Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The End

So bear with me, which if you read this, you probably do often.

Last night I started the weaning/dry up process.

I am sad. I tried so hard to keep nursing her. I pumped. I got her surgery (which is great to avoid problems in speech and palate development too). We bottle fed the pumped milk. My supply took such a huge hit from the tongue tie and nipple damage (because that's what it was...DAMAGE), even with pumping and essential oils, teas, etc., I couldn't get it back to where it needed to be. At the best point, around 6 weeks, I was 12 oz short of her full feedings. (I was pumping at this time, so I have a good idea of the total she was eating per day). But babies keep growing and my supply couldn't keep up. Once she was full during her feeds, that girl's growth took off. Now, she's back on course for her 9lb 11oz birthweight.

But at this point, I am only able to give her half feedings morning and evening. She refuses the breast during any daylight hours. (I thought it was because there's no milk. Nope. It's just daylight.) And she will only take one side. ONE. I am so lopsided. She's a feisty, sassy, smart little thing. She knows the bottle is faster.

Now, I know I didn't fail. But I definitely wasn't as successful in exclusively breastfeeding.
It's been the longest, most stressful breastfed kid to date. And one of my kids (#2) I got mastitis TWICE with and had cracked nipples nearly half the time, yet I nursed him exclusively to 11 months.

I am trying to look at the bright side.  I made it three and a half months. And I will lose the "nursing" weight I keep on. Okay, so I really hope this happens.  It has 4 times before, but I've never quit so early. I am praying it will follow just like the others.

Even better, she was only nursing in the morning for the last two days.  So the dry up process should be easy and not very painful.

No matter how I paint this, I am still mourning. I had a goal of 1 year and I fell SO. FAR. SHORT. I don't like having to admit things didn't work out. I kick myself like, 'you could have tried harder' or 'what if...' 

Being a Mom is brutal on your psyche. You second guess everything, even when you really can't anymore.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Own It

This is quick.

Saturday we went to the beach. I bought a bikini to wear under my rash guard.

When we got to the beach, I realized I forgot the freaking rash guard.

I will remind you, I had a baby three months ago and am nursing, so my figure is less than bikini-worthy in my mind.

Then as I got the courage show my I-just-had-a-baby stomach, I looked at my 10 year old and got figuratively punched in the gut.

While I never diet, I do have issues with my body (see above if you missed it). And she sees/hears it.

Oh crap.

So when I complain about it, she's heard it. And what damage had that done already?

Double crap.

So I took off my cover up. I owned my body. I was proud.

I did it again today at the pool and I really felt empowered. I grew 5 babies. And I need to love me and all the changes that come.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Over to the Dark Side

Last week I felt the shift to The Dark Side. Or the Good Side. I've mentioned it before, and we will continue to homeschool our children again this school year.

This was not what I'd necessarily planned.  We were waiting for a lot of things to fall into place to put our children back in public school. It didn't happen.

I can tell you what did happen.

This happened:
#3's math of choice
So this completely blew me away. She can barely read (it's new to her and she's doing fantastic), she'd really only be going into kindergarten, yet I was 'voluntold' by her to help her do this sheet. It's easily second grade math.

If you can't see it, it's subtracting two double digit numbers with no carry. She did an addition one later this day.

The next day she did an addition and subtraction page. I helped her with the first problem and when she got 'stuck' (only twice).

So I say all this because in the beginning, I didn't want to make homeschooling permanent. That's not to say things won't change later, but I felt a great shift in my head when she successfully did this page. I am not sure I want to put them back in that box; the box of public school. I have some challenging learners - but they're on opposite ends of learning. One of my children was wanting to move faster.  He told me weekly, "Mom, I want new words. These are to eeeeassssyyy." So I went to the teacher. She said, "he's already doing the hardest list. I don't have anything harder. Sorry." He was being held back with learning.  All of that felt wrong. I tried to negotiate with her, and she wouldn't budge. With homeschool, he's been doing second grade spelling, math, and language arts since January and we are flying through those.

The reality is my children are excelling. They're happy. They go at their pace (when it's a forward pace...when it's a standstill, I give a shove forward).

Child #1 has struggled with math, unlike her siblings, but not because she doesn't get it. It is 'boring, horrible, and not fun.' These words, because there's no desire to do it, translates into an argument between her and me and then a less than desirable note of 'I am so dumb (or insert any synonym here).'

It's been challenging. To top it off, we have new pre-teen girl emotions begin with #1.

This was after a particularly large blow up at her father.

As a homeschool family, I can customize her curriculum for her. She needed something OUT OF THE BOX. And boy, we found a math curriculum out of the box.

Meet Life of Fred.

