Happy Birthday Griffin!

10 Apr

GriffinGriffin turned 9 this weekend!!! Being 9 is difficult. Poor kid vacillates between acting very mature and struggling to control his emotions.  One minute he’s acting so responsible and a few minutes later he is having a temper tantrum about his brother eating chips that are crunchy.  The crunching noise drives Griffin crazy as does Nora eating with her mouth open, and the sound of spoons hitting teeth.  Jeans are the anti-Christ, a torture device invented by some cruel individual. Homework is something to hide/bury/feed to your dog.

On the other hand, I catch him running around and chasing his sister with giggles abounding. He tolerates his siblings hanging out when he has friends over to play.  He can cook ramen noodles and mac and cheese by himself and run the microwave to reheat things.  He likes to rock hunt and go on adventures outside.  Legos are his favorite toy and he builds some amazing creations.

IMG_1691

Happy birthday kiddo!  It doesn’t seem possible that it was 9 years ago that you made your dramatic entry into the world followed by your desire to eat every 15 minutes.  I don’t feel old enough to have a 9 year old!!!

Things I forgot about newborns

19 Feb

Maybe my memories about infanthood have been repressed?  I don’t know, but I’m suddenly remembering all these things about newborns again. For example:

They have “The Knack”.  As soon as you pull that diaper away from their behind, the feces and urine start flowing. Boys can hit things 6 feet away. Hopefully your face is not in the crossfire. Similarly, through some complicated infantile biofeedback system that is not yet fully understood, a clean dry diaper results in immediate poop.  Then there is the uncanny ability that babies have to soak their bedding and clothing with pee, while not wetting their diaper at all.

Infants also have a sixth sense that allows them to optimize their meal time interruptions. Crying, pooping, and any other disturbance that prevents the parents from eating their food while still hot are acceptable per infant code.

All older children look like giant bobble headed aliens. How did these once tiny beings become so humungous? Is it even feasible that these beasts once squeezed through someone’s lady bits?

Breasts are weapons when your milk comes in.  Be careful, you could take someone’s eye out with those things.  Not only that, but also you can generate milk by just looking at the baby and suddenly, before you know it, you are in a wet t-shirt contest that you never intended.

At about 4 weeks postpartum you hit the “OMG is that a dead raccoon in my shower drain?” but really it’s just your own hair coming out in clumps.

No, I didn’t go to the salon to get French tips, that’s just Desitin under my fingernails.

Some husbands (not naming any names here *cough* Jeff) may mistake babies crying for their alarm going off and may attempt to silence those cries by hitting the snooze button several times a night.

But, you know, it’s all worth it. And I’d do it all over again. And again. x4.

IMG_1514

Mediocre Mom of 4 Severely Average Kids

30 Jan

So I had a baby.  She’s dang cute.

IMG_1373

Birth was yet another experience that re-affirmed when you are dealing with kids, whatever you think something is going to be like, it’s invariably not that.

When I was pregnant with Griffin, I planned an unmedicated water birth. I got an emergency c-section almost immediately upon arrival at the hospital. He had to be resuscitated upon birth. It turned out that his cord was wrapped around his neck four times.

With Sawyer, I hoped for an unmedicated VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section). My water broke 2.5 weeks early but I didn’t start labor so I ended up with pitocin, an epidural and 18 hours of labor in the hospital. My biggest regret was that I didn’t get the epidural sooner! I loved the anesthesiologist.

I figured that my labor with Nora was going to take a while since Sawyer’s was so long. However, I ended up dialted to 6 cm when I got to the hospital and I was still not experiencing any pain. When the pain started, I got an epidural immediately, figuring that I didn’t want to suffer unnecessarily expecting that it would be a while. Nora came flying out before the midwife was even ready in one push 30 minutes later.

