Quieting the Rumour Mill

Okay, there aren’t actually any rumours about this…yet…but it seems that everyone has been asking lately if I’m pregnant again.

I’m not.

My sister-in-law has just announced her third pregnancy – and she’s already fifteen weeks! So now that Ben is ten months old and another member of the family is expecting, people seem to think I must be as well.

I’m not.

Here’s the thing – I breastfeed like a maniac. I’m not kidding. Ben nurses a good deal of the night and quite a few times during the day as well. I practice ecological breastfeeding, and while it obviously has the potential to fail, just like every other form of birth control (aside from abstinence), I have yet to display any…ahem…”signs” of fertility since Ben’s birth. It seems as though people have this picture of us – that we only go about six to nine months between pregnancies. But here’s the thing – we only did that once. Jenny was only seven months old when I got pregnant with Elias. Otherwise our spacing is closer than the average, but has been a year at minimum with all three boys. Generally I’m ready for another baby when my youngest is around a year. I can say that if it happened now, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I wouldn’t say I’m hoping to get pregnant right now. First I’d love to get a solid night sleep. 🙂

Another assumption people make – although mostly people who don’t really know me – is that we’re done.

We’re not.

I cannot say for sure how many kids we will have. My heart would love somewhere in the neighbourhood of..say, eight? But my hubby feels a bit differently about it and so we will more than likely not end up with that many. You never know, though. At the moment I’m praying that Mike and I end up on the same page and that we both have peace about whatever decision is made regarding additional offspring. For now, we will have at least one more and if that baby is a girl, Mike may want to quit. If the next one is another boy, he more than likely will not want to stop. We both really want Jenny to have a sister.

Anyway, just felt like clearing a few things up. It seems I get asked once a week or more whether I’m pregnant yet and probably as often if I’m done having kids. The answer to both questions, emphatically, is no. 🙂

*Oh, and I’m sure someone is going to say, “But how can you know for sure that you’re not pregnant if you’re not getting a monthly visit from Aunt Flo?” My answer to that: I took a pregnancy test last week. Negative. 🙂

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Filed under Kiddos, Life, in general

A Daunting List

I started small. I made a list. It is long. There’s a lot to do. And I didn’t even start listing all the improvements/fixes that need doing. This is just the list of things that need to be cleaned or reorganized. And every room has at least three tasks. My bedroom needs the most work. It’s always bad when we have a baby sharing the room with us. Usually I make some improvements when they move out and then it goes back downhill when we have a new one. I wouldn’t change the sleeping arrangements but it does make it hard to put things in their proper place every night when the baby is sleeping there.

Anyway, the list is the small start. Each item on the list may actually be broken down to multiple tasks if they are too daunting in their entirety. One little thing at a time.

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Filed under The H Word

Starting Small

I asked the question, “Where do I start?” and the answer I got was, “Start small.”

The concept of starting small is nothing new, but it’s amazing how often I bypass it to try and tackle everything all at once. I start on one part of the house and get distracted and end up moving on to something that seems simpler, only to be distracted again. I end up with a dozen half-finished projects.

When I heard this answer so clearly (yes, I do think it was God’s voice), I assumed it only meant to start small in my house. Start with some small project and finish it and I’ll feel better about the big picture. When I sat down to eat lunch with the kids today, I realized that “start small” could apply to anything. I’ve struggled every day this week with my kids, trying to tackle everyone’s individual issues and not having much success at all. Normally, lunchtime is rough. I usually eat before or after the kids, and I don’t often sit down with them while they eat. Today I made us all the same meal and sat down just after they did. And it was better. It was just a small thing to change, but it actually made a big difference. They ate without throwing food at each other or on the floor (yes, my kids do that from time to time) and they all ate a decent amount of food, which doesn’t always happen at lunchtime.

It occurred to me while I was sitting there with them that this was starting small. I may not be able to prevent Elias from having a fit every ten minutes or keep Erik from screaming when anyone touches him, but eating lunch with them calmed them down for a short time. It wasn’t perfect, but it was different. I’ve seen this happen before, but for whatever reason, I tend to forget how much it helps.

