Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pass the Chocolate Please

Gina over at The Feminist Breeder posted yesterday about body image, the holidays and pregnancy.  While I wouldn't normally post about a post, this one really resonated with me.  Her suggestion to really speak not to what we hate about our bodies, but what we love.  I thought that this was a good topic. This is something we all struggle with it.  I don't claim to have any solutions, but sometimes just knowing that this sucks for someone else helps.
This pregnancy has been hard for me when it comes to my body image.  After gaining 70lbs with Fiona and then loosing about 60 of it, I was finally starting to almost feel human again.  Then, there I was, staring at a second pink line and trying not to throw up.  It didn't help that just a few short weeks into my pregnancy nothing was fitting again. How do you look ahead at the next 32 weeks knowing that you're just going to get BIGGER? I saw that scale that had a number over 200 when I was in my final week of Fiona's pregnancy and vowed that was NOT going to happen again.  How do you come to terms with a changing body that is doing something so wonderful and hate what you see?
Anyone that's had children knows that in those weeks where your shape first starts to change are hard. You don't look pregnant. It looks like maybe you need to dial back the cheeseburgers a little. It's the period day when all you can wear is sweats - except it doesn't go away.  At 8 weeks I started putting away my "regular" clothes and pulled out my maternity gear again. And not happy about it.
I think I've been really lucky this time.  I've gained 9lbs in the last 13 weeks (my first to most recent OB appointments). I've gained 13 from my last PAP in April until my most recent OB appointment at 22 weeks. Right now, I am pretty much all baby.  But like Gina said, it's hard to not believe you look like a land whale when you feel like a land whale.  Little Miss Georgiana is sitting so low in my hips that I sometimes have trouble walking. My hips hurt. I can barely put my shoes on. Dropping something usually elicits some swearing.
But there are the better days. There are the days when I can look at my swollen pregnant belly and feel down right sexy. It's not something that happens often, but it does happen.  Here I am with this swollen, pregnant belly and full, round breasts. It doesn't get more feminine than that. My body is doing what it was designed to do and this is how it looks doing it. And for a brief shining moment I can celebrate that.  Doug has even, in a moment of uncharacteristic complementing, said "girls are supposed to look like that. You're making my baby." How do you not feel like a goddess at that point? 
I love the times that I can celebrate my changing shape.  Because of how I'm carrying this little one maternity jeans are uncomfortable. They are tight around the bottom of my belly and make it even harder to move than it normally is.  So, I've decided that since I don't have a dress code I'll be living in yoga pants for the remainder of my pregnancy.  That way when I'm not quite in my pre-pregnancy jeans yet and need some comfy pants to chase a toddler while nursing a newborn I'm already set. The best part of this is that I feel like I have been able to accentuate this ever growing belly.  I love my fitted maternity (and non-maternity) tees. I've gained a pretty good size in my breasts, too so I'm feeling kinda rock-star. A knocked up rock-star, but still.  
I will say, thank you Gina. For reminding me that looking like this is beautiful in its own right and we all need to feel like a rock star sometimes. Knocked up or otherwise.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Newest Project - Part 2 of...

Part 1 was getting a little long, so I thought I'd break it up a bit. 
I did get started right away yesterday.  I'm struggling to not drop everything for the next week and finish it. So I'm going as I can. Hopefully it doesn't take too long.  I did warn Doug that our living room is going to be in a state of half-mess until I get this done. He said he's fine with it. (Can anyone find me the process for declaring someone a living saint please?)
So I didn't have the sense to start taking pictures before I started tearing things apart.  Oh well. 
I figured I would start on the chair first. It's a little easier - read smaller - than the couch, but will give me more impact than the ottoman.  I removed the cover from the back cushion and pulled the seams apart. I wanted to use it for a basic pattern and to make sure I got the size of everything right. Then I ironed the pieces and cut the fabric.  Putting in the pleats was challenging.  But, when you're trying to put 12 layers of fabric through a home sewing machine, your bound to find some problems.  I was able to salvage the zippers that were already there.  Which is great, and something I didn't think to do when I was planning all this. But, they're the right size and are actually pretty easy to work with, plus they're FREE!  I was really  happy with how the back cushion came out. The pleats don't match up perfectly on one of the corners, but it's really not something you can tell.  I think I need to add some more batting to it.
The T cushion was a little harder. Getting the cover off to make the pattern was a pain in the ass! Those things are on there SNUG! But after some cussing and pulling I was able to get it off.  The T cushion was a little more difficult to sew.  The rounded edges in a box shape is complicated. But I made it work.  I came into a little bit of an issue at the end when I was trying to finish off the zipper. It just wasn't matching up right. So I put the cover on the cushion - it looks awesome - and figured out what the issue was. When you're cutting pattern pieces from an old cushion there are a couple things to keep in mind. The pattern is not exact like from the factory. I cut a little wide to give myself some bigger seams.  Also, I was patterning from a piece of material that was not in the best of conditions.  It was frayed, worn and stretched out.  So, I'll be closing up the final hem by hand.  I think it made putting it on a little easier so I'm not going to complain. It's the back of the cushion anyway so no one will ever see it.
So, here is what I have finished so far. It took about 6 hours. I wanted to start pulling the couch cushions apart to be ready to start today but my right hand was hurting too much to mess with the scissors (I have arthritis in that hand and pregnancy induced carpal tunnel - whee.) Let me know what you think!
You can see the sorry state of the rest of the chair. The shape is good, but there is no amount of cleaning that will help that.
Here's the sorry looking couch in it's full "Before" glory.  This is generally what my couch looks like.  Now you know what I'm dealing with.

So that's it folks. I'll be updating and uploading more pictures as I go along.  Hopefully it doesn't take too long. I would like this done before the baby comes. (That was totally sarcastic, I swear)

My Newest Project - Part 1 of...

