Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stomp Rocket

This stomp rocket kept the children (ages 1-8 years) busy for hours at a friend's house the other night.

We need to get one.

Doll House

I knew our doll house was big, but I had no idea it would fit TWO children inside.

Now whenever I look at it, it seems RIDICULOUSLY big. Ah, because it IS.

This morning I'm having the urge to do some BIG projects around here. Everywhere I look things seem to be in disrepair- moulding chipping, windows dirty, walls needing to be washed, wall paper begging to be torn down. I could paint the mantle or dust- for the LOVE, I need to dust. Or declutter our toys and books. Or have another mug of coffee.

I guess it should be noted that this "urge" has manifested itself in a way that I'm WANTING to do something, but not actually motivated to DO something. Except look around and feel like I live in a dump. And maybe find a new spot in our house for that doll house.

Or maybe just muse about it on my blog.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Birthday Parties

My kids' birthday are bittersweet affairs for me. I like to make the day special for them, to spend some time really celebrating them. I get a little choked up singing Happy Birthday. Each year, I am smacked anew at how big they are getting, how fast it goes, and how I'm so lucky to have such awesome little people in my life.

Of course, we have presents. My girls like to open them in their p.j.'s right after breakfast, while it's just our family around.

There's always some kind of cake and candles. This year, Marin wanted chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and strawberries on top. She got her wish, and she didn't even notice that the "4" candle was reused from her sisters' past birthday. She had such a hard time blowing the candle out though- look at her face! She's lucky she didn't break blood vessels in her eyes.

We also have a traditional "birthday banner" that we hang for all of our family's birthdays. And I always buy a bunch of balloons for the birthday girl(s). (The twins each get their own bunch.)

David's family traditionally does "grandparents and godparents" for the kids' birthdays on his side. With 17 nieces and nephews, this makes a ton of sense- instead of doing the whole family for each kid. However, Marin comes up reaaaallly short in the "grandparent and godparent" department as my parents have never come for her birthday, and her godparents are scattered far and wide. Therefore she's had "kid" parties at a much younger age than her sisters.

This year she wanted to have her friends come over in their pajamas, drink hot chocolate, and eat donuts. Well, that's easy enough!

We held the party from 9:30-11am. Marin also wanted to do melting beads- her favorite- with her friends, so we set that up on the coffee table in the living room. (In hindsight, this would have been a better activity for an older group.)

To make things more "fancy" we set up a hot chocolate bar- the kids could pick from lots of different toppings for their hot chocolate. We had whipped cream, sprinkles, mini m&m's, and marshmallows. There wasn't much actual hot chocolate in those mugs, is what I'm saying. Luckily none of my friends seem too irritated at me getting their child(ren) all sugared up so early on a Saturday morning.

Marin's birthday was on a Saturday this year, so we decided to have her friend birthday party and her family birthday dinner the same day. I loved have one full day of celebrating her and then being DONE. It doesn't always work out that way, but it sure was that it did this year.

One other thing to note- we've always asked that her friends NOT bring a gift. She hasn't ever noticed/complained, and it makes things so simple and sweet. Her friends usually make her a card, or bring a small trinket from home, or bring her a bunch of flowers they picked, or something of the like, which she loves and cherishes. (She gets plenty of presents from us and our families that she's not lacking in gift-opening, either.)

For her birthday dinner, we invited her local grandparents (David's folks) over. Marin chose the menu of Swedish pancakes, strawberries, and bacon. She hates bacon, but we obliged her, because WE all wanted bacon. (Though David accidentally cooked the bacon that expired in Jan '10 that he'd been "saving" to return to the grocery- WHY did they have bacon that old on the shelf???- thus making our house smell like ROT. I could GAG typing that. Nothing says happy birthday like expired animal flesh!)

Ahem. Where was I? Oh yeah. Since we served donuts for her friends party, we saved the cupcakes for dinner.

She was so tickled that her grandma and grandpa came over, just for HER. She knows how to win hearts- for sure- and she has theirs all wadded up in her sticky little fists.

I'm writing all of this not because it's such fascinating blog fodder, but because I want to remember- and eventually my kids to remember- that we celebrate them. Everyday; and once a year we haul out the big guns too.

Though I say big guns, we try to keep their birthdays simple and special. I love choosing the perfect gifts for them, planning the perfect day. There was a time that I felt like I was coming up short in the Birthday Hullabaloo department, but now I feel like our own way of celebrating is just right.

