Sunday, October 31, 2010

It IS a Happy Halloween

for me because the playroom is CLEAN and DONE (except the carpet)!  Wooohooo, mark that bad boy off my list!

In other news, the kids are off trick or treating, even little Teagan who will not be getting candy but is along for the ride. 

Dinner was an adventure, lets just say that heavy crazy cleaning, plus lots of work work, plus whiny kids, plus too much to do, plus hormones can make the dinner plans go astray.  Thankfully, after a quick run to the store, the gross dinner plans were fixed and the only change was that we had store bought (gasp!) chicken fingers instead of homemade...oh well. 

Dinner was Witches Fingers (chicken fingers), Monster Brains (rotini with a creamy pesto and diced tomatoes) and Slug and Beetle Salad (bananas and black grapes in strawberry glaze).  Kids declared it a hit and ate well before getting dressed up as....

A Zombie, A Witch, A French Super Model and A Super Cute Baby Witch :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I wait for this all year

Today we started the first fire of the season, and I am in heaven.  I love having a fire in the fireplace, there is something about the warm glow, the smell of burning wood, the crackling and shimmering logs.  We are using up the last of our wood and I will need to get going on ordering some more, since once we get into the habit of a fire, it is hard to break.  The kids are so excited, they all went out to collect twigs and sticks and helped stack the last of the wood so we would be ready.  I just hope the wood lasts the day, and fear we may need to take a run to the wood guy this afternoon and load up the truck just to appease the masses.

In addition to the fire, I am starting the next batch of Christmas cookies.  These will be chocolate cookies dipped in a chocolate peppermint glaze topped with crushed peppermint candies...oh my they are good!  I am also thinking of making some Challah bread since the week ahead looks pretty cold and the kids love toasted Challah with eggs or french toast made with the fresh bread. 

This is home. This is my favorite time of the year, when we get warm and cozy and make things with our hands.  These are the memories I hope my kids look back on fondly, that they remember the excitement of the first fire, that they enjoy cooking from scratch and working together to make holiday treats.  This is our life together, and I love it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

With a shiver in my bones just thinking......

about the weather! (thank you for the apropos lyrics 10000 Maniacs)

What the hell is going on here?  Earlier this week we had tornado watches and the AC was blowing and it was hot and humid and disgusting!  Today it is brisk and tonight there is a frost warning?  I am all for the cold weather and have been anxiously awaiting the cooler days and nights for weeks now, but seriously, AC two days ago, heat tonight?  My heat pump is going to get a complex!

I am, however, looking forward to sleeping in the chill tonight. For some reason the cool air welcomes deep slumber for me, and since sleep has been elusive lately, I am excited to get some rest. Plus cold weather means hot breakfast in the am, I am planning on a nice big pot of maple cinnamon oatmeal.

Today was yet another crazed day, but I am holding out hope that the weekend will be more relaxed. Teagie and I left the house around 9 am, hit the grocery store, a different one than yesterday but where I needed to go for sandwich meat and a rockin' deal on a pork roast.  Then off to Target where she was treated to a croissant and I slugged back a Pumpkin Spice Latte while securing Britt's Halloween outfit, a few accessories for Gray, and other random stuff like a new air filter and a shower curtain liner.  We were supposed to go to Justice after that to grab gifts for a double birthday party tomorrow night and some stocking stuffers for my big girls, but I forgot my 40% off card and will have to go tomorrow morning instead.  Came home and ate lunch, put the baby down and cleaned the house up, then the big kids came home and Gray's friend came to play, so they were a bunch of crazy, silly, happy kiddos outside.  Slapped together a dinner of mixed leftovers for the crew, did a work call and settled into bed. 

Hubby is off tomorrow night and doing the birthday party run, and I am planning to relax and do some laundry and save my energy to attack my bedroom on Sunday as it is the last big thing on my to-do list.  Thankfully I am reaching my "settle in" point, most of the chores are done, stuff is nearly ready, work is winding down...I am getting ready to sit and usher in winter, Christmas and our new son.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Human observations

In my old age I have come across many types of folks.  There are giving people, sweet people, angry people, sad people.  Most people have stories and reasons for why they are the way they are, and usually it all sort of makes sense.  Then there are those people you come across whose stories don't match "who" they are.  For example, they have had an incredibly hard and trying life, yet they are loving and giving and open.  But to me, there is one category of people I have come across that make me the saddest....and these are the unreasonably unhappy people.

See these folks have what they need and more, they are usually well cared for, loved and for the most part secure.  They have families that others dream about, they have homes, they have opportunities, but for some reason they are always unhappy.  These are the people you meet who complain about EVERYTHING even though they actually have little that is wrong.  They are the same people who fight with everyone; friends, family, coworkers, etc over anything and everything for no real reason.  They push people away, they whine and moan, they complain when nothing is there to complain about and they can't ever see what they have right in front of them.

