Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Half Way There

Today is officially the half way point in my pregnancy. This both excites me and scares the heck out of me. I am not scared about the birth, just the fact that we are going to have three very young children ... a three year old, a one year old and a newborn, Oh My!!! Oh and please lets not forget the seven year old, ten year old, and thirteen year old!

I really am looking forward to meeting this precious little bundle who likes to wiggle all around like some sort of gymnast! So as always, I am NOT making any predictions as to whether this little one will be a boy or a girl and NO we are not going to find out!!!! There are very few surprises in this world and this should be one of them. As it really does not make any difference to me, we will wait! I will say that Allyson is hoping for a baby sister, I know that she will think another brother is just precious but she really would like a sister and it would even up the gender in this house!! Well we will see!

So here is to an easy and successful first half that has flown by like the speed of light and to hopefully a just as easy second half!!!

Sad News

Yesterday I found out that a dear friend's family was facing tragedy. My friend's niece died in a car accident at the very young age of eighteen. I would like to take a minute to send love, thoughts and prayers to this dear friend and her family. I can not imagine such tragedy and this saddens me very much.

I wish I had lots of words of comfort but honestly feel at a lost of what to say or do so I guess I can merely express my love and sympathy and send strength to all who face such tragedy.

So please take a moment and express your love to those around you and cherish each and every moment of each and every day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Attitude To Live By

I received this story as a chain letter, I have taken the liberty of removing that part, but I thought it was really nice and held so much truth ... so I am sharing it!!! I really believe that attitude makes such a difference in our lives!
A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

'I love it,' he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented
with a new puppy.

'Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait.'

That doesn't have anything to do with it,' he replied.

Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged .. it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a
choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away just for this time in my life.

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.

So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!

Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.
Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Running Scared

I (apparently) am having some sort of parenting 'mid-life' crisis. All of a sudden my children are aging and I am just not sure where the time has gone or who the heck these people are or if I know how to be a parent to them.

I have always felt quite qualified to be the parent. As infants I loved holding, rocking, and cuddling them and knew their basic needs, etc... Then as they grew I was okay with toddlers and preschoolers ... I taught preschool for nine years at an accredited licensed child care facility (sounds impressive, huh?), their needs seemed quite basic and I love to play so this was all good.

Now all of a sudden I keep seeing these pictures of my older children and think "Oh my, where are my little children?" Then all these crazy thoughts scamper through my head ... do I know how to help these gals become upstanding community members? What qualifies me to parent these gals? And I feel myself running scared.

I guess the good news is that they are wonderful children, so maybe I am doing something right (see how I took complete credit for this, when actually Dan is also a great parent). I also am parenting from my heart and my head ... I do listen to instinct but also am an information hound and look for opinions on everything (does not mean I like them or agree with them, but I do listen).

So go ahead and send along our parenting opinions for teens and preteens, I will listen and love to read about what works and doesn't for others. Then I will continue to go along and do the very best that I can. Oh and maybe stop taking pictures of them so that I can just live in my delusional world of little children!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Little Monkey Octopus & My Happy Little Guy

My Little Monkey Octopus a.k.a. Sam!

I would like to say that I love being a mom and cherish every moment with my children but boy can it be ex
hausting. Sam has entered a great phase of exploration but really has no fear. He loves to climb ... everything. He he also very speedy and can go from the couch to the middle of the table to the chair to the coffee table in seconds. The last few days I feel like I have done nothing but take him down from some place he is not suppose to be. As a parent I believe that children should have an environment that the can safely explore and enjoying without continually being told "NO"! But at this point without an empty padded room I am just not sure if this is possible. We have barriers, gates and closed doors. We removed several furniture pieces and keep others on the table or behind closed doors unless being used. But all this constant rearranging is tiring and leaves little time for anything else! Oh yeah and then there is the Octopus ... when Sam is not climbing way above ground level (and even when he is) he is grabbing things from everywhere. It really has become a game for him. His snickery little smile and joyful screeches tells all!