Since Nora went so quickly and with very little pain, I thought baby number four might end up being one of those babies born on the side of the highway if I wasn’t careful. I thought if things progressed quickly I could go without pain meds this time. However, my water broke at 6pm, without labor really starting, so it ended up taking quite a while. At first the slow progression was fine, it gave Jeff and I a chance to finally agree upon a name. Then it started to hurt. At one point I was so sure it was time have the baby and start pushing that I made the nurse check to see how far dilated I was. Sadly, I was only dilated to 4 cm. That was when I realized this wasn’t going to be so easy after all. I sat in the bathtub hoping the hot water would help me, but the pain was too much so I got the epidural. The anesthesiologist is one of my favorite people now. Eventually it was time to push. It hurt and it was lots of work. I was thankful for the epidural. Violet Anne was born at 5:03 on December 31st. She weighed 6 lbs 10 oz and was 19 3/4 inches.

I have been told that I should change the name of my blog, but that sounds like entirely too much work.  Instead of doing all that work, here’s some pictures of adorableness.  Enjoy baby Violet.

IMG_1475

IMG_1488IMG_1452

Incoherence

23 Oct

11:00 pm  Zombie noises from the kids’ room. Sawyer moaning, something about his arm not being covered by the blanket. Cover back up, go back to bed.

12:00 am  “Mom. Mom. MOOOOOMMMMMMM!” Sawyer says his head hurts. Attempt to give tylenol. Kid gags on liquid purple goo and spits it everywhere. Attempt to catch it all with my hand so I don’t have to try to clean the sticky mess up later. And the kid is already wearing his clothes for tomorrow.  It’s easier to dress him before bed than in the morning. Hopefully I wiped up most of the purple goo before it got on everything. Cover kid back up and hope that this is the last time for the night.

1:00 am  More zombie noises. Get up. Noise stops before I make it to the room. Lay back down. More moaning, maybe it’ll stop on it’s own. Please god let it stop. It doesn’t stop. Get back up. Don’t want moaning kid to wake up other two sleeping kids. Yes, they all share the same room. Don’t ask, it is a long story. Ask Sawyer what is wrong. Mumbles. Struggles with blankets. More mumbling. Kid, what do you want? The answer I get is “star”. Then he rolls over and quiets. Back to bed for me.

2:00 am  More grumbles, moaning, and zombie noises. Sawyer is up AGAIN. Try to ignore it and hope it goes away. No such luck. What is wrong now Sawyer? Mumble, mumble, something about the blanket not being in the right spot. Mumble, mumble, pantomime, wave arms. Thrash, thrash, wave arms, mumble, mumble. I cover him back up and he settles. Please god, let me sleep.

Finally, I get a 4 hour stretch of sleep before Jeff’s alarm clock goes off. It is going to be a long day.

An announcement?

23 Sep

So I guess I was supposed to make some big elaborate announcement.

I’m pregnant. It’s a girl.

I guess that as soon as I knew, I was supposed to post some picture of a bun in an oven and see if anyone could figure out what I was referencing. Or I could have just gone straight forward and posted a picture of some pee on a stick with a plus sign. I’ve heard that friends on Facebook really, really like to see pictures of other people’s pee.

Now that we know it’s a girl, I guess I need some pink balloons to release. Or a cake with pink icing on the inside. Better yet, I could have gotten one of those paintings on my big pregnant belly showing that it’s a girl. You know, something like this:

Pregnant woman with painted belly

But pinker.

It’s really just not my style though. Even with my first kid I didn’t go that overboard. I just told people. “Hey, guess what? I’m pregnant!”. That’s pretty much as elaborate as you are going to get from me. Now this poor baby already has 4th child syndrome. She’ll be lucky if she gets any pictures take of her, blah, blah, blah. She’ll probably be scarred for life because I never did some big announcement. If you’ve seen me lately, well, I guess you already know I’m pregnant since I’m 25 weeks already. If you haven’t seen me lately, well, here is your big announcement.

 

Sage Advice

19 Sep

My whole life, I’ve always felt like a round peg in a square hole. Somehow, when I’m with my dad’s side of the family, I feel like I fit right in.  My relatives are, well, an interesting bunch. I had the chance to catch up with them this weekend when we attended my cousin’s wedding. Let me describe a few of the gang so you can get a feel for how the night went.

