Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Little Lady's Trip to the Dentist

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Baby Girl has had quite a week so far. She has a double ear infection from the cough and cold she has had, and medicine to help her heal as of yesterday's doctor appointment.

She had to have two teeth extracted and two fillings done today, with a baby crown to be done later in December. Dad took the iPad so she could watch her favorite movie, Winnie the Pooh, while the dentist worked--baby sat on her Daddy's lap the whole time and did very well.

She's relaxing on the couch at home now watching Signing Time on TV and just ate a banana. I am amazed at how calm she is about the whole thing. She is a real little trooper!

Here she is checking her baby doll's ears with our home otoscope a few days ago. She's had plenty of practice having her ears checked this week. She decided it's her turn to do the checking!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Pick Your Battles

Over the years, as the children have arrived and during times when our life has been turned upside down by my husband's work schedule (he has worked 2-3 jobs at times or been out of town often) or by illness (like the time we experiences two hospitalizations in one year for our third son), I began to learn the fine art of letting go.

I have to admit, I am not particularly good at it. But I am getting plenty of practice. I have found that even though I like things "a certain way" or feel like I can't live without ____, there usually reaches a point where inevitably, it becomes obvious one thing needs to go to allow space for sanity. And it is usually that one thing I thought I couldn't live without. Guess what. I can.

I have, like many mothers, ideas about the way things have to be. When I had two children, I had a spotless house; I dressed my children in what I wanted them to wear; I got an hour or two to myself each day; I enjoyed cooking on a regular basis; I was a size 6 and completed a triathlon; I had time to spend on personal projects that brought a sense of fulfillment. I loved to be in the middle of things and be involved in the community and volunteering! I guess I thought life couldn't change and it would always be so.


Each one of those has fallen by the wayside, although I occasionally get an hour to myself (late at night) and every year or two I can complete a personal project, like a family photo album. I am, alas, no longer a size 6 and I do not always enjoy cooking--sometimes it is just about making sure everyone is fed, and hoping the food is healthy enough!

As more children joined our family and as the kids got older, things started not always going my way. Although that's not always been comfortable, I don't think it's something that needs correcting. I want my children to grow to be their own people. For instance, sometimes one child wants to wear soccer shin guards to church under their socks or the stained tie dyed shirt to the store. I choose to pick my battles, and just go with the flow.  I am sure there were a few people who thought things about me or my children I would not have liked to know about....but I am learning that what other people think does not matter.

I have been feeling stress and more than a little sadness at losing parts of myself, or my former life as I knew it. You know, the clean, well-groomed, all-about-me life. But reading a few Mom's blogs and the commentary about just letting things go has really been helping me. PB and J for dinner. Not worrying about getting a child to read perfectly by age X. Keeping only a minimum number of toys in the house to cut down on clutter. Not signing up for extra activities out side the house.

I can't tell you how inspired I am now by mothers who do not "do it all" or "do it perfectly". I used to be so caught up in doing everything right--it was well-intended, because I wanted to get this mothering thing right the first time! BUT, I forgot to trust God and allow Him to make all the imperfections right over time, too. It certainly has been a painful lesson for me to learn that I can be happy even if life has a slower pace. But the good news, is that it is getting better. I am learning!

I LOVE to read the stories of the Moms who say they survived and enjoyed raising their kids because they simplified things: they didn't worry about keeping up with the neighbors or keeping a perfect house. I really do need and appreciate the ideas mothers share on how to organize or streamline running the household, but I definitely take what works and leave the rest these days.

I am going to implement this spirit of letting go even more. I already only spot mop my floor once a week, if that...just because that's all I have energy for. But the dishes are done at night (mostly). I get the laundry washed and dried, but I don't stress about getting it put away--people can wear clean clothes out of laundry baskets as well as out of a closet.

Tonight was soup with whatever veggies were in the fridge and no frills about it. Ahhhh...just letting go can really be relaxing. I just can't believe it's taken me about 4 years to really GET IT. It's just now sinking in that life can be good, even if not ideal or perfect or "awesome" all the time. It's so much unnecessary pressure, and you know what, the kids are alright and we can be happy anyway!



Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Few Things Lately...

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Second-boy-in-command checks on the toad, above. He likes to feed the lizards and help clean out the toad's "house" with his Daddy. Hands-on biology! And a special way for him and Dad to spend time.


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Daddy's been helping to feed the kids as my morning sickness for this pregnancy prevents me from cooking much of the time. Did you know that kids do not eat 3 times a day? The number is closer to 24, I think. Haha. There have been many cereal-and-milk meals around here lately!

As long as I eat protein and whatever foods help me feel good, the nausea has not been overwhelming. The difficulty is finding the kinds of food that help me feel good!

"And now, folks, it's time for another round of 'Once You Eat That Food, You Cannot Eat it Again!'"

That would be the most boring game show in history! 