My Happy Little Guy a.k.a. Rick

Every morning I get up a little earlier then the children, this is my time to use the computer, etc... then sometime in the morning I hear the big flip flop of bare feet and then I see the cute smiling face of Rick and his happy little "good morning". He is always ready for a cuddle, complete with hugs and kisses and a little chat about "how we slept". It is such a pleasure and something that I look forward to each and every morning. Earlier this week Rick was not feeling the best and when he came out in the morning he was much quieter and had no smiley face for me ... a very good sign that all is NOT well! Indeed Rick had a slight fever and just was not feeling great. This morning, I as nursing Sam and suddenly I heard the big flopping footsteps and before I could even see his smiley face I knew he was feeling better and indeed he was!

PS. Thank you to my friend, Kim over at Viegas Photo for these great pictures of my children!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thank You & A Picture!

Good Morning (Afternoon or Evening, depending on when you are here) to everyone and thanks for stopping by. I have been so busy lately my blog has taken a back burner. So I wanted to post a little something to let everyone know how much I appreciate your checking in and please keep coming, I will get more organized and add more interesting things soon!

Here is a picture of us at our new house. I have to admit that I usually avoid pictures that I am in because I just do not photograph well but I thought this came out nice, for a spur of the moment, quick shot!

As I downloaded these pictures, I had a discovery ... see these big kids ... where did they come from? Where did my little kids go? When did I become a parent to children that are taller than me? Fourteen years ago when I discovered I was pregnant I did a lot of reading about children and I even took some Human Development classes, etc ... I was prepared for my babies! Somewhere along the way they have grown up, I am not sure I am prepared for adult children, which all of a sudden seems closer than I imagine.

Where did the time go? I guess as the old saying goes "Time flies when you are having fun." I guess we all should remember to cherish every moment with our children!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vermont Maple Syrup

So far our big move to Tennessee has been quite nice. The Weather is great. We love our new little house on 15 acres!!! We love that there are lots of things to do and that the people are nice. We greatly miss our family but are very hopeful that they will come and visit us! BUT we have a big problem ... Vermont Maple Syrup!!!! My children eat pancakes or waffles almost every day and always with Vermont Maple Syrup. Dan uses more on weekends then all the kids do all week! He loves it, matter-a-fact if we don't have any Vermont Maple Syrup then I might as well not even make pancakes!

I guess I am going to have to see if I can get it here ... I am sure that it will cost even more than in Vermont but I guess it is all worth it! I told Dan he would need to make friends with a GMCR truck driver from Vermont, so they could deliver us Vermont Maple Syrup on a regular basis!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dr. Phil, Midwifery and Home Births

Today I received an email that has been circulating amongst the midwifery community, that I found quite disturbing. Apparently Dr. Phil is collecting information to do a show on Midwifery and Home Births, this is not the disturbing part, what I find frustrating is how he is asking the questions.

In order to properly address this issue I feel that I need to give a little background history. My three oldest children were born in the hospital, very typical hospital births with no major complications. My last two children were born at home, absolutely amazing, empowering experiences for myself and my family.

Thirteen years ago when I was first pregnant I did not even think twice about finding an OBGYN to administer every test in the book to prepare me for the birth of my child. This was something that occurred in the hospital because that was the safest and why would I want anything else for my precious child?

After three hospital deliveries (no real horror stories) but made to feel that the staff knew what my body was doing more than I did, I realized that I needed to find something different. I did a lot of reading and found a wonderful team (Midwife and her Assistant). It is funny how just these two people guided myself and my family to a new perspective, a place where WE were in control.

Child Birth is not an illness or disease and should not be treated as one. For thousands of years women have been giving birth, it is amazing how our bodies really do know what to do. We need to allow our bodies to do this. I strongly believe that a women who is empowered throughout her pregnancy, labor and delivery has an easier time adjusting to the role of parent. I have not studied this but I would suspect that post pardom depression is much lower with home births versus hospital births (when I have more time I will see if there are any studies on this, if anyone out there knows, please inform us).

