Thursday, December 27, 2007

This Too Shall Pass!


This is Isabella. She cries. And cries. And cries. She is still very, very cute and very, very loveable but she cries an awful lot! That makes for a very hard time to get other necessities in life done. Like cleaning the house. Like bathing the dogs. Like bathing the kids. Like taking a shower. Even getting myself to look unscary. And blogging. "This too shall pass!" is what I repeat to myself daily. The good thing is, I truly know it will. Repetition is what has taught me this very valuable lesson of "This too shall pass!" Repetition of having 5 other little girls ahead of her that have had various challenging characteristics or phases. Like one colicky baby (our first). Like many tantrumy children. Like several aspiring artists. Like lots of fighting warriors. Like terrible tattle-tailing. And many loveable, cherishable characteristics. Like calling me, "Mama" (I miss that, now I'm just "Mom"). Like the innocence of toddlerhood. Like the total trust that Mom and Dad know what they are talking about. Like believing in the magic of Santa Claus (two of them have caught on that although Santa really exists, he is a little different than they once believed). So I have learned to cherish each moment, good and bad, because "This too shall pass!"

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas To All!

I feel like I may need to hang this up for a while! I just decided to forfeit a little sleep and actually blog for a little bit. It's now 2am and I just finished up with all the presents, stocking stuffing, getting things a bit set up for tomorrow...thought then that although I am achingly tired, I have a quiet house for once, and sat down. Baby instantly was alerted that I have uttered the thought of blogging in my head and she began to cry! So, until further notice, I bid my blog Good-Bye!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

29 Years Ago....



Exactly 29 years ago today, almost to the minute, now that I look at the time, my mom passed away. I had just turned 8 years old only 11 days before (and she had turned 41 years old only 12 days before...our birthdays were one day apart). It had to have been the most confusing, mind-boggling day in my life!

I was in second grade, in a small school. I remember that we were just doing our thing in that second grade room, I think broken up into groups of some sort, class was in more of an informal mode. Suddenly, I could hear someone at the door talking to the teacher. Next thing I knew, I was being called to the door, and when I went over there, the principal was standing there, informing me that I needed to grab my stuff, I was leaving for the day. I went back to my coat hook, gathered up my coat, boots, and whatever else I typically took home each day and went over to the door, quite mystified. Why was I leaving?

When I went out into the hallway, I saw my younger brother waiting for me. Then it dawned on me! We had our Sunday School program that following Sunday (this was a Wednesday) and I was sure that we were having an extra practice. I think that maybe we did have a practice planned for that night at the church and somehow I decided that they must have upped the time...this was a very important event, you know!

When we got down the hall to the principal's office, which was only three doors down, I noticed that my uncle was there waiting for us and within a very short time, my brothers and sisters were coming down the hall from the high school. They were crying....what was wrong? Then my uncle told us, "God has decided to take your mom to heaven!" I could feel the waves of absolute confusion and disbelief hit me slowly. What on earth was he saying? There was only one thing, that my mom had died, but he didn't actually say that!

The next thing that I remember is riding to the next town to the hospital, about a 10 mile drive, in our uncle's big, green Suburban.

Next, we were in a small family waiting room full of people. Everyone was crying, some actually wailing. My grandma, my dad's mom, was almost hysterical, wailing and going from person to person, giving hugs. My mom and grandma were very close. My brother and I kind of slunk back and tried to wedge ourselves between one of the adults and a wall near the door. She still found us!

Next, I remember the doctor coming in, still in his green scrubs. He too was sobbing! *He had delivered all 11 of our babies, this was the 12th... he was totally grief-stricken and somehow felt immense guilt, although the condition she passed away from, we later learned, was totally rare and usually fatal...he passed away of a heart attack the next month.*

The next memory I have of that day is coming home and walking up to our farmhouse, looking at the front door and seeing the faces of my two sisters that had stayed home that day to babysit the two who weren't in school peering through the window, looking first happy, then slightly confused. They thought Mom had had the baby but at the same time, I think they also sensed something wasn't right.

Then, the house was full of crying and sobbing people, a group of neighbors came and formed a prayer ring in the kitchen.

Soon, the kitchen was full of food, goodies, people....we girls slipped away upstairs to our bedroom to discuss our future without Mom. Now what? How are we going to keep up with the house, the meals, the laundry..? A plan was quickly formulated...a job chart with rotating weekly jobs (which, amazingly over the years, never wavered; every week we faithfully switched jobs and not one week was missed). The older girls took over meals, laundry was coordinated by my oldest sister.

What a day, what a week, what a Christmas! There is so much more to reminesce....finding gifts in closets, trying to figure out to whom each was intended, then finding Mom's list after Christmas and wondering, do we let everyone have the gift they got or make them switch to whom Mom had intended them to go, to honor her intentions...Christmas carolers suddenly showing up one evening to sing outside our living room window, resulting in my Dad sobbing throughout the singing....trying to stumble through that Christmas without mom! Lots of heartache, confusion, pulling together and circling wagons within our family..Dad grieving for about a week, then pulling himself up, kicking in as both the mom and dad to this family of 11 children, ranging in age from 2 to 19....coming together in this traumatic time and becoming a very close, tight-knit family and staying that way to this day...very, very close friends forever!

*Just a side note, keep in mind, these are the memories from an eight-year-old mind. Some of them may be slightly off but most of them have since been discussed and verified within our family, each of us remembering each event with our own details...when we add the details all together, the whole event becomes more full for each of us. *

*On our mom's birthday (December 1st) and the anniversary of her death (December 13th), we light a white candle in her memory. This year, one of my daughters gave me a Christmas gift early...it is the heart-shaped candle holder with a white tea candle in it in the photos above. I thought it to be a very appropriate candle to light in my mom's memory!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

"....And All Through the House...."

"...not a creature was stirring, not even my baby!" until I finally called at 1:00 a.m. when I still hadn't received any frantic calls with baby screaming in the background, or any calls asking, "Okay now, what did you say again to do for...". Not even any calm little text messages reporting to me that she's eating now, time to pump! My oldest daughter sleepily answered the phone when I called. Before I left to work, she had asked me to call every two hours just to make sure that baby wasn't crying and they weren't hearing her. I told her that I didn't feel it was necessary until a little later, so now I was making that phone call, anticipating ear splitting screams in the background mixed with log-sawing snores. It was strangely, and peacefully..almost eerily, silent. I asked her, "Did Dad feed Isabella yet?" Holli: "No!" Me: "Do you think he might have maybe stayed up late on the computer and then fed her just before going to sleep?" (Like she would know that! She was sleeping!) Holli: "I don't think so!" Me: "And she is quiet now, right? (straining my ears)" Holli: "Yes.." Me: "Okay, now really quietly go take a peak at her and make sure she's okay..like still breathing...I mean that she doesn't have a blanket over her face or anything...don't turn on any lights, just leave the hallway light on and tiptoe in there.. I don't want her to wake up from you checking on her (and then have my husband blame me for the disturbance)" It was quiet for a moment, then my husband's sleepy voice, "Yeah?" I asked, "Oh, did Holli give you the phone? I didn't tell her to wake you up, just to check up on the baby!" He said, "No, I just took it from her because all the fussing around is waking the baby up!" There you go, I'm getting the blame here I can tell! I said, "She has never gone this long without eating before...she would have woken up right about now anyway! Okay, quick hang up and then just let me know when she eats so I can pump!" I decided to pump right away then anyway because I was going to have to get busy soon and turn the guy I take care of and wouldn't be able to pump for a while otherwise. I pumped and just as I finished, my husband called to say they were warming the bottle up for her. (He and Holli had decided that they were going to tag team on this one, just in case it turns into a monster of a night, so I had treats ready for them to make it into a party if need be, so Holli was up helping at this point.) Then at about 6:30 a.m. I got a call asking what time I get off and what time I would be home because baby was beginning to stir again and if I would be home soon enough, he wouldn't thaw another bottle, then I wouldn't have to pump. Well, I made it home just in time for her first cry of the morning...she made it all through my 11 hours of being gone (I had left early to run an errand) with only one feeding and was awake for about one hour afterwards for a diaper change and then minimal fussing, mostly just looking around and entertaining herself. I think this man is hired for night duty!

And work went like this: fun catching up with my client, shooting the breeze about whatever we felt like shooting the breeze about, catching up on emails, posting on my blog, doing some cares such as vital signs (checking blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation level, lung sounds, bowel sounds), skin care and about 4 turns and repositioning, suctions...then other duties such as checking all the machine settings, check oxygen tank level, med set up, clean suction canister, empty garbage, clean the bathroom and then the computer desk/work station and chart! And the guy I care for is very nice, doesn't argue or talk back to me, doesn't call me "mean" or any other names (at least not out loud), is super easy-going, just an all-around super guy!!!