I hate my couch. There, I said it.
Let me clarify a bit. I hate the state of my couch. It's dirty. It's fraying at the edges.  The couch itself is great. We were given the set - couch, chair and ottoman - by some friends when they got a new couch.  I thought then that I could "easily reupholster" it. Not one of my brighter thoughts I know. If my mom and my aunt can spend a drunken weekend reupholstering a couch and have it turn out great I can do it, too. Right?
I have been hit with an urge to nest lately that would send even the most non-OCD person into a tizzy.  So I look around my house and see all the things that need to be done. Plus, we are trying really hard to move to another state and transfer Doug's job (more on that in another post I'm sure).  That has me in a moving mindset. Not a good place for a nesting preggo to be. All I can do is look around and see the things that need to be organized, donated, updated or cleaned.  The fact that I'm not on anything stronger than Welbutrin is a miracle.
So the couch has been taunting me. There's only so much I can do with it. I can't scrub it. I could but it wouldn't do much could. Who is the dumbass that makes white couches anyway?  We talked about getting new couches and realized that it just wasn't practical.  We could spend $500 and go to the cheap furniture stores and get something that looks nice, but won't last but a couple of years. We have four full size people, soon to have two little kids, two dogs and two cats. Our furniture receives a pretty good beating.  We could go to somewhere like Thomasville or Broyhill and spend $2000 plus on a good set of furniture and hope to get eight years out of it.  Quite honestly, the thought of spending $2000 on anything right now is not something I'm interested in. And I do like our couches. I like the shapes, I like the style. They're deep enough to be comfortable for my long-legged husband. They're comfy. They're long enough that Doug can actually lay down on them and not be uncomfortable. Plus, if you take the back cushions off they're perfect for us to lay together and watch a movie, or for someone to sleep on if we have a surprise overnight guest. OK, like that last one ever happens, but it could. So, to my frugal way of thinking, why get rid of a perfectly good couch when I can just recover it?
Is it going to look new? Probably not. Showroom quality? No friggin' way. But it's something that will work for our family and not cost a ton of money.  So I made the decision to reupholster it and started the research.  If you know me you know that I've spent HOURS on the internet reading and shopping and soaking up everything I could possibly find out about reupholstering furniture.  I thought about just making a slipcover and realized that it'd probably be less work just to actually cover the whole thing - so scrap that idea.  Then I started researching fabric and pricing the stuff. Holy tapestry, Batman! That stuff is expensive. I'm looking at roughly 20 - 25 yards of fabric. Good upholstery fabric can run anywhere from about $10 a yard UP! WAY UP. Like $30+ a yard up. Screw a bunch of that! So I started to look at how to bring down the cost without sacrificing the quality.  
Insert trumpets here...Coupons! D'uh. Did you really think I'd get into this project without coupons?  JoAnn's fabric runs 50% off coupons pretty frequently. And the cotton duck fabric is usually about $10 a yard - so really $5 a yard. That I can handle. I found a good spot in the budget to pull the money out of and yesterday headed off to the fabric store. Now, I had a basic idea in mind. I wanted a chocolate brown for the couch itself.  Then something in a blue to go with the beach-y theme that I'm trying to pull off in my living room.  I didn't have anything really set in stone, but I know what I like and I'm pretty good putting colors together so off I went.   I ended up with 10 yards of a chocolate brown duck for the couch, and 5 yards of steel blue for the chair. I bought a big floral blue/tan swirly thing for the ottoman. Of course, sometime over the course of the project I decided to use the floral that I bought for the ottoman for the cushions on the sofa.  It all pulls together nicely.
We'll see what the finished product look like!  Lots of pictures to come.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

If I Fell In Love With You...

Last weekend Doug and I had the rare chance for a weekend alone together.  It was fantastic! As one of the most gag-inducing things I've probably ever said... I got the chance to fall in love with my husband all over again.
When you have 4.5 kids and a full time job and a house to run and a family to take care of it's a flippin' miracle I ever got pregnant in the first place.  "Time together" is that time of night between when the last kid finally goes to sleep and when I fall asleep watching whatever show we happen to have on.  This was some much needed, real time together.
When Doug and I first started dating in 2006, and I'm talking like 3 weeks in, he took me to Orcas Island for the weekend just a few days before Christmas. We both will agree that is where we fell in love for the first time. It was a beautiful place and the best thing that could've happened. Doug says it was all in his Master Plan. Take me to a seasonally deserted island where I couldn't get away while he convinced me he was the best thing that could happen to me. Well, obviously it worked. Here we are four years and almost five Christmases later. 
Because of all the traveling Doug does for work he earned a free night at a Best Western hotel that expired on December 24. When I realized there was one on San Juan Island and we could have a little bit of that "island magic" back I jumped on it. 
We both felt lighter just leaving the house. Doug actually forwarded all of his calls and emails to someone else! Really? You mean no constant beeps from emails of questions that really need to wait until Monday? No phone calls because someone was just being stupid? Really really? Awesome!
For a couple days we actually laughed together again. We joked and flirted with each other.  I got to see a real, light-from-within, smile from my husband. For two solid days I got MY Doug back. We went to an expensive dinner and had delicious food. We actually got dressed up like grown-ups.  I put on a dress and heels!  I could see some of the stress just roll off of Doug. I'm sure he could see the same with me. 
I didn't yell at kids, or obsess over what needed to be cleaned/organized/sorted/fixed.  I did not check on the kids at all! I left the girls in the very capable hands of my mother-in-law.  She raised three kids of her own, she can handle three of mine for a night.  OK, so I did leave three pages of "instructions" for the girls and threatened penalty of permanent grounding to the first child to so much as call me for anything less than imminent death.  But hey, when you have kids certain concessions need to be made when you are away.
By Sunday afternoon we were ready to be home.  Not that a winter holiday spent on a beach somewhere wouldn't be welcome, but it was time to go back to reality. 
It was a beautiful time away and a fantastic reminder of how we got here in the first place. 
I love you, Doug. For all of my tomorrows.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Even When You Love Them, They Make You Nuts

If at some point in your parenting "career" you have not wanted to stick your children in the crawl space under the house and forget about them either a)  you haven't been doing it long enough or b) you're a fucking liar.
Don't get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE being a mom. I LOVE my children.  I also have a very limited amount of patience in my head.
And I would LOVE a margarita the size of a fish tank.
Having children of any age comes with it's own unique challenges. Span those ages from still-gestating to ready-to-drive and what you end up with is a mom that should probably be committed. 
I love my children. Love. LOVE. L.O.V.E. my children.  They are the light in my life and I would be empty without them.  However, a small vacation from them would be a welcome respite. 
There seems to be some kind of rotation going on that we have not yet been able to put our fingers on. (Thankfully) They don't all go wonky at the same time.  But, this also means that there seems to always be one of them doing something that is just flat stupid! So, by definition, there is never a time when all of them are just fine.  I don't know if this is purely a numbers thing because there are so many of them that statistically there will always be one of them in trouble. That seems likely. But it also seems like at any given time there should be some kind of calm. 
A couple of weeks ago a good friend said "you know who I never hear about...". Way to jinx it! Gee thanks. I've now spent the last couple weeks wondering if I've started speaking a totally different language or if this previously well behaved child has LOST HER DAMN MIND!
Seriously it's not that  bad. Not in the grand scheme of things. But a splinter under your nail isn't really that bad compared to a broken leg either.  I think part of my current frustration is that I thought that they were finally all on the same page.  I'm pretty sure I got a solid 24 hours of everyone playing nice together and actually listening to me.  Now the smallest request is met with a complete inability to follow the simplest instructions.  "Go shut the doors in the hall and then come back". Five minutes later I'm looking for the child. "Where did you go, I asked you to come back?". "oh, I forgot". Forgot? In the time it takes to walk down the hallway you FORGOT to come back?
This all sounds stupid even to me. If you're a parent you get it. Or you will.
Allie and Jane were supposed to fly out to their dad's last night.  Because of a stupid mistake on his part they didn't. I almost cried. Not because of the stress of the situation, but because they weren't LEAVING. I was going to have almost 3 whole weeks with 2 less children.  I needed this break. I needed the time slightly off, because I am slightly off.  I've come to depend on these times when they go to visit their dad. It's a luxury that not all parents get. That much needed break. When you're ready to run away from home your house is slightly quieter for a week or two.  Having that delayed was harder to deal with than the rearranging of travel that we had to do.  I don't ever want my children to not live with me. But, since I can't go on vacation every 6 months or so, it's great that they can.  I know that they need this break as much as I do. I know I'm making them as crazy as they are making me. 
I asked Doug last night - "What are we going to do when Fiona and Georgi are 11 and 13 and I just need a break?" He said "Easy, we send them to visit their sisters!" That's why I married him, he's always thinking!
Have I mentioned how much I love my children?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I've Reached a Parenting Milestone

