Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hide and Go Seek

The internet is an amazing place. Here we can find out how to make everything from jam to bombs and learn about history, religion and TV shows from the seventies. The greatest gift of the internet is the ability to connect with people. I have made new friends, ones I have never actually met in person, via the internet. I have also located old friends and formed new connections with them as well. I have used this same blog to praise those I love and complain about them, but having it here, open to the world, requires personal accountability. I enjoy sharing bits and pieces about my life. I am thankful for the kindness and support I have received through various online mediums when struggling personally or when I was just having a crappy day.

So in this new year, I ask that you come out of hiding and share with me who it is that is watching and reading this blog. If I know you, old friend or new, just drop a little hello in the comments. If I don't know you, tell me more about yourself and if you have a blog, please share so I can learn more! No blog, no problem, just say hi! If you are an enemy, although I am not sure I have many out there, then say hi too, maybe we can forge some new ground.

Happy New Year, may 2010 bring you all that you desire.

Bye Bye 2009

Wow, what a year it was. I am trying to find the worst of the worst to share with the best of the best, but all of the bad seems so small compared to the good. Yes there was the summer of broken everything, but that was also the summer Teagan was born and she trumps all. Looking back, those days and weeks of stress and hard times were nothing compared to so many joys we lived as a family this past year, and appropriately, the good memories remain strong and the bad are fading.

We have had our ups and downs like any other family, and right now we might even be on a small down with the kids sick, but we are here, together, happy, warm and safe.

Too many others suffered great losses in the last year. They lost loved ones. They lost jobs. They lost homes. Those are losses I hope no one ever has to endure, and while I would have liked to have had a working dishwasher after having a baby, that is so small compared to what could have been.

So while many of us look back on 2009 and we wish it could have been better, easier and more prosperous, remember all the good things that happened too. Be thankful for those you love, new and old friends, the comfort of home, a hug and a warm meal.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pneumonia

Damn. Pneumonia is in my house again, and this time the baby has it. To say I may cry at any time would just be stating the obvious. I know that kids get sick, but this year has been bad since September and I am over it. Haven had pneumonia, then we all had the flu, now my sweet little five month old has pneumonia...why???

She had a cold before Christmas, it got worse the last few days so we canceled our trip. Took her to the doc on Monday and they said it was just a bad cold, clear lungs, clear ears, etc. She got worse and worse and worse and we went back today. She was tested for strep, rsv, had bloodwork and a chest x-ray. It took two breathing treatments for them to let her go home. From Monday to today she lost four ounces, and got pneumonia! Now what?

I am just so sad and stressed. I know how pneumonia will kick a kids rear, how every cold is a trail, and how bad this can affect her little lungs. Of course tonight is Ry's first night back to work since the 15th and I will be here alone with the four kids (Haven and Britt are sick too) and worried.

I need to get some tea, take some Tylenol and hold my baby. Hopefully she will stay out of the hospital. Prayers and positive thoughts please.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Everything in extremes

I am not one for moderation. I do school to an extreme. Work to an extreme. Lifestyle choices to an extreme. Coffee to an extreme.

A few years ago, my husband ordered me a home roaster for coffee beans, and after a few small "test" runs, I fell in love with the process and what it represents. I love coffee..love, love, love it, but hate how bitter coffee can be when bought from the store even when grinding fresh. I have had a coffee machine with a built in grinder for years and years, but once that met up with fresh roasted coffee beans, I was over the moon. I order my beans online from a few different sources, this last batch coming directly from the farm that grew them. I love supporting farmers and knowing where my beans come from, plus I get awesome tasting coffee for super duper cheapo!

This Christmas we got me an espresso machine to help with a growing addiction to a certain coffee stores peppermint mocha. It wasn't that their beverage was so superior, I just didn't have the equipment! The machine we got was very inexpensive, but had great ratings, and for home use for a single user, it totally rocks! i bought some beans preroasted here in town but will be ordering green ones to roast soon. We grabbed peppermint and vanilla syrups at the store to help feed my addiction and I have been making myself cappuccinos and lattes every day. Ah, bliss! I can only imagine how tasty it will be once I roast the beans myself!

Monday, December 28, 2009

That's what you get!!!

Oh if I could get a cash payout for every time I hear, "That's what you get for having four kids....or a big family...etc" Today I heard it three times from three different people, and then while we were out getting everyone ice cream sundaes, Haven APOLOGIZED for us having a lot of kids! Ryan and I laughed and asked her what she was sorry for, that she and the other kids didn't ask to be born and the WE weren't sorry, in fact WE were the ones that wanted each and every one of them and WE are THRILLED!

She then explained that she thought the I do too much for them and not enough for myself, and that made her feel like I didn't get what I wanted because of the kids. I explained to her that there is nothing that I need and the few small things I might want, I can either go and get or they are not important. I also explained that there is not a single thing in the world, free time included, that I would trade for our family.

The best part of this life we have is that both Ryan and I love it. While we get stressed, and there are hard days, we still love it. Do we approach things differently than when we had one or two kids, yes. Is that OK with us, YES!

So here is the kicker. We make no promises that this is the end to our family. I am not sure I can carry another baby since I have had three c-sections, but we plan to do foster care in the next few years and are open to adopting any children who come into our home and need a permanent home. So it is our choice, 100% and yes we know that this is what we get for having a big family....and we are loving it!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Wrap Up

Whew. Christmas is over. The kids had a wonderful day, they were adequately spoiled and my parents came to visit bearing a vacation as a gift. We were supposed to leave today to go to Great Wolf Lodge to stay in an awesome Log Cabin room, play at MagicQuest and the water parks and have a blast, but unfortunately, we have two sick kiddos. Haven has a nasty cough which has been making her asthma really bad. We were going to push through and go anyway, but the baby has had a cold that turned into a high fever and nasty wet cough last night. The other two kids are also a little under the weather, so it only seemed wise to rebook the trip for a few weeks from now. I want them to really enjoy the trip, to be crazy waterpark maniacs, and that wouldn't have happened today.

So we are home and recovering and it is really for the best. My mom was good and bit her tongue and didn't tell me that this is what we get for having so many kids....and therefore I was good and didn't tell her that waterparks and life in general is so much better with so many kids. While it can make you crazy when they are all sick, the joys out weigh the negatives.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Birthday

to my favorite (and only) husband!

I cannot believe we have been married nearly 10 years and share the joys and trials of raising our four kids. We have come a long way, through some tough times, and I am thankful every day that we both made a choice to fight for each other. I love you, and hope you have a wonderful birthday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In the wee hours of the morning

Teagan and I seem to have a cold, it is the same cold the other kids have and while it is not terrible, it is a bit annoying, especially for the baby. She has a very stuffy nose so eating and sleeping with a pacifier are almost impossible, and she has just started to develop a bit of a cough. All of this came together this morning at 3:45 when she decided that she was up for the day. I tried, until nearly six, to get her back to sleep, but she just cooed and babbled and fussed at me, and I feared she would wake the other kids, so we came downstairs. Now at 7 she is blissfully asleep, and I am up baking muffins for the other kiddos. There is something peaceful and special about sitting in the dark family room listening to the music of the baby swing while the family sleeps. I know that soon the other kids will be up and noisy and silly. That Ryan will wake up too and he and I will need to begin the day, more shoveling, more cleaning, more tending to kids. But for now, I will enjoy the quiet moment, my cup of coffee, sweet sounds coming from the little one next to me and the smell of blueberry muffins in the air.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Try to relax

OK, so I am officially off from PT school, FT school and doctoral program. I am writing a course, but will work on that in the evenings only...the rest of the time I am trying to relax. It is not going well.

See, the problem with juggling a very busy and active lifestyle is that when it stops or slows down, I can't. I am sitting here at 9:15 and my head is spinning...I feel the need to rush and switch laundry, vacuum, do dishes, clean the house...rush....rush...rush....except, there is no rush. I have nothing to do today except to go to the grocery store, dust two rooms, regular upkeep and make chicken soup for dinner. That is a really light day for me. I could dust the two rooms and straighten them within a half hour, laundry is a constant in my world and I will just need to switch the loads, the kids will fold their batches, and dinner needs to be started around noon. But yet I feel the rush rush of my normal life.

Tomorrow I hope to veg all day, even if I have to force it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Whinge whine and blah blah blah

What good is a blog if it is all glitter and sunshine and bubbles? See everyone has bad days, some worse than others or more often than others. I try, and I do mean TRY, to minimize my griping on here since I want this to be a good reflection of my intentions and realizations from the day. Well here is the thing, some days, no matter how you try to swing it, or pretty it up with bows and bubblegum, some days just suck.

Today kind of just sucked. It started out okay, but then it headed downhill and took out everything in its path. I won't bore you with details, and if you are a mom you will be able to fill in the blanks pretty well, but here are some highlights.

Snowpants and gear X 3 small kids.

Kid dragging shovel up to TOP of HUUUUUUGE hill in almost 2 feet of snow....and leaving it there.

Kid fight club

No laundry getting done club.

Husband sleeping until 1, and I was counting the minutes until 1, and then back to lay down at 4 because his head hurt.

The realization that the two big kids would be home Monday and Tuesday and that there was still too much to do for Christmas.

Grading that never ends.

Forgetting to complete half of a final project.

Realizing that I will have nothing, not one single itty bitty thing to open on Christmas from anyone. My parents are giving the family a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, Ryan's family won't send anything for me, and my husband and children planned nothing for me, nothing. That was the worst part, because I really could give a damn about a present and don't want for anything or need anything, and I really wouldn't want a lot of money spent on me, but come one, a few framed pictures the kids drew, or a mug?

