Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Brighter Days

After a very long weekend and quite a few tears we got some great news yesterday! My hormone levels are well within range and climbing as they are supposed to be. AMEN! I still feel like I'm having a period which worries me but at least for now we are celebrating. I'm afraid to get too excited and and crash if something happens, but for now we are excited again. Every twinge is nerve wrecking. I have a doctor's appointment on January 6th. Hopefully then we can hear a heartbeat or at least get some more reassuring news from the doctor.
For now I'm counting this among my blessings. All is well and I can breathe again.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sadness

I've had a miscarriage at 7 weeks. I haven't gotten the "confirmation" from the doctor but I know it has happened. I've gone from spotting to bleeding. I go in Saturday for another blood test to check hormone levels. At this point I'm just going through the motions.
All that I have done today is go through the motions. I have to believe in my heart that this is for the best. I have to know that this baby was not healthy and was not strong enough. That does not lessen the grief. I have been useless today. Empty. It's Christmas Eve and a horrible time to have to go through this. While we should be celebrating there is an air of sadness to me. I can't help it. I'm missing something. There is something missing in me. Quite literally. While it has only been a couple weeks we have been so excited. We have been congratulated. We have made plans and appointments. There is hope an joy in bring in a new life. Losing that is wrapped in the ultimate sadness. I can't seem to take a full breath. I can't concentrate. Doug has been working all day and I'm lonely. I've been lost in my own house.
I will be OK. I know that. I am sad but not devastated. Eventually this funk will pass.
Today I am sad.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Today I Am Thankful!

Today I am thankful.
I try to remember everyday to be thankful for the life I am blessed to have. Some days are harder than others. Sometimes I do not remember that the things I struggle with are what make me who I am and are the tools I can use to become a little better every day. Sometimes I am high on how ridiculously happy I am.
Today I am thankful.
I am thankful to wake up to the sound of rain on my windows. It reminds me that the place I live in is green and lush and beautiful. The rain will cleanse the air and keep it cool when I have a house full of people today.
I am thankful for Fiona waking up in the middle of the night because it shows she is healthy and knows that whatever the problem Mama will fix it.
I am thankful for attitude from teenagers because they have learned freedom of expression. We're still working on self control but that will come.
I am thankful for 10 year olds who are independent because she is learning how to be her own person. And that person is amazing.
I am thankful for snoring dogs because they show us love and compassion and how to selflessly take care of another being.
I am thankful for family being here because it shows me how much people change and grow up and how we all become different people in our lives.
I am thankful for 27 people for dinner because it shows me we are loved and have an abundance.
I am thankful for my husband teasing me about inviting most of Pierce County because it shows me that he appreciates me for who I am and loves me with all that he is.
I am thankful for wonderful friends who tell my children "Help your mom, you know she won't ask for it even though she needs it" because she understands me.
I am thankful for my ex husband because he has made the decisions in his own life that has allowed my children to all be together today.
I am thankful for coffee because dear Lord it is going to be a LONG day.
Today I am thankful.

Blessings to you my loved ones, friends and family alike. Blessings to those of you who irritate the hell out of me because you deserve them to.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Firmly Rooted Transplant

It hit me the other day that while I may be a "transplant" I have dug my roots firmly in here in Washington.
I still miss California. I miss the 70 degree winters and the blue skies. I miss the freeways and the open spaces and the billion different options for everything. I just miss the way it feels. It's difficult to explain unless you've grown up somewhere else and then moved. Everything just feels different.
I find I've got this funny mix of southern California and Washington going on in my head. I don't own an umbrella and I'm still trying to wear flip flops in December any time the sun comes out like there's a chance it isn't 40 degrees outside. I know every place in a 25 mile radius that has great tacos and horchata and expects to find a coffee place at least every block.
I miss the warm sandy beaches.
I'm amazed by this place still. I've never known the sky to be so blue, when it finally shows itself from behind the clouds. The summers are amazing and you will never, ever see so many different shades of green anywhere else. Spring is crisp and clean and pink. When the sun and the rain get equal billing everything explodes in color and comes alive again. This time of the year the trees are turning red and gold and the scenery changes almost daily. It's picturesque most days and I'm struck with how beautiful this place is and how lucky I am to live here. OK the winters suck. There's no way for me to gloss over that. I still can't get past the winters - I'm still a California girl at heart. There's only so much you can change. ;)
But for now I'm enjoying where I live. I need a sweatshirt and a latte' and I'm happy. I'll be complaining about the weather soon enough!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Simple Truths

A few years ago for one reason or another I jotted down a few simple truths I like to live by. While my mind wandered away from me at some point today I remembered this and went to go find them. I don't know why I did either but it bears repeating. My life is so different than it was in June 2005 I wanted to see if I felt differently about anything. There isn't one that I would change and only one that no longer applies (and I opted to leave out)

  1. Good enough isn't.
  2. The measure of a person isn't in their words, but their actioins.
  3. Any woman going to the bar alone is only looking for one thing.
  4. There isn't much that could go wrong that can't be fixed by something expensive - or chocolate
  5. There is very little a man can do that can't be fixed by a little blue box (if you don't know where the little blue box comes from, it's best you stay out of trouble. or ask.)
  6. Know when to keep your mouth shut and your head down.
  7. Know when to open your mouth and keep your head up.
  8. Know where all the exits are.
  9. Say your sorry. Especially when you're right. Harsh words sting the one who was wrong the most.
  10. A lady doesn't need to wear a watch. All important events will be announced.
  11. Be on time. Tardyness is just plain rude.
  12. Don't apologize for who you are. If someone doesn't like you, it's their problem.
  13. Don't expect someone else to applogize for who they are. You don't have to like them.
  14. Don't be rude if you can help it.
  15. Sometimes nice doesn't work. But be nice until it doesn't.
  16. Anyone who says money isn't important has never had it, or been completely without it.
  17. Anyone who says they wouldn't do XYZ for any amount of money has never been offered the right amount.
  18. Love is a gift. Receive it as one. Give it as one.
  19. Trusting someone is knowing that they won't fuck-up when it counts.
  20. Loyalty is one of the most important things.
  21. Faith is believing in something you can't prove to be right.
  22. Learn from your mistakes. Even if you make them again.
  23. Learn from the mistakes of others. Even if they make the same ones again.
  24. Forgive.
  25. Most things can be let go. Most things should be.
  26. Tomorrow is another day.
  27. Make today matter.
  28. The state of your house is a direct reflection of your life.
  29. Never underestimate the healing power of cleaning.
  30. or a good cry.
  31. or a stiff drink.
  32. Dogs and kids know when we need love better than we do. Always let one in your lap.
  33. Never ask for more than you are willing to give.
  34. Never bet more than you can afford to loose.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Arise