Now, off to my 24/7 baby, who is currently vamping up for a "turn my face purple" sort of a crying session. I think she's a 24/6, 15/1 baby now. The 24/6 for the 6 days I take care of her all 24 hours (meaning high-maintenance all 24 hours I care for her), and 15/1 on the one day my husband has her 10 hours and I have her the remaining 14 (meaning high-maintenance for my 14 hours and one of Eric's 10 hours, equalling 15 hours of high-maintenance).

Oh, minor little side note now: Just a few moments ago I was telling my husband that I was going to post an update blog telling of the "...and all through the house...not a creature was stirring, not even my baby!" And he said, without missing a beat, "Until someone decides to call at 1 a.m.!" I said, "Hey now, she's too little to wake up from a teeny bit of fussing (that didn't even entail turning a light on)! She has never gone that long without eating! She would have woken up within 15 minutes of that, I guarantee you!" to which he just sat there for a moment with a small grin on his face, and then a, "I guess we'll never know..." My response, "I know!" We both laughed and he drove off to run some errands. So who all thinks I will ever live that little phone call down? And I know I'm right...and he knows I'm right, I'm sure...but he will never admit it! My body is really pretty tuned in to her feeding times and I had just had a milk letdown right before I called...I did inform him of this just before the, "I guess we'll never know.." comment but he didn't want to buy it!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Aaahhhhh, Vacation At Last!

I headed off to my first night of my Mommy Vacation.....and I'm getting paid!!!! AND, out of the nine hours I will be here, I only will be working about 4 hours total, at the most! How can you beat that? I headed back to my first night of work post-baby! The hours before I took off sans baby went something like this:

I tucked into bed at about 3:30pm with baby for a long slumbering nap of 1 1/2 hours!!!! Yippeee, I'm ready to go all night off of that nap! I got up to a freshly baked pizza, then let my husband go take about a 2 1/2 hour nap, just in case he's up a lot tonight with our fussy baby! Hmmm, I'm going to work where I have to be up all night and get to sleep 1 1/2 hours in preparation for my shift. My husband may have to be up a good portion of the night but probably will be able to sleep at least a good portion of it and he gets to sleep 2 1/2 hours (or maybe even a bit more)? In his defense, I was the one to decide to get up early just to make sure I get through the shower, feed the baby, burp her, change her (including her clothes cause she smelled so sour; she spits up a lot), get my lunch ready, etc. It only made sense that he sleeps in the meantime...at least one of us got to sleep!

I fed my baby, burped her and got spit up all over, went to find clothes for my shower and showered, where I was joined by my baby, who both my oldest daughter and I deemed way too stinky...she loved being snuggled up to my chest wrapped in a tiny towel basking in the warm water spraying on her back! After she went out, wrapped up in a huge beach towel, to be dried, lotioned and dressed by my daughter, my 3 y.o. decided to join me. We finished up pretty fast and I proceeded to get ready for work.

After getting ready, I went out to begin (or continue) my baby's feeding frenzy. After feeding her and tucking her, all relaxed and content (she had fussed all day until she and I went to sleep this afternoon, me still in my pj's), I started getting my pump, food, and paperwork to work on in my down time ready. At this point, my 3 y.o. started asking me, "Can I have a candy cane?"

Let me give you a little history of this loaded candy cane question before I go on. This young lady already began asking for the Christmas tree to be put up before school started in the fall. She remembered from last year (when she was at the ripe old age of 2, in case any of you are mathematically challenged and couldn't figure out that our 3 y.o. would have been 2 one year ago), that we load our tree with candy canes. This is a tradition my husband started many years ago and, try as I might, I have never been able to deter his love of this tradition. The girls wait for him to come home at some point in December with boxes and boxes of the big candy canes so they can load em on the tree and then proceed to badger me to death every waking moment for a candy cane! Today was Candy Cane Day!!!

Okay, back to the candy cane question. I began to hear, about every 5-10 seconds, different variations of, "Can I have a candy cane?" It went something like this: "Can I have a candy cane?" Me: "Just before I leave." Her: "Please can I have a candy cane?" Me: "When I leave." Her: "Please can I have a candy cane? I said please!!!" Me: "You can have a candy cane when I am ready to go to work! Not before!" Her: "Can I have a candy cane, Mom? Please? Mom, I said please!" Me: "Nice! I'm glad you said please! You can have a candy cane when I leave, okay?" This went on for a very long time because I had to put my coffee pot going, then make a sandwich, pack the rest of my food, pour my coffee into a mug, feed baby again, burp her, tuck her back in just so to try to make sure she is comfortable enough that I can get out the door before she decides to start to scream, get my boots, jacket, mittens on, bring most of my load to the car.....at some point, my daughter finally told me, "Okay, quit! Quit now! Okay, Mom, all done! You're all done! You're all DONE!" Finally, as I sat down to feed the baby the last time I figured it was close enough to my departure that she could just as well have her candy cane. I wasn't even done with the baby and she sweetly came out of the kitchen to ask me, "Mom, do you think I could have another candy cane?" I just stared at her, only able to respond with, "What??? NO! No more candy canes!" Her response: "Later? Can I have a candy cane later?" Me: "Sure...much later, like tomorrow!" Her: "No, say later! Say I can have one later!" Me: (leaning forward and staring her straight into her eyeballs) "NOT UNTIL TOMORROW, OKAY?"

After being tortured by my 3 y.o.'s verbal barrage, I left the house after 6 hugs, 6 kisses, 6 "I love you!"s, and 6 "Have fun Mom!"s with my ears ringing and my arms feeling weirdly empty (my baby usually comes with me wherever I go since I nurse her and it's just so easy to take her with instead of pumping ahead of time)! As I drove down the hill, with the dome light on, waving back at the girls at the patio door, I felt a little giddy! I usually stress out more about leaving my newborns for the first long stretch like that but this time I just couldn't! I could only feel a little giddy and a bit relieved to let them all deal with this 24/7 baby! Now watch, she will sleep all night like a charm, except for feedings, and will make a liar out of me!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Wow, it's been busy over here!

I have had so many things I could post on but no time to do it!!!

I think I could do a big old post on the things my 3 y.o. comes up with but will stick to just one quick story since I need to be up again in 4 hours and I think I hear my baby waking up!

We have been having quite the time getting our two dogs totally used to each other. We adopted our Beagle, Hailey, from the Humane Society mid-August. Just to explain why it's taken this long is that I usually am the one here the most of me and my husband so it's been more my job to work with the dogs. Shortly after we got Hailey, I went on bedrest, then had the baby early, had longer hospitalization, etc.... Now, finally, I feel like I have the mental and physical energy to really work with them. However, Mac has this obsession with sniffing Hailey's rear-end. From all we've studied on dogs, sniffing is a greeting but can also be a sort of show of dominance, which we suspect is the case here when we see all the other things Mac does and the body language he has when close to Hailey. A couple days ago, I was having this conversation with Mac that went something like this, "MAC!!! Get away from her REAR!!! You can learn how to be in the same proximity as Hailey without focusing on her butt! QUIT SNIFFING her!!!! You know, it just plain old gets old having to babysit you all the time...blah-blah-blah!!!!" I was sitting on the couch nursing the baby, as I am about 90% of the time, or at least providing some care to her about 90% of the time. I was just watching Mac wandering around and noticed that he seemed like he finally was going to let Hailey be and quit sniffing her! Just as I was kind of zoning out and relaxing about the whole issue, I saw my 3 y.o., in her own little world and with a huge grin on her face, run up to Mac (picture this knowing that her nose is about rectum-level to Mac), sniff-sniff-sniff his rear end, then turn around and fairy-prance back to the couch, looking very victorious with her accomplishment! She was muttering something to herself about "sniffin' Mac"!!! Gross! I guess she decided to show him who the real boss is and who gets the last word in around here!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hot or Cold?


Ever feel like you're playing a game of "Hot or Cold?" with one of your kids, only you don't realize you're even a player until you've been in the game for a while? The other day I could hear my 3 y.o. screaming from the bathroom. I went in to her screaming something like, "Pah-th-wha-(yadayadayada, scream-scream)-rah-nah!!!" I just looked at her and said, "Uhhh, run that by me again...!?" Again the, "Pah-tha-wahl-tah-yadayadayada-(SCREECH)-naaaaaaah!" She was upset, to put it mildly!!!!! This went on for a bit, with me attempting to occasionally decode the message, only to be met with higher-pitched screams OR, a time or two, lower-pitched screams and slightly more relaxed facial muscles. Then, as I would reach toward her, the pitch would get higher! It suddenly dawned on me, "OH, I believe I'm participating in one of those 'Hot or Cold' games, Toddler Style!" Whenever I get hotter, the screams begin to subside, whenever I get colder, the screams intensify!!! Somehow, some way, I finally figured out that she needed the water turned warmer, RIGHT NOW!!! Once I got it figured out, she quit screaming and was my friend again! Ain't life simple? :) I think the reason she got so distraught is that she may have been screaming for me for a bit but I was in another part of the house and didn't hear her at first. By the time it had escalated, I had no choice but to hear her but then she was at the point of no return!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An Embarassing, Make That A VERY Embarassing, Moment to Share!