That one really stung and now the hubby feels bad and wants to overcompensate, but I don't want "stuff" I really would be happy with playdoh wrapped in macaroni and painted, so long as they thought about me a few weeks ago.

Guess we are on winter break

since we got almost two feet of snow and nary a plow has passed our house, school was canceled on Saturday for this Monday and Tuesday, the only two days they were to attend before break. I am not so sure I am excited about this since last week I had Britt home two days, and I really wanted the two extra days to get ready for the holiday. Thankfully, Ryan was only supposed to work last night and then he is off until the 30th, and he remoted in due to the weather last night. We will see if having the entire tribe home will help or hinder my ability to get things done..I am putting my bet on hinder.

All that is left if to get the prints for my parent's gifts, pick up the ham, sweet potatoes, milk and veggie dip, and buy a plastic bin for the kid's craft supplies. Then we are all ready :)

Happy Snow, pics to come :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Oh my word

It is almost 5 am and I have been up since 3, there is something about extreme weather that makes me all jittery.

The kids are going to be over the moon tomorrow since there is already a ton of snow out there and the big amounts haven't even hit yet! We also have one car that already landed in the yard and is stuck there....interesting to see how many more show up and if anyone hits that car. Good times.

My big plans for the day include:
1. Wearing what might be the most comfortable outfit ever, although not the sexiest...flannel PJ pants with Christmas polar bears on them, a tank top (for easy nursing), my new FT school hooded sweatshirt with the big ole front pocket, and my green striped sweater boot slippers that my husband hates but that keep my toes oh so toasty. Good thing I am not going for sexy :)

2. Grading-really only a few assignments that must be done.

3. Paper-final one of the class and it is mostly done.

3. Laundry-no snow days from that!

4. Baking-more Christmas cookies and probably bread.

5. Roasting-a nice big chicken dinner on this snowy day

6. Snuggling-with kids and husband under warm blankets by the fire, watching Christmas movies all day long.

7. Stirring-lots of homemade hot cocoa on the stove.

What are your plans if you are snowed in today??

Friday, December 18, 2009

Whoa SNOW!!

Popping in to tell the world that our area is due to get 1-2 FEET of snow between now and Sunday morning. Where we live, this is very uncommon, not unheard of, but uncommon. Kids will be thrilled, mama will be snuggled up with a fire and daddy will be going out in the snow to get the wood for the fire.

White Christmas here we come....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When bloggers go MIA

Oh boy are things crazy here. Here is what I need to do before Monday!

1. Grade 40 papers for PT school..I did 40 this morning
2. Grade all my FT school's work for the last two weeks plus the class I am covering for our other FT'er, that is 17 assignments in all!
3. Rewrite a paper
4. Make a six more kinds of cookies
5. grocery shop for the holidays
6. clean the house
7. design a course...yes a WHOLE course
8. go to a party
9. Take the kids to the light show
10. Figure out what to get my parents for Christmas and finish the gift I am making them
11. Bake cookies for Haven's school party and bread for the teacher breakfast.
12. All the regular stuff....dinners, cleaning, laundry, child rearing, etc.

I may be MIA :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Are we sure this is Virginia?

Seriously, the weather has been so bizarre this year! We have already had decent snow and they are calling for more before Christmas. Don't worry, I am not complaining, I LOVE snow, but it is still weird. Last year we had a bitter winter but with very little snow, I am hoping that this year is different, so much so that I did the unthinkable, I ordered the older three kids snow pants!

Usually we get one or two decent snows, and I make them suffer with their old too small snow pants or send them out in jeans and hope for the best (and a lot of laundry) but this year I splurged and ordered them the snow pants. I hope they get to use them this weekend!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Surprise....just when you thought it was under control

things go a bit haywire. Truthfully, it is not a big deal, but one of the other FT folks at my school had her baby early (hooray for healthy baby boys!) but that left me with one of her classes to cover! I appreciate the extra cash I will make, especially with Christmas coming, but it was not on my list of things to-do. Needless to say, the list has been adjusted, and we are now on track!

This week is off to a slow start. Brittan, Grayson and Teagan have some kind of cold/virus and they are a bit under the weather. I am getting cookies baked and work done, and that is about it given that I am not sleeping at night due to a crabby, stuffy baby. I figure the housework can wait! I have some grading to complete for PT school, a paper that is due tonight and a 6 more kinds of cookies to make over the next few days.

We also have some fun plans for Friday. We have a new drive through Holiday light show, and I am planning on taking the kids there and maybe to Friendly's after. I do have to admit that there is a selfish aside to the trip, there is a fabric store I want to go to and a grocery store that has the honey ham I need for Christmas Eve on sale, but shhh, don't tell the kids!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

So close I can almost taste it

We are almost there, the one time of the year when I am off from EVERYTHING all at once! I have to grade finals from PT school this week, I have a week and a half left of both FT school and my class I am taking and then we are off for a few weeks.

During this time, Ryan is also off a bunch and I am so excited I can hardly stand it! I cannot wait to plan some fun activities for the family. I see a trip to the Botanical Gardens and/or the Museum of American History in our future and I know we have plans to go to the National Harbor for Christmas Eve/Ryan's birthday.

The presents are all purchased, the tree is up, the house is decorated and about half the cookies are baked. We have had our Hanukkah feast and have been lighting our candles each night. Winter Solstice will be a day of creative and natural crafts and a feast...possibly that will be the day we go to the light show nearby.

I am getting excited, and if I could get a decent nights sleep, I would be well on my way to getting the last of those cookies baked!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The chosen path

Today after getting home and celebrating the first night of Hanukkah with the kids, baths, dinner, etc, I settled in to read up on the days events and was saddened to see that Michelle Duggar gave birth yesterday to her 19th baby 3 months early. I felt my heart fall heavy in my chest just as it does every time I hear of a baby born so early and so small.

In reading the article, I saw the comments that were made regarding the story, the family and their chosen path and I was so saddened by just how insensitive and down right mean people can be! Now I in no way shape or form adhere to the Duggar's beliefs or faith. I do not wish to bear as many children as possible, nor do I believe that it is my duty in the eyes of God to be fruitful. I do, however, respect the choices that they have made, and find comfort in seeing that they are raising their children in a faith they believe strongly in and with arms and hearts full of love. Obviously I only know them as they appear on television, but I respect that they have made it a priority for both parents to be active in their children's lives, especially the father in the lives of the daughters. I can understand the criticism that others have for the family, thinking that the older children are raising the younger, but it is only wrong if the older children do not like having that role within the family. I respect the path that they have chosen, that they choose to live debt free which is something most of us are unable to do, that they created a home that looks to be loving and attentive, that they give the majority of their earnings from the television show to charities they believe in and that they have remained true to their chosen faith. Not my chosen path, but respectable all the same

I have to say that there were two comments made that really made me sick. One was that this was what happens when you have too many children and that the parents were selfish for bearing so many children and not being "good Christians" and instead of bearing their own children, they should in turn take care of children who need homes. Hmmm. Why should they be responsible for the babies of others? Why is that their responsibility and why should they not be able to have their own children because other mothers and fathers are unable or unwilling to take care of their own babies? That makes no sense that they should be responsible for babies needing homes, especially when one stops to understand their beliefs and faith.

The other comment that bothered me stated that this was a "sign from God" that they stop having babies and that there is no way that they could love all those children enough. I am sorry, but whoever made that comment must not have more than one child, as I know that when each child was added to my home, I was able to love them with my full heart....that is the amazing thing about love, along with faith, there is an infinite supply.

So, I have the Duggar family in my thoughts tonight. It must be terrible to know that their newest child is on the brink and that the road will be long and frightening and in the public eye. I also know that if that baby girl needs support or love, there are more than enough hands, hearts and arms available to rock, hold, stroke and love her. That should she face life long challenges, that there will always be a loving sibling to help her and support her throughout her life, even when her parents can no longer care for her. That my friends, that is the blessing of a large family and I hope that the newest Duggar grows big and strong and proves all those naysayers wrong.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I may be biased

but this kid is pretty darn cute!

video

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No such thing as lazy Tuesday!

Tuesdays are always an early morning for us since Haven has to be up at school for singing practice at 8 am. Today went pretty smoothly, the little two were still sleeping, so I got the girls up, dressed and fed. By the time I brought Teagan and Gray down, the girls were nearly ready to go and we avoided much of the usual morning craziness.

After dropping Haven off, the other kids and I cam back home and I roasted a batch of coffee for the morning, vacuumed, started the morning fire and began to get ready for the baking today. This morning I need to make the ruggelach and I will also be trying a new lemon poppyseed cookie which is exciting since Ryan and I both LOVE lemon poppy so much, we had it for our wedding cake! I hope the recipe is a good one so that we can celebrate our wedding a little each Christmas :)

Other than that, I promised to make more chocolate chip cookies, I have a paper to write and some work to do...today will be relatively quiet....for a normal busy day!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Crabby babies make for long nights

My sweet Teagan has been replaced by a fussy, crabby, red faced babe. I am not sure of her issue, but fear it is a combination of an off schedule, too much company, weird nursing schedule and teething all rolled into one. Thankfully, after Friday, I am off until the end of January. I will be using this time to work on getting her on a much better sleep schedule including a big afternoon nap since we are always home to get the girls from the bus.

