Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Big R's School

BigR's class is going through some rough times. There first teacher couldn't handle the class of 23 kids, and she quit. Since then there have been rotating teachers in the room.

This is not what we signed up for at a waldorf school. One thing waldorf prides itself on is routine and consistency - those are two things this grade 1 class has been lacking since the beginning of the year. Since the teacher quit, there have been virtually no academics, which means BigR has been enjoying school more - but again, this is not what we pay for.

Affording waldorf school isn't a walk in the park. We sacrifice other things so that our kids can have this opportunity, and I am just not impressed with grade 1. ECE (early childhood education) that is preschool and kindergarten is an absolutely magical place. I love the teachers, love the learning style, love everything about it - but this is our first go around with the grades school and I am just not impressed at all.

It's frustrating. BigR needs the most routine, as he is by far the most sensitive to change, and he is simply not getting it. The 'bad' kids in class were getting all of the (negative) attention, leaving the quiet kids to fend for themselves. It's just not been a positive environment.

Homeschool?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

From Dark to Light

My dad is officially in the ground. I wasn't there. I should have been there. My heart is heavy today. I want someone to hug me, I want to tell people that my dad just died, and how awful it is. Unfortunately, we don't live in a culture where the expression of grief is met with open arms - instead it is met with awkward stares and silence.

Craftymama is 38 weeks 2 days pregnant now. The midwife was surprised to see us on Monday, and says she will be shocked if we make it to our 39week appointment next Monday. I keep my phone close at hand at all times waiting for a text from Craftymama to come home because it is happening. That is going to be one of the longest drives in the world. I will try not to speed or be too distracted.

BigR is having a rough time at school. There were numerous problems with his teacher, who ended up quitting and now they are left without a teacher. This kid needs the most stability out of all the kids we have, and he is the one who has the least at school. I mean, I get it, Waldorf teachers are probably harder to find then regular teachers, but at the same time - this is a private school, we are paying for our children to go to this school, and I think, as a result, we should be able to expect certain things. It is not the school's fault that the teacher quit, it's just a frustrating as a parent for things to be so up in the air. We have considered pulling him from school at least until things are settled into a routine and there is consistency there.

I am doing better, emotionally. I met with my professor for the MBA class I am taking, and we agreed to a slightly different structure for my coursework this year, due to the classes and assignments I have missed because of my depression and my dad dying. I am catching up at work, and beginning to enjoy it again. I am more present at home, and feel like I am actually participating. We have a wonderful new tradition, I don't really know how it started, but every Sunday now I make french toast for everyone. Every second Sunday when Glassman and the girls are there we go through an entire loaf of bread. Each week one of the kids sits on the counter and helps me by passing the bread and eggs and what not. Last week it was BigR who never sits on the counter, he was giddy and loved it. After last Sundays breakfast we carved our pumpkins. Cableman even got up and came down early (as we had to carve them before I started work at 11:00a), so we could all do them together. There were 6 pumpkins to carve. As per tradition I do BigR's, Glassman does K's, Cableman does M's, and Craftymama does LittleR's. I don't know how it started for me to do BigR's, but it's a thing now.

The kids are also very excited about their upcoming lantern walks to celebrate Martinmaas, and the changing from light to dark. I have made all the lanterns, as I seem to do every year, and the kids are gleeful. I would get pictures, as it is quite the magical event, but it takes place in near dark, so you wouldn't be able to see anything.

I am officially on parental leave from my part time job. I was accidentally sent an email from my boss to the regional manager that said he didn't want me back when I left, so that sparked a series of discussions between us. But, they can't fire me for going on parental leave. It'll be nice not to work the upcoming evenings or weekends. I used to work my normal work week here in Nanaimo from 8:00-4:30p (save for Wednesdays wherein I have school from 9-12), and then on Thursdays and Fridays I would go straight to my other job and work there 5:30-8:30. I would also work there on Saturdays (10-6) and Sundays (11-5). It'll be great to have some time off and be at home.

Well, I think that's all for me. Maybe next time I update I'll have a picture of a squishy newborn to share! For now though, here is a picture of the kids at the big pumpkin pile where we pick out our pumpkins!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Death

On October 18th, 2013 my dad died. He died of liver cancer causing his liver and kidneys to fail. Apparently it was peaceful, his brother and sister were there with him when it happened.

Everyone keeps asking me how I am doing, or how I feel. The truth is, I don't know.

It was easy, when my dad was alive, to hold on to that hope that one day we would be able to have a relationship with one another. It was easy not to think about him. Now I find I am stuck in this place where I think about him frequently and have so many questions that I can never get answered.

It's not that we didn't try to have a relationship. We both tried at various points in our lives, but we could never get on the same wave length to hear what the other had to say. He was always so stubborn, and I pretended, even to myself, that I didn't need or want him in my life.

I am mourning the loss of something that never was. My family tells me I was a daddy's girl while he was at home, but I don't remember, I don't really have any memories from when he lived at home - I wish I did. I wish I had some great memories to counter act the bad ones I have of him after he left. I need to believe at some point he was a decent guy.

There won't be a service for him, as he didn't want one. I won't get to see his body one last time before he is cremated. I have no idea what he looks like now, how he has aged since I last saw him 3.5 years ago.

It has hit me harder than I imagined it would. There have been numerous times when I hadn't heard from him for quite some time, or had been told that he was really sick that I wondered if he had died, I honestly thought his extended absences had prepared me for his ultimate death - but they didn't.

I am left angry, upset, sad, lost and confused. There is no handbook for grief, there is no right way to feel, and yet I feel like I am doing it all wrong.

I don't know what I want or need from others around me, I don't know what I need to do for myself. I just keep stifling my feelings and allowing some of them to come to the surface when I am alone and it is quiet - healthy I know.

He was my dad, and I never knew him - and now I'll never get the chance.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

So Much To Catch Up On

It's been a long time since I have updated. The kids are back in school, Craftymama is 35.5 weeks pregnant now. I guess a drive by is kind of in order here....