Today my oldest daughter turns 16.
If you've ever had a teenage daughter, been around a teenage daughter or even heard of a teenage daughter, you realize the fact that she is not being forced to live in a little box shoved into the crawl space under the house with nothing more than a hamster-type water bottle and whatever food she can convince her sisters to bring her is a freaking MIRACLE.
Krystyne was born on December 11, 1994 at Loma Linda Medical Center in Loma Linda, CA just after midnight.  I was 17 years old.
I went into labor at only 30 weeks pregnant.  I was kept at the hospital for a couple days and then sent home with some medication that I had to take every four hours and strict bed rest instructions.  I even had a nurse that came in and checked on me every couple of days.  After about a week and a half I went to my doctor's appointment for a routine visit. After a cervical check he informed me that I was still dilating and that I needed to immediately go to the hospital and he would call L&D so they would be expecting me. This was just a couple days before Thanksgiving.  That year I spent Thanksgiving in the hospital.  I spent almost two and a half weeks in the hospital on bed rest.  I was allowed to get up to go to the bathroom and every other day to shower.  I read, I did homework and word search puzzles and watched a lot of TV. ER started that year. I spent a couple hours a day hooked up to a monitor for contractions. 
Early in the afternoon on December 10th my contractions started and didn't seem to want to settle down. By 7 o'clock the decision had been made that it looked like there wasn't much more they could do and I would be delivering soon.  I remember the contractions were starting to get painful. I remember being terrified because I didn't really understand what was happening.  I did remember that my mother had always told me that labor was the most painful thing that I would ever endure, but that it was necessary to have a baby (I'm glad I later learned that, at least for me, this is not the case).  My body was working against me and I was loosing control.  I called my mom and a good friend to come and be with me. I couldn't do this alone. I talked on the phone with my Aunt Tina through the contractions until they took me to L&D around 8 o'clock.
I had a great nurse who promised me he would do everything he could to get the anesthesiologist as quickly as he could.  My heplock was flushed, an IV started and the monitors set up.  I remember I almost cried when the anesthesiologist  made it in and started my epidural.  I finally had some relief from the child that was trying to rip itself from my body.  I could rest and relax. I was contracting, but could only see them on the monitor. I couldn't move my legs. The nurse told me to let him know when I needed to push. I told him I didn't know how I would know when that was.  He said "oh, you'll know. It'll feel like you need to poop". Oh great. He was right.
I don't know how long I pushed for. I know I pushed when they told me to. I remember having to tell my mom to please stop crying and count. I yelled at the doctor for hurting me when he was trying to stretch me and not give me an epsiotomy and help me not tear. 
Immediately after she was born they took her to the isolet to check her apgar and breathing.  She was six weeks early and they needed to make sure that everything was working the way it was supposed to.
She weighed 5lbs 2oz. 
I don't remember getting to hold her because the NICU team that I had with me wanted to take her right away.  I remember getting to see her wrapped in her little blanket on a warming pad.  I was told I could sleep and go see her later.  And that's what I did.
I spent two or so more days in the hospital. Krystyne spent 11. I spent 18 hours a day with her. She came home on December 22, 1994.
In the last 16 years I have made good decisions and bad decisions. Sometimes it's hard to tell which is which.  Some days they're the same decision.
Happy birthday baby girl. May you make better choices than I did. May all of your dreams and desires come true.  You were a beautiful baby and have grown into a beautiful young woman.  I love you with all my heart.
Please, don't make me kill you, this has been a lot of work!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's a girl...

I know it's been a while. I just hit a rough patch.  I've actually been rough-drafting in my head the last few days and trying to carve out a moment to get it out.  I feel like it's been all Doom and Gloom around here lately and not nearly enough positive stuff.  That's what I was working on. I swear.
This is not that post. I don't think it's all Doom and Gloom but I won't be blowing little bits of sunshine up your ass either.
I had my 20 week ultrasound today.  And yes, it's a girl. 
Damn it.
I cried. OK truthfully, I bawled. I managed to wait until the tech got out of the room before I actually sobbed.  My husband is grinning like an 8 year old with a double-scoop ice cream cone and all I can do is put my head in my hands and cry. Don't get me wrong - I am happy to be having a baby at all. I am blessed to be having my 5th baby! But my dreams of having a son have just vanished.
I think most women want a little girl to do girlie stuff with. I've always wanted boys. I don't know why, but since I was a little girl I remember wanting boys. I think it stems from a childhood of feeling trapped in frilly dresses for every fricken holiday and not being able to run and play. Meanwhile, my cousin was free to run amok and get dirty.  It wasn't "lady-like".  I couldn't get dirt on my dress. I couldn't snag my tights or scuff my shoes.  You can't go on the monkey bars in a dress.  I wanted to BE a boy so I thought the next best thing would be to have boys of my own.  Then I became a teenager and decided I never wanted to go through that.
I guess God has a sense of humor after all.  More than just the platypus, I have five daughters. Very. Fricken. Funny.
I feel like such a horrible person.  Instead of excited for the possibilities I'm trying to find acceptance. Honestly there's a lot of joy that just got sucked out of this pregnancy for me. I know  it will pass, but right now it's not fun anymore.  I don't know if I just pinned all my hopes on the possibility of a boy.  I sure wasn't expecting this kind of reaction. I'm sick to death of pink and dresses and little tights and shoes with sparkles. I have no interest in hair bows or tutus. The thought of buying one more doll makes me want to hurl.  Yes, Fiona loves trucks and blocks and climbing on things. She loves to kick the ball and run as fast as she can and jump around. Still, not the same.
I will never know that special relationship that a mother has with her son.  It is something so different from what  I have with the girls.
Maybe part of my disappointment comes from the turmoil between Krystyne and I.  She's almost 16 and I swear I will happily sell her to the first band of Gypsies I can find.  Going through this not three but FOUR more times seem s like more than I can take. I'm not superwoman, I only wear that outfit on special occasions. (wink)
I am raising tomorrow's women. I am teaching our future mothers and wives.  What I teach my girls about being a woman and my thoughts on women's issues matter times five!  One of my biggest thoughts in my decision to leave my first husband was that I didn't have the marriage I wanted for my daughters. I didn't want them treated the way I was treated. I didn't want them to be the kind of wife and mother I was. It's a lot of fucking pressure and I was really hoping that someone else could take on some of that just for a little while.
I feel like I have cried all that I can cry but I know there's more in there.
I have apologized to my husband repeatedly.  I don't want to suck the fun out of this for him, too.  He is over the moon about our baby and the sex of that baby isn't important. I am blessed beyond belief to have a husband like I do.  We are so in love it's a little nauseating. Even to me. This baby was conceived in love and because of love.  (see what I mean, I think I just gagged a little) A healthy baby is the best thing that I can ask for. 
I don't want my youngest daughter to ever feel as if she was not wanted with all my heart. I promise you my little one, you are. You are not even born and we love you already.  To see your little heart beat today made mine stop.  You'll learn soon enough you're Mama is a crazy person. Sorry for that.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A New Schedule