I have begun the holiday fun, but did not get to make the cookies I wanted to today, I am just too sleepy! I did make it to the store to get the brisket for this weekend, and the hubby stopped at Wegman's to get the other stuff I need for baking and cooking...the pantry room looks like a bakery with all the flour, sugar, and butter! This afternoon I will get the ruggelah dough made, it need to chill overnight so I need a jump on that. Otherwise I am calling today a bust for cooking, and I am okay with that!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Been busy in a bad way, going to be busy in a good way

Oh my my it has been crazy around here! Thankfully today marked the first day of the Kelley family holiday season. Yesterday we had our first snow and it was a good amount which is crazy in VA! Then we went with my parents to see my niece in the Nutcracker, she was Clara! The day was terrible, awful and horrible...my niece was wonderful, my son not, so much so that I sat with him in the very cold car while everyone else ate dinner....and my baby was in the restaurant! Anyone have ideas for getting a defiant five year old in line, he is making me crazy!

Today, however, was magic. I had almost no real work to do, and I wasn't planning any major house cleaning beyond washing diapers, regular vacuuming and dishes. Today I was cooking, and nothing makes me happier than spending the day warm and snuggling and cooking up a storm!

I began cooking Christmas cookies making chocolate chip which are the ones I always make first. Then Brittan and I made Challah bread ala this recipe, it is fantastic and wonderful and I appreciate her posting it!

I also made beef and barley soup for dinner and made the baby some strained peas. She has begun trying to face plant in our food, so I decided to try her on some peas and rice cereal today....she was not happy with it. I will give her a few days and try again, but it was pretty darn funny watching her pull faces when I gave her a spoonful!



Tomorrow will also be a baking day, I have twelve kinds of cookies to bake for Christmas and Hannukah. Hannukah starts Friday, but we will not eat our feast until Saturday since I work Friday. Saturday will be brisket, latkes and if I can locate a nut free ruggelah recipe, we will have that, otherwise, jelly donuts. Winter Solstice is December 21st, we will celebrate by making pine cone bird feeders and having the Feast of Favorites...this is a meal where everyone got to choose their favorite thing and we will have it...makes for an interesting meal! The Christmas comes and we have all the goodies associated with Christmas!

As you can tell, we celebrate all the winter holidays. As we are really of no religion, we feel it is important to share in many customs. My kids are not spoiled through the year and don't get many extras, so I enjoy taking the month to really celebrate our family and indulge the kids. They will receive small items for each day of Hannukah plus a big Christmas. No presents for Winter Solstice, although that may change in future years, I have an idea involving the forest fairies :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Runaway

It was a long day. The children were needy, and trying, and by bathtime, I was just done with it all. Add to that the stack of grading I had to do, dinner clean up, vacuuming, baby baths, and so on, and I was REALLY done. Just then a few kids decided to throw fits, and I knew that I needed out. I got up, grabbed my keys and told the husband I was leaving, and with that, I walked out the door leaving him with the screaming kids and baths.

Now before anyone jumps all over me, I have kids 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the exception of the two days I leave to go to campus to teach my SECOND job. All day while wrangling the four kids, I also do a full time job and take classes for my doctorate, plus cook, clean, do the doctor's appointments, shopping, laundry, and so on and so forth. When I stood up and walked out, was Ryan mad? Put out? Even annoyed? Nope. He knows by now that when I get to that point, let me go, get things back under control and all is well. He understands the pressure I am under daily, and that I can almost never walk away from the reality of the chaos, so when I need a break and it is available, I go for it.

So what did I do? I got in my car and drove to Starbucks and ordered a peppermint mocha and a peppermint brownie. Did I sit there, enjoying the blissful quiet? Nope. I got my stuff, got back in the car and headed towards home. On my way, Ryan called and told me three of the four were in bed, that he loved me, and that he was happy I got a treat. Why did I not sit at Starbucks and take full advantage of being out and about....well because I DO have four kids, two jobs and a doctoral program, and I am needed at home. That little break, that treat just for me, that was all I needed, and the support I got from Ryan made it so much better for me. Knowing I can walk away when needed and that he understands and will hold things together is priceless, especially given our crazy life!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My apologies to the UPS man

Seriously, he will be here every day for the next week, maybe even more than once a day

At present (haha), I am waiting on shipments from:
1. Old Navy
2. Lands End
3. Best Buy
4. Wal-mart
5. Amazon
6. another Amazon shipment (wait there will be more coming)
7. Etsy
8. Diaper Junction (this is just dipes for the baby-she is outgrowing some of hers)
9. My school store (free sweatshirt, small perk)

Seriously, that is a lot of shipments!

I still need to go to Justice, order a few more things from Amazon and some things from eToys plus pick up some Site to Store at Wal-mart. Such is holiday shopping with many kids, if all goes well, I will only purchase gifts at Justice and a few stocking stuffers actually IN a store.

Friday, November 27, 2009

O Christmas Tree

We scrapped the plan to go to the museum today and instead loaded the kids up, went to lunch and then went and cut down our Christmas tree. We love that there is a tree farm nearby, and while it was muddy, windy and cold, we think the tree is very pretty. I also did a lot of shopping for Christmas, from the couch, and we ordered a new camera since something happened to ours last weekend when we had company and the LCD screen is smashed Thank goodness for Black Friday deals, old gift cards and store pick ups.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks for giving

Ah, today is the day we are all to sit and reflect on what we are thankful for this year. I find I do that at least once a week as it keeps me humble and makes it easier to get through the tough days, but here is just a partial list of some of the many, many things I am so lucky to have.

1. My glorious husband and children
2. A comfortable home
3. Stable jobs
4. Good health for myself, Ryan, the children and our parents
5. Loving and supportive friends
6. The ability to afford everything we need and much of what we want
7. Time together as a family
8. Freedom and free choice

Hold your loves close today and every day, and enjoy taking an extra moment to share your favorite things to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Powerless

Today was trying to say the least. Our power went off last night at around 10 pm, after calming the screaming masses, I ventured downstairs by the light of my laptop to locate the flashlight. Then I began the search for the plug in phone, which was not where it should have been, so after quite a while of frantic searching, I finally located it. Used the phone to call my husband who had my car and my cell phone, and asked him to call the power company. They informed us that the power would be on by 2 am...needless to say, it was 2 PM that it came back.

After the long day of bored kids and the inability to get anything I needed to get done, I made up for lost time. As of right now, the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes are made, as is the stuffing. I have a beautiful pair of cinnamon raisin Challah bread loaves rising by the fire and the house is not completely trashed. Tomorrow morning I will finish the dinner and hopefully even get to chill with the family while watching the parade.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Slow down!

Today is going slowly and I am not complaining! I have a few tasks on deck, but nothing too major, so I am enjoying a little quiet time with Teagan and Grayson. This morning we baked some turkey and pumpkin cookie cut outs for Thanksgiving. I also made a huge batch of bread since we need it for dinner tonight and for Thanksgiving. I have a few loads of laundry to wash, some vacuuming to do and I need to load the dishes, but other than that and dinner, we are really just snuggled inside on this chilly day!

I love these days, when I don't feel rushed or frantic. I am excited about my sister coming on Thursday and I am not stressed at all. I am looking forward to family time Friday and Saturday, and happy that we will be together. Next weekend my parents come and we will go see my niece in The Nutcracker, she is playing Clara, so the kids are super excited about that as well.

The semester is winding down, I am feeling relaxed, the kids are happy and the house is relatively clean and organized. Ah, this is the peace and joy in all those songs :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nearing perfection

Today was a good day, even with minimal sleep last night, it was a calm day all around.

After getting the older three to school, I came home and cleaned up, did some laundry, showered and organized. Headed out to grab Gray and stopped to get some tortilla soup on the way since it was kind of rainy and nasty out. Gray had a great day at school and was happy on the way home, fed him lunch and then he was off to play. I worked a bunch, made some sugar cookie dough for tomorrow, played with the baby and made tacos for dinner. Everyone ate, and we are cleaned up and are ready for tomorrow with lunches and clothes prepped for the morning.

Now the kids are off to bed, the baby and I will hang out a bit longer, and then we will turn in as well. Nearly perfect.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It went well, and now it is quiet

The visit with Ryan's dad and brothers went well, much less stress than when his mom is here which was nice. The one thing was, they eat SO much! I seriously thought I had prepared this time and bought enough food, but we still didn't have enough. Three people devoured a really big roast chicken one day and the other day they ate 3 lbs of sandwich meat, and Haven, Ryan, his Dad and I hadn't had any! It is crazy how much they eat, but I am happy they came and that the kids, Ryan and I all had a nice visit. They were enamored with Teagan and played with Gray and the girls, and everyone visited and enjoyed.

Now they are gone and the house is mine again for a few days. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, the turkey is defrosting and I am all ready to start the cooking on Wednesday. I love the holiday season!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

They made it

The in laws are here, it is going fine, but I am exhausted and just want to nap.

Thankfully i get to escape to my room a few times a day to feed the baby, sweet, quiet, relief.

Friday, November 20, 2009

So tired, so excited, and so thankful

I am dead tired tonight and really need to hit the hay. The father in law and crew will be in late tonight, so tomorrow I must play happy hostess. I also have a ton of work to due this weekend, so I am not sure how it will balance out.

I am also excited that this week I have no PT school so I can hang around the house and enjoy the calmer existence. My sister and her family come for Thanksgiving, and I am looking forward to cooking the feast.

