why i always think i can "tough it out". really, what purpose is served by me puking my guts out all morning while the kids zone out to sesame street bc mom is too sick to move? what higher purpose do i think i'm serving by succumbing to the horrors of morning sickness for weeks on end?
i made it through a week of sick before caving this time, & frankly i'm looking forward to the drugs.

in other news, i've been MIA bc i've been super sleepy. while i wish i wasn't tired & pukey, i keep reminding myself that this is the last time. somehow that makes it all more tolerable. being pregnant is a miracle & all that, but it's also pretty miserable (for me, at least.) this time however, i am going to endeavour to embrace the whole experience. the pukies, the sleepies, the bizzare pains, & even more bizzare food cravings (tabasco on salad or olives in coffee anyone? no?) the whole deal. it's the last time, & i am going to give myself free reign to ENJOY this, every miserable moment, every baby-kicking-high, every toilet-hugging-low. bc in the end, this too will pass, my body will be my own again, & the amazing, terrifying, exhilerating, exhausting miracle that is pregnancy will turn into the even more amazing, terrifying, exhilerating, exhausting miracle that is a brand new life.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ok, here it goes....

i'm anxious about sharing this, here or anywhere, but in the interest of being able to talk about it here, i'm going to share. we're expecting #4, due sometime in january. N is thrilled, & i am cautiously excited. we only have a 50% track record with our pregnancies, & until i see a nice, healthy ultrasound i think i'm just going to be super nervous. i wasn't this anxious with emmie, so maybe i'm feeling stressed bc this will be our last? i don't know. i'm still in that "am i really pregnant?" stage, where you're both afraid to hope & afraid not to.
& yeah, the timing isn't perfect, but it never is really. i CAN say with certainty that i am looking forward to a house full of kids. we always wanted a big family, & i think 4 is the perfect number. i was surprised how quickly N got on board with #4, but he really is happy & excited & ready to tell the world. i, however, am not, so if you know me in another venue (i.e. face.book) please keep this under your hat until N & i choose to tell everyone. it would suck for family to hear the news via a stranger's comment on fb! (one of the downsides to everyone's favorite social network. i'm still on the fence about whether fb is a good thing. i suppose that's another post, though.)

anyways, that's my news. :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

a comedy of errors

i said i wouldn't be back here, but i have to revisit this just once more. i confronted N yesterday about thinking we needed marriage counseling. i told him i felt betrayed & hurt. i said that my faith in him was shaken & i was no longer certain he was the person i had always believed him to be. he looked shaken & confused, & when i explained further by saying that the cause of all this was the fact that he had hidden his feelings from me for 4 years while going behind my back to complain to his parents. at that point he stops me & says "no--wait... i only complained once, 2 weeks before i told you about it."
HUGE difference. we laughed & then we cried, & lord-- do i feel better. this had been toruring me all week & i had had such a hard time reconciling what i thought he had said with the person i have known & loved for 6 years. the world makes sense again, & while we still have to deal with the issues with his family & that WILL suck, but i am confident now that we will be facing those issues standing side by side.

this has been a lesson to me in making assumptions about statements. i really feel like we've been living in a shakespearean-style comedy of errors, where at the last moment fate intervenes & the heros don't end up killing eachother after all. *huge sigh of relief*

ah well-- all's well that end's well!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

quilts & the baby



2 layout options for emma's quilt, (i used leftover scraps. for some reason i had a bunch of little bits of pink & purple fabric laying around.) & the girl herself helping me set out the squares. she had such a fabulous time with the fabric i almost felt bad taking it away to sew.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