  • BigR started grade 1 this year. Thus far he does not seem to be enjoying himself at all. He still lives in imagination world in his head, and isn't really into the whole sitting in desks and learning things kind of groove. They don't do a lot of academics - they get things like handwork, eurythmy, recess, drawing, and beeswax, but there is still 2 hours of main teaching lesson in the morning. 
  • K is loving school - because of the social interaction, but is quite peeved that she is not in grade 1 - she keeps trying to steal Big R's friends. I don't think she will have too much difficulty transitioning to grade 1 next year. The only thing she will really miss is the one on one attention that she can get from her teachers currently. 
  • M had some challenges going from kinder cottage (preschool) to kindergarten. He had to be 'encouraged' in each morning and would often leave screaming as well. He has fallen in love with one of his teachers though so that is helping a lot. 
  • Little R is also quite peeved with school - just because she goes only three days a week whereas the other kids go five. She loves kinder cottage, and loves after care. 
  • Craftymama is 35.5 weeks pregnant now - we figure she has two to three weeks to go before this little babe pops out. She is all done being pregnant now. She is uncomfortable, and her tail bone hurts all the time, she has heart burn - and she is just done. Her belly is quite big now and it is so beautiful to look at. Watching another person I love so much go through pregnancy is a remarkable thing, you appreciate it in a whole different light. 
  • The roof started leaking again. I mean I knew it would as it was leaking last year and we didn't fix it. It was leaking so much, however, that we had to do something about it - so there is now a bright blue tarp on our roof. Hopefully that will hold us over until we can properly get it all fixed. 
  • As for me, well....I've been busy. I work two jobs, and go to school. Emotionally I haven't been doing so well, which is why I took a break from blogging. Actually, I took a break from life. I stopped going to school, stopped doing my work at work and pretty much fell behind on everything. I'm starting to come out of it though and playing catch up. I need to learn when to ask for help. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wood to Money

We ran out f oil and firewood last year - our only two sources of heat. We were determined NOT to run out this year, so since we turned off the oil, in like April, we have been putting a set amount of money per month into a savings envelope - as we cant be trusted with it in the bank, to pay for oil and firewood this coming winter. We also realized, after buying firewood last October, that prices rise the closer it gets to winter so we wanted to buy early. Well, this past weekend, we bought our firewood. Last year we only bought one cord, thinking it would be enough, it so wasn't, so this year we bought two - for a pretty good price and free delivery.

I guess we were lucky last year, the guy who delivered unloaded the wood piece by piece by throwing it over the fence so it was at least in our yard. I didn't realize how wonderful that was. This year, different guy - two cords of wood - no chance of it being unloaded directly into the yard, so I moved my car and two cords were dumped on the street in front of our house. A cord is stacked wood measuring 4'x4'x8', so we had two of those. The men had the kids for the day so they were unable to help, and craftymama, well, she is 7 months pregnant so can't really help all that much either. So it was up to me.

I started by bringing loads in a (borrowed) wheelbarrow to the back, and then stacking. This went on for a while, about 1hour before a nice lady drove by asked if I was doing that on my own, and then got out and helped me. Duncan really does have a good community! She brought the wood to the back and I stacked it. We got about 1/3 done the entire thing when she had to go. It was about 5:30p, and we had been working for about 4 hours. There was no way I was going to get this all to the back of the yard and stacked before it got dark, so I changed my plan. New plan: get all the wood in the yard! So i just started throwing it over the fence into the front yard, Craftymama helped a bit by the end to when my aforementioned knee started to really hurt. So by the end of the day it was at least all in our yard.

Then craftymama had a great idea! Last year it was a whole family affair, everyone helped with the wood. So why not have the kids do it, and if they did it all we agreed we would pay them $5 and give them a movie sleepover night downstairs - this is big for our kids, they don't watch tv or movies ever. (Grandparent's house aside) They were stoked on the idea, they have really been getting into money lately.

I will admit I never expected them to move it all to the back. But...


Within two days they had moved the remaining 2/3 of two cords of wood about 100' to the back shed. It's all now waiting for me to stack - damn kids and their creating work for me!

I am so impressed with them. They actually enjoyed doing it, and not just for the money. Being that physical is great for them, and I wish we had more chores or something for them to do around the house that were physical like this - when they are bigger I am so teaching them how to chop firewood - but that's a ways away yet, no heavy sharp objects for our slightly clumsy little kids.

So we gave them their $5, with the promise of a movie night before school starts (in about two weeks), and they were thrilled. The girls are with NanaJ today, but the boys went to the store to shop!


They still had to follow our house rules - no movie characters, but that didn't seem to bother them, as they both wanted the same thing:


CARS! And buy their cars they did. This was their first actual purchase with money they have earned. They apparently were quite impressed with the whole buying procedure.

Yes we could have taken this opportunity to teach them about saving their earned money, and BigR already kind of gets it as he is saving his money that he finds/gets from adults because they think he is cute lol, for a special surprise. But its hard to teach savings to kids younger than BigR - they just don't get it. They think we are preventing them from spending their money.

Craftymama are a bit at odds as to whether we will introduce every day chores for money - otherwise known as an allowance. We both feel that they should help around the house because it is their house to, but the fact remains, that they don't. Providing a small allowance might encourage them to help out more, I don't know - I'm not in favour of it. But that's just me.

Do you have allowance in your house? How do you encourage your young children to help around the house and do basic things?

The one exception is always K, she ALWAYS wants to help out. She folds her own laundry now, and puts it away - often folding the other kids' laundry as well. She just loves to help out, which is wonderful, I need to have more patience with it and stop thinking that it would just go faster if I did it myself. By not allowing her to help I am depriving her of those skills, I don't want to do that.

But anyways, yay firewood, yay heat. I do not look forward to having to chop all that wood in the rain again this year - chopping wood in the rain in the dark is not fun.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pre Masters Papers

I haven't written a paper for University in a long time, think like 6+ years. I have nearly forgotten how. Couple that with the fact that I have never written a higher level paper, just bachelors papers.

I'm sure it's mostly me doing it, but I am so stressed out about this paper and how good it needs to be. I read over another paper from last semesters group and it seems so smart and intelligent and mine, well, mine just seems average. Granted, it's not just my paper, it is a group paper (and presentation) but I just feel like ours is falling short, like it should sound smarter given the level of learning we are at. I feel I have worked hard on it, and whatever grade I (we) get, I deserve, but I just wish I could find a way to make it sound more advanced. Perhaps if I had opportunity to start working on it before like 9:00p every night that might help, but such is life. That's when my time allows me to start working on school, so I need to adjust.