Let me start out by saying that music is one of my very favorite things in the whole world. There are few other things that can move you like music. It makes you feel. It makes you think. There's a song for every mood. I have CD's I haven't listened to since my divorce because the lyrics are still too sharp. There are songs that I will listen to over and over because they bring me joy or remind me of something beautiful and wonderful. To hear these things live and watch the people blessed with this gift is one of the most wonderful things. It is something I have not done enough of over the years.
Last week Allie and I went to her first concert. What started out as a free acoustic show we won on the radio turned into tickets for the show that night. We were really excited as we both really like Flyleaf. I was looking forward to taking Allie and showing her what I love about live music.
This was so much more than I expected.
The "pre-show" was sponsored by the radio station and was the lead singer Lacey and the guitarist Sameer playing a short acoustic set for about 15 people. They came out and sat down and said hello. Lacey looked a little nervous. With eyes closed and wringing hands the voice that came out of this tiny woman blew me away. I've heard Flyleaf on the radio and at full volume in my car and was not prepared for the power behind the song. (I had to laugh a little when Allie noticed she was singing with gum still in her mouth.) The recordings of Lacey's voice do not do it justice - it doesn't allow it to resonate through your bones like it did in this small room. All I could think while watching her was that we were witness to something personal and intimate. There is real, raw emotion behind the songs. My first impression was that she was a musician - not a performer. Performing was part of it. Intimate gatherings like this one are part of the job. The joy is the music. The passion is the music. Here is this tiny woman with this huge voice sharing this with us. She's nervous. I would be nervous about baring my soul that way, too.
We got a chance to meet Lacey and Sameer after the show and get a picture and an autograph. They were nice and the kind of people you could sit down and have a coffee with. They were approachable and that was great. It might have had a bit to do with the fact that Allie is a head taller than Lacey. Allie was beside herself. How COOL was this!?
We wandered around around Seattle for a few hours. Had a coffee and a snack. Allie got the heck scared out of her by the Monk fish at the fish market. Really, the funniest thing I have seen in a while. They heard her scream 6 shops down. We had a good time and connected. It was nice to spend time together.
We stood in line with about 100 of our new best friends. From the look on Allie's face Christmas was waiting inside. All dark and punk-rock and loud - but Christmas still. She didn't know what to expect but she knew it was shiny and awesome! Once we got in she was all anticipation and energy. She kept asking what time it was and how long until it started. We ended up waiting a half hour past what the expected start time was. It was a concert, what can you expect.
It was worth the wait. My earlier impression was blown out of the water.
What I took as a nervousness seemed now a struggle to hold back the power and the passion in the song. What appeared now was a voice, a need, a power that was difficult to contain in such a small package. She practically burst. The accompaniment of the guitars and drums added to the feeling. It was whole. The package was complete. Her voice could only be complimented by the musicians she played with. Their music could only be lifted by her voice. The energy was explosive. I will definitely follow them for as long as they are able to share this amazing gift with us. Add to the talent a positive message and I'm hooked. "Arise and be all that you dream. Encourage each other and remember to sing over each other, over your family, and over yourself. Arise and be all that you dream".
Their newest album , Momento Mori, came out on Tuesday. Yes, we already have it and have listened to it. More than once. I had to load it on my ipod so that I have a hope of getting to listen to it and don't have to hunt down where Allie has hid it.
I hope this is able to foster the budding musician in Allie. Or at the very least will add to her love of music. Music is how Allie and I connect. I'm glad we were able to share this experience. If "alternative" is your thing, I definitely suggest you RUN to get your copy. NOW. What are you still doing here?


Arise and be all that you dream
Encourage each other
and remember to sing over each other
over your family
and over yourself
Arise and be all that you dream

Monday, November 2, 2009

23 for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just over 3 weeks away I am in full planning mode. I love Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday. It wasn't always, but it is now.
I had to remind my introverted husband the other day that he loves me and does so for who I am as I revealed that at this point, without everyone invited coming or confirmed, we are at 23 for dinner.
"23?!?!?!?!"
*GRIN* "Yup!"
"23? Really?"
"So far"
"23 - So far? How many people did you invite?"
"Everybody"
Everybody is invited for dinner. It's Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is great. Thanksgiving is easy. Even for 23. Or more.
I have so very much to be thankful for that I have come to embrace Thanksgiving. I love all that the holiday stands for. As an adult I have learned that it is not the re-enactment of history that our school system would lead us to believe. I know that we are not celebrating the coming together of two peoples because of a common goal. We have moved past celebrating the actual harvest. What we are celebrating is being thankful for what the year has given to us. If you believe that you will reap what you sow then this is the time to be thankful for those things. I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a good life and a good family. I am loved. I have people to love. My daughters and husband are healthy. My house is warm. I have food in my cupboards and friends to spend time with. I have inconsequential things to bitch about. Life is GOOD and I am THANKFUL! So yes, bring on the people and the food and fill my house to the rafters with laughter and love!!
This is not my grandmother's Thanksgiving. We will eat at noon-ISH. You can come in your jammies if you wish. If you feel like you would like to bring something bring it. If you don't or you can't then come anyway. This is the one day of the year I feel like having someone say Grace before the meal. Richard, this is your gig by the way. Dinner is buffet style and "excuse me" and "can you scoop me some of that, too" and lots of elbows and hands reaching and people together enjoying the day. This is 23 (or more) people being thankful together. I'm looking forward to those who can "just drop in for a minute" and for those who can stay all day.
For reasons I'm not quite sure of the girls are not going to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving this year. I'm excited that they will be here with us but I am sad for them that they will miss out on this with their father. Allie asked me if I would let their dad come for Thanksgiving. I think I surprised her when I said that yes, he would be welcome here. Of course. Absolutely. She surprised me even more when she invited him! I'm not sure what he told her but I'm sure he declined. I did explain that what ever reason they had for not bringing them to him for Thanksgiving would also prevent him from coming here. I am glad to see that the spirit of the holiday is with her. It's about family and those that you love. He is our family and is welcome.
I hope 23 is not our final number. I hope to see many more people that day. If you can make it - great! If you can not I hope you enjoy where you are for the day.

Does anyone have any extra chairs? ;-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Believe In Angels

I believe in angels. I believe that babies are angels. Anyone that has ever had a child I think will agree with me. They teach us patience, kindness, laughter, and how to find joy in the little things. The fact that a baby is born at all is itself a miracle. Sometimes babies grow out of their angel wings and sometimes they do not.