OK, too tired to think anymore...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Clean dshes abound

It happened. The new dishwasher came today and it is a glorious sight. After over 4 months of hand washing, I am happy to report that I have a dishwasher running right now in my house. It amazed me to take the sink full of dishes, put them in, and hit start. No more washing four times a day and no more giant dish drain taking up residence on my limited counter space. It was a long day full of mishaps, but the dishwasher is now running and there is a sense of calm in my house,

That being said, my father in law and the rest of them are due tomorrow around midnight, so I really need to clean the rest of the house. Tonight we will steam clean the living room and playroom, and I already dusted and cleaned the downstairs bathroom. Tomorrow while I am at work, Ryan will clean the upstairs bathroom and steam clean up stairs. I will stop at the store on my way home and then will come home, and mop the house after the kids go to bed. Then after this crazy weekend, I am hoping the weather will hold up so my husband can powerwash the house for me. Then bring on Turkey Day!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Will they, won't they

My inlaws make me crazy, seriously. When other people complain about their inlaws I am actually jealous since the relationship is so much better than the one we have with Ryan's parents. No joke, they are the WORST parents and grandparents ever, how Ryan turned out the way he did, and is such an amazing father, is beyond me.

Here is the situation. His father is supposed to come visit this weekend, to see Teagan, you know, the FOUR month old! He hasn't see the other kids in a year and a half and only saw them for a few hours that time. He hasn't been to our house in nearly three years. Did we have a falling our? Do we not get along? One would think so, but no, he is just a selfish ass. You may think he lives overseas or at the very least, across the country. Nope, he is in NY, a mere 7 hour drive or 45 minute flight.

Anyway, he has been telling us he is coming since the baby was born. In fact, he was supposed to come two weeks after she was born. Didn't happen. Supposed to come in September, didn't come. Now they were supposed to come this weekend, and now they are not sure they are coming because Ryan's nearly 30 year old brother may not be able to get off work...seriously!

I am so tired of the way they treat my husband. He is such a great guy and they are losing out on a relationship with him and our fantastic kids...not to mention the wonderful wife :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Enthralled

Teagan is totally and completely enthralled with her big brother, and he with her. I was worried about how these two would get along, whether Gray would embrace his big brother status or miss being the baby of the family, but it has gone better than expected. Grayson loves Teagan so much. He talks to her, plays with her and tells her all about what is going on. He tells her many times a day that he is her big brother and won't let anything happen to her, which is so incredibly sweet.

I love the moments when siblings come together, it is one of the reasons we had such a large family. I love that the kids are close, and that they seem to love one another unconditionally. In a house with many different personalities, it is amazing how this family blends together to become one.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Belly laughs

We have been anxiously awaiting Teagan's first belly laughs.....and today she finally did it....for Maggie and Grayson!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Let the craziness begin!

This week is the kick off to holiday craziness. Some of the upcoming events are wonderful, special and important, other more mundane but necessary.

This week we will be running around like mad! Monday isn't too bad, Tuesday I have to run a work call, Wednesday will be a juggling act with early release, conferences and work, Thursday I have two work calls and the baby has a check up and Friday I work and Ryan's family is coming. Ry's dad, brother's and his brother's girlfriend are finally coming to meet Teagan. Being that his Dad hasn't been here in over 2 years, almost 3, we are a bit shocked they are coming at all! I need to somehow get the house in order this week, but since it is the hubby's family, I know he will be happy to help!

Next week we have Thanksgiving and my sister and her crew are coming to celebrate with us. The day after, my family is going into DC to see an exhibit at one of the Smithsonian's and if all goes well, we may even go to the drive through light show on the way home. That Saturday, we will get the tree and I will decorate the house for Christmas.

The next weekend my parents are coming because my niece is playing Clara in her dance school's nutcracker performance. My kids and I (Ry has to work) will head there with my parents to celebrate with Jessica, we are SO excited!

The weekend after that is an event at the kid's school and Haven will be performing!

The last big event before Christmas will be on Christmas Eve, which is also Ryan's birthday. We are hoping to go to The National Harbor to see the water skiing Santa and then we will take Daddy out to dinner!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A morning out

We decided last night that we would all get up and go out to breakfast this morning. Normally my kids wake up around 7:30 and need to eat right then because they are STARVING!! Waiting to go out would be a challenge especially since their father is not known for moving quickly in the a.m.

Well Grayson, Teagan and I were up around 7 and I ran through a shower while Britt was waking up. Then Ryan got ready and we were on our way. The kids were really excited and really hungry, but they were so well behaved. It makes the outing so wonderful when they are good.

There was this really nice old man sitting behind us who kept complementing the children saying they were so well behaved and beautiful. He then went on to tell me that his grandmother had 14 kids and his mother had 7 and that big families are so great, etc. He gave us some butterscotch hard candies for the kids and left saying more gorgeous things about the kiddos. I have to say, it filled my heart that that gentleman commented so kindly about my children and that my children behaved in such a respectful way when we were out. Small glimmers that all the hard work we do as parents is worth it!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Being grateful

There are so many things that I am grateful for on any given day, but today I am especially thankful for my job(s). I LOVE what I do, I love seeing my students grow, I love talking to them and hearing their plans, ideas and thoughts. I consider myself so lucky to get to so something I really love, not many are able to.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Swapping Out

Swapping out kids clothes has to be the worst job ever. I did my older girls a few weeks ago and today I went through all of Grayson's clothes, took out what no longer fit or was too summery and put in all the new clothes. Thankfully we get a ton of hand me downs from my niece and nephew which keep up overloaded with options!

I then had to do Teagan's clothes. She is firmly out of 0-3 and is in 3-6 and some 6-9 month clothes. I hate doing baby clothes, they wear them so little and they are so darn cute, I hate packing them up. Needless to say we will not be selling them or giving them to goodwill since there is always a chance that either we, or a friend, may need them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesdays are my Mondays

I really have come to dislike Wednesday and this week it is all the more terrible.

Usually it is a little rough, I get the girls to school, drop Gray off and then come home and clean up. I have a work call at 11 every Weds and Ry usually gets Gray and then the big rush starts, I have to get ready for work, make dinner, help the girls with homework when they get home, clean up, nurse the baby, etc.

This week everything is compounded by the fact that the girls and Gray have no school AND we have parent teacher conferences! Then Ry got home late and my call ran over! Needless to say, I have to clean up from lunch, vacuum the house, get dressed, prep for class tonight and get the husband up at 4:30 for conferences and then order a pizza for the kids. After conferences, I need to drop Ry off and head straight to class I know that class will be late tonight too. Argh I HATE Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trying to keep up

Gosh the days go by so fast!

Today is my quiet at home day and it is after noon and I still have a long list of work. Seems that the days fly by!

Today Ry found out that his schedule will probably change at the start of the year. I am excited because it means he will be home overnight and in the mornings and that we won't need the adjustment day for him to get extra sleep. He is less excited but I still think it will be good for the family. The down side for me is that I will have to do dinner and bedtime all alone, but it is worth the trade off!

I also got the info on my big trip to Pittsburgh. It will be in May this year, which is OK since it is the week I am already off PT school. We are hoping to juggle Ryan's schedule, use the sitter and maybe a friend to cover the kiddos, or if need be, we will have my parents come up to watch them. Two weeks after that trip, I need to be in Atlanta. We are going to try to make that into a mini family trip, although I will be in meetings most of the day, Ryan and the kids can do some exploring and enjoy the hotel pool, etc.

When did life get so complicated?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Such a rip off!!

On my way home with Grayson and Teagan from preschool, he was chattering on about his day. See, he didn't want to go to school this morning, but as it turned out, he had a fantastic and fun day! So on and on he rambled and then all of a sudden he said...

"You know what Mommy? There is this game on Sesamestreet.com and it is such a rip off! It is a coloring game, but they don't let you color everything in, and then Elmo comes out and finishes it and it won't let you do all the coloring. You know what that is Mommy...that is a RIP OFF!"

OK, where does he get these things? I am pretty sure that Ryan and I do not use the term "rip off" often if at all. Kids are funny!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What's big and loud and green?

That would be our family!

I was going to save this post, but as we were moving through our day, I decided to write it since I had a moment and all my thoughts were clear....that rarely happens! As I was taking some cookies out of the oven and debating what time to put the rolls in that I made earlier for dinner, my kids were busy taking the never ending pile of recycling out...that got me thinking.

A big criticism of large families is that we are helping to over populate the earth, use up resources, increase waste and in general, we are not environmentally friendly. Being that the mass majority of my research revolves around green products, eco-friendly consumer buying habits, green manufacturing, green families, etc. I would say that I am pretty well versed on these thing. Many families are choosing to have less kids, or no children at all, at higher rates than ever. The incidence of larger families is still low, historically speaking, therefore overall population is not being that strongly affected by those of us who have a slightly larger family.

Are we more stressful on the earth? Sure, I guess some large families are, just like lots of small families and even couples are. What is unique to the larger family is resourcefulness. Most are not independently wealthy, so they find ways to be frugal. They cook more at home and from scratch since it is less expensive, but in turn this reduces waste from packaging, emissions from traveling out, restaurant waste. Large families often use hand me downs within the household on many items including clothing, bedding, toys and baby gear. By using an item multiple times for multiple children, these items are kept out of landfills longer. Many larger families have gardens to help support their family's needs. This again reduces waste, and if the family cans their own food and grows organic, they are feeding more people with a minimal negative impact on the earth.

In my home, I would anticipate that our carbon footprint is much smaller than that of most of our neighbors with much smaller families. We recycle and compost. We reuse whenever possible. We manage our heating and cooling and try to keep electricity use as low as possible. We cloth diaper and hang them to dry whenever we can. We heat with wood in the winter. I cook from scratch using as many local ingredients as possible and can surplus whenever we have it. We use green cleaning products, belong to a CSA and I order free trade organic coffee beans that I roast here at home. Aside from my SUV, I would say that we are very eco-conscious and green.