We apparently have a new schedule in our house.
Miss Fiona is very much her Papa's girl.  She wants to stay up late and sleep later.  Since she was very small trying to put her down for the night before 10 was almost impossible. We tried everything, and every night we would spend however much time between the time we decided to put her to bed and roughly 10 o'clock with fussing and crying and the in-and-out that comes with a baby that is not ready for bed. Like any self-respecting parent with a willful child that refuses to sleep, we gave up. Fine. Bed time is no earlier than 9 - 9:30. We were rewarded with a child that would happily sleep 12 hours. This left me to my own devices in the mornings. I could get the older kids out, have some computer time, and get some work done! All before my littlest angel decided to grace the day with her presence sometime around 10.
With our increasingly busy activity schedule we (and by we I mean me) decided that maybe it might be a good idea for her to start waking up a little earlier.  While I'm not looking for a wide awake toddler at 6, 8 wouldn't be so bad. We might actually make a play-date somewhere close to on time. I might actually get a little snuggle time with my husband in the evening that isn't immediately followed by unconsciousness.
Changing her schedule was surprisingly easy! I started on Monday, waking her up at 8 to see how it'd go. She did really good. Tuesday she was up on her own at 8. Wednesday we were up much earlier because of an appointment.  She's napping fine, she's going to bed about an hour or so earlier now! There's peace in the house at night! 
Last night, just before 9, I heard her in her bedroom and went to go check on her.  She was standing on her tippy-toes, holding her baby doll over her head trying to get it into her crib. She caught me peeking and said "nigh'-nigh' Mama". Well OK! Apparently it's bed time. So I scooped her up, and put her in her crib.  She looked at me and said "how about a baba?" No problem! I gave her kisses, tucked her in and then sent her Papa in with the requested baba. We didn't hear a peep out of her for the last 11 hours! I can hear her in there now just chatting away.
We are making progress. 
My next trick? Trying to get her into a toddler bed.  Something tells me this won't be so easy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I don't even know where to begin...

My heart is absolutely breaking. 
I came home yesterday from running errands to find Freddy laying on the landing and unable to get up.  My heart broke instantly.
Kraig and I got Freddy in late February of 2002.  He was 8 weeks old and weighed 15lbs.  Here we are almost 9 years later and he weighs 130lbs. He should have been bigger.  He's a Great Dane/Golden Retriever mix.  It was the first time I had ever had a dog of my own. Anyone that says you can't buy love has never bought a puppy.  He gained a pound a day for the first month and then about a pound a week after that. You do the math.  For nine years Freddy and I have been more than best friends.  When I left Kraig in January 2006 it was just as hard for me to leave Freddy with him as it was for me to leave the girls.  When Doug and I discussed moving in together 18 months later I had to have my dog with me.  Just like the girls, Freddy was part of the package.
If anyone asks, I wouldn't call him a "big" dog.  I know he's a big dog but to me he's still that fuzzy little puppy that went ass over elbows down the stairs because he wasn't coordinated enough.  I'm used to him.  The normal response when people first meet Fred is "holy shit he's HUGE!".  Yeah, well I guess he is.  He's still my lap dog.  He only takes up most of the couch.  A big dog would take up all of the couch.  I don't realize how big he is until I take him out of the house. Which, these days, is not that often. 
I got home yesterday and he couldn't get up.  After picking up the million pieces of my heart I called Bill. Fred lived with Bill for almost a year when I was in an apartment and couldn't afford the $500 deposit that was needed to have him with me.  Bill is Freddy's "Foster Dad" and as much of a part of Freddy's family as anyone.  Without hesitation he headed over. I don't want to know what kind of traffic laws he broke getting here as fast as he did.  I'm just glad he did.  It took Bill and a neighbor (thank you, too) to get him into the van.  I did have to take the seats out so he would fit. 
After an exam and X rays the vet came in and gave us the news.  There wasn't really good news/bad news.  It all pretty much sucked ass.
She had no real idea what was going on with him.  The x-rays showed us what it isn't. It's not a fracture. It's not cancer.  It doesn't look like a bulging disc.  Based on the manual exam of his leg and the fact that he wasn't bearing any weight and that he wasn't  "righting" it when she tucked it under she's guessing an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament - stabilizing ligament of the knee) tear.  He can have surgery to repair it.  Even surgery will not make him 100% better.  He's 9 years old. He's a BIG dog.  Life expectancy for him is 9, maybe 10 years - do the math.  He has bad hip dysplasia on his right side (at this time that's the "good" leg).  He has arthritis.  He's as healthy as a dog his age/size can be expected to be.  But he's old. And he's big.  Surgery will change his pain. He will never be pain free.  To not do surgery means that the bones will create arthritic type fibers that will help to stabilize the knee. He will end up bearing more weight on the right side with the dysplastic hip. It's a matter of time before either the hip gives out or the ACL in the other knee gives out from the strain. 
We could do an MRI to find out if it was something else - nerve damage maybe.  The x-rays cost me $350 - what the hell is an MRI supposed to cost?  And really, even if we called in Dr House, what real difference would it make?  He's an old dog. How long and what quality of life are we going to give him?
When the vet left I did the translation.  We're managing his pain. We're putting him on "comfort measures".  At this point it's just a matter of trying to make him as comfortable and happy as possible for as long as possible.  It could be another week before we have to realize that he's just not going to get better.  It could be a month or two before we have to acknowledge that he's getting worse. 
I've watched him lately get slower.  I've watched him stumble when he gets on the couch or tries to go up the stairs too fast.  I've seen him not be able to get his balance when trying to go from lying to standing.  I know that he can no longer get up on my bed.  He struggled the last time I tried to get him in the van.  When Allie wanted to take him for a walk he only went a block before he sat down and wanted to go home.  I've filed this all away to the place where we know things but don't want to acknowledge them.  I know that he's old.  I know  that he's not going to live forever. I know that he's starting to falter.  This is the first time I've been forced to face it.  Not only face it but face the possibility that I am going to have to soon make the decision whether or not we need to put him to sleep. 
I look at him now and you can't tell that he's old. While he's outside sitting in the sun with his nose and ears perked up to what's going on around him you can see the light in his eyes.  When he rolls over for a belly rub and speaks his "Freddy Speak" and grumbles, you can see how happy he is. 
When he whimpers and whines because he can't stand up and he has to go potty your heart just breaks.
There is a part of me that just wants to call the vet and take him in.  While he is in pain, he's happy. He's loved.  He loves.  He's hurt but he's not suffering.  Why should I wait until he's suffering?
There is the rest of me that has loved this dog for 9 years.  That has held him and cried because I was upset.  He has laid in my bed when I don't feel good.  He puts his head in my lap when I just need something.  He's goofy and just dumb as a dog can be sometimes.  He's convinced that a 12" board will keep him out of any room.  Hell, a well placed chair will keep him out of any room.  He lays under the kitchen table when we eat. He sits at Fiona's feet in her high chair - just in case.  And she frequently rewards him.  How can I make the decision to take his life away, no matter how little is left? 
How do I explain to the girls.  This will be their first brush with anything like it.  How do I tell my girls that their dog is going to die? And probably soon?  And that I have to be the one to make the decision?  HOW THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THIS???
I can't stop crying. I can't remember the last time that I cried like this. I can't remember the last time I cried this hard.  I can't breathe. I can't hardly see. My face is swollen and I look like Eric Stoltz in Mask. Maybe not that bad, but close. 
He's a good dog. He's a happy dog. He's a very, very loved dog.  He's MY dog.
I love you Freddy. No matter what. I love you. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Overcoming The Fear