When I run into these people, I can't help but wonder why they are that way.  Do they feel they haven't lived up to their potential?  Did they make wrong choices in their life or feel taken advantage of?  Are they just plain unappreciative and selfish?  I wish I could shake them and say "LOOK!  You have what so many others dream about and still you complain and fight!  LOOK, you don't need to be unique or stand out, you are good enough as yourself!  LOOK you made the choices you did, and you are OK, be thankful!"  But instead, I feel that all I can do is walk away from them...walk away because I can't watch the trainwreck, the breakdown of human spirit and the selfishness that drives these sorts.  I walk away feeling thankful for what I do have, and for all the hard work and choices it took to get where we are and that I had the opportunities I did.  I walk away thankful for my family, even if they can make me cuckoo, and for my jobs even though they are exhausting, since I would never want to be without the love of my family or the stability of my job.  I walk away proud of the hard, and sometime unpopular, decisions I have made as a human, wife and mother, because I am proud and confident that they were the best choices I could make in the moment, and that there is no shame in making a mistake.

Teagan-the new poster child for abstinance

Really crazy morning, although I knew it would be and was as prepared as possible.  I slept only a few hours last night due to my lovely insomnia and got up early since the girls have an activity before school starts.  Got them up and ready, then Gray and Teagan up and ready with enough time to get myself showered and dressed!  The best part about having older kids and the baby is that they were happy to bring her downstairs and sit her in her high chair with Cheerios and her milk and watch her while I showered, such a gift that was since otherwise I would have had to shower with her in the bathroom with me, with the curtain open begging her not to play in the toilet.

Our neighbor picked the girls up and then Gray and I straightened the house until it was time to drop him at school.  Drove him up, chatted with one of the teacher's whose little girl is a friend of Brittan's then ran to the grocery store.  Teagan and I rushed through the store and I planned to come home and unload, but we had just enough time to take the trek down to the farm to get the milk, so away we went!  Got the milk and dropped the deposit check for the meat order, got back in the car and hightailed it back to town so I could make my OB appointment.  Now I knew my appointment was at 11, and that Teagan would be getting hungry for lunch, so I had planned ahead and packed her cup and a container with cheerios, raisins, turkey and cheese.  Well.....we had to wait, a LONG time, and she lost it.  She was a wailing sobbing thrashing throwing screaming mess of a baby girl in the waiting room.  There were a few people there with new babies and she wanted to touch the babies.  She wanted to climb the magazine racks.  She wanted to open the door and leave.  She was a wreck.  There was actually a teenage girl in the room who I am pretty sure will never have sex again after seeing Teagan today.  Thankfully the receptionist knows us and checked when we were due to head back, and right around the point we could take no more, we got into our room.  Once in the room, she was happy to sit on my lap and look at magazines, which certainly helped my blood pressure stay down.

In other news, we got our date for the c-section and it was just when I wanted it, although I fear he still may try to sneak out early.  The doc was a bit concerned that he was measuring so big, so I am off to another sonogram in two weeks to check size.  Thankfully we make big babies so it is not a real concern for us, but he just wants to double check everything to be sure he is doing ok in there since I am just about out of room.

Now I just need to work and then hopefully get to bed early tonight, I couldn't break it to poor Teagan, but we have a bunch of errands to run tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If you are the betting type....

we can play, "Guess when Finn comes"

I will share some information and if you care to, you can venture a guess when our fifth child, second son, will makes his arrival. Sadly no prizes if you are correct, but I can email you a pic of a gold star if you like :)

Finn will be a scheduled c-section no later than December 3rd, due date is the no guesses after the 3rd.

My other kids were born 1 at full term, 1 at 38 weeks (induction then c-sec), 1 at 38 weeks (c-sec) 1 at 37 weeks (c-sec)

I have had labor concerns with all kids except #3, preterm with #1 and 2 at 28 and 32 weeks, preterm with #4 at 33 weeks and again just before 37 weeks.

Finn is VERY big, measuring at least 2.5 weeks ahead and has been settled head down for a number of weeks already.  I have dropped more in the last few weeks and have had regular, strong, real contractions.

So..venture a guess if you will, I am 33 weeks right now, turning 34 weeks over the weekend.  Oh, and feel free to guess his size too

 For reference Haven-9lbs 6 oz 23", Britt-8lbs 2oz-19 1/2", Gray 8 lbs 4 ozs-19 1/2", Teagan 7 lbs 6 ozs-19"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Making headway

We have been busy here, I have enlisted the rest of the family in my hormonal nesting and it is slowly paying off.  Ryan has finished painting the playroom trim and we will get to putting the room back together so my parents can sleep in there when the baby comes.  I still need to get new curtains and bedding, but other than that, it is ready...well until we put the carpet in, but that is not happening until after the holidays!

