I Did It

One of the things I dread is going out and about with an infant.  Yes, even with my sixth baby, this causes me some major anxiety.  The sound of one of my babies crying and fussing in a car seat, or in a store, (and the germs!) makes me feel trapped and makes me sweat and makes my brain feel like it's rattling inside.  I'd rather just wait till we have a reliable schedule that ensures no fussing.  BUT we were out of food.  And Jeff is so busy with work and coaching and the kids and as good as he has been about helping out with runs to the the grocery store (I think he secretly likes it?) there just aren't enough hours in the day, and really-I can't procrastinate forever.

We accomplished our first grocery store outing today and sweet little Janey did not make a peep.  All the way there and during and back-she even let me put away all the food.  I think I bought enough to last a good two weeks with a quick fruit/milk/bread run 1/2 way through.

Patrick was so good.  He promised me he would help me go as fast as possible by being a good listener, and he was excellent.  He was rewarded with a little toy at the end of the trip.

I couldn't resist the pumpkins and the mums.  I know it's too early to even think about fall but they were calling my name.

My favorite month starts tomorrow-I've been watching the squirrels outside the window where I sit and nurse, and little yellow leaves are starting to fall.  The nights are cooling down, and the sun is bright.

I feel so grateful right now...for my beautiful new baby, food in my cabinets, kids in good schools, a helpful husband, and a cozy house that I never want to leave.



One week old already!  I wish I could freeze time.


Oh What A Day

I think I'm going to have trouble keeping up with this blog for awhile.  I've been wanting to write this post since Janey was born, and I've had to start it and stop it for the last five days.  But there are some things I don't want to forget and one of them was the day she was born.

On the 22nd, we woke up early to celebrate Andrew's 9th birthday.  Can you tell he's a bit excited? 

He wanted more than ever, a motor scooter.  He's so independent and has asked me all summer if he could ride into town.  No way is he ready for that, so around the block will do him, and I love watching him take off.  (PS.  He always wears a helmet but this is him trying the scooter out quickly before we leave for the day.)

Jeff took Abbey off to the bus and Isaac finished packing the car.  We all jumped in and drove a couple hours to drop off Isaac at college.  I can't believe I made it to this day-as uncomfortable as the ride was, I am lucky that I was able to go.

Here we are in his tiny, hot dorm room helping him unpack. 

After Isaac was settled, we ate lunch together and parked at a far corner of the campus, away from all the move-in hoopla and said our goodbyes.  :(

We came home, had a birthday dinner and cake and the kids went to bed.

At about 11:30 I told Jeff I was having contractions and thought maybe we should go into the hospital, but I wasn't sure.  That meant to Jeff that we were going to the hospital.  When Patrick was born, I waited too long and although we made it to the hospital it was sort of a disaster-midwife not showing up till the last minute, super crabby doctor on call having to be called, everything frantic, etc.  We didn't want that repeated.

Abbey really wanted to come with us and see the birth and we felt she was old enough, so we woke up her poor tired soul, and she came with us.  I had called the answering service for my doctor, but she said to just come in, and they would call the doctor once I was checked.  Jeff called on the way and told them to send her now to the hospital, so she could meet us there.  He was so worried about the last experience being repeated.

From this moment on, the entire birth process could not have been more perfect. It was exactly what I wanted.  Peaceful, controlled, beautiful.

Someone (I think Jeff?) shouted, "It's a girl!" as they laid her on top of me (and where she stayed for a good hour.)  And we all cried (Abbey, Jeff and I) and said, "It's a girl!!! Oh my gosh, it's a girl!" or versions of that statement about 25 more times till I'm sure everyone in that room thought we were really slow learners.

Abbey cut the cord, how cool is that.

Abbey and Jeff stayed for a couple more hours, then went home to the boys, who were so excited.

I was up on adrenaline for the rest of the night and the next day just holding her and feeling so grateful and so lucky.

The boys came by and I had to share her with her brothers.

Look at the pure joy on Patrick's face.

We are at home now, and I'm enjoying every minute of my babymoon, till Jeff goes back to work and I have to deal with real life.


Hello Baby!

She's a girl!
A girl!
She is perfect and beautiful and dainty and sweet.
And I'm going to go hold her now because I can't keep my hands off of her.