When I was a baby my parents had a son. He lived for 6 days. While I was visiting my mom this past weekend she gave me the information on where he is buried. My little family is dwindling and she felt that it was important that I have this information.
I remember going with her as a child. She went every year on his birthday. I always new this was a time to be quiet and be gentle. I remember the view. I remember the flags blowing in the wind. Most of all I remember my mom crying - but not really understanding. I remember wishing he had lived so she wouldn't cry and so that I would have someone to play with.
Eventually my mom stopped going to the cemetery. She got to a point where she felt it was OK and was able to stop. Since she had passed the information on to me I felt compelled to go. It was time. It was my responsibility. I should go at least once. I would pick up some flowers and leave them. I would say a prayer and take a moment.
I was not prepared.
I didn't really have trouble finding the area called "Baby Land". Even without the carefully written information I could have found the plot. I knew where I was and where I was going. I stopped the car, rolled down the window in case Fiona woke up, got out and walked four plots in.
I kneeled down, ran my fingers over the stone, set the flowers down and started to cry. I said "I'm sorry little one. I'm sorry your little body was not strong enough" and I cried. I looked around and I felt the wind and heard the absolute silence. There was no sound of traffic, no birds, and no other voices. I saw some of the stones around me, some of them with only one date on it. And I cried harder.
As a mother I cried.
For my mother I cried.
I kneeled in this place surrounded by angels and sobbed. I don't know how long I sat there before I could stop long enough to even catch my breath.
I ran my hand over the stone again and said a silent Thank You to the person who takes care of that place. There was not a blade of grass out of place and there was not a single scratch on his stone. I couldn't figure out how to stick the flowers in the ground. I felt inept. Eventually I just laid them on top and left. I had to sit in my car and try to gain my composure. I had to call a friend to be able to do that enough to drive.
I will go back. As often as I am in town I will go back. I have not even been able to get through writing this without crying but I will go back. When it is time I will pass this knowledge on to my children so that there is always someone who knows where this particular angel's body was laid to rest.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mommy Groups

Fiona and I attended our first Mommy Group meet up yesterday. Nothing fancy, we met at a local Starbucks and then walked the Enumclaw trail. It was about 2 hours and was deeply needed. The weather couldn't have been better. I do love this time of year in Washington. Despite sleep deprivation from the night before Fiona was all smiles and managed to stay awake for the entire time. I think she enjoyed seeing the other kids. I know I enjoyed the activity and social time.
I'm not good at meeting new people. For a very long time I have always had the same group of friends and had a hard time going out of that comfort zone. I like meeting new people, I'm just not very good at getting out there and doing it. I think this Mommy Group thing will be good for me and for Fiona. We don't really get much social time in and it's starting to be a problem with Fiona. She's very clingy to me and doesn't really want to go to anyone else. This includes her Papa and I know that is hard on him. But, I am all she sees and has during the day and I get a little anxious sometimes, too. So in an effort not to make the baby as batty as the Mama we're out to make new friends!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In a Million Words or Less...

Allie came home from school today I asked her "do you have any homework?". She said "No, but YOU do!". She was really excited about this fact like she was somehow able to shed some of the daily responsibility of being a kid on the first adult to ask.
So here's my homework:
Please help me get to know your student by using the page below to tell me about your student in ONE MILLION WORDS OR LESS.
Crap.
How do I do this? This is for Allie - my magical, silly, intense Allie. If you've ever spent any real time with Al you know how difficult this is. She is my most complex child. She is in this horrible middle stage where she's not yet a teenager but not quite a little kid anymore. She's on the cusp of something big but doesn't know just what it is yet. She has changed a lot in the last couple years and it has been a trying time for all of us. Once she was a shy quiet child that didn't make friends easily. It has been a blessing to watch as she has come out of her shell and started to be social. She has a great personality. She's actually pretty damn funny. We're slowly having to learn what is fun, what is funny and what can be rude and disrespectful. She wants to help, but sometimes for selfish reasons. Which is not in itself a bad thing. However, she's also learning how to manipulate which worries me. We had a lot of problems last year. I think it was harder with her than it would've been with the other girls because I know how loving and awesome she can be. To see that ugly side of her was devastating.
Allie is painfully stubborn. When she sets her sights on something there is no deterring her. She will get it by any means necessary. I can only pray that we are able to channel this energy and use this for good.
We learned last year that if she doesn't want to do something there is nothing in creation that will motivate her to do it. She is willing to take whatever punishment we can dish out.
But there is the beautiful magical side of Allie. There is the part of her that lights up a room and can take the center of attention without trying. She's fun to be around and can really motivate others better than any of the other kids.
She is passive and shy and quiet and can move through the world like a charging bull.
When Doug and I first started dating she watched quietly and made up her mind about him. There was no convincing her. She stood back and came to her own conclusions. She does that with everything. Give her the information and she will put it together.
She has made me strive to be a better mom.
She has made me be more patient and learn to keep my cool.
I am looking forward to seeing the adult she will become. Looking at her now there is no way to predict what the future will hold for her. It will be where ever the wind takes her fancy. The life she will lead will be exciting and I pray that the person she chooses to spend it with can hold on and keep up.
I'm guessing this is not what the teacher has in mind.
She studies hard, is distracted easily and has difficulty turning in her homework. She is willing to put in extra work when she's not getting a concept but is reluctant to ask questions. She is eager to please and likes to help out with classroom activities - You'll never be short of volunteers. If your patience can take it you'll be blessed to have Allie as part of your class.
There, that's better.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Top 7 Ways to Have an Unnecessary C-Section

I found this while poking around on various pregnancy/childbirth websites and found it amusing so I thought I'd share. (I need to just get it over with and get my childbirth educator/doula certification)

re-posted from this site.

7. Go the hospital in the early phases of labor. Get there realllly early so you feel a lot pressure to perform, even though you know that labor is usually a slow process. The earlier the better so you can get tagged with ‘failure to progress’ and get started with a series of medical interventions that’ll often end in a c-section.

6. Don’t eat or drink during a long labor. Just wear yourself out completely and then complain loudly of fatigue. This will up your chances of medical personnel suggesting the solution.

5. Get an amniotomy too soon. Once they burst your bubble you’re now on the clock for a cesarean. If you manage to move along at a snail’s pace you’re sure to end up under the knife!

4. Accept pitocin to induce or stimulate contractions. Since fetal distress is associated with the drug, you’ll have to have continuous electronic fetal heart monitoring which will immobilize you. Good call! The less you move around the better – that’s sure to slow the train. Plus, the drug-induced contractions are so strong you’ll be screaming for an epidural in no time.

3. Request an epidural. Now you’re totally immobilized, yay! Labor’s progress will likely slow down even further and pushing effectively will likely be much harder since you can’t get into any vertical or squatting positions that would work in your favor.

2. Accept hospital staff’s comments on lack of progress without challenge. Once they start complaining that you’re poking along and taking up space, get discouraged and give up. Turn all decisions over to them and you’ll be wheeled away in no time.

1. Just ask! Oh yeah … these days you don’t actually need to go through the hassle of labor at all. Just call up your OB and tell him/her you’d like to schedule your baby – the whole pushing a baby out thing is so inconvenient and last millenium. Your OB will probably be relieved anyways because you’ll be one less lady who might interrupt a good night’s sleep.

pregnancy cartoon*A note on this list: Clearly there are real medical emergencies that can happen, and in those cases c-sections can be true life savers. However, the sad fact is that most cesareans are not done for legitimate medical reasons and in the last decade the number of c-sections has doubled to over 30% of US births. It’s not surprising that so many doctors are in favor of elective cesareans – after all, it’s certainly more convenient and they get to charge lots more $$$. As for us moms who get to make this choice – my feeling is that many women are just not well informed about the risks … because make no mistake: a c-section is a major abdominal surgery and poses significantly more risks to both mom and baby.

