Friday, March 28, 2014

Good Morning Vietnam, or My Life With Small Kids

Life has been really, really busy. Or rather Malachi has been really, really busy. I'm loving that the new baby arrival also heralded the serious uptick in his creative abilities to wreck havoc in every area of the house.

My first morning alone with him, Shane had taken  3 of the bigger kids to lessons and so I found myself alone early in the morning with old and new baby. At first I figured we'd just barricade ourselves in my room and wait until Shane got home for dinner. Then I knew we needed a real plan so while I tried and failed to get dressed and figure out how to navigate the stairs without Malachi escaping I scanned about the room looking for anything edible for Muffin. Not that I am in the habit of leaving meals around, but you never know. At least I could just nurse Fiona.  I was pleased to find an unopened bottle of coconut water. Left over from my labor refreshments bag. I rinsed out his nighttime bottle in the sink, filled it up, and we climbed back in bed to nurse new baby and strategize.

Then I dug a little deeper and found some Honey Stinger Energy Chews. They taste pretty yummy, as far a energy bites go, and I hoped he would think they were big gummy bears (Seriously, who can argue it was not the breakfast of champions?)and at least he wouldn't starve in the event I didn't come up with a cunning plan to relocate all of us downstairs. I felt like I was living the whole goat, hay, wolf?, and bridge conundrum. Eventually we all made it safely to the living room couch, with the help of whoever I could rouse and enlist,  for a new bottle, more nursing, and 5 hours later some coffee.  I would put the whole event in the successful morning category. Not so much the morning that happened a few days later.

 Fiona and I got up uber-early and made it downstairs by ourselves. It had started with an uber-early and messy poop, requiring a wardrobe change and a bath. For Fiona. After which I made a coffee. She nursed and pooped again and then we were both ready for a nap on the couch. It was going really well until I  was woken by some strange scraping sounds above me. I realized they were coming from upstairs, where Malachi had been sleeping. Then I remembered, with a panicked feeling,  I had not been able to empty her tub yet and clean up her bathing area. And I knew Malachi was up, and into it. I braced myself and headed upstairs to face what looked like a war zone, but was in fact my bathroom. It was obvious he had used her diaper as a tea bag and repeatedly dunked it in the water before throwing it on the scrap heap of towels to ooze. He had then decided to add various objects to the tub for a real taste treat.
Some of which he harvested from the hamper. And  once the tub reached maximum capacity, he was forced to just throw everything on the floor.

Fortunately all the laundry was already dirty.

Malachi was quite upset his morning activity was interrupted. Note the pink scrubby for cleaning the walls, not bodies, on the shower floor. (Yes, there is a story for another time in the corner.)

That's  where Shane's cologne was hiding!- under the towel, under the poopy bath water.

Once I cleaned everything up we continued on with his typical morning routine, which includes, but is definitely not limited to:

Demonstrating his latest achievement of climbing the kitchen chairs, which makes morning coffee sooo relaxing, and which will lead to trying to scale the kitchen table. Whatever it takes to reach mom's cup.

Next on the list is removing any visible heat registers. That way he can fit larger objects into the gaping holes to be retrieved later by mom. At least we know where to look for lost items.

Next up, clearing the shelves.I finally bought a board to fit across the pantry door. Which keeps him out and unable to knock glass jars off shelves or drop cans on his toes, but low enough for us to step over. Initially, it  still allowed him the opportunity to reach and swipe anything an arms reach from the door frame, onto the floor. Mom got wise and now there is an empty space the first foot in. I'm learning.

No picture for his next event. As that would be gross. His latest delight is poop flinging. When you change his diaper, he performs some sleight of hand and gets a hold of the old diaper before you can get him cleaned, and with a good yank sends it, and its contents flying. Thank goodness for Lysol.

Somewhere in the routine we fit breakfast. He is always excited to see what medium will be served for painting his highchair tray with. A bottle of milk always acts a thinner for anything from scrambled eggs to rice pudding. And whatever he doesn't decorate at breakfast, he can always get at lunch.