So, if you are opposed to large families, I would think about whether it is really due to the environmental impact... we are lean, mean, and green and I am raising even more people who will take care of the environment!

Is the goose fat yet?

Christmas is rapidly approaching, and while I am thrilled that my favorite holiday, complete with shiny decorations is coming, I also need to get the Christmas shopping done. Most years I am nearly done by now, but finances this year have made waiting until the end of November a necessity. Thankfully, I finalized the list for the kids today and while the cost of it all is still a bit shocking, there are four kids getting presents.

This year I made a choice to give two group gifts to the kids. One is a new swingset which is what is pushing the Christmas spending way up, but it is really needed. The old swingset is almost 6 years old and is falling apart. My kids use it almost daily and we need to remove it in the next few weeks before it becomes unsafe. We need the new swingset to replace the old one, simply because I need the kids to keep playing outside. The other group gift will be a huge array of craft items. They all love to do crafts, so I decided to buy a big bin and fill it with beading stuff, bendies, paper, foam stickers, shrinky dinks, and various pom poms, pipe cleaners, fabric etc.

The kids will get a few toys, a few practical items and a few individual special requests. I am also going to make each child a flannel bed warmer filled with rice and lavender oil. They will be able to warm them by the fire or in the microwave and put them in their beds on those chilly nights. I am even making a small one for Teagan :)

I cannot wait for Thanksgiving to come and go so that the Christmas celebrating can begin!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Saturday Night Date



Cute isn't she :) Teagan is rocking her striped leg warmers and cloth diaper, finished off with an adorable toothless grin. She is my chubbiest baby by far, weighing in at just shy of 13lbs last Sunday at the ER. Love her chubby thighs and toes, baby toes are the cutest thing ever!

Thoughts on mommyhood

I have four kids aged 9 to just shy of 4 months old. There are three girls and one boy in the mix and their personalities are all very different. In my experiences as a mom, through mom's clubs, friendships, blogs, twitter, family, facebook, coworkers, etc. I have found that there are so many styles to parenting and that moms are so very tough on themselves and each other.

I don't think I judge other moms, with the exception of those who CPS should be called on for beating, starving, abusing their kids...and really, in those situations who can blame me? With the other moms I encounter along the way, I really don't like to judge how they approach their role for a few reasons. The first is that I don't know their kids and/or spouses, even with good friends and family, I don't KNOW them in the way that someone who lives with them every day for years on end does. I also don't know what they have tried, what works for them, and what they refuse to try. We all have to make hard choices in raising our children, and most moms don't like to talk about the many failures we all encounter on the path to finding what works. I only know how to raise my four kids to the ages they are. I have never had any kids other than these, so I am still learning as I go, and while I have had a nine year old girl, I have not had Brittan and Teagan as nine year old girls....yet. Finally, I don't know how these moms were raised, with the exception of my own sister, and even she and I had very different experiences growing up in one household.

So here is the thing. Use all of these other folks in your life who approach mothering as an opportunity for you to grow and expand your ideas. Rather than judge what they are doing, look at what choices you have made and try to determine where you can improve in your own life. Be open minded and listen to each other, you never know when that idea you shunned suddenly becomes the best and only choice you have left to try.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday lacks luster for us

Since we live on an alternative schedule, Fridays are not that exciting for me. While Ryan is off, I work and get home at dinnertime. Then tomorrow Ry will need to go to sleep in the afternoon and I will again be alone with all four kiddos....did I mention Britt has a birthday part a half hour away?

So unlike the masses that rejoice on Fridays, I secretly loathe them. It means another weekend when all the other mom's have help and relief and family time, and I just get two extra kids home from school and a lot more noise.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Digging in the dirt

Today I decided to dig up the small garden bed we have right outside the back door. We created this bed this year as a trial area for root veggies and unfortunetly we had a number of heavy, flooding rains that killed off most of my onions and garlic. Today I dug out the garden and was thrilled to see a bunch of small carrots! While the bed did not do as well as hoped, I was happy to get something out of it!

Next year I am hoping Ryan will build raised beds on the far side of the creek. I would like to put potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, garlic and onions there. Also, if possible, I would like another bed for pumpkins, acorn squash, spaghetti squash and butternut squash. This will leave the main garden for beans, cukes, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Stylin' Mama

Style is a funny thing. When I was younger I never wore dresses or skirts unless forced to...literally in elementary school my mom MADE me wear a dress or skirt every Thursday!

As I grew up, had kids and my "mom" style began to evolve I learned one thing...i LOVE skirts! I wear those long hippie skirts almost daily. They make me feel feminine, and dressed and comfy. They are climate controlled as i can always hike them up as needed. They flow well and swoosh and generally make me one happy mama.

For me, the ability to pull on a skirt, put my still very long hair into a pony and run out into the world makes me like I am put together. I don't wear my skirts because I am old fashioned or feel I am "supposed" to, I wear them because they are so freeing and comfortable.

My goal is to learn to sew my own skirts. I have a few favorites that are the perfect length and have a skirt that is just the right fullness. I would love to be able to mimic this style and learn to sew them myself. I am hoping to go to the fabric store in a few weeks and get some material. I want to make matching skirts for the big girls and I and once I master that, I may even try a dress for Teagan :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Head counts needed

I have had a post in my head for awhile discussing larger families. We have what most would consider a larger family, with four kids and the potential for more either naturally or through foster/adoption. Here in Virginia, many folks we know have three kids, but four is more unusual and more than four is very unusual. Growing up on Long Island, almost everyone I knew came from a two kid house with just a few three kid households.

I find it odd that complete strangers find that they have a right to comment to parents of larger families and to ask very personal questions.

I get asked a lot if we have a large family for religious reasons. I understand that many families do have more children based upon their belief that God determines their family size. I respect their beliefs, but being that I am in no way religious, and lean more towards a belief in multiple gods, I am not putting my fertility on that :)

Folks with lots of kids are often asked if they know what causes it, or if they plan more, and why they have so many. I find this so strange as most would not walk up to someone who has no children or only one and ask them if they know what causes pregnancy...what happens if they say no?? It seems that as fertility and births rise, the need to be respectful of others privacy drop! I actually had someone at my children's fall festival ask me if I was having more, how many more, why I have so many, what I do for a living, etc and she was someone I had never met, didn't work for the school OR have kids AT the school! Does that seem a little much to anyone else? Why does she care?

It is also assumed a lot that I don't work or I am uneducated....imagine the surprise on people's faces when I explain that I am getting ready to finish my doctorate and I am a professor. There are large families where the mom stays home full time, and ones where mom works....as long as the family is happy and functioning well, does it matter what goes on in the household?

So here it is, this is why WE have chosen the family that we have.

I really love my kids, I think they are fun and interesting and they fill my life up in a way that nothing else can. I really enjoy having a house full, I love that they will have siblings to grow up with, to share life experiences with and to depend on. I have made this family my priority, the people on this house come first before anything else. The next thing in line is my job, because it brings in income to support all these people I love, and then whatever is left I give to people outside our family. I don't have a lot of friends, I really don't have the time nor the inclination to deal with the drama that often occurs when others are in your life. The friends I have I treat like family, I love them, care for them and would drop anything for them....that is why I only have a few of them!

I believe in fate, and I honestly believe that the children Ryan and I have been given are the ones we are meant to raise. For now, we are meant to have these four little people in our care and we have CHOSEN not to do anything to permanently remove the option for more children. Being that I am not even 35 years old, the idea of Ryan or I removing the possibility of more children just doesn't feel right to us, and we know that with that comes the possibility that we will have another child. Health wise, I need to be sure that I can handle it should it happen, but that is between me and my doctors, and should they determine that another pregnancy would be a danger to my health, then and only then would be remove the possibility.

I will discuss the environmental impact and "green" factor in relation to larger families in another post this month :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thanks for the new ER, we love it!

I cannot express how thankful I am that the new hospital opened in our town earlier this year, we have already used the ER there three times, with the most recent being last night. If we had to go to the other hospitals, it is a good half hour each way, and the one I prefer is a bit farther but nicer, the other hospital is the one I delivered at but would not take my kids to.

Last night around 7:30 I went to feed the baby. She had been really sleepy all day and had a lot of dirty diapers, but she is really young and they do that. I had checked her temp earlier as she was extra fussy, but it was normal, so I didn't think much of it. When I went to feed her, I noticed she was hot and that she was gasping and holding her breath. To a mom of four with two kids with breathing issues, this was a red flag. I turned her upright and could see she was having some trouble. Checked her temp and it was 102 and he feet and hands were cold which meant she was having some issues moving her blood through her body. Called Ryan down, we checked her over and saw she was retracting in her chest (pulling in when breathing) and holding her breath then gasping. She then vomited everywhere and that was that. Being that she is only 3 months old and has a heart condition, the severity of which is not yet clear, we were headed in.

I really like the ER. They were quick to get us back and were so good with her. The staff is wonderful and they worked to find ways to make her, and me, more comfortable. After a chest x-ray, blood work and exam, it was determined that she has the flu and an ear infection and that her lungs looked good (whew!) She was not keeping fluids down, so they hooked her up to an IV to rehydrate her and gave her some anti nausea meds and antibiotics. We left with an antiviral and antibiotics and a very tired and yucky feeling baby. Hopefully her little body will tolerate the meds well and she will not develop any other infections while fighting this flu. Poor thing just looks terrible.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

National Blog Post Month

So expect to see a daily post each day of November. I will try to keep it interesting.