Okay so back to Dr. Phil ... the questions being asked seems much like a 'witch hunt' to me." The following list was taken from: Dr. Phil.com
  • Did you have a child at your home?
  • Did you want to have a soothing experience where you were in control and could bond with your child?
  • Did it not go the way you planned?
  • Do you regret having a home birth?
  • Do you regret using a midwife instead of going to a hospital?
  • Did you have your second child the traditional way in a hospital?
I guess my frustration is because although I do not always agree with Dr. Phil, I usually find him to be fair and present both sides of the story. And giving him the benefit of the doubt maybe he would on the show BUT I just feel like these questions are setting midwifery and home birth up for the fall!

I also would like to note that I find it annoying when people speak of "traditional way in a hospital" because if we really look up the word traditional, taken from ARDictionary:

"Traditional: Definition: Of or pertaining to tradition; derived from tradition; communicated from ancestor to descendants by word only; transmitted from age to age without writing; observant of tradition, attached to old customs; old-fashioned."

Now honestly, it has been less than 100 years and mostly in the United States where births happened in the hospital, so looking at the big picture I would not call that 'traditional'.

I would like to include that I do believe that there are times when the hospital facilities provide great service to birthing mothers and babies. I just think we should look to them more as an 'as needed basis' not an only option. From my experience hospitals run as factories ... there are rules, regulations and procedures and none of these take into consideration the special needs of the individual. This is not to say that some facilities are more sensitive to individual needs but like I said from my experience it can be very NOT personal!!

So I have said my piece and you may agree or disagree. I just really felt like I needed to say something. I also went to the Dr. Phil website and expressed my opinion and if you feel so inclined, please do so yourself!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How To Peel Onions Without Crying

There are many ideas, I really have never looked into this, I just cry away while I cut them but the other day my son was peeling an onion and apparently he was smart enough to know that this would help! I thought this was a great idea!

So I did a little looking and apparently this is not an original idea but he thought of it without the help of the internet. I did find this really good list over at Tell Me How ...

"Also keep your mouth closed as much as possible. Another thing is if you have time, to refrigerate it for a couple hours before you chop it.

To stop yourself from crying, soak onions in water half an hour before you cut them and you'll have no tears!

Place a teaspoon in your mouth while cutting onions to stop those tears.

I always find that when I wear my contact lenses rather than my glasses, I absolutely don't cry when chopping onions. (This is about the only advantage of being short sighted!!).

Guaranteed no tears by chopping off the top of the onion,peeling back the skin,chop the onion with the roots intact then discard them..

To chop onions without your eyes watering, stick your tongue out and keep it out the whole time. the onion vapors go to whatever moisture is near so if it ends up on your tongue it won't end up in your eyes. it works!.

The glasses idea is OK but they're still not completely airtight. For a perfect fit I wear my kids' swimming goggles!.

I've found that if you chew gum while cutting onions it will eliminate the tears!.

Light a candle and place as close to the cutting area as possible. The flame with "burn up" the vapors from the onion. I have tried glasses - only worked some of the time for me. The leave root intact has never worked for me. I always refrigerate my onions and that doesn't make any difference for me. I have never not had the candle make a difference. It Helps SO much. I had gotten to the point that I would only chop onions in a processor until this hint from Martha Stewart was told to me. Works EVERY time. Now I can have chopped onions instead of mutilated by the processor onions. .

I've tried most of the things mentioned but I read somewhere that if you cut an onion, don't cut near the pointy part. (the core) that's where most of the vapors are . also cut the onion a fast as you can without you cutting your self..

Suck the spoon bit of a teaspoon for some reason it really does help:-).

You can chew gum while cutting onions and you won't cry or get tears. .