And since I like to end on an upbeat note, I wanted to share the cartoon above because it accurately reflects my feelings at this stage. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

I thought I was catching up

I guess not! Oh well.
There has been a lot going on the past few weeks.
Last weekend Doug and I drove down to Portland to meet my brother Danny for the first time. Long story condensed and dirt free is that he is my dad's son from his second marriage. When they split up she took Danny with her and that's pretty much where our involvement ended. Until about 8 months ago when I got an email from Danny trying to get in touch with my dad. There's a lot of messy details in the middle as there always is in the dissolution of a marriage and since I wasn't there I'll not speculate. At least not in such a public forum. ;)
Danny is awesome. We had a really great time when we met up at a park in Portland. He is a younger version of my father. The laugh, the smile, the mannerisms - everything. It's not just me seeing what I want to see because I finally was able to meet him. Doug noticed it too after only meeting my dad at the wedding. Even their personalities are similar. It makes it incredibly easy to be with him and connect with him. Which is just fantastic.
Fiona thought Uncle Danny was just the best thing since Cheerios! She normally has a bit of shyness and won't go to someone new for some time. She didn't have that issue with him and had no problem crawling all over him right away. I'm hoping he and his lovely wife will make it up for Labor Day weekend. His wife, Lisa, is awesome too. We connect on a woman-mom level and that's always good. Women can be friends with just about anyone - our families bind us - and being family is a great way to start.
Fiona cut her first tooth yesterday! I'm so excited but also a little nervous. She's still nursing and we're learning about this as we go. I'm not sure what happens when the teeth come in but we'll see. She's getting so HUGE it's just amazing. She can creep along the edge of the couch now. She can't pull herself up on the couch because the edges are too slippery but if you let her grab your hand she can stand up and will walk along the edge. She can go from her belly to sitting and then pull herself up standing in her bed or in her little play-yard. But she hasn't quite figured out that you must do it in that order. She can't pull herself from her belly to standing and that frustrates her sometimes. We bought her a walker but the pile on the carpet is too high and she just isn't quite tall enough to be able to move it around. It will all happen way too soon. But it sure is exciting.
We are trying for baby number 5. It's taking a little longer than I had anticipated but I know sometimes these things do. When it is right it will happen. We are both taking our vitamins and doing what we can. I am leaving the rest up to the powers that be.
I had the realization the other day when talking with someone that saying you are trying to get pregnant is akin to announcing "Hey everybody! We're having SEX - with a purpose!" While it's a normal assumption that this is something that happens between happy (and even sometimes no so happy) couples/adults, announcing it doesn't usually happen. This also opens the door for people to ask you whether or not you're having sex. While it may not be so blunt as all that it still is the same "so you're trying then?" Even funnier is the fact that this opens the door to questions regarding all kinds of other personal details that no one would think to ask any other time. Because we are actively trying we are taking some steps to try to make this a little more successful. I am doing BBT charting (for those of you that don't know what that is - look it up) and so we have a pretty good idea when exactly I can get pregnant and when I can't. This leads to some interesting questions. It just amuses me that something once so personal becomes so very public and open for random discussion. And yes I know, blogging about it on the internet doesn't exactly help. But we are of the information age and here's the information like it or not!
Doug is still loving his job. He is super busy and working very long hours. But it keeps him interested and out of the bars so I'm OK with it. :) It's nice to see him so passionate about his work. He takes what he does very seriously and his responsibility to the people he works with and for is very important. I do sometimes have to nudge him and remind him that whatever it is can wait until morning or later but for the most part he handles the balance well. Even though I am working part time from home I am very much back into the roll of housewife and keeper of all things domestic. I find I'm enjoying it and learning a new balance myself. I'm looking forward to the new school year and how that will mean adjusting the schedule for all of us.
Krystyne starts high school this year. Yikes! I'm not sure when I got old enough to have a child in high school but I'm not ok with it. I know she's excited and I am excited for her too. We are looking forward to going to the orientation next week.
Allie is starting 7th grade. I know that she's excited about being with the same kids for the third year in a row. She is also going to be playing in band again this year. I am hoping that she will try out for jazz band, too. She's doing so good with her trombone I know she'd have fun getting to perform more often. I think it will be good for her and Krysty to be in different schools this year, too. It will give them both the opportunity to get out of the "arent' you Allie's/Krystyne's sister" thing that they get into. I'm excited for what the new found independance will do for her.
Jane is going to be in 4th grade. She wants to start playing more sports this year and I think she will really enjoy it. She's getting so much bigger all the time. I just have to make sure that she doesn't get too big for her britches. It's hard when there are bigger sisters running around.
The biggest challenge when you have a large family is making sure that everyone gets the time and attention they need. Because of the wide range in needs this can prove tricky Doug and I as parents. This is something that we are aware of and are consiously working on. While it is difficult it is worth every bit of effort and we wouldn't change a thing.
So that's our latest update. We hope you all are doing well!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Maybe I need my head examined.

The other day I had someone say to me "It's OK, I understand. You have teenagers - and a baby." I kind of giggled at first and as the day progressed I was more and more amused. My current lack of personal organization and inability to get simple tasks accomplished is socially acceptable because I have a reasonable excuse for having days where it is a good thing I have preference for slip on shoes - my kids.
So, for all of you moms (and dads) out there wondering what the hell happened - feel secure in the fact that you are not alone. When you look at your spouse and ask "When did we get stupid?", it was right about the time your kids figured out you do not know everything. That is also the time they figure (or at the very least believe) that they do know everything and you're a moron. I think they're just as confused as we are how we've managed to keep them alive this long with our bumbling idiocy. I think that the very act of trying to figure out what the hell they were thinking does blow out a few parental brain cells. Add this to my current and perpetual state of sleep deprivation and its no wonder I choose not to tie my shoes. I don't need that extra thing to think about in my day when my brain is already overloaded.
I have always said that there is a limited amount of space in a person's brain. When that space is filled up there is stuff that has to go. Unfortunately for me I am pulling space from my short term memory. I can give you directions from my mom's house to my first high school (because I need that tidbit of information). But when it comes to short term memory... I'm sorry, what were we talking about?