I washed all the baby gear and reassembled.  We will store everything upstairs in our room for the next few weeks except the car seat base that will go into the car in the next week or so.  I plan to do a big car cleanout to prep for the kid shuffle.  We have an extended Trailblazer that we bought with only three kids.  Right now I have Brittan and Grayson in the way back, Haven and Teagan in the middle seats with Teagan rear facing.  When we make the move, Grayson will stay in the way back and Teagan will join him, Finn will take Teagan's spot and Britt and Haven will share the other two seats in the middle.  When the whole family is together, we will fill every seat in the car!  Thankfully the truck is paid off in less than a year, so we plan to tough it out for two more years and then buy an airport this one although we will look for one that is used :)

I have also gone through the last of the baby clothes, scrubbed the bathroom, straightened the house and washed a million loads of laundry. I still need to organize my room to make space for the bassinet and make sure Grayson's room is spotless since my mom will sleep there when we are at the hospital.  I am hoping I can get the baby's room painted, but it may not happen and I am ok with that, it is the big things we need to work on right now that are important. Hopefully by the end of Ryan's days off next week we will have the house back in order and be ready for the new baby...hooray!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

If you are the praying type, the loving type, the goodwill type or the human type

please send good thoughts, prayers and love to this family.  Their oldest son, a mere two years old, is dying from a very aggressive cancer and they have already had to bury one of his brothers (a twin) who was born prematurely.

While it is hard to read what these poor parents and children are living through, it in no way can compare to what they are dealing with day to day.  Just keep them in your thoughts, and be thankful for the moments you have with those you love, I am sure they would love to be badgered with questions, have to clean up a mess or deal with a temper tantrum with their son right now.

Sleep is SO not overrated!

I actually woke up this morning feeling good!  Yesterday I was so sore, every single step made me ache and by the time Ryan woke up, I was in tears from the pain. It was awful.  When the kids and I headed up last night, I was able to muscle through a ton of grading and get to sleep by 11, which is a pretty big deal for me...then Teagan slept until 7:30.  It was pure bliss.

I think we have turned the corner with Teagie, she was cutting a tooth (#8) and I believe that was what was causing the nap/sleep issues.  The tooth is through and we are back to taking a decent nap and sleeping through the night...I hope!

After getting some actual sleep, I was able to get up this morning and get some things done.  The sugar cookie dough I made yesterday has been cut, baked and packed to be frozen.  My work-work is done for FT job, dishes are done and laundry switched.  The kids and I played this morning and they are enjoying lunch, after which I will put Teagan down for her nap and make the chocolate chip cookies (triple batch!) and work on Britt's reading project with her.  Ry committed to getting up at 3 to help out and he is getting the baby gear down today so I can wash it all and get it ready for Finn's immanent arrival in the next few weeks and I am making grilled chicken for make your own salad tonight (last night all I could muster was eggs, English muffins and grapes).  I also have some more grading for PT school tonight, but will do that tucked into my comfy bed. Such a difference sleep can make!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mid-morning ain't pretty

Well.......not even 11 am and I have cried.  Seems Haven felt she needed to put a notebook on the shelf over the island where I keep my precious coffee roaster.  I went to quickly move said roaster since the stove was on and I was worried about it getting too much heat, ran into the notebook and the roaster fell to the floor.  One piece of the top is broken off, and while it fits together and when I tried it out it smokes more than it should.  This roaster is my one prized possession.  I waited about a year to buy it, they are expensive and I love being able to roast my own beans.  The fact that it is now broken is devastating and while I can "just buy another" I NEVER spend that kind of money on myself and don't want to have to do it to replace something I had that worked :(

Anyway...right now soup is bubbling on the stove.  I boiled and soaked about a cup and a half of navy beans for a few hours.  Poured the beans and liquid out and saved, then removed the casing from two sweet Italian sausage and chopped into bite sized hunks, browned with some onion and carrots.  Then I added the beans and liquid back, along with some chicken stock and it is cooking on the stove.  I will add in some diced fresh tomato, basil, orzo and fresh spinach before the day is done, along with salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano.  This soup is hearty and tasty and will hopefully make the hubby feel better.

Currently making no promises on the meatballs, I am feeling the effects of the baby's early waking, so they may need to wait until tomorrow. I can always grill some chicken tenders up and do the "make your own salad" night.

Sugar cookie dough is in the fridge and the cookie cutters are ready to go.  It took me years to find a sugar cookie recipe I liked and that froze well.  I now use the first one listed here  I cut the butter in by hand and add an extra tablespoon of cream (actually we use half and half) and the cookies always come out soft and crisp.  We freeze them before decorating and they freeze like a dream, just don't be afraid, the dough is very crumbly before you chill it, but it will come together.  Off to make lunches so the crabby baby can take a nap and the equally crabby mama can join her.

***EDITED TO ADD-Found the replacement part for the roaster!  Only 13 bucks shipped and YES I am making the kid pay for it (I provided her a discount)!  She has mucho dinero and it will be a good lesson not to leave stuff everywhere!  Thirteen bucks beats having to pay $150 for a whole new roaster. ***

Making an agenda

Well.....hubby has to work tonight which changed our plans a bit.  Add to that the fact he is not feeling well, and I really feel bad for him!  Thankfully he will get home soon and head to bed and I have a few things up my sleeve to hopefully help him feel better!