the end

i feel like i have to close out this little blogging chapter on a less awful note, although quite honestly i'm just sick of thinking about it. i tried to post some pisc of emma "helping" with her quilt but blogger won't let me at the moment, so i suppose i'll update on the crap family situation instead.
N owned up that part of the reason his family feel the way they do is bc he has vented to them about me, instead of coming to me with his concerns. he apologized, & when i pushed, was pretty specific about HOW he plans to start to change things. we talked about embracing the life we have, instead of mourning the life we *thought* we'd have. in a way, the whole thing has both confirmed & allayed my fears. i believe that he is sincere in his desire to change the way he handles his family & his role in our family, but i have some concerns about his ability to execute. my faith in him took some serious blows. foundations have shifted, & while i love him as much as ever, until i see those changes being made some amount of doubt could remain. it's jarring to learn that the person i thought was living his life with me as openly & honestly as i've lived mine with him, was not, in fact, doing any such thing. i'm not talking about huge lies & betrayals here, just masking his true feelings about a single issue. (lest anyone think it was something huge & sordid, allow me to put those thoughts at rest & say it involved hunting land & school loans. period.)
on the plus side, i am relieved that he's finally stopped concealing his real fears & feelings from me & i hope that this has been freeing for him, & that it will all serve as a means to improve our relationship, as well as his challenging (to say the least!) relationship with his parents.

& now i'm done with this. next time, pictures & cute kids.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

one more thing...

as an adendum to yesterday's post, i want to add that N has really been struggling with the situation. his parents are estranged from his sisters following similar situations, so he knows what the consequences likely are for taking a stand, & as he pointed out to me, no matter who they are or how they act, they are the only parents he has & he still loves them. i get that, & i appreciate how difficult this is for him. that said, it sucks for me too, for all the reasons i described yesterday. & for me, at least, it is time to draw some boundaries & insist that they be enforced. i just hope that when the sh*t hits the fan, he chooses to stand with me & the kids.

Monday, May 9, 2011

something's got to give

I feel like something is on the verge of breaking between N & i, & i don't know how to stop it. his family has never particularly warmed to me, and something happened this weekend that made N decide to finally open up to me about how they really feel. in his words, his dad thinks that N "has made his bed & now must lie in it," & his stepmom spends her time alone with N using her passive agressive wiles to persuade him that i've isolated him from his family, that i'm using him, that i take advantage of him, etc, etc. it's one thing to THINK some one doesn't like you, & it's something else entirely to be told that your suspisions are true.
compunding the situation is that fact that N never sticks up for me. he won't defend me, for fear that taking a stand will break the last tenuous string holding him to his father. i, however, am at my breaking point with this. they insult me, they swear, they drink, they use racial slurs, & in my mind, N is complicit in all of this through his continued silence.
N actually wants me & our kids to spend MORE time with them. in describng my reluctance to do that, i tried to explain how isolated & abused i feel when we're there. i can't protect myself, & more importantly, i can't protect my children, bc no one listens to a word i say, & without N, i stand alone-- not part of the family, & completely unsupported.
i hate watching my strong, loving husband turn into an angry & fearful adolescent the minute his parents enter the picture. after our discussion thsi weekend, N claims he is going to "handle it", but i am still anxious & fearful over the toll this is taking on our family & our relationship.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

pink!!

i am sewing a pink quilt for emmie. it started as a purple quilt. i pieced the entire top in purples, then made the backing (i don't like plain backing, so i at least put a border on my quilt backs) & realized after sewing a cheery pink border on the back than em needed a pink quilt. so the purple top is on hold, while i put together something happy & pink.


pink is also currently conrad's favorite color. if i could find some pink trucks, the kid would be in toddler heaven. we have a pink plastic bucket i got the kids for their easter egg hunt & he carries it around & fills it with his favorite treasures (various puzzle pieces, dinosaurs, blocks & stickers). i'm fairly certain he's going to try to steal em's blankie when it's finally done, so hopefully she'll feel like sharing.