Okay, this one, I'm quite sure, takes the cake in one of the most embarassing moments in history! I would almost skip some of the details except that's what makes it quite humorous at the same time.

Last week I had to call my oldest daughter's teacher but couldn't find her voicemail extension number. Instead of wasting a lot of time looking for it, I just called the office and asked to be put through to her voice mail. As the receptionist was putting me through, I suddenly had the urge to go to the bathroom, really bad! I opened the bathroom door to find my six y.o. sitting on the throne. The phone was still silent, no greeting had yet come on, so I quickly lowered the mouthpiece of the phone to my chin and very quietly whispered, "Are you almost done? I have to go bathroom really bad!" Then I decided to add, since she just looked so relaxed and wasn't moving, "The poop's almost coming out!" to which I heard a crisp, "Thank you! If you would like to add to your message, press...." To that, I could only slowly lower the phone, quietly click the phone "off", and (still whispering) say, "I cannot believe I just said that! I cannot believe I just left her that message!!!" Greta could only just stare at me and ask, "Huh? What did you just say?"

I waited at least 10-15 minutes before I dared to call again, this time looking up her extension on the school website. The second time, there was a nice greeting, "Hello! You have reached..." so now I can just cling to the hope that it didn't go through to her voicemail since I know that there was no greeting or a beep, warning me that my end of the convo was going to be recorded!!!! The one problem I do still have though is that I'm quite sure that they have caller ID because once when I was being put through to my daughter's room, the phone got cut off just after it got answered in the classroom, before I could identify myself. Holli called me back within seconds, saying, "My teacher told me you just called!" So, someone at that school was left this very confidential information on their voicemail and know exactly who had to go really bad that day!!! I still can almost feel that mind-numbing embarassment as I think about it! :s

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Our Baby's Growing!


Isabella's 8 weeks old today! Just yesterday she weighed in at 9 lbs, 9 ozs. Isn't it weird to think that our Sofia was born at 9 lbs, 8 ozs and was 9 days early? I think that Isabella was a little bigger but possibly lost a little ground when she was sick. In this picture she was just leaving the hospital, hence the sticky things still on her cheeks...they were to hold the oxygen tubing in place.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dog Training At Its Finest!





upper left: Beg....beg...up! Like this! UP, UP! OUCH! (scratched my face)


upper center: Okay, good Mac! That was pretty close! Good beg! Here's your teeny little piece of dog food! Good boy!!! (good thing he doesn't demand steaks..he's easy to please!)

upper right: U-u-ummm...okay, can you find the differences from upper center to upper right? Can you find, let's say, maybe 3 differences between the pictures? Well, neither can I! I think it was somehow mistakenly uploaded twice. How could have that happened? I'm sure it was the computer cause I don't make mistakes on this contraption! I am completely, 100% computer illiterate..I mean literate!!!

lower left: Okay, that was a perfect "beg" but you cleared the floor by about 6 inches! Careful there, Buddy! Here's your treat...this time a tiny scrap of pork fat from our pork chops....I know, I know...you could eat the whole chop in one chomp but I do have a family to feed other than you two canines!!! (fast forward by about an hour or two and guess who had diarrhea? He got too many pieces of pork from everyone, feeding him and Hailey their scraps. Hailey takes it like a trooper...we can tell she ate only people food before she came to us.)

lower right: Okay, Dude! Since when did "beg" or "up" sound like "dance"? I refuse to shuffle around with the likes of you, especially with those long nails!!! Go get a pedicure or something!

Notice a little lady sitting in her crate in the background looking like, "Hey, I could do that sooo easily!" She is a great begger. We have only had her for a couple months, much of which I've been laid up so we haven't been able to get the two totally acclimated to each other. Hailey would ignore Mac or just socialize with him but Mac, still the puppy he is, wil not leave Hailey alone for anything until we step in, make him submit to her, then he kinda leaves her alone for the rest of their time out together! Typical boy!!! :)

Okay, now if anyone could match up the labels with their rightful pictures, you're good! I laboriously did labels for each picture according to how they were set up on the draft page and then when I went to "view blog", I noticed that this goofy machine just messes with you! It set it up totally different than it had been arranged on the draft page!!! AND I am noticing that I didn't actually upload the same picture twice! When I came back to make this note, I noticed the captions shifted somehow and when I went back and looked, the duplicate picture was GONE!!! Too weird!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Back to the hospital we went!

We made a kind of unexpected trip to the Children's Hospital on Wednesday and just got home today! I didn't even think that Isabella was sick, just was recovering from a cold, when I noticed her chest retracting Wednesday morning. I had noticed the afternoon before that she was sleeping more than usual but just thought that she was in a growth spurt. I also noticed Tuesday evening that she had hardly eaten all afternoon so I pumped and gave her a bottle, which she drank just fine.
Wednesday morning she wasn't drinking again and when I sat her up from trying to nurse her, I noticed that she was breathing weird. I decided to lay her down in her bassinet and check her chest. When I lifted her onesie, I noticed her chest sucking in between her lower few ribs and her stomach bulging out when she breathed, which is retracting. As a nurse, I knew this wasn't a good sign so I rushed her to the Children's Clinic and after observing her for a little while and giving her a neb, the pediatrician put her on oxygen immediately because her oxygen saturation level began to drop and called an ambulance to the clinic. At the hospital, since she was lacking other symptoms (no fever, not much of a cough, etc.), they did a full run of tests, from spinal tap for meningitis to chest xray, full blood test, RSV test. She tested positive for RSV and they found infiltrates in her lungs which they first thought was pneunomia but after the 48 hour blood panel came back negative, they realized that the infiltrates were from the RSV.
We had an exciting few days and are glad to be home in the routine of things!!! Just as a side note, how on earth are the pediatricians, interns, residents, and med students so young??? Do they begin their medical training in junior high? I swear I could have given birth to a few of those kids! The first pediatrician (mind you, a pediatrician has specialized a bit beyond general MD I believe) that met me in the ER seemed slightly older than my 15 y.o. nephew! How scary!!! Seemed to have a brain in his head but it doesn't do much for me to be talking to a kid that still has peach fuzz on his chin!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Our Little Secret!! ;)


Okay, I know that this is old news... this was about a week ago already. I just haven't had time to post for a while.
Last weekend, I knew that time changes back one hour but in the rush and hubbub of Sunday morning, trying to get out the door for Sunday School and church with now six kids and minus a husband because he's in England for work, I didn't feel it necessary to change the clocks back right then. You know how hard it is to get out the door with children of any age but especially with a new baby....feed..check! burp....check! change diaper....check! wipe top of head, neck creases, and behind ears with baby shampoo on cloth and rinse....check! slather a little baby lotion on rest of body so she smells like she just got a full bath.....check! put on clean "church outfit".......check! go back after getting other kids ready, pick baby up to put in warm fuzzy suit....she smells poopy....rechange diaper....lay her back down....she spits up all over "church outfit"........start all over!!!! The important thing was that I knew the correct time! Out the door we went, got to Sunday School, sat through church, then went home to potty dogs, eat lunch and continue on to my sister's for the day. Her husband was gone for the weekend on a hunting trip so after our visiting went late into the evening we decided to just stay for the night. I ran home, pottied and fed the dogs, and went back to my sister's. Late the next morning we headed back home. I kept noticing that day every time I sat down to nurse the baby that I hadn't yet changed the clocks back. Just as evening was approaching and I began breaking out in hives at the thought of starting the typical bedtime torture....it's torturous for me, not the kids!....a light bulb went on over my head! I decided to conveniently wait until after the kids went to bed before turning the clocks back!!! I felt just victorious as I began pushing kids toward their beds, telling them, "Hurry up!!! It's getting so late, it's way past your bedtime!" I probably should have felt at least a twang of guilt but I didn't feel even a drop of it! I was just gloating over my moment of genius! One of my kids, Olivia, absolutely loves her sleep! It is so not my side of the family thing! Unfortunately, most of the kids take after me and would be night owls if we allowed it. Anyway, Olivia came downstairs when I was getting some clothes ready for the kids for the next day and asked me, "Mom, did you remember to change the clocks back or is that the old time?" I paused for a moment and confessed, "Hey, I know how much you love your sleep so I'll let you in on my little secret! I haven't changed the clocks back yet and I'm not going to either until after everyone is asleep! That way I can hopefully get everyone to sleep on time tonight, or at least close to it!" She just grinned and said, "Okay! I won't say anything!!!"
Well, that night it worked so well, the next evening, I had Olivia quickly change the clocks forward again when all the other kids were busy elsewhere in the house and we both just cackled as I was chasing kids to bed again that night, busy telling them, "Hurry up!!! It's getting sooo late, it's way past your bedtime, get going!!!!" I told Olivia not to ever tell the other kids because, let me tell you, I'm not above resorting to that tactic as needed in the future!!!! :)

Friday, November 9, 2007

HELP!!!