On our agenda today:
1. Make soup for the hubby...I am making an Italian sausage and bean soup, it is a little spicy and filled with good veggies to soothe his throat.
2. Make meatballs for dinner for the rest of us.
3. Have the kids start switching out summer clothes to make room for winter, even though it will be in the high 70's this week.
4.  Ironically...start making Christmas cookies.  I am hoping to get a few dozen in the freezer by the end of the weekend. I usually make between 10 and 12 kinds, so I need to get a jump start.  This weekend I will make the chocolate chip and the sugar cut outs (we decorate closer to Christmas).
5. Grade a bunch of papers....need to stay on top of these, there are a bunch left!
6. Laundry.  We made a big dent yesterday, my goal today is to wash at least three loads.
7. Try to relax.  Tomorrow we will clean the house, it is becoming a weekly ritual that the kids and I (and Ryan if home) clean the house together each weekend.  I clean all week, but the extra help on weekends helps get bigger projects done and keeps things manageable.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Bare Minimum

Sometimes all you can do is what you have to do.  Here is the last few days in a nutshell:

  • Work crazy crazy
  • Home busy busy
  • Laundry is taking us over
  • Teagan not napping and waking at ridiculous times (5:15 am today!)
  • Husband working only three shifts but it feels like 300
  • Farm and Wegmans today with a baby up since 5:15 was interesting..she was good, I was tired and realized that lugging the milk and groceries are no longer a good idea....lots of contractions.
  • Finn is low low low and it hurts hurts hurts...seriously, he is a big boy and walking is painful.
  • The kids have been super about helping out
  • I have pregnancy insomnia, get it every time, can't fall asleep until 1 or 2 am...coupled with Teagans early wakings=TIRED
  • When exhausted, homemade stromboli is an easy dinner and the troops are happy
  • When making Halloween cupcakes, always make extra and freeze them...they go too fast!
  • Hubby is off tomorrow-YEAH
  • First draft of Chapter 1 of dissertation is completed and sent off for judging, um, feedback
  • I have a call at 7:30 tonight and then I plan to pass out.
The end.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Holy Hormones Batman

I am over 32 weeks pregnant now and it blows my mind that Teagan was born a mere 5 weeks from where I am now.  I am not ready for Finn, well not mentally anyway.  I have all the clothes ready, they just need a wash.  I have the gear, including the warm car seat cover that we never needed with the other kids. I have just four or five Christmas gifts left to purchase. I know he is coming soon, really soon, but I am still so immersed in work, school, kids, etc. that I just cannot get my head around how quickly it is coming, and it is throwing me for a loop.

The last two days have been hormonal meltdown days.  Work is crazy, PT job is keeping me busy since I am trying to stay on top of everything "just in case" I am finalizing Chapter 1 of my dissertation which is proving impossible since I am so tired, I am rushing to write the last three weeks of lectures for the course I am developing and I am trying to maintain the household so it is ready for when Finn comes.  Ryan's car was in the shop today getting tires and an alignment, and when we picked it up they told us the brake lights don't work, so tomorrow the car will go to the dealership to get the sensor fixed.  Add to that the playroom is still being worked on, my bathroom is a wreck, the baby gear needs to be washed, I need to move the car seats around, the bassinet needs to be put in my room, and so on and so forth...I am a wreck!

I melted down to the husband today and I think we have a plan.  The playroom trim needs to get done ASAP so we can put the room back together.  He is setting up our bathroom so I can use everything but the shower, which will help after the c-section.  A few other key tasks will get done as well, and as long as I get Chapter 1 sent over to my chair on Thursday and the lectures written by Sunday, I will have two big concerns off my list.  In five to six weeks, we will have a whole new set of challenges, of adventures, or happiness and stress, and I am trying to calm myself enough to get through these last weeks, get my ducks in a row, and be able to enjoy my new son when he comes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It is all about the me

Life with a houseful of kids, crazy jobs, school, chores, etc. can make for a lot of highs and lows throughout a day, hell throughout an hour!  Last week was tough, but it is over.  Haven is on the mend, the hubs is working again tonight (OT) but will be home tomorrow, and we are all getting what needs to get done, done and have plans to celebrate with a night out tomorrow!

Grayson has a birthday party to attend this afternoon, and usually I go out during the week to get the present so I don't have to drag everyone with me on the weekend.  Sadly that just didn't happen, Haven was just feeling too sick for me to take her around town.  So first thing this morning I loaded everyone up, along with my cup of coffee that the husband brought home for me, and we headed out to Target.  Well the kids were like a bunch of cats high on catnip...seriously a crazy bunch of buggers, so much so that we almost had to get right back in the car when we got there!  In the parking lot the kids were briefed on the expectations at Target, and away we went!  Thankfully it was not crowded, so my roaming and distracted children were not too much of a menace, and we managed to secure the much needed birthday gift, four new sets of PJs for Teagan, wipes and a ridiculous amount of Halloween candy...I think I was weakened by the crazy children.  So, mission accomplished, although it was not the smoothest of adventures. However we did discuss the important topic of Halloween dinner on our way home and the children decided on the following menu: Witches Toes (homemade chicken nuggets), Monster Brains (Rotini with pesto and mozzarella cheese thrown in for ick and slime factor), beetles and slugs salad (black grapes and bananas sliced longways with a yogurt dip) and of course, Ghost Punch (blue lemonade).  Yummy!

