Saturday, December 1, 2012

Big Daddy...Tribute

In preparation for the one year anniversary of my blog coming up, I went back and perused my previous posts. In doing so, I have come across a situation I would like to remedy. My blog is (mostly) about me and my journey as a mother and the other many hats I may wear at times. It is also about why I am the way that I am; where I have come from and where I wish I could be. This is exactly what I wanted the blog to be about but there is one very important person from my life that has not been represented because he is not a mother. So, Daddy, this one's for you.

When you are a little girl, your father is one of the biggest pieces of your world. He is magical and awesome. He is the smartest person you know. When you are with him you feel safe and protected, loved and adored. The hugs he gives are unmatched by anyone else. No one can mess with you as long as you have your Daddy; he can make all of your pains go away with just one kiss. He is your first true love and you will spend the rest of your life comparing the men you meet to him. Those can be some pretty big shoes to fill.

Unconditional love. This my father has taught me. As a parent, this is an important quality. When I was a teenager I began to withdraw a bit from my father. I know this is pretty typical teenage girl stuff and I can't tell you when exactly this began to happen. We both made some mistakes with each other but there was never ever a doubt in my mind that he loved me anyway, and I him. At that age there is usually going to be a butting of heads, I know. The reasons are unimportant. The important part was the unconditional love that we have for each other and being able to meet again on the other side. He was there for me.

A true believer. My biggest fan. My father is a very talented guitar player. His passion for music and his abilities were, thankfully, passed on to my brothers and myself. He supported me in my efforts with music. He gave me my first (and second and third) guitar, drove me to lessons, came to every concert and show. He had part of our garage converted into a music room for us and equipped it with all we could need. I was the first girl in my high school to be in her own rock band and this could not have been possible without him. He was there for us every step of the way. He even went out and helped us get t-shirts made up. He was a cool Dad to have.


My Dad is a trooper. He would do anything for me. I remember a time when I was in high school that he did me a favor I will never forget. It was shortly after he and my Mom had separated. I wanted my hair dyed and figured I would have to wait until I could get over to Mom's apartment. He offered to dye it for me. Now, I have a ton of hair and it can be quite a task, but he was totally willing. The best part about this story is that my Dad is not a small man and the gloves that come with the hair dye are definitely not made for hands like his. The gloves did not take their time to rip open but he just kept on going. My hair turned out beautiful and his poor hands were stained for a while. What a great Dad to do that for his only daughter. Another moment that I will never forget is from him at my wedding. He walked me down the isle, precious, and later played the guitar until his fingers bled. True devotion.

Devotion in Action

What is in a name? In my opinion, honor. All five of my children have a family name as one of their names, first or middle, and then their other name is one I just liked and found unique. One of my new twin babies received the middle name, James, in honor of my father. My father does not actually use this name for reasons which are his own and not my story to tell. I will say that his reasons are valid and I respect them. I asked his permission to use this name and am very glad he allowed me to. Now I have "E" James, and here is why...

My father is a good man. He is a wonderful father and has twelve, almost thirteen, adoring grandchildren. One of my brothers was named after my father, David. My brother passed this name onto his first born son as his middle name. So, in actuality, passing on "James" may not have been entirely necessary but it was still very important to me. Growing up I always felt like this name was almost a taboo. I feel my father deserves better than that. These grandchildren are part of his legacy and the future of this family. The future is ours to mold and I thought it time to turn this name into a positive. My son E will wear it with pride, as was the way I gave it to him.

My father is a big part of who I am even though he is not a "mother". He is one of the many influences I have had in my life. Without our relationship, I would not have turned out the same, and I kinda like how I turned out so far. Ha! We have had our ups and our downs but in the end I would not change a thing. These are all pieces of the puzzle that is me. I will parent my children using our past and our present as examples. I hope to offer my children the same level of devotion and unconditional love that my father bestowed upon me. I hope to support them through all of their endeavors and remain their biggest fan. Thanks for being there for me always, Daddy. I love you always and forever.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Who the Hell Am I?

Good question. I am evolving. I know that as people we always are but at this particular moment in my life I have been doing so rather rapidly. I have been pretty set in my ways until recently. Having the twins has put changes in motion that I may and may not like. I also know that some of these changes are necessary and I am not really fighting them. I'm rolling with them. As if there was really a choice.

I make my bed every day. Crazy, right? I have not done this regularly in as long as I can remember. I was always in such a rush during my mornings. Not anymore. Now I do it. It feels strangely nice. Sort of like getting dressed in the morning. I still consider walking right by it sometimes, old habits you know, but then I stop myself and take the few seconds and actually make it. I figure there is no longer any good excuses. I am here all day every day now. Why not make the bed?

I have had to reschedule many appointments in the last eight weeks. This was really unlike me. Nowadays, it is just the way it goes. I have a nearly three year old girl and eight week old twin boys at home with me all day long. (The older kids are usually in school) Sometimes I just can not get somewhere. This bothers me a little bit but I know it is for the best and I have to remain flexible. It ultimately comes down to the kids well being, happiness and stress levels. I have to anticipate their moods and collective voices. I have to be kind to all of us and not push our limits unless absolutely necessary. I may have to reschedule sometimes but I will be forever punctual. If I am going to be somewhere, I will be there on time. This I can not let go of. Even with all the kids, I am pretty good at getting all of us ready and out the door on time. It is important to me. I really can't stand the feeling of being late. I avoid it as much as possible.

My laundry and dishes don't pile up anymore. These tasks, along with raising five kids and running our household, are all part of my new career, Stay-At-Home-Mom. My laundry baskets and sink are my new "Inboxes". I heard it takes 28 days to form a habit. I am not so sure. I have been home for eight weeks now and I still struggle a bit. I have to make a conscious effort every single day in order to stay on top of these things. Although, it could just be because I am at the mercy of five strange young beings I willingly share my house with. (wink)

I don't really sleep anymore. Apparently, I can still function surprisingly well with only a couple hours here and a couple hours there. It is not the most restful sleep either. I sleep with one eye open, so to speak, most of the time. I don't expect to be able to keep this up too much longer and should probably start finding ways to get a little more sleep soon. For the time being, I am hanging in there. I have always been one of those people that can fall asleep anytime and anywhere. I could sleep until two in the afternoon every single day if I had no responsibilities at all. Strangely, it seems with every new child I have I get less and less sleep at night. Imagine the odds.