I'm struggling with overcoming The Fear.  In this instance The Fear comes in the shape of What If of a home birth. 
I had my first doctor's appointment yesterday.  Now, understand that I think I have found what I consider to be the best doctor ever. I heart him. He's been really great about everything we've seen him for. He's been great with Fiona and telling me " You've done this before, you know what you're doing". He was supportive and empathetic when I miscarried earlier this year.  He sees no reason I shouldn't be able to have a 3VBAC with this pregnancy.  The mention of home birth and he runs down the risks of rupture and better to be at the hospital and blah blah blah.  It's to be expected. Honestly I'm not upset with him. It's his job. It's what he's been doing for more years than I've been alive.  What I was not expecting was my reaction.
What if he's right? It's The Fear. The fear of the Unknown. The Uncontrollable. Fuck.
Here's the thing - I know better.  I KNOW better. I know what the risks are. From the most recent published studies.  I know what the latest ACOG recommendations are for VBAC and VBAMC. I know that I can do this. I have done it. I know that my body has the ability. I know it.  But what if something goes wrong?  Will I know that? Just In Case is the reason I went to the hospital with Fiona.  I wasn't feeling right and I went in Just In Case. I have no regrets about my birth experience with her, but there are things I didn't like. They were hospital policy things that I couldn't control. That in itself I didn't like.  I had to explain my allergy to adhesives because of the hep-lock. I couldn't squat to push (and I firmly believe that she would've been born faster had I been allowed to squat, but it wasn't a convenient position for the doctor). I had to pee in front of strangers. I had to beg to go home. Those things I didn't like.
I labored for 5 hours in that hospital from the time my water was broken until that 9lb 7oz baby made her entrance into the world. It was the most amazing, most powerful thing I have ever done.  It is not this pregnancy that I look forward to but the upcoming birth. I want to feel like that again. 
But what if something goes wrong? Something that we can't handle at home? I know that very few things that do happen are instant.  And the ones that do it doesn't matter where you are. I know that an experienced midwife can say "OK, it's time we get some help" long before it gets to critical. I know the risks are minimal. Almost non-existent. Almost.
But how to get over The Fear?  How do I get past it?  And where the hell was this last time? This is mind crippling. This has given me an understanding for those that are scheduling c-sections despite the risks and despite the research.  
The fear has power that I don't know how to shake.  I want a natural birth. I want drug-free, intervention-free, come-when-you're-ready-baby birth. I don't want to be stuck with needles, strapped to machines, told how and when to push (trust me, they don't need to tell you that) and have someone's hand somewhere it very much does not belong!  I want the sounds of my house, not the beep of machines. I want my husband's hands to be the hands that first touch our baby (this is his main reason for wanting a home birth - I can't make this shit up, ladies, I'm not that witty).  I want to not be afraid of what could happen if we aren't in the hospital. 
I've seen your little heart beat, I've seen your hands move and the outline of your little body. I know that my body is that which nurtures you and protects you and gives you life - how can I risk that?
How can I get past The Fear and have faith in my body when it's never betrayed me before?

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Heart Canada (and Denmark, India, Poland, Ghana and Russia)

OK, so when I started this blog I did it as a way to keep friends and family updated with my pregnancy. Since then it's evolved a bit into something else. It's a sneak peak into my random thoughts and world. It's become a sounding board as much as a poster board for what's happening in my life. It's just me. I don't claim to be a fantastic writer. I don't aspire to be TFB or Strocel - they are truly amazing women and fantastic writers. I don't post as often as I'd like to (truthfully I could just sit and write about random crap that pops in my head all day, it's how my brain works). I'm not trying to offer advice or guide anyone. This is just me.
So while I'm sitting on hold waiting for information from an insurance company for the 5th time today my mind starts to wander, as it's known to do. Honestly, I have the attention span of a senile and mildly retarded fruit fly. I decided to poke around on my blogger site and see what exactly some of those little tab things at the top were. I'm bored and have already checked Facebook 6 times in the last 45 seconds, nothing new there.
I clicked on Stats. As I expected it's a list of the percentages of stuff on my page. Number of views on my posts (42 for the one announcing my pregnancy - pretty cool!), where the traffic is coming from (mostly Facebook), and where my Audience is. So I figure it's just going to be some goofy something that maybe has it broken up by state and maybe I can see how many people I know in different states. Silly I know. Fruit fly here people. It breaks up page views by Now, Today, Week, Month, and All Time. This is where it gets cool. 7 people in Canada have read my blog this week! And someone in Denmark! How friggin' cool is that? Seriously, if you're in Canada and Denmark and reading my blog then a)OMGthatssofriggincoolIloveyou!!!! and b) drop a comment and say hello! Tell me how you found this and why in creation you're reading it. Don't get me wrong I'm totally and completely amazed that you would take the time, but I don't think I'm all that amazing.  I'm curious as to what had you so bored.
In the last month I have had people from Canada, India, Poland, Denmark, Ghana (apparently in West Africa, had to look that one up - sorry),  and Russia. Since May I have had traffic from China, France and Israel, too!
This is one of those things that is probably only cool to me. But, this is my virtual medicine cabinet and you peek at your own risk.
Seriously, probably the coolest thing that's happened to me in a long time.
I need to get out more.

Official Announcement

So here it is. Our Official Announcement!
I'm pregnant again!

I thought it best to answer some of the questions we've been getting...

  1. You know what causes that right? - Yes, yes we do. And that's the best part of trying.
  2. Are you trying for a boy? - I would like a boy. But, a healthy baby is what we are hoping for most. 
  3. What if it's another girl? - Then we start our own volleyball team. 
  4. How many are you going to have? - We figure we'll keep trying until we get an ugly one.  Actually, this is it.  Any more and we can't buy a car at a regular dealership. I'm not OK with that. 
  5. When are you due? - April
  6. April what? - Whenever the baby lets us know it's time. 
  7. Where are you delivering? - At home.  No, I'm not nuts.
  8. Who's your doctor? - I've got a great family doctor, Dr. Merrill in Enumclaw, and we'll have midwifery care as well.  
  9. Is this the reason behind your increased Facebook posts on birth and delivery? - No, there has been an increase in discussion and information as of late. I think it's important to share the information with people who might not know that these changes are happening.  
  10. When is your first doctor's appointment? September 27th.
That's it I guess. We're really excited.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy New Year!