i think i've mentioned before my reluctance to dive into all things pink, but we're diving in head first of late, & i think i like it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

speech, food & guilt

i've mentioned before i think, that both boys need speech therapy & conrad is likely going to need OT for his eating issues as well. i'm looking forward to getting things set up after conrad's evaluations this week so we can get the ball rolling. i realized this morning however, after a talk with my mom & reading a few baby-brag blogs, (not that there's anything wrong with bragging on your kid), that i am a bit sensitive that people will think my kids are "slow" bc of their delays.
they aren't, they are super clever & resourceful little dudes. the therapists tell me that being a bit early & being twins (why speak english when you can "speak" with your brother?) is likely the whole cause of the speech delay, but i still feel a sense of guilt over it. like i could have/should have done more. read more, talked more, sang more. emma at 11 mos can say "kitty", "mama", "baby", & "nightnight", & i haven't done a darn thing different with her, so i KNOW in my rational mind that the therapists are right. however, the mommy guilt remains.

i also know that my conrad's food aversions are probably related by the horrible 20 mos we spent fighting GERD, & constant vomitting after every meal. if eating made me hurt, i'd avoid most foods too.
oh yeah, & then there was the recently discovered allergy to all things sesame. which is in EVERYTHING, by the way, including all processed meats (like hot dogs), cheerios, children's vitamins, & almost everything that says "whole grain". fortunately we found the allergy before it put him into anaphalactic shock, but getting itchy & wheezy after meals pry didn't help the food situation either. sigh. should i mention i also feel horrible about subjecting him to meals he couldn't eat? yeah....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

bits & pieces (with pictures)

i haven't had enough coffee to put together a "real" post, (a poor excuse, since i drink decaf, but i'm sticking to it), so instead here's a collection of odds & ends from my week.

em likes to wake up at oh, say, around 430/5, & then hang out just long enough to prevent me from going back to sleep before she crashes back out. while i don't really mind (as long as it's closer to the 530 end), i DO mind stepping barefoot in cat puke while wandering around the dark house with the baby.
yup, that's how i started my day. at least it can only get better from there, right?

a picture of conrad with his quilt.

val's took me 2 months to finish, & conrad's (despite being slightly harder to piece) took only a month. i realize that seems pretty slow, but i've *just* started this whole quilting gig, & i do sew the entire thing by hand. (piecing, quilting, the whole deal. it's fun, but it takes a minute.) em's quilt is my first attempt to design my own pattern. so far, all i can say about that is that it's been a good learning experience. :P

thursday we tackled easter eggs & challah with the kids. here is another shot of conrad, keeping a close eye on his egg.

val got really into the stickers:

i'm thinking of "hiding" eggs tomorrow for the dudes to find after church. it's supposed to rain here, so i'll have to do it in the house. we'll see how ambitious i get. N is working, so i'll be flying solo (with the grandparents for dinner) tomorrow.

speaking of dinner, i need to make shopping list, as i will be heading out with the kiddos to grab last minute easter dinner stuff. happy easter all!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

yup, more on quilts! (but not mine this time)

i had a kind of quilting revelation yesterday while reading this book:

city quilts


i was totally taken by how modern her designs looked. a picture caught my eye, & the author mentioned that it was inspired by an antique "gee's bend" quilt. i assumed it was a riff on a traditional pattern, i googled gee's bend, & pretty much had my mind blown. the "antiques" were graphic & modern & beautiful, & i spent the rest of the afternoon hunting up images of these totally amazing quilts.
they were made in the mid-20th century in this tiny southern town by descendents of former slaves. they used whatever fabric they had on hand (funky leisure suits, old blue jeans, etc.) & made some of the most amazing folk art i've ever seen. check out some pictures here:

gee's bend quilts

in my former life, i was what you might call "arty". i painted all the time, & spent alot of time thinking about things like color & shading & tonal values. over the years, i got busy, i painted less & spent alot more time thinking about things like milk & diapers & dinner.
i've been quilting for a little while now & i've really enjoyed it as a kind of meditation through needlework, but it didn't occur to me until yesterday that it could be ART as well. it was like rediscovering a first love.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