I, admittedly, don't look quite my best lately. I was a working gal until the end of September. I wore nice clothes with all the fun accessories to match. I wore nylons and cute high heeled shoes. I did my make-up every morning and felt quite "put together". I took pride in my appearance at work. I am a firm believer in the saying, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." I lived by these words, most days. These days, I'm lucky if I even get to brush my hair. I wear comfy clothes and fuzzy socks. I think I have put make-up on three times in the last eight weeks. I'm sure this sounds nice at first but, trust me, it can get a little old. I want to be cute again. Ha, ha. I have somewhere between five and ten pounds left to lose and then all of my normal clothes should fit me again. Then the trick will be to find the time to put it all on. But, then again, maybe I would just use that time to scarf some food down quickly before somebody needs something else. Maybe I would even get a potty break. (smirk)

The list goes on and on. The babies might have to cry a little bit longer than I would usually allow while they wait their turn for a clean diaper or I prepare two bottles instead of just one. My daughter might not get a bubble bath every other night like I would prefer. I make more dinners in the crock pot in order to save myself time in the kitchen at night. My house is a little bit cleaner that usual. I was actually able to audition for a play, which is something I have not been able to do since I was a junior in high school. I don't get to run to the store as often as I would like to. And so on. This is all OK, though. I am in a transitional period in my life. Do not misunderstand this blog entry as me complaining. Think of it more as though I am just stating the facts with a hint of sarcasm. A little bit of venting to an adult audience, as I am surrounded by small children all day otherwise. I am so very lucky to have what I have. I love this new version of my life and will embrace each day as it comes. I am truly blessed and I will not take this all for granted. Here is to the new and ever changing me.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

One Last Check...Priceless

Image from:

On Friday, September 21st, I wrote out the final check to my daughter's daycare provider. It was a typical Friday afternoon. As usual, I pulled into her driveway at around 5:00 P.M. on my way home from work. I sat in my car for an extra moment and wrote out the check for the following and final week of daycare service. (My daughter's last day actually ended up being Thursday the 27th, because I went into labor that night and gave birth to my twin sons on the Friday. That is a story for another date though.) While writing out the last check I actually started to tear up and I cried.

I was surprised at myself. I pulled myself together quickly but sat and thought about it for a moment. Why did I cry? Wasn't it a good thing that I didn't have to spend that much money each week anymore? Isn't it nice that I get to stay at home and take care of my children for myself from now on? Hadn't I come to terms with this new arrangement of my life months ago? The answer to these three questions...Yes. Absolutely. I cried because I love my daughter's daycare provider and knew a chapter was closing in our lives, possibly forever, and it made me sad.

My daughter had been going to this in-home daycare since she was seventeen weeks old. This was the only provider she had ever known and her whole experience was a wonderful one. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew that this daycare was the only one I wanted her to go to and called to get on the list right away. I had known this woman since my twelve year old son was in kindergarten. He is best friends with her son of the same age. My two older sons went to her daycare after school for a couple of years before they became old enough to stay home alone. I trust her more than almost anybody else with my children and that is saying something. I know I can be difficult, controlling, particular and opinionated when it comes to my children. In the past, I have been compared to a tiger when it comes to the well-being of my "cubs", and I am quite okay with it. I never had to worry about them when they were with her. I am now, and will be, forever grateful.

But how do you thank someone enough for this service? How will I ever be able to let her know how much I appreciate her? Are there even words in existence that will mean enough? She looked after three of my children day after day. She fed them, loved them, played with them, taught them and nurtured them. She gave them a safe haven when they could not be with me. She woke up early and stayed up late to prepare for them. She took personal time when the daycare was closed to shop for the supplies required to accomplish all of this. She was open when she was exhausted or sick or had personal things going on. She greeted them each and every day with a smile, even if she may not have felt like it. She never ran out of hugs. The children were never bored and always had something to tell me about their day when I picked them up. She respected and cooperated with our parenting style. She was thoughtful and kind and accepting of their individual personalities. We are so lucky to have had this woman as a part of our lives.

Now, I know some of you may be thinking that this is her job, she chooses to do this for a living, what is the big deal? The big deal is that there is nothing in this world more important to me than my children (and Husband). To be able to hand them off to someone else each day for up to nine hours and not need to worry about them...that is priceless. Of course there is an actual budget we have to live by and I could only afford a particular amount each week for the daycare service itself, the peace of mind she gave me was truly priceless and I was so lucky to have found her, known her and lived so close to her.

So, I hope that by writing this blog entry she will understand, at least a little bit, about how I feel. I hope she gets a chance to read this and know that I mean each and every single word from the bottom of my heart. I hope I never loose touch with her. My childrens' lives have been greatly enriched irreversibly just by knowing her. Hayley, I love you very much and thank you, for everything. Thank you for being you. Thank you for loving my children. Really, truly...Thank you.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

When Push Comes to Shove

I have the workout of my life coming up soon. I have some hard decisions that I hopefully get to make. I have been through this situation three times before and I still have no idea what to expect. There are too many variables, too many possible problems and different outcomes. I mean, obviously, the final outcome will be two adorable baby boys being introduced into my world. What I am saying is that between now and that moment I can hold them in my arms for the very first time, a whole lot can and is going to happen.

Rewind almost fourteen years ago, I was twenty years old and in labor with my first born son. When I went into labor, at first, I did not know that I was in labor yet. I was at a party being thrown for my Ex and myself. Our last big Hoorah before being grounded for life. Everyone was having a good time; touch football, beer, food, friends. I sat at the picnic table outside and crocheted while chatting with the ladies. I started to feel just a little off, sort of sick to my stomach with a little lower back ache. No big deal, I could just go inside and lay on the couch for a bit. I was fine. Hmm.