That's OK. I have teenagers. And a baby.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Empty

Houses are made to be lived in. Everyone knows that a house that stands empty for too long will need repairs that a lived in house does not need. They are built for people and absorb the energy of those people. My house has a lot of energy. Partly because there are a lot of people in it, but I think more so because there are children that live here. Children bring a certain vitality to a home that you can not get in a house of adults. There always seems to be a low level hum around here. There are kids on the phone, watching TV, reading, on the computer, talking, laughing - just being - at almost any given moment. When bed time finally rolls around about 10 or so and everyone is asleep there's a hush that blankets the place. You can feel it. It's heavy and warm. If you've ever been in a house when all of the children are sleeping you know what I mean. When one or more of the kids are gone, or even all of them you can tell. There is an emptiness to the house. That emptiness is here now. Allie, Jane and Krysty are in Wisconsin visiting Kraig. Fiona is with Phil and Penny for the afternoon so that I can get caught up on some work (which I pretty much have). Doug is even gone for the week on business. The house feels empty and lonely. There is something missing. The girls' rooms sit expectantly with beds that need to be made, books on tables and desks, and shoes kicked haphazardly around. There is comfort in knowing they left it that way knowing they would be back. Knowing that they would only be gone a relatively short time and they would be back to pick up the book, make the bed and run off with friends again.
Today the house is empty and anxious. Today the missing presense of children and family is felt deeply. I miss them. I know they will be home soon but I still miss them. 34 days until they are home.
The house can wait, and so can I.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Falling Behind

It's been brought to my attention that I have not been updating as I should. I set up this blog to keep friends and family in touch with what we have going on and I have not done a very good job with it lately. Truthfully I wanted this for myself, too. I enjoy writing and I realize that the little bits of life are the ones that fall away from memory. The big things stick but our memories are sieves and we loose the finer points. That's as it should be.
There is just not enough room for all of the information we take in each day. But the little things hold their importance, too. It's nice to be able to look back and see the things you've forgotten. Sometimes those things are not so sweet but they are still a part of your past. They are what makes each person who they are. I re-read an email that Doug sent me in December 2006 telling me how much he had enjoyed our time together. How he wasn't looking to "add water and *poof* instant family, but the thought doesn't send me running for the hills either". All of that seems like a lifetime ago - and it was. That was our lives. This is our life. These are the kinds of things I wish to preserve here. The things I need to get better at recording.
So get to the updating already! OK, OK.
School is out for the summer. There were some speed bumps early on but I think we've managed to get through them. Krystyne is starting high school in the fall. I could really do without it honestly. I'm not ready but apparently she is. This is definitely a hold your breath and jump kind of deal. Allie will be in the 7th grade and Jane in 4th. Allie is keeping up with band this year, too. She's doing really well with the trombone and has decided to try out for jazz band, too! Jane wants to play something with the 4th grade band. We'll work with Doug's dad, Phil and see what he thinks a good fit might be and what the school needs.
Jane and Allie left for Wisconsin on Saturday. They spend six weeks there in the summer with their dad. Doug and I miss them terribly when they're gone. It's always an adjustment. While I personally don't mind the distance I wish for the girls that he would move closer. At least withing driving distance. I think they would benefit.
Krystyne will be joining them for a couple of weeks. Her own preference is to not be there quite so long. She still wishes to see him, but she's a teenager (painfully so) and she has her preferences. She would rather not be there for six weeks and we've given her that choice. It's funny to only have Fiona here. I know she misses her sisters when they're not here.
Fiona is growing by leaps and bounds! She will be 8 months old soon. She is eating real food and her personality is amazing. We have been blessed that she is such a happy baby. She is pulling herself up to standing any time she can grab something that will help her - usually a sister. She doesn't have much use for crawling yet. She doesn't want to waste all that time on her belly. The last couple days though she has managed to start scooting backwards until she is stuck somehow. Yesterday it was against the wall and under her swing. She started crying when she bumped her head on her swing every time she tried to move. Today it was the side of her crib - one chubby leg stuck up to her knee between the slats. She is very interested in table food. Breakfast is usually a handfull (or two) of Cheerios. Cheerios are more fun and she gets to do it herself. I tend to ruin the fun when I'm feeding her and don't let her take control of the spoon until all the food is gone. So Cheerios give her the opportunity to learn. She's building great fine-motor skills and even learning the art of sharing. One for Fi, one on the floor for the doggies (who very much appreciate this and spend a good amount of time sitting by her durring meals). Freddy is big enough that his nose is right about tray height. I'm pretty sure if he wasn't so afraid of her (yup - he is) and would actually get close enough for her to reach she would give him food. I know this is coming so I'll have to watch out. I'm certain once he figures out she'll give him food he'll warm right up.
She is still breastfed except for the solid food she gets. I'm pretty proud of myself for that. There have been difficulties but on the whole it's been fairly easy. I count myself one of the lucky ones. It has been a wonderful experience. I wish it wasn't hindering getting pregnant again but as far as "downsides" go - that one is pretty moderate.
And yes, for those of you paying attention and keeping track we are trying for baby #5. I am a little crazy. I have always wanted a big family and I'm happy to be able to have one. Five is a lot of children but it is a chaos Doug and I both enjoy.
I'm adjusting to being a stay at home mom again. While I do work part time and from home, I still consider myself a SAHM. It's an adjustment for me after so many years but I am enjoying it. It affords me the luxury to be here for my girls as they need me - and they do. I miss some of the social interaction that I had while working. I have yet to venture into the world of play-dates and mom's groups. I'll get there. But for now I'm ok with my solitude.
Doug is loving his new job as the Market Assets Protection Manager (MAPM) at Walmart. It's a lot of work and he so far has not had a "slow" day. It's work he enjoys and is good at. There is so much that he wants to do withing the position that we will hopefully be here for a long while.
Well that's it for now. You're all caught up. I'll get better at it. I'll post more frequently and we can avoid these long explinations of what has been going on for the last couple months and maybe I can get some substance back into this thing.
Thank you all for your love, patience and interest!

Brandy

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The D Word

I have been counseling a friend as she is going through the tragedy that is divorce. There have been repeated phone calls that start with "tell me this gets better". It does. Not for a very long time - but it does.
Eventually.
Until then we have to realign our lives. We have to decide which of the battles that litter every conversation are worth fighting - which in the beginning I was pretty sure was all of them. You have to get through the anger. At him, at your self, at each other, at everyone. You have to second-guess every single decision you made for the last few years before, during and after.
There will be times when you question if you did the right thing. You will one day look at him and you will remember the reasons you loved him and stayed for so long and you will see the man you remember on those quiet nights when it was just the two of you and you will want desperately to make it work again. And you will think about it. And you will be ready to try again. And then you'll stop yourself and cry. Then the whole bloody cycle starts over again until one time it doesn't. There is no magic potion for this. No way to make it easier. Acceptance comes of its own accord.
You are not the same person when you realize you have survived the night. Divorce changes you. How it changes you and if those changes are for the better or not are completely up to you. There are things you can do to make it easier and things you can do to make the ordeal just a slight more bearable. You can put a salve on a burn and take some of the sting away, too. But in the end the flesh must be stripped and the healing must begin. Until then you are raw. You find yourself wrapped in an intensity of feelings you didn't realize you could be surrounded by. Anger allows you to push through the sadness. Righteous indignation propels you forward for a time. It is a balance to not become bitter. Eventually the technicolor hatred dies down and rationality begins to settle in.
When it is only you two involved you can sever the ties and be done. When there are children you must re-learn how to interact with each other. You must no longer think, act, react about one another as you did as a couple. You can no longer expect the same leniecies or understanding that were once a part of the fabric of your relationship. All the rules have changed. You are adversarial countries negotiating a hostage exchange during war time. Children are the most amazing blessing in divorce. They make you realize where you priorities are and what is and should be most important. They do not, however, make the same realizations or priorities for both of you or at the same time. Again, acceptance will come. Understanding will come.
This is why lawyers are important. They supply rational thought and clear judgment where those involved can not. They provide a voice of reason when your own has gone on hiatus at a rather inconvenient moment. And, if needed, they can carefully and thoughtfully explain that while you may truly want to shoot him in the buttock you can not and will provide you a list of legal and rational reasons why that may not be in your best interest no matter how therapeutic. They charge you a lot to tell you this and other things you don't want to hear. But in the end it will make things easier if you listen to them. They can be worth their weight in gold - sometimes that's precisely their fee.
One day you will be able to admit your faults and realize you are both better off for it. You are bruised and battered and scarred - but you're through it. It does get better.
I was a bad wife to Kraig in the last couple of years of our marriage. I understand my faults and where I went wrong. I can recognize my part in the degeneration and eventual failure of our marriage and I hope that one day he will forgive me.
Kraig was a bad husband to me. I have reached acceptance but not yet found forgiveness. I hope he stubs his pinkie-toe on the corner of something hard every night before he goes to sleep. I'm working on it. I'll get there.
Eventually.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Our day at the Experience Music Projec