I realize this is a lot heavy on the Malachi side, and that he is only one of the small kids. Fiona, the other player, will get her turn. Its just her antics are not quite as photogenic, and a lot of them are the same. Eat, sleep, poop, cry, barf. Rinse and repeat. I ordered a Miracle Blanket, which will come today, so maybe there will be some amazing news to report. I am hoping life changing. I'll let you know.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Post Partum Post, D-MER, and the Sleep gods hate us. Part I

But first, this needs to be documented. Right now this:

                                                                  And this :

Are happening. And I was able to eat lunch. I'm thinking it would be pushing my luck to try and fit a coffee in as well, so I'm typing instead.
We are all a lot under slept these days.
We discovered Malachi likes the song 'Let It Go' from Frozen. And after a few rounds of the music video falls asleep. Not my first choice in ways to induce naps, but given the crazy non-sleep we've been dealing with what feels like forever, zombies can't be choosers. And it is better than whiskey.
I guess the coffee wasn't necessary.New Baby is up. Old Baby needs lunch. Life goes on.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Quick up-Dates

I thought I'd participate in Jen's 7 posts in 7  days last week. But I didn't. I thought I would at least get a 7 Quick Takes done for yesterday. Again I didn't.  But I do have a really good reason.

                                                                     Fiona Adele

             or as Grandpa calls her 'New Baby'. So that we can tell her apart from,

                                                       'Old Baby' who is doing extremely well at sharing her bouncy seat.

More details, and of course lots more pictures, to follow once I catch up on some sleep. So, you know, 2015 or somewhere around there.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


This week, we have a break from all our outside classes. I was really excited thinking maybe this would be the week I'd have the baby without the distractions of homework and pack in lunches and having to be anywhere at a specified time (my favorite).

On Saturday, it seemed like the baby might be amenable to that plan too. In the late morning I started feeling some strong contractions, back pain, and general irritation/distracted.  I took a warm shower to see if it might slow down. Shane asked if I'd like to go look at cars. I said

"No. I don't want to be looking at cars when I go into active labor!"

He asked if I would like him to go look at cars.

I said I didn't want him to be out looking at cars when I went into active labor.

The shower didn't stop the contractions. Every labor has started out in earnest ( and with the brief interlude in the middle  of Malachi's delivery) has been pretty straight forward. No false stops and starts for days on end. So we were pretty sure this was it. The 15th. I liked that. And we cancelled our re-re-scheduled dinner plans with friends. Who were going to cancel as well as the wife was not well.

I called my mom, who was out of town, and she  advised I call the midwife now. Number 6 might progress sooner than I thought. Which was a happy thought. Maybe before dinner, I hoped. So I made the necessary calls. Got really annoyed with the midwife answering service ( And the reason for your call? Can you spell your last name? If you don't hear back in 10 min call us back and we'll do this again.)

The contractions were 8-9-10 min apart. Kateri was happily writing them down for me while I lay in bed with a hot water bottle on my back. Shane suggested I start the energy chews I'd gotten from the sporting store, and remembering how awful I felt running out of steam with Malachi, I did. The midwife finally called and we discussed what I'd like her to bring ( namely the birth stool, which she'd send the assistant to fetch) and she told me to call back when they started getting closer. Her direct number so I could bypass the question and answer part again.

Really, who wants to be interrogated while in the throes of labor? Ok. So, I wasn't exactly there. But I could have been.

Shane's parents and my sister arrived. I got antsy and decided I wanted to get up and walk, so I did. Then I ate. Then I took a nap. Then the smells of banana bread and slowcooked meat started wafting up the stairs and I eventually came down to eat again with everyone else. The contractions continued to slow and we made preparations for bed. Kateri already had a sleeping arrangement worked out for her and Malachi and Tirzah. My in-laws went home to sleep. Tirzah baked a big pan of baked oatmeal for the next morning, or whenever we needed it, and around 12:00 we all went to bed. At 12:30 I felt a few more strong contractions again and was feeling really annoyed with our kids preferred arrival times. Why can't it ever be AFTER a full nights sleep?

But in the end it got quiet and we all slept. All night. In the morning Shane and I got up and had coffee together, which felt really cozy. My sister joined us and we discussed plans/options for the day. The kids came down, Kateri was especially relieved she had not missed anything. We ate oatmeal. Second cups of coffee. My in-laws came over. We went for a walk in the freezing cold rain and wind, partly to test for labor starts and to wear Malachi out. Neither was successful so we carried on like a normal day. My sister went home to her family. We continued our name search, adding some new ones and crossing others off the list. For the last time.