the ugly green monster

once we conquered the infertility giant, i never thought i'd actually get jealous of pregnant friends. i mean, i have THREE kids aged 2 & under. i have been pregnant or breastfeeding for THREE years. & while it's no secret i want another baby, i am also in no rush to have #4, in part bc i know it will be our last & in part bc i have been pregnant or breastfeeding for 3 years. (3 years is a long freaking time to be sharing your body with little people.) plus, (& most importantly), N is not 100% behind the idea of #4 & i need him to be committed to another kid before we go down that path.
why then, on hearing that 3 dear friends are pregnant recently, did this ugly green monster rear up in my gut? i don't begrudge them their happy news, it just made me long for little baby kicks & a sweet squishy newborn.
rationally, i don't want to give up what little sleep i have. i don't want to be sick as a dog every day for 5 months. i don't want to pee every 2 minutes. i don't want to run out of room in my lap for my kids.
i am genuinely happy with our little family. i love the time i have for each child, i love watching them grow, & i love having three kids. i am content. would i still be content if we never had that 4th child? or would it fester, & leave me feeling as though something is missing? i think it would, but i can't honestly answer that right now with any degree of certainty. it is not the right time for another baby, & i KNOW that. so why won't this stupid green monster shut up?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

a week of sick

everyone has been sick recently & chores have fallen by the wayside, bc i have been laid up or taking care of sickies. this led to N & i having a minor spat recently about things not getting done around the house. well, less about things not getting done & more about me not letting him help with all the house-related chores. (i know, i know... my husband wants to do laundry. gee, how i suffer!) the thing is, i consider the house my turf, & i *might* be a bit of a control freak. ok, maybe control freak isn't quite the word (or maybe i just don't want to admit it), but i definetly prefer things to be done MY way. if i could issue orders & have him execute them, we'd have no problems, but of course he wants to do things HIS way & that's where the trouble comes in.
i've just got to let go a bit & allow him to play a bigger role in the house. it will be good for all of us in the long run.

in other news, val is finally on the mend. poor kiddo has been so sick this past week, he's still not quite himself yet. tiring out quickly, still a bit off his kibble, etc. but the constant puking/diarrhea is over & he hasn't needed any more IV's. bc he's still on the mend, we've been hanging out at home, watching movies & sesame street, & going stir crazy. we did at least get to make our challah yesterday with my little chefs, so while we haven't been total bums, i am looking forward to a return to our normal, busy days.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the crud

we've spent the whole weekend & beginning of this week sick, sick, sick. at least the boys & i have. today is the first day i feel marginally better, but the dudes (especially val) are still pretty under the weather.

& naptime appears to be ending, so i'm going to go grab some kiddos & get a cuddle pile going on the couch. the blog will have to wait a bit longer.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

in memoriam

4 years ago today, two dear friends welcomed their twin boys into the world. at only 25 weeks, although those two little men fought for life far harder than i would have believed it possible for such tiny babies to fight, they left this world hours after their birth.

2 years ago this month, we welcomed our own twin boys. i am ashamed to admit it, but there are moments when i don't feel thrilled to be a twin mom. twins are hard. they push you to the limits of your patience & sanity even under the best circumstances. when i am at my worst, i try to keep in my mind the memory of two other boys & the knowledge of what their parents would give to have them here driving them nuts & pushing their limits.

those tiny little babies i never met have helped make me a better parent, time & again. although i wish my friends could have kept their angels here with them, i am grateful for their sons' brief lives, & for every sleepless night, every hard-fought tantrum, every tag-team puke fest & every exasperated sigh. happy birthday boys, & thank you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2 months & counting

we're about 2 months out from when i'd like to officially wean em, & i have mixed feelings about it. i think the end of nursing for emma will be both sad & liberating. i am ready to have my body back, but i LOVE the quiet snuggle time with my girl. yeah, i know cuddles aren't exclusive to breastfeeding, but there's just something special about nursing that can't be replaced.
i would be more willing to continue if i hadn't recently developed perma-PMS (due i think to the pending return of you know what. yay me.) but the constant tired, crampy, bloated, backachey ickies are too much for me to handle for months on end. plus, em has recently gone distracted on me, & nursing now requires a totally quiet, dark atmosphere or she will pop on & off the boob constantly. i'm all for nursing as long as you're able, but for me i think i'm approaching maximum density. the prospect of nursing a rowdy toddler is beyond my abilities as mom. (i'm not knocking it, by any means. i think it's awesome if YOU can, i just know my limits.)