No, I have not decided to give up on the rest of this year. I have not decided that Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas aren't really worth the hassle (although, that doesn't sound half bad!). I am a mother of four children, and three of them are school-age.  Today is my New Year!  With a family full of educators I know I'm not the only one.
Today is the day we get back on track. Today we get back in the swing of things and say goodbye to the chaos of summer and hello to the controlled chaos of the new school year.  We have bedtimes and schedules to keep. I start making dinner again. We sit at the table and enjoy a rambunctious half hour between practices, homework, concerts, chores and business travel.  I wrote the first of many checks for lunch money today.
I put more miles on the mini-van between now and first report cards than I do all summer.  It's carpool for golf practice, after-school activities and Mom-can-I-go-here's. It's taking Fiona to the indoor park twice a week.
This is the time of year where I vow to get more organized. To get this large family in order and running smoothly.  I set the resolution to be more patient but am usually screaming about homework the first week. I take a look at our finances and set new goals, completely forgetting that the budget I set out to go by last year has gone out the window more times than I can count. 
This year I will get the place organized and get rid of the stuff I've slated for donations but never managed to get out of the house. I will keep up on laundry and give the kids some leeway on chores. I will not yell - as much.  I will work with Fiona three times a week for 30 minutes or more on pre-school activities. I will get back into my exercise routine that was working so well before I went on vacation. 
I know this all seems a little ambitious. And it is. I know that all of these things are not going to happen, and those that do are not going to happen in the Norman Rockwell way that lives in my head.  I'm realistic about it.  As I watch the school buses start to make their rounds again it leaves me hopeful for the year ahead. 
So, I'll say it again - Happy New Year everyone! May it be all that you hope for and more.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Magic of Disney

The Magic of Disney is real. I never thought it was. A clever marketing ploy, a play on the creative minds that make up the Disney animation maybe. What I was not expecting was there to be actual magic.
The girls managed to go off together and not fight. They laughed and joked and had fun together. The bickering was down to a minimum.
My husband smiled, a real, happy smile for the first time in weeks. He left his phone in his pocket for hours at a time. We flirted and laughed together. I was able to relax and loosen my control a bit.
I giggled with my girls again.

The memories from this trip will last a lifetime. It was a lot of work. It was amazingly expensive. It was worth every bit!
I thought I posted this last week when we got back! Oops.

Educator or Militant ?

Anyone who has known me for more than a day knows my passion for birth and all things birth related. It is something that I feel so strongly about that I want to make it my career. After 30-ish years of not knowing what I want to be when I grow-up I feel like I have finally found my calling. I want to be a Childbirth Educator. I haven't figured out exactly which path to take yet but I'm working on it. There are a number of different paths, so I'm just down to picking one.
Because this is something so dear to my heart it is something that I am immersed in almost daily. I have a list of blogs that I check regularly to read the newest information and keep up on what is going on in the birth community. I read blogs by midwives, doulas, educators, and women who are not in the "business" of birth, but find the current state of affairs less than desirable. I read the findings that are published on the blogs by the ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) that set the standard for modern maternity care. I've read the benefits and risks of "Routine Interventions". I know the c-section rate for my state and where to find the information by hospital. I know my stuff and I know where to find what I don't know.
Birth, more accurately c-section birth, has been in the media a lot lately. The national average hovers right above 30%. 1/3 of all American babies are born via c-section. This varies by region, state and hospital of course but that's the average. Any woman giving birth has a 1 in 3 chance of having surgery merely for giving birth. This bothers me. Not a little. A LOT!
I post links on my facebook page. OK, I post a lot of links on my facebook page. I want to get the information out there. Is that not the best way to educate people but to make the information available to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to see it? Sometimes the comments get...heated. Nothing vulgar, nothing hurtful, but there is passion behind the opinions. During these "debates" is where I start to wonder - Have I crossed the line to Militant? I've heard "You're so passionate about this". Is that nice for "you're a nut-job about this stuff!!"? How will I learn to control my passion in a way that will allow me to educate my students in a (at least mildly) non-biased way?
Birth is such a profoundly personal experience that we share a piece of with everyone we come in contact with. It can be a spiritual or traumatic experience. I feel like education is key.
During a recent debate on the overuse of c-sections I was lucky to engage with a friend who had a very life saving c-section. It is hard to explain to her how any doctor could provide anything less to anyone else. She is rightfully concrete in her belief that c-sections are life saving procedures. Without them she and her baby could have lost their lives. I have a few friends that have had this experience and am thankful for the surgery that kept them here to debate with me. I am grateful for the c-section that I had that I believe saved Allie. I know that there is cause for c-section.
I have a friend that has worked in L&D and has seen the devastating outcome when the interventions were not fast enough. The lifeless babies, the hemorrhaging mothers. I am grateful for these friends and their perspectives. Know that I love and respect each of you for them.
But I also know the flip-side. I know the women who have been traumatized by their births. I know the women who have suffered PTSD because of how their bodies and their babies were treated during this most sacred of times. The women who feel violated and scared. Where fear tactics were used to force them into doing something they didn't believe in "for the safety of the baby" only to deliver a baby without complications. This is where the "well at least you have a healthy baby" statement usually comes in. What I think some people overlook or don't realize is the At Least in that statement. At least you have a healthy baby. Because you no longer have confidence in yourself, your body or your ability to protect your child. At least, because you no longer have trust in the medical providers that are supposed to keep you and your baby healthy. At least. My heart breaks for each and every one of you that has gone through that.
These are the things I want to educate women about. First time to fifth time and beyond moms.
For me natural birth is the way. It is how I want to bring my babies into the world. It's how I believe that babies should be born. But I didn't always feel this way. I didn't always have the education that I have now. I want to educate. Not to make a decision for someone, but to help them to make the most educated decision that they can. Do you want an epidural in the parking lot? Fine. Know the risks. Know the advantages. Water birth? Know the risks and advantages. Scheduling your next c-section? Ask the questions. Know the risks. Know the advantages. Talk to your providers. Ask the questions they may not want to answer. How do I provide this without being the Crazy Birth Lady?
Be patient with me please, as I go through this process. There are none more convicted than the converted. Know that I believe in my heart that the choice is yours and I'm just trying to help.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Too Short Summer - An Update