In between frantic texts from my work about picking up more shifts, even though I have said no multiple times, dropping off packages for work at various businesses, and wanting to be with my family whom I don't feel I've seen much recently, my group is texting me asking where I am, when I can meet etc, and as soon as I can meet, as I did want to stop to say hi to the kids, they decide they are all too tired to meet. Now we have to meet tonight at 8:30p, even later than the meeting would have been yesterday, to finish up this project due tomorrow. I'm so stressed out by this, I have no idea how it's going to go, and worry about it.

I'm even more worried about the final, as I really have no idea what has been discussed in this class. He goes off on tangents and talks about random things, no core substance. I hate having exams based on classes like that. I hate not knowing what it is I am supposed to be learning. But my exam isn't until next week, so for now I am just going to worry about this paper and presentation due tomorrow.

Friday, August 9, 2013

B's and Knees

So I finally, FINALLY, got my economics mark back. Somehow in the grand scheme of trying and learning I passed the whole course with a B- grade. I am so impressively proud of myself. I honestly tried my hardest, and for the first time in a while I feel like I actually earned that grade, I worked for the grade. As I said, school comes easy for me in most cases, but not economics - economics was hard. So I have an A and a B- so far in my courses.

I have also registered for my fall course, I will be taking The Effective Manager, this sounds both interesting and exciting. I have no idea what a course like this entails but I am hoping it's a good one. I'll only be going once a week starting in September so my schedule will be a little bit more normal thankfully.

In other unrelated news, I saw my orthopedic surgeon today regarding my recurrent knee issues. He is almost positive I have torn my meniscus - maybe both of them, and as such will need surgery again. My surgery date is January 14th 2014, though I did put myself on a short list in case people cancelled. The sooner I get it done and over with the sooner it's done and over with.

In terms of exercise, he told me to never trust it, even when it's feeling good. He said to not push it too hard, but that I should try swimming as it will help loosen things up in there, and will be good exercise for me. Now only if I a) had a bathing suit, b) felt comfortable enough to wear a bathing suit in public and c) actually had the *time* to exercise in the first place.

I used to love going swimming, its a great cardio workout, or it was for me, though seeing as how it's been ages since I've done it, I'm sure it'd be quite the workout again.

The recovery time for surgery will be off of it completely the next day, and then 3-5days on crutches, and then it won't fully be back to normal for about 6 weeks. It's better healing time, obviously, than my ACL surgery was, but it still sucks. We will have a new baby, I will be in school and working, and I have no idea how I am going to manage it all while being a gibble. I mean, I know I will because I'm too stubborn not to, but why do I have to keep having issues with my knee?

I'm over it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pregnancy Nesting

So craftymama is definitely nesting. She needs to knit all the things, and is already out of projects. On top of that is all the renovation projects. The only thing left on her original list is painting the stairs and upstairs landing. We have already painted the living room (I say we, but I really mean her), the boys' floor, finished the playroom, and I'm sure other things. So, with no immediate renovation project - as the stairs need to wait for the kids to be away, she found another one, and it's a doozy.

We are now turning what was the unused office/crap collector into a pantry. We have already moved the fridge in there, and craftymama is working on a layout that will contain counters, shelving and a whole host of other things I'd imagine. I am so excited about this project. I have wanted to turn that space into a pantry for the longest time but didn't think it was feasible. It only took craftymama suggesting it to turn it into a reality. Originally we were going to take down some walls but then we discovered that this space was an add on, and the wall we wanted to take down was the old exterior wall, so that's a no go unless we pay someone to do it - which we can't afford to do. I will post pictures of this progress when I have some.

I also need to post pictures of the playroom but Craftymama states it's not ready yet, it needs some pictures on the wall which will be quite cute.

The living room looks amazing, and I really need to post pictures of that change. It went from a blood red to a hazelnut cream white. The ceiling looks taller, the room is brighter, and it looks so much cleaner. It's amazing what a coat (or 6) of paint can do for a room. The red is dead as craftymama would say and it's a good thing.

We had a midwife appointment the other day, and it was great. She finally heard the heartbeat with her version of a fetoscope - as we aren't using a doppler, I've been hearing it off and on for a while now, though now I don't need to hold my breath to hear it. It's so much louder. Craftymama is measuring right on track at 25weeks, and all things look great and normal. Ziggy is growing and kicking all the time. I can't believe we are getting so close!

Monday, July 29, 2013

'A''s

So I got an 'A' in my Marketing class. That's right, in a masters level class, I actually got an A. I am so impressed with myself. I was honestly just expecting to pass my classes, and not do exceedingly well. But I really loved Marketing. I loved the concepts, adored the professor, and really enjoyed the class as a whole.

Still no economics mark - I am still nervous.

The girls spent 4 days at Glassman's house, and I missed them terribly. I think that's the longest I have gone without seeing them. With my work schedule, I went 3 days without seeing the boys - that might be the longest I've gone without seeing them. It's so hard being away from them, and away from my home so much with work and school.

I did get to spend a night at my sisters house, and it's always fun to hang out with her. She made me a nice dinner, we talked, we watched House, and I got to play with her adorable son, and my nephew, C. I wish there was a way that I could spend more time with her. I wish my family were in general closer, and that we were able to see each other more. Perhaps as our kids get older, our schedules become less hectic, and we all mature a little bit - it will become easier.

LittleR's drawings have taken on a new form. She now draws people, like people that look like people. It's quite incredible, as it seems like only last week she was still drawing random shapes and scribbles. BigR is still obsessed with Waldo and draws Waldo scenes (he copies a picture from one of his books) every day. He always hides every little thing, and wants us to find them all. M has been incredibly cute with Ziggy, he is the sweetest of all the children with this pregnancy. He constantly tells Ziggy how he is going to share his cars and blankie, and he felt Ziggy kick just a few days ago. He is such an adorable little boy. K, I think, is missing me most with my new schedule of work/school. I mean, all the kids miss me terribly, but I think she is having the hardest time. She doesn't want to fall asleep, and asks me everyday if she is going to see my the next day and why I have to work all the time. It's heart breaking.