The reviews say it all.  I have that child that child that scribbles the 'I hate math'. I want to shift it to 'I love math'.  I wish someone would have done this to me when I was little. I was very good in fact, I got a pretty dang good score on my ACT in math in high school (better than my English/Reading by a lot). But I had been convinced by family/friends/teachers that it wasn't for me.

I won't have my children feeling that way. So, I find myself in a situation I never thought I'd do again and now I no longer have a 'deadline'. This will be indefinite. And I really actually like the sound of that.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Two Months Post #4

So I mentioned in my first of the four posts, our #5 had a tongue tie. I asked around lactation consultants on the island and found one dentist who would clip it.  But they wouldn't do it until she was 4 months old!

At this point I was pumping and feeding her to bring her weight up.  It was working amazingly and she was so much more content with a full belly.  Her inability to latch right kept her from getting a full feed, she was working so hard to get the milk out, burning what she was intaking, and thus no weight gain.

So once we found out the prognosis for my FIL after the first week of hospice - the doctors said "weeks" - my husband and I hustled to get plane tickets.  We went back and forth about just sending him or both for a few days. I had the overwhelming feeling I needed to be there.  I didn't know why at the time.  I thought it was just to comfort him.  Turns out, it wasn't just for him.

We also thought we were just going to say goodbye to my FIL so we only scheduled a 3 day trip.

Did I mention Delta Airlines is amazing?

They offer emergency/bereavement fares.  They take 20 percent off (I can't remember, but it dropped the price $50 per ticket) and offer no-charge rescheduling/change.  We scheduled the flights, our wonderful friends volunteered to take care of our children, and we took off two days after we scheduled them.  Obviously, we had to change them later, but there was no charge.  We will be flying Delta more often.  I've been a Southwest devotee for a while, but after this...thank you Delta.

Also, as we got on the flight, I posted this. That following week, for the first time in my life, I felt the prayers of those around us. I can only describe that it felt like our entire posterity and friends were cheering us on and keeping us afloat.

So, after finding out all the tongue tie issues with #5, being really frustrated the doctor on the island wouldn't fix it now, I figured it was a long shot: I was going to see if the pediatric dentist where our family is would fix it, with just few days notice and a patient he'd never seen before.  He only did the clips on Monday - and we were scheduled to leave Monday afternoon.

Obviously, our plans changed on the way there.  The funeral was scheduled for Wednesday, so when the called me Monday morning (I was on "standby"), the doctor was really concerned about flying with what they described as a "very cranky baby" after.  I informed them things had changed and they said if there was a cancellation, they'd call me.

I had faith it could happen, but what is the chance someone would cancel their much needed appointment?

Around 10 am, they called me.  There was a cancellation.  I cried.

As I sat outside (because they don't let parents sit in and watch because they use a laser) during #5's tongue clip, I remember looking toward the ceiling, praying, thanking my Father above, but also my FIL.  I missed him.  I was sad at the fact he never held #5.  I knew that it wasn't coincidence that all the happened - from figuring out her issues, finding a doctor, getting it done, and even his death.

To this day, I feel that our #5 knows him better than all of us.  If you mention his name, her whole face lights up. I knew he loved her. Several people came up to me, who had visited him in hospice, and said the first thing he did was show them photos of the newest grandbaby.  He put it on FB and just raved about her. He may not have seen here alive in person and touched her skin, but that's not important.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Two Months Post #3

His funeral was beautiful and while he wouldn't have approved of the praise, it was very fitting.  All the sister-in-laws participated as they could and wanted to.  We wanted everyone else to see what a man of faith he was. Devoted. Loving. Funny. Kind. Christ-like.

I sang with the grandkids and my husband's sisters.  We sang "A Child's Prayer". The grandkids sang the first verse and the women sang the second. 

We're not as good as the video, but it was perfect. If I could change anything, I would have wanted my children there to sing for him. When we were practicing (I am so glad we practiced), the thought came to my mind, "I wish my children we here."  And then my SIL said something about my kids and I started crying.  Then she started crying, her sister started crying, and my other SIL, who was playing the piano said later, 'Oh don't get her crying...then we will all be crying.' True to form, we were all crying by the time the song was over.  It was a funny/sad/bonding moment.

And surprisingly, I almost made it through the song without crying.  I did spend a lot of time looking at the ceiling instead of the crowd I make it through.

There were funny parts. There were really sad parts. Our #5 and two other deceased grandkids are the only ones to never sit with grandpa and watch movies at the foot of his bed, eating an enormous amount of popcorn.

My parents and sister came.  I was so grateful to see them there.  They pretty much took care of Claire for me (okay so she pretty much spend the whole time in my sister or my husband's best friend's arms) so I could sit next to my husband and hold his hand.  But I could barely look at him. I knew if I looked at his bloodshot eyes and puffy cheeks I was done for.  I snuck a look twice and tried my best to remain composed.  Not an easy task.