Doug and I took the girls to the Experience Music Project in Seattle today. We even bought a membership since it was only $9 more than a single day's admission. We brought along a picnic lunch to have in the grassy area before we hit the museum. I was hoping that the International Fountain would be open but it was closed for cleaning. Oh well. We sat in the grass and had a nice lunch. Just sandwiches, chips, sodas and treats but it was nice. The girls ran around and chased each other and we even managed to get Doug to do a cartwheel.
After lunch we explored the museum and had a good time. All of the kids seem to really enjoy the Sound Lab where they could play different instruments - drums, guitars, keyboards and even sing! That's where they spent the bulk of the time.
Doug's favorite part was the Science Fiction museum and we spent a while looking around there and listening to Doug say "oooooh" a lot.
My favorite part was the Jim Henson exhibit. I LOVED the Muppets as a kid. The girls were able to play with the different puppets and be part of Electric Mayhem! One thing I would like to do is to get all of the Muppet movies on DVD and even some of the Muppet shows. They were such a big part of my childhood and I'd love to share them with the girls. I think they'd enjoy them. I was even able to get a copy of The Monster at the End of this Book. It was my favorite book when I was a kid. I remember reading it over and over. I can't wait to read it to Fiona. I know I read it to the other kids dozens of times.
All in all a pretty good day.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Just because you're alone doesn't mean you're invisible

Folks, let's just keep this little tidbit in our minds.
Since they're doing construction on the south bound side of 410 and have closed the right lane causing a bit of a delay. This leaves time to notice the people waiting to make a left turn on the north bound side. I had the thought yesterday that perhaps the people on the north bound side were not used to the people in the south bound lanes being able to see them - or they're going too fast to register what ever it is that is going on inside the cars of the people heading the other direction. People do weird crap when they think no one is looking. Especially if they're alone. Even more so in their cars. Helpful hint - Cars have windows to see out of - this also means that people can see in to whatever it is you're doing in there.
Here's the thing... No one pays attention to the other drivers while on the road. "But wait!" you say. Think about the words for just a second. Yes, the majority of people pay attention to the other cars but not the other drivers! This can be a lot of fun and rather entertaining as I found out. While I'm not sure why the lady in the blue Camry had her mouth open like that, what the girl in the Escort was looking for in the back seat or what the passenger of the truck was quite so emphatic about while resting his feet on the dash (although apparently it did amuse the hell out of the driver) - I am sure that it amused me to make up stuff about them. I spent the rest of my time out running errands doing this and if you have a sense of humor like I do - which many of you do, that's why we're friends - you can imagine how fun(ny) this was.
I think next time Doug and I are in the car together I'll try to get him to play along.

So next time you're out driving by yourself you may want to keep in mind that there are other people that see what you're doing.
And they're laughing about it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Joy of Being Mom

It's been a while since I've updated. I guess I've just been busy being and haven't really stopped lately to reflect and I can tell the difference. Mother's Day was wonderful and has had me reflecting lately on how much I am enjoying my role as a mother. There were times when I it was not at the top of my list of the most fun I've ever had. When you are having enough trouble with yourself it is hard to take on the role of caring for others. More and more often these days I find myself relishing in this part of who I am.
With the wide range of ages of the girls it can sometimes be hard to get my barrings. It's hard not to feel like you're on a rollercoaster when you're trying to seriously explain the need to "wait until you're really ready" while changing a diaper and being cooed at.
I was wondering the house earlier trying to entertain Fi and just took in my surroundings. Such a wonderful, hectic, fulfilling life I lead! How blessed I am!
As my husband left this morning looking handsome in his tie I had to chuckle to myself since I was excited I had already managed to get my teeth brushed and it was only 7:30! Here it is now 11 and I'm still kicking around what is basically my jammies. So for today a pony tail is the same as a shower (I was lucky enough to get 45 minutes for a bath last night!). Luckily the warmer weather makes this a little more fashionable.
The house is basically clean. Sure there's laundry to be done. There's 6 people in this house - there's always laundry to be done. But the diapers are clean. The floors were vacuumed yesterday (you can tell because the vacuum is still sitting where Krysty stopped and unplugged it). I've done a good enough amount of work for the morning. I've updated my facebook and the older girls are off to school. I think it's time to go enjoy the sunshine. Fiona has decided today is a short-nap-only day and is currently trying to entice the bulldog with a series of squeals and raspberries to come close enough to grab.
I'll put air in the tires of the jogging stroller, grab a Diet Coke and see if I can't find a dress I like for our anniversary. Maybe I'll even grab my ipod and go for a walk.

Life is good.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I am blessed!





As Mother's Day approaches I have been thinking about how blessed I am to be one of the many women celebrated on this day.
Even as I sit here I can smell the lilies in the flowers my husband had delivered yesterday. The card said "For the mother of my children and the love of my life." The arrangement is beautiful.
I am blessed to have four amazing, beautiful, challenging daughters. We are dealing with boys and budding individuality. There is trying to find your place among so many and developing personalities. We have clashing desires and an ever shifting dynamic. The phone rings constantly, I can rarely find my hair dryer and there is almost always someone in a bathroom. They argue over who gets to hold the baby and whose turn it is to get time with Mom.
I have found a quiet joy in breastfeeding. While I sometimes sigh at the need to stop what I'm doing because of Fiona's demanding cries - I find it fills my heart to near bursting every time I do it. It is the magic touch to calming a crying baby. And it soothes my frayed nerves even when I am busy and would rather be doing anything else. Knowing that I am nourishing her and providing her with comfort and love with my body is amazing. Looking at the little person there is awe inspiring. I love sitting in a chair and watching her nurse. She watches me too. Big blue eyes staring at me, one hand trying to grab my hair or my shirt, little legs kicking contently. Life is good.
I should be doing homework right now. But the sounds of life going on around me is a bit distracting. Girls are talking, the TV is one, the baby is cooing, and Doug is out mowing the lawn. Straight lines in the lawn means he loves me. Circles are extra special. Today I get circles.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jumpa Jumpa!