T lounging with a monkey

LittleR's Crazy hair. 

K - she really is quite pretty, and she knows it!

BigR wearing cableman's hat - he was so proud

Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's not failure if you try your best right?

I've never really worked hard at school. It's always come relatively easy for me - and for that I am both grateful and extremely lucky. I took it for granted. I never felt like I ever had anything really to prove to anyone. I was satisfied with passing, happy when I got a B and was honestly used to getting A's. I just never cared all that much.

With this MBA program, I actually care. I feel like I have something to prove to my employer - who is sponsoring me, and to myself. I feel like I need to prove to my employer that I am worthy of being sponsored, and that I will earn it by working harder and applying what I learn. I need to prove to myself that I am capable of going back to school at 28, and capable of doing well. I knew these courses and this program would challenge me. I was looking forward to that.

I am not used to challenges like this. Not only does my brain not think in terms of economics, but it has a difficult time remembering the stuff I am able to comprehend in the first place. Economics is hard. Not just the formulas and graphs to remember, but also the concepts. They just seem so above my thinking level.

I actually completed the recommended homework, as much as I could grasp. I paid attention in class, sat at the front, and took notes. I read the textbook - again and again. When I couldn't grasp the concepts before the midterm, I made an appointment with the professor to seek help, he gave me 10 minutes of his time and told me I needed to understand the concepts better. As a last ditch effort for the midterm, I committed to memory as many of the formulas as I could, and guessed on the rest - I past with a 72%. I didn't feel that I knew 72% of the information, I felt like I had gotten lucky.

For the remainder of the class, which was only two weeks from the time of the midterm to the time of the final (the class is a semesters worth condensed into four weeks of learning), I tried harder. I looked over the notes of my classmates. I worked extremely hard, and with much focus on my group presentation - which I actually think I did well on, more so because I am a great public speaker, and I am proud of that. I studied.

I never study. I put my music on, as I can focus better with music playing, sat down at the table and spent my entire evenings studying. I didn't knit a single stitch. I spent no time with Craftymama. I began to understand some of the graphs. The concepts were becoming a little clearer. The formulas no longer seemed to be written in another language.

Then, today, I had the final. And it was the worst exam I have ever written in my entire life. It was so difficult. Even in talking with my other colleagues afterwards, we all agreed that it was especially challenging.

I took my time. I really thought about each question. Problem was, the concepts, formulas, and graphs I had worked so hard on - were nowhere in the final. I realized afterwards that I wrote about the wrong topic for my essay question. I simply couldn't answer one of the long answer questions.

If I fail this class I don't get into the MBA program. I have to pay my boss back for the money he has invested so far. Potentially the worst thing is that I will have disappointed my boss and even myself.

I honestly tried my best, and my best really doesn't feel like it's going to be good enough.

I don't know the results yet, and I am slightly afraid to.

It's not a true failure if you try your best. Or so I am told.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Time Apart

Raising blended kids can be hard. You want them to grow up believing they are siblings, and not seeing a difference between each other - which I think we have done successfully; they don't even comprehend that they aren't 'true' siblings (what is a true sibling anyways).

But they often break off into groups. Lately, the boys have wanted to play by themselves a lot, doing boy things I guess - or maybe they are at the right age difference right now, who knows?

The girls on the other hand are at each others throats most of the time, or playing house the rest of the time.

I think it's important to give each sibling group (that is R & M, or R & little R or any combination thereof) a chance to be in the home by themselves together. To create their own bond and their own unique relationship separate from the main group. With so many kids this can be hard to facilitate. What usually ends up happening is that they are divided by biological sibling groups. The girls will go to glassman's house, and the boys to cabelman's house or the men will take their bio children out somewhere leaving the others at home.

I'd love to be able to give the non bio sibling groups a chance to hang out in the home and develop their own routines and there own games, I am just not sure how to go about facilitating that. With me gone so much working, and just craftymama being at home it's not like she can just randomly pick two kids and leave the others at home - it's an all or nothing deal.

Plus, I'd like to give each of them some alone time, some times, with me or craftymama. I often get alone time with BigR because he stays up later with the kids, but when I get home from work I don't want to single anyone out so I read stories to all of them or play with all of them. I need to make sure they are all seeing me when I get home. So how do I spend some alone time with the other kids. This will become even more important when Ziggy is born. I imagine they will all be pining for attention from me and craftymama, and there simply will be less time.

LittleR, by virtue of her school hours, will get some alone time with Craftymama and Ziggy, but the other kids will be in school most of the day and will not have that same opportunity.

Maybe I do need to separate them a little when I get home from work. Have some one on one time each day with one of them rather than always doing all of them. I don't know how that will work though - they all crave my attention when I am at home. I think all it would take is a story or two to reconnect with them, and then I'd have the rest of my limited evening with all of them.

I love spending time with my kids, I just need to find a way to do it one on one, thereby giving the other sibling groups a chance to play on their own as well.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Being an Adult

Being an adult can be so hard sometimes, oh, who am I kidding, it's pretty much hard all the time.

We have reached a point where decisions need to be made that will greatly affect our future, and where we are and what we do. They are scary decisions that we don't at all feel qualified to make. Things don't always go the way you want them, and sometimes you make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are large, and they are hard to fix.

That's where we are now.

The kids are great. Our pregnancy goes well as well. We are 23 weeks now, and given Craftymama's track record we are probably about 15 weeks away from having our little Ziggy in our arms. We are slowly getting things prepared.

The living room is nearing completion in terms of paint - just one more coat, but the blood red is officially dead - to Craftymama's delight! It looks so much bigger and brighter - I am amazed at how much taller the ceiling looks now that it's this hazelnut cream colour.

We are planning on painting the stairs, the upstairs landing, and the boys' room in mid August. Cableman (who no longer works there but has an at home business), is going to take the boys over night to his parents house, and Glassman will have the girls so it'll just be Craftymama and myself - this will make it a lot easier to do and to paint. It will be a pain in the butt taking all the boys' crap out of their room though - there is a lot of it!