Making the most of extra time

Daylight Saving Time is upon us and I am trying to make the most of my extra hour today. It is now just before 10 am and I have finished canning 4 pints and 2 quarts of sliced apples packed in a light syrup. I will probably can another 8 pints today and that should take care of most of our apples and leave just enough for eating enjoyment. While I am a little sad that we had less apples this year and we will have less canned, I am also relieved as I am not sure how I would have processed them all having just had the flu.

Today Brittan has a birthday party to attend, so after we drop her off, the other kids and I are off for a post-Halloween annual event....the pumpkin purchase. We will go to the local nursery where they clearance all their pumpkins the day after Halloween. We will buy a bunch that will then be boiled, pureed and frozen to be used in pumpkin muffins, breads, soups, etc. While regulars pumpkins are not as sweet or pumpkiny as hubbard squash or pie pumpkins, they are a nice squash and give great flavor to different recipes. We also keep some frozen in chunks that I roast with carrots, butternut squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc as a yummy winter side dish.

Busy day ahead!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween


from our happy brood.

Friday, October 30, 2009

This little piggy

The great swine flu of 2009 is still underway here at the Kelley household.

Here are the stats as they stand today:

Mom/Me-disgusting cough, but finally feeling less like I have been run over by a train, no fever since Tuesday.

Haven-All Tamiflu-ed, still coughing, but bouncing around, annoying her siblings and rolling her eyes...basically back to normal.

Brittan-had a fever for one night, coughed a few times, decided she was done with that and went back to school the next day. She just likes to make the rest of us look weak.

Grayson-got super excited about his Halloween party today, especially since it is his first week of preschool(his wise mother kept him out until now for fear of swine flu...seriously) and he missed the party last year due to a stomach bug. At 3 am he woke up, spiked a fever and vomited. Poor kid had to miss the party again and he is feeling pretty bad today.

Teagan-has had a low fever on and off for a week and a small cough. We are hoping she somehow escapes this.

Dad/Ryan-so far, so swineless.

Hopefully the big kids will feel well enough to enjoy Halloween tomorrow and if Gray's fever breaks, we will all be heading to the Fall Festival. I am so over this illness, it can move on now.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It will be SPOOKTACULAR

I am excited for Halloween this Saturday, and usually I am not a fan of the day. Being it is on a Saturday is a good start. In the morning we are attending the kid's Fall Festival at school and they are super excited. Then we will come home, carve pumpkins and I will prepare our spooky dinner. This year the kids have requested witches fingers (scraggly chicken tenders), mummy dogs (hot dogs wrapped in puff pastry), frog guts (round pasta with peas and a creamy sauce)and carrot eyeballs (slices of carrot topped with herbed cheese and an olive slice). Then Ryan will take the three big kids out trick or treating while I man the door with the baby. Once they are home we sort the candy and trade out anything Haven is allergic too, then they will have dessert (alien cupcakes) and we will watch a Halloween movie. Then bed. It should be a fun night!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oh swine flu

how we hate thee....

You have been teasing and tormenting us for weeks. First my big girls and pneumonia for Haven...and prednisone, the crazy-making drug.

Now Teagan...her little tushie red from the many poopy diapers, her screaming from 9 pm-2 am probably from a sore throat made worse by her screams. Me, with the sore throat and now terrible chesty cough. Grayson...runny nose and bad attitude that drown out my normally sweet and kind boy.

Swine flu, you have hit us all and made us sick, but we will prevail....we now have natural immunity and don't need shots :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This is the life I have chosen

and I couldn't be happier.

Nine poopy diapers due to swine flu, and I wouldn't trade it.

Arguing children, they fill the silence with silly disputes.

A house that is never quite clean enough or organized enough or finished being fixed and updated, but where my children will spend their childhood. A home where we have brought babies home, shared birthdays, holidays, disagreements and resolutions.

This life that I have chosen, while unconventional to many, is what is right. I love my house full of craziness and noise. I welcome the chubby baby thighs, loose teeth, first plays and new experiences. I also welcome my career and education, which many would not have tried to take on while filling their home with little feet and loud voices.

Some days it is hard to see through the moment, to see past the dishes that need to be done, the laundry folded, the baths given and the diapers changed. It can be hard to see that in five years, this life that I have chosen will be so different when it is shared with a 14 year old, a 12 year old, a 10 year old and a 5 year old, if no more join unexpectedly, and then I will miss the days when they were all so small.

This is the life I have chosen, and while it is not for everyone, it is the best life for me.

Busy Busy Watch me go!

Wow, long time no blog. I actually have a draft saved, but decided that I didn't want to finish it and started new.

The week was a long and interesting one. Got lots done around the house including laundry and cleaning and work. Made yummy food for the family, they seemed happy with the meals overall. Planned and executed family fun night Friday, complete with preservative laden appetizers for dinner (and a salad on the side), homemade blue cheese dressing and caramel apples for dessert made the old fashioned way with the pot of molten caramel. The kids were extra happy that they got to consume all these goodies in front of a movie in the family room...good times for all.

The bad part of the week is that the flu ran through here again. Just as shots became available, although in limited numbers, the second half of the family got sick including myself, Grayson and Teagan. Grayson had a very mild case, low fever and some coughing and a runny nose. Teagan had a fever, cough, some extra spitting up, some fun baby choking episodes and she was extra fussy. I ended with a fever and a sore throat and general exhaustion. Seems the worst of it is over and all in all, out of the six of us, only Haven was hard hit when she had the pneumonia (we believe it was H1N1 even with the negative test).

In other news, I am really working hard to let things go, to get through tough days or tough times with a different approach. To try to find a new way to look at things, and to see the good things through the bad.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Can someone dig me out?

Overwhelmed. That is how I would describe how I am feeling. My days have been really hectic and finding time to focus on one task for any length of time is near impossible. I know it is a phase, and that it all will get done, but I really need a day of doing nothing but hanging out on the couch under a blanket.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Snuggles and cuddles

We have had an early taste of winter this week forcing us to turn on the heat and bundle up. My husband and I are huge fans of winter, the fires in the fireplace, the dark evenings, the warm blankets and snuggles are comfort and home for us. I was probably one of the few folks who enjoyed the gray skies this week and the crisp air, but winter evokes this homey feeling for me and makes me want to hunker down with those I love.

The downside to this early taste is my sweet Teagan did not have many warm clothes. For around the house we had some things for her including sleepers and leggings and the like, but to go out in we needed some warmer items. I purchased her some winter wear before she was born assuming she would be similar in size as my other children, but she has turned out to be quite the little peanut. At 3 months old, she is just barely into size 3-6 months clothing, much of which are still too large. I had purchased mostly 6-9 month winter wear assuming it wouldn't be needed until November and that she would be long like the other kiddos....now I would guess she will wear that size in January or February. Needless to say, the little girl needed some clothes so I went and grabbed her a few things the last few days including a new fleece snowsuit. We are planning to pick apples tomorrow, and pumpkin picking is on the horizon, so she needed something to be snuggled up in, and the snowsuit is a necessary evil.

Now Teagan is ready to be snuggled, the firewood is waiting outside and the winter blankets are washed and waiting on the couch. Bring on the cold, we are all ready to snuggle.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Perspective

As much as I complain about my house and how much I want to move, sometimes it just takes some perspective to see things differently. Usually I only see what we need to do, what we don't have and the things I don't like. Today, while walking around the house holding Teagan, I tried to see the other side of things.

We are lucky to have a large home that is comfortable, in a nice neighborhood, in a good school district. The house has plenty of room for our brood and we have a nice lot, just under an acre and the front looks a bit like a park. We have so very much that I often forget to see. Would I like a different kitchen...YES. Bathroom..YES. Flat backyard...HELL YES! But we do have room to spread out and enjoy our life as a family, and should we decide to stay here long term, we also have options to expand and upgrade the house. Today we talked about the option to take off the garage and build a new one with a new master bedroom above it. This would create a huge space for Ryan and I (our garage is a 2 1/2 car garage) including office space and a new master bath. If we added a hallway through the old master bedroom, the resulting room would be a great room for the older two girls and they would have their own bathroom to share, and Gray and Teagan would have their own rooms with a bathroom to share, plus a guest room. See.....options come from a change in perspective.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Poor neglected blog

We have just been so busy, and what we have been doing is mundane, that I haven't really been blogging much.

Today the girls had a half day, and somehow I managed to get the husband moving early enough for he, Grayson, Teagan and I to head out to run errands. First stop was the dreaded W-Mart. We had to pick up Haven's meds, they were the only shop in town that had it in stock, so off we went. They were having trouble with our insurance, seems there was an error in the system, but I must say that the woman working in the pharmacy was wonderful and patient and got everything resolved for me. We also scored a few deals for the baby. I have been searching for a decent hooded sweater or sweatshirt for her but have only been able to find crazy striped or colored ones in Teagan's size. It was getting desperate since it will be very cold here next week, and the little one needs something warm, and as a last resort I headed back to the baby section. They had two sweatshirts for her, both with hoods and while they aren't may favorite style, they are simple and clean looking, and will work to keep her warm. Best part...they were 3 bucks each!

After that store, we then headed to our favorite store on earth...Wegman's. Ryan and I walked in, grabbed a tea and coffee and treated the little boy to a gelato. We then had a great time getting everything we needed and even ran into the Fallon's while there. We love Wegman's not only for the clean environment and huge amount of choices, but also because we walked out of there with a cart full of food for 60 bucks. When you have a family of six, that is a dream come true.