Rotten bacon aside, of course.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Anatomy of a Preschool Morning

7am- Get everyone up and dressed, including myself. Help find matching leggings, non-itchy socks, sharing items for school, school library books, and anything else that should be brought downstairs when we go down to eat. Try to pull a brush through my own hair and over my own teeth. Succeed only sometimes.

7:15 am- Get everyone's breakfast going. Make toast, pour milk, cut strawberries, resolve squabble over certain spoons/bowls/cups, evenly divide cereal if the box is getting low, wipe tears, wipe spills, make 2 lunches, try to remember to take a drink of water, skip making coffee or eating anything myself until later.

7:30 am- Start reminding everyone in a rushed tone to finish. it. up. already. Do all three girls' hair, each to their own liking. Ignore Marin crying since she cries anytime a brush touches her head, no matter how gently. As each girl has her hair done, remind her to get her shoes and coat and backpack and sharing and library books and lunch and water bottle and anything else she needs ready.

7:35 am- Hear David get up and turn on the shower. Try to be understanding that he was up late, working.

7:42 am- Remind the older girls that I have to leave in less than 10 minutes. Continue finishing up everyone's hair, since I've been interrupted so many times for other minor "emergencies". Realize I still haven't got a drink of water.

7:44 am- Hear shower turn off. Try not to swear in my head about how HE gets a shower in PEACE while I'm spinning 100 wobbly plates in the kitchen directly below him. Take a deep breath a force a smile when another plate shatters and "crisis" ensues.

7:50 am- On a good day, be out the door with Marin. Kiss the older two, at least 5 times (their request), run back in the house at least 2 times for things I forgot- like the car keys. Catch glimpse of self in reflection on the door and realize I look like ass. Try not to care.

7:51 am- See David come downstairs and pour himself some cereal. Hear my own stomach grumble. Frantically check the clock and give Joan and Kate more last minute reminders (library books! sharing!) and kiss them AGAIN. Glance nervously at David and wonder if he'll get them to school on time. (He does, but barely.)

7:55 am- FINALLY back out of driveway and head to pick up Marin's classmate (it's my "driving job", and her family pays me to drive her to and from her daycare to preschool).

8:16 am- Drop both girls off at preschool. Only 1 minute late today- hurray! Talk to some of the parents outside the school.

8:20 am- Head out for a walk, leaving my vehicle parked at the preschool. Enjoy my walk around the lake on such a fantastic fall day. Compose this blog post in my head while walking.

9 am- Jump in my van and head home for breakfast and coffee. Finally.

9:15 am- Contemplate what I'm going to "do" with my child-free morning. Realize I only have 1 1/2 hours left before I need to pick up the preschoolers. Coffee is done; sit down to eat.

9:30 am- Decide to leave the breakfast dishes for later. Pour 2nd cup of coffee and log onto the laptop for the first time. (HI!) Look up and realize that it's already 10 am and I haven't showered. Contemplate whether or not I'm going to have time to shower AND get groceries. Finish up 2 emails that I need to send.

10:20 am- Look up again and realize I STILL haven't showered. Frantically run around house rotating laundry, picking up messes, and showering in record time.

10:43 am- Leave the house to pick up the preschool girls. Wonder where did the morning GO?! Console self by thinking "I still have tomorrow morning to finish XYZ." Try to ignore that little voice that says that tomorrow morning will go just as fast as this morning did.

[*Actual activities during this time vary- sometimes I run errands, see friends, tackle projects, read, get a coffee from a coffee shop etc. The thing is, it doesn't matter what I do, the time goes by in a blink. My "child-free morning" is about 15 minutes in length, I swear. WHY?]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kisses and Hugs

I noticed yesterday that I signed my last two posts in a row with "XO". Nothing too odd about that, except that heretofore I don't think I've ended that way. I guess I'm feeling extra kissy and huggy towards ya'll. As I should be, with the support and love I've received over the baby thing and Kate's eating has been wonderful. And in person, I'm pretty kissy and huggy. To my kids, my husband (well, not actually lately, not that he's NOTICED. HRMPH.), and even with friends. Anyway, I will return to those posts' comments whenever I'm needing encouragement.

I'm sitting here eating apples (honeycrisp) and cheddar cheese (extra sharp) and thinking about all of the things that have been on my mind in recent days and weeks. It's sunny and perfectly fall here today, and the rain has stopped, yet my friend's yard remains a lake that is prevented from flooding her entire house by only a wall of sandbags and plastic. Roads are washed out, nearby towns are now nearly islands. Our own basement only became a little damp- though our sump pump had quite a workout- but our house still vaguely smells like wet basement.