Eat dry bread when chopping the onion..

Put a piece of bread on the tip of the paring knife when you chop onions...no more tears!!."

Good luck and happy onion chopping!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Heart Attack Moment

So here is Sam sitting nicely in his high chair! I wish I had a picture of my heart attack moment but that would have been crossing the line from distracted parent to bad parent!

This was the exact scene the other day, Sam was nicely eating his lunch BUCKLED into his high chair. In anticipation of him finishing soon, I scooted into the bathroom to grab a washcloth ... when I came back in the room (I am talking only seconds) he was STANDING on his tray.

As I had a heart attack and lunged to grab him before he crashed to the floor from the top of his HIGH chair, he held out his hand offering me a bite of his sandwich and a big happy smile!

Oh my, I love my children and I really dislike the hospital, we may need padded floors and walls in our new house!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hotel Room Built for Three

Soon we we will be settling into our new house -- YEAH! Although I can not complain, we have lived quite nicely in our tiny little hotel room. I think the biggest issue has been cooking for seven in a kitchen designed for three!

Kitchen Inventory:
  • 1 eight inch skillet with lid
  • 1 two quart sauce pan with lid
  • 1 pizza pan
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 cutting board
  • 3 large dinner plates, 3 small dessert plates, 3 bowls
  • 3 coffee mugs, 3 plastic cups
  • 3 teaspoons, 2 tablespoons, 3 forks, 2 butter knives, 1 steak knife
  • 1 can opener (all metal hand held, one that makes you swear when you use it because it does not work)
So as I type this out my first thought is, "wow there is quite a bit" but oh yeah then I remember there is seven of us! So having a family meal has been interesting BUT we have been doing it, with a little creativity. I will say one thing clean up is easy, although I can honestly say that we dirtied every dish in the kitchen BUT as that only totals a few dishes it is okay!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hotel Pool Fun!

We have really enjoyed using the hotel pool!

Move mouse over the images to read captions and/or to stop the scrolling!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Do You Know Where The Hospital Is?

Okay Tricia, let's hear it ... "I TOLD YOU SO!"

For weeks my dear friend has been telling me, "When you get to Knoxville, find out where the hospital is, you will want to know."

So here is our story ... last Thursday (we had been here a week) we were scooting around the hotel room, tidying up from breakfast and planning to go for a swim ... Grandma had left that morning and Dan was at work so I guess I was procrastinating bringing all five children to the pool alone!

I was getting dressed in the bathroom when I heard a terrible sound from the living area, remember we are in the hotel so this is less than ten feet away. Rick was just crying like crazy, not the normal "I crashed cry" but more of "I am really in pain cry". I asked "What happened?" and a course of all the children said "we don't know." As I made my way to Rick who was just lying and crying on the carpeted floor I could not really figure out what had happened.

So for a minute I focused on settling Rick down, I know that things have been busy and life as my little two year old knows it has been shoved into a UHaul and parked in the parking lot of a hotel in a new city, so I guess I have been anticipating a few melt downs and over reactions BUT I just could not get past the fact that his big cries were so painful. Once he stopped crying and was just nestled in my lap I started questioning everyone about what had happened ... there were no toys around. Apparently to the best of our knowledge he was running to the couch and fell on the floor.

So I started the typical mommy routine ... "Does this hurt?, How about this? Does it hurt here?" I really could not find anything that hurt so Rick decided to get up BUT when he stood he quickly collapsed into a ball of tears on my lap ... he said his foot hurt. I did the typical mommy routine again. Again nothing. Rick said he wanted a bandaid (the cure all for a two year old) and he wanted it on his ankle. Okay, lets give it a few minutes and see what happens. So we set Rick on the couch and continued to get ready for the pool, thinking this would be so much fun he would forget about his hurt!