Lucky for me, the friend who was throwing us the party has a mother who was an RN. When she came in to replenish the party food, she saw me laying there in her living room and started in with the questions. She then quickly got her mother on the phone who suggested I get to the hospital as soon as possible because I was obviously in labor. Also, we were partying in Buffalo, MN and our hospital of choice was in Fridley, MN. A little bit of a drive. I was two weeks away from my due date and caught off guard. Needless to say, we were on the road within minutes, shortly after 7 PM. Around forty five minutes later we arrived at the hospital. My Mom had arrived too, my rock. The doctor quickly determined that my stubborn son was in a breech position, sitting cross-legged over the exit, so to speak, and my contractions were coming much faster and harder. They were going to have to do an emergency C-section but I had eaten dinner at the party only a couple hours earlier so they wanted to hold off as long as possible. You are not supposed to eat for twelve hours before major surgery with anesthesia because of the increased risk of vomiting and then choking on it. Glamorous.

Just before midnight, they could not wait any longer for the sake of the baby and I was rushed to the operating room. Bright lights, people in masks everywhere, stainless steel glinting, big blue curtain thrown up in front of my face to block the view, completely numb from the shoulders down, throwing up into a little plastic tub, the Father of my child staying close but with fear in his eyes, constant commotion...and then...the baby cries out. Sweet relief, but only momentarily. He is quickly held up to my face for a look-see. Then he is just as quickly taken away for a bit while I get stitched, stapled, cleaned up, poked and prodded, sick a little more and, of course, Morphined. I had told his father to go be with him, I would be fine. The baby needed one of us there.

Once we were back in our room it was much more calm and quiet. Thank goodness. Family trickled in through the wee hours to see the first grandchild/nephew. It was very nice and we were so proud and in love with our new bundle. Everything was great, everything except for the itching. Oh my God, the itching! I could literally have scratched my face off. Hold my hands down and tell me to stop scratching. But it itches so much!...I learned that I was allergic to Morphine that night. Good to know.

In the weeks to come, my incision became infected and I had to be put on antibiotics. Kind of a scary thing though; sitting in bed, reading a book, minding my own business and then I look down and see blood spreading on the front of my shirt by my abdomen. It all worked out OK in the end but I was freaked out for a bit. I had a few anxiety dreams after that of my insides falling out and I could not get them back in for the life of me. Shudder.

That was my first time. My second was quite a different experience. I was twenty two years old and now had a twenty month old son. I woke up at 7:00 in the morning, as usual. I knew immediately, this time, that I was in labor. My sons' Father was at work already and I proceeded to wake up my toddler and get him ready for daycare. I called in to my work and explained that I was having my baby today so I, of course, would not be in that day. I was very calm and not scared at all. This felt right. The contractions were normal and spaced out nicely, not too painful yet. I packed up my son into the car and drove him to daycare. I called my Ex from there and told him to meet me at the hospital, this was it. The daycare lady thought I was a little strange for driving myself but I assured her that I was just fine.

I arrived at the hospital at around 8:30 AM. Their Father and my Super Mom were close behind. All was normal. I hung out in the room, sipped on broth, rocked in a chair and watched reruns of The Cosby Show. Once my labor became more active, I agreed to some pain medication. I think it was something that started with an N, although I do not remember for sure. It burned like crazy going up my arm and into my blood stream. Within minutes I was knocked out cold and drooling on my pillow like some kind of zombie. I woke up during the stronger contractions and then fell right back into unconscious sleep. This was not really the experience I had had in mind. The majority of my day was lost to me. Later on in the evening I came to and gave birth to my second beautiful son. I had an epidural and was able to deliver him by Vbac, vaginal birth after cesarean. He was born around 7:30 at night, about a twelve hour event. Not bad, time wise, I just wish I had been conscious for more of it. Oh well. Should of, would of, could of.

The day I gave birth to my daughter in 2009, another Vbac delivery, everything went perfectly. At around 9:00 AM I knew that I was in labor. Slow and steady. I was having small contractions every twenty minutes all throughout the day. It was New Year's Eve and we had no big plans, no reason to rush. I took a long relaxing bath and braided my hair. I painted my nails nice and did my make-up, nothing fancy, just enough to make me feel pretty. I sat in the recliner for most of the day and rocked slowly. I watched Romancing the Stone and reminisced of the night my husband and I had our first kiss while watching the same movie years before. Nostalgic. My husband was supposed to be at work by 4:00 PM. My contractions were not any closer or stronger yet so I assured him I was fine and let him go. My sons were home with me and plenty old enough to call someone in case of emergency, but I felt just fine anyway. At about 4:45 PM I had some quick changes in my contraction intensity and proximity and realized it was time to get up and get to the hospital. I calmly told my sons that they needed to go brush their teeth and pack a bag of entertainment because it was time for us to go to the hospital. They were surprised and stared at me for a moment, then they realized that I was serious and they got excited and ran upstairs. They did not take very long. I, meanwhile, warmed up the car. We were having a record cold winter and this night was no exception. I called my husband and told him to meet us at the hospital, too bad he drove all the way to work for nothing. I could feel his excitement through the phone. I then called my Mom and told her to meet us at the hospital too. By 5:30 PM, we were all set, the boys were in the waiting room with other excited family members. I elected to have another epidural but absolutely none of the other drugs. I would not miss any of this birth. I wanted to be awake. I wanted to remember. And I do.

She was born at 9:30 PM. Nice and short delivery. No complications. Everything went smoothly. There was a Blue Moon hanging in the sky that night. I will never forget the moment my sons came in to meet their baby sister. The love in their eyes was indescribable. The were practically vibrating from the love and excitement radiating from their bodies. Melted my heart.

In the next six to nine weeks I will be back in the hospital doing it all over again. I do not want a cesarean birth again. The time it takes to heal and all the restrictions to follow are not as easy once you have more children to take care of. I do not want to be out of commission for that long. I also know that I may not have a choice. At my last appointment the babies were both head up, or in breech position. The doctor assured me that there is still plenty of time for two busy babies to flip over and face head down. I know he is right but I can't help thinking about how little space that they have compared to a baby in there all alone. Only time will tell.