So the rains came and went (we got anywhere from 7 to over 10+ inches in 18 hours, depending on which source you listen to), my grandma came and went, Marin's birthday is over, and my husband still hasn't really noticed that I'm not speaking to him.

I have tomatoes rotting on my kitchen counter- which is a wonderful (if guilt-inducing) summer/fall problem to have- and three fat pumpkins outside my back door. I have gourds and popcorn and decorative corn and 8 foot tall broom corn and those weensy little pumpkins that are both decorations and toys around here. The air is crisp and wonderful, and those bright red maple leaves are appearing on the trees and ground, and by day the light is wonderfully golden, and at night I smell woodsmoke. All of this I love, and yet I mourn summer, mourn the passing of time. We only get so many summers in our lifetime, and another one from my own life is over.

I'm also growing exhausted of babywant. I'm so tired of aching for a baby, of pondering my situation, of wondering what will come of this conflict between David and me. Sometimes, I'm not even sure I WANT another baby, I'm so weary of it all. I want the yearning to end, the wondering to be answered, the big question mark about our family's future to reveal it's reality. Will he change his mind? Will I ever be ok if he doesn't?

Then there's Kate's eating situation, which sent panic and alarm through my system (as well as through cyberspace, as I frantically posted about it and sent emails to her teacher). And the comments on that post were so very wise; thank you much for your insight. Tess' comment about how I couldn't "allow or not allow" her to eat really struck a cord with me, mostly because when I stated that I "couldn't allow her to skip 2 meals and a snack everyday", I didn't actually MEAN "allow", but instead I meant "I can't stand by and do nothing while she skips 2 meals and a snack a day". But it made me realize that sometimes? Semantics MATTER, and THIS was one of those times. How I speak to my daughter about this- the very words I choose- actually DO make a difference.

My god, parenting is HARD.

And oh HO HO, did I mention that right after Kate miraculously recovered from her hunger strike that Joan came home with her lunch wholly, 100% untouched? Are you pissing your pants from the hilarity of it all? Luckily it was an isolated incident, but my GOD do I ever have PTSD from last spring's neverending Anxiousgate. Since it wouldn't be unlike them to swap problems- one picking up where the other one left off- I thought FOR SURE we'd have a not-eating-Joan on our hands. Whew.

Lastly, I have my sweet Marin, who proclaims with shock and awe a few times per day "Mommy! I just can't BELIEVE I'm FOUR." The first words out of her mouth on her birthday were "I'm taller now! I'm up to Joan's neck Mommy- I GREW because I'm FOUR!" She told me today "Mommy, look how fast I can RUN. FOUR year olds sure are fast, aren't they Mommy?!" You guys, she is so delightful and charming and sweet. And earnest, my LANDS is she earnest. I hope I never forget her at this age- her soft cheeks and curls bouncing and wide-eyed joy at the world around her. Have I told you how I lie down with her at naptime, and she places her still-chubby hand on my cheek and tells me how wonderful I am, and then falls asleep with her hand still on my cheek?

My god, parenting is wonderful.

P.S. Is it weird that I kind of like that damp-basement smell?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SOMEONE is Four.

I have so many things that I want to write about that I composing blog posts in my sleep. Do you ever do that too? Anyway, my grandma- one of my favorite people on the planet- was here to visit, and then my wittle bitty baby turned FOUR.

My delicate constitution apparently cannot handle so much commotion in so few days, and you probably think I'm kidding, but I took a 2 hour nap today, starting at eleven (11!) this morning.

Additionally, I am- at this very moment- committing a cardinal Fall Sin, which is sitting indoors on a beautiful and not raining fall day. Did I mention that we got around 10 inches of rain in 1 1/2 days and flooding abounds?

So much to tell you, friends. But for now, I'm heading outside to the hammock.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Better Now

Kate is better now.

I emailed her teacher.

My grandma arrived.

Kate and I had a nice talk.

She's eaten breakfast, her snacks at school, and lunch with a smile since my last post.

Her attitude made a complete 180 degree change in direction.

I'm not sure which factors- all, none, or some- helped, but ALLELUIA she's snapped out of it.

More thoughts on this later, friends. Thanks for so many kind words and ideas. More on that later!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not Eating

Wow, you guys. Talking about this whole "aching for another baby thing" has been so very helpful. Thank you all, so much, for your kind words and support. I had a few comments that were more critical of my situation, but Swistle pretty much summed up every thought in my head- and BETTER- with her comment. (Seriously. Go read it here.) And she's definitely onto something with the whole "two kids in normal" mentality observation.