I can't believe it's already the middle of August. I don't know where the time has gone. It's been a rather lazy summer for us. Allie and Jane left for Wisconsin just a couple days after school let out. They've been having a great time and are really enjoying the time they are getting to spend with their father. Because of our upcoming vacation they got to have a couple extra weeks there. I think it's been good for all of them. He's been dealing with some personal things and it's been therapeutic for him to have them there and to spend some extra time with them. His troubles have been a blessing in disguise for the girls and they seem to have had a better time this trip than they have had in the past. For me it's been an long time and I am ready to have my family back together. While a dozen or so days don't seem like that much, it really makes a difference. The house is too quiet, too big and too empty without them here.
Krysty is spending some time in California with my family. I know that she misses her friends but she's gotten to do a couple of really cool things. Plus I know that my mom has benefited from having her there. I know it's hard to have the girls so far away. Krysty and I have gotten much closer over the last few months and it's been tough for me to have her gone. She's usually pretty helpful at home. Most of all I just miss her presence.
The most exciting part of the summer has been Fiona breaking her leg. It wasn't any harrowing accident where we're just glad she came away with nothing worse. It was a random fall of 18 inches off a patio during a play-date. One of those things that's just ridiculous. Even now I think back on it and the one thought that is constant is "Seriously?". She's fallen down the stairs, off the couch, coffee table and my bed. She's slipped in the tub and run into a corner when not paying attention. All with nothing more than a bump or some wounded pride. I've had to go find where her scream of "I STUCK!" was coming from. Now she's sporting a hot pink cast up to her thigh. Thankfully (I think) this has not slowed her down at all. The number of times in a day I say "Fiona, get down!" has not lessened. I'm happy for her child's resilience. I'm glad it won't be putting a damper on her summer. We're still able to sit on the patio while she plays on her slide or in the grass. I feel fortunate that with four children this is the first time anything has actually broken. We've had stitches and trips to the ER, but this is my first child to walk around in a cast of any kind.
Doug is working his arse off. He's still covering two additional markets and is constantly up to his eyeballs in emails, phone calls and something that has to be handled Now. They have hired someone to take over some of it but relief is still some time off. I never thought I'd say I'd be happy when he goes back to "only" working 60 hours a week. He's handling it well. Of course he always does. We've been able to sneak in a few day trips and some "extra" time together, and that's been nice. I love the way he makes time for us and remembers why he's working so hard.
As for me, I miss my older girls. I miss the noise and the company. I miss the help. I miss everything that comes with having a house with four children in it. Ask me again in September and I will be longing for my quiet summer days when nap time means silence. I'm still dealing with the fertility/trying to conceive roller coaster. I can't wait for the day to be able to say "We did it! And it stuck!". Crazy is as crazy does, I suppose. There are some things that are just too hard to pull back the throttle on.
I hope everyone else is enjoying the summer in the way they most desire.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Please Stay Out of My Womb

I read a recent article discussing the merits of having an only child. It discusses the constant badgering to have more children that parents who have made the choice to have only one child receive. I will admit that I have been guilty of the "so are you going to have more?" question. Personally it is not a choice that I (obviously) made for myself or my children. Being raised as an only-child-with-siblings I was lonely and didn't want that for my own children. I longed for the companionship and even the antagonistic nature of a sibling close to my age and in my own house. I wanted to have to share a room and fight over what toy was mine. I wanted a confidant. I wanted a partner-in-crime. I wanted someone else that understood. I was jealous of friends with siblings close to their age. What I would not understand until I was older was that if I had only one child she would not know the loneliness that I had felt for a variety of reasons - least of which was a lack of siblings. Now that they do have multiple siblings I do what I can to foster a close relationship between them. I am constantly trying to remind them that there is no relationship in the world like that of your sister. When I am long gone it will be your sisterhood that binds you together. Part of my desire for another child is a fear that Fiona will someday know the pain of having a sister you have no hope of being close to because of the gap in your ages. It is not the only reason but I would be dishonest if I did not admit that I do think about it and often.
The fact that we are trying to have another baby is something that gets me the same type of rude remarks people choosing to only have one child are faced with. Things like: You know what causes that right? Are you ever going to stop? You want ANOTHER ONE? Are you NUTS? Well, that will be your last one then, right - because you can't possibly want more!
Are you freakin' kidding me, people? STAY OUT OF MY WOMB! The only person who really and truly has option to comment on the state of my reproductive life is the person that I am reproducing with! I hadn't realized how much this truly bothered me until I was reading about how upset and defensive people were made to feel about only having one child. I understood their desire to not have to explain the choices that they make in their own families, marriages and bedrooms.
(To my friends with only one child that do not plan to have any more I say this: I am sorry if I have EVER made a comment that has made you feel uncomfortable or defensive about your decision. I ask only out of curiosity and as a person who is passionate about birth and pregnancy - not from a place of judgment or rudeness.)
Please, General Public, if you are not helping to make the baby keep your shock and awe to yourself.
I love my large family. With every child we bring in more love. We have struggles unique to a large family but are without those that a family with few children might have. Don't ask what those might be, I can't remember. Every child we have is an amazing miracle. Maybe I like a challenge. Maybe I am in fact as crazy as people tell me I am. Either way I am proof that contrary to what this blog might want you to think, I am happier than I ever thought possible. My children do not make me happy but are very much a part of my happiness.
I think in an age where the innermost workings of our lives and thoughts are shared in two line updates on social networking sites and in greater details in blogs people have lost the ability to think before they speak.
One last note: Parents of only one child, please remember you are as much of a freak to people like me as we are to you. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two Years And A Day

Doug and I spent the last few days celebrating our two year wedding anniversary. Saturday we had brunch at our favorite restaurant, Salty's. Followed by a helicopter tour of Seattle. Last night, our actual anniversary, we took the girls out to celebrate with us at Mama Sortini's in Puyallup.
Marriage is not what I expected it to be.  I know that sounds funny since I had been married once before, but this is different.  Marriage was hard and a lot of work. There were constant battles.  It was bi-polar.  It was something I swore I would never do again.  When Doug asked me to marry him I agreed because I loved him enough to be willing to put the work in to build a life with him. The funny thing is that I haven't had to.  What I'm learning is that marriage with the right person is easy. Sure, there's conflicts and we have our less than stellar moments. But it's not hard. It's not work.
I think I have married the most patient man on the planet.  He is beyond patient with me when I feel like the house is falling down around me. When I apologize for the house being a mess he just shrugs it off "I don't like to clean, why should you?".  When I forget to take the dry-cleaning in - for the fourth day in a row - he says "I could do it just as easily and I didn't".
He's my buoy.  He gives me something to anchor myself to. When the waters get rough he is there, riding the waves and being a beacon of all that is good and stable.