Tonight we are all relaxing. Dinner is BBQ Beef sandwiches taht slow cooked all day and homemade coleslaw. The girls and I made a banana cream pie for dessert and I already did all my work for the day. Looking forward to family snuggles and fun.

Monday, October 5, 2009

It is a losing battle

I have this idea of what I want my house to look like, the order it should be in, and the general feeling of everything having a place. What I have had to come to accept is that in a house with five other people, it just won't ever be what I want or what I have in my head. I try, trust me, to get everything just perfect, but it just never lasts. I can clean all day and night, and it is undone in a matter of minutes because we live here and someone is always home. For example, I like a neat and clean kitchen, and that is one area I am rarely willing to waiver on since I do the cooking in there. With the dishwasher out of commission, I have had to give over some of my limited counter space to the dish drain, but somehow we have made it work. The living room is another area I try to keep as neat and clean as possible, since it is the room I escape to when I need a break, but right now the stroller is in there and there is some clutter in the corner that needs to be addressed, but I never have the time to attack it. Just keeping up with general upkeep, vacuuming 12 times a day due to dog hair, kids, leaves, etc. Dishes. Laundry. Picking up whatever is strewn about. Bathrooms which go from spotless to trashed with one kid's visit. The bigger tasks, the mud room that needs reorganizing, the garage, the room under the stairs, the front hall closet and my closet, always get tossed to the side. Once I get a chance to do one of these and move on, the first is trashed again. Alas, it is a losing battle, so instead of making myself crazy, I just keep trying, and cleaning, and putting away in the vicious cycle knowing it will never all be done, but that the mess is worth it.

Blessings

It has been a rough year thus far, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I believe that all of the hard times we faced will be well worth it. This year has taught me not to take anything for granted, and that the health of my family is the most important thing. I have learned that while I will always stress over little, petty things, it will be okay in the end, and I need to let some of it go and just enjoy the good things. I found that I am so very blessed to have four children and a loving husband. Our marriage, while imperfect, is strong and I have leaned on Ryan more this year than ever before and found that he is always there to hold me up.

This year, while incredibly difficult at times, has taught me patience and joy in the small things in life. I only need to look at the faces of my children to see that patience is the key to our success, when I have it, everything seems easier. As we head into the holidays, I am excited to share our traditions with Teagan and to see how she impacts our family. I am constantly looking to see the positives in my relationship with Haven and to find better ways to deal with her "issues" and to simply enjoy who she is and what she brings to our lives. I want to take more time with Brittan, to see the person she is becoming and celebrate it, and Grayson is a constant joy in my life with the unique perspective that a boy brings to the mix. I am a lucky mama, and I need to let the stress go more, and be thankful for what I have right here snuggled up at home.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

On the mend

Whew, it was a long week having Haven home sick and all medicated and crazy! I took her to the doctor for a lung check on Friday and she was still wheezing, so it will be a month of treatments for her to keep her lungs clear. Seems what no one mentioned was that she had viral pneumonia....ah well that explains it.

So far, Britt seems OK, just a lingering cough. Gray is a little under the weather, but also just a little cough. Teagan has a runny nose and is crabby and sneezy, but no fever or real cough so we are hopeful she escaped unscathed.

My classes took an exam last week, and this week they are off so I am going to enjoy hanging close to home and trying to get some things accomplished. I also have new classes starting at FT school, so that will keep me busy, and I have a class starting the end of this month which means lots of paper writing again. On the positive, I found out that I am able to write two classes and that means some much wanted and needed extra cash coming in. It will be nice to have a padded bank account and for Christmas to be fun and not stressful this year. I even have a plan to try to get a trip for the kids for Christmas, we are looking at one of the resorts with an indoor water park :)

The BEST part about having some extra cash is that we can book our beach vacation with the Fallons! I cannot wait until we are sitting on the beach next summer, by far it is one of my favorite things and I love getting away and enjoying time with family and friends. I am also looking to see if my parents can secure us a week in Hilton Head too, and for that trip it will probably only be the moms and kids which could be an adventure! Two moms and seven kids 10 and under, it could go either way, but I am guessing it will be crazy, loud, silly and most of all FUN!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Illnesses suck

Oh my, I am losing my mind. Haven is on a number of meds for her asthma, including two steroids, and therefore I haven't been giving her her ADD meds since I was concerned that all the medications would be too much on her system. She needs to take her anti-seizure meds, plus Tylenol or Motrin for her illness, Prednisone (oral steroid), Xoponex and Pulmicort (inhaled steroid), so adding in another drug this week just seemed mean. This unfortunate side effect is that steroids make you crazy, and without the self control her ADD meds give her, it is like living in the looney bin. Truly I fear I am losing my mind with the randomness and craziness that abounds. Argh.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Never a dull moment

Last week Brittan was home sick on Wednesday. No big deal, sore throat, slight cough, no fever. I watched her the one day and she was back in action on Thursday. Friday Haven was home with the same symptoms. Friday night she woke up and needed a breathing treatment, then another on Saturday, and then she spiked a fever...uh oh. Ryan took her to the ER since she is high risk for complications if she were to contract the flu. Thankfully, the flu test was negative, but poor Haven has a severe lower respiratory infection and her asthma was flaring up badly. When she got there, her oxygen levels were in the 80's, under 95 is bad, so 80's is really, really, bad. They gave her breathing treatments, sent her home with oral steroids and an order to rest. She will be home most of the week being that her immune system is compromised and the flu is going around, it would be devastating if she were to get it now.

So I have three of the four kids home. Ryan will need to work some extra hours today to help out the folks who covered for him Saturday when he missed work, and I am guessing we will have a long, long day. The good part is that I have very little going on beyond housework. My PT school is taking an exam, so I have no prep, and FT school is between classes so I just have some administrative stuff to do. I am hoping to get a little decluttering done today, some laundry and even get the diapers washed and out to dry.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sometimes you need a rainy day

We are having one of those rainy, dreary, cool Saturdays and I am thoroughly enjoying it. The cool weather is such a nice change, and I am hoping it helps kill off the ants that we have been battling. We have had an issue with those little tiny sweet ants this year, usually they show up in Spring, I clean the heck out of wherever they are, and they are gone within a day or two. In the past when they would persist, we would use the Terro liquid ant baits and they would be gone for sure, but we couldn't find them locally this year and we were using other types of baits. Yeah, well they don't work.

Today I broke down and called an exterminator. I scheduled him for a few weeks from now and then promptly ordered the Terro baits online. I want to see if they will do the job and save me a hundred bucks! I am hopeful that they have been the secret to our success in the past since they had 50 five star reviews out of 53 total reviews! If not, the bug guy will be here soon enough to spray poison all over our nice organic world....a drastic step which shows we are desperate:(

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Through the fog

Wow, what a difference a few days make. The anxiety was still pretty bad last night when driving to work, but once I was headed home, it seemed much better. It was better still this morning and I am hoping it will keep improving. The big test will be driving to work tomorrow since driving has become a huge trigger for me. This makes me sad since I have always loved to drive, long trips, country rides, the scenic route, I was always happy to take the wheel, and now it is a struggle to drive even here in town. Sigh.

We are also attacking some key areas of the house and I am SO excited! Ryan is working on some clutter in our room, and in a bit I am going to fold Gray and Teagan's clothes and put them away. The girls and Gray will need to clean their rooms today and I will run a vacuum upstairs to finish getting the job done. The other big task is the master bathroom. I think we will begin redoing it this winter, I just need to figure out if we are tearing out the shower or not. What I want to do is tear out the horrid shower stall, put in a shower pan and tile that area extending it out another foot. Then I want to tile the floor and paint the walls, and add a new mirror. The question will be cost. If we can't do the shower stall, we will be tiling the floor and painting at the very least, and I am deciding on colors now...either a pale olivey sagey green or some shade of orange. Decisions!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Admit Defeat

OK, so I try to keep most things close to the vest on here, but sometimes I feel the need to share. I am very prone to anxiety and have wicked OCD, we all know these things about me. I have tried medications and therapy in the past to "help" and basically was told that I was functionally OCD which was a nice way of saying that I was good crazy. My lifestyle requires a bit of craziness, so I have basically just puttered along.

While pregnant with Teagan, we faced a lot of challenges, some small...like the burst pipe and house flood, some medium, like the mother in law moving in for a short time, and some more major like the heart issues the baby and I faced. I have found that leaving the anxiety behind has been difficult postpartum, so I have begun taking Paxil to help things along. Am I happy about it, no. Do I need it right now, yes. The anxiety has become overwhelming for me, keeping me up at night and making me cranky and short. I started on the 10 mg dose, which is the lowest, but it made me feel sick to my stomach, although it curbed the anxiety. I went off for a few days, and today split the pills into 5 mg doses to see if that cuts the side effects.

Sometimes you just need to admit that you need help, and I hope it is only for a short while, I like my usual functional craziness.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Crisp Breezes

I cannot say how much I have been loving the weather, it is nice and cool and crisp in the morning, and warmer in the afternoons. We have been running upper 70's/lower 80's most days, and if we could settle in the low 70's it would be perfect weather. I love fall, and the last few years we seemed to jump from summer to winter and then back to summer with no real spring or fall weather which was disappointing.

Many of my best memories from growing up are from fall and spring, and the weather here in VA is not as mild as on Long Island. For Ryan and I, the weather is a big player in where we want to end up when we make the next big move.

To celebrate the change of seasons, I have been breaking out the cooler weather foods. Chili is back in the rotation as are a number of soups and stews. I made a pot roast the other day and was happy to have that warm feeling of comfort food in the house. Don't get me wrong, come next summer I will be thrilled to be back out at the grill making fresh foods and keeping the heat out of my kitchen, but for now it is all about warmth and home.