Moving on...

So, this morning I discovered that this girl:

My hat wearing, bug loving,

snuggly and sweet girl Kate,

has not been eating ANYTHING until she came home from school.

Her school year has started off FABULOUSLY, especially compared to last spring (here, and just about every post for the month of May). But she's been refusing breakfast, so I've been coaxing her by allowing her to eat WHATEVER she wanted, as long as it was something. I was so frustrated by her not eating breakfast, but I was trying to not make an Issue out of it, and I was also comforted by the fact that she does get a morning snack at school.

But this morning? I discovered her stash of everything I thought she'd been eating for breakfast, plus all of her morning snacks UNEATEN. And then David, who's been emptying and washing the lunch boxes lately, told me she's MAYBE eating one teensy bite of her sandwich at lunch, leaving the rest wholly untouched.

So she is not eating ANYTHING (except that one small bite of sandwich) until 3 pm when she gets home???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At 7 1/2 she weighs around 44 pounds- she's already a tiny kid.

I was LIVID to find this out. This is not normal! Why isn't she eating? What the hell is going on here? How can she even LEARN a single thing, with zero food in her small system?

You guys. WHAT do I do? She's obviously not doing this for attention, because her sneaky ways say otherwise... I can't force her to eat. I don't want to make a HUGE issue out of this. Food, of all things, is so goddamn tricky. But I can't allow her to skip 2 meals and a snack every day, right?

This is the kind of situation that makes me feel like I'm failing as a parent.

Monday, September 20, 2010

State of the State, Part II

Oh, wow. Hundreds of you have clicked on over (via Swistle's link- thank you Swistle!) to commiserate with me over the STATE of not being able to convince my husband to have another child.

So many of us are in the same boat, it seems, and so many others of us can guess what that would feel like, and not much can make me feel better about my situation, but hearing all of your voices was very comforting. I can picture this whole community of crying ovaries, banding together to beg for ANOTHER BABY PLEASE.

Since I wrote that post 12 days ago, I've been increasingly mad and desperate feeling. I can barely LOOK at him, you guys. I'm just so ANGRY. It's just not fair that I feel so passionately about this, and he can so nonchalantly say "Hmmm. No. I don't feel like another child." He's not an emotional person, so of course his response isn't going to be as impassioned as mine, but STILL. It seems like the person who wants something so badly (ME) should trump the person who offhandedly disagrees (HIM).

So what do I do? I have no idea. It seems like the only thing I DO have control over is me- so I've been giving him the silent treatment for 12 days. I know it's extremely elementary, but it's the truth about what's been going on around here.

And before you feel the need to defend him, I should point out that ahhhh.... he hasn't NOTICED that I'm not speaking to him. HE HASN'T NOTICED. You know the one way that the silent treatment FAILS? It's if the recipient DOESN'T NOTICE. Eff. you guys. Effffffff.

(Also, David isn't a jerk, nor is he a complete buffoon. He simply is very straightforward. In his mind, if I was mad at him, I'd say so. If I'm simply not talking to him? Doesn't really register on his radar.)

So to recap: I am so angry at my husband, so frustrated that he has all the control in this situation, can barely stand to be in the same room with him. So I stop speaking to him, mostly because I cannot stand to, but also because- if I'm being honest- I WANT him to notice and care that I'm not speaking to him, but he doesn't notice. So, I'm still pissed, but now even MORE SO and WHAT DO I DO NOW?

It seems like this is something that will not just blow over in our marriage. And that's the scariest part.

Family Room, Now With Table

Ahoy! Welcome to my blog, AKA the land where "tomorrow I will upload photos of my family room" loosely translates to "sometime in the next five days I will hopefully remember to upload photos of my family room. Maybe." You see, I do this strategically, so that you don't feel any pressure to be perfect either. You can let your hair down around me, scootch in a little late, I won't mind.

(That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!)

So! Pictures!

This is the front half of the family room before adding the table and chairs:

And this is the back half of the family room before adding the table and chairs:

To take that last photo, I'm standing at the door that we always use to enter/exit our home. The ottoman that you see is used by the kids to take on/off their shoes. Our family room has two sets of french doors that lead outside, one- the one we use- directly behind where I'm standing, and the other one right by the shopping cart in the above photo.