My doctor mentioned that with twin pregnancies they usually schedule the cesarean delivery for 38 weeks, two weeks before the regular anticipated delivery date. At first this made sense to me but the more that I think about it, the more I don't like it, deep down in my gut. I have done some research and came across a documentary called The Business of Being Born made by Ricki Lake a few year ago. It was very eye opening and it really got me thinking about my wants and wishes compared to the motives and rules of modern medicine, hospitals, insurance companies, etc. I know in my heart that I do not want to be cut open again if I do not have to be. I need to have a long talk with my doctor at my next appointment.

This will be my last birthing experience. I am older, stronger and wiser. I will not endanger the babies but I will also not be pushed into something I do not want to do. There is a part of me that feels like I may be able to handle giving birth naturally without any drugs or interventions. I have not decided this for sure but it is rolling around in my brain at the moment. If the babies are breech and I have to have a c-section, so be it. I get it and their safety comes first. I do not want to schedule it at 38 weeks though. I want the babies to stay inside me as long as possible. The longer they stay in, the healthier and more ready for the world they will be. The longer they stay in, the better their chances are of flipping head down and allowing a vaginal birth. Sure, it might suck for me physically, but that is not the point. A couple more stretch marks, big deal. A couple more weeks of swollen ankles and restless nights, so what. Worth it if it is for them.

My husband is not so sure about the "no intervention" child birth experience and I understand why. It has to be so hard to stand by while someone you love is in pain and there is nothing you can do to make them feel better. Maybe that person actually yells out and says stupid or mean things to you unintentionally while you stand by and try to be supportive and helpful. Were I looking in from his side, I can kind of see it. I still think I might be strong enough, given the chance. This is my last opportunity to try. I feel that if I am so lucky that both babies flip over head down and there are no other unforeseen complications, that will be my sign. That will be my sign that I should go ahead and give natural child birth a shot. The chance to make this special and unique. A chance to prove to myself that I am strong and I can make it, stay awake for it and see it through in a completely different way. A way that used to be the only way. The only way for thousands of years before my time on this earth. I will be in a safe place. Should any complications arise, I will be in expert hands. I may even chicken out and beg for the epidural in the end. I just don't want the choice taken away from me. I want to be in the driver's seat. I want the chance to decide. This will be a memorable experience no matter the outcome. I am not scared. I am almost there. I have my amazing husband and my Mom at my side. I think I can do this.

*** The sequel to this post about the birth experience of my twins is here: I Pushed & They Shoved

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Waiting Patiently

Thank you all for waiting so patiently for me to get back into the swing of things. I have also been waiting patiently, as that is all I can do at this point. I am now 28 weeks into my pregnancy with fraternal twin bouncing baby boys. The proverbial dust has settled since our shocking and life altering discovery of their existence in my practiced womb. Our three children are on board and excited for new siblings to arrive. The entire family that surrounds us have been so supportive and it feels like we have our own personal cheering section. We are ready as we can expect to be at his point.

I have the basic necessities. Diapers, clothes, blankets, etc. I am not stressing to have all the superfluous items at this point. I am in no condition to be stressed out. I have been down this familiar road before and now know what I will need immediately and what kind of things that can just wait. For example, I have two cribs, two swings, two activity bouncers and another high chair available to me but I have decided not to worry myself with getting these things home and set up yet. I realize that the babies will be quite small and that my play pen and breasts will suffice until I am ready. When the babies come home, I realize I am going to have nothing but time to set up my nest. I have no reason to hurry this process. This will be my last dance with newborns of my own body and I am going to relax and absorb the whole experience. I am going to enjoy it.

Changes are lurking around every corner for us. We have a lot on our plate and are staying focused on some goals. We already handled the car-is-too-small-for-a-family-of-seven problem. I traded in my Aztek for a Yukon and we are extremely happy with this decision so far. I was determined not to drive a mini van. I know that there are many of them out there and to each their own but I am just so not "that girl". I am still a wanna-be rock star at heart and a mini van would cramp my style. Ha!

Our house is quite old and in the current market we know that we could not sell it as fast as we need to or for nearly as much as we would want to. We are in the middle of a refinance instead with the hopes of keeping and renting our home so we can move on to a bigger and better one. Three bedrooms won't cut it for long with five kids. We have always been interested in owning rental property and this may be our first chance. Unfortunately, we are on quite a time crunch and I am waiting patiently for the results of the refinance. My last day at work is at the end of September, as long as the babies stay put. In order for this whole plan to work out we need both our incomes to qualify for a second mortgage. If it doesn't work out we will, of course, remain in our current abode, it will just be a tight fit. Plenty of families live with as little or less and we will be fine if it comes to that. For our plan to work we  just need to find a house, make an offer, get it accepted and then close on the new house within the next nine weeks or so. What? It could happen, right? I am staying positive and on track. It is all I can do.

I recently gave my notice at my job. I will not be returning to work after my maternity leave. I have given up my career for an indefinite length of time to stay home with the children. Lucky for us, my husband graduated last December and found a great job just minutes from our home. We could not be happier with his choice of employer and it could not have come at a better time for us as a family. Without the cost of daycare any longer, we will survive. We do not live extravagantly and are very practical people. We have lots of love and each other. We are aware that it will be hard at times but it will all turn out okay and we will only grow closer from the experience. This will be our next chapter.

Summer is fast coming to a close and we have a child beginning High School this September. We just finished with our sons' baseball seasons a few weeks ago and Fall baseball is beginning in less than three weeks. August will be full of preparations for school, buying supplies, going through the kids clothes, orientations, summer camp and more. It has been the hottest summer in recorded world history and I get to be pregnant for it. Something for the babies to hear about and enjoy, at my expense. Completely worth it, though. In a month we will be back into the routine of homework, baseball practice and games, band events, other extracurricular activities the kids throw at me, volunteering for the school as I can and then, you know, giving birth and all that. Nothing I can't handle. As long as I can stay off bed rest.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Clouds Begin to Part

After my doctor's appointment yesterday morning I am feeling a whole lot better, mentally that is. The heavy gray clouds that have been floating above my head like Eeyore's for the last thirteen weeks are finally dissipating. Some people very dear to me have been worried about me and I am sorry for that. Others seem to think that I was/am not happy that I am pregnant. This is truly not the case. I am very happy to be pregnant one last time. My husband and I planned to do this together one last time. I have just been extremely afraid and on edge lately. I tried not to let it show but apparently I sucked at my attempt. Oops.