I got an email from the homeschool group asking for grade numbers for the year book. Apparently, lots of kids were missing their grade numbers so the list was quite long and I was excited to see all the new names to look over. There were some good ones definitely worth considering, though we are still not done.

Bedtime went somewhat smoothly, though I think Malachi was missing having Auntie Tirzah to snuggle. And we slept all night. Again.

The next day Shane went to work for a bit. I sat and fiddled my fingers. Not really.  I had the kids do some housework and I tried brainstorming about meals post-baby. I didn't get very far. But I did come up with some other things I might want for labor: like a birthing ball. I have never used one but am willing to try anything. And the kids would enjoy a new toy if it didn't get used anyway. So I set out to get one. Then I returned it and got a bigger one. Then I went to a different store to get an even bigger one. And today I returned the middle sized one. I felt a little like Goldilocks but am glad I persisted and am happy with the final one(75 cm size). My father-in-law took the big boys out to lunch and then to the sporting store to get me some more energy bites, as I had eaten most of the ones I had already purchased. I got more drinks and snacks, did more laundry, my mother-in-law took Kateri and Muffin to their house and when Shane got home we went out to look at cars.

Which is not an activity ever to be attempted if you are really in labor. Which I was not. But felt just close enough to it to have very little patience for the whole,

"We don't put prices on ANYHING. Well, I cant really give you a ball park price until we pencil it all up. And with delivery fee I can't be certain it won't change. So whenever you are ready. These are really hard to get right now. I might be able to intercept a delivery to another dealership, but I might have to shoot someone in the process."

So after a very fruitless and non-helpful visit, where all my car-dealership pre-conceived ideas were proven true, but where at least I was able to see how much self control I could assert in not throttling the man to make him actually say something helpful, we decided to head down to a restaurant near Shane's office he's been want to take me to. Only to find they were closed for remodeling.

On the way home I found myself breathing through a particularly strong contraction and was relieved to be able to get my cozy jammies on and just wait. Although the freshly made fritters Shane described sounded really tasty. I said that should be our first outing with the new baby as I will be able to eat a full meal (plus lots of extras) once there is more room and the nursing appetite gets going.  So now we wait.

 I am certain that all the pre-work is going to have an effect and it will be the easiest, fastest labor ever.  It was  a good practice run, I got some extra foot rubs and lots of tasty treats which we are still enjoying, and the midwife who attended the last two births was able to get back from a trip. Which may be what the baby, or I, have been secretly waiting for.

So all is good.

Friday, February 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes on What Drives Me Crazy About Valentine's Day

 The combination of red and pink.

 Hearts. And clowns. And teddy bears.

 Red and pink hearts.

 Bad chocolate.

 The signs telling you what she really wants this year is a red and pink heart filled with bad chocolate. Maybe held by a teddy bear, if you want to go all out. (Teddy bears follow closely after clowns and hearts.)

 The complete lack of  acknowledgement that real love takes real sacrifice. And that it only has to be demonstrated once a year on this MARTYR'S (talk about sacrifice) feast day which we celebrate with over priced flowers, which can be added to the chocolate-heart-wielding teddy bear. But only if you are ready to say I really, really love you. 

Where are the  Hallmark cards with sayings such as:

I know you've had a long day. I did too. But I would love to put the baby down tonight and then give you a foot rub.

Or something real life that says I love you like,

I am going to work every day for the rest of my life without complaining no matter how little sleep I've gotten because I want to provide for you and our family.


I searched the entire house and found all 12 of your dirty sock piles and washed and put them away for you. Happy Valentine's Day.


Yes, the baby and I were up all night but I'd rather get up at 5am to make you breakfast than sleep in.


 I love the way you down the half and half and noticed you were on your last gallon so I stopped and picked two more up for you.

 So Valentine's Day is not anything we make special plans for. And not just because our first Valentine's Day as a newly married and newly pregnant couple is always and forever remembered for the good chocolate I was too sick to eat and the repeated requests to please shower and put on fresh deodorant for the 8the time today. The potent combination of  your pregnancy hormones and the bad Italian is making it impossible for me to sleep.

Valentine's Day is every day. Every moment we have a choice and choose the other it speaks volumes. Louder and longer lasting than anything the stores are trying to get you to buy.