Basically, this back half of the family room wasn't being used for much. There's a few random toys, and a couple of baskets with blankets and dress-up clothes, and that's about it.

Here's an after of the family room, with the table now:

The doors you see behind the table are the ones we don't use. The ones we use are off the left hand side of the photo.

Here's an after of the back half of the family room:

We didn't rearrange any furniture, other than move those few toys out of the way. So far, this table has been used for crafts and homework. The dresser/old side board from the dining room also fit in the family room. It's not pictured but is waaaay off to the right of the above photo, along the wall.

We're trying this out for now... not sure if we'll decide it's too crowded in there or not. Any opinions? Too much furniture?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Before and After

So, upon uploading these photos, I realized just how... insignificant the "change" in our dining room looks based on the before and after shots I took. I should have taken a better shot of the crappy dresser that was serving as a "side board"/craft holder with all of my extra bowls and serving dishes stacked haphazardly on top. It's there, behind the table, but it's hard to see.

There were also two extra-crappy white book cases on either side of the "side board" that held additional craft stuff and kitchen stuff. Those, too, are now gone from the dining room.

(Also, please don't cringe too much at the hideous light fixtures and the weird wall paper. Both are slated to be gone, ah, someday.)


The new table is longer, with the ability to add three leaves (is that the right spelling for this usage?). Only one of the leaves is in it in the photo. With all three, it will be around 7 feet long. Also, it has pedestal footing instead of 4 legs, so it's very easy to cram a hojillion chairs around it, if needed.


I plan to recover the chairs, though I don't hate the green. I can just think of so many fun fabrics for this project, and (I think) recovering chairs falls within the boundaries of "crafty things I am able to do". Also, the red metal stool is new-to-us. Marin loves it, and it matches the red tiles of our kitchen floor exactly.

I like the new/old table. I think.

The striped recliner chair that you can see in the back corner is looking for a new home in our home. David recovered it for me when I was pregnant with our twins, and it's one of the only chairs in our house that rocks. I don't want to get rid of it, but I just have... no idea where to put it. I think the 1912 china cabinet is going to go in that corner, but it needs to be fixed up and painted first.

Initially, we were going to get rid of the old table (garage sale? craigslist? something), but then we got the bright idea to put it in the family room. Somehow we decided to try putting it in the family room as a craft/homework table. We also moved that dresser (previously "side board") into the family room too, so at least all of our craft supplies still have a home.

Tomorrow I'll post before and after photos of the family room, i.e. the room with (probably) too much furniture.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Family Pet

These fall days are achingly perfect lately- achingly only in that we are so very aware that we won't be feeling the sun on our skin for a LONG time soon- so when Beautiful Neighbor called and asked if I wanted to have some "porch time", I had to say yes. It's, like, the law. MUST. SIT. OUTSIDE. AND. ENJOY.

When I finished putting the big girls to bed, and went downstairs to tell David I was heading to the neighbor's for a little while. What I found was this scene:

The dining room was cheerily lit, with our new (old!) table in the middle of the room, 8 chairs around it. Sitting together on one side, in the middle of that long table, was David and Marin. Marin was wearing a purple night gown and her bare legs were swinging as she was earnestly telling him something, and he was beaming love darts from every pore at her, intently listening. In front of Marin was a jelly jar of milk and some apple slices. David also had a glass of milk and a piece of pie, which he was sharing with Marin.

Now, Marin should have been in bed- or at the very least upstairs looking at books- but for whatever reason, she was downstairs having a small feast with her daddy. She naps very late (from 2-5 or longer!), so we don't expect her to zonk out at 8pm on the nose. But the fact that she can convince her daddy to cut up some fruit, pore her a drink, and spoon feed her pie when she's supposed to be upstairs reading quietly?

Proof that she is, indeed, the family pet.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Old Things New

This past weekend all of David's family came together to go through his grandparents' house and divide up their things. It was weird, dissolving their home like that, as they are both still alive. His grandma has severe Alzheimer's and his grandpa is 97 and decided last fall to move himself into the nursing home to be with grandma. I guess at that age, he figured he deserved to have his meals delivered and his toe nails clipped for him. Can't really blame the guy, ya know?

I really love old things- not that I want my entire house to look like a walk through Aunt Bessie's parlor- but old things mixed with, well, IKEA stuff is what we have around here. Most of our furniture is a patchwork of stuff we've found 2nd hand, and I like that too. Our house feels less like a furniture store and more like a home this way. However, much of our stuff was cheap stuff left over from our college days, purchased never imagining that it would still be gracing our 7 year old daughters' bedroom almost 20 years later.