When I was pregnant with my three previous children I was happy the whole time. Of course there was the feeling sick times and the feeling tired times, but all around I was quite happy. Last fall I became pregnant and was so very happy. My last baby was on it's way. I found out on a Thursday morning in November and was, as usual, instantly in love. It is almost indescribable how quickly I fall in love. Two days later, on a Saturday night, I miscarried. I had only known about the baby for two short days but it hurt me deep down to lose it just the same. I try to keep my experience in perspective. I know that my measly two days are nothing compared to the experiences other mothers have had to endure. I did not realize how much it had hurt me until February when I became pregnant again, with my amazing, yet shocking, twins. Not only am I at a little higher risk of complications due to being blessed with twins but I now had this little dark cloud in my mind about the very realistic possibility of it all coming to an abrupt end.

Since February I have felt scared to become to attached to them. I have been hesitant to think to far into the future with them for fear of losing them. It was not quite as fun to think of names yet. I was made to wait six weeks between appointments this last time because I am doing just fine medically. Six weeks was far too long for my constant worrying brain. From weeks ten through weeks sixteen of the pregnancy we were still in a big danger zone. Miscarriage is more likely in the first trimester and Vanishing Twin Syndrome is not that uncommon up to around week twelve, something I came to find out after much research on my part. By week sixteen it is very normal not to really feel the babies move much yet. All of these facts were sitting right smack dab in the middle of my head. It has truly been a long six weeks for me. And I was already tired, to boot.

Yesterday morning, my husband and I went to my sixteen week appointment. Since I am having twins, my wonderful Doctor likes to do an ultrasound to check the babies heartbeats in order to tell them apart easier, which means I get to see them every time I go in. Yesterday, the moment I saw the first beautiful thing on the screen, it gave a little wiggle and brought a tear to my eye. Very quickly, the Doctor moved onto the next sweet little being and I saw that one wiggle too. A huge weight was immediately lifted from my weary shoulders. They are still in there and they are just fine. They are alive and kicking, literally. I will begin to feel their tiny ninja moves very soon. They are truly breath taking and they are all mine. Sigh of relief. Ahh.

Last night I was able to sit down and really write down a list of possible baby names, which is always super fun for me. I feel like I slept a little more sound. I am feeling so much more relaxed and am jonesing to garage sale like a crazy person, tee hee. I know that things can still go wrong because I am realistic. It is possible I could have pre-term labor, complications of all different kinds and even get stuck on bed rest while trying to raise three great kids at the same time. I just feel a whole lot better about the whole situation and am thinking positive thoughts. I feel happy and content. I am still tired, which is to be expected, and my appetite is finally starting to appear full throttle. I know it is going to be a long, hot and busy summer...but I am actually looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Two Sick & Two Tired

No, I did not drop off the face of the planet. No, I did not give up on my blog. I did, however, recently have my world rocked and needed some time to process and recuperate. What's the big deal, you ask? I am pregnant. This is good news. Great news, in fact. My husband and I decided to leave it up to fate and see if one more child was in the cards for us. Come to find out that fate actually wanted us to have two more babies. Yup. You heard me right, it is twins! I was in complete shock. At moments, here and there, I actually still am.

Looking back I feel quite naive that the possibility of having twins never once crossed my mind. There are no twins on either side of our families, as far back as we know. But when you think about straight odds, I should have thought of it. I am thirty four. I have five brothers and between the six of us we already have ten kids. It was bound to happen to one of us eventually. Fate picked me.

I am a planner. I have become more organized. I am proud of how far I have come over the last ten years. There are no late bill payments, no late papers. I have our medical, personal, educational, financial and social affairs in order. I planned for one more baby. I was whole-heartedly ready for one last baby. Fate does not seem to care for my plans. Fate must think I had things a little too figured out.

Things have changed. I need a bigger car and a bigger house. These are things I already wanted but was in no hurry to acquire them. There is a possibility I will need to quit my job and be a stay-at-home-Mom for a while. This would be a blessing. A way to bond with my children that was never an option in my life before. The mentally difficult part of this for me is that I just spent the last four years of my life working my hardest towards a specific career goal. My efforts were beginning to pay off and changes were slowly in the works. Having one more baby would not have changed this path for me. Two more babies truly does.

I have had six weeks to process all of this information. I have been a wreck on so many different levels. This pregnancy has already been so different from my previous ones. I am extremely nautious and more tired than I have felt in my whole life. Hibernation sounds quite wonderful right now.  My emotions are completely out of control. There have been episodes of depression and self-loathing. There is no libido to speak of. Some women feel more beautiful and excitable when the are pregnant. I have heard tales of glowing skin and hair and nails that grow in perfection. Not me. I actually feel extra hideous, gross, bloated and lame. I break out, which I almost never have a problem with when I am not pregnant. I am too hot, uncomfortable and irritable. I can't believe my husband was willing to do this with me again. I am truly grateful for my husband. He is a saint to sit by my side while I struggle with my body and my brain. My poor neglected husband. I am so lucky to have him.

And I now know that I am lucky to be having twins. I love babies. They are precious and smell like purity. I am very good with kids. Being a mother is my favorite. I have an amazing partner-in-crime and we have plenty of love to go around. I would be lying if I said I wasn't still a little bit scared. I am realistic. We are not out of the woods yet. October is still a ways away, but I have high hopes and I am excited. I have a large and supportive family. We will be okay. Even without my perfect plans.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Little Lies and Butterflies

Image from:

When my beautiful, tiny, two year old daughter spilled a little lie from her previously assumed innocent lips, I was in complete shock. Where and how do they learn how to fib so early? My first thought was that it couldn't have been from me because I do not lie to her; she must have learned how to at daycare or from the television or from any other number of influences. Then, about ten seconds later, I realized, nope, she probably did learn how to lie from me. I don't intentionally lie to her but most of us, as parents, do it all of the time just the same. Have you heard of a guy named Santa Claus or maybe the big furry Easter Bunny? Technically...lies. Or, have you ever said something so simple as, "Sorry Honey, the goldfish crackers are all gone. You will have to wait until dinner is ready for more food." Lie! There is almost always more goldfish crackers. We tell lies. Not about the big things but definitely about the little white things.