I rode with my husband's best friend to the graveside. We laughed so hard sharing stories. He spent countless hours with my husband and family since he was so little. He's considered another Uncle. My kids call him Uncle and one of our sons carries his middle name. After his dedication, my Mother-in-law went up to him and said something to the effect of, "Just know He really loved you, You were considered another son."  I thought that was amazing.  In her grief, she was comforting us. She specifically comforted him.

My husband dedicated the grave. I prayed for him the whole time. His dedication was beautiful, heartfelt, but more importantly, peaceful. It was absolutely surreal to watch my FIL's casket be lowered in the ground.  I still have a hard time comprehending it.

I never regretted not being able to see him.  He knew I loved him.  And I knew without a doubt, he loved me.  He never needed to tell me.  I already knew.

And finally, on to those tender mercies...

Two Months, Post 2 those tender mercies came with a stipulation.

About a month after her birth, my father-in-law, who had been diagnosed with both esophageal and bile duct (liver) cancer in May 2015, had finished chemo and radiation a few weeks previously.  But now he was sicker. He had been in the hospital while they tried to help his body kick the pneumonia he had contracted.  I wasn't there and honestly, the details are now fuzzy, but he was placed on hospice after a abscess developed on one of his lungs.  Basically, it was a hole in his lungs and a quick means to the end.

I knew things weren't good when he enjoyed hospice. On April 18th, my children called my FIL and talked to him for 14 minutes and 17 seconds.

And that was the last time, we would see him alive. He died the morning of April 22, 2016.

Just writing this makes the tears flow and my heart ache. I miss him. I loved that man.

My husband and I (and #5) we enroute. We had just landed in Atlanta when we got the news.

All week, he knew we were coming and he kept asking everyone, "Is it Friday yet?"  And they'd answer, "no".

He made it to Friday.  Just that thought brings peace to my soul.

My husband was asked to go through his financial stuff.  That included his iPad. I will never forget this memory.  It is burned in my heart and mind. We were standing in my inlaws kitchen, and his eyes, so bloodshot from crying so much, looked at me.  He turned the iPad around to show me this: the last photo my Father-in-law ever looked at alive.

Two Months, Post 1

I am going to do this in installments.  This one is about the baby #5.

At 72 hours after the sweet baby #5 had lost 10 oz.  Totally normal.  Nursing was okay.  Just the sensitivity of learning to nurse another baby.  No biggie. Right?

My parents came in town a week after the birth of #5.  This was so needed and well timed, but it stressed me to the max. There were a lot of other factors in place that made a perfect storm of making my stress level hit a high octave. My sister came in the week after my parents.  It was a good visit and thinking about it now, there were times that really make me laugh.

My recovery was very slow. For a week my midsection didn't seem to work. That is the only way to describe it. It was like it wouldn't engage.  A chiropractic visit fixed this, but then my upper abs ached liked I'd done 1000 crunches the night before.

I got mastitis during my parents visit. I could not get a good latch and she demolished one of my nipples.  I've never had so much pain nursing.  I though it was me and I had forgotten all of this, but I kept on with a nipple shield.  I am tough.

Then we had a 1 month check up.  Our 9 lb 11oz baby at birth was at 9 lbs. She only pooped once a week.

I cried my eyes out. This wasn't normal. All of my breastfed babies made it back to their birth weight by 2 weeks, but most were at weight by a week. We were now a month out and 11 oz short. 

I felt like I had failed. Somehow.  Like I wasn't doing something right...I hadn't slept much. I was now immensely stressed and trying to keep up with the other 4 kids. I somehow knew it wasn't me.  I'd done this too many times before to know I was doing everything right.

Thanks to Babycenter and Google, I found my answer.  She had a posterior tongue tie. My pediatrician told me it would be fine and she had a tongue tie.  "She'll grow out of it. Every baby has their own eating personality," but "there were no doctors on the island that would [clip] it."  I left that office in tears. This just seemed weird and not okay.

This is where I am very thankful to be a) very persistent and b) the recipient of several tender mercies.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Birth Story of #5

This is for my recollection.  You have been warned.


Sweet baby number 5 came two days "late" on March 15, 2016.  Due to our situation and my absolute desire to avoid the hospitals here (I have heard horror stories) and the fact we barely made it to the hospital on our last birth, we were planning a homebirth.

Let me first say, our experience was awesome. Our midwife, Vanessa, and the midwife-in-training, Camille, totally made the experience wonderful by being handsoff with so many things, yet very, very involved with the whole process.

Around 2 am, on the 15th I was horribly uncomfortable in bed. The contractions were coming, but they weren't a "typical" contraction. I would have nasty pain in one of my round ligaments that would feel like stabbing, try to roll over to only have to wait until it subsided.  Then it would continue on the other side.  Around 4 am trying to sleep through these pains, I finally got up, and drew a nice hot bath.  The contractions intensified in the tub and dropped to 6 minutes apart. After an hour, I woke my husband.  I called the midwife and 30 minutes later, they dropped to 3 minutes.