Uncle T:

  • Has had a hearing disability since he was a kid so he went to a school for the deaf to learn to read lips. As long as you face him, you can carry on a conversation. He’s an organic dairy farmer, and well, a hippy down to the core.
  • Married to my aunt D happily for probably 40 some years, although they each live in their own house. They still go out on dates.
  • Kid 1- Stayed home to milk the cows, runs the farm with his dad.
  • Kid 2- Career focused and environmentally friendly. She goes to alternative energy fairs in her spare time and is passionate about vermicomposting. Yup, vermicomposting. Never heard of it? Well, she has a bin full of worms in her basement that she feeds fruit and vegetable scraps and then uses the compost in her garden.
  • Kid 3- Loves working on trucks and is a proud supporter of the right to bear arms. He wore a tuxedo t-shirt under his dress shirt which he took off when he hit the dance floor. He also waxed philosophically about how he’s 32 and single and sad he’s never going to have kids of his own as he continually rubbed my pregnant belly.
  • Kid 4- Fellow animal lover who just bought a 2 seat convertible just because and treats her dog like she is human.

Aunt K:

  • Music teacher and master of refinishing and re-upholstering furniture.  Mother of the groom.
  • Kid 1: Came home for the wedding via 4 different flights because she took a job as a math teacher in a city/country in Africa that i can never remember the name of. Ogadabago or something. I supposed I could google it. She’s also the swim coach there even though she never swam competitively.
  • Kid 2: Groom. Is a distributor of fine wines. Wore a polka dot bow tie and suspenders at the wedding. Took dance lessons as a kid.

Aunt S:

  • Paralegal who likes meditate in her free time. Believes in a higher purpose for all things. For her 59th birthday we went snow tubing for the day and then snow shoed a candlelight 5K that night.
  • Kid 1- Two time Iraq war Veteran, loves to ice fish, and has crazy red hair. Likes to make omelets to order and makes a mean hash brown.
  • Kid 2-  RN who works with teenage pregnant women, speaks fluent Spanish, is vegetarian-ish.

Father B:

  • Enlisted in the Navy for 4 years. Always had a huge vegetable garden. Great at baking bread and pies. Is a contractor, hunts and fishes in his spare time.
  • Married to my mom for 46? 47? years. Still grabs her ass when in public and talks about sex. Eww.
  • Kid 1- Teacher of 1st graders. Married to a sports lover and has 2 kids similar in ages to mine.
  • Kid 2- Me!

I’ve got another Aunt with 2 sons who were unable to make it so I’ll spare you their descriptions.

My parents and I sat at a round table with a few of my cousins. We enjoyed a lovely salad and bread and were waiting for our dinner when my dad went over, put his arm around my cousin, and started giving her unsolicited advice. This is nothing new for my dad, he has more opinions than anyone I know and well, his tact is lacking to say the least. Last summer, he asked me at least two times “Are you pregnant or just getting fat” and when I was a teenager with acne “What’s that on your face” more times than I’d like to reminisce about.

“You know what you need? You need to get laid.” Of course this was said in his extremely loud dad voice during a fairly quite time during the reception. I’m sure everyone around us heard him.

Then after the Best Man and Maid of Honor gave their toasts, my dad tried to grab the microphone. The groom looked at my aunt with fear and asked if he should let him have it. My aunt said no! My dad persevered, so they let him talk. We were all dreading what he would say next. He’s also been known to burst into song, but that wouldn’t come until later. Thankfully he just said something heartfelt about welcoming the new members to the family.

At one point, my aunts, uncles, and cousins got dragged up to the front to sing a song to the bride. It was a song that my grandma always used to sing, so it was kinda sweet. At least there was no talk of getting laid.

My husband took the evening as an opportunity to harass two of my cousins’ significant others. He demanded that they bring a proposal to Christmas detailing their intentions and when they expect they will propose. They have been dating for quite a while, I guess he decided it’s time to put the pressure on? As folks in my family would say “Shit or get off the pot”.

One of the significant others heard that the groom used to tap dance, so they are now on a quest to find some size 10 tap shoes so he can perform for us at Christmas. It should be a good time.