Came home and decided to attack the mail pile.  Since our bills are all paid online, usually mail is the least of my concerns and ends up in recycling or trash pretty quickly.  Today as I was sorting, I noticed a weird envelope and opened it...and inside was a certificate from my FT gig.  I have been there 5 years and as a reward for the insanity that can be caused by the job (just kidding, it is a pretty good job) they sent me this 50 dollar card with a code for a website.  Curious, I logged on and was super freakin excited....I could trade that 50 bucks in for gift cards of varying amounts at a million different stores!  Seriously, they had everything from LobsterGram to Amazon to Outback to CVS!  Needless to say, I got picking and secured cards to Target, CVS, Amazon and Toys R Us...I see the last few Christmas purchases within my evil grasp.

Now I must gather the ingredients for lunch, while in a state of gift card euphoria, I promised the kids they could have make your own pizza bagels for lunch...and promised a million toppings, I better get chopping!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The forest for the trees

It has been a long week, a long, exhausting week.  Haven has been home the entire week, and thankfully she slept fairly well last night which meant I slept fairly well last night, getting up at 5 am today instead of 3 am.  She is also feeling better, much less whiny and more like herself, and she is eating a bit more which is a huge relief since she is tiny to begin with, a week of not eating is not a good idea.

In addition to the illness and lack of sleep, we have also been dealing with an issue at school.  Basically we want Haven moved to a different class, the current teacher is simply not a good match, she is a yeller and Haven feels she is embarrassing her, and has had a lot of anxiety about school and is having a hard time getting what she needs.  I am NOT judging the teacher, I really don't know what happens in the classroom, but my kid is perceiving it in a poor way, and it is affecting her learning.  We have been trying to talk to the school about it and we were not getting very far, but finally today I talked to the Assistant Principal who knows Haven and our family well and who we have worked with in the past when Haven was getting her Epilepsy diagnosis done and dealt with.  She agreed that Haven is very bright and needs to be challenged, and that she needs to be in a positive learning environment.  We will meet with the AP, the Principal and the teacher Tuesday and I am not backing down on moving her, she needs it and it has to happen for her to be able to achieve at her highest potential.  We know that next year they begin placing the students, and in most subjects she is advanced, so we need to make sure she is placed where she will best fit academically.  These are the hard parenting moments, when you want to see the right thing happen quickly for your child, but you need to wait, and meet, and talk, and wait, and talk, etc.  I am hopeful that Tuesday we will all come to the conclusion that she cannot stay in the current class, and if the school does not agree, I will have no choice but to pull her out so that she continues to move forward in her studies.

So this is where we are at, trying to see the forest for the trees. We are all together, healthy, happy, content and very, very fortunate. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Time to buck up

Last night was another adventure in no sleep.  Ryan worked from home and was wise enough not to be on calls, so when Haven came down to annoy him 8 million times, he was simply annoyed and not fired :)  In between annoying her father, she managed to whine and moan all night long which kept me up from about 3 am.  I really wish I could sleep like my husband, dead to the world, but I am a super light sleeper and hear everything.

Of course I finally dozed back off at 6:30 and work in a panic around 7:30.  Brittan has a program before school and was getting picked up at 7:50...eek!  Thankfully she is a trooper, ate breakfast while I packed her backpack and got herself dressed and ready to go super quick.  I then got Teagan, Grayson, Haven and myself ready, dropped Grayson at school since it was pouring and I don't like him to be alone at the bus stop and took Haven to the doctor.

Turns out the kid has an ear infection and strep, so she isn't feeling well which we knew and acknowledged, although I am still not sure she needed to keep me up two nights in a row!  After the doc, the rain had ended just enough that I decided to run to the grocery store which is next door.  I was craving eggplant and wanted to make some for lunch, so we ran in and grabbed a few quick items, then dropped of Haven's prescription and came home.

Thankfully today is our quiet day.  Held Teagan's morning nap off until after lunch and I am hoping she takes a good long sleep.  Haven is upstairs resting and I will run and grab her script when Ryan wakes at 4.  The other kids are at school, I made roasted eggplant with ricotta, basil, parm cheese and fresh sliced tomatoes for lunch which appeased my eggplant craving.  Dinner tonight is pretty simple, we are having angel hair with pesto and Caesar salad with bread.  Most of my work work is done, so now I am planning to relax before the evening rush and hope that Haven sleeps tonight.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All about my heart

It was a long and tiring day.  After no sleep last night, I headed out early to go see my cardiologist for my echocardiogram.  I had planned to have the hubby along since cardio visits stress me out, but with Haven home sick and no one sleeping the night before, I went alone after whining and crying like a baby about it.  I can do a lot, handle a lot, juggle a lot and deal with a lot, but there are a select few things that really throw me, and the cardiologist is one of them. 

Now I really *like* my current cardio, and that is saying a whole lot since I usually despise or barely tolerate them.  I got ths guy when pregnant with Teagan since my old cardio had a sh*t fit when he heard I was pregnant again, not the approach I like in a doctor.  I like the new cardio because he is very positive, he listens to me and he is the first cardiologist I have ever had who has looked at my situation and not my condition.  All the prior doctors pushed me to get surgery, a very invasive open heart surgery, even though there was no reason, I have no symptoms and my condition is causing no problems for me. 