So we will have a normal family dinner. Maybe Kateri will make a cake. And maybe Shane can say I love you by rubbing my back for hours if I go into labor and have bad back labor this time. And I can say it with the completely unique gift of  'Look what I pushed out for you. Beat that Ben Bridge.'

Or if I don't have the baby, we can just trade foot rubs and share a glass of half and half.

Happy Valentine's Day!! 

Check out Jen's Quick Takes.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

O Menopause, Where Art Thou?

So no more puking here. But the day of our re-scheduled social visit, Muffin and I came down with colds. Now 75% of the kids have colds and I am begging the new one to stay put for at least another week to give us time to get over it and get some good sleep. It is looking like her arrival is not imminent. I saw the midwife today and no changes. I scheduled appointments for the next three weeks, hoping at least one of them will turn into a one-week-check up. Actually, I've felt so all over the map this last week I'm not sure what I'm hoping for.

One day I was feeling anxious and underslept and downright paranoid of labor. I just did this. I have not recovered. There is no way I can do it again so soon. And then what am I going to do with a newborn? Besides absolutely nothing but eat and cry.

Then I had a hair appointment and did a little more newborn prep shopping (shot blocks and stretchy bras) and even though I only got 5 hrs of sleep that night, I felt like 'sure. I've done it before. It will be fine.

Today I did a big grocery shopping, somewhat loosely based on a weeks menu plan, so I felt really prepared and comfortable knowing the family would not starve and I actually know what I am making for dinner tonight. And tomorrow night.

Then I got home and cried feeling overwhelmed at all the NEEDS needing to be met and feeling inadequate at meeting them in a timely way. Apparently people need more than just a meal. Then I realized I had not eaten much so I'm having a steak sandwich while I type this and anticipating getting a latte in as well before Muffin wakes up from his nap. So pretty good. For the next minute or so.

But I am getting really worn out by the yo-yo hormones swirling madly around. I think I do ok with the post partum hormones. What? Doesn't everyone not wash their hair  or bother putting on real clothes until the 6 month check-up? Or cry when they run out of coffee? Or when they spill their coffee? Or when they burn their lip on  hot coffee because they didn't have time to check the temp first?

These third trimester ones  have really been a doozy for me though. And on top of that feeling like I might only have 3 weeks to get all sorted out. For so many reasons I am really looking forward to the steady pace of menopause. Although they say that can be a tricky time for women with MS because of the drastic events happening during peri monopause. So I'm not entrirely looking forward to that. But really I am.

I got a little more nesting in this last week. I was putting Mufin down for a nap and he was having none of it. I blamed it on the crack of light filtering through the curtains on one side of the bedroom. So instead of pushing on, I put him down, laid out the big bolt of blackout fabric I used for Kateri's room last summer, and got to work. I knew sewing would not be a wise choice of action just then, the sewing machine still being a near-occasion of sin for me, so I measured the square of fabric and found a little spring rod the kids had bent but had been sitting in the back of my closet just waiting for such a day as to be useful. And some packing tape.

Kateri was assisting in keeping Malachi from taking my scissors, for which I paid her with some long strips of black out fabric. (I'm dying to see what she decides to do with them. I didn't see any of the neighbor kids sporting new accessories yet, but I'm sure whatever she chooses will be great). Then I asked her if she knew where the packing tape was.

"So that's how you make curtains?" she asked.

"That is how we do it today." I told her.

And shortly, I had a nicely darkened window. It looked so cozy. Then, as  I sat there giving Malachi a bottle while he finally drifted off, I started to notice how bright the other window looked. It faces North, but still I'm pretty sure it could benefit from some light tempering. I told Shane about the new addition. He looked at me and said,

"I think you'd be happiest living in a cave."

He does not share my belief that dark=cozy and is always opening the curtains to let the world in. If I want to  be out in the world, I'll go outside. In the house I want to feel like I'm in a cozy cocoon. At least that is how I feel right now. No bets about next week. Or month.

Friday, January 31, 2014

No Baby Pics Yet

So I just realized I started this post half way through the template so everything will be out of  order. But Im too lazy to do anything about it right now. Because everything takes me forever and maybe I will have Shane teach me some short cuts sometime when I am feeling patient enough to actually learn something new.