As we were getting ready Rick still was out of sorts, so I started thinking ... maybe he should be looked at, but where and by who? So I tried to call Dan (who was at work, in orientation), his cell phone was off and I had no numbers for the new plant! So I called my dear friend who let me chat it all out and offered an address to the closest Children's hospital. So as I hung up the phone I am trying to decide what to do ... do I just go to the hospital, alone with five children or do I wait and see how it feel later?

At this point Rick decided he really wanted to go swimming and all the other kids were sitting here in their suits, so we headed to the pool. I carried Rick and the older kids helped with Sam and all our stuff! I warned the children that if it was not going well then we would not stay long. Everyone agreed to be helpful! So we went to the pool ... Rick was not happy! It hurt to kick, so he just was not having fun. So after a shorter than wanted swim, everyone was really great and helped bring everything back to our room.

At this point I decided that he needed to be looked at but that it was not critical at that moment so I would load everyone in the car and drive to Dan's work, we would be about 45 minutes early but he should be able to leave early for a hospital trip! When we arrived at Dan's work all the children were asleep so I decided that I would let them rest and then I could talk to Dan. For some reason I thought he would have all the answers.

So Dan came out and I explained everything to him and he said "lets wait, he may be okay after some rest". So we headed back to the hotel. When we got there and we all piled back into our room. Rick was still quite unhappy and still not walking at all and seemed quite uncomfortable. So Dan started doing his assessment, you know the same one I have already done five times ... "Does this hurt?, How about this? Does it hurt here?" and he too could find nothing! So finally Dan says "maybe we should bring him in for an xray."

Okay so by now it is 7:30pm and the kids are tired and I have no idea how long the ER will take so I decided that I would stay home and let Dan take him (a very hard decision for a control freak like me). Our oldest daughter Caitlyn decided to go along to be the communication hub (any excuse to use the cell phone and stay up late).

As this has become quite long ... I will try to wrap it up ... Caitlyn called for the final time at 11ish and said they were heading home -- after two trips to x-ray, they were unable to find a break but had determined that it was more in his shine than his ankle. The final outcome is that he bruised it badly and he should just do what he can and let it heal!

So here we are a week later, I spoke with an Assistant at the Pediatric Orthopedics this morning and they said that I am doing all I can. On Sunday, Rick finally started walking some and now he is walking but with quite a limp and slowly. Swimming has gotten easier - YEAH! And Rick has figured out how to crawl, roll and limp to where he wants to be. Children can be so tough, it really is amazing!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Musical Beds

I know that co-sleeping does not work for everyone but it has always worked well for us. Our co-sleeping arrangements vary depending on where we are which is why we have named it "Musical Beds"!!

At home we have several queen size beds and we may have a couple in one room to accommodate lots of sleepers. Recently we were given a king size bed which opened up my sleeping space by 17 inches -YEAH!!!

With our new digs at the hotel we have one king size bed, a fold out couch and lots of floor space! Here is an early morning snap shot -- now when we went to bed Dan, Sam and I were on the bed ... Rick on his 'cushions from the couch' bed and Jacob with the girls on their big blanket bed on the floor. Grandma had the pull out couch, which she offered to share but had no takers!

Look close ... you can see Dan (who has his usual two inch strip on the edge), Rick and Sam who seemed to be spread out with lots of room and Jacob cozily in at the bottom. Oh yes and lets not forget the two cats!!!! I had taken the 'cushions from the couch' bed on the floor and the girls and a kitty were still on their blanket bed!

Some nights musical beds can be tiring. Here at the hotel each night has brought the trial of a new configuration. I do look forward to getting into our house and unloading our beds so that we all have space to sleep!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Now does this say it all or what?

Now if this does not say it all, then nothing does! One factor for our decision to move to Tennessee was the weather. Now if you please excuse me we are headed to the pool for a swim!

Taken from the National Weather Service

"Frost Advisory

327 PM EDT WED SEP 10 2008



Seeking Advice

I am seeking advice about a matter that I thought you all would have some interesting input ...