Around 6 a.m. (tine is relative) my midwives came and I was definitely in labor. I couldn't sleep...I tried.  The contractions were really close together and I just couldn't find a good place to be comfortable. I was shaking, which was weird, because that only happens around transition.  I was checked to only be at 2-3 cm. I wasn't frustrated.  I was thrilled because I knew things were progressing.

I ate a banana and tried to eat oatmeal but I was nauseous after two bites about 7:30 am.  Things were picking up and I got back in the tub. My back was hurting so badly so every contraction, someone - my husband, the assistant midwife, the midwife - applied great counter pressure to the sciatic area of my hips.

Our other four children were awake at this point and in talking to us and taking my mind off things.  Well, trying to anyway.  I was getting really frustrated because the pain was really bad, but I couldn't tell where I was in the labor progress because it was so different than child #4.  My midwife jokingly said, this baby will be born about 9 p.m. tonight.  I remember being in the middle of a contraction and I said, "absolutely NOT."  We walked around our little cul-de-sac 1.5 times.  I had three contractions and leaned on the mailboxes because my husband decided at that time to get and gather all the garbage in the garage and take it to the curb.  I was not happy, but I made it work.

Around 9:15, I texted my friend to come pick up the boys (who didn't want to be at the birth) and we sent the girls to get the hair cuts at a friends's house about the same time. I had a contraction in the living room and made eye contact with her.  It was 9:30. They wanted to be at the birth, but I'd made these appointments and they really needed haircuts.

Those appointments were a blessing in disguise.  I am glad they weren't there. I was not an angel or patient.

Around 9:30, I was whimpering because the pain was so intense. All my "helpers" were trying to get me to breathe into my belly - which may be the most difficult thing ever - and I knew we were really close. Then as I was laying on the living room floor, a contraction double and triple peaked.  I was really, really close.  The midwife calmly said, "Where did you intend on giving birth?" In the next break we went back upstairs to our bedroom.

More contractions came and I said, "I am getting to my max threshold of pain."

And then the next contraction hit, I cussed, and knew I was at the end. I sure was hopeful anyway, because I said, "I don't want to do this anymore." My husband said that when those words came out, we were really close. Vanessa checked me, told me I was at 10 cm.  I laid there during the next contraction as the baby shifted and turned in my pelvis. I hated that contraction. She was so much higher than #4, who was practically falling out at this point in his labor.

Vanessa brought over a birth stool, prepped it, l and I leaned back against my husband. I wasn't too fond of the stool, but I knew it would be effective and productive. So the last time I "pushed" with my fourth child, the intense contractions went away.  They did not this time and I didn't appreciate this fact.  They were so overwhelmingly intense and I couldn't get a good handle on pushing.  In fact, I didn't even have the "pushing" sensation for about 10 minutes. I remembered being frustrated and upset...maybe just in my head, but I wasn't thrilled.  I wanted to get off the stool, but it was like my hips had been frozen in place and moving was SO painful.  I requested to get off and when I tried, I couldn't.  So I accepted what it was and got to business.

She was making her appearance soon, and Vanessa said, "looks like she will be born en caul". This is when the amniotic sac stays in tact and doesn't break until after the baby is born.  My husband had decided that he wanted to catch her so he moved to prepare for that (which included a handwashing).
He said later that she put on gloves and he kept thinking, "where are my gloves?!" Several times I remember Vanessa telling him that it is going to get messy and prepare.

Things were not moving as fast as I want them at this point, and I have been struggling figuring out pushing. I didn't want anymore crappy contractions and I wanted to be done. I looked at my husband and I think I said, "This really hurts."

I give a huge push and say, "she's coming!" One more contraction hit, I yelled, and felt this "freight train" come out.  The poor midwife told me to "go slow, so you don't tear", but there was no going slow.  The feeling of birthing a baby is exactly like stopping a freight train - you don't stop it fast. The next contraction hit and out came our daughter at 9:57.  (BTW, I know this is TMI, but poop definitely happens during the pushing stage and I am very, very grateful for wild orange essential oil. That was a much more pleasant smell than what I would have been smelling.) Vanessa said, "wow, she's a big girl."

I was so relieved once she was in my arms.  Oh, she was slimy too!  My poor husband got messy because once she was coming out, the amniotic sac started to rupture. He told a girlfriend of mine, "I had all this crap on me."  I laughed his description, but he was right.  There was light meconium in the amnioitic fluid, so he wasn't wrong.  It took 13 minutes of pushing. I got all upset because I felt like this took so long.  In reality, active labor was only 3-ish hours, pushing 13 minutes.  It was still very intense and very fast.

