Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So That's Why...

...those tulips never stood up nice and tall.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

According to Joshua

The Self-Portrait:

Some bits of conversation from this weekend:

Josh: "Hey!"
Me: "Hay is for horses."
Josh: (after a pause) "No, Mom, 'H' is for Horses. And 'P' is for People!" (shaking his head..)

Me: "Joshua, do you know what day it is?"
Josh: "Sunday?"
Me: "It's Mother's Day!"
Josh: "It's Mother's Day?! Happy Mother's Day, Mom!"
Me: "Thank you! Are you going to take me out to breakfast?"
Josh: (very seriously) "Yes, Mom, I WILL take you out to breakfast. We can buckle the girls up in the back seat, and I can turn the steering wheel, but you will have to run the pedals, and I will take you to TROUT TOWN!! I know how to get there."
Me: (laughing) "Oh, that's very sweet Joshua, but it's not legal for you to drive the car in town! Are you going to pay for it, too?!"
Josh: "....Where's my piggy bank?"

I LOVE that little boy!!!

He was the 'Man of the House' this weekend and he took that job very seriously, helping me with his sisters, bringing in load after load of wood for the fire, kindling from the barrels in the garage, and feeding the dogs. Even after he ran out of split wood to bring in, he took his wagon and searched for more, bringing in a full load of sticks and branches. Watching him pull on his hat, gloves, and coat and heading out into the snow to do what needed to be done without complaining, my heart melted. I am so proud to call him MY son!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Elayna Turns 3!

When I discovered I'd gotten knocked up for the third time while I was still nursing my 8 month old AND on birth control, I was less than thrilled.

When I finally moved past the initial state of denial (hey, 8 pregnancy tests COULD be wrong, you know) I then had to deal with the barrage of comments and questions people kept asking me.

"Wow, you guys are ambitious, aren't you?!"

"Was that PLANNED?!"

"You do know how this happens, right?"

Really, how is a person supposed to respond to that last one? "Well, I AM fairly certain I know how that works, but why don'tcha spell it out for me just so I know we're on the same page?"

I tried to bite my tongue.

Most of the time.

At first it's just the people who know you - whom you actually TELL the news to, but as soon as the bump starts to make itself seen total strangers add in their two cents.

I pretty much spent the whole pregnancy wondering if they were all... right. That maybe I'd gotten myself in WAY over my head. I mean, before I knew it I was going to have 3 kids aged 3 and under. It even SOUNDS like something a crazy person would do. Not a sane person.

By the end I'd accepted the fact I'd lost my sanity and there was nothing to be done about it but hope that in my old age my children didn't blame me too much for their nervous ticks and the outrageous bills coming in from their therapists.

I was tired.

I was grumpy.

I let them watch WAY too many videos.

But eventually we survived to see the day I went into labor.

After the quick birth of my 9 pounder, I thought for SURE this baby would be a breeze. Once I knew I was in a progressive pattern around 9 am we called the midwife and got our stuff together for a trip to the hospital.

We got there around 10:30, got through the admittance stuff and into our room... but barely. I was at a 4 and my contractions were slowing down.

"Oh well", they said, "we'll get your antibiotics in you and you'll get relaxed and we'll have a baby by 3pm!"


It was a slow progression. Walking, getting checked, laying around while they poked my arm repeatedly for half an hour till they got a vein, sitting on the ball, and best of all.... getting WATCHED.


Well, at least most of those there were watching me breathe. Except ONE.

I realize there is NOTHING else to do, but when you (ahem... hubby...) turn on a basketball game and leave it on between 4 and 8 centimeters you had BETTER take the cue and MUTE the TV whenever I say I feel a contraction coming on, otherwise you just simply run the risk of having to pay the hospital for the tv I break when I throw a tray at it.

And then there was that whole issue of having to keep the hospital gown on WHILE IN LABOR. I do not like clothes of any sort while breathing deeply and concentrating on relaxing every muscle in my body.

Breathe in through the nose....(Ssssss) .... Breathe out through the mouth...(Whoooosh).... relax your shoulders..Wait. What is this?! A TAG?! Some STITCHING?! Against my SKIN?!

And then all concentration is lost.

I need to be FREE! I need to be swimming in a deep clear mountain pool letting the water rush over me, and here I am having to deal with sleeves and snaps and.... good grief. I can't do it. I just. Can't do it.

Finally I got in the shower for some peace and quiet. And to be free from the stupid gown. The hot water will relax me, I thought.

Except that it didn't. It was already almost 5:00, well after that magic 3:00 hour I was promised a baby by. I was so anxious to make progress and get on with it that the shower did pretty much nada.