& speaking of rowdy toddlers.... sounds like naptime is over...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

labels & therapy

the guys got referred to a speech therapist today (their 2 yr appointment) & conrad got an extra referral for an occupational therapist to deal with his food aversions. apparently all the spitting out/hoarding food is indicative of an actual diagnosable condition, not just picky eating. the doc thinks it's a sensory aversion, which renders him physically unable to swallow certain textures or tastes.
i have to say, i was expecting the speech therapy (the twin talk has slowed them down, although i still think their comprehension is fine-- it's just the ability to articulate words in english.) i was NOT expecting the OT. i *knew* something was up beyond the usual toddler food-control issues, but i was thinking it was a return of the dreaded reflux. we are, of course, going to embrace the offered help & take advantage of our killer insurance to get them the best help i can find, but i'll admit-- i had a moment of "but my babies are PERFECT! they can't need therapy!"
sigh.
& they ARE perfect-- each in their own imperfect way. i jsut have to remind myself that extra help is not a step backwards.

really, i think they're on the verge of turning the corner with their speech, so a little extra help is probably just what they need to break through. it's the OT that's throwing me for a loop. who ever thought picky eating was a medically treatable condition? part of me thinks that EVERYTHING is diagnosable in today's society, (cheating on your spouse? it's a sex addiction! a hyper kid? must be ADHD! overweight? clearly you had a traumatic childhood!), & if we left the kids alone, they'd work it out in their own time. but the larger part of me thinks that some extra training on how to feed a picky kid is a good thing, regardless of the label given to the behavior.
which suggestes the larger question-- why label at all? does it benefit us in some way to be able to say "he has a sensory aversion" instead of "he won't eat it" when explaining why the kid refuses baked chicken? what is behind the compulsive need to label things before treating them. does declaring yourself an alcoholic make it easier to refuse that next drink, or does it merely offer an excuse for WHY you can't put down the drink? does declaring that conrad has a sensory aversion give him carte blanche to eat only mac n' cheese? (as his mom, my answer to this is a resounding NO!)



as an aside-- i'm not saying that ADHD isn't real, or that having a traumatic childhood is not a legitimate reason to have weight issues, or that conrad doesn't have sensory aversions to certain things. for the record, i think the doc is right. i just question the wisdom of requiring a label to treat certain behaviors. i'd prefer to treat the behavior without stamping a big "XYZ disorder" sign on a person's head.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

if i were a princess....

is it just me, or is anyone else excited to see the royal wedding next month? i'm not usually a big follower of england's royals, but i am totally into this wedding. i've never thought william was all that dreamy, & although i think his wife-to-be is gorgeous, it's more the pomp & pagentry than the people that's got me hooked. it's real life (for them at least) so i'm sure it's no fairy-tale, but it FEELS like one to those of us watching & i think that's the allure. i was never a pink & pearls little girl; swords were more my style than tiaras, but deep down doesn't everyone sort of want to be a princess?
as a kid who was forced into skirts when i wanted sneakers, i always swore i'd never fuss over dressing my own daughter. as emma's first easter approaches however, i find myself ridiculously geeked about finding an easter dress for her. i've never been a girly girl. it's always been swords over stardust, & yet with my own daughter i find myself drawn more & more towards the pink stuff & all that goes with it. i promised myself before i had kids that i'd do my damnedest not to force my own preferences on them, but there's something about having a little girl that has turned loose my own long-supressed inner princess. i suppose i will have to let her make her own style choices as she gets older, but for now-- i plan to put the kid in an easter dress, strap a bonnet on her head, sip some tea & watch the royals!