I was moved to my pre-prepared bed (plastic sheets are very helpful in cleanup) and the placenta was delivered almost immediately and they cut the cord 13 minutes after she was born.  13 MINUTES.  I learned this is called a lotus birth, it's not dangerous, and better to let all the cord blood transfer to your baby. She wasn't removed from my chest for two hours. She nursed, the midwives cleaned, my husband was right next to me for all of it.

Remember how our children weren't there?  That was an incredible blessing.  I would have scared them.  The girls finished their haircuts and came home to find a new baby sister on my chest and then our 5 year old looked down at the chux pad I was on and said, "Wow, that's a lot of blood."  It wasn't really a lot of blood for birth, but for her, it was a lot of blood. The mess that was made during the actual birth would have scared her.

After two hours, Vanessa came up and started checking on the baby.  The girls were there (no boys yet) and I got to watch the sweetest moment between our daughters. The newest one recognized their voices and even being stuck on her tummy, listened to them and tried to focus on them intently for about 10 minutes.  It was amazing to watch.

We had announced her birth hours earlier but didn't know her weight, height...we just knew we had a healthy girl.

Vanessa had guessed 7.5 lbs. I knew we were looking at 8 to 8.5 lbs, but I didn't expect to go over 8.5 because I had gained so much less this pregnancy.

Vanessa put her in the scale and said, "Nine lbs..." I thought, "we broke NINE.  Wow." Then she started counting.  "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight..."

What is she counting?  Pounds?

"...nine, ten, eleven.  Nine pounds, 11 ounces.  Let me do that again."  She did it again. NINE POUNDS 11 OUNCES.

Holy crap.  No wonder she couldn't get her to shift, my ribs never really stopped aching, I had more muscle pain, and round ligament issues than any other pregnancy (but still, no stretch marks!  Bonus!).  I feel like I have been run over by a truck and have been stretched more than I ever have... but it's because I had a toddler. LOL.

She demolished our family birth record. She was almost a FULL POUND bigger than our 3rd child. She has been wearing newborn stuff this week, but she fits in 3 month stuff...and she's only 72 hours old.

Big, Freaking. Baby.

My hips ache more than they ever have.  I may have bruised my tailbone. I feel like my midsection got run over by a truck.

But she is worth it and just amazing for our final installment.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mental Blocks

I have read, several times, about mental blocks in labor.

I am positive I have had a few keeping labor from going or starting and then stopping.

The mind is a very powerful thing and it's been in my way. (It still is in my way, but for other things...for another day.)

So, my dear, wonderful Grandpa passed away.  I thought I was okay with his passing.  My husband thought I was okay.

I was NOT okay.

I wanted to be okay.  But I was definitely not.  I was pretty much sitting between the denial and anger stage.

But, at the same time, I feel like I need to grieve the end of my childbearing days.  This has been really hard for me and I have definitely been in the denial/anger stage there too.

So there I was, stuck.

Except Saturday, the anger stage came rolling in like a freight train and I didn't even know it until something set me off.

And I exploded. At the end, my poor, sweet husband sat and let me talk it out after not understanding where I was.  When these words came pouring out in sobs, I knew I was moving forward again:

"This hurts. I don't want it to hurt. I want to call my Grandpa and hear his voice, his laugh. I can't and won't ever in this Earth life.

I don't want labor to hurt. [Long pause.  I realized quickly what was happening in my head.] I want this to be quick with little pain.
But to grieve and to give life, hurt has to happen.  I can't avoid it. I can't fight it.  It has to happen and the fear has to leave."

And just like that, I felt immense peace and I was moving forward. I am not sure where I am now, I just know that has always been my most difficult stage - the anger/bargaining/depression stage.

I also know that Sunday after this breakthrough, things got moving in the labor department. While we don't have a baby yet, I am much more confident that I am happy to bring on whatever happens, pain and all.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Restless and One Hour

After handwashing the dishes last night (I miss a dishwasher.  We don't have space or correct electrical to run it), I decided to mop. I left the broom upstairs and being uber pregnant, decided to vacuum most of the dirt up off the floor first. I forgot to turn off the "beaters" so I spread dirt everywhere. [Enter first sigh]

Then I was going to hand mop, but decided, "why? I have a steam mop."  So I brought it out and proceeded to mop when -  the handle nearly broke completely off.  After a little redneck fix (aka duct tape), I went back to [careful] mopping. Well, I guess I would like a steam mop with all workable parts. It's been missing a water holder for months.  Luckily it has two. [Enter sigh 2]

I decided to clean the oven too.  Granted, it is self-cleaning, so I just push a couple buttons.  The next thing I see is flames in the oven. [Concerned at first, then grossed out. Sigh 3]

Well, I guess that needed to be cleaned.