David is the youngest of eight (!!) siblings, so most of his family members already have much more "established" homes than we do. This bodes well for us. From grandma and grandpa's house we received a dining room table and 6 chairs, a side board, a china hutch that was a wedding gift to grandpa's mother in 1912, 2 dressers, an end table, a old red metal stool, and lots (and LOTS) of miscellaneous other stuff. Nearly without exception, this stuff was all headed to Goodwill if we didn't take it.

After we loaded it all onto trucks and headed for home, I suddenly got nervous. What if I didn't like those pieces once they were in my home? But it's all here now, and (I think) I really like it all.

The furniture brought with it a little bit of grandma and grandpa's "house smell", and even though they aren't MY grandparents (and therefore not a scent I grew up associating with anything) I kinda love it.

It smells like history.

We've done lots of rearranging to make things fit and work for us. I'm taking before and after photos to post later, so ya'll can play along. It's a game I like to call "Does this room have too much furniture?"

Friday, September 10, 2010

Why "Four" is the Magic Number

Well, that last post inspired some good points in the comments section. I talked about some of this there, but I am feeling like putting it all together, organized-like, here.

Q: Perhaps this wanting another baby is hormonal? How do you know that this feeling won't pass over time?

A: Babies are my THING, and always have been my thing since I was first old enough to hold one independently (at around age 5 or 6). I was the oldest of four children, and I was very hands-on with both Seester and Kiner, who are 5 and 7 years younger than me. In fact I remember an older girl in our neighborhood named Trish that also loved babies and drove me to near insanity doting on and carrying around MY sister, MY BABY.

Ah, the good ol' days of wandering the neighborhood with my baby sister or brother on my hip!

(I should have cut that bitch.)

Anyway, from a very young age, if a baby was around, I was hovering over it. I'm sure this was annoying at times, but I think my mom's friends and our relatives were mostly LUCKY to have me- a willing set of arms to hold, change, sing to, feed, and dote on their baby.

I never had any questions about wanting to be a mother. In fact, after meeting and marrying David it was physically painful to wait as long as we did before starting our family. Those were a long 18 months, boy.

I'm passionate about breastfeeding and gentle parenting. When my twins were a year old I got a job teaching childbirth classes, and shortly after became a doula to empower other new mamas. I am STILL drawn to babies and get a "mouth-watering" sensation when I see them, aching to hold their warm little bods or smell their sweet heads.

Also, I've never- not for a moment- thought of Marin as my last baby. Not when I was pregnant with her, not the day she was born, not ever. She's going to be four years old this month, so that would be a long time for it to be a hormonal craving. In fact, I'm quite sure that the longer I go without my "last baby", and the farther I get from my viable childbearing years, the more intense the longing will become.

Q: What makes you so sure you'd be willing to stop at four children? What if you want to keep having baby after baby after baby, ala Dugger-style?

A: Well, this is an excellent point, because I'm quite positive that I WILL always want "just one more baby". I don't think I'll ever stop wanting and craving babies. As I said, babies are my thang.

However, I've always said/thought/believed that 4 children was my absolute upper limit. I'm not exactly sure how I came to this number- perhaps my own upbringing of a family of four children has something to do with it?- but it is the number that feels like "enough" for me. More than four seems... like it would be more than I can handle. If we proceeded with another child, it would be our last child. I'm not saying that I wouldn't WANT more, but we would stop after one more. We just... would.

As far as comparing wanting a fourth child to bearing children into infinity like the Duggars? Friends, I have only had two (Tee Doubleyou Oh) (2!!!!) pregnancies and three children. I am miles (and miles and MILES) from being Michelle Dugger. I appreciate what Swistle said too; basically that the mindset of "if we don't draw a line here, we won't evah EVAH be able to draw a line in the future" is such faulty thinking. SO TRUE. So faulty!

And the whole two pregnancies/three kids thing? Babies are my thing, but so is pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, etc. I simply love all of these things. I feel most at home- most right in the world- when I have a small human in my arms, on my hip, or in a sling on my chest. Nursing a child or carrying a baby in my arms seems exactly like what I'm supposed to be doing. And I've only done those things twice. I realize this makes it seem like I have some uneducated "breeder" mentality, but I assure you, I DO have other ambitions in life. I'm just not done with THIS phase yet.

My first pregnancy was high-jacked when I found out I was having twins. From that point on, it was very stressful (would I have preemies? incubators? breathing problems? go home from the hospital without my children?).