When I was a child at home the rule was ...

"If there was only one adult in the car, than the oldest child could ride in the front seat"

After speaking to my mom, she says that she developed this 'rule' because nothing else worked!

Here is the problem ... Allyson (2nd child) says this is "Not Fair"

Any thoughts, ideas, comments, suggestions, etc...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Grandparents & Thank You!

The other day my dear friend over at Shout Daily posted about her Grandmother. It is a lovely post, please skip over and read it, just click here!

It got me to thinking about just how important these wonderful people are in our lives and how lucky my family is to have so many grandparents. My children not only know all their biological grandparents but also have several great grandparents and step (for lack of a better word) grandparents. These wonderful folks are very loved and we truly are blessed!

I would like to take this moment though to thank two very special grandparents who have been such a great help in the last couple weeks!

Dan's mom aka Grandma who had planned a vacation visit to Vermont which turned into a moving to Knoxville, TN adventure. Thanks for being an extra set of hands, being understanding about our chaos and taking lots of wonderful pictures to document our trip!

And to my mom aka Grammy who is always just a phone call away. Thanks for not getting me lost and just being available to chat whenever I needed it! I am sure that you will never know how much this all means to me!

Grandparents are really special people and I am so thankful to have so many in our lives. We should all take the time to think about them, thank them, listen to them, hug them and send love to them more than we already do!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Our Trip - Five kids, four cats, grandma, a 26 foot U-haul going over 1000 miles from home!

Think National Lampoons Vacation, remember with Chevy Chase and family headed to Wally World ... okay well we are not that funny but we had our moments.

The 26 foot U-Haul ... the big question was... will everything fit?

Well, thanks to Dan's creative packing and lots of hard work - it all fit, mostly! We did leave behind a couple small things that we gave to our neighbors ... my bin of composting worms (I plan to get more) and my mushroom tree. Oh yeah and a bike that had to go on the roof of the van!

So after two days of loading the truck we headed out, on the road ... our big move ... we made it to my moms, 30 minutes away and stopped for dinner and all the 'see you laters' and guess what? We never left (until morning)!

Okay, so now we are on the road, REALLY! Our plan is to get at least eight hours of driving time, just over 500 miles, the half way mark!!!! Dan and his mom were in the UHaul with one of the boys (Jacob and Rick really wanted to ride in the big truck) and myself and the other children and the four cats were in our minivan! The first few hours were great, everyone was excited! The next few hours everyone slept BUT then the last few hours became more difficult -- Sam our one year old, he is a mover and a shaker and he wanted out! At first he was entertained by the soundtrack to the musical CATS by the end the only thing that would help was if the older girls sang him his favorite song ... you all know it ...

I am still singing this, in my head, in my sleep, ALL THE TIME!

Apparently the scene in the UHaul was a little more relaxed!
Jacob and Rick who were so very excited to ride in the big truck had a hard time keeping their eyes open! Thanks to Grandmas comfy pillow they had a luxurious ride!

So indeed we did make it to our half way point the first day, it was late and we were tired. Thanks to today's technology I was able to call my mom, she Google Searched pet friendly hotels and we called and booked rooms ... nothing fancy just beds to crash on for the night so that we could function enough to travel the second half of our trip!

The second day of travel went well, still more singing, can everyone say "Ooh, eee, ooh, ah, ah"! We were all kind of tired of fast food, this is really not what we are use to eating and it seemed to be dragging us down! But here we are at one of our stops ...

Again, we made it to our final destination, it was really late but we were excited to get here ... Knoxville, Tennessee ... where we now call home!

I guess we can barely compare to Chevy Chase and all that humor but we did have fun and have some very silly memories, maybe Grandma will comment on scaring Jacob half to death!!!!

For one final note ... Ooh, eee, ooh, ah, ah, ting, tang, walla, walla, bing, bang..." you know, keep singing!