I have finals for my first set of classes next week, and then I am half done my foundation courses, I am praying and hoping I pass. More than that though - I am actually studying and doing my non required homework - something I never used to do. I am trying so hard to do well in these classes, I need to do well, I *have* to do well. But I know all I can do is my best, and so long as I am doing that I shouldn't be ashamed. I get my mark back for my Economics midterm today (hopefully) and I am so scared. My brain just does not compute economics well, even though I study every day (minus a day here or there) and I ask questions in class. The knowledge just does not want to sink in. But I did my best on that midterm, and all I am hoping for is a pass.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bike Rides

I don't know how to ride a bike. Well, in theory I do, but I haven't ridden one in so long, that I would be terrified to try.

The kids on the other hand - they love their bikes! LittleR got her first pedal bike for her birthday from my mom, and has just started to pedal it on her own. Before she was using it like her old balance bike.

This weekend, before I went to work, I took all the kids, solo, to go for a quick bike ride and to play at the park near our house. I wanted some one on one time with them, and wanted to see them ride their prized possessions. They are all such different kids.

LittleR, wanted to go for a short bike ride - she is still learning so she goes slower, and then play peek a boo at the park. Yes, my 4yr old wanted to play peek a boo.

M went super quick and rode back and forth along the sidewalk and parking lot waiting for me to catch up. At the part he wanted to play hide n seek - he is a big cheater lol.

BigR just wanted to ride his bike and tell me all about it. So he rode around and around the parking lot, stopping to have me watch him standing up, or see him riding on the grass. He did not want a park visit.

Now, to be honest, I didn't take K for a ride, Glassman did - he had her during the time I had before work. She wanted to do a long bike ride and no park visit, so they went around the block. No stopping for talking, just straight to business and straight riding.

It's these moments with the kids that I cherish. Along with them all crowded around and on top of me after they hadn't seen me for a few days. We read stories, and I watched their games, we did puzzles, and I saw their games. It's the little moments with the kids too.

It's hard, especially in the mornings, for me not to just doze as they play. It's so easy to just nod off a little bit as they play around you, and frankly, I did a couple of times. But, I hope I was present enough to make them feel loved, make them feel important, and let them know that I will be there whenever I can to watch them play.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Parenting Moments

We all have those moments. Those moments where we look  back at something we have said or done as a parent and wish we hadn't. They needn't be big, sometimes even the smallest of things can have the most profound effect on us and our kids.

I was driving into work this morning and suddenly it hit me, my parenting moment, one of them anyways. I have this pet peeve, I hate when the kids play with my shoes. I hate when they put them on, and I hate when they walk around the house in them. This is because we don't allow shoes in the house, for a variety of reasons, and because their little feet, when they are walking, have a tendency to start breaking my shoes - and I need those things. I immediately go to frustration, and tell them to take my shoes off and return them to the front room.

Why is this a big deal you ask?

Kids are kids. Kids try on their parent's shoes. When they do, in those moments, they are pretending they are the adult. They are having pure, innocent, fun with simply a pair of my shoes. Instead of embracing that, I go to frustration and try to end it as quickly as possible.

What's the big deal if they try on and wear my shoes? Maybe instead of telling them to put them back right away, I could show them how to wear them properly so they don't break. Maybe I could play with them, and try to put their shoes on. Maybe we could make it a dress up game where they wear some of my clothes too. I have so many other options, but I take the one that is most convenient to my frustrated mood.

This is not the way I wanted to parent.

In trying to constrain the kids, control them, I fear that we have gotten ourselves into a situation where we could stifle their creativity. I want them to feel free, in their own home and anywhere, that they can express themselves, and let their imaginations run wild. Imagination is also a fleeting thing, they won't have this childlike imagination their whole lives. I should be embracing it, instead of giving in to my annoyances.

It really isn't a big deal that they put on my shoes....

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Long Weekend

I was working this past weekend, on Saturday and Monday (I was supposed to work Sunday, but opted to take it off).

I spent Sunday, all day, in my pj's blissfully dozing on the couch, knitting, and reading stories to the kids. It was a wonderful day. The only reason I got dressed was because I had to walk the dog in the evening.

On Saturday, I went grocery shopping at 7:00a and then went to work for 8:30a.  Craftymama took the kids up to Nanaimo to drop off the girls to Glassman (who had them overnight), and to take the boys to see Cableman for the day. BigR also had a birthday party in Ladysmith so it was a lot of traveling around for her. Meanwhile - I worked.

On Sunday, the girls went for a picnic and to Fuller Lake on their way back into Duncan - and absolutely loved it. The boys played nicely and happily with their cars all morning. Craftymama was sanding furniture, but then all of a sudden switched gears and decided she was going to paint the living room trim. Off to Home Depot she went to pick up paint and what not, while I started to declutter and remove things from shelves. Then, while the boys played, Craftymama and I sanded and washed all the trim in the living room for her to paint. That's what she did Sunday - on the hottest day of the year thus far, in the hottest room in the house.

On Monday, I went to work, and after picking up her sewing dolls for the week decided she was taking the kids up to her dad's trailer for Canada Day. I was so sad to be missing that, I love the trailer. They went swimming, and played on the beach, went for rides in the golf car (BigR crashed it into a parked car causing some injury) and ate a whole bunch of crap food that one only gets at the grandparent's house. On the drive back, all the kids fell asleep.

Today, Tuesday, is my first official day of classes - I start in 2 hours and 15minutes. I am so nervous it will be too overwhelming for me, and also so nervous it will be too easy. I need something right in the middle. Something that will keep me awake during class, but not make me so frustrated that I cry and throw my textbook up against the wall. I'm cautiously optimistic.

A trip to the river in the rain last week


BigR sent me a picture of his favourite smooth rock

T built a sandcastle

I love this picture of K. It sums up her attitude, and beauty all in one go. 

LittleR playing in the water.

This is a picture from the trailer this past weekend

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Working Parent's Life

I'm a working parent as we all know. It's hard some days, and really hard other days. I miss my kids, I miss craftymama, and I miss being at home. I don't, at all, hate my job though, I like coming to work, I like what I do - which makes me feel even more guilty about being away from home. 