My cousins drank and danced all night long until we shut the place down. We spent the night at my cousin who “needs to get laid” since she lives nearby. By we, I mean my aunt S who slept in the yard in her tent, my parents who brought their own air mattress and slept next to the washer and dryer because they thought it would be quiet in there, three cousins, one significant other, Jeff, and I. The following morning, we had breakfast complete with bloody marys for those who needed them. We reminisced about the events of the night before and my dad’s fantastic advice. As we chatted, my cousin revealed some sage advice that I can’t get out of my mind. This wonderful gem comes from my aunt D.

Three rules for life:

  • Never pass by a bathroom
  • Don’t trust a fart
  • Never pass up a hard on

On that note, I’ll leave you. I hope you all have family with which you can feel like you are your true self. And help you find a hard on?

 

A Million Little Things

14 Aug

A friend was pondering today over why some marriages work and others don’t. It turned into an interesting conversation.

What causes divorce? Is there a singular cause or event? Is it the self centered nature of humans? Is it immaturity?

Marriages fail for a variety of reasons. Some marriages seem destined to fail before they even get started. In some cases people choose their partners poorly. Certain situations may cause a person to feel stuck and lacking options. One may see the flaws in their partner but think that they can save them, reform them, or change them. In other cases, the partners do not respect each other or even verbally or physically abuse one another. And of course, infidelity is another cause for divorce.

Perhaps it is easier to explain what makes a marriage work instead of what makes one fail. For a marriage to be successful, both individuals need to be able and willing to put the needs of their partner and family above their own needs.

My friend returned from a weekend long religious conference on being a submissive wife. GASP! Submission??? What sort of a conference is this? In this day and age of feminism, who even believes in this sort of thing?

If you know me at all, you know that I need to feel that my voice is heard and my opinions are considered. Being submissive to anyone anywhere is the polar opposite of my personality. I’ve been challenging authority since I was a kid. The word submission makes me cringe.

I attempted to put my gut reaction to the word submission aside and listen to what my friend’s conference was all about. One explanation she made actually struck a cord with with me. She said that if a husband consistently and continually puts the needs of his wife and family above his own needs and wants in both his actions and behaviors, then a wife can comfortably submit to whatever his will may be. Without complete trust in your spouse, submission can not occur.

Aha! This actually makes sense to me. I could never feel completely controlled by someone nor could I let someone make all the decisions for me. I have seen marriages in which this works, it just isn’t something that I could handle. But when I trust that Jeff has our family’s well being in mind and is not making selfish decisions, I can agree to go along with plans that I would not normally consider. This in and of itself is growth for me. I can trust that he is making a decision that will be beneficial to our family.

When a person is self centered, instead of thinking of what is best for their spouse or family, they think about what they enjoy, what is fun, what they need. They spend their time focusing on their career, making or spending money, or hobbies. While it is not inherently wrong to focus on these things, the problem lies on the consequences. If one is going to have fun golfing with some buddies at the expense of spending time with one’s family, that is a problem. If advancing one’s career comes at a cost to one’s spouse due to the extra stresses placed on them, that is a problem. If one shops excessively or makes poor money choices impacting their family’s ability to pay bills, that is a problem.

Just like creating a healthy body, creating a healthy marriage requires everything in moderation. It is healthy to have ambitions, hobbies, and friends. Going out for a drink with friends every now and then is a great stress reliever. When things go to an extreme, it usually causes an imbalance in the marriage and causes turmoil.

What makes a marriage fail? It doesn’t happen overnight. It is a slow erosion, like rain on a mountain over millions of years, washing the rock down the valley until eventually the mountain crumbles. It’s a million little things. It’s disrespecting your spouse. Rude comments. Negative attitude. Lack of intimacy. Not spending enough time together. Verbal abuse. Lacking communication. Putting your needs above your spouse’s.

What makes a marriage successful? It doesn’t happen overnight. It is a slow building, like the creation of an anthill, each ant moving one grain of earth at a time. It’s a million little things. It’s a complement. Holding hands. Compromising. Listening well. Asking for opinions. Helping without being asked. Tolerating the quirks. Date nights. Talking over dinner. Taking turns. Sharing. Sex. Doing things you don’t want to because your spouse does.

In short, marriage is hard work. But it is so worthwhile. A million little things sounds like a formidable task, but start small. How about one little thing today and another little thing tomorrow?