Back to her lie, I was in the kitchen with her while I was making dinner, peeling carrots over the garbage can. She held her little toddler hand out in the space between the carrot and the garbage can and asked, "Can I hold it, Mommy?" I replied, "No, Sweetie, I don't want you to get an owie on your finger and I'm cooking dinner." She looked up at me for a moment and then quickly turned and ran off into the living room shouting, "Daddy, Daddy!" I peeked around the wall to see what she was going to do. She ran straight into her Daddy's arms and said, "Daddy, Mommy hurt me." accompanied by a little bit of fake crying and all. Now, my husband knows that I would not hurt her and was intrigued by her statement so he asked her, "Oh, really? What did Mommy do?" Without hesitation she proceeded to tell him that I had shut her hand in the garbage can and even tried to get him to kiss it and make it all better. Really? She is two. So, Daddy walks her into the kitchen where we are all three together and we ask her again about what happened and she puts her sad face on, places her supposedly injured hand on her lower back and says, "Mommy hurt my back." What? Again, she's two.

Needless to say, we had to have a two year old version of the whole You-Shouldn't-Tell-Lies speech. We also now know that we have to watch this one just a little more closely. It does make me wonder what else she has told me that may not be entirely true. Ha!

She is so young. I know this is not a serious issue at the moment, but a curious one. I want to gently teach her about being truthful without squashing her beautiful imagination. She has such an amazing imagination. I love to hear what she comes up with. When I am giving her a bath I tell her to, "Look way up high, in the sky, so you don't get soap in your eyes." While she is looking up I ask her questions about what she sees in order to keep her distracted and looking up while I rinse the shampoo from her blonde hair. She tells me all about the butterflies and the birds, what colors they are and how many she sees. Some days it is big balloons and others it is airplanes and helicopters. I love it!

And there. Right there is the invisible line between little lies and imagination. I want her to tell me wild stories and invent things. I want her to see the big blue butterflies that magically appear from out of nowhere in the bathroom when she's in the tub. I want her to keep feeding me pretend tea and ham soup that appears to be on tap in her toy kitchen, in an endless supply, at that. It will just be another lesson for me. How to teach her when we need to be truthful and when is it okay to fib. And, most importantly, to never lose her imagination.

** If you enjoyed this post, here is another you might like, too:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nature vs. Nurture

I have heard this comparison for as long as I can remember. It has always made perfect sense to me.  There are naturally occurring parts of our personalities and our physical traits and then there are the things in and about us that change over time due to our all encompassing environment. Not only have I lived through it myself in my own upbringing, but I have it in my mind while I parent my own children. I am a firm believer that all children are born with their very specific personality. It is up to us, as parents, to recognize all the complicated parts of their individual personality. Our job is to nurture them, guide them and help them grow with their personality and be able to function with them during their lives, not to change them.

I grew up with two mothers. In order to keep this less confusing for you while I write, I will call one Mother and one Mom. My Mother gave birth to me and raised me until I was three years old. My Mom married my Father when I was three years old and they had custody of and raised me and my brothers. My Mom had two sons who were older than me. I also have two little brothers from my Mother and Father. Later, my Mom and Father gave me one more little brother. Five brother in all. The six of us all had very distinct and different personalities, most of which have stayed true to present day. Reflecting on our growing up years and raising three children of my own has given me an even deeper respect for my parents. Sometimes it boggles my mind to think of how they did it all. I was very lucky.

I am like my Mother. I physically look like her. I have her legs and feet, her closed mouth smile. I chew like her, laugh like her and move my pursed lips side to side like her while I am thinking hard. I was blessed with her beautiful singing voice and creative and crafty skills. Sometimes, when I talk, I even sound like her, especially if I slip into a little southern drawl. I love being a mother and would do almost anything for my children. My pure, raw thoughts and emotions are very similar to hers. I can not explain this one very well, but knowing her as long as I did and reading some of her letters and journals, I know I am right on. I even remember one time when I was around eighteen years old we decided to arm wrestle. We actually ended it at a deadlock, neither of us could budge the other. Similar strength.

I was not raised by my Mother. When I was three I went to live with my Father and Mom. After this, I saw my Mother during the summer breaks while in school and over a holiday here and there. She lived thirteen hundred miles away and we were still so much alike. Nature.

I am also like my Mom. I am confident and strong, opinionated and thoughtful. I have a very strong pull towards my family and keeping all of us together. I am extremely organized and have a very strong work ethic. I know what I want and I will usually go for it, as long as it is fairly reasonable. I love music, it can move me very deeply. I physically carry myself the same way and we are often complimented on how much we look alike. We have learned to just nod, smile and say "Thank you." When I am in pain, physically, mentally or any other way it comes, you may not even know it unless you ask the right questions. I try not to burden others with my own issues, although, I am learning to try. I absolutely adore being a mother and would do anything for my children.

My Mom did not give birth to me yet our similarities rival those between my Mother and I. I was able to see my Mom nearly everyday and it shows in my everyday life, even now. I am grateful to have had her raise me. I would not be the same person I am now if she had not been my Mom from such a young age. I love my Mother dearly, but I do know there were some weaknesses in her personality that I would have absorbed too deeply into myself. I mean no disrespect to my Mother, please do not misunderstand. All I mean is that if she had raised me we would have been exactly alike. I will not get into all of the details of her life but I can say that she had many very meaningful struggles for so many different reasons throughout her life and my similar personality tendencies would have brought me in the same directions. Being raised by my Mom allowed me to keep some of my Mother's traits while being slightly overpowered by some stronger traits. I am forever grateful. Nurture.