(i must add as a postcript here, that em still wears her brothers' old jammies, & at almost 10 mos seems to prefer trucks & bugs to baby dolls! clearly, despite my best efforts, she is her mother's daughter.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yup, they're really 2!

i just spent way too much on photo books, bc i am incapable of editing pitures of my kids. sigh.
i've been trying to keep up to date with our photos so we actually have albums instead of thousands of pictures on the computer, & i've been doing a fairly decent job, but i tend to buy in bunches, & like i said, i cannot edit.

it was my boys' birthday today, & we had a little family party for them. the dudes loved it, & we kept everything very chill. the grandparents (at least my folks), their aunt, & my cousin were our only guests & they still managed to get plenty of gifts. (i may have an inability to edit when it comes to gifties as well...)
the only annoyance for me today was my dad's continual griping over the amount of presents they got. (let me insert here, that they really didn't get TONS of stuff-- but every book was wrapped individually, etc, & when toddlers open gifts it tends to be a loooong drawn out process involving a period of playtime with each new thing before they move on to the next present, as any parent with a toddler could attest to.) anyways-- i got fed up with his insistance that it would have made more sense to give them empty boxes & told him in no uncertain terms to shut up & leave if he wasn't enjoying himself.
he quit the complaining after that, & i know he actually did enjoy himself, he just had to b*tch about it bc that's his way. the thing is-- i do NOT enjoy the b*tching. i hated it as a kid, & i hate it even more as an adult. parties are parties & they are meant to be fun. toddlers cannot be rushed & birthdays involve gifts, it's just how it should be. it irks me that i have to give my 63 year old father lessons on how to behave at a birthday party for two 2 year olds.

aside from that little snag, it was really a nice day, & most importantly-- the guys had a great time & loved being the center of attention. i could go on here about how far they've come, & what it means to me to see them grow a little more independant each day, but if i start down that path i'll shortly be in tears. so instead i'll just close with a wish that as my boys grow they keep some of the sweetness & shy charm that is so a part of their toddler selves. it's been a wonderful 2 years, & i can't wait to see what comes next!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

a drive-by post


emmie's 9 mo. stats: 28 .5 inches long (77th percentile), 18lbs, 9oz. (44th percentile). she's shaping up to be long & skinny like her brothers!
conrad *may* have asthma, per his allergist & most recent appointment this week. we'll wait & see how things develop.

& this is just a random shot of val from today. springtime + running outside = pure joy. :)

i can't believe my boys turn 2 on saturday....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

i need a vacation

it hits me every year about this time, i feel smothered & blue & in desperate need of 2 days to myself. of course, i've never actually gotten 2 days to myself, but usually i can drum up a change of scene & flee the house (children in tow) for my folks' place up north for a week. not so this year however, as my parents already have plans to head north themselves.
i'm sick of cooking winter meals, i'm sick of snow & cold, i'm sick of the same 4 walls & unending routine of daily tasks & chores.

i would love to take a class of some sort at the local community college here. i think some sort of creative outlet away from home would be enough to give me back a bit of myself, but i'm having a hard time justifying the expense. i have to figure out something soon however, or i am going to crack & be unable to stop myself from picking unnecessary fights, just to break up the monotony.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crafties (yup, again. but with pictures this time!)

a (not so great) picture of my first finished quilt-- every single stitch by hand.(you can see one of conrad's ratties in the background in the quilt photo. ah, rats!)our home-made crayons, which the guys love. i think it's the shape that appeals to them. a shot of the new (old) crayons in action with the boys, & little emmie finger painting with pudding paint-- she actually didn't eat that much, although she has blue lips here. :)