Usually I leave for work just after the kids wake up, and I am home just before dinner. That gives me a total of about 3 hours to see them during the week. On the weekends the boys go to cableman's house on Saturdays, and he comes here on Sundays. Glassman takes the girls to his house every other weekend, or stays at our house - so the weekends are filled with daddy time. It's a hard balance trying to get my time in on the weekends, which is why I enjoyed being the one to drive them to Nanaimo every Saturday. It gave me about an hour of uninterrupted alone time with them. I would turn the radio off and we would just talk for the hour it took my to get here - I would even drive the speed limit so I had more time with them. 

Time is a valuable thing, and there is never enough of it. 

Craftymama works from home too, so she misses out on a lot of what the kids do in the mornings (while she does her work). She works extremely hard at her job, as well as taking care of the kids. I couldn't ask for a better partner to share the working life with. I hate that she has to work too, I wish neither of us had to work and that we could both be at home, together, and parenting the children. 

This week, however, I have a crazy schedule between working and going to school. It's the only week it will be like this. I, originally, wasn't going to see the kids from Monday night until Sunday night. Thankfully, I got done early yesterday and was able to see them after dinner, and help put them to bed - I was so excited to be home with all of them. Yet, I think yesterday will be the only day I get off early, so I won't see the kids now until Sunday night, wherein I have promised them I would read the Berenstein Bears story to them, and they will remember. 

Because they will miss me, and I will miss them, Craftymama had the great idea of having a mailbox at home where they could write me letters and colour me pictures, and I would respond to them. So I would have some mail, and the kids would have a letter or pictures from me. I thought that was a great idea. Craftymama and the kids set it all up yesterday and I got my first Mii Mii Mail last night. It was wonderful to see their pictures and the captions on their pictures. It nearly brought a tear to my eye. I brought the pictures to work and they went in the binder where I keep all the kids' art they give to me for my work. I flip through it from time to time seeing how their drawings have changed over the course of two years. 

This is the only week it will be like this, just one week, and then we are back to our new normal schedule. I, and them, can make it through the week. Plus, I plan on calling them every day just to talk to them and see how they are doing. 

My Mii Mii Mail Box!

M makes a castle out of some cardboard he found - very creative for him. He was very proud. 

The boys reading their cousin C stories when he came to visit. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

LittleR Turns Four

So LittleR is 4 now. I am having a harder time with this birthday than any of the others (aside for when she turned 1 - I may have cried that day). She is an actual big kid now. The time of toddlerhood is way behind her (she did start walking at 10months afterall). She has a quirky, weird personality, and not a lot of specific interests. She plays with cars with her brothers, and house with her sisters. She loves when I read her stories.

Her favourite story as of late has been The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Yes it's a bit young for her, but she likes that she knows some of the words and knows when to turn the pages, so we indulge her in the younger book.

Her birthday was good, we had some family over. Of course I was late coming from work so I missed most of the visiting. That sucked, I like seeing my family - especially my nephew C who is the most adorable little man ever. We had cake, and of course sang happy birthday. Then she opened presents. She got a book, some chocolate (her favourite thing ever), a mini train set, a pedal bike from my mom (she had a balance bike but it is now too small for her so she got her very first big kid bike!), and from Craftymama and myself she got a new baby. You see, all of our kids get a special waldorf inspired doll on their first birthday to be their baby's. LitteR probably loved hers the most or BigR - it's hard to tell, she brought it outside when she was staying at Glassman's house and threw it up in the air. It came down somewhere and no one could find it. Since then she has been going from stuffed animal to stuffed animal trying to find something she likes to sleep with. So we thought it would be nice to get her a new baby for her 4th birthday, we have reinforced the rule that babies do NOT go outside.

Her birthday ring. Look how little she was in that picture!

The birthday girl wearing her crown!

Her Very Hungry Caterpillar 'Cake'

Monday, June 24, 2013

Today and This week

Today marks day three of a very very busy week. Between all my work, and the starting of school, and birthdays and what not - I'll have very little (read: none) downtime. I am excited to start school today, and actually brought my school binder to work - I smiled like a dork as I was getting it ready. I love school supplies, and school supply shopping. I got to go to the bookstore last week and get my textbook (only one for the four courses I am taking - which was a surprise) and I smiled like a dork then too. I love textbook shopping!

It's going to be a lot of work. When this semester actually starts (next tuesday), I will be getting to work for 5:00a, working until my classes start at 10:00a, going to school until 3:00p and then coming back here to work until like 4:30-5:00p. That way I get close to a full day of work in so I don't lose too many hours. I have also been working Saturdays and coming in early previously to store up some banked hours to use while I am in school. I think I got this covered - it's just going to be a very busy and very tiring 8 weeks. I also feel I have something to prove. With my work paying for my schooling it's like I HAVE to do well, I have to prove to them that I am capable of this schooling, and worthy of it. When I was in university before I didn't really care about getting top of my class because all I wanted to do was pass. I did well, don't get my wrong, but trying my hardest was never in my radar. Now I feel I have to try my hardest, I want to be top of my class, I really want to do well. I want to prove to my boss that I can do this, I want to prove to myself that I can still go to school successfully after all these years of not going, and I want to show my kids that it's never to late to go after what you want, and to do well at it.

Today is Craftymama's and LittleR's birthday. Craftymama is 26 (she feels old) and LittleR is 4. I can't believe LittleR is four already. She still seems to small to me, and it feels like not too long ago I was giving birth to her. I can still relive those moments, some more vivid than others, and I can still feel that post birth rush that one gets. I still remember how primal I was when she was born, and how in love I was with this little creature who I was sure was a boy. I will write more on her and her birthday after her get together with family tonight - I hope to post pictures.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Poll

I'm not sure how many different people who read this, but I'm wondering:

Who thinks we should find out the sex of the baby?

Craftymama and I can't make up our minds, we keep wavering back and forth. In the beginning we wanted to find out so that we could better bond with the baby, which we were both not doing well at in the beginning. But now, all that has changed, and both of us are bonding more. (As I have said - I'm in love with her belly!). Craftymama has never had the surprise at birth, whereas I have had it twice. But I've also never found out during pregnancy - we are both on opposite sides.