I'm being held hostage by my 3 y.o.!!! Every time I try to get in some computer time, my 3 y.o. sniffs me out hiding away in my room. As soon as she sees me on the computer, she starts the chant, "Put Clifford on! Put Clifford on! Put Clifford on! Put Clifford on! Click it off! Click it off! Click it off! (my blog or email or the news) Put Clifford on (as the pitch of her voice grows alarmingly higher)!" I liken it to (I know this term is politically incorrect, but...) Chinese Water Torture. She eventually wears me down until I relent, put her favorite Clifford Musical Memory game on, and try to use it as an electronic babysitter, attempting to get some cleaning done! As I sneak off down the hallway, I hear the, "Mom! Come help me! Mooommmm! Come help me! Mooooooooommmm!!! Cooomme help me!" mantra. Soon she is crying and screaming in the bedroom for as long as it takes for me to come back and either help her or "break" the computer (shut it off) or she falls asleep. Between my baby crying and requiring to be held a lot and my 3 y.o. never letting me on the computer without harassment, I feel like I get held hostage from the outside world! Ooops! I think I hear her coming down the hallway now! *breaking out in a cold sweat*

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Here's my little dolly.....and Olivia's!


Can you tell which is the real baby? LOL! I think that Isabella's gotten so big but then when we took this picture, I realize that she's now about the size, maybe a little bigger, than my other babies have been at birth! Yesterday, by the way, was her ultrasound due date....by my dates, she would have been due November 9th. Seems like a lifetime has passed since she was born! I think I've gathered a few gray hairs since then too! :) It's actually been going pretty well but the hardest thing is the amount of time that goes into caring for her and the others now pretty much puts me in debt for time! I truly don't feel like I even get all the basics attended to before my day is done! It's mostly because she is very much a lap baby! My husband has been travelling a lot now again too so that doesn't help. When he's home, the other kids then at least have another adult to harass so then at least evenings and weekends are equal opportunity for both of us; equal opportunity for child-induced harassment and equal opportunity for ditch time (just ditching to the laundry room or garage...nowhere exciting...well, I guess I'm at the point I find uninterrupted time in the laundry room exciting!!!!).

Friday, November 2, 2007

Idle Hands...

Apparently my 6- and 8-yr-old just had nothing better to do than tie their 3-yr-old sister to the swingset! The other day, I was sitting at the dining room table sipping my mid-afternoon coffee and reading the day-old paper when I remembered that my 3-yr-old was outside playing with my oh-so-reliable-and-perfectly-capable older daughters watching over her. I was half-reading the paper and half-conversing with a couple of my daughters when it suddenly registered that the couple of daughters that I was conversing with were the oh-so-reliable-and-perfectly-capable girls I had entrusted the care of my 3-yr-old to! They are 11 and 9. I asked, "Where is Kaisa? Is she still outside?" They said, "Yes.." I asked, "Why didn't you take her in like I had asked you to do when you come in?" One of them said, "Oh, Sofia said she would watch her!" Sofi is pretty responsible with her little sister but she is just a little unpredictable! I opened the patio door and looked into the back yard and was greeted by the sight of the 6- and 8-yr-old tying the 3-yr-old to the post of the swingset! I yelled out there, "Hey you two! What on earth are you doing?" To which Kaisa replied, "They're tyin' me up!" To which I asked, "What would possess you to do that?" Sofia simply explained, "Kaisa told us to tie her up!" Oh, okay! That makes it perfectly reasonable..a 3-yr-old requested it! I told her, "No, don't listen to her about that kind stuff! I want you to untie her right away so she doesn't get forgotten there!" Sofia said, "We won't forget her! I promise!!!" Uuuh-huh! Heard that before! Good thing I have this many children! Not a chance I'll believe them! That would be an almost guarantee they'll forget her...*visions of Child Protection Service workers enter my head. I could just see it...hours later, as dusk has set in, someone would suddenly say, "Hey, where is Kaisa?" Then it would hit like a thunder-clap.."Sof-i-a!!! Did you remember to untie Kaisa from the swingset post?" ..and the so familiar reply, "Uuummmm....I forgot!" Then as we all run out to the backyard, swarms of Child Protection Service workers are also descending upon our backyard. Kaisa, dressed only in a T-shirt, fleece pants (at least they're fleece! Fleece is warm!) and bare feet is slumped, semi-conscious and hypothermic. I count the CPS workers...1-2-3-4-5---6!!! One for each of my children! They're taking my babies away!!! As they drag the kids away, Sofia is busy telling me, "Mom, I promise...next time I tie her up, I won't forget!!!"* This all plays itself out in my mind in a matter of seconds. I just said, "Yes, Sofi! You won't forget her tied up there because you will be untying her right now!" I must have had that And I Mean It look on my face because, without further argument, she went from winding the rope in one direction back to winding the rope back in the direction it had come from! As I sat back down to continue my sipping and reading, I thought, "I should be taking a picture of this!" The one functioning brain cell I have did a quick spasm, a flop, and nearly fizzled out! I decided that I better just save the energy for something else then!

Our Halloween


We've never celebrated Halloween with our kids...we just skip out and spend the evening at Chuck E. Cheese...along with at least one hundred other children that, we've noticed, have made it their yearly tradition as well. Fun to see these little kids that remain nameless to us grow up over the years! We look each year to see if we see a variety of the kids we've seen each year, including the cute little twins that dressed up as adorable little princesses the first year we saw them. They've been there every year, getting bigger each time, just like our kids are doing. This year, however, my husband is gone to England on a business trip and our baby is only 5-wks-old so we decided instead to celebrate half of our children's birthdays that night instead. We had missed parties for 3 of our girls due to the untimely early birth of our little baby girl (although of course we're just thrilled that she did come when she did!). We decided to have the party from 4-6pm, then kids that are going trick-or-treating could leave early enough to get ready (we planned it this way that only kids from nearby were invited to make it easy enough for all of us...and each of the girls were only allowed 2 friends..the one with a bday in May got to invite a friend so she wouldn't steal her sisters' friends, cause she tends to do that on occasion). Then the few that were left that don't trick-or-treating stayed and partied on with us. THe highlight of the evening? My kids and the remaining party guests got to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters and they were just THRILLED!!! It was better than trick-or-treatering, in their opinion!!! I think it was even better than the birthday party, as a matter of fact! Definitely a birthday they will remember. I got a picture of the first trick-or-treater at our door but he is barely visible because there were so many little helpers just waiting to drop a treat into his bucket!!!
On a side note: After uploading the picture, I noticed that most of the little "helpers" were outside on the front step, surrounding poor little trick-or-treater (or "Halloweener", which sounded more like, "hollow-weiner" to my sister and me) in their excitement to see him!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I've Been Tagged!


Seven Random Facts About Me:
1. Today is my 12th wedding anniversary! (If it's still posting as October 28th)
2. I love writing, running, and karate...among other things such as knitting, crocheting, playing piano..
3. I love other languages and cultures! I took 2 years of German in high school and would love to re-learn German..I speak Finnish, and someday will be fluent in American Sign Language and Spanish (never mind the fact I know next to nothing in either ASL or Spanish!) :)
4. I come from a family of 4 boys, 7 girls and betwixt the lot of us, we have, ummmm, 52 children I believe! We have the best family get-togethers possible!!!
5. I love travelling! I've been to many states in the U.S., to Canada several times, lived in Finland for a year, then visited it again for a month once and almost 2 weeks another time, have been to Mexico twice and Sweden twice (while living in Finland). I even stood near the border of Russia while in Finland and watched trucks rumbling along in the distance and could see guard towers!
6. I can't stand mucousy body fluids! Especially vomit & dog drool!!!!!!!!! I truly do a full body shudder when I come into any contact with it, especially unexpected contact!
7. My mom died just after I turned 8. The kids in our family ranged in age from 19 to 2. I think this defined me to who I am today. I am a bit of a non-conformist and feel that this is due partially to my personality and partially due to my mother's death. Growing up without a mom forces you to grow up a bit fast and also to figure out a lot of life's lessons in your own way. I learned a ton from my sisters (and still do) as well as from everyone in my family. Then when you see people doing things just because (usually because that's just how everyone does it) it doesn't make sense to me so I continue to do things how life's school of hard knocks (or just life's school) has taught me!
Now, I'm supposed to tag 7 people...okay, now was it also 7 random facts or was I mixing it up with tagging 7 people? Oh well. I listed 7 facts and I'm stickin' to it! I will clarify with the people I tag if it is otherwise. I, however, don't know if I will be able to scrounge 7 people up from bloggers because I don't think I "know" 7 people yet but I will try! First, my sister, Kristin, then suburbancorrespondent, houseofdanes, shellie, (carrie tagged me so I can't pick her...) ummmmm, I'll go look at my comments because I know that there are a couple more I'm sure I could pick but can't remember off the top of my head what their names are! We'll start with these...I will have to go on and send the message to them on their blogs tomorrow because I am chronically sleep deprived and I have to be up in about 4 1/2 hours plus I'm sure my babycakes will have me up a couple of times between now and 5:30am, when my alarm will be going off. :)
Now this makes 3 posts in the last few hours!!! Boy, I was sure in the sharing mode!