Soon we will go apple picking and canning will begin again Then comes the holidays, winter fires and the cold, dark evenings that make me feel all snuggly and safe....maybe even some snow will show up! I am beginning to feel hopeful again, I am seeing that this bad phase may be ending, and there are opportunities for us in the future. While I would love to pick up and move right now, I know that we can't and I am ok with that. If things go well, we hope to be back in NY in two years, but if not, we will make it work here. I guess this is the adventure part of life.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Long week

It was a long week of good and bad news. We are slowly adapting to the schedule and while the girls are tired by the end of the week, we are feeling more in control. Gray, Teagan and I are also getting used to the quieter days, although poor Gray really misses the girls being home to play with. Preschool starts in a few weeks, so that should help him feel better since he will get to see his friends and play three days a week.

Right now I am anxiously awaiting October for a number of reasons, and will be thankful as we head into fall and winter.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time Management

I never realized how much of my day was spent dealing with the girls....them fighting with each other, with Grayson, complaining, needing things, etc. Since they have been back at school, I now see how I used to get everything done. I have had no trouble getting the chores for the day completed, lunch made for myself and Gray and dinner for the family. I have also had time to relax a little, work, and get some of the bigger tasks underway (there are ample BIG tasks that always need doing). Now keep in mind, I have the younger two at home which includes the 8 week old who nurses every two to three hours and needs to be held or carried a lot and I STILL have more time! Don't get me wrong, I love my girls and I am thrilled to see them when they get home, but they need a lot of attention, apparently more than the two younger kids, and between all four that leaves little time to get tasks accomplished. I am thankful they enjoy school and that things are going well for everyone!

I am trying to make Tuesdays a fun day for Gray and I, at least until preschool starts next month. Tomorrow I promised to take him to lunch and then to the Marine Corp Museum. I think he will have a great time, and if the museum bores him, there is an awesome playground outside that he can visit too. The main concern will be feeding Teagan. I know I will feed her before we leave, then we need to stop and pick up a medication for me and drop off a script for Haven, then we will go to lunch. Before we go into the museum I will need to feed the baby, so that may be a good time to stop at the playground, so he can play and I can nurse, then we will go into the museum. Depending on when we are done, I will see if we have time to run up to Wegman's. I have a big list that I need to fill and we will be almost halfway there, so it may be worth it. Better yet, I should email the list to Ry and have him stop on his way home tomorrow :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I hear you!!!!

I have had a feeling that the universe has been trying to tell us something for awhile, but kept shoving that thought away. We have had a HUGE string of bad luck, and recently the courses I had been asked to write for an extra 7k were canceled which took away some much desired security. I am hoping that my boss finds me a few more classes to write, but we will see, I do know I have a meeting on October 1st which may or may not lead to work.

I also applied for a position with a non-profit. It would be a work from home doing fundraising and might be part or full time. It is an environmental group, so something I am very comfortable with. My concern is that I haven't done traditional fundraising, I have created events and solicited donations for them including some really cool things like an antique train, classic cars, etc...but I am not sure that they will see that the skills translate well. It would be perfect to do that job part time along with my full time gig and the two adjunct classes until the end of the year, then maybe go full time and drop the adjunct work. While two full time jobs seem like a lot, I have no commute and work seven days a week, so it is much more managable. I guess time will tell. If the courses or the other job don't work out, I will keep looking for opportunities. Ryan and I are itching to get out of here, maybe our housing market will keep growing, we gained 20K in value last month, so maybe this summer will be one of great change.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Just nothing to say

I have a post sitting there that I started to write but didn't finish. It is basically the same old same old, so today I decided to just post a reminder to all to look around and be thankful for the safety, love and closeness of your friends and families, and know that the families of the 9/11 attacks cannot do the same today. Think of them.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Squishy Tushies

We have had Teagan in the cloth diapers during the day for a few weeks now and I am happy to report it is going very well! She fits into all my fitted diapers and covers and within the group I have a few favorites and will be adding more to my stock. We just broke out the all in one diapers and a few of those fit her as well.

We have only had one or two explosions or leaks, about the same as we would have with disposables, and the washing hasn't been hard at all! I am able to do the diapers every two or three days, there is no stink, and the few diapers that had some staining bleach right out in the sun. The main issue will be in winter when I can't always hang them out to dry, but as long as it is over freezing, they may take a trip out into the sun to bleach then head inside to the fireside to dry.

The diapers are really budget friendly, super easy to use (even the hubby likes them), environmentally friendly and as an added bonus...CUTE!

Let's make a deal

Ryan is in the midst of schedule switchover. The switch is good for us since it means he is home to wrangle the kiddos both days I teach, but the switch really stinks. He worked last Tues-Fri nights, was off last night and then works tonight-Tuesday. Because he works overnight, he slept during the day yesterday and was supposed to stay up all night in his normal schedule and finish swapping the desks in the family room. I woke at 4 am when Grayson wanted to come in my room and I declined and then he and I battled for over an hour. When I came downstairs at 5:30 I saw that the dishes were not finished, the desks not completely swapped and the husband asleep....hmmm.

To be fair, I must admit that he is now working on finishing the desk, and did do the dishes.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Busy little bee

I got a lot done today and feel like I may FINALLY be getting on task! This morning I knew I needed to make beef stock, so right after we came down and I fed the kids, I put some short ribs, water and veggies on the stove. The baby was fussy today, so between feedings and holdings, I vacuumed, dusted the family room, did the dishes, switched the laundry and washed the diapers, hung out the diapers, made the stock into beef and barley soup, folded towels, made lunches, baked bread and started a new batch and made my list for the grocery store. I still have a lot of catching up to get this house back in order, but I decided I will attack one room at a time. Tomorrow it is the Living Room since that is my room to sit quietly in or use when I am on the phone, so that will be cleaned and organized. The kitchen is on the agenda for Monday and Tuesday. Since the CSA pick up is Monday, I will lose some time that day, and Tuesday the kids start school, so there will be some hub bub that day as well and there is a lot of organizing needed in the kitchen cabinets. I think if I can approach everything systematically, it will get done and I will feel like everything is back to normal. The baby has pretty regular sleep times starting, so I know I can get a break in the morning to get things done, and then again in the afternoon, although that is usually when I make dinner.

I am very excited to get back to cooking and organizing the house, I feel so much better when we have good solid meals and the house is in order. Maybe this is the light at the end of a long and difficult pregnancy and postpartum period?

It's tough being right

Yesterday I posted about my anxiety and stress, but didn't get too into it. The main source of the stress was my car, which isn't even 4 years old! In July, a week before I had the baby, the kids and I were stranded on a back road with a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, this was after a double flat tire incident last November. That flat, along with the other tire in the pair and a new battery cost us nearly 800 bucks in the middle of summer when we don't have my PT income. Since that time, I have had some stress about the car that was getting worse and worse. It was getting to be that I didn't want to drive anywhere, which is odd for me since I really like driving and usually find it calming. Following the lake trip, I began hearing a hum. Wrote it off for a week, then made the husband listen, then when I drove to PT gig on Wednesday it began to worry me more. Everyone basically told me it was nothing, just my anxiety, etc...I even made a mechanic take a ride with me and the four kids on Thursday. On Friday, I fed my baby, took a half a Xanax and set out to drive to PT school...on the way it became clear that there was an issue.

I had been pretty sure for awhile it was a wheel bearing. I made it to work fine, then came back and dropped it at the shop where Emily picked me up with my four kids she had been watching (Thanks Em, you are the best!) Needless to say, within an hour of dropping the car off, it was confirmed, failed wheel bearing. The mechanic indicated it was pretty bad, so I am glad I took it in and didn't wait or push it, it could be very dangerous. So 400 bucks later, the truck is running again and I can be happy and mad that I was right.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Under Pressure

Oh my the stress and anxiety are out of control. Most who know me, know that I have severe OCD and take on probably too much, but thrive on being busy. Being someone who always seeks perfection and has a need to be busy is a double edged sword. While it is great that I can juggle my jobs, home, kids and school even while taking on probably more than anyone should, the flip side is that when it falls apart, it is a huge issue. I have tried medications in the past to help with my anxiety, some did nothing and some worked really well. I was even put on a medication meant to curb my OCD and it was terrible, I couldn't make a list, plan or decision....so not conducive to my life!

My favorite med of choice is Xanax as I can take it only when I need it and it calms my anxiety right down, but I cannot take it while nursing. This leads me to the postpartum issues I am facing right now. I don't get postpartum depression, I get postpartum anxiety. In the past, I was able to work through it on my own, but this time, with so much going on, I just cannot. I am totally fixated on a few key "worries" to the point that I am changing my life to avoid these things, and THAT is a big issue. I feel like the anxiety is a big brick wall keeping me from seeing all the good things and only seeing the bad. Needless to say, I will be seeing my doctor this week to try another medication that will hopefully help me get over this hump.

I hope that anyone who is suffering finds the help they need. I have no problem admitting that I need a medication to help me right now. While the anxiety will eventually go away, I don't want to be miserable the entire time. I am fortunate enough that in my day to day I usually don't need the assistance of medication and do well being my normal crazy self, but also know that many folks do need this help and shouldn't be ashamed or not seek help because they fear what people will think.

I am off to take the kids to Em's and then on to teach a class. I know this will cause me stress and panic, but soon I will have help and will feel better. Anxiety is a terrible thing and takes so much away from my joys in life, I will be happy to see it go.