Monday, March 7, 2011

Emma's Lovey

Emmie has fallen in love with my pink flannel night gown. as soon as she sees it, she does the "linus" (thumb in mouth & everything) & snuggles up. it is the ONLY way she will sleep without me present.
Figures she falls for my favorite nightgown, despite the fact that we have scads of nice soft, fuzzy things she could have chosen. but noooooo. she wants a giant pink nightgown. sigh.
i'm debating letting her keep it as her lovey, or making an attempt to get her hooked on something else. I'm thinking that bc it's the nightgown she's grown up with mama wearing while she nurses & get cuddled to sleep, maybe if i pick a toy & have it present at all nursing sessions & then sleep with it for a while, she *might* consider making the switch. once she's made up her mind though, she's such a constant little thing, i'm not sure she'll consider anything else.

kids are so funny about their loveys... val is still attached to his "bun bun" (a grey bunny my mom bought at a gas station somewhere. we'll never be able to find another one, so i guard that thing like it's one of my children!) & conrad has adopted 2 stuffed rats we found at ikea. yup, i said rats. & we have to carry BOTH ratties, one alone just won't do. then there's em & her nightgown. :P

i guess i shouldn't complain. after all MY lovey when i was little was a purple 2 headed rubber dragon. it has vicious red eyes & is really pretty creepy looking. but i loved it, named her gloria & carried her everywhere for years. actually, gloria STILL lives us. i've taken her to every place i've lived, & she is currently residing on top of our fridge. so i suppose if em wants a nightgown, & conrad loves rats, who am i to complain, right?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

a boring crafty post




here's one of my recent projects. it's been lurking in my closet for weeks now, & i finally found an hour ot put it all together this week. it's a felt board for the dudes. i cut out a bunch of shapes in different colors, & we made some weather pieces as well (a sunshine, clouds, rain, etc.) i have plans to do letters next, but for now we're sticking with shapes, colors & weather. the guys LOVE it, which makes me ridiculously happy. i always worry when i spend time putting stuff like this together that they'll end up hating it, but this one was a hit. the hope is that it will help inspire some real words, instead of just twin-speak. (or at least help teach them shapes & stuff.)
next up-- finish the felt food in time for the boys' birthday in a couple weeks.

& in between times, i have to finish binding val's quilt.... i'm really *almost* done with it, & as boring as binding is, i'm also really excited to finish it & start conrad's.

yeah, i know, this was totally lame. my apologies to any one who bothered to read it. i promise to be less crafty next time. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

update on val

we heard from the neurologist yesterday, & the ambulatory EEG was normal. we never did catch an episode on the EEG or tape, but the doc said that most times, when a child has seizures, something abnormal will show up between times. he's still inclined to call it shuddering attacks, but wouldn't definetively rule out seizures, although he doesn't want to do further testing at this time. he's on the old side for shuddering attacks, but because the EEG was normal, he still thinks that is the answer. so for now, we watch & wait, & if it gets worse, or isn't gone by the time he's 3, we'll revisit it then.

i'm not 100% satisfied, but no news is good news, i guess.....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

what a life :)

N's schedule has changed for the current shift bid, so he's now working 5-1, monday thru friday, & today was his first day on the new schedule.
he came home just as i was finishing getting the kids down for a nap, we spent a pleasant hour all by ourselves, & the man is now mopping the kitchen while i sit on the couch cuddling digger the cat.
i could get used to this!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

who needs sleep?

i am spending saturday night home alone with the baby who wouldn't sleep. this kid seems to need less sleep than i do. (heaves sigh.)

this isn't the horrible, frantic sleep deprivation you get with a newborn. it's more subtle. the days & weeks & months of fractured sleep are slowly building into a state of permanant tired. i cannot remember the last time i felt really rested. i can cope (almost cheerfully) most days, but there are signs that the constant state of sleepy is turning into a major brain fog. i am beginning to believe myself to be both bored & boring, which (for me) is a sure sign i need some rest.

just one good night of real, solid sleep & i could happily go back to the grind for another few months. come on, baby... cut mama a break!