Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stupid human tricks

It seems in my old age my plumbing has gone awry.  Apparently I've sprung a leak and can squeeze milk out of my armpit. 

Nope, you're not any better off knowing that.  :)   But I do wonder if there's a market for special people like me.  :) 

Monday, March 21, 2011

This is what I expected

Yesterday I was out the door for church an hour late, with orange hair (a mishap from the night before I didn't really have time to fix), I actually hadn't prepared my church lesson (gasp - I know my husband never prepares a lesson in his life, but that is so not my style) and I slid my way into class without a second to spare. I then realized that my hot rollers (that never actually made it into my hair) were still plugged in 30 minutes away at our house that I had left covered in a mess of clothes that hadn't fit.  Sigh.

 Before I had children, someone once told me, "Motherhood is a great equalizer."

I hadn't fully understood what she meant until I had children.  Once I had my first, I got the message loud and clear - if you think you're on top of your game, give motherhood a shot.

I remember after having our first how much I'd look around at other moms thinking - wow, I know exactly what you went through to get out the door this morning, and having all new appreciation for them. I also felt slightly deceived at first as well - why didn't any of you warn me what my body was going to go through?!?  You all act like this is OK??? But yes, suddenly I wasn't breezing out the door by myself in the morning, looking all coiffed and polished, going the extra mile for everything, getting paychecks and traveling on airplanes and feeling like I had it together. Suddenly my life, my body, and so many other things felt out of my control. But I knew I was on the same footing as every other mom out there.

I think I've been reflecting on this as I've hit that point with a new baby where exhaustion starts to win out over euphoria, I realize I never get anything done, my beautiful baby is covered with cradle cap and baby acne, and every time I sit down I have to tuck the overhang back into the maternity pants I wish I could say I wasn't still wearing.

And I realized, boy, have I embraced this lifestyle of total imperfection or what? 

It's probably a good thing. (Although I always figure if I take a few decent pictures, touch them up and throw them on the blog, people will just assume I'm on top of my game. Is it working?  :) 

The fact of the matter is that I am not going to be walking around my house on an average day wearing a stylish ensemble from Anthropologie, I will probably not be doing crafts with my kids, sewing my own curtains, throwing super-themed dinner parties for my friends, or making cute handouts for my next church lesson.

The reality is that I will probably be late, I will probably forget one or many things I was supposed to bring with me, do for you or take to my child's school that day; at some point and to your horror, one of my children will probably eat something off the ground without a word of discouragement from me, I will probably smell like spit-up, my kids will probably watch too much tv and eat too much sugar, and one or all of my children may not be wearing shoes at any given time.

Yep. I'm getting pretty used to it.

And then I smiled today when my aunt (thanks Susie!) sent me an article by April Perry that reinforced my thoughts exactly and helped me gear up for tomorrow - when my mom leaves.(Yikes.)

"How we feel about our lives depends on the relationship between our expectations and our realities. One way we can understand our potential and the nature of family life is to accept the fact that the world is made up of opposites. If it seems like the world is against us some days, and that we’ll never “reach our potential” or create the “perfect” family life, that’s okay. In order to enjoy the good, we need to experience the bad.

We wouldn’t know how beautiful an entire eight hours of undisturbed sleep is if we hadn’t had nights where we saw the clock change every single hour. When we become mothers, we need to expect opposites and realize that we have the capacity to grow and nurture our families—even when times are tough.

If you wake up in the morning saying, “Well, I know I’ve got my work cut out for me today. Hard things are definitely going to come my way, but with the help of Providence, I am ready for them,” then when hard times DO come, you think, “This is what I expected. And look what a great job I am doing!”

On the other hand, if you wake up thinking, “Today better be less crazy than yesterday. This is my itinerary, this is what I need to get done, this is what I want to happen, and if anyone gets in my way, there’s going to be heck to pay!”, then when the challenges come, we scream, “I've been cheated! Today turned out horribly! This wasn’t supposed to happen!”

I know that I’ve been guilty of these misplaced expectations. I’ve made the overflowing to-do list and been upset when nothing got checked off. I’ve been surprised when I went to the store with three little children and didn’t get complete cooperation.I’ve also been frustrated when the house turned into a pit on a day I was babysitting four other children. What on earth was I thinking when I hoped for anything different?

Now I think like this: “Expect the worst, and be happy if things don’t get there. It’s okay for some things to be mediocre.When my expectations are realistic—not low, not “giving up,” I start to see my potential in a totally different light."

I love that - this is what I expected. And this is what I chose.  So yes, expectations will be pretty low around here for a while. (Ok, and have been for, oh, like 3 or 4 years.  :)  But I'm going to try to just enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

You can stay this way

I thought that I was enjoying the baby stage so much this time because this baby is a better newborn compared to the others as newborns. Then one day I was sitting there as two children were throwing screaming tantrums in their beds or in time-out, and the other was throwing toys all over the house and making a mess of everything - and it dawned on me.  Nope, I enjoy the newborn stage this time because I know what can happen when they grow up.  :)  Yep, no talking-back, no tantrums, no sassy and defiant attitudes.... I don't know why we didn't appreciate the baby stage before. :)   I guess this time it's the contrast that makes it apparent.

Actually my kids are great, but it's like that poem - There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.  And when she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.  Amen to that.  The boys are so sweet and love to fight over who can show the coolest toy to the baby, they all say the funniest things, and I love their little personalities.  But darn if they can't be stubborn and miserable and fight ALL day long.  I went to the park for the first time by myself with all 4 yesterday and had to drag Ashton barefoot and screaming bloody murder all the way home while steering the stroller with the other.  Really? I couldn't look half-way in control at least once in front of the whole neighborhood?