"I feel some pressure!!" I said to the nurse that kept coming in to check on me every two minutes. Not that I didn't already have someone already right there watching me in case I fainted or something.

I must be about ready to push, right?!, I kept thinking. I mean I got in the shower when I was at an 8, so I must be right on the edge of hitting transition. I must be!!

"Okay! Let's get you out and check for progress.", replied the nurse.

A long, frustrating hour later I was back in the bathroom. In the tub this time, on the verge of tears, wondering why it was taking me so many long, hard contractions to get to a 10!!

And then I puked. Well, maybe it was more like... dry heaved. 'Cause by the third baby, I knew it was inevitable so why bother trying to eat or drink? It's all gonna come up when I hit transition.

TRANSITION!! Thank heavens, I'd finally hit transition. And then the typical panic mode set in. It's when the contractions are piggy-backed and double-peaking and the only thought that goes through my head is that the pain is going to make me pass out and then the baby and I are both going to die. I'm sure of it.

In that moment, I don't care who else is in the room with me. I can only hear one person's voice and the rest is just mumbled background. It is the only thing that gets me through the panic. I hear HIM. His voice, his words of encouragement, his arms wrapped around me, giving me strength.

I'm so glad he is there! What would I do without him? Oh wait. HE knocked me up, that's right, it was HIM! Oh yeah, I definitely don't feel guilty for squeezing those fingers a little tighter in that death grip.

At that point I was still in the tub. I looked at my midwife. She looked at me. I think she read somewhere in my face that I was NOT about to get up and haul myself over to the bed so I could lay there on my tailbone and give birth. No sirree. I was going to stay put in my 6 inches of hot water and do it. So she helped me breathe through the first contractions where I felt the need to push (absolute utter misery to NOT push when you need to) and by the time she signaled the nurses to come in and help it was obvious I wasn't going anywhere - the baby's head was crowning.

Two pushes later and she was out and the fuss began over some crazy lady who gave birth in the bathtub. I laid there holding her on my chest while they suctioned her and cut the cord, and as I handed her to the nurse so I could get out I couldn't help but wonder whose child that was. Didn't look a thing like my other two kids.... It was the first time I didn't feel like, Hey, I KNOW you!!, the first time I laid eyes on the little creature that had been taking up space in my body. Maybe it was because she has her daddy's chin and tippy ears.

Right about then one of the grandmas called out, "Well, you guys only have ONE pattern, don't you?"

Turns out she was kind of right. Elayna did end up with the blonde hair and blue eyes her brother and sister have. But to me she just looked... different somehow. Long and skinny, for one thing. After Emmy's 9lb. 2oz. entrance into the world at not quite 21 inches long, Elayna was a surprise. 8lb 6oz. and a whopping 23 inches long. How ironic that she is the peanut of the family, with a projected height of 5'3" just like her momma.

She is the child I wouldn't have chosen to have right then, but that God knew we needed. She is our little ray of sunshine, always eager to please, eager to help, and rarely imposing, unless it's to snuggle. It was because of her birth that we switched doctors and found Joshua's heart condition. It was rough to go through all that with a tiny baby, a toddler, and a little boy with a broken heart, but it made me realize that God has His plans and works things together in the most amazing ways.

It was exhausting to say the least, but I wouldn't go back and change a thing. She is a blessing and a joy.

Hello, Baby!

Joining the crew of Cutest Kids Ever! :D

10 months - such a happy, happy girl!

First Birthday, we knew she had a sweet tooth already, but... wow. The way she attacked her first cupcake was something to see!

2 Years Old! Still with a sweet tooth...

2 1/2 years old! Such a sweetheart.

Happy Birthday, my little Laney Bean!!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Hey, Ding-Dong!!

Exactly how many men does it take to fix a car?!

"Hey, Ding-Dong! It's me, your car talking. You know, the neglected, abused by three children hunk o' metal you expect to just keep chugging along no matter what?"

I sigh. It's Friday. I have a LOT to do before noon. I SO don't have time for this.

Not AGAIN! What do you want NOW, car?, I think to myself.

No, I do not TALK to my car. And no, my car does NOT have a name. It is a car. I totally don't get the whole naming your car thing. It has no brain, no functionality or personality outside of ME, so no. It does not get called Gertie or Bertie or The Colonel or Mr. Pickles or... wait. What were we talking about?

Oh yeah. The car calling me a ding-dong.

It generally doesn't concern me because it calls me a ding-dong at least twice a week when I forget to fill up the gas tank before taking Joshua to school. Back and forth, back and forth, twice a day, five days a week. That's a lot of gas.