"How old is your baby?"



I had to write both of these stories...they are the two of several that must have amused me the most because I still remember them (by two, I'm refering to this story and the one I just posted, "Sofi's got her thinking cap on")!
Friday evening, we went to visit my sister and her family. One of our friends and her family came to visit that evening as well, so we had a house full and a fun evening! My sister's husband is from Finland so of course they have a sauna. Theirs is in a small building of its own outside. After we had all visited for a while, we began our sauna turns. First, the other two guys went with their boys. Soon the boys came in to shower and my husband went to join the other guys. Then the other guys came in and I went to join my husband and a few of the girls followed and came to steam with us. Soon, my husband went in and the other ladies (my sister and our friend) came to join me and my girls for a good Finnish steam session. When my sister and our friend first came out to the sauna, I asked how my baby was doing. My friend said that she was just getting a little squirmy and fussy but her husband Eric was holding her so she was just fine. So I stayed out for a while steaming before my girls and I went in to shower. When we got in the house, I could hear the baby fussing a little but she wasn't outright crying so I knew I had a little time still. My husband tends to get a little panicked when our babies are so young and begin crying because usually the only thing that calms them is nursing...which he says he's no good at! I cruised myself and the girls through the shower and hurried upstairs. By then, Isabella was crying pretty good. I asked my Eric how long she had been crying and he said, "Not too long!" Later he told me that after he came up from the sauna/shower, the guys just visited..all the while our baby was still in the other Eric's lap, along with his youngest, a 1 1/2 y.o. My Eric said that he noticed the baby was kind of fussing off and on and at some point he thought, "Boy, Eric sure is calm with that baby fussing like that! It sure doesn't seem to bother him to hold a fussing baby!!!" From the time that my friend left Isabella in her husband Eric's lap until I came upstairs after sauna, at least 45 minutes, maybe more had elapsed. Just minutes before I came upstairs, my Eric had asked the other Eric, "How old is your baby?" The other Eric said, "A year and a half!" My Eric just kind of looked at him and said, "No, the other one. The little one!" It was the other Eric's turn to just kind of look at my Eric for a moment before replying, "This isn't my baby!" It was then that it finally dawned on my Eric, "That's right!!! We have a baby!!!!! That's our baby!" He promptly jumped up and went to relieve the other Eric from the fussing baby and moments later I came up the stairs, looked at my Eric, and thought, "Wow!!! He sure is looking calm with the baby fussing like that!"

Sofi's Got Her Thinking Cap On!

This morning, just as we were singing the last hymn at church, Sofia suddenly asked Eric, "Why is God so rich?" Eric's explanation: "Because He made everything!" My explanation: "Because everything belongs to God! The universe, the earth, everything on the earth.." That was the best we could do. That was good enough for Sofi! Without missing a beat, she paused to ponder the next question for about 1.5 seconds, then, "Why does God have such of a small name but His bouncy ball is so big? (the earth)" Then a surprised, "You laughing at me?" How do you answer these things? Where does she come up with these questions? We are forever entertained by these girls!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

KIIIIII-AYE!!!

These are some pics of karate.. I don't have any current pics of the girls & me. The farthest left is me and the other "sensei's" or instructors at the end of my first semester of teaching, in April maybe? The other 2 are the end of this summer semester, I was striping Greta's belt. This was just in August. As you can see (or maybe not so obvious because of the uniform and pic is from farther away), I was largely pregnant at the time, about 28 weeks along...?...


Ummmm, I'm never sure how to spell that word but it's the battle cry we give in karate with our strikes. It's back to business as usual for us, as of tonight! We went back to karate for the first time since baby was born. Not too bad, considering that we only missed 3 sessions and get to jump in and test out at the end of the semester. This means that since we started a few years ago, we've never missed a semester, not even summers, not even to have a baby! I thought we would have to take this semester off since I was due 11/4, pretty much smack in the middle of the semester, but since Bella took things into her own hands and decided to bless us with her presence a mite early, we zipped into class on week 3 of the semester to show her off and tell them that we were ready to jump back into the action beginning this week. It sure felt good to be back into the routine, although I majorly laid low and more just monitored and verbally corrected the students but didn't physically get involved...except, I do have to confess, in doing KATA. I just couldn't resist joining the class in KATA (a 66 move routine that we have to memorize; we memorize about 5 moves, give or take a few, per belt ranking). I got my black belt last December so I need to know the full 66 move routine.


As a black belt, I have been an assistant instructor with the class, so I am my kids' "sensei", the word we use for "instructor" or "teacher". They like to jokingly call me "Sensei Mom"! Four of my girls are in karate but this semester our kindergartener might take the semester off. My husband is travelling most of the remainder of this semester and my 3 y.o. doesn't want to stay with my sister unless the kindergartener is with, which suits Greta (kdgtnr) just fine. I think she was ready for a break anyway! What a fun night though! And to top things off, our instructor (who is a 2nd degree black belt, the rest of us are 1st degree) started teaching us the KATA we will have to know to test out for our 2nd degree! Fun to learn something new!!!


Well, this was a major rambling of thoughts here that probably is a little difficult to follow! Is it a little evident who is a bit excited to be back into the swing of things? As you can probably tell, I love karate! :)

THE LOST IS FOUND!!!!!

Yippeeee!!!!! I finally decided that if I just make a huge effort to clear the postpartum fog, remain focused for about 5 minutes, and think real hard where the most likely place would be that the camera case would have gone missing, I was sure that I would find it. Lo and behold, I followed this recipe to a "T" and found the case between the head of my bed and the wall within 5 minutes (added bonus: I found most of my 3 y.o.'s library books that were due yesterday). The battery is now charged and my finger is twitching in anticipation of taking pictures! Here we go:
Here's Isabella, a couple weeks ago, in her little teddy bear suit my sister and her family gave her for a baby gift.
Here she is today...notice her little chipmunk cheeks? I finally pulled out the Baby Bjorn because she loves being held and I love holding her. However, I really can't get anything done here with only about a half functioning arm...it takes about 1 1/2 arms to hold her.
Fresh out of the tub..the proud and loving (most of the time) big sister!!!
Another proud and loving (all of the time) big sister. She stole the Baby Bjorn right off my back (not literally)..she loves holding babies and especially in this carrier!
...and again!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ooohhh, I miss my camera!!!

I've lost our camera case (or one of my kids has lost it....I think I will blame it on them!) and in it is our battery charger. I have been without my camera for over a week and with a newborn in the house, that is just plain old wrong!!! She has changed so much already, she's gotten some fat layers on those little sparrow limbs, is developing a admirable double chin and her cheeks are starting to look like chipmunks! Yay!!! She's growing!!!!

Last night my sleep was pretty nonexistant. My baby kept me up until after midnight, which has been pretty typical since she's been born. Then just as she was settling down, my 3 y.o. woke up crying and when I went to check on her, she was hot with fever. I was up with her, she needed to go potty, have water, and I tried to sneak a little Advil into her orange juice 'cause she hates medicine of any kind...she took a couple drinks and wouldn't have anything to do with it! THen I got her back to sleep by maybe 2 or so and was up with baby some more. Then about 4a.m. Kaisa (3 y.o.) started crying and I could hear her barfing. Thank goodness she had moved from my bed into her bed...hers has a crib matress on it (it's a toddler bed) so it was at least easy cleanup. I then got her into the tub, washed up, only to hear that the hubbub had woken our next 2 (the 6 and 8 y.o.'s) up and they were arguing about something. It was 4:20 a.m.!!! I snarled at them to just clamp it until it was legally morning or they will have loony mother on their hands. THey obliged!!! My head finally hit the pillow at a few minutes to 5. My alarm began ringing at 5:30 but I hit the snooze until 6:30 without realizing it! Luckily we had no issues to finish (like homework or showers) so we made it fine getting kids on the bus.