Also, I had a very clear image of the kind of mother I was going to be. When I found out I was having TWO babies (remember, that was 5 months into my pregnancy... five months is a long time to fantasize about how lovely my first baby- SINGULAR- experience was going to go), my vision of mothering was gone. I went from picturing myself and my cute baby having leisurely mornings at Target to OH MY GOD I'M NEVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE WITH TWO BABIES.

And ah, that much was true. I WASN'T able to leave the house much with two babies.

So, anyway, my first pregnancy was stressful. My first birth experience was awful. I was forced into a C-section I didn't want, and I was very angry about it for years. My first "newbornhood" was a blurry, numb season that lasted about 2 years. I had a hard time enjoying my daughters because I was so stressed out and so concerned about not favoring one over the other. I was also suffering from some pretty intense anxiety, but I didn't realize it until years later.

My second pregnancy was hard too, simply because I kept having preterm labor signs and was never sure if it WAS preterm labor or if it was just my "irritable uterus" (<<--actual diagnoses, swear to GAWD), and what if my "irritable uterus" suddenly gave way to ACTUAL PRETERM LABOR... how would I know? My 2nd birth experience took a turn for the douche when I hemorrhaged and suffered some pretty annoying side effects that led me to have surgery 4 (!!) more times after Marin was born.

Marin was a wonderful newborn and baby, and I really enjoyed her babyhood. BUT. It was spotted with surgery after surgery after mothereffing SURGERY, and damn if I didn't just want to skip all the health-problems bullshit and just be a mama to my three girlies.

Also, I should point out that having twins has always made me feel robbed of a pregnancy/newbornhood. Since I LOVE pregnancy and babies, I would have loved spread out those twins of mine over a couple of years, so that I could have cherished each one, instead of having them come together in one stressful, chaotic lump. Again, I've only had 2 pregnancies. I'm 100% positive that if we had only two children right now (instead of 2 pregnancies, 3 children) that David would easily- happily!- agree to one more. Neither of us ever imagined stopping at 2 children.

In truth, there's part of my brain that doesn't want FOUR children, either. I mean, I like how our little family still fits around our small kitchen table. I like how people will still invite us for dinner because we don't seem like this HUGE family; I feel like another child would scoot us into "huge family" territory. I like my freedoms now that Marin is older. I've really enjoyed having more time to explore things I love (like photography). I look forward to working again, or going back to school, to doing things that are good for just ME.

And yet? That thirst? That longing that transcends all logic? It wins, folks. It simply does. Despite all of these really excellent reasons, I still physically yearn for another baby. I do.

But David doesn't, so. There's that.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

State of the State

So remember how I wanted another baby?

Well, I still do. But something has changed. See, before I wanted a baby... in the future sometime. I wasn't ready to get pregnant, but I wanted to get pregnant at some future point. Now? I'm ready to be pregnant. Like, yesterday.

It happened overnight, this sudden shift from someday to NOW. I'm actively longing for a baby now, I'm doing "pregnancy math" as far as due dates and how old my other kids will be, etc. My arms ache sometimes, wanting a wee sprout to hold. I'm thinking about my cycle a ton, wondering, hoping, calculating.

But the crazy part is, I can't be pregnant, WON'T be pregnant, unless my husband changes his mind, or unless the universe decides for us, which seems unlikely since our current method of birth control has been fool proof for the past, oh, at least 8 years.

Can I take a moment to tell you how pissed I am at him? I've done everything I can think of- up to and including begging and bribing- and he steadfastly says no. I've tried giving him time (ah, like 3 years), not talking about it so as to not nag the issue, reasoning, explaining, and- as I said- begging and bribing. I've even threatened to outright trick him, though mostly jokingly. MOSTLY being the key word.

Still no.

I've tried to explain to him that if we don't have another child, I will long for one the rest of my life, whereas if we do have another child, he certainly wouldn't regret it. He agrees. But he still doesn't want one. I've tried to explain to him that our next child already exists- can't he see that child? Over there? Just past that shimmering veil? Our child- our precious baby- is waiting for us, and HE is keeping me away from him/her.

He doesn't see.

I tried explaining to him that this longing I feel is like thirst- you can tell me all you want that I've had enough to drink- I have three perfectly healthy glasses of water already; I can't possibly need more. But if I'm thirsty- if my tongue is dry and my body is longing for water-nothing you can say to me will change that. I'll still be thirsty until I get a drink. Just because it only takes you three glasses of water to be hydrated doesn't mean I too will be hydrated with that amount. I'm still thirsty; I need another glass of water. And it's not fair for you to keep that water from me, just because YOU are not thirsty.