I mean, it's not like I don't put gas in the tank. I pretty much put gas in the tank every other day! Not that I ever actually fill it up. That would be, like, 60 bucks or something. It's much cheaper to just put $20 in it every other day or so, right?


So yeah, my car calls me a ding-dong a LOT. Way more than necessary. I don't need that kind of stuff from my car. My kids already think I'm nearly ready to be institutionalized and I swear my son is just counting up the reasons and storing them away in that steel-trap of a mind of his. Waiting for the day he can commit me.

But again, this is the CAR we're talking about. Inanimate objects cannot commit me to the mental hospital. They can just make me FEEL like I should go commit myself.

And call me a ding-dong.

Where was I again?

Oh yes, driving down the road, listening to my car call me names. Repeatedly.

Well, that's not good. If it's just an "almost out of gas here, you idiot" kind of ding-dong it only does it once! Not over and over and over and...

Hmm... Well, that's lovely, I thought, as the car grew more violent with its dinging and flashed a message across the dash: REDUCED ENGINE POWER.

No kidding? I wouldn't have guessed that without you telling me, car.

Really, Reduced Engine Power means something more like, "No more power except what you absolutely need in order to PULL OVER NOW!!!"

Thankfully I was going downhill and got a little more coasting than if the car was completely in charge of the situation.

Last time the car did that to me I was in Traverse City in rush hour. I kind of made it halfway sort of off to the side. With the back tire sitting on the white line.

That was fun.

Back then I had no idea what was going on with the car. I sat there trying to ignore the honking and the lane changing going on around me and debated on what to do. I shut the car off. I turned it back on.

I waited.

No dinging!!! Yay!

I pulled back into traffic just as the green light was beginning to move traffic along and shot across the intersection.

"HEY, DING-DONG!! DING-DONG, DING-DONG, DING-DONG!!", the car screamed at me.

That time I managed to get ALL the way across the white line before it stopped.

"REDUCED ENGINE POWER" It flashed across its little screen.

Oh for heaven's.... TELL ME SOMETHING I DON'T KNOW ALREADY!, I wanted to screech back at it.

I ignored the last few honks from those unfortunate souls I'd cut off moments before, then pulled out the owner's manual.

There had to be something in it about the stupid engine power thingy. Somewhere.


But I did figure out how to reset the brain. Or whatever.

You turn the ignition on and off 8 times. Or was it 9? Maybe 6? I dunno. I did it a bunch of times and then it stopped dinging at me.

So off I went. Only to have it pull that stunt on me about 7 more times before I finally reached home.

"Grraaarr!!!!" I said to my husband as I walked in the door and threw the keys down on the table.

He walked out and jumped in the car for a "test drive".

I swear, for an inanimate object, that car KNOWS when the man of the house is driving. It ALWAYS stops acting up the minute that man sits down in the drivers seat. Even the annoying blinking orange engine light that I can never figure out SHUTS OFF when Colby gets in.

It drove like a dream as long as Colby was behind the wheel.

It acted like a spoiled brat for me for the next two months. Calling me a ding-dong everywhere I went and randomly cutting off the engine power just for the fun of it.

We tried all sorts of things, flushes, better gas, oil change, tweaking, hammering. Even Colby read the owner's manual. Then one day, after one of it's psychotic episodes when I was sitting in the car trying desperately not to make a fool of myself by jumping out and taking the tire iron to the engine compartment, I read this little diddy in the back of the manual:

"Something, something, something... the lid on the gas tank has to be tightly shut or (something about 'the sensor goes nuts')" or something like that.



I got out, flipped open the door to the gas tank, and tightened down the screw-top lid. All the way until it clicked. Then I kept going. There. 10 clicks oughtta do it.

I climbed back in the driver's seat, cranked the ignition back and forth about a dozen times, and told the car under my breath in no uncertain terms that the tire iron was coming out if this didn't work.

The car started up. No dinging. I waited, waited some more, and finally decided I'd try merging into traffic and give it a try. She was good as gold.

And has been since then, as long as I keep the gas lid shut tightly after all of those frequent stops at the BP.

Until Friday.

I knew what I had to do. I waited till traffic passed, then hopped out to tighten down the gas lid.

"ALRIGHT Maude, you can call me a ding-dong all you want, but really, who's the DING-DONG that can't tell the difference between a real problem and a gas lid that's ONE CLICK away from being tight enough to prevent a stupid censor from FREAKING OUT?!"

So, yeah. I gave my car the first name that popped into my head. How else was I supposed to feel slightly less insane for talking to my inanimate, brainless, hunk-of-metal car.

She started it.


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