Category Archives: Life, in general

Still alive and everything is fine. I promise.

I’m still here. And everything is just fine. I promise.

But something happened in the fall. Mike and I went away to Georgia to a ministry called Be In Health and their course called For My Life. It changed our lives. I got my freedom. I may not be able to explain it all here, but something unusual happened in connection with that newfound freedom.

I didn’t have an overwhelming desire to create anymore.

It didn’t feel like a loss. It felt like what it was – freedom from what had been at times, an obsession. Whether it was writing or cooking or crafting, there seemed to be a need in me to create. That need faded quickly without my really noticing.

So, five months have gone by since I wrote here. Only a handful of times have I even considered updating my blog. It just didn’t feel important anymore.

But now, with three and a half weeks (maybe more, maybe less) to go before my fifth child is expected – yes, time flies – I thought I owed the occasional reader an update.

Things are good. My husband is a changed man in so many ways that I cannot even describe. We all seem healthier. I generally have more patience. My Braxton Hicks don’t hurt like they have in the past. I have freedom from fear and anxiety. It’s good.

And now, we are waiting for this baby to show up. I feel so in love with this child and so overwhelmed with curiousity as to who he or she is. And whether this baby is a he or a she. Jenny, of course, is rooting hard for a sister. Erik generally says he’d like a puppy when we ask him if he thinks the baby is a boy or a girl. Elias lately has just been saying, “Boy or girl.” Well, it is one of those. We know it’s not a puppy, anyway. Ben probably doesn’t really understand what’s going on, although when¬† he sees my bare belly, he inevitably says, “Baby!” and gives it a hug. Or he blows raspberries on it. Depends on his mood.

Homeschooling is going well, although we have been unschooling since Christmas. Pregnancy hasn’t made it too hard, but I found that too much structure was just stressing us out. So my kids are learning more from life than from me (directly) at the moment. We are happy with it. Next year may look different, but I’m satisfied with how things are going at the moment. Jenny wants to write cards and draw pictures and make up stories all day, Elias has recently started sounding words out phonetically when he says them (as in, “B-e-n is f-u-nn-y.”). We have work to do, but things are fine. Erik continues to do best on his own. He has been far healthier than years past and has not had any issues with his lungs since before he turned three. We are praising God for this. He doesn’t get along well with his brothers a good deal of the time, but goes off and does his own thing. It works for us. Ben has been amazing us with his speech since he was not even eighteen months old. He can count to thirteen, parrots everything anybody says, and if you ask him to repeat a phrase and he does it wrong the first time, he goes back and corrects himself. No kidding. At twenty-two months. We love it. He’s a pretty happy kid these days, he just doesn’t like waking up from naps.

They’re all beautiful and happy and healthy. Daddy is working hard at work, Mama is working hard at home when she has the energy. ūüôā I find I am probably working harder at having patience these days, but the last thing I want to do is to go back into fear regarding the arrival of this baby. It will come when the time is right. I know that. It occurred to me the other day that when I was pregnant with Ben, I was terrified of being overdue and when I was overdue, I was terrified of being induced. I got both. In Job, there is a verse that says, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” (Job 3:25, KJV) I have learned that when we spend our lives in fear, it is often those things that come upon us. Our bodies react to this fear and all sorts of things start to malfunction. This isn’t just theory – it’s proven fact (research the fight or flight hormone cortisol and its affect on the body). So I gave that up yesterday. I said, “You know what, I am certain that this is going to be different. I am not going to fear being late – even if I may be – and I am not going to fear induction.” I have every intent of putting my doctor off as long as I can before I am induced, and I will not cave to it this time unless they can prove to me that my baby is in danger. I am convinced that Ben’s birth was traumatic for both of us and I have no desire to repeat that. I have called this baby my “peace and freedom baby” and I want my labour and delivery to reflect that. I trust that we won’t even get to the point of fighting the doctor regarding an induction.

Anyway, that’s that. While this is not the end of my blog, it will be coming soon. I can feel it. And I may start another. One not so focused on the fact that I hate housekeeping (no, I haven’t become a fan of it yet). One focused on my faith, my home, my children, in a positive light as often as possible. Or I may decide to lay all of this to rest and wait for a time when I cannot stop the words from coming, a time when I feel God is directly leading me to write. It generally turns out better when I wait for times like that anyway.

Take care, readers. If any of you are still around. I’ll at least post an update when this little one arrives. Or sometime in the first six months of his or her life. I promise.

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Filed under Kiddos, Life, in general, Nine Months

Life and Death and Baking

I had a satisfying, incredibly productive day yesterday.
 
Back home, I had friends who attended three different funerals. A twenty-two year old, Cameron, whose funeral was held in a performing arts center and had 1,300 people attend – standing room only. A forty-something year old woman, Robin,¬†leaving behind¬†a husband and two young daughters. Someone I vaguely remember whose death did not touch me in quite the same way, but affected many of my friends and family members. And a grandmother, Pixie, someone who I knew years ago, whose kids we hung out with when I wasn’t yet a teenager.
 