AND THEN...I ran out of propane gas for our dryer with wet clothes in it. [Commenced laughing]

All of this happened in one hour.

We have a baby due literally any day she wants to come...and now I need a new steammop, 100lb tank for the dryer, wishing for a dishwasher, BUT at least my oven in clean and didn't burn down the house.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lightening the Mood

My children frustrated me this morning to no end.  There were tears.

But this afternoon...oh my goodness.

Hubs and I were watching #hastags on the Tonight Show via YouTube.

One of them was talking about #worstdateever and the girl mentioned that a gust of wind blew up her skirt and showed her Spanx.

The Hubs explained what Spanx were to child #1 and said that they make you look thinner.  She responded, "Well, I won't ever need those."

Child #2 said (who is MALE and 7) said, "If I was fat, I'd wear those."

Child #3 (5 years old) said, "I won't wear Spanx."

Hubs and I just giggled.  They seriously were having a discussion about wearing Spanx.

Then I went to use the bathroom only to find the seat covered with someone else's urine and the floor covered.  Sorry if this is TMI, but this is MY life right now.

I, shocked, loudly announced from the bathroom that there was a huge mess "someone" left in there.

Child #4 vehemently denied that it was him...although we ALL know differently. 

"Are you sure [child #4]?"

"Yes.  It wasn't me."

[long pause]

"Well, maybe it WAS me." and in he went with a towel and cleaning spray.

Comic Relief

My children frustrated me this morning to no end.  There were tears.

But this afternoon...oh my goodness.

Hubs and I were watching #hastags on the Tonight Show via YouTube.

One of them was talking about #worstdateever and the girl mentioned that a gust of wind blew up her skirt and showed her Spanx.

The Hubs explained what Spanx were to child #1 and said that they make you look thinner.  She responded, "Well, I won't ever need those."

Child #2 said (who is MALE and 7) said, "If I was fat I'd wear those."

Child #3 (5 years old) said, "I won't wear Spanx."

Hubs and I just giggled.  They seriously were having a discussion about wearing Spanx.

Then I went to use the bathroom only to find the seat covered with someone else's urine and the floor covered.  Sorry if this is TMI, but this is MY life right now.

I, shocked, loudly announced from the bathroom that there was a huge mess "someone" left in there.

Child #4 vehemently denied that it was him...although we ALL know differently. 

"Are you sure [child #4]?"

"Yes.  It wasn't me."

[long pause]

"well, maybe it WAS me." and in he went with a towel and cleaning spray.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


No one likes the separation of death from a loved one.

My last post, on.  He passed away early Saturday Morning.  Heavenly messages helped the grieving and I am so, so grateful my grandparents are together again.

I have had 24 hours to process this loss. To my surprise, I feel much less sad than I thought I would.

Today I got up and shared my testimony of families (in Spanish...I know it was grammatically incorrect, but I knew that the Spirit would guide my words directly to the hearts and minds and our awesome congregation would know what I meant).

I truly have so much joy (gozo) with his passing.  I am sad and I will miss his voice and his belly laugh (especially when he really got laughing and it jiggled his whole body). But for me it was so selfish to want to keep him here here because I couldn't deal with that separation.

His body and spirit are now separated. But that means nothing in the grand scheme of things.  It is just a separation.

Our 5 year old gave me the perfect way to teach, and also to feel the power of the principle of eternal families.

Last week as I was driving back from a doctor's appointment, she was singing the chorus to this song:

The chorus usually goes like this:

Families can be together forever
Through Heavenly Father's Plan
I always want to be with my own family
And the Lord has shown me how I can
The Lord has shown me how I can.

Our sweet and sassy five year old sang so sweetly:

Families can be together forever...

Then paused and bluntly said, "Unless they die.  Then they can't."

I giggled.  And then taught her the principle of truth I would rely on a few days later.

"You're right sweet girl.  Their bodies aren't here anymore.  But their spirits live on.  They don't die.  Our bodies stop working but our spirits are forever.  Our family is sealed together in one of the Holy Temples of the Lord and that means we will be together forever even after our bodies don't work anymore."

She looked at me and then said, "Oh.  I am SO glad!" and proceeded to sing the rest of the chorus with joy.

Families are forever.  Even during mortal separation. Knowing that is awesome and definitely made the sting of death less harsh and final.



Friday, March 4, 2016

Heavenly Father's Merciful Notice

A week ago, I was in the shower and the words to the Colin Raye song suddenly came in my head:
"If you get there before I do, don't give up on me.
I'll meet you when my chores are through;
I don't know how long I'll be.
But I'm not gonna let you down, darling wait and see.
And between now and then, till I see you again,
I'll be loving you. Love, me."
I knew instantly they were a tender notice from the Lord. My Grandpa was on his way back home.