It's been a while since I've updated and I have oh so much to update but no time! I thought I would just share this for now while I get my stuff in order.
This is Fiona jumping in her jumper. She loves this thing!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Faced with the past

Boy what an interesting week. I've been tossing this around my head for a number of days now and am still having difficulty with it. The decision to post it here is mainly a therapeutic one. Writing puts my head together, gets my thoughts in order. If ever I needed orderly thoughts!
I finally got in touch with Ken - Krystyne's biological father. Well, more accurately he got in touch with me. I knew who it was right away. There are people in your life that you forget, and there are people that you never, ever will, no matter how much time passes. Ken (for obvious reasons) falls into that category for me. We had a great conversation and he agreed that he would sign the paperwork needed by the attorney for Doug to adopt Krysty. That is just so wonderful. I'm excited for Doug and Krysty. I'm excited for what that means to us as a family. I was not prepared for what happened next - he wants to get to know her and be in her life. AMEN! HALLELUJAH!! Wait! What?!?! Sure, of course, absolutely. She can only, you both can only, benefit from knowing each other. Oh hell.
I was not prepared for the emotional backlash this would have for me. We've talked a few more times and he tells me I've opened up a whole can of worms here. He's got people to tell about this and things to explain. He faces answering questions that he's never had to answer before. I've told him I don't blame him, I've never really been angry with him. I understood his reasoning when I first got pregnant. We were young. We weren't ready - but I had a different decision to make than he did. I do not fault him for the choice he made. We all choose our own paths and that was where our path together forked. I was young and emotional and pregnant. I cried. A lot. But, I had to stand my ground in the decision I made. I shut the door on thoughts of him. Shut it, barred it, pulled a dresser in front of it and tossed away the key. Ken became this abstract thought. A fact but nothing more. Krystyne's biological father was someone I dated for a while when I was young, I got pregnant, we didn't stay together, I moved on. No, I don't talk to him and I'm not really sure where he lives. I hope he's doing well, I wish him the best, I'm thankful for the beautiful gift he gave to me. Let's move on. That is how it has been for 14 years.
And now it's different.
Shit.
We talk and it's easy. There is the underlying trying to figure out what comes next in this whole thing, but it's easy. I remember why we got along so well 15 years ago. I remember that we used to talk for hours. We had fun together and genuinely enjoyed each other's company. I've always remembered him fondly. The weird part of it is that there is this tangible other person that shares those memories. He's no longer abstract. He's real again. And he wants to talk to my daughter. His daughter. Oh holy hell.
When you connect up with an ex after a lifetime it's usually fleeting. You find each other on facebook, run into each other at a reunion or in your hometown mall. You catch up. Maybe you tell some friends "hey you'll never guess who I caught up with". If you're lucky you smile a bit at the time you had. You move on. What doesn't happen is you suddenly realize that you have a lifetime connection with this person. They are suddenly now, and will always be a part of your life. That doesn't happen! Oh wait, apparently it does.
Maybe I'm being selfish here. I know I'm being selfish here. This is a big deal for Krysty. I honestly had not thought about the "what if he wants to know her?" question. I got that a lot. It was easy. Sure, he should, that would be great for them. Doug asked me if I wasn't really expecting this. Wasn't I prepared for this? Well, no. In theory it's great that he wants to be in her life but I never ever expected it. It was best case scenario. Now I am faced with what that means. They talked for about 30 minutes on Sunday and she was thrilled. He sent some pictures and she smiled at them. A huge smile that mirrored the one she was looking at. Wow. This is real. This is happening. He exists. I'm happy for them.
We'll work this out. We'll figure all the ins and outs and subtleties of this new relationship between the three of us. Slowly, we will include everyone else that this affects. The quirks of this are what they are.
I just have to remember to breathe.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wait... I paid for this??

I've finally made the commitment to do something about all the "left-over" baby weight. I've been talking about it for months. Since before Fiona was even born. Up until now I haven't really done anything proactive about it. I've whined and sulked and had another cupcake - but I haven't made any real effort to change how I look. I've never really had to worry about my weight. I've always been one of the fortunate few with a fantastic metabolism and good genetics. My body seems to know what size it is supposed to be and it stays that way. Something changed. I think it was turning 30. But now all this stubborn belly weight is hanging on. My clothes don't fit. My shape is not one I am happy to see in the mirror. I think this is some kind of bad karmic joke. I am finally happy in my own skin. My body was one I was proud of and I was comfortable with how I looked. I had my moments, but for the most part was confident. Apparently the universe feels that I have to earn that contentment.
I joined a gym. Sort of. It is a gym but not in the sense that you normally think. There are no machines. No treadmills and ellipticals, no weight machines that no one really knows how to use anyway. Well, I don't know how to use. They have a program called Cross Fit. I tried it out for the first time today and I have never had such an intense and difficult workout. I worked harder than I thought I could and used nothing more than my own body weight and a couple of bars. No machines or treadmills. I thought I was going to pass out. I was lucky I didn't throw up. And honestly I can't wait to go back! It's more expensive than a regular gym membership but cheaper than working with a personal trainer and works out to less than a latte a day. I just haven't figured out how to convince Doug that this is something we should splurge on. I'm going to go take some ibuprofen and try not to stiffen any more.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rolling over!


Fiona just rolled over! She's rolled over from her front to back a couple of times on our bed - but this is the first time she's done it on the floor. I think our bed is easier because it's so soft and has the feather bed topper on it. This time she actually had to push herself over! YAY! It won't be too long before she's going the other way and then crawling. I can't believe how big she is already.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh what a day!

Today has been a really big day for us. First and foremost Doug got a new job! YAY! I won't butcher the details of his job, but he'll be working for a company called Impark in Seattle. It's a bit of a commute but he'll be able to take the train in some days. I'm so proud of him! It's been a blessing to have him home. I will definitely miss him when he goes back to work and I know Fi will miss her Papa-Time during the day. But, it's great to be able to get back on track. I know he was starting to get a little antsy here with me all day.

Krystyne had a meeting with a modeling agency in Seattle today. She was approached by a scout at the auditions for the mall fashion show and we made an appointment with the gal. She said she really liked how Krysty looked and thought that she would be great for their agency. We went to the office, they took some measurements and some pictures and she will present Krysty's photos to the group to see if they are interested in picking her up. If they do it means getting head-shots, but that will be the only money we have to put out. They will do the work on getting her promoted and getting her work. I told her not to get her hopes up too high, but I know she is excited. Of course we all think she's beautiful, but we'll see what they say. I am excited for her.