Anywho, went for my echo and the tech let me know my gradient (which is how they measure the pressure in my heart) was lower than when pregnant with Teagan-which was good news.  We know the gradient goes really high when I am pregnant, and drops right back down after I deliver which shocked my doctor last time as it was 35 points lower just one week after delivering.  Today my gradient was about 11 points lower than when pregnant with Teagan, so we anticipate the next few weeks of pregnancy to progress smoothly and I don't need to worry about cardiac issues unless something changes drastically.

The cardio also had some really great news for me.  One of the things we watch, due to my condition, is for the heart to show signs of strain, usually evident by some enlargement of the heart due to it having to work harder.  At my age,  it is normal for any woman who has had multiple pregnancies to have some enlargement of the heart, nothing serious or significant, but as that muscle pumps all the extra blood we have when preggers, it works harder.  Surprisingly, my heart shows NO enlargement, even within what would be "normal" for a woman my age!  In addition, my heart function is absolutely perfect, no concerns at all!  For someone with a heart issue who has been waiting her whole life to find out when surgery would have to happen, when heart failure might start, when symptoms will show, this is such great news!  The doctor thinks there is no reason that I will not make it well into my forties or fifties before we even need to consider surgery, and being that we expected surgery to happen in my twenties, this is incredible.  He says he is impressed that my body simply compensated for the heart condition and has adapted and allowed me to maintain a healthy heart!  Such a sweet relief to hear today, to know that I can rest easy and that everything looks good.  Being that I live a stressful and busy life, and have many little people depending on me and my health, knowing that I am healthy and strong and able to care for them is so calming.

A short post

I am tired.  Tired of sick kids.  Tired of being uncomfortable.  And today, just TIRED since Haven has a cold and decided that keeping me up all night long, even though I don't feel well either, was a grand idea.  Add to that that I have a doctor's appointment this morning, followed by work, then I am alone with the kids tonight...yeah, outside the house from 9-5 on no sleep, feeling crappy, preggo and exhausted.  Did I mention that the hubby was supposed to come with me to the doctors but now can't because the sleep stealing child is being a pain. Yeah, I am freakin tired.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shaking things up

We are in the midst of making some BIG decisions right now and I am not sure how they will all turn out.  We have decided (we think!) where we intend to move in the next few years and have laid out the tentative plan and timeline.  We know what type of home we want and size land, and have talked about the level of sustainability we are looking for, i.e. animals, solar power, etc.  I am in the process of looking at and soliciting some non-paying speaking gigs while I complete my dissertation so I can get picked up for some paying engagements in the next few years.  We are making decisions about schooling for one of our children. and we are considering what kind of schooling we will use with all the kids once the big move happens.

We are shaking things up, getting adventurous and making plans.  I am getting excited about all the changes the next two years will bring, and cannot wait to see how it all plays out.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend Update

Whew, it was a busy few days!

Parents came in late Friday, then Saturday we went and had lunch at the park and the kids enjoyed the beautiful warm weather.  Came home to put the baby down for a nap and the three big kids went swimming at the hotel pool.  After a nice dinner, my parents went back to the hotel and the kids and I shuffled to bed.

Sunday we met my sister and her crew at a local pumpkin farm for their Fall Festival.  It was HOT!  Kids had fun on the big slide, zip line, hay swing, feeding farm animals, doing the corn maze and riding the hayride to get pumpkins.  It was a great afternoon, just too warm for "fall" and the poor mama and littlest baby were really wiped out.  My parents dropped us at the house so the kids could get some down time, and Ryan got up and ready so we could head to dinner.  Dinner turned out to be a nightmare, the food took forever to come out, the baby drank too fast and yakked down my back, the kids were too tired to eat when the food finally came, but they were so good even though they were restless, which was the best part of the evening :)

Came home and bathed and shower the troops, did some work and tried to sleep, but poor little Teagan was so overtired she was having a rough night.  Normally she is a champion sleeper, but if she is sick or overtired, she really struggles.  She was up from about midnight until after 2, and I spent most of that time rocking her in the chair in her room.  While I was tired and I wanted to crawl into my own bed, I relish those moments of quiet when she has her little arms wrapped tight around my neck, her face nuzzled into me while she breathes quietly in her sleep.  Babies grow so quickly, and while I still adore the hugs and snuggles from the big kids, those moments when they still fit into your arms so perfectly, they are fleeting, and disappear when we are not looking. So I sat and rocked and nuzzled and kissed that baby girl.

We were up and moving early, my parents came just before 9 am so we could head to an ultrasound.  While we were waiting, we were watching my belly jump and dance and I told Ryan that Finn was head down and stretching his legs but that the tech would confirm.  I was also pretty sure he was about 4 1/2 - 5 lbs (average at this gestation is 3.3 lbs) and the tech confirmed he is measuring about 5 lbs!  He is also measuring 2.5 weeks ahead on length, and is head down as we suspected.  All these things mean I need to be on high alert in the coming weeks since I have a tendency towards preterm labor and it seems like Finn is getting ready to go.  Hopefully he will hang in until at least 36 weeks, which is only 4 1/2 weeks away, but knowing my babies, we will evict him on his scheduled c-section date.

Cute kid pics and a really cool video of Finn to come....