We think we have names, no I'm not telling, so it would be interesting to actually be able to pick one, and use it (in secret away from the chatting kids). But the surprise is so wonderful, and I'd love to experience it from this side. To watch the awe and anticipation on Craftymama's face as she learns if it's a boy or a girl.

Such a hard choice!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer Break Has Begun

The kids are officially done school for the year. BigR will move up to grade 1, K will stay in kindergarten for another year, M moves up from kindercottage to kindergarten, and LittleR will stay in kindercottage for another year. So there were some big changes, and a few tears on Craftymama's part. (I was called heartless, lol, because I don't get emotional over these types of things).

For the final fieldtrip BigR and K sailed boats that they made (hammering nails, sanding wood, painting a silk for the sail - everything) at a local little river/stream. M and LittleR had a puppet show and picnic for their final day - and did amazingly well for having to sit still and listen for 25minutes.

Now comes the long days of playing outside, picnics in the garden, trips to the river, bike rides, beach visits, and everything else that comes with kids on summer break. We are hoping to take the kids camping this summer, I know a guy who has a place in Tofino by the beach, but at the very least we want to take them to Craftymama's dad's trailer for some pseudo camping.

There is a pressure to 'do more' in the summer because there is more time to do actual things what with no school. However, we feel that kids also need some continuity, and some time to just be. So while they may get to stay up a little later, it wont be much later, and there will be times they say they are bored, or don't know what to do. But that's part of being a kid and part of summer. One learns to find their own fun.

LittleR and M with their teachers

The little kids getting ready for their last homemade bun day

K sailing her boat

BigR sailing his boat

The little kids digging in the epic sandbox at school for the last time this year. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

R Turns 7

His birthday ring, complete with new Cat decoration representing his cat (Pink Flower)

All of the people at his birthday party. 

Distorted Picture: his birthday muffins

Distorted Picture: A tomato plant from a friend

Distorted Picture: Snuffing out his birthday candles at his school's birthday celebration

Distorted Picture: Waldo Cake

Distorted Picture: He got a magic set, and this is his magicians pose

Distorted Picture: He got a cool pirate card from my mom that doubles as a hat and eye patch!

Distorted Picture: Everyone gathered around our big table - we fit! 

So R turned 7. Such a big day for someone who still seems so young and small. I remember his 2nd birthday with the race car cake, and his pirate cake, and his flag cake - so many birthdays, each cake - each birthday marks another year he is closer to adulthood. I'm aware adulthood is a long time away, but we are approaching double digits, then teenhood, then adulthood. He is no longer a small kid - he is a big kid. A big kid who is going into grade 1 next year!

Next year he will enter gradeschool, and more formal learning will begin. He will read, begin to do math, learn some history (which he will be all over), and continue learning from stories and fables that Waldorf School prides itself on. He is growing up.

With that growth comes the realization that experiences he has now will greatly affect the man he is to become. He will more concretely remember these days, these memories, and they will form the basis of his knowledge of his childhood. I am acutely aware of this. It is important, with all the kids - no matter the age, that we give them an enriching and memorable childhood, but there is added pressure when you come to the realization that his childhood memories are being made now. Will he remember his waldo cake? Probably, as will he remember his firth birthday party with friends. (7 is the age they first have birthday parties outside of the family one).

Though R has been going through some trying times lately, he still shows what a sweet and caring boy he can be. Usually with gifts we allow them to be hoarded by the kid who received them for the day, R took is upon himself to share that very first day, with no questions asked.

A few R quirks:
-He'd still sleep to 11 if you'd let him.
-He is the most rambunctious in the mornings and riles the whole gang up.
-He is obsessed with Waldo and all things Waldo related.
-He is still the most cautious of the bunch
-He tells me he loves me on a near daily basis now (so adorable!)
-He is still a mama's boy
-His favourite food is shepherds pie (though he has been begging for potato skins lately)
-He still has Steve, his 'imaginary' friend.
-He still wears a diaper at night.
-He has theories, interesting ones, about how the world and language came to be.
-He can finally make himself toast and butter it, and often does so for himself and the other kids.

I love this kid with all my heart, and I am excited to see the growth in him when Ziggy comes along. I'm hoping he helps change diapers ;)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Oh My God

BigR is miserable. So miserable all the freaking time, it is so draining. He talks back, he is moody - it's like a mini pms'ing boy. I know I know, he is going through the 7 year change, and I know this is first puberty, and I knew it was going to be hard long before we got here, but every time I think it's at its worst - it just gets worse. This morning he threw his diaper at M (yes, he still wears a diaper, we can't for the life of us get him out of it, we have tried, and we can't be doing sheet and blanket laundry every day as he wets the bed every night - we have enough laundry to do!), and then had a fit when I asked him to pick it up. He then threw a bigger fit when I asked him what he wanted for breakfast.

He just.isn't.listening. I have tried to get down on his level, tried to be more authority like, tried to be completely respectful of this personal change he is going through - but that doesn't make this any easier. Nothing we do is working. Which makes me wonder if there is anything we can actually do, or if this is just something we have to survive. There are many of those moments in parenting where you just have to survive the bad and hope that it gets better soon. I really am counting on it getting better soon.

We have alone time together, me and him, every night while Craftymama puts M to bed, and even that is becoming a strain for me. He demands constant attention, which is fine, I can do that - however, when he has been moody and rude to me the entire time I've been home from work, I don't really want to be around him any longer (*hides in parenting shame*). It's hard to muster up the will to play his imaginative games, and they still are, when he has told me I am a "fat old lady" and he "hates me" and has hit me as he is walking by.

The scary thing is....BigR is our most chilled out child (or he was before now), I am terrified of what K and M will be like at 7 - BigR will probably seem easy in comparison to them!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Breaking New Ground?

Today is LGBT Families Day. We are encouraged to post our stories on what it is like to live in a LGBT family, or to know one in our lives.

I wanted to point out a few different things I have noticed since living in a LGBT family.


