For those that like to dream, come in. For those that like to laugh, come in. For those that like to cry and be inspired...please come in. Our family is like any other, but is extraordinary in it's own right. Come and join us at our campfire and laugh a little, cry a little and leave us, but please come back. We love company...

Monday, March 29, 2010

I feel it coming on...

Sometimes there are days when I can feel it coming. This morning was the beginning of one of those days. Now...unknowingly my hubby offered to stay home and be my personal slave. Now...don't get your panties in a curl...he meant a babysitter, cleaner and chauffeur. I took him up on the offer. It's a good thing I did because I found that throughout the day I felt weepy. His kindness and willingness to love me today held it at bay. Thank goodness.

I talked to Polly for a while and the subject of my 2nd miscarriage that happened in dec came up. I found that as we talked I had to fight the tears a lot. I was pregnant. I had so much hope for that baby. Especially when I had the 2nd ultrasound. My baby was small but it was there. It had a tiny heart and it was beating away...for all of us to see. And yet, as we sat in the doc's office that same day the nurse got right down on our level and talked real quiet. We knew that couldn't be good. We had a heartbeat and yet there she was telling us that we were going to lose our baby. Then we had to wait. Even 10 days later when I started to bleed I went in for an ultrasound the baby was still hanging in there. It was small and the heart rate was slow, but it was hanging in there. It was a fighter. But the odds were stacked against that little person and life was just too much for that little bean and I lost it. By the next night in the ER the baby was gone.

Today I felt that loss more than I have in several weeks. I feel as though sometimes in life things stack against us and we lose the battle. We lose the fight. I guess the thing I try to remember though through all those moments is not what I lost but what I gained through those loses. I lost my baby...more than one in fact. I have had more than one miscarriage. Three to be exact. But I will say that I have gained a love and respect for couples everywhere that have had to lose a baby. I have empathy. I cry more than I used to, but it's out of understanding and sympathy. In fact just a week or so ago I found out that someone right here in our neighborhood had a miscarriage this last month. This lady is not someone I know well enough to run over and hang out with. I don't even really want to become a better friend that what we are right now, but after finding out about her loss my heart was softened. I knew how she felt, how sad she was and my heart was opened. Now mind you...I don't think she even knows that I know, but I do and I care more about her and her family than I used to. Perhaps that's one of those things that can be gained from hard experiences is to love your family, friends and neighbors more than yourself.

I felt it coming. One of those days when I want to be held and loved. One of those days when I want someone to tell me it's going to be ok...like we do with our kids. Thy get hurt, they cry and mom and dad tell them its going to be ok. Today was one of those days. I didn't lose my hope, my faith or my beliefs, I just felt like a little kid who lost their best friend and I needed the reassurance that life would not only move on but it would provide new hope.

I felt it coming on today and it's still there. It's one of those days where I can tell I won't be sleeping tonight...I will be up thinking. Thinking about my kids, my pregnancies, my hubby and whatever else creeps into my mind. I will be up wondering about things I can't change, events that hurt and still do, but are in the past.

It's simple folks, if you see me today, wrap your arm around me and tell me its all going to be ok. Thats it...no more.

The things they say....

There we were as a family sitting on the couch watching TV. We were quite happy with our little family at that moment. Everyone was quiet and the TV was blaring. As a woman came onto the screen I remember thinking that she was very well endowed...well, I wasn't the only one who noticed.

Colby, who was tucked into the crook of my arm, looked up at me and sweetly said...

"Mommy, do girls have boobies?"

Trying to keep a straight face I said,

"Yes, honey they do..."

"Then do I have nibbles mommy?"

"Well Colby, I guess that's what you could call them...if you want. Yes, you do have nibbles then..."

My goodness you should have heard the laughter from my family. It was just too funny. I love moments like that. They make parenting so worth while.

A few years ago while pregnant with one of the kids (I think it was Colby) I was doing my usual housework when Lacie came in and asked me for a snack. I gave her one and as she walked out I was looking at her backside realizing that she hardly had a backside. As she casually walked out of the room I said "Have fun you skinny minnie", her response? "I will you old fat lady". I have to say that instead of getting my feelings all hurt I just burst out laughing. I was old to her, and since I was 8 or so months pregnant I was by definition fat...so she was right, right?

I love those moments...those days where someone says something funny that makes me laugh, even when I am trying to be mad, sad or whatever. I love and hate those moments. I want to be mad, or upset and the kids completely diffuse me. How wonderful they are.

I have to wonder if I ever said anything like that. If I ever brought a smile to my mom's face when she least expected it. Have you ever watched that show the Bill Cosby hosted? The Things Kids Say...I have watched it a few times, but I have to say that the funniest things I have heard from my kids are the things that are completely unsolicited. Completely unrehearsed. Those are the moments that I think how fun it is to be a parent. I have to wonder if our Heavenly Father ever looks down on us and just laughs. Right out loud. A genuine belly laugh. He created us in His image...I have to imagine he does.... :D

Friday, March 5, 2010

Brand new mom...old hat mom...