I thought I came up with a cunning plan and was so excited to Share it with Shane. Once the new baby is here and I'm tied to the couch with a little suckling pig, keeping Malachi out of trouble is going to be really hard. So I thought we'll just assign each of the kids a day they are responsible for taking care of him. Kateri will still have him at night, but someone else will be in charge of him at meal times, bath time, diaper changing times, stair climbing times. And then Shane will be home on the weekends. Shane asked if I would put Pippin in charge of Malachi. I thought no, that wouldn't really work. And then what about the day the big kids have music lessons and outside classes? I looked at Shane and saw the errors in my thinking. And I saw the root of the problem. We don't have enough kids!

I got up early, or at least before the other sleepy heads did, so I could participate in the  7QTs. Even  if it is a little late. So I was surprised when I sat down in what is supposed to be the formal dining room but without a table and chairs makes a great wrestling room. Because who thinks kids should be fed and watered over a carpet on a regular basis- not me. Anyway,  I was surprised when I heard a slight humming coming from somewhere. The down stairs is pretty open and there is the stair gate to open so its not really possible to sneak unnoticed  to the downstairs. And all the bedrooms are upstairs. But there was definitely a slight musical humming emitting from what I could only imagine to be the crawl space. Finally I placed the sound as being generated through the floor vent next to me. Which is great, because it is Kateri humming so Malachi, whom I guess she is trying to keep asleep longer, in her bedroom three rooms and a flight of stairs away. So I guess that intercom system I thought  could come in handy for dinner time is already in place. Maybe the kids and I will play with it and see what carries best from what vantage point and if there is one that no sound can get to and that is where the baby will nap.

I'm starting to compile a list of things to read while I assist in the demanding growing process of a little person who will require 24hr sustenance causing me to physically tied to a cozy spot, hopefully with snacks and refreshments within reach. And would welcome any recommendations on pretty much any subject. Unless there is math involved. I don't do numbers well especially postpartum. I assume at some point I'll get bored and want something to stimulate my brain. Just because its a germane topic, I was thinking of this book. Not because we need convincing or instruction- though I guess its not that kind of book so don't say I said it was- but because I'm interested in hearing other people's stories and thoughts. I'm also interested in the instruction part too, it is such a fascinating process when all goes well and I like knowing things about me and any information I do come across makes me more amazed. I was talking a girl I met who worked at a fertility clinic. And she said when women came in they were always surprised when they started learning about the whole process. Really? So what are all the educational classes in schools for then? If you are going to teach about bodies, why isn't it at least the really awe-inspiring stuff? I don't know what they do teach as my mom pulled me out of those classes. And I actually don't remember ever not knowing where babies came from so its not like we were uneducated. We just never got that unnatural and forced separation of pro-creative acts and babies. Ok obviously I have lots of thoughts on the subject of fertility as it really is. But Im open to any interesting topics so recommend away.

But it really is going to happen. Just maybe not too soon. That means maybe I a can go to all my scheduled midwife appointments. I am always sad at the end because I don't want the appointments to stop. And the first thought, maybe sometimes second, when I see those two blue lines is "Now I can go see my midwives!!" I don't know. Shane might be getting suspicious as to my motivations. But he really likes them too. I won't see the OB again since the stitches are out. But she did ask if I  would send a letter and let her know how things go with the birth.

When I asked my midwife what all these shenanigans would mean long term she said  when you get pregnant again we'll just schedule you for a stitch early on when its less of hassle. I had stopped listening after the 'when'. No 'in the event of' or 'if you do. Just a  'when'. Like she knew something I don't. Or she figures we're just really good at it so of course its happening. Or we're just crazy. But in the event that she is right I will get to see the OB again.

We decided to tempt fate and rescheduled our previously cancelled social get together for this weekend.. So I have been expecting a re-visitation from the stomach flu all week. So far so good. We'll see how the next few hours go. Fortunately, Shane decided he wants to do some of the cooking so I might get more of the room/bathroom/baby is coming set up done. I did get the bed prepared, though I've never actually given birth or labored long in the bed. Regardless, making it once, covering it with a plastic sheet, then making it again does make for a quick sheet change. Not that I like the somewhat wrinkly sound of the plastic, its just nice to be able to peel the layers off and have a fresh bed. But, given that I 'could' have three more weeks I'll be doing it again. Or maybe in lieu of a virus, I'll give birth instead.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!