I used the analogy of "this is the last computer you can own. Ever. If it gets older, etc, no matter what you can never have another new computer." Funny enough, this was the only analogy that actually hit home with him.

Yesterday when we dropped all three kids off at school, my longing and begging and hoping suddenly transformed into a ANGER towards him. I'm pissed that he refuses to have a change of heart; I'm pissed that he is keeping me from the water I crave; and mostly I'm pissed that HE hold all the cards, all of the control.

Something about dropping all of our children off at school awakened a raw emotion in me, and it surprised me. Perhaps it's because when we dropped Kate and Joan off for their first day of preschool (at the same place we dropped Marin off yesterday), I was hugely pregnant with Marin. I had 3 weeks of "no kids at home during preschool" before she was born.

Now, my body is not carrying a baby. My body is not even all that hopeful of carrying a baby anytime soon.

This past weekend, we had a overnight date to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We had 24 hours of no children. We stayed downtown Minneapolis, walking and biking all over the city.

We roamed aimlessly and peacefully around the Sculpture Gardens.

We talked and held hands and didn't worry about the clock or anyone's schedule or anyone else's needs. We remembered what we were like before we had children.

It was a lovely time, and I cherish looking back on some of the photos I took, knowing we were so happy together, knowing I was still in the "hoping state" instead of the "angry state". We are usually happy together, with our three little ducklings underfoot. And it was nice to be happy together without them, too. We've had 10 good years of marriage. I'm proud of that. (More photos start here.)

But right now- just a few days later- I'm mad, not happy. I'm restless and aching, not content. And I don't know how to fix it...

Park Palooza- A Success!

Last Friday, on a bitterly (and unseasonably) cold and windy day, we celebrated the end of summer with our much anticipated Park Palooza. We ate breakfast at a park, had our Opening Ceremony- complete with a balloon release!- had a treasure hunt, went on a hike in the woods, ate lunch, and pretty much totally exhausted our children. We took a break from naps and then met again- this time indoors as we were all chilled- to round out the afternoon.

It was awesome. My kids really love ritual, ceremonies, and "traditions". My friends think of EVERYTHING, and I'm not even exaggerating there. The cold made it seem like we were- quite literally- seeing the end of summer.

We ended the day by leaving the children home with their dads and going out to eat. And then out for drinks.

I really love these ladies... (and their children and spouses, of course.)

More photos of our fun day start here.

P.S. I have no internet at home, which is driving me CRAZY. Our home phone line, our tv watching (we canceled cable, so the kids use Wii Netflix), looking up recipes, blogging, facebook, twitter... AHHHH. I can't believe how reliant we are in the internet, and how much it affects us to not have it. I'm at a coffee shop right now, have been here for 2 hours, and STILL feel like I have stuff I want to do before going home to my internet-less house. Hopefully, they will be out to fix it tomorrow...

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Ten years.

An entire decade.

On this day- in what seem like it could have been just last year but then again feels like a lifetime ago- David and I donned our traditional wedding costumes, gathered all of our nearest and dearest, and committed in front of them all "'til death do us part."

I tried to find some digital photos from that day to share, but quickly realized that showing you a photo of us in all our wedding glory would require scanning things, and well. It's 9pm and this is what I chose instead:

This photo was taken a few months after we met, before we were married. I believe it was our first visit to Rapid City together, for Seester's high school graduation. We were still in that "can't keep our hands off each other" phase, which I'm sure made us a JOY to be around.

So much has happened in the intervening ten years. Together, we have grown from a family of two to a family of five. (And counting? Maybe? David, please? *sigh*)

Recently I was with a group of friends and were talking about times in our lives when we were really, truly scared. I can think of a few times when I felt frozen... terrified. But the day we got married? Right before I walked down the aisle? Not a drop of fear. Only peace, joy, a strong feeling of this is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.

We've had our ups and downs, like anyone else. Moving, a growing and shrinking and growing business, health issues, births, fights, dates, family trips, and lots of other things that can't easily be summed up in a tidy list. Now that 10 years have passed, I'm so proud of where we are, so happy with the life we've created for ourselves. I'm happier than I ever thought I'd be. I never- EVER- thought I'd grow to love Tiny Town the way I have.

And man, am I ever excited to see what the next 10 years will bring.