After seeing this small change make a big difference, I turned my sights on Elias and his fit throwing. I suspect that this is a typical attention-grabber. If that’s the case, he may just need a little more positive attention from me during the day. Every time he started to have a fit this afternoon, I grabbed him and hugged him or had him sit with me for a short time. I talked to him calmly and quietly instead of yelling. This is very much against my natural response, but I think it might be what he needs. The trick will be getting Mike to respond the same way. There is a line that has to be drawn with Elias, and obviously, if he crosses it, he’ll have to be disciplined somehow (time-outs seem to be somewhat effective). My goal is just to respond as gently and gracefully as I can when he first starts to lose it. I’m sure I’ll have to re-evaluate if this doesn’t make a difference, but I have hope that it will work to some degree.

The big question right now is what area in my home can I make a small start on? There are so many things to be done, and maybe the best thing to do first is to make a list of small things I can do. I think small in my book is something that can be done in twenty minutes or less. So instead of cleaning my entire kitchen, I might just clean out one drawer or cupboard. Instead of tackling my entire desk (it’s a huge mess right now), I may just clear off one part of it. All I know is that something has to be done, and looking at it as a whole is downright scary. Starting small may not seem to make a big difference, but a dozen small starts may complete a big project.

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Filed under All things mommy and daddy related, The H Word

Crackers

Dear Roasted Gorgonzola Crackers,

I was instantly attracted to you when I saw you at Trader Joe’s. I couldn’t resist plucking you off of the shelf and throwing you into my cart (sorry if I was a little bit rough).

Trouble is, I’m having mixed feelings about you. Maybe that’s just the way it is with gorgonzola? I know that’s how I feel about bleu cheese…do I trust it or not?

Anyway, just thought I’d let you know.

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Filed under Food Blogs

Home Sweet Messy Home

We’re home. And it feels good to be here. Unfortunately, we came home with more stuff than we have room for. We also came home to a house that wasn’t all that clean to start with…so now it’s a total wreck.

I’m trying to chip away at the mess this week, but I’m still recovering from the nasty bug we all got when we were away, and so are the kids (which means grouches abounding). I’m tired and would really rather lie around all day. I have so much to do and wish it could be done this week, but I’m a realist and have to admit that there’s no way that’s going to happen. So I’ll just do what I can this week and try to work hard over the weekend when Mike is home to help with the kids.

No matter how messy it is here, it is good to be here…sleep in my own bed, cook in my own kitchen. Vacation was good, but I’m always happy to come back home.

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Filed under Holidays, Home Sweet Home, The H Word

A Very Welcome and Much Needed Break

I will do my best to blog in the next two weeks, if I have any time to do it. We will be going south to be with my family and friends and attend my Grandma’s memorial service. The break will be refreshing, even if it includes a bit of mourning.

See you later…

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Filed under Holidays

Clever Title Sorely Lacking

I made a menu. Actually, I’ve done it before, but this time I did it so that I wouldn’t be tempted to go out to eat before our vacation. We’ll be eating out more than half the time we’re gone, so it makes sense to avoid it as much as possible this week (and last week, too). So far I’ve been sticking to the menu pretty well.

Certain events this afternoon have left me feeling completely worn out, so the menu is not going to work. We’ll be eating leftovers and homemade tortilla chip nachos. Maybe I’ll even make popcorn.

I came across a lovely and terrifically awful recipe today. Brownie stuffed chocolate chip cookies. Yeah. Really. I think I’m going to try them this week. Even if it means a heart attack 😉

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Filed under Life, in general

Obedience

Here’s a tip: when you feel like you ought to do something or that God is telling you directly to do something, do it. Whatever it is (as long as it’s a good thing :D), do it.

I don’t want to go into details, but I really felt led to help someone today. I have been feeling a bit down and lost lately, and not so great physically (the tooth that got pulled two weeks ago suddenly got infected….well, the gums, anyway).

I contacted a total stranger, asked if I could be of help in a specific way, and spent some money on something for this person. I decided ahead of time to get them what they wanted, not just the cheapest thing available.

Anyway, it feels good. It’s always good to give, but even better when it comes out of obedience to something God put in my heart.

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Filed under Faith, Life, in general

Goodbye, Gramme.

When I was a kid, we called my mom’s parents “Gramme and Grampe” and my dad’s parents “Grandmama and Grandpapa”. My Gramme finally let go this morning at 2:50 and went to be with Jesus. I suggested to my mom that maybe she was just soaking in all that family in one place, one last time. She always loved it when she had us all around her, all her kids and grandkids and quite often a few strays thrown in as well. I can imagine her hearing everyone around her and wanting a few more hours of it. She lasted much longer than they expected, which was in some ways a very hard thing, especially for my Grandpa.