Saturday, October 9, 2010

P is for Pumpkins (and Papa & Nana)

My parents rolled into town last night and came bearing gifts from their recent trip.  They were in Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Russia and England and got the kids some awesome presents.  The girls got gorgeous stacking dolls and Grayson got some legos straight from the source :)  All the kids were given stuffed Beefeaters and my parents bought Ryan and two Christmas ornaments, one that is designed like a stacking doll but is a tree, Santa and snowman :)  I also got my chocolate covered biscuits from Harrods as request, nummy!

Today we will probably have a park day and the kids want to build the Halloween Haunted Gingerbread house.  Tomorrow we will meet up with my sister's crew at a local farm to pumpkin pick, see animals, do the corn maze and enjoy the festivities!  Now if only it wasn't in the 80's :(

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Little Miss

As I sit here, Teagan Jayne is happily running amok in the dining room pulling papers down, dumping out boxes of band aids and dragging toys about.  As the fourth child with older kids in the house, we confine her to a "safe" area during the times when I can not watch her like a hawk since the bigger kids often leave small items about that could hurt her.  During the day, I always free her from that area and let her have at it while I am watching her. She runs the loop from the dining room to the foyer to the kitchen and back.  She plays with the magnets on the fridge.  She pulls out everyone's shoes and tries them on.  It is a big adventure for her as she explores different parts of her world and it is so much fun watching her stop by the window to check out a squirrel or lay on the floor next to Rosie for a hug.

Things will be crazy soon as we will find a new routine that will work. It will be a new adventure for all of us, but for today I am enjoying watching my baby girl throw band aids and playdoh containers about.  The mess can always wait.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I am issuing a Public Service Announcement

I would like to provide the following important message to my loyal reader(s) who may be considering adding to their family. 

I DO NOT recommend that you get pregnant with your fifth child when your youngest current child is 8 months old, you are creeping up on/and have your 35th birthday, have two jobs, are writing your dissertation and your husband works a cracked out 12 hour schedule. 

Seriously.  Don't do it.  You will be tired and crabby and just want to curl in a ball and nap every afternoon from 1-4 and blow off work and cleaning and cooking. But you won't take that warm cozy nap because you need to work to earn a living to pay for all those kids who make the messes that need to be cleaned and who want to eat "good" dinners, and you love the little buggers so you keep truckin'. 

OK, fine, if you are creeping up on 35 or *gasp* ARE 35, and love your babies to the ends of the earth and back, and have pesky jobs and annoying schedules and decide (or have it decided for you-whoops!) that you will be blessed with a fifth little one...go for it with gusto and love and joy. But I warn you, you will be tired.... and it will be worth it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I am an insurance company's nightmare

I am so tired of going to the doctor!  I have been at the OB for four weeks in a row, it should be every other week, but one week I needed to get bloodwork done and this week I need a shot in my ass (Rhogam) and of course these HAD to happen on the weeks I didn't have an appointment!  I was supposed to have another OB appointment next week but they gave me a reprieve, sort of, and instead scheduled me an ultrasound.  So next week I get to have two ultrasounds. One will check Finn's size, they suspect he is big, although I have no clue why that would concern them. He has always been big, all my kids are big and I am having a c-section so he could be 12 lbs at 38 weeks and it wouldn't matter (he won't be THAT big, I am guessing 8-9 lbs at 38 weeks).  Then I get to have an ultrasound of my heart, aka echocardiogram.  Just call me Sono-Woman...wonder what my superpowers might be?

Thankfully I get to see Finn on the ultrasound on Monday, and the double bonus is my parents will be here and can watch the other four kids so Ryan can come with me :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

This week I will be a single mom to many

We have had a busy few days, yesterday we cleaned the house and Ryan finished priming the playroom.  As we were planning to head out as a family to have dinner and get some new Halloween decorations, Brittan spiked a 102.5 fever. Since she had no symptoms except a little headache and being cold, we Motrined her and waited a half hour until she felt better, and away we went.

Got to the store and found candy corn that Haven can actually eat, so we loaded up on bags of candy corn and bunches of Halloween decorations that I will put up tomorrow.  Went to Chili's for dinner since we had 30 bucks in gift certificates and then home in the chilly rain to shuffle kids to bed.  Last night I worked upstairs with the window open and the rain trickling down-it was perfect while Ryan spent his evening painting the first coat in the playroom.  He stayed up really late, but got the while first coat done and it looks so, so good, I love the color we chose! 

Today we have Britty home and I was hoping the fever would break since she has a field trip tomorrow, but she is looking pretty harsh.  I managed to get to the grocery store and home by 9:15 this morning, we had a water/juice box emergency :)  Now I am snuggled in my comfy clothes, Britt is resting, Teagan is napping and Ryan is sleeping since he works tonight, albeit from home.  I will have to put on "real" clothes later since I have to go to class and give an exam :(

This week will be a crazy one.  Ryan works through Saturday night, that is six 12 hour shifts in a row!  I work tonight, then tomorrow shuffle kids to school and then have to run to the OB for a shot, then Wednesday I have a cardio appointment in the morning and need to pick up a fundraiser at the kid's school at 7 that night with all the kiddos in tow, Thursday I need to drop the girls off early then pick up Quail Cove then drop Gray off then farm then dance, and Friday kids have a half day and my parents come. Whew.