You see, this song is the same love story between my Grandparents.  I've blogged about it before when last April, my Grandma passed away.  This song is one of the most beautiful memories I have of them together when we were all driving back from St. George, Utah, when I was about 10.

I called my Grandpa a week ago.  No one told me he had been diagnosed with severe dementia.  It broke my heart.  It was the first time in my lifetime I didn't hear his voice raise with love and joy as he recognized who I was.  He had no idea who I was.  I sat across from that man and had dinner six months ago and he was all with it. He was "done" with his 91 years of life and missed his wife immensely.  But he was totally lucid.  I got to tell him we were having our fifth child and then a few months later I got to tell him we were naming her after his wife, my Grandma, of 73 years. And then a week ago, he didn't even know what I was saying, much less remember me. It was a punch to the gut.

I cried.  Oh I cried. It tore me to pieces.

Hospice was called late last week. I don't think I've ever asked the Lord to make someone's life end quickly.  And I cried even harder.

My Mom just called me and told me my Grandpa is now comatose and the end is very, very close. Again, I asked my Father in Heaven for mercy.  Let it be quick.

I prayed that this sweet daughter will have enough time to learn to love him as much as I do.  She will know how important they are to me. She's had lots of time with her Grandmas, but I swear, I knew...I had that feeling weeks ago that she would come once he had met her. It's totally selfish, and I realize that. I want her to know them and this is the only way to know that...well, and through my memories.

Oh how I love my Grandparents. I will miss seeing their faces but I know that my family is forever.  And we will love each other through all eternity.  I am grateful for that knowledge.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Good Day

Today, we had probably one of the smoothest, quickest homeschool days. EVER.

The best part was looking at the's mockup of what the baby looks like at this point in pregnancy.

Child #3 initiated the questions. Then all slowly gathered around and started asking more questions.

It involved terms like: womb, placenta, cervix, vagina (gasp!), dilation, effacement, amniotic fluid, meconium, soft spots, skulls/plates and vernix.

They were ALL enthralled.

They all went and ran to get their "birth photo books".  They all excitedly opened them and looked at the photos as I explained that "this is [this]...and this is [that]."

Then #4 asked with the poutiest, most pathetic face possible, "Where's my birth book? I don't have a birth book..."

I found it sad, and funny.  That poor child has no photos of his birth.  Somewhere in a hospital security system in New Jersey, there might be a video tape of his chaotic birth.

But we have no photos.

I tried to explain it to him, but my explanations fell on deaf ears.  He didn't understand why I couldn't get a photographer (a good friend of mine) to drive the 25 minute drive in 10 minutes.

One day he will get it.  Until then, we will make him an "after the birth" book.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mental Toughness...or not.

When my husband goes out of town, it generally isn't a big deal.

Not this time.

It's only been two days and I have to admit I feel wimpy.  I hurt (almost 35 weeks into pregnancy. Stupid ligaments.), I am not sleeping well (pregnancy stuff again), we homeschool (this should just be !!!), I am attempting to nest (and it's not exactly going as planned) and I have four (and a half) children under 10.

I just feel not tough. I've done this for longer and seemed to handle it better.

He was gone for 21 weeks when I was pregnant with our 3rd (I had around 10-ish weeks to go when he left), and I seemed to handle it better.

Maybe I didn't. Okay, I didn't.  It is funny how the mind only remembers certain things during tough times.

There's been a lot of yelling today. It is not my finest or greatest admission. Most of the yelling is when I found The Enabler (child #3) had climbed up and gotten down the nail polish and given it to The Mess Maker (child #4) who then proceeded to paint his nails on my FAVORITE bedspread. It has now been nail polish tattooed.  I have no words.

Yep, not my finest moment.  I think the yelling has decreased a lot recently because when I was yelling, it seemed to motivate them all to get on mom's good side...and all four children (even though they weren't all in trouble) found a room to clean spotless in a hurry.

They must know me well.

When Mom is cleaning like a maniac, Mom is upset, really upset and it's best for you to steer clear and find a way to help and calm the situation.

AND (Post edit):
I found out one (or more) of my children somehow requested refunds for items purchased on Amazon.  And they were approved for over $100.

I just made my 8th (long story) phone call to Amazon this week and I couldn't explain what happened.  Luckily, the amazon lady was patient and even said, "You watch that one name [Child #3]. My name is that I know I was trouble when I was younger.  HAHAHAHA.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Zika Virus

So for the 2 people that read this, please read this first:

 For pregnant women anywhere warm, tropical, and full of mosquitos, the Zika virus is THE talk around here.  I understand the potential freak out.  I mean, what IF you get bit and that mosquito that carries Zika bites you?  You could have POTENTIALLY changed your baby's genes and they COULD develop microcephaly...