I have 9 kids. This did not happen all in one day, like John and Kate plus 8, or the octomom...it happened over the space of 17 years. To be honest, I prefer it that way. I am going to spend a lot more years at home this way...but at least I can have one kiddo at a time. I think it's easier to bond one at a time. Just my opinion.

Well...when I first became a parent I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, does anyone really know how to be a parent when they are just starting out? I doubt it. Even if you worked with kids your whole life, it still does not adequately prepare you for parenthood. It just doesn't. Kids throw us all for a loop. They don't sleep when they should be, they do sleep when you don't want them to. They cry for everything, complain about lots of things and want to do everything themselves. Parenting is hard! Yes...dad...I do recognize that I must have been a pain in the butt...and probably still am.

But I will say that as the years have gone by I have changed a lot as a parent. When Kenna was born I did everything right (or so I thought). I took her to museums when she was just a baby. Surely she needed that culture and stimulation at a young age. But, as for Skyler...I feel I am doing great if I put toys in front of him while he sits in his chair at the table while I do the dishes. If someone walks by and talks to him while he is there then it's a bonus! When Kenna was a baby I had the house perfectly baby proofed with cupboard locks and outlet covers and all. With Skyler I just have to make sure I have memorized the poison control line and the kids all know "911"!

Now that makes it appear that I have become a bad parent. On the contrary I am a much better parent now than I was then. I am sure that a lot of McKenna, Megan and maybe even Isaac's anxiety can be traced back to me. When they were little I was hyper anal about cleaning the house. I cleaned up after the kids every minute of the day and I never liked toys just laying around. I religiously took them to play groups, had them on rigid schedules and wiped their faces after every bite of their meals (that last one was not a joke...ugh!).

Now, toys can lay around and they can come back to playing with something they left out the night before. Still in the fighting stance in which they left them. Now they can be a mess and love it, while mom says we can just take a bath at the end of the day and wash it all away. Until then just have fun. Now I can sit in a chair and watch them play in a pool until they pass out or their lips are purple from the cold instead of the "it's nap time...I don't care if you are still having fun!"

I am more relaxed. I am better at choosing my battles. I am better at letting the kids just be kids. I am better at not making schedules and just making fun. The house can be a mess, the day can be long, but time with my kids, time that they can be themselves is much more appreciated now than it was back then. I feel bad sometimes thinking of how anal I was back then. I feel bad that I wasn't very good at spontaneity, and that I felt the need to control every moment of their day.

I am a better mom now, even though to some it would appear the opposite. When you have been a parent for 17 years you might find that you feel the same way too. I can only imagine the things my parents let slip now that they have been parents for 45 years. Could they possibly have imagined what they have learned and what they have come to love after all that time? I can only imagine where I will be in another 20 years. I will say this though...parenting is a learning process from day one. And I don't think you ever stop learning...ever.

The simple pleasures

I guess there are some advantages to having a big family and a not so big income. Our kids do have a lot compared to some, but they don't have a lot compared to others. For example, my kids have never been to Disneyland (well, Kenna got to go when she was 3...), but non of the others ever have. We just cannot afford those kinds of vacations. Up until a few years ago they had never been camping either. For a long time we just never went anywhere or did anything.

These last few years we have taken the kids camping...and let me tell you! They absolutely love that! They love sleeping in a tent, love exploring the mountains, love playing in the various lakes. I guess that's one advantage to not doing much is that when you do finally get to go it's all fun and games to them.

We recently started a tradition of going to Vegas to see my sisters. Up until last year most of my kids had never met any of my sisters or their cousins. Jon and I decided that had to be remedied. We went to Vegas last may and the kids spent 90 percent of their time in the pool at the hotel. They could not have been any happier...seriously. They thought they had died and gone to heaven. For this I am so grateful. We did not have to go to Disney world for them to truly appreciate a fun vacation and make the best of what they had. They loved meeting Lori, Lisa and Tracy and their 3 cousins down in Vegas and they often still speak of that trip. When we told the kids we would be going again they nearly came out of their skin. Even Jessi who was only 4 last year was jumping up and down with glee....she could not wait to go back to "Las Begas"!

Jon and I may not be able to provide our kids with lots of big toys ie: boats, wave runners and elaborate vacations...but we are able to provide them with fun experiences that they will come to appreciate more and more as the years go by. Maybe someday we will be able to take them to Disneyland and they will probably have a wonderful time. But I can bet ya that at least one of them would say at any given time that it would be more fun if the cousins could be there, or if the grandparents could share it with them. All in all I guess what I want my kids to take away from all these things is that the place is great, but its the people with you, sharing it with you that are the greatest...