Life With Boys, I Love It

Sticks in my house all the time.

Three grilled cheese sandwiches, one boy.

Dragons and knights.  (The boys just discovered Playmobile stuff...we never had it before, but they love it, and I do too-keeps them busy!)

And yes seriously....someone ate the middles and put the ends BACK IN.  I am hoping it was a certain four year old, because if not, it's neither cute nor funny.



Who will be the winner?

Abbey and I were looking at old family pictures  yesterday and she saw this one of her Dad and had to seize the opportunity.

 After washing 14 towels every two days, I had to post a little reminder.

I TOTALLY get extra credit.  I don't know why I deserve it, I just want some.


Standing Still (Hopefully Last Pregnancy Update?)

I had my weekly OB appointment on Monday and was sent for a routine non-stress test to the hospital because another patient was already using the monitor in the office.  (My doctor's office is connected to the hospital so it wasn't a big deal.)

I walked into the maternity floor and sat in the room I was supposed to be in, and a nice nurse came and set me all up, and then left me alone...and my mind started racing.

Last week on this blog I talked about how much I love having babies...I love the hospital stay, the smell of the sheets, the excitement, the visitors, everything about it.  It's all true.  But that day, actually BEING there, in the hospital, on the floor where I'll soon be staying-and maybe it was just my state of mind at the time (anxious, worn down from parenting five children 24/7 all summer long, and very very uncomfortably pregnant) I began to feel the opposite.  I had a bit of a brain break-down.

Like this is REAL.  I'm really really having a baby.  (I didn't just eat a whole watermelon like it looks like above!)  This time, I didn't just remember the good stuff...that seemed to all vanish.  The smell, sights and sounds brought back all of it...the hard stuff too.  The frightening physical pain towards the end of labor that there is no preparation for (no matter how many times you've experienced it!), the overwhelming love I feel when that baby is born but that is soon followed by the same dose of overwhelming responsibility, that quiet time when everyone leaves to go home after the baby is born-Jeff to the kids at home-and I am left bone-tired and in bed (and yes, in love with the bundle in my arms) and with quiet that leads me to think, "Holy Moley, can I handle all this?  What was I thinking 9 months ago?  I'm just a kid, I can't take this baby home! They shouldn't let me! And all the ones at home that still need me?  I can't do this!"  No matter if this was one baby or six (!) I know those teary feelings, that weight on my shoulders, will come again.  I will feel very, very vulnerable.  I will feel self-doubt.  I will feel scared.  Scared to death.

And for a minute that day, I thought, hooked up to those monitors the other day, watching the little heart beat go up and down, "Maybe I'm OK with just staying like this-hugely pregnant-forever.  This just might be easier."

But staying stagnantly, endlessly pregnant is not really an option, nor do I really want that. (God, no!) But moving forward requires so much of me, and the reality of it all is enough to make me, for a moment, let my mind choose to travel over the hard stuff.

My nurse came back and unhooked me, and everything with that sweet little baby looked good.  And I got myself up out of that chair (no easy task) and walked (waddled?) my way out of the hospital.  I got in my mini-van and drove home and fixed lunches, and swept the floor, and refereed arguments and answered endless questions and drove someone to a practice.  I had to stop entertaining my doubts, my fears, my anxiety, but was almost grateful that I had the quiet time to do it-to get it all out of my system.


Summer Kick-Off Memories

Just catching up on summer pics:
A quick little day trip to Cedar Point, an awesome amusement park, right when school let out-
(Andrew and Uncle Joe)
I still can't believe how brave Andrew was! We are talking rides that look like this and this:

Before we left Andrew had the height requirements all down-there was one that was going to be a bit iffy in terms of height measurement-that 54" Raptor. He then set about perfecting the neck stretch because he was determined to get on. The first attempt failed by a hair, but the second time: mission accomplished!
Meanwhile, Patrick, Jeff, and I (and usually Matthew or sometimes Isaac or the whole gang) hung out at Camp Snoopy (my favorite -- never too crowded, lots of shade, old-fashioned cute rides) or in the little guys section of the park.
I was really proud of my older kids who took a break from the thrill seeking to volunteer to accompany Patrick on some of the rides he needed a 'responsible' adult to ride with. Usually that's me -- but not this year obviously. There were also plenty of rides he could manage by himself. He met the Peanuts gang (no lines!) and was happier than ever.
Patrick's favorite rides were the "fast trains"-what he calls roller coasters. The Woodstock Express (pictured below) and the Jr. Gemini (above with Isaac and Abbey.)
We also took advantage of the one ride I could go on -- the sky ride. Thank goodness Patrick loved it also, and it saved us both some slow walks from one side of the park to the other.
We also found another favorite of mine: an air conditioned Tofts ice cream shop.
We had such a good time together and called it a day at dusk -- just as everyone (OK, two people . . . Patrick, who was SUCH a good little trooper the whole day, and me) were reaching our maximum amusement capacity -- hence the tears from pure exhaustion.
About two minutes later:


The Kid's Bathroom

It's finally finished.  Why do all projects take SO long around here-and we don't even do them ourselves!  I think it's because I'm too nice...honestly.  I really had the goal of having this bathroom all new and ready to go by the SECOND week in June, darn it.  Of course it's worth the wait.

I still have to hang some pictures that Abbey drew of mermaids and fish when she was little.  I had every intention of getting the frames and mattes last week but it's on the back burner now-I missed the Michaels frame sale and will have to wait till the next one.

Everything is really plain.
Everything is really easy to clean-that was my goal.
Nothing is terribly creative-or creative at all!

Here's some vague before pictures.  It might not look too bad but what you don't see doesn't hurt you-the floor tile was old and dull and stained, the inside of the tub/shower was outfitted with major handicap pieces everywhere and the wall tile was chipping and discolored, the walls and ceiling itself was chipped and peeling because the fan didn't work, the sink was so hard to clean and constantly leaked, I can go on and on....you get it.  I am wondering now why it took me so many years to get to this project because I love the new finished result so much.

And now:

Shower curtain, rug and stool from Pottery Barn Kids.

I love these cheap but good quality, new towels from Walmart...I bought lots in all different colors.

Tile floor from Lowe's.

I initially bought 2" wood blinds, but then changed my mind.  I love having this window opened and the bathroom aired out and I didn't want the kids pulling the blinds up and down to do so.

I decided on canvas curtains from Lowes on a simple silver curtain rod, with rick-rack from Hobby Lobby .  I cut the curtains to length and then used fabric glue to hem and attach the rick-rack. 

No fancy tile...I am OK with never scrubbing shower tile for the rest of my life.  This one piece system is the love of my life.

And that's it.
All it takes is a few Lysol wipes while I'm watching Patrick in the bath and we're all cleaned up.
Heaven, I'll tell you.

(Here is the formula for the light green paint color-it is the perfect light limey green.)


Ordinary Days

Showing me how much he's grown.  I don't need a reminder!  He's gotten so tall.

I made these the other day.  So good.  I can't wait to get back into my cooking/baking groove after this baby is born.  Everyone has been nice about it, but there is no way they haven't noticed a serious lack of home-cooked meals and snacks around here.  

The boys were scared out of their wits the other day...they found an opossum, playing opossum, behind the shed. They ran, yelling up a storm, to the back door and burst in.  But of course, the temptation was too great and they had to check it out again, only to repeat the whole girly running and screaming thing.

 We memorize Napoleon Dynamite quotes around here.  

Another part of pregnancy I won't miss.  Gross, but they've been necessary.

Isn't school and sports paperwork completely overwhelming?  I finished it all...I think.  I hope!  They all ask for WAY too much information, and that bugs me to no end.

Matt's clean desk, ready for school.

Summer is winding down. 
It's gone fast.
Except when it's gone slow...really really slow.

I'm ready for routine-stricter bed times, the end of non-stop kitchen cleaning, and constant house straightening.  I think the kids are ready to all be away from each other a little and with peers their own age.
I'm not ready for homework enforcement, school lunches and busy sports schedule during dinner hour.

I realized I have four "starts" this year....all almost exactly a week apart-first with Abbey going back to high school and then it all ends with Patrick starting afternoon preschool in September.  It will be nice that way I think, and give me time to keep up with it all.