March 2016

They look sweet but looks are sooo deceiving

They look sweet but looks are sooo deceiving


Ahh Spring Break.  That time of year that comes too soon after Christmas (Holiday) Break and right on the heels of summer vacation.  I really do not hate Spring Break.  But I am not in love with it either.  First, #6’s birthday falls before, during, or after Spring Break depending on when Easter is.  This year, her birthday was on the first day of Spring Break.  Secondly, #7 always has a hard time adjusting when #4, #5, and #6 go back to school from break.  He is still little enough to like having his sister and brothers home and doesn’t understand when they have to go back to school.  Third, mommy was on spring break from her school at the same time that all the kids were.

So, Spring Break in my house is chaos.  Everyone home.  Nobody relaxed.  We typically don’t go on vacation for Spring Break because S.O. works in agriculture and that is the time that they are going out in the fields for spraying and planting.  Joy.  We are all stuck at home, one on top of another.  In muddy, rainy, could be cold, could be warm but not warm enough to play outside weather.

I had a birthday party to plan for #6, Easter dinner for the whole family, sister-in-laws birthday, hubby getting geared up for 15 hour days and no weekends off and all the kids  home.  It was not horrible but it was not pleasant.  Visions of sleeping in were banished when #6 was still stuck on school mode.  And she had to make sure that #7 was up with her.  Staying up late was in, because although #6 could not sleep in she could stay up all night like a tweaker on a 3 day binge.

The boys occupied the family room with friends and video games while #6 and #7 occupied the living room with Peppa Pig and Mickey Mouse.  That left mom with either listening to teenage boys yelling at other teenage boys online over what a nube they were or listening to #6 argue with #7 over how Mickey Mouse was for babies.

And did I mention I was planning #6’s birthday party?  A Harry Potter themed birthday party?  Just in case you were wondering, and I’m sure the curiosity was killing you, there are no pre-made Harry Potter decorations.  That’s right.   Pinterest it was.  I made homemade wands using paper, hot glue, paint and tiny bits of my soul.  I printed out reams of paper dedicated to all things Harry Potter.  I made Honeydukes for gods sake!  And I got to do all this while playing peacekeeper between the children who shall not be named.

Now that Spring Break is officially over, I get to concentrate on writing papers and pretending to be interested in all the discussion my classmates feel are necessary.  (I get it, interacting with your classmates is an important part of school work, I just don’t like it.)  Please, 20 year old perky girl who knows nothing about life, tell me how social services and welfare reform in the 19th century is just what America will be like under (insert Presidential candidate here)  while I am making PB&J’s and chasing after a 2 1/2 year old who has discovered he can take off his diaper at will.   I am so interested.

I appreciate the fact that I get the opportunity to stay at home with my kids.  I just don’t always want the opportunity.  I am counting down the time to Summer Break.  Not because I am looking forward to as much as I need to know how much time I have to stock up on Vodka and find a nanny who will work for nothing.  Send me your applications now, I promise that I will respond!

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I normally love holidays.  I love the thought of tradition and creating memories for my family.  Going to the grandparents house and gorging yourself on food?  I’m there.  Hosting family and going all out so that everyone enjoys themselves?  Yes, ma’am.  I never thought I would get to a point where I was “meh, it’s Easter.”  Yet here I am.

My mom passed away suddenly 18 months ago.  She absolutely adored family get-togethers and having everyone over.  The first Christmas without her was rough but we all pulled together and had a traditional Christmas dinner at her house.  Same goes for Easter.  We have always had Easter at our house and we had a great meal and enjoyed being together as a family.

This year was a little … different.  I still keenly feel my mom’s absence and maybe it is the time that has gone by that has allowed me to realize:  I don’t give a hang about the holidays right now.  #6 and #7 were sick over Christmas so we did not get to have the big family Christmas gathering.  And it was okay.   Now that Easter is upon us, I am just not in the spirit of throwing together a dinner and pretending that everything is normal.  Because it’s not.

I had Easter dinner at our house at the last minute.  My little sister was great about helping making the side dishes (homemade macaroni and cheese was awesome!) and S.O. smoked two briskets that turned out fabulous.  It was great to have most of the family together again.  But it still did not seem like Easter.

I am an adult child who lost her mother.  I am not selfish enough to think I am the only one going through this.  My siblings also lost their mom and we have a terrific dad.  He may not be our biological father but he is our dad and loves us as if we were his own flesh and blood.  It hurts, this loss.  It has made me keenly aware of how short life is.  I need to suck it up and keep up the traditions that help define us as a family.   But it is hard.

So, all being said and done I am glad that we had a family Easter dinner.   The kids had a great Easter and enjoyed having everyone there.  My in-laws were terrific about coming by that morning and bringing the kids their Easter baskets and that helped make the holiday seem a little more like normal.  It was not the same without my mom there to be excited about the kids Easter egg hunt, to dictate who would bring what, and to make sure that even the adult kids got a chocolate Easter bunny.  #1 did bring me my favorite, white chocolate, and her dad one too.  She is also keenly aware of the loss.

I am getting through these moments, one day at a time.  And I am approaching my parenting in the same way.  One day at a time and trying to remember that life is what we make it, not what we expect it to be.