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Mmmmm, a snack of almond butter and sliced banana on a sweet rice cake. It's foods like this that sustained me and did not make me feel (more) ill. Other popular food (that I was able to repeat): scrambled eggs, rice crackers and hummus, warm miso soup or chicken broth, apples and nut butter, and fruit/spinach smoothies.

What? The last one sounds gross? Oh, you are missing out! No, really! A small handful of baby spinach thrown in the blender with a banana, rice milk, ice cubes, and either berries or peanut butter / chocolate powder and a little honey is delish and you can't tell there is spinach in there at all!

Remedies that really worked well for me and helped me to get through the very queasiest of queasy moments were ginger root tincture (I felt better within minutes, but would need to take another dose in a while) and vitamin B6, 50 mg. twice daily. Now you know my secrets to surviving morning sickness!

I still have rested in bed much of the day over the past 13 weeks due to exhaustion, typical in the first 3 months of my pregnancies. I think in about one or two weeks, I will be feeling better and look forward to feeling the return to "life as usual" and being able to eat, play with the kids and go places again, maybe just a little more than we have been. That will be nice!

I am grateful for the family members who have helped us by having the children over to their houses to allow me and my husband to get the rest we need, from time-to-time. Family can be a blessing in times of need!

Much of the time, though, the kids found ways to keep themselves occupied pretty well. Some days included lots of this:

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And we even survived two out-of-town trips when my husband went to the Adobe Max and Blackberry conferences this month, during which we had a bout of sickness at home.

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Poor little guy. He's resting after being sick all night long.

Have I ever mentioned how much I admire my husband? He often encourages me, even when he has more responsibilities at home due to me feeling sick and tired, and still manages to keep up with his career. He can light up a room when he returns from his work trips, with treats and surprises for the kids, and often sits down and watches a show with them or playfully wrestles--they love and miss him him when he is away. We are blessed to have such a dedicated man in our lives, who loves us all and looks for ways to serve us. We love to take care of him. God bless dedicated Dads and Husbands everywhere!

The Lord is good and His strength and love sustains me when the difficult moments come. There are plenty of times in the day and past weeks that have been difficult, but as our oldest son has been saying in his prayers, I am "grateful we can be on earth and living life."

Here's to enjoying the beautiful Fall weather this week and hoping for some peaceful days ahead.

Our oldest son turns 9!

Big bro and his just-younger brother pose for a photo with one of his birthday gifts. In our family, we have a tradition of hiding gifts throughout the house, one for each year of the child's life, and then we play the 'hot' and 'cold' game as they search to find the gifts (we say 'hot' when they are getting close and 'cold' when far away from the item). It is a fun way to include the whole family and to make receiving the gifts an adventure--and I like not having to wrap gifts! This was on the morning of his 9th birthday.


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Here's the birthday boy (center) below. Later that evening, we held a 'family party'. He chose carrot cake and pumpkin pie for his desserts to share with the extended family who came to celebrate with him. The candles on his cake were "6" and "3" to signify his age (9!) The group was large enough to play one of our son's favorite card games, "Bang". It was a fun family party.


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It has been a few years since we have held a 'friend party'; last year I tried but only one neighborhood child attended. This year was very well attended, with 10 boys who came to eat pizza, go on a treasure hunt for goodies, and have a silly string fight. (Sorry, no photos of that party; I didn't think the parents would want their children on the 'Net)

The requested cake for this party was a chocolate "dirt" cake: chocolate cake and frosting with crushed cookies and gummy worms on top. All the boys had a nice time and the birthday boy himself has a good time. Success!

His Dad and I are so pleased with how he is growing up--our oldest son is a bright, curious, leader-type who is also becoming the resident floor washer and do-er of household jobs so he can earn money! He is quick to soothe his little sister when she cries or wrestle playfully with his two younger brothers. He is enjoying his third season of soccer practices and games right now and is learning more soccer skills from his coaches, who are very kind and capable. He is learning to play the recorder, something new!, at the homeschool co-op we participate in. He is continuing with his main interests of Lego building, constructing weapons with household items and strong tape, playing with friends and at family members houses, interacting with computer and video games, building his reading skills, and attending Cub Scout activities and earning badges. He is a great kid and just a wonderful person--we're so glad to have him in our family!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What? September's ended?

One day it's 100+ and the next day, it seems you wake up and it's a blustery day that feels like 66!

How was your September?

August over here went by quickly, with happenings in our extended families and my husband's travels for work and working on work....and working some more. Did I mention my husband was busy working? That was much of September.

That meant I was taking it easier than usual, reserving my energies for the bare bones basics of keeping a house running (clean dishes and clothes being top priority) and feeding the children (shopping, cooking, serving, repeat ad infinitum).

Let's see...what else has been going on lately...

Mmm...well...

My oldest son and I took a special 3-day trip to Disneyland and Disneyland California! It was a blast! My husband and his mother took care of the youngest 3 children while we were away. It was nice to just have that time with my oldest son and me, and it was nice coming home and hugging the ones we left behind!