Allie has been working very, VERY hard on her school work lately. She has been asking since last year if she could have her hair pink. I told her that when she brought home a report card with all A's and B's that I would dye her hair pink for her. This has been a real struggle as we have been fighting with getting assignments turned in as well as asking for help and using the resources available to her when she is struggling in something. Well all of her hard work has finally paid off and she was able to have her hair dyed! It was a fun time for the two of us and I know I really enjoyed the whole process. This is kind of a big deal, as she is the only girl in her grade to have her hair this way. My hands are bright pink from rinsing it but thankfully I don't really have to go anywhere that it'd matter. Doug and I are SO VERY PROUD of all the hard work that she has done lately. There have been some long nights, some fights, and some tears of frustrations from all of us. Tonight was the reward for all of it. This was fun!

She looks beautiful no matter what the color!


Adoption

We went to see a lawyer yesterday about what it will take for Doug to adopt Krystyne. It's a rather easy process. All I have to do is find her "biological donor" and get him to waive his rights to her. Hopefully this should be relatively easy. I was able to get in contact with his dad (awesome that he's a Jr so it was pretty easy) and hopefully he will pass my contact information along. If I don't hear something by the weekend I'll make one more phone call and then turn the information over to our lawyer. I really hope that it will remain simple. I can't imagine after all this time that he would want to cause a stir now. Especially since his dad told me he is married with two kids. I don't want to cause problems for him - I just want to be able to get Krystyne adopted by someone who loves her as much as I do.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fun at the mall

The girls and I went to the mall today and I couldn't help it! It took a little convincing to get Allie in on it but it was SO worth it.

This has to be the funniest thing I've ever gotten for $15!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Finally I have been able to get some pictures of Jane! It seems like it goes in shifts on who I can catch pictures of and who gets left out from time to time. Here she is looking FABULOUS! for her field trip to see a play. She was very excited to go and wanted to look her best! I even got a good smile!

We started giving Fiona bananas this week. It has apparently made for some interesting diapers but she sure loves them! We started with bananas just because it's what I happened to have on hand and she was watching me eat one. So I smooshed a little piece and gave it to her. She just loved it. Normally I would worry about them causing her to be a little constipated but since she only gets breast milk the rest of the time I know she'll be fine. She had a little bite of potato at dinner the other night and liked that too! Maybe we'll try some avocado later. I know babies usually start off with cereal but I would rather start her with whole, "real" foods. Since she's not eating them for any nutritional reasons (all of a baby's nutritional needs are met with breast milk until they're a year old) I don't see any real reason to give her any kind of "filler". She really seems to enjoy the taste and texture and she's learning about new things!
~mmmmm, nanners are goooood!~

~Look how cute I am! More, please!~

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Maybe I'm Amazed

Watching Doug with Fiona has been such an amazing experience. He has astounded me with how natural he is at taking care of her. There are still things that he forgets. Like making sure she has on a clean, dry diaper before putting clothes on her - especially when we are going somewhere. But there are so many other things that he does that he is better at than I am. When she's in her swing or her bed and starts to fuss I will start to go to her and he stops me and says "she's just fussing, just give her a minute". Sure enough, she calms down in just a few moments and is fine. He can calm her faster than I can and put her to sleep deeper. He says it comes from spending most of the time trying to keep her quiet so I can sleep or work. I think it comes from more than that. These things come naturally to him. He has almost endless patience with all of the children. Patience I can't even pretend to have. It's been a real gift to share these things with him.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We're back

We had a great time in California. It's good to be back. I've got a lot of work to catch up on from being gone and homework to do. Yuck.



It was so good to see everyone! Here are some of the 500! pictures that I took.
Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day

We had a wonderful Valentine's Day. After cards (all of the one's Doug got us made me cry) and chocolate we headed into Seattle. One of these days I WILL make it to Woodland park zoo. By the time we got into Seattle and had lunch it was after 2. The zoo closes at 4. No point in going for a couple hours. So we skipped it. Again. We will have to make that an early trip one day.
We headed to the science center instead. We have a membership there and should really use it more. But for us, using it twice a year makes it worth the cost of it. The girls had a good time. We went to the Lucy exhibit which was pretty interesting. Lucy is the oldest human remains ever found. There was a lot of history on Ethiopia and I really enjoyed it. I know it got a little long winded at the end for the girls but it was still pretty cool. There wasn't much time after to wander the rest of it but the kids still had fun. Whenever we go we make sure to go to the butterfly house. I love the warmth, the light and the butterflies all around. Fi could've cared less about the butterflies but it was fun for me.
It was nice just to spend some time together. Family outings are fun, we just need to do them more. Now that the weather is clearing up a bit I may look into some day hikes and such. Maybe we'll head to the falls or the coast soon. Even a good hiking trail to the mountains would be great. I should keep an eye out for some kayaks. I think the girls would like that.








Saturday, February 14, 2009

Blessed

I've been thinking lately that Doug being laid off is a blessing in disguise.
We have our expenses handled until about May. While we won't be living extravagantly in that time, we will be comfortable. We are still going to California at the end of the month and are planning at least one day/weekend trip with the girls before they go to Wisconsin for the summer (there will be tulips this year!).
I've convinced Doug that he needs to go back to school and finish his degree. He was so close to being finished when we met. But, the whirlwind that was the beginning of our relationship had him sidetracked. From single, to living together, to fancy wedding, honeymoon, and baby all in under two years is a lot! He says getting sidetracked from school was worth it. Now it's time for him to finish. Since his school is self paced he could finish in a relatively short amount of time. It means more student loans. In the end he will increase his yearly salary more than we could borrow. I'm proud of him for making the commitment.It's also been nice having him home with me during the day. He has been a wonderful help with Fiona. This time that they are spending together is precious time that he'll cherish. He's getting to see so much more with her and enjoy this fleeting time. She is getting bigger every day and there are just some things that you miss when you're working away from home. I think they're relationship will be stronger for it. I know it is making him a better dad. He is more in tune with her moods and knows her cries. He knows what she wants and how to make her happy. That is a marvelous feat in itself. Being the only man in a house with five women it is a grand accomplishment to be able to make at least one of them happy at a time! (Everyone has accepted that the next one will be a girl too right?)
Because Doug has been home he has been able to get Allie back on track and give her the individual attention that she needed. We've had two weeks without a single missing or late assignment! I am so proud of her and I believe it is because of the time that Doug spent coming up with what has worked. I was at my wits end and didn't know how to get through to her. One full day of exercise and chores and a new way to do things helped put her on track. She will need us to continue to check on her every day for the rest of the year, but I think we are definitely building the foundation for success from here on out.




Friday was Jane's Valentine's Day party at school and Doug was able to be there with her and help out. She said it was a lot more fun since she had someone there with her. Not only did we bring something, he was THERE! It's great for him to have that time and I know he enjoyed it.
While we didn't initially think of his lay off as a good thing, it is turning out to be that way.