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Happy Birthday #6

Happy Birthday #6

Each time we have been blessed with a child was another defining moment in not just our life, but S.O.’s and I’s relationship.  Six years ago today, at 11:34 p.m., #6 came into the world and changed our life again.

It had been 11 years since I had a baby.  I was nervous that I would forget everything that I had known about babies but it turns out, you remember pretty quickly how to change diapers faster than a NASCAR pit crew.  This was S.O.’s first experience with babies.  He came into our relationship as a step father to 5, ranging in age from 16 to 8 so the newborn business was completely new to him and he handled it like a champ.

March 21st started off normal.  My due date was not until April and I had plenty of time so S.O. and I ran into town with my mother-in-law to pick out fabric for #6’s room and to pick up suitcases for my sister-in-law.   I was having pretty bad back pain but this was fairly normal for this pregnancy.  #6 liked to rub her head on my spine in a sign of how much she loved me.  That was what I chose to believe.   I limped through the fabric store and we picked out some pretty glittery lilac fabric.  I than announced that I was starving and forced S.O. to take me to a local Italian restaurant for some killer Caesar salad and some shrimp.  Which I promptly ejected out of my stomach and into the parking lot of T.J. Maxx.  Guess #6 was not feeling the love for Italian food that day.

Shopping and snacking done, we headed home.  S.O. was grilling brats (for those not from the Midwest, brats are not children with bad attitudes but a spiced sausage link also known as bratwurst)  with the boys in the yard while I was making mac’n’cheese in the kitchen like a good little wifey.  (If I had to choose to standing outside in March and grill or stay in my warm kitchen and throw some Kraft Mac n’ Cheese in a pot, than warm kitchen it is!)

While I was draining the Mac n’ Cheese I felt a warm gush go down my leg.  Now, this was my sixth pregnancy.  I should have known what this was.  But, as any person who has ever been hugely pregnant knows, sometimes you piddle a little.  Laugh, oops there it is.  Cough, sneeze, move suddenly, yep, you just peed yourself a little.  I was fairly certain that is what it was.  But it just kept happening.  And than, in my pregnant brain, something clicked.  Oh, yeah, my water just broke.  While I was making dinner.  Yay.

I waddled to the back door and poor unsuspecting S.O., who was on his phone chatting with his friend and grilling sausages, was about to have his life changed completely.  Again.

To his credit, he did not panic.  He calmly told his friend that he had to go, turned off the grill and put the half cooked sausages on a plate, asked me about 12,000 times if I was sure I hadn’t just peed myself, and shoved me in the car.

It was starting to drizzle.  I remember that he ran through red lights and disobeyed the speed limit but he did so cautiously.  If that makes sense.  He was excited, nervous, hungry, and absolutely terrific.   We made it to the hospital in record time, checked in and began to wait.  This was about 6 p.m.

I won’t describe the whole labor experience. Everybody’s experience is different and unique to them. It really disturbs me when mom’s think that everybody should labor the way that they did.  You want to yell and scream and take the best drugs that the hospital can provide, more power to ya.  You want to stay quiet and zen and chant, you go girl.   I normally go pretty quick and was hoping this time wouldn’t be any different.  My mother-in-law was there while my mom was patiently waiting at home for the call to come.  She had plenty of time to drive to the hospital and had to get my dad ready for work.

I did not want anyone but S.O. in the hospital room with me.  I don’t like to be the center of attention and felt that I would be more comfortable not on display.  #6 had other ideas. When the time came, after about 3 hours of laying in the hospital bed and hissing between my teeth, my poor mother-in-law got hustled into the bathroom and had to stay there for the duration.  I love  my doctor and nurses but they took very seriously my wish to have no one but hubby in the room.

And at 11:34 p.m, #6 made her arrival into the world.  Squalling, red, and bald.  She was early and beautiful.  She was rushed into NICU  (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) because of low oxygen and some breathing difficulties and her Daddy was devastated.  He never left my side and as soon as they had her set up in NICU, we set up camp.

#6 Our Easter Baby

#6 Our Easter Baby

She stayed in NICU for four weeks.  She was stubborn and fussed when moved and everyone fell in love with our spunky princess.  I have the utmost respect for anyone that works in NICU.  The nurses were awesome, the doctors were great, and it is a job that I could never do.   For any parents that have had a child in NICU, it is such a twilight feeling of having a baby but not quite being a parent yet.  It is heartbreaking and overwhelming and makes you feel guilty for not spending every waking breathing moment there.  At the same time, it is the best place for your child at that time and they go above and beyond for your baby.  I am thankful that she was only there for four weeks and that we were able to hold her, feed her, and bond with her. We got to bring her home on Easter Sunday and she will forever be our Easter Lily.

#5 insisted on sleeping on our bedroom floor for the first 3 days she was home.  He wanted to make sure she didn’t wake up alone.  All of the kids were excited to meet their new sister (although #1 did not like relinquishing her title of only girl at first) and both sets of grandparents were beyond in love with her. Mom and Dad were finally able to breathe and enjoy having the newest bundle of joy home.

#6 made a dramatic entrance into the world.  She is bold, loud, funny, incredibly intelligent and stubborn.  We love her to pieces and she made our blended family complete.  I know that she is going to make her dramatic mark on the world for years to come.  Happy birthday #6.

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