Living through all of this personally has made me a better mother to my own children, in my opinion. I was blessed with two sons who could not be more opposite than the other. I have called them my salt and pepper babies. My oldest has brown hair and eyes and naturally tan skin that he inherited from his father. My eleven year old has red hair and hazel eyes along with my very fair skin and a few freckles. One got my crooked teeth and one got their father's straight teeth. One got my poor vision and the other got 20/20. The personalities they were born with are completely opposite, too. One is athletic, eager to please, sensitive, temperamental, lovingly kind and not afraid of a little hard work. The other is creative and imaginative, very sharing, argumentative, stubborn, walks to his own beat and is a little afraid of hard work. They are both amazing individuals and I am proud to know them. I am lucky to be a part of their lives and guide them every day.

How do I do this? Carefully. The athlete is allowed to be one as long as his grades stay up and the sport remains fun. The imaginative one is encouraged and complimented when he creates something new. The temperamental one is made to take a step back, take a deep breath and think about the current situation. The argumentative one is made to pause, maybe apologize and be a bit more respectful. I am actually encouraging him to try out for the debate team when he gets to a grade level that offers it. There is a time and place for arguing and it is not always a bad thing, it just needs to be channelled in the proper direction. There are so many pieces to each of them. I do not want to stifle or change them. My goal is to teach them to grow with, accept and use the natural talents they were each born with. I have to be extremely patient. I think I am. None of this is something I feel you can be taught. I worry at times that I may be doing some of these things wrong.  I honestly make a lot of this up as I go. I use my instincts, my gut feelings. I have to do things a little bit different for each of them while still trying to remain fair. I can only try to do the best I can and stay true to myself.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Head Over Heels

In March it will have been ten years since the man of my dreams walked into my life and flipped my world upside down. The day I met him is the only time I remember ever being truly speechless. I was not expecting him. I was not ready for him. I was definitely not looking for him. Yet he found me all the same. I am so glad he did.

I was so unhappy. I had given up on my own happiness. I will not go in to the nitty-gritty details of my problems back then because I love my sons and I respect their relationship with their father. I will say that I was holding on for the sake of my two children no matter what it cost me mentally, physically and socially. I had recently started a new job and went back to school. I would go to work during the day and go straight home to the kids when I was done. I did not attempt to build new relationships with my coworkers at first. Over a few months I began to make new friends and become more involved. It was nice to have peers again. I started to believe I was worth something. I was getting my long lost confidence back. It still was not enough of a push.

Then one day in March of 2002, while I was working and minding my own business, my coworker pointed behind me and said, "Look, there's the new guy." I turned around and I couldn't speak. I actually turned a little red in the face. There was an amazing guy walking right by me to go fill out his new hire paperwork. I stood there like an idiot. My coworker thought this was very funny and pointed and laughed at me. I think I even spilled a little clam chowder on her to shut her up. I was in a long term committed relationship. I knew there was nothing I would do about this but I am human and he was gorgeous. A little bit of excitement in an otherwise dull day.

For the next couple of months I got to know him a little better. He was such a great guy and was absorbed into our close knit group of friends very quickly. He fit right in. I was developing a little bit of a crush even. Yikes! I respect committed relationships and I would never cheat on someone. I have always felt very strongly about this for reasons I will not discuss. I remember there was one night we were at work together and I had a psychology project I was working on for college. I interviewed him as one of my subjects and we got to talking afterwards. We admitted to one another that we had crushes on each other. We also discussed how we were both in serious relationships and that our partners were important to us. It was truly a harmless conversation but one I will never forget. It unintentionally changed me in ways I did not know until years later.

Someone actually found me attractive. I was not a used-up, good for nothing, girl with baggage. Someone found me interesting. Just knowing that gave me the strength to admit to myself that I did not like my life; a thought I had been burying deep down inside myself for at least five years. I woke up. I deserved better.  I did not have to settle in my situation for the rest of my life. I tasted change and I wanted more. So I changed it.

April and May of 2002 was the hardest time I have had in my whole life. The majority of the tears I have shed in my lifetime was during those two months. Not only had I decided it was time to leave my partner of seven years and change the lives of my sons forever, I lost my Grandmother and a step-sister during the same time. One to old age and one to suicide. I was a wreck. I was not leaving my Ex to be with this new guy but he did give me a wake up call to re access my world. I hope I never have to experience pain like that ever again.

My life has been uphill ever since. I had no intention of being in a new relationship so quickly after my last had ended. But, within a couple months we were inseparable. It was so easy with him. I decided that I was not going to let what happened in my past jeopardize my future with him. The timing was not our fault. I could not let this wonderful man slip away, I just had to be careful how we proceeded because I had two beautiful young boys to consider and I did not want to put them through any more trauma. I knew he was "the one". I even told a friend that I was going to marry him someday. I didn't introduce him to my boys until October 2002. I had him over for a spaghetti dinner and then he left. We took it slowly with the kids. We agreed that they did not need another father but that a decent male role model is always a good thing. When the boys were home with me, we were apart and when the boys went to their father's, we were together. We made it work.

Fast forward nearly ten years, I still adore him. He is my match in every way; we fit like puzzle pieces. All the pain of my past was worth it just to get me to this place. We were married in June of 2008. We wrote our own vows and one of my main points was that he lets me be the Mom I always wanted to be. That is huge to me. He accepts me for who I am in every way. I am happy everyday to wake up next to him, to share my children with him and to continue to build the life we have. I love you, Allen. Thank you for everything and being you. Beep beep.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A day in the life...

Most of my days are full. I could always use more time. Others have asked me, as I have asked myself, why don't I exercise, sing in a band anymore or go to hosted parties to buy random jewelry, kitchen products or purses? Why don't I go shopping for the groceries and get it all out of the way so I can have the weekend off? Why can't I be a bit more spontaneous? Truthfully, most days I feel like I do not have the time or even the energy. For example, today I have been going nonstop for over thirteen hours and I can not begin to imagine running off to the gym to sweat it all out or stand around singing for a couple hours trying to be creative and inspiring. I do not feel as though I would be social enough to go and sit around making small talk with a room full of mostly strangers in order to buy something that I may or may not end up using. On occasion, I will go out and do different things during the week but most of the time I am just not up for it. Don't get me wrong. I am not asking anyone not to invite me because I know that each day is a new one and there is always going to be hope. I am also not saying that I do not desire to go and do all of these interesting activities. That would be silly. I want to be fun and social. I want to enjoy time away from home doing things with peers and family. I'm just tired.