Well, now to quickly clean a bit while my 2 are sleeping...hopefully I will find my camera charger!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Life continues....

Life just continues to fly along! Adding another baby has been such of a joy!!! I forget though just how quickly nursing, changing diapers, and just snuggling a newborn can make time fly. It feels like I have so little time to do anything else, especially get on here! I still have to say though that I have just loved having this baby.

We were out of town this weekend, visiting my hometown about 2 1/2 hours away. We stayed this time with a childhood friend's parents. My friend was also there with her husband and 6 kids. She had a baby about 3 weeks before we had ours so it was fun to have the 2 newborns there together. My kids fell fast and hard in love with "Mummu" and "Pappa"..they are Finnish and go by Finnish nicknames for grandma and grandpa. They have an old farmstead with a house that has to be about 100 years old and has all the fun little nooks and crannies that I remember wishing to be able to explore when I was a kid visiting there and now our kids were wishing they could explore!

This family grew up speaking Finnish and I always remember becoming quite determined that some day I was going to learn Finnish fluently and be able to fully understand and converse with them in Finnish when I visit there. My mom and dad both grew up learning Finnish but never taught it to us as a first language; we learned a lot of words and phrases in Finnish but the fall after I graduated from high school I went to Finland for a year and attended a school there. There I became really pretty fluent in Finnish and have been able to keep it up pretty well. My husband's family is from Finland, he was their first one born here. They grew up with Finnish as their first language so now I hear it on a regular basis..we even taught our first 2 daughters Finnish and they were very fluent but then as our oldest realized that most of her friends and cousins spoke English, she refused to converse in Finnish anymore. We eventually gave up speaking it with them so now they only know some words and phrases but I know that they would learn it very quickly then if they someday chose to spend some time in Finland. So, all in all we had a very fun, relaxing weekend, visiting them and my family, and of course, enjoying an old, outdoor sauna one crisp, cool evening.

Now my husband just left for.....Nebraska! If you read a couple of my old posts, you will realize that this is quite the accomplishment for me to actually remember where he went this time right away instead of doing the "...Tennessee (which he never goes to), Idaho (never goes to), Iowa..?..Illinois (he flies into but drives to a neighboring area...can't remember town or state)...?...." I don't know why I am so challenged in this area but I am!!! So onward goes our fast-paced life, spinning, spinning sometimes out of control, sometimes just a mind-boggling but do-able pace!

Monday, October 15, 2007

MOOO!!!

Well, again I feel like a cow! This weekend I got pretty sick; on Saturday I had aches and pains everywhere and ended the day with a 102 degree fever. Sunday I actually started to feel better, no fever and fewer aches and pains but noticed some indications that I might have a breast infection. I went to a Minute Clinic only to find out after waiting almost an hour that they don't treat this kind of infection at a Minute Clinic! I had assumed that Minute Clinics were in the same category as Urgent Care clinics but I guess I was wrong! At that point in the day, I really didn't have time to then go wait another hour or so at an Urgent Care since most of them close at 5pm and the nearest one was 15-20 minutes away, it was already after 4pm, and I would have had to run home first and pick up my baby since she loves to eat every 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. I decided that my body was just going to have to fight it off on its own cause I wasn't going to worry about it....until I talked to one of my sisters who said that after she had a breast infection she basically lost her milk supply on that side! I absolutely had no interest in starting my baby on formula just because I decided to be stubborn and not go get treated for something easy enough to treat resulting in loss of milk supply. So after getting kids all tucked in last night, Baby and I took off to the ER...I had noticed that the red streaking I had seen on my left side had at least doubled in size since mid-afternoon when I had first noticed redness so I knew that by morning it could be really bad. After being brought back to a room and explaining my symptoms to a nurse, the ER doctor came into the room, sat down and said, "So, I understand you may be dealing with mastitis?" The first thing that came to mind was, "MOOOOO!" Again, I grew up on a farm and the only time I ever remember hearing the term mastitis was when my dad would say that some cow had mastitis. Being a nurse, I should have remembered that the technical term for breast infection is mastitis but nobody I know ever calls it that!!! And I'm sure if I would refer to it as that ("Yeah, I haven't been feeling too good...running a temp, aches and pains everywhere, I think I have mastitis.") I'm sure my friends and family, especially those who grew up on farms would probably all either respond with or feel like responding with a big, hearty, "MOOOOO!!!!" To make a long story short, after confirming that yes, I do have mastitis, I was prescribed an antibiotic and sent home with a wealth of information regarding mastitis!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Baby Isabella

Here Isabella is with her outfit, slippers and diaper bag that her 10-yr-old big sister drained her savings to buy her for a baby gift! Getting to leave the hospital after 8 days of being there...
Don't they just swim in these carseats at first? And to think that before too many months pass, her head will be hanging out at the top and her toes will be dangling over the bottom of this seat!
" Oh, oh, oh...it just is so much louder out here than in your tummy, Mommy!"

So very sleepy!!!! Time to tuck in for another piece of my 23 out of 24 hour sleep quota...My mom, on the other hand, ends up getting that one extra hour that I don't use up to fulfill her sleep needs every day! I keep her on my schedule day and night! I just cry out in my sleep for a feeding, then after I get my fill, I burp, then load my diaper, then wait for my mom to start changing me so I can try finish pooping and peeing right into her hand or my outfit or both just as she is wiping my teeny-tiny little bottom or to make it really fun, try time it so she is just pulling out one diaper and scrambling to push the impossibly tiny preemie diaper under my little rump! Gotta keep her on her toes. I've gotta hand it to her, after 6 babies, she's gotten pretty fine-tuned reflexes so I rarely get my load onto my clothes or blanket. I have managed to score a few times into her hand so I'm pretty happy with myself! Well, on to my dreamy dreamland........zzzzzzzzzzz-z-z-z-z-z!
Isabella's been eating better and better, meaning I have to "milk" (pump) less and less frequently. She is more awake (slightly) and doing everything she should be doing (which isn't much)! I have been feeling better and better as the days pass, so we have no complaints!!! Isabella's 2 weeks old today already!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mom's milking!!!

I have the joy now, until my baby grows at least back to birth weight, to both nurse and pump so that if I feel that baby didn't eat long enough at a feeding, I can back it up by a bottle. Having grown up on a farm, I was pretty involved with barn chores, especially around milking time so one evening, as I was pumping at the hospital, I just felt this connection with my past as a farm girl. I thought, "Boy, if nothing else, I could feel like a farmer...milking his cow!" Then suddenly I thought, "The only thing is, I would be that cow!" So I of course had to share that with one of my friends when she came to visit me that night at the hospital, "With all this pumping, now I get to feel like both the farmer and the cow!" She could relate because she also grew up on a farm. It was so cute then when on the following day and I was at home pumping for the first time in the presence of my 3-year-old, she just stopped in front of me, staring in absolute fascination. Then, as my husband walked into the room, she turned and told him in a half-whisper, her voice in awe, "Look! Mommy's milking!!!" Now she has no farming history in her so I'm not sure where she would have even pulled the term up from! She was my longest nurser though, (she nursed until she was almost 2...I had to put a screeching halt to it when she would drop into the nursing position whenever she got into my lap, even in church, at the mall, at a restaurant..everywhere! She was to the point of verbally requesting a nursing, which I always vowed I would be all done with nursing if I ever had a child request to nurse with words!!) and would often point to me after a shower or when she saw me dressing and say, "There are your 'milks', Mama!" So I think that's how she put the connection of pumping to "milking"! Then I really felt like a farmer...and a cow!!!

William Tell Mom Sayings

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Twinkle In Your Eye


This child is our artsy-fartsy, free-spirit, creative, spontaneous child. With spunk. This is an example of how her mind functions: Quite some time ago, Sofia was asking about some particular event or person, the details have escaped me. She was, at that time in her life, always inquiring, "Was I alive yet when that happened?" I am not one to resort to cliches often in my life but for some reason, kind of dismissively said, "No, that was before you were even a twinkle in your Daddy's eye!" or "...when you were just a twinkle in your Daddy's eye!" Now, I should know, having children, that you must never say anything without anticipating a full 20-question interrogation about anything that they don't quite understand. This time, however, I was surprised that the conversation didn't go much farther than that. So I didn't give the conversation another thought. Now, if I would have, I shouldn't have been so foolish to think the lack of inquiry=the cliche somehow just flew by her, unnoticed. It only meant that she fully understood what that meant. Some time later, my husband told me that one day Sofi parked her face not too many inches from his, just staring intently into first one eye, then the other, then back to the first eye. She finally said, "I'm just trying to see if I can see a twinkle in your eye," or something to that effect. Again recently, when we were at the hospital one night after our baby was born, I saw Sofi perch herself right on Eric's knees and had her gaze just pierced into his eyes. She again was searching for that elusive twinkle, and asked, "Is there another twinkle in your eye?" That night after they got home, she finally said something like, "Now, I don't get it! How do you get that twinkle from in your eye into Mommy's tummy?" She then said, "I know, do you take it out and when Mom's not looking sneak it into her food and then she eats it and it gets stuck in her tummy and then a baby grows from it?" I'm not sure that my husband even found an answer to that!