I said them two years ago, have lived them since and will continue to do so:

from today, I will belong to you for the rest of my life. I promise to love and honor you; and to give you my strength, and to stand by you in joy and in sorrow, and ask you to stand by me.  I want you to share your hopes, desires, and dreams with me.  I know that our home will be one of love and understanding.  I promise to care for you when you are sick, stand by you when times are difficult, and to share the warmth and joy of life.  I give you all my trust and all of my tomorrows.  I will grow with you as long as I live.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Broke My Daughter's Heart

I had to break my daughter's heart - and my own while I was at it.  It's bound to happen sooner or later - it does with all of them.  That knowledge does not make it easier.
Allie had a "boyfriend" that she's been talking about for a few weeks now. I hadn't given it much thought, as middle-schoolers cycle through boyfriends like they share pens.  There's been a few that she's liked and then not and then liked again.  I figured after a couple of weeks this one would be old news, too. Krystyne, having had to submit to the torturous task of bringing her boyfriend home decided that it was high time that Allie be subjected to the same disgrace.  That's when we found out that he "doesn't live here". Um, what? He lives in WI. Um, WHAT?!?! My head went firmly into the are-you-freakin'-kidding-me mode.  "Dad said he'll take me to see him while I'm there". Oh, this just gets better and better.
From here the details of their meeting get a little fuzzy.  He's the cousin of a friend's ex-boyfriend, he's was in town for a funeral. She first saw him on a Warp Tour message board and happen to recognize him with a friend.  It gets a little fishy and I realized that the "how" of it all was not really important.
There were some text messages that had pinged my Mom Radar as a little concerning. Just basic ever-lasting-love teenage crap that is to be expected.  There was just something in it that gave me reason to pause. I had shrugged it off to my over protective Mama Bear stuff, but it just didn't sit right.
Last night I sat down with Al to try to talk some sense into her. And by talk some sense, I mean really explain how the hell this was NEVER going to happen.  Let's start with logistics of the whole thing. The kid lives an hour away from where her dad lives.  Just the chance of seeing him is almost non-existent, no matter what Dad says.  There's a lot of "sure, we'll go to the lake, mall, whatever" that doesn't happen. Not with any malicious intent but sometimes you just don't get to it.  It happens here all the time, it's not something I fault him for.  Add to that taking away the very little time that they get out there, how likely is it really.  Here's what the next few visits look like:
Summer - Late June to Mid August
Christmas Break - Two weeks at the end of December
Summer - 6 weeks in July/August
How do you have any kind of relationship in that time? Is it really fair to ask Dad during the only few weeks he gets in the next year to take you somewhere for a few hours to make googly eyes at some boy? This is all around just a bad idea.  The 65-ish days they get with their dad should be spent with him. It's all he gets and it's not fair to ask that he give that time up.
I hated to do it but I had to draw the line.  How crazy would I be to allow this to continue?  I'm a little nuts, I'm not that nuts. 
I know that I had to do what was right for my daughter even if she can't see it now. Even if she can't see past the hurt that she sees me "intentionally" dishing out for her.  I can see the 800 ways this could go terribly wrong. Maybe it's too many Lifetime movies.  Maybe it's my own paranoia about my girls having to go through even an ounce of the horrors I went through in my early (and even later) relationships.  I can see how isolating something like this could become.  I can't sit by and watch while she passes by opportunities and experiences that she should be having out of some misplaced loyalty to some mangy, weird kid that can't land a girlfriend in his own town.  My Allie is beautiful, even with the mounds of eyeliner and ever-changing hair colors.  She is a complicated, sensitive child. Under normal circumstances she stands back and watches before making her choices. She can be impulsive. She is goofy and funny and pure joy.  She worries me more than any of the other kids.  She is stubborn and sarcastic and helpful.  I will not stand by while some little freak-job (hey, I am not required to be diplomatic here) pulls on her heart-strings and toys with her emotions.  I won't. I don't have to.  I am asserting my parental right to come in and destroy their hopes and dreams in the name of knowing what's best.  A part of her may hate me now, but I'm OK with that.  In 5 years I will remind her of this and she will say "who? I don't remember that, Mom".  I can wait.  
For now I offer distractions and give her a little more leeway with friends. Summer is coming and she'll be leaving soon.  This trip will be longer than most.  I will block the little punk's number from her phone and erase it from her address book. I'll give it to her dad to do the same and watch for.  (Amazingly enough Kraig actually agrees with me on this one.  We don't often agree when it comes to parenting. I'm glad he's on my team for this one)
Eighth grade will provide a whole new set of boys to make googly eyes at.  I hope one day she understands.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fiona's Firtst 100 Words... and then some

Doug and I were just noticing how much Fiona's vocabulary has exploded recently.  I decided that it would be a good idea to start writing down all the words she could say.  As the list grew I wondered if she had a vocabulary of at least 100 words.  Here are the first 100 (plus a few extra) that I could think of with help from Fiona and Krystyne.
 The Basics: The easy stuff.
  1. Doug (This was her first word. He's obviously not happy about this one, but she's the only one in the house that doesn't call him Doug. Sometimes she still does but she'll learn as she gets older)
  2. Mama
  3. Mom
  4. Papa
  5. Jane
  6. Al
  7. Sister
  8. Krys (We're still working on this one. It's relatively new.)
  9. Baba (completely interchangeable with cup)
  10. Cup
  11. Mine
  12. No
  13. Cat
  14. Dog
  15. Fred (pronounced Sed)
  16. Hello
  17. Hi
  18. Bye
  19. Baby
Her Body: Learning about herself
  1.  Hair
  2. Head
  3. Eyes
  4. Nose
  5. Mouth
  6. Chin
  7. Cheeks
  8. Ears
  9. Arm
  10. Hands
  11. Elbow
  12. Spot (her word for freckle)
  13. Belly Button
Her World: Things that she does, has or wants
  1. Brush (This can be either the hair brush or her tooth brush)
  2. Shower
  3. Diaper
  4. Snack
  5. Shoes
  6. Socks
  7. Toys
  8. Color (So far her favorite activity)
  9. Yuck
  10. Gross (Eewww is one, too)
  11. Hug
  12. Kiss
  13. Stairs
  14. Happy
  15. Car
  16. Flower
  17. Balloon
  18. Up
  19. Outside
  20. Ball
  21. Ouch
  22. Coupon (yes, this is my girl!)
  23. Wash
  24. Soap
  25. Clap
  26. Book
  27. Color
  28. Cracker
  29. Cake
  30. Stuck
  31. Help
  32. Cereal
  33. Coffee (Guess figuring out her parents aren’t hard!)
  34. Jump
  35. Pat (as in pat on the back or pat the dog, which she does)
  36. Hot
  37. Talk
Animals: She’s learning about animals and can point to them in her book
  1. Frog (pronounced Sog)
  2. Fish (pronounced Sish)
  3. Duck
  4. Chicken
  5. Cow (Often followed by moooo! Thanks Carla)
  6. Hamster
  7. Bear
  8. Turtle
  9. Elephant
  10. Pig
  11. Goat
  12. Sheep
  13. Zebra
  14. Mouse
  15. Squirrel
Cartoons: Proof we watch way too much TV
  1. ‘Toons
  2. Calliou
  3. Club House
  4. Goofy
  5. Minnie Mouse
  6. Mickey Mouse
  7. Daisy
  8. Donald
  9. Wow-Wow
  10. Zaboo
  11. Manny
Learning: She loves learning her shapes and gets excited when she recognizes them. Although most things are still Circles. She only knows one color so far and one number.
  1. Blue
  2. Two
  3. Circle
  4. Rectangle
  5. Oval
  6. Star
  7. Heart
Small Phrases: Small phrases and sentences that she likes to use
  1. Thank you
  2. Ready, Set, Go!
  3. All Done
  4. Good Job
  5. I Get You!
  6. Awesome! (Usually follows a High Five)