While my sister was here Ryan and I managed to go out to a movie.  When we left the house I asked what keys he had.  When he said the Xterra and saw my face, he said, "What, you want a hot date on the town in the minivan?"  Which I did, and so did he.  Such a cooler car.  Anyhow, then we went to a movie. We got in there late and couldn't buy tickets at the kiosk, so we went up a few floors to where the movie was showing so I could ask the ticket guy if it was sold out, or if we couldn't buy tickets because it was after the show had started. He didn't know which but let me go in and check as long as Ryan stayed out there.  I came out and told Ryan there were only seats in the front two rows.  I tried to turn on my sweet side and then asked the guy if we couldn't just go in since there were only bad seats left anyway and we weren't able to buy tickets. He didn't look amused by my proposal.  I tried to butter him up further telling him we were out for my husband's birthday.  He said he didn't know if it was really his birthday or not. I said it was a few days earlier but we were just celebrating now.  And then added that it was because I had a baby last week and was out for my first time.  He then looked at my midsection skeptically (I had on loose clothes, not a flat stomach, don't worry), at which point I grabbed the excess belly skin in proof.  At that point he waved us in - with a look like, "Awwww, seriously lady?  Do we have to go there?  I'm an innocent teenage boy.... having to look at some lady's post-baby fat is so not in my job description...."   So there you have it.  If you ever want to get something free, just start getting into postpartum issues with a teenage boy and he'll do whatever he can to get out of that conversation ASAP.   :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Week one

So we actually brought our two new babies home same day, this being the other one:

(I know, I should have got a glistening in the sun by the ocean photo for better effect.)  But she's a beauty.  And so technologically savvy.

Actually how it happened was I just got home from the hospital.  Within about 5 minutes Ryan told me he had to go pick up the new car and he was leaving me with all the kids - for about 4-5 hours since he'd have to take the train down to get it since we couldn't all fit in our car - and he couldn't take all the car seats with him, so all the kids were staying with me.  So much for easing back into things and into life with 4 kids!  Within a couple of hours I called and told him I was about to pass out and we would be watching tv for the rest of the night. :)

Then Monday Ryan went back to work and I was by myself for two days until my sister got here.  When Ryan got home, his comments were all about how tired he was and how there are so many demands on him at work. (Like I would feel sympathetic for him???)  It was even funnier because, I told him, "I just read in my book today that 'preschoolers typically demand that their caretakers deal with some kind of need or desire at an average rate of three times a minute.' And I have three of them. Plus a newborn."  Yeah, top that Mr. work-is-so hard.  :)

That must be why one of the highlights of last week was when a nice friend dropped off some food for dinner - the boys and Ryan were out at the moment, and before they came back, I hurried and piled up my own plate, sat on the couch and watched entertainment tv while I ate my dinner - all by myself.  It is so rare that I eat anything that I haven't had to prepare myself, and then to sit and actually enjoy it without having to fight over it and feed a whole table full of other mouths was seriously a heavenly few minutes.

I also had to laugh when he came home because he got home really late that night and was telling me good job that I even had the kids all in their pajamas on my first day alone.  I should have gracefully accepted the compliment, only I couldn't hide my smile - that we really never got out of our pajamas that day.

I still am loving the baby stage this time so much more than with my others.  He's a great baby, plus I'm sure I just get it better than I did with the others. And he spends much of his time like this:

Typically Ryan and I can't wait for the baby phase to be over (mostly so we can just get some sleep), but this time I don't want him to grow out of it!  It's so much fun. And messy.  Man, I forgot how messy babies are.  I've had explosive poops all over me, multiple pees on the couch, lots of clothes of mine in the wash with spit up on them, and complete wardrobe changes with every diaper.

Now if only Phoenix didn't get a raging case of pink eye the day after we came home from the hospital life would really be great.  And now he has a fever and is throwing up.  Awesome.  That's the only real misery right now is my paranoia about the baby getting it. 

But we've had great people bringing food, helping take Cash to school, picking up things for me at the store - and even a friend who cleaned my house for me when I was 9 months pregnant.  (If you want to give someone a good present - that would be it.)  Everyone has been great.

Poor Ryan gets the shaft though having a birthday right after our babies.  I had good intentions, really.... sorry hubby. At least  you got a full night's sleep for your birthday!  Value wise, that's really a pretty hot commodity if you think about it....

Speaking of which, I am so tired that every time I wake up I have two overwhelming emotions.  Where in the heck am I????  Is always the first thing that comes to mind. I just crash so hard I have no idea where I am or what I should be doing, sometimes I even wonder if I'm still in college.  Then the second is when I remember where I am and go into complete panic about where in the world is the baby and have I slept for 5 hours and totally forgotten about him?????  Bizarre.  Speaking of sleep, do other people wake their babies up in the night to feed them?  I asked a friend the other day how long you have to keep up this feed every 2-3 hours business since I'm so tired.  She was like, "You mean, you wake your babies up at night?"  I was like, um....I thought I was supposed to.  Isn't that what they have you do in the hospital?  But then it sounded a little ridiculous to me too, like yeah, why would I really be doing that in the middle of the night?

Here's Cash "reading" a book to the baby - showing him photos of when he was a baby and telling Diesel how much he looks like him.  :)

And a few awake photos:

Little Diesel even had his first face-time on the iPhone the other night.  Man, my kids get more advanced each time.