Monday, October 1, 2007

IT'S A GIRL!!!






And one more makes a half-a-dozen!!! Only about 4-6 hours after my last posting on this blog my water broke, so needless to say my days of bed rest came quickly to an end!! From the minute my water broke to the time I was chauffered to the entrance of the Emergency Room by my husband was exactly 20 minutes. That was pretty impressive considering the fact that when I make that drive on a normal day, it's a 15-20 drive alone. We, in the meantime, had some frenzied moments that went something like this.... Alarm rings at 5:40. My husband hits snooze and wakes me up so I could slowly start getting kids up for school while he finished packing for his business trip to Mexico. I told him that I had had the kids get their clothes on the night before so we had about 20 minutes extra so we decided to sleep until 6:00. I flipped over and my baby landed right on my bladder! I decided I can handle 20 minutes of bladder pain to sleep a little longer. A few moments later I felt my water break! I said, "Hey, Eric! Eric!!! My water broke!" He muttered, "Oh, no! What do I do? (his mind on Mexico)" I said, "For starts, get me a towel! Quickly! (my mind on water gushes)" He jumped and made some pretty impressive tracks to the bathroom and back, tossed me a towel and rubbed his head, very clearly just baffled what steps to take next.."NOW what do I do? (mind on Mexico again)" I said, "Help me get outta this bed! (mind on water gushes again!)" He came running to my side of the bed and pulled me up, "Now what?" "Gimme the phone, I have to call Kris!(our neighbor)" As I waddled to the bathroom with a towel between my legs, I was calling Kris. She was over within about 3 minutes at the most, bless her heart! Now to explain all the drama and panic, my second baby was born within 20 minutes of my water breaking and most of my babies are born within a few hours. My doctor had already told me that if I don't make fast tracks to the hospital if my water breaks, I would be delivering in the car, especially with me only be 34 weeks along (my doc and I had had the discussion just the day before) and doubtlessly would have a pretty small baby. Needless to say, my husband didn't want to be the lucky one to deliver a baby and I had no interest in him being my delivery doctor either! I ran out the door without shoes and we were off! I spent most of the 10 minute drive making phone calls trying to wake SOME family member up so they could go relieve our neighbor since I was sure she had to work. Well, once I got there, the nurses were given strict orders not to do cervical checks unless I felt like I was going to push...we needed to try to get to 12:30pm if possible since I had been given a steroid shot at 12:30 the day before to try to super charge baby's lung development since it looked like the end was nearing to my pregnancy. He said that it needs to be on board for 24 hours for it to be the most effective. I was scheduled to have my 2nd of 2 steroid shots that day but even one shot does a lot of good. By not moving much and unknowingly filling my bladder to it's maximum capacity (I had had IV fluids pumping into me..2 big bags and then 2 bags of antibiotics since they hadn't yet tested me for Group B Strep), baby's progression was stopped (the filled bladder pushes baby's head off the cervix so all the dilation quits). Thankfully we also held off until my doctor had lunch with his wife (a happy doctor makes a good doctor!) and passed the 24 hour mark by 38 minutes. I went from 5 to complete in a matter of minutes and from complete to birth in less than 30 seconds! Gotta love life in the fast lane!!! Again my doctor had me laughing with my last (and only) push by saying, "Oh boy!!! I think we got our dates wrong! It looks like another 9 lb baby!!!" I laughed and said, "Yeah, right!" and pushed out a BEAUTIFUL 6 lb 4.8 oz 19" long baby girl, Isabella!! She struggled to breathe for a little bit, was pretty grunty and was in an oxygen hood for a couple hours at the most, and has breathed on her own since! She since then has spent a couple days on IV fluids for nourishment and an oximeter for watching her oxygen saturation level in her blood. She was in a warmer since premies don't have enough fat to keep warm. She finally was my baby to hold, no strings attached, literally....for a few hours, then onto a bili-bed for jaundice. She is still in the hospital, now trying to gain weight! She is about 5 lbs, 8 ozs right now. I also had my share of drama after the birth. First, right after birth, my bleeding was a little excessive so I got an injection of hemobate to slow bleeding by helping the uterus clamp down. I had no sooner received my huge lasagna dinner, still in the delivery room (I was hungry!) when major nausea hit! Then diarrhea for hours. I finally felt good enough that night to eat, then spiked a temp, ended up on IV antibiotics through the night and oral after that. Then, just after I signed my discharge papers and the nurse was walking out of the room, I felt like I had to go to the bathroom and sat down on the toilet to begin giving birth to a huge, huge blood clot. I couldn't pass it so the doctor came up. Since my hemoglobin was at only 6, my doctor said he couldn't put me under for a D & C (normal range for women is 12-16...my doctor had alread told me that since I was up and walking around he wouldn't do a blood transfusion, although my numbers merited that, but any more excessive bleeding, he might need to transfuse). He couldn't get the clot to pass either so he gave me an IM injection of a narcotic pain med (the lower of the 2 doses he could give cause he said I could stop breathing if I got more) waited about 2 minutes and proceeded to do a dig-out of my uterus (the clot was very hard, very large and stuck to the side of my uterus). I have had one baby without the courtesy of any pain meds and that was a cake walk compared to this!!! I endured the most painful 15-20 minutes of my life, then a few hours later spiked a temp again. I had very puffy eyes, which I learned is called periorbital edema, compliments of the low hemoglobin, which resulted in my eyes leaking fluids, like tears. So I ended up getting another big bag of fluids dumped into me, then a very powerful IV antibiotic then 2 units of packed red blood cells. Now I am feeling much better and am running marathons between the hospital and home, playing mommy to my big brood as much as I can! :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

The "Turd" Word

Tonight when I was typing the "About Me" post (which, after all that typing, I ended up somehow losing and had to retype), my 3-year-old was busy talking and talking to me, hanging on my right arm and trying to poke buttons on the keyboard. Thanks to my martial arts training, I was able to put some of my blocking skills to use and deflect the jabs she was attempting, all the while busily typing. Then she got smart and snuck a finger to the mouse and clicked on something and made some things appear on the screen that shouldn't have appeared there...some box that gave me a lot of choices that I didn't take the time to read. I just decided to get it off the screen quickly before she managed to push the clicker again and with my luck delete the whole blog!!! As I kinda panicked and quickly grabbed the mouse from her, I said, "Oh you little turd!!!" She started laughing so hysterically that she could hardly hold herself up and had to lean her head directly on my right arm, so I was pretty much stuck, unable to type anymore! I just looked at her in total bewilderment until she said, "Say it again!" Then it dawned on me and I asked her, "Oh, are you laughing 'cause I called you a little turd?" to which she just dissolved into unconrollable gales of laughter once again! Needless to say, I started laughing with her...then, as a side note, did my motherly duty and said, "Umm, maybe Mommy should have picked a little better word to use with you, like 'You little turkey!'" Somehow that didn't quite have the same effect on her!

About Me...(something I copied from someone else's blog!)



1. What I was doing 10 years ago...Being Mommy to my first daughter

2. What I was doing 5 years ago...Hmmmm, I can't remember! These are hard questions! I'm still trying to remember yesterday :) I was probably pregnant or something!!! Actually, I wasn't but.......just can't remember!

3. What I was doing 1 year ago...Another hard one. Being a very busy mom. Oh yeah, training for a 10-mile run to see if I thought I could ever pull off a marathon. The marathon I think I will love but all the training would be hard for me just because it takes away from the already precious little time we have as a family. I want to do it at least once though. I had actually just written up my training plan for a marathon this last spring and found out I was pregnant! I think it was my subconscious way of procrastinating the hard training until next spring! :)

4. What I did yesterday...Laid low (am basically on bedrest until my baby's born) with my lovely family, then after everyone went to bed, went for a drive, stopped by one of my best friend's house, then just drove and listened to music just to get a little alone time in!

5. 5 snacks I enjoy...Chocolate, chocolate...oops! I suppose chocolate counts as only one; apples (occasionally I allow myself mmm-mm-m-m-m-m caramel dip); baby spinach; Caribou granola bars; chocolate!!!