On an unrelated side note, I have seen a lot of visitors from a number of countries show up on my new ticker, so cool! I also think it is funny that people who want nothing to do with me and my family keep reading here, wonder what they are looking for....

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ah, my friend, you are here

Fall has arrived here in VA. Looks to be gorgeous this week, mostly highs in the 60's and low 70's with a few high 50's tossed in for fun.  I am excited to break out the striped and polka dotted tights for Teagan and the snuggly clothes for me, especially since I only have to teach one day this week at the PT gig :)

Hubby is off tonight which I am SO looking forward to!  I was down a kid last night since Haven was at a sleepover, so this morning the other three and I went and finally got the paint for the playroom, looked at and I think chose carpet for in there and then did a run to CVS.  I had a bunch of coupons that I wanted to use, including some BOGOF Glade Plug Ins and they had my favorite apple cinnamon scent!  Grabbed Haven from her friends house then came home, opened all the windows wide, plugged in the smellies, lit the candles and started dinner.  Tonight I am making a beef minestrone soup with loads of fresh veggies and thyme and some maple corn muffins on the side (made with VA Maple syrup!).  I am going to try to post the recipe on my other blog since I have gotten lazy about keeping it up, and because sometimes I will want to remake something and cannot remember what I did the first time.  I rarely use a recipe when cooking (baking I do!), I mean I read them all the time as inspiration, but them always go about it in my own way to match our tastes. 

Oh, and just to jump subjects, I have a HUGE list of Christmas cookies I want to make this year.  I am not sure how I will accomplish it since I will be having a baby just after Thanksgiving, but I am bound and determined.  I promised the kids that after Columbus Day Weekend, we would start baking at least one kind of cookie a weekend and then freezing them so we have them come December.  I always start with traditional chocolate chip, and will again this year, but hope to make the dozen or so kinds we are drooling over :)  I also plan to make four trays of cinnamon rolls that I will freeze before baking.  These are a favorite of the kids, and if I make them and freeze them, we just need to take them out and bake them off for an easy, hot breakfast when it is chilly outside.  I am really hoping to be prepped for Christmas and the early parts of Winter by mid November so we are all ready when little Finn makes his appearance!

Friday, October 1, 2010

If you give a pregnant lady a jalapeno popper

it will be all she thinks about all day long.  Seriously, I stopped at Sonic today to get a drink on my way to the farm and saw jalapeno poppers on the menu and thought I would give 'em a whirl at 10 am...they were so damn tasty and now I cannot have them again for a week since Sonic is so far away and so not something we would normally eat.

Today was our "busy" day, although I am beginning to believe that all days are busy in some way.  Teagie and I shuffled the olders to the bus stop just as Ryan pulled in the driveway which meant we could make an early escape since he would be home just in case something happened before the bus arrived.  Hightailed it out of the house and loaded Teagan and the crate of milk bottles into the car to begin our early morning adventures.  Of course, just as I arrived at the exit we needed to get off at, a horrific thought crossed my debit card is at home.  Ugh.  Called Ryan who confirmed that yes, the debit card was still at home.  Thankfully I have been this foolish before and keep a check stashed in my car just in case, whew.

First stop was to pick up the car seat I order a month ago. Kmart had an Evenflo car seat clearanced for like 20 bucks, seriously a car seat that usually costs almost 200 bucks was clearanced for 20 bucks and it was rated really well!  I of course ordered it since the only reason it was clearanced was because it was an "old" color and pattern which didn't matter worth a damn to me since it was neutral and fine for a spare seat for now and Finn's big seat for later.  Got to the store and customer service had no clue what I was talking about when I showed them the email that the car seat had arrived and even told me they don't do ship to store. They then sent me to the netherworld of the layaway department who REALLY had no clue.  Called a manager who said to come to customer service!?  Got there, they located the seat and when I got it, the box was banged up pretty badly.  Looked inside, seat was a-ok, but one of the cup holder thingies was missing.  Well, no skin off my teeth since we don't use them anyway in our car, we are too smooshed in as it is, so the last thing we need is something to make a car seat wider!  However the manager offered to refund me 5 bucks...on my 20 dollar purchase....of a 200 dollar car seat, well yes ma'am and thanks for the awesome deal, you just paid for my poppers :)

Finally got out of that store and finagled the seat into my car which was a comedy of errors, went to the bank and cashed my own check (sigh). Headed to the farm to pick up our 3 gallons of milk and quart of half and half that we use each week.  Soon we will need 3 1/2 gallons, and once Finn starts on milk, it will be at least 4 a week...the plan is to get a cow as soon as we can move!  Got the milk and some eggs, headed to Wegman's for the groceries and pondered the sheer cost of feeding my crew, and then rejoiced since the free stuff this week was all on my list.  Finally made it home, lugged all the food and overfull milk crate into the house, fed the baby who was frantically signing "eat" and got her down for a nap.  Then made eggplant and chicken parm to appease the family who have grown tired of my quick and easy meals of late.

Damn...every time I see that title I want a popper~