So all that said, you could also DIE in pregnancy.  I mean, that is rough, but the statistics are actually greater for women dying in childbirth. "Sadly, over 600 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications." (CDC website)


Anyway, I found this statistic.  This is an estimate of cases of microcephaly in the US:
407 per year, 33 per month, 7 per week, 1 per day, 0 per hour, 0 per minute, 0 per second. [Source statistic for calculation: "1.02 per 10,000 births in the UK 2002 for microcephaly (University of Ulster, 2003)"

For a country the size of Brazil (200 million), they only had 150 cases reported last year of microcephaly.  Okay, that seems small for a country with the same total fertility rate as the US. (1.86 births/woman.)

I know this is a lot of numbers.

Brazil births: 2,830,458 (2012)
US births: 3,958,000 (2012)

With just those UK average numbers, the estimates for REPORTED (now this is important because there are A LOT of births in Brazil that go unreported due to geographical area):

Brazil : 288.7 cases/year of microcephaly.  That is significantly lower than the thousands of cases they are seeing now.
US: 403

The most interesting part of all this is how the demographics, politics, economic shift (from not traveling to those regions) and eventual shift in birth rates (due to some countries asking women not to get pregnant for two years).

Also, I wonder if many of these cases could have been prevented with mosquito spray and bug repellent.  A lot of these areas that cases are being reported in high numbers are areas where those may not be able to afford bug repellent.  There is so much that we don't know, I am trying to be level headed about it and not go overboard.

I hope and pray that while we're here we avoid Zika, Dengue, and Chikagunya.  All are nasty viruses. Our non-deet bug repellent works great and it's safe for babies too.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Nana

This sweet baby that continues to grow and kick in my womb (or her womb...?) is named after both her Great grandmothers and another great, great, great grandmother. This little girl that kicks like a maniac will have a name that carries a great honor.  For the two women: one I didn't know and one that I knew and she knew me well. And if history repeats itself from the lives both women lived, she's going to be one stubborn, opinionated, self-reliant, and compassionate girl.  I can't wait to meet her.

Several weeks ago, I had an incredible experience. It was an ordinary night, doing the dishes with my two daughters and talking about their interests and such.  I mean, the conversation wasn't earth shattering.  It was just normal conversation I'd expect to have with my children.

Then I stopped drying the dish I was drying.  It was a feeling so overwhelming and warm, it caught me offguard. I tried to explain this to my husband, but at the time, I just couldn't describe it. I just knew at that moment it was someone.  Someone that loved me, loved us, immensely. They knew me really well. Which is why when I recognized who it was, the tears streamed down my face (as they are now).

It was my Nana.

My Nana committed suicide several years before I was born. I never knew her in this life.

Her warmth overwhelmed me and she gave me the intense feeling of how proud she was of me, of my husband and I, for what we are building and trying to create in our family and the world around us.

There are no words to describe that tender mercy.

I bring this up because I was reading a sweet post someone, who I don't know, posted about and I recognized those similar feelings. Beware, you'll cry.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Update on PP

So after observation this week, I noticed a couple things:

1) My 10 year old is super social.
2) She has one girl her age who isn't nearly as social.
3) The girls mentioned are a year or two younger than her.
4) There is another set of girls a year older than her.

So, just with those observations, I realized that she is sandwiched between both sets.  It puts her in an awkward situation, but temporary.

Monday, January 11, 2016


Our oldest daughter is 10.

Today, two girls around her age knocked on our front door and hid.  I answered (of course), but didn't realize they were hiding, and thought it was weird.

Then about 15 minutes later, they rolled by yelling her name. I saw two of them, told her to hurry outside because these girls were out on their longboards.

She moved quickly to only have the girls board or run away as she went after them.  She came to the house in tears asking,

"Mom, why did they run away from me when I was calling their name? Don't they want to play with me?"

My poor heart broke for her.

She isn't "in" with this set of girls her age in the neighborhood. I came to this conclusion over the last few weeks.  I have been watching them all interact together when all the Moms get together.  She was on the perimeter looking in and I was secretly hoping I was wrong and making a big deal of nothing.

Today just hurt me to watch it. 

Now I will never say my child is perfect. I am not perfect and I am the one RAISING her. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree sometimes. She likes to run the show, she can get snappy, many would call her bossy (I call it "potential leadership skills"), and she is a tad bit of a perfectionist.

But never does that mean it is okay to make someone cry.

I can't believe it has started so early.

I think I have empathy for her though.  I was never fully "in" the with all the girls at school or church.  I seemed to be on the perimeter and the focus of bullying. What am I kidding?  I still am on the perimeter. I am really good with it but only as a grown woman because eventually, I realized those people don't change who I am.

I hope this situation helps her.  I hope it helps her to make friends with people that make you feel good about yourself and that you want to help feel good about themselves.

I just hope she learns that much, much earlier that I did.