6. 5 things I would do if I had 100 Million dollars...pay off our house and get a bigger place with at least 20 acres so I can have a HUGE garden, we have room for the kids to play, explore, build and get filthy dirty without neighbors watching on with raised eyebrows like we would be neglecting our kids (instead of actually allowing them to truly play)...we actually have fabulous neighbors....for the most part, a few of 'em just have different priorities than we have; pay off other debt; give our families (our sibs and parents) each a chunk of it; donate to our church; donate to our schools........WAIT!!! did I run out my 5 options already? I meant to definitely put in SHOPPING!!! New clothes, furniture, and a good 4-wheel drive!

7. 5 places I would run away to...warm and sunny beach resort first with my husband; warm and sunny beach resort with our whole crew; Finland to visit all our dear friends and family we have there (WITH all the kids...sorry crew and passengers on THAT flight! It's a long haul over the ocean); meander the U.S. in an RV with my hubby and kids; and a remote island for about a month for us to really grow to appreciate each other...of course it has to have a good boating area, swimming area, huge sandy beach to play on, nice, cozy and good-sized cabin, fireplace, bonfire pit....

8. 5 bad habits I have...procrastinating, being impatient with our dogs on occasion (I really do love 'em tho'), getting side-tracked too easily, not ever having laundry totally caught up (that probably falls in the procrastination category), and ignoring the phone from time-to-time (just a sanity-preserver)...since I listed 2 that would technically fit under procrastination, I have to add one more: any time I read a grammatical error, be it a typo or punctuation issue, or changing from tense to tense within one sentence, I have this ridiculous urge to pull out a pen and correct it (if it's in a newspaper, magazine, flyer) or click on it and correct it if it's on the computer! I better watch out though because between age and my brain being a few sizes too small for all that I have going on in life, I am just asking for someone to then come after me with their red pen or delete button and point out all the mistakes that I make on a regular basis! :)

9. 5 things I like doing...running, karate, writing, knitting/crocheting, playing piano

10. 5 TV shows I like... easy one! We don't have a TV

11. 5 things I hate doing...dusting!!! writing out bills (which I hate starting but once I get going it's not so bad); going through all the mail we get (bills, junk mail); going through all the paperwork and forms that having a family this size requires (school forms, clinic forms, and the like); and cleaning our vehicles cause there is just SO MUCH STUFF we find in there, and too often they resemble a long-forgotten science specimen!!! (again, once I get going I actually enjoy it...usually!)

12. 5 biggest joys...my kids!!! my husband!!! my sisters/siblings..all of our extended family; new babies; coffee dates with my friends/family (about 95% of the time in one of our homes with our children roaring around in the background)!

Thanks everyone for the fun idea! This is a good way to get to know someone, so if you're reading this, you've been tagged and must post on your blog.GOOD LUCK!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Make Room In The History Books!!!

Ahhh, so nice to have Daddy home! He just has a way to get the girls cheerfully (or sometimes not so cheerfully) helping out! The history in making is that since Daddy's gotten home, for the most part, I've been parked with my feet up or lying in bed and Dad and the girls have been running the show!!! Entirely!
One cheerful tomato dicer....
One cheerful taco salad bowl former....
The Enforcer (and Multitasker): getting the taco salad bowls into oven & browning hamburger...
And one dreamer...wishing she could go past that line! Our rules include one that states, "NO DOGS ALLOWED IN THE KITCHEN!!!" and both dogs know that. Our little Hailey here must have been only fed table foods in her old home because she obsesses about people food all the time! She can smell the ground beef browning for taco salad!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm SUPPOSED to be semi-bedrest!!!

I have a tendency to have my babies a little early...nothing too alarming, but I start to dilate and efface too early and have everyone on the edge of their seats for a few weeks before I have our babies! They have ranged from 8 days to 3 weeks early (and ranged in weights from 7lbs, 15oz to 9 lbs, 8 ozs!! Well, the 3 weights in between were 8lbs, 6oz, 8lbs, 8oz, and 8lbs, 9ozs...all early!!!!) Well, this time is no exception...I am not out to let anyone down here! At 32 weeks, baby was already at station "0", cervix had effaced to about 70% gone, and I had started to dilate already, 1-1 1/2. A week later, the only change is an 80% effacement. Well, needless to say, with 5 lovely cherubs, 2 young dogs and a husband out of town, it's pretty hard to "engage in only extremely light activities" like my doctor has mandated, but I have done relatively well. Tonight though, I was sure I would absolutely drop my baby out! We have a Great Dane "puppy" who is, at about 14 mos. old, over 100 lbs, and a newly adopted Beagle 3-yr-old, who is a relatively adjusted, mentally stable young dog. Our Great Dane is having some male issues of wanting to show he's dominant (he was here first!). It's taken awhile for us to slowly acclimate the 2 dogs to each other but tonight I decided that they are probably used to each other enough to move their crates near each other instead of at opposite ends of the house. Shortly after Hailey, the Beagle, was moved over into Mac's territory, we kenneled (crated) Hailey to let Mac out and about and to get used to the idea that his little buddy was going to be nearer to him than he had been used to. He immediately ran over to her crate, puffed his chest and stood as tall as he could..all the while with his ears plastered back against his head and tail between his legs (in other words, a bit intimidated by her but pretending he was so tough). She barked at him to back off and he took off running to the back of the house to the bedroom Hailey's crate had previously been. He then came out of the bedroom, draining his watermelon-sized bladder all the way down the entire length of the hallway, into the living room, onto the area rug, circling the entire rug (over our kindergartner's new tennis shoes for school) and was busted just as he was depositing the rest of his enormous tank on the rug, then floor right in front of the couch!!! I jumped up faster than any non-pregnant lady could have possibly jumped up and was after him SO fast, yelling, "NOOOOO, MAAAAC!!!!" I RAN down the stairs, with him in close pursuit, all the while fuming!!! "I HATE this DOG stuff that we have to deal with now!!! That's it! The dogs are gone!!!!" (and yes, by tomorrow I probably will like him again). I flew out the door with him to let him finish emptying his super-sized bladder, if there could possibly be anything left in it....only to have him continue to sniff EVERYWHERE for Hailey's scent, as if to say, "Ok, where has she been? Where? WHERE?" and never even bothered to finish peeing out there! He had suddenly decided enough was enough with this little pint-sized female coming in and slowly taking over his territory and decided to really mark his territory!!! My oldest daughter said that it was very clearly no accidental pottying (he had just been out about 1 1/2-2 hours before and definitely holds it longer than that!); she said that the entire time he was flowing, he was sniffing, sniffing, sniffing for Hailey's scent. I think he marked the rug extra well because he considers that his rug and she had been spending an awful lot of time on it lately!!! I mean, this is a very well house-trained dog and rarely has accidents. Now I am so sore! It feels like I've pulled a thigh muscle as well as lowered my abdominal range even lower...didn't think it was possible for this baby to be any lower but I think all that running caused the uterus to force its way a few more inches down!!! Yikes am I going to be in trouble if I go into labor so soon (I'm now 33 1/2 weeks). Let's all cross our fingers and toes that I hang in there for another 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 weeks still!!! :)

Oh NO!!! I did it AGAIN!!!

Today I went over to my husband's oldest brother's and his wife's home for lunch. My husand's youngest brother was visiting with his wife and their young son. None of us had seen their baby yet since they live in another state so this was their first trip back here since the baby was born. I was just relaxing and visiting..I had only one of my kids with because the other four were still in school so I was truly relaxed, when my father-in-law asked, "So, where is Eric now?" I stopped and did the brain freeze, "Uh, oh! Here's The Question again! I purposely drilled it into my head too, when I just talked to him...was it last night?" I quickly unfroze and said, "Ummm, Nebraska!!" I was kinda proud that I remembered, instead of trying the Tennessee thing again! Then I thought, "No! I purposely was gonna remember 'hamburger' so I would remember! " "No! It was Iowa! Hamburg, Iowa! Now I remember! He flew into Nebraska City, Nebraska, is staying in a hotel in Omaha, Nebraska and works in Hamburg, Iowa!" Now I was sailing!!! ;) Not even 10 minutes later when the younger brother arrived, the first thing he asked me was, "Now where did Eric go again?" Teeny, teeny brain freeze, then, "Nebraska!!!" His oldest brother (I didn't even know he was listening) pipes in, with a smirk, "Now, you just told us Iowa!" I had this tiny blank pause in my brain, then remembered! "Oh, yeah! Oops! He is staying in a hotel in Nebraska...Omaha, to be exact, and working in Hamburg, Iowa!" Then tonight when I talked to my husband again, I told him, pretty proudly, "Honey, I finally got it right! I told your family that you're working in Hamburg, Iowa, you flew into Nebraska City, Nebraska, and you are staying in a hotel in Omaha!!!" He just replied, "Flew into Omaha and am staying in Nebraska City!" I just had to laugh and say, "Well, I'm getting closer!!!" What do you do? I have so many other things to remember.....