All three taken quite suddenly from this Earth, leaving behind family and friends to grieve and ask why.
 
I was reflecting on how different my day would have been yesterday had I been back home, and as much as I wish I could have been there, particularly for Cameron’s funeral, I am glad I was here, in my home. I spent time with my kids, baked scones and cookies and bread, made a big pot of hearty lentil soup to greet Mike when he came home from a twelve-hour day.
 
There have been many weeks like this last one in my life – death seems to come in threes and I’ve seen it happen time and again. This week on Facebook has been full of photos and memories of all three people, some memories I am able to share and others that I can only imagine. My family and friends have been deeply¬†affected by the sudden deaths of three people, the youngest of these perhaps leaving the loudest legacy and most vibrant memories.
 
We all question the death¬†of young people from time to time. At times their deaths are brought on quite obviously by their chosen lifestyles – drugs, alcohol, etc. In the case of Cameron, he was driving. His seatbelt was on, he hadn’t been drinking. He was a good kid, a senior in university looking at the possibility of pro-baseball in his future. The captain of his university baseball team. He was kind – a report from a local news source said that he was a Big Brother to a young boy with a brain tumour, that he gave of himself so easily.
These are the deaths we question. But in the end, there is usually nothing we could have done to prevent them.
 
And the truth is that life goes on. Children are born who never knew those who went before them. I think back to my Aunt Fran – my Grandpa Orcutt’s¬†sister – who died nearly ten years ago and never met my husband or my kids. To my Grandma Orcutt, who never got to meet Ben and never will meet the baby I’m carrying, at least not on this Earth. To¬†Mike’s grandpa, who I never even got to meet.¬†I think about my dad’s dad, who is dying of cancer and not expected to live much longer. But life goes on, whether we want it to or not.
 
And so I’ll go on baking and living and having my babies. Trying to keep the house clean, planning for the future, budgeting and grocery shopping. And others will go as well. That is perhaps the scariest part about going on living – never knowing when someone you love just won’t be there anymore. But all we can do is live our lives to the fullest, and hopefully share God’s love with those around us. Tell people we love them while we have a chance to. Teach our kids about those who went before them and what they did for their loved ones.
 
Those who go will not be forgotten, at least not in our lifetimes, but eventually we will all be part of history, and all we can do is attempt to leave the right things behind us Рlove and hope and faith.

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Filed under Life, in general, Loss

Tidbits

Jenny is turning six tomorrow. I am having a hard time believing it. She is talking constantly about the presents she’s going to get, the friends that will come to her party, and her pink, pink, PINK cake. I’m strategizing for the party and all that pink. White cake turned pink, pink raspberry filling (and maybe some pink cream cheese icing as filling, too?), pink icing and pink flowers. Did I mention that pink is Jenny’s favourite colour. Yeah.

We have a cold. Erik got this cold, started coughing, and went from sort of sick, to sick with pneumonia, overnight in the ICU sick. This is the third time he’s had pneumonia that we know of. I am ready for this to end, for him to be healthy. Which leads me to my third tidbit…

I have been completely absorbed in the book A More Excellent Way by Henry Wright. My in-laws went to his course in Georgia last year and to another one last month. Their lives have been changed. This book and the Be In Health ministry throws a wrench into everything you thought you knew about illness and health. What if you repented and renounced bitterness, fear, jealousy, etc. and were healed? Thousands of people have done just that. Healed of cancers, healed of allergies, chronic, inherited illnesses, etc. I was skeptical until I started reading the medical science behind it and the testimonies of so many people who have gone through this. Mike and I were already planning to go to the For My Life course in Georgia in the future, but now it feels even more important that we go, just to get a handle on where some of these issues are coming from. I am a broken, damaged person probably holding on to things I don’t even recognize. The idea that my physical issues (difficulty losing weight, low immune function, fatigue, allergies, etc) could be tied to my spiritual health has never occured to me before.¬† The possibility that I have passed some of this to my children already is disturbing. I want to be healthy and whole and I want my husband and children to have the same.

Ben is sleeping until four or five in the morning now. We spent a week sleeping on our hide-a-bed in the living room, letting him cry. I wore earplugs. It worked. I’m pretty happy with where he’s at now and won’t mind if he keeps that early morning feeding for awhile longer. He’s still nursing once after that around eight and at two before naptime and also at bedtime.¬†Four feedings in a twenty-four hour period for a one year old is still a lot compared to some kids, but compared to before, when he was probably having as many as eight feedings a day, it’s good.

I’m getting a tetanus shot on Friday. Jenny and Elias are getting boosters for diptheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio. I told them I would go first. That doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to it.

I haven’t done anything very creative for quite awhile. I’m looking forward to making Jenny’s cake for that very reason. Yes, it’s just going to be eaten, but it is something I really enjoy.

That’s it. I figured I owed the blog at least a little bit of updating.

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Filed under Illness and Injury, Life, in general

Multi-tasking

First off, today was Ben’s first birthday. I made him a cake (which ended up tasting like baking soda…but at least the icing was good), we made a big meal for family and he seemed to enjoy his day.