A typical day for me begins at 7:00 A.M. I get up, get dressed and do the normal morning hygiene routines. I make sure my boys are on track for the morning. I see that they made a balanced bag lunch, that the necessary school items are being set by the front door and make sure that their teeth, hair and clothes are presentable enough and weather appropriate. I make sure our three pets had potty breaks and breakfast, too. I get the toddler out of bed and ready to go off to daycare. We are usually out the door between 7:50 A.M. and 8:00 A.M. My oldest usually walks to school and my middle child rides along with me to the daycare so we can drop off my sweet baby girl. Once at daycare, I pick up the daycare lady's son, who happens to be my eleven year old's best friend, and swing them by their school on my way to work where I clock in at 8:15 A.M.

I work a full eight hours with a half hour lunch break. I haven't had much down time at work since last May. I keep very busy, which is good. Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe, though. Remember, I'm working on the whole "stress" thing. My lunch breaks are usually spent keeping up with my personal life organization. I pay bills online, check grades for the boys, make any calls or e-mails to who ever I may need to on any given day, like the vet or the squirrel removal people (don't ask). I make all the family medical appointments, fill out any forms or paperwork we may need done and anything and everything else I may need to do that I can squeeze into thirty minutes while eating something at the same time. Also, for the next few months I am actually leaving work two hours early on Thursdays to volunteer at my sons' school as their Destination Imagination coach. I am coaching two teams totaling seven kids.

After work I usually pick up the little one from daycare on my way home. Most of the time she is very happy to see me, but if she is in a cranky mood she is not. I get home between 5:00 P.M. and 5:10 P.M. Once in the front door I am greeted with three much needed hugs from the male members of my household. That is one of the highlights of my daily life. I also get to feel like Snow White as the animals come up to get their turns, too. I may or may not have to scold a son for not doing the chore they were assigned. I usually have to walk around and pick up miscellaneous items that have been left all over during the previous twenty four hours and get them near their proper places while making my way to my room in order to change into my comfortable clothes. Once I am changed it is time to cook dinner for the family. I do not always know what's for dinner, I make a lot of things up. I enjoy cooking most of the time. I find it very therapeutic and it feels so good to sit at the table with my loved ones and have a meal together while talking about our day. Although, there are days, every once in a while, when I just need to order a pizza.

After dinner we all clean up. There may be homework, projects, bubble baths, play time, etc. My baby girl is off to bed between 7:00 P.M. and 8:00 P.M. My boys have reading time in bed from 9:30 P.M. and 10:00 P.M. and then it is "lights out." By this time I am beat. I am lucky if I have the energy to squeeze in some bonding time with my husband. We may sit back to watch a show or movie, sit around and talk for a while or enjoy other things that married couples do. (wink) Some days I just want to curl up in my warm comfy bed and read a book until I fall asleep. Sigh.

I was joking with a girlfriend the other day. You know the shows on television that have to do with "Real Housewives of Whatever County"? I think we should have our own show about "The Real Housewives of Anoka County". It would probably be a very boring show. We all like each other, we don't back-stab one another, we live normal lives and have nice children. Our spouses are decent men and our jobs are real work. I don't think a network in the world would take the risk because our ratings would be so low. There is no drama or glamour, no money or fame. This is all in jest, of course, but I thought it was pretty funny. Who would want to sit around and watch me be me for an hour while I chill on my couch and blog. Ha! Because honestly, that is all I have the energy for tonight.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Serenity Now!

Serenity means to be free of stress and anxiety. I wonder what that is like. It sounds quite nice.

I could use some serenity in my life. I have more stress than I care to admit quite often. I have also been known to have my share of anxiety attacks. It is usually my own fault. I put too much pressure on myself, want everything to be perfect and hold myself to ridiculous standards. I am aware of this and consciously battle inside myself to keep it in check. I am now, and always have been, a extremely independent person. There was a time in my life when I began to feel this part of myself slipping away. I was able to remedy my situation and get this quality back. Although, I am realizing now that while striving for this independence I have brought some extra self-imposed stress into my life.

My house is not as clean as I wish it were. I have very recently come to terms with this. I have not given up but I am now cutting myself a little slack. I have a husband, three children, a dog, two cats, a full time job and I currently volunteer at the school two hours each week. Housework is just one example of where I am currently making an effort to be less stressed. It will get cleaned eventually.

This brings us back to "serenity." I am literally bringing serenity into my life. Starting this Saturday, my husband and I will be playing a role playing game called Serenity with nine other friends. We will meet every other Saturday night until March 31st. That is seven Saturday nights away from my three wonderful children. For those of you who do not know me well, this is a HUGE step . I realized last night that by beginning this game I will be doing something I have not done for myself in nearly fourteen years. I have not been away from my kids on a regularly scheduled basis to do something for myself since I became a mother at twenty years of age. I would be lying to you if I said I was not a little freaked out. I am not sure how the time got away from me. I do know that being a mom is one of my favorite things in life, I just didn't mean for becoming one to consume me. This experience will hopefully help me to let go a bit and be a good thing for me and my understanding husband to do together.

The game should be a fun time. There was a show on for a while called Firefly. They later made a movie to wrap things up called Serenity. It was a kind of western set in the future outer space. Adventure, drama and comedy all wrapped into one. We all have our own characters that we have created based on the story line of the shows and will meet and play out outlandish scenarios given to us by the leader of the game. To some this will sound very geeky but I am looking forward to the time with good friends. I am nervous to leave my kids for so many nights but also know that by doing this I will push more stress right out of my life. My daughter will get to spend some quality bonding time with a few of her grandparents and my sons will have some time away from me with friends or possibly being trusted home alone. We will all grow from this. I am scared and excited at the same time. Serenity now!