The rather miraculous thing about this is that a few months ago, I made a decision that we would head to the states for a visit in the new year, but not specifically for a funeral. I would rather have seen my grandma when it really mattered to her, before she died. I expected I would get the chance to see her one last time.

It didn’t work out that way, but as it turns out, the memorial is being planned for when we were already going to be visiting in the states. Not only that, but my aunt and uncle from Texas and their kids are all going to be there, which means more family that I wouldn’t have been able to see.

Our lives may take us north in the next few years. When that happens, our trips to the states will probably be even more infrequent. This may be my last chance to see a lot of my family for a very long time.

This is bittersweet. My grandma had been declining for quite some time. She was not herself. She was ready to go.  But we will miss her so very much.

This picture was taken the last time I saw my grandma, two and a half years ago, at my sister’s wedding. I love how she holds on to my grandpa’s arm. They had a long marriage and while we teased them a bit for their quirks, we all knew they loved each other. They took care of each other.

Goodbye, sweet, goofy Gramme.

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Filed under Loss, Mi familia

Saying Goodbye

I’m back from an eight day break in routine that was, in some ways, like a breath of fresh air.

And then yesterday, I got a call from my mom that has sort of blurred everything that happened in those eight days.

I wrote about my grandma last year, that she was not going to live much longer. That I might not see her again. She fell yesterday morning. It was bad. She has a brain bleed. She hasn’t woken up since then.

They moved her to my aunt and uncle’s house, where my mom, her sister, brother, sister-in-law and dad are all congregated. I would like to go in the middle of the night, in my sleep. But if I had to hold on, I’d like it to be like this. Surrounded by family, saying their goodbyes.

I called there yesterday afternoon. Had my cousin put the phone up to my grandma’s ear. I said goodbye, in my way. I told her I loved her and I missed her and how happy I was to know she was surrounded by her family. She had no response, of course, but I’d like to think she could hear my voice. Another part of her family. Her first grandchild.

I imagine people reading this and balking: “It’s just your grandma. Big deal. All of my grandparents are dead.”

That may be. But she wasn’t just my grandmother. She was a whole lot more to me.

She was my silly grandma, who danced in her living room to the music on the Lawrence Welk show. She was my caring grandma, who let her grandchildren be just as goofy as they wanted to be and never questioned it. She was hospitible in a way I’ve hardly ever known from anyone else – I used to spend weeks at her house during the summers, riding down to the community pool in the back of my grandpa’s truck, bare feet hanging off the tailgate. She came along, put on a bathing suit, and rarely went swimming.

When my heart was broken at the age of seventeen (or anyway, I thought it was broken), I called her and asked if I could come to stay for a weekend. My mom drove me to the ferry and my grandpa picked me up on the other side. Grandma wanted to fix me my favourite foods – she always did – and she set up their motorhome for me to stay in so I could have some privacy. She understood that I would want it, even though I never explained my reasons for running away those few days.

She fussed over us at times, but we always knew it was just because she loved us.

When I had my babies, she sent cards for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and birthdays, always with a five dollar bill tucked inside for each kid. We saved those bills for years and now have a bit of money to spend on the kids when we visit later this month. We’re planning on taking them to the aquarium. She also sent books for them, and stuffed animals. She called often and usually asked to talk to my Jenny Rose, the great-granddaughter named for her oldest daughter.

I will miss her so very much. I already do, as her health has been declining for some time now. It’s hard to let go. My grandpa seems to be in such good health and I would love to imagine that all of my grandparents would live until they were past one hundred. But it is not to be.

She is not gone yet, but she does not have long. They are talking about her memorial service, hoping to postpone it until we head down for a visit in two weeks and other family members from far away can make their way to Washington. The timing of this really gets me. We planned our trip in hopes that we would get to see her one last time.

What gets me is all the things I never asked her. The last conversation I never had with her. Every time I talked to her, I imagined it could be the last time, but I haven’t phoned in some time now. I feel bad about that.

I’m looking forward to hugging my grandpa and resting my head on his chest, just like I did all the time when I was a little girl. Smell that familiar grandpa-smell. I believe that he’s been grieving for awhile now, seeing it coming. I imagine that there is some relief when it all ends, but a hope lost that there might just be a recovery. I’m thankful that my grandparents have had some fifty-six years of marriage to each other. They have four kids, twelve grandkids and six great-grandkids. I like to think that my grandma has had a fulfilling life and is ready to go. I hope I’m right.

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Filed under Illness and Injury, Melancholy, Mi familia