I decided a while back that I was going to cut Ben’s hair today. It’s part of my obsessive perfectionist issues. I cut his hair at exactly eight months, I cut it again at exactly ten months…you get the picture. I imagine one day I’ll get over it.

So he needed a bath rather desperately after digging into that awful cake. The last few baths he’s had he screamed his way through, so I decided to get in with him. I cut his hair a bit before I ran the water in the tub and figured that would be all I could do because of how wiggly he was being. So we got in the tub, he didn’t freak out (much) and I gave him a good scrub. Then I decided that I may as well try to cut his hair a bit while he was in the tub and his hair was wet. It was ridiculously long before, but I don’t feel quite ready to buzz him yet.¬†So I got the scissors and a comb and started randomly grabbing chunks of hair and snipping away. All the while I’m thinking, “This is probably a bad idea. It’s going to look terrible…I don’t even know what I’m doing!”

So he sat for a few minutes and a few snips and then squirmed and splashed so much that I decided to give up. But then the perfectionist in me reminded me of how uneven the whole thing was going to look. Okay, fine. So I did the only thing I could to get him to settle down. I nursed him. In the bath. While cutting his hair. It worked.

And not only did it work, it worked well. I got it done and it looks great. The parts that don’t look so good are those that I did before the bath, trying to be more precise. The rest of his hair was just combed up straight and then about half an inch or so cut off. I grabbed pieces as I could and tried to get each part of his head. In the end, we were covered in hair and had to shower off, but at least it got it done. Now I can get used to him looking like a little boy instead of a baby before I buzz him with the rest of the boys in the family.

Here’s a few pictures. ūüôā

Before

After

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Filed under Holidays, Kiddos, Life, in general

Exhaustion Disease

Back in the early months of my marriage, I made up an illness. It’s called “exhaustion disease”. Sometimes it’s clearly my own fault – when Mike and I were first married we often stayed up into the wee hours of the morning talking and laughing, playing games and watching movies.¬†There was one time after Jenny was born when we were so tired that we made up this whole story about people with pepper addictions, and how all of society in this fictional world was dealing with pepper addicts. There were different types of peppers, standard black, white, or exotic rainbow pepper. Sneezing would be considered the ultimate high, hence the pepper. Anyway, we found it so hilarious that we wrote up a whole page of ideas in a notebook (yes, we are geeks, thanks for asking!). We must have been up until at least two in the morning laughing hysterically at our oh-so-clever idea. And then, in the morning, when we tried to relive that by reading our notebook page of thoughts, it just wasn’t funny anymore. The only thing left over then was this terrible exhaustion.

Of course, having small children means that all too often the exhaustion is not really my fault at all. They have needs and desires and demands and Mama gets to take care of most of them.

After painting the living room on Monday and rearranging the furniture yesterday, I figured on today being a restful day. My mastitis is clearly not gone and my muscles ache and protest at nearly any amount of movement. I’m sure that getting a good night sleep would have helped this to some degree, but I was up past midnight anyway. Ben woke up just as I was going to bed after finishing a movie (Temple Grandin – if you haven’t seen it yet, watch it). He stayed in our bed all night and fed too many times to count. And then, before Mike had left for work, I got this strange feeling lying there in bed. I opened my eyes and there was Elias, sitting on our bed watching me sleep. It would have been creepy if he had not had a sweet smile on his face. But still, it wasn’t even eight o’clock yet! (I’m not a morning person…)

So today, I am suffering from exhaustion disease. I fell asleep sitting up in my rocking chair this morning. I had been holding Ben and then put him down and when I next paid any attention to what was going on, Erik was on my lap instead. Talk about confusion. So I moved to the couch and stayed there until after Mike went back to work after lunch. Eventually I managed to haul myself off of the couch to make lunch, but let me tell you, it was not easy.

I’d like to crawl into my bed, put some earplugs in my ears and a sleep mask on my eyes and sleep for at least twenty-four hours. I think that might just be the cure.

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Filed under All things mommy and daddy related, Life, in general

Paint

Paint is amazing. Primer, two coats of colour and my living room no longer looks like a run-down hotel room. Rearrange the furniture and it’s even better. My body is protesting after a few days of painting and cleaning and cleaning and painting…but it’s done. One room down, three (or four) more to go.

Oh, and my dear friend and her husband just had their first baby today, a girl. She was one of my bridesmaids and the first of any of them to get married and become a mama. I’m thrilled.

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Filed under Happiness, Home Sweet Home, Life, in general

Two things

One: For years now, my kids have referred to McDonald’s as “Old McDonald’s” and to spiders as “Spidermans”. They’re pretty much the coolest kids on the block.

Two: I’m a white girl…but man, some good dance music makes me want to move. It also makes me wish I weighed about sixty pounds less than I do and that I didn’t look so ridiculous when I dance. That’s why I dance in my kitchen, and not at clubs. Oh, wait, about the club thing…I don’t actually think that was an option to begin with. ūüėČ

I know the blog has been a bit neglected..abandoned…um, sucky. But I am a mama, so I have the best excuse in the world.

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Filed under Life, in general