  • People ask you who the real or birth mom is all the time. I assume this would be true for two dads. For some reason it is okay to ask these types of inappropriate  questions to same sex couples. 
  • Names on forms actually bother you. At our school all the forms were mother and father - and we never knew how to fill them out. Craftymama and I are together, and have full custody of the kids. They have two mothers who they live with, not a mother and a father. We approached the school, maturely and nicely, and asked them to change the forms to parents, or have the option for two fathers or two mothers. You know what? They did, with no questions or judgments. It feels good to have them listen to us and make the change. 
  • When we go out and hold hands people still stare at us, especially when we have the kids with us. 
  • You are much more aware of how little same sex couples are portrayed in every day media. There are very few movies or shows where gays and lesbians are the prominent figures and not just cast to be the comedic relief. 
  • On that same note, there are very few books for kids with two moms or two dads - you have to really want to search for them. This is unfair to our kids who never get to read stories that have families similar to theirs. Especially Ziggy, who will not know his/her donor in the same way the kids know glassman and cableman. For him/her having that literature to reinforce that our family is completely okay is vitally important to Craftymama and myself. 
  • Our kids are resilient. On Mother's Day Big R insisted on making two of everything because he has two moms. They know their family, and they know how to show their love and support - they are not phased by having to ask for the things they want to equalize their families with all the others - at least not yet.
  • Legally speaking, because I am not a genetic parent to Ziggy - I have to adopt my own child. I will have been there through preplanning, conception, the pregnancy; everything, and yet I still have to pay to and adopt my own child. *This* is unfair. 

It has been quite the experience living in  LGBT household so far, there are not very  many of us in our area, but our community has been so accepting of us. There have been no judgments, at least not to our faces, and everyone has included both of us. It's been wonderful to be a part of such a welcoming community, I can't imagine what it is like for those who have to face homophobia on a daily basis. To face discrimination based on something that is at the very core of their being. It is so unfair. 

I am proud of my family. I am proud of any family, LGBT or not who have the courage to stand up and be who they are, and find peace in who they are. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Drive By


  • Craftymama is feeling Ziggy move all the time now, not just flops but actual kicks. I can't wait until it kicks me in the head. 
  • We have our ultrasound this month to make sure all is going well, we still haven't determined if we are going to find out gender - but if we are, we need to get another ultrasound as this one is too early for them to tell us. 
  • BigR may have the pox - so he isn't in school today, much to his chagrin. 
  • I have started my Christmas knitting as I don't think I'll get much time to do it once Ziggy is here and I am in school. 
  • My school start in 24 days - well, that's when orientation is, actual schooling doesn't start until July 3rd. 
  • K is determined that she *will* have earrings for her birthday, this is all thanks to Craftymama's mama who sparked the idea in her pretty little red head - she now will not drop the topic. 
  • My birthday was last week and it was probably my favourite one of them all - surrounded by love and family. I felt special but not focused on - it was wonderful. 
  • My car is making weird sounds, the bathroom sink is broken, and the kitchen sink is leaking - I loathe being an adult sometimes. 
  • LittleR's birthday is coming up (June 24th) and I still have no idea what to do for her. BigR's birthday is first (June 10th) but I know what we are doing for him. 
  • With the table done and the playroom waiting for some aesthetic pieces, craftymama has turned her attention towards the living room (paint), the upstairs floor (paint) and the laundry room (I have no idea of her plans, they change depending on what she finds on pinterest).
  • M is still going to a speech group and is doing really well, right now they are working on his S's, as in "snack" instead of "nack." He is actually speaking up in the group now and interacting with them, it's great to hear about his progress. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Farmhouse Table

So this past weekend was a busy one. On Saturday, the main table making day, I took all the kids out for the day so Craftymama and Glassman could have some free time without the kids around making more chaos.

We left at 9:30a, after I had already gone grocery shopping, picked up Cableman and off we went. Our first stop was Oliver Woods. This is a natural wood themed playground in the middle of a forest like setting. It's an awesome playground. We had a snack, played, and found a geocache hidden way up high in a tree.

Next stop was Target, a new store that had just opened up. BigR got his first pair of lace up shoes, which still cause him much grief and anxiety though he insisted he wanted them and can, in fact, tie bows, and we also got some cute little things for Ziggy that the kids helped pick out.

Then it was coffee time for me :)

Then we were off for the highlight of the trip. It was a long drive out to Qualicum where we went to the beach and met my mom NanaJ. We found grabs, dug our toes in the sand and water, and found some shells to bring to my work to make soap in. Then it started to rain and we got quite wet. LittleR actually loved the rain and was dancing around in it - she went thigh deep into the ocean; soaking her self.

We went back to my mom's house and had hot dogs and hot chocolate - much to the kids' delight. Then we drove Cableman back home, and headed home ourselves. All in all being gone for seven hours.

When we got home, the table was built. That night the first and second coats of stain were applied, and the next day the bench was built. That was this past Sunday. Today the stain has dried, the poly has dried and we can have our first family dinner at this beautifully built farmhouse table.

Beautiful table and bench

This table is 8 feet long and will be able to seat 10!

Pretty stain

A bench to seat four children - as they were all fighting over who would get to sit on it. 

This is the table our kids will remember as they grow old. This is the table we will have our big Christmas dinners at. This table has been built to last, and last it will. It is my hope that after all the kids move out and start having kids of their own, that they will all come back home and we will continue to be a family at this table - but that's not happening for years to come. For now, we seat 6 at this table nightly.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Night time traditions

When I was little my mom used to tuck me in and sing me "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be." I still remember that, and it was a wonderful night time tradition. Sometimes I would even be allowed a bed time snack in bed - very special times for me.

Sleep is so important for me. When my kids were babies, I used to snuggle them close in their sleep. It was a great bonding time. I don't like any child to go to bed unhappy, as at night is when your body processes all that has gone on during the day, and if you end the day on a bad note I can only imagine what that does to your whole view of the remainder of the day. It's why I strive to always be loving, kind, and to create memories with my kids at night. Granted, I try to be kind and loving at all points of the day, but it's especially important to me to make sure they go to sleep knowing I love them.

BigR has recently been staying up later due to his age, and the fact that he and M share a room and M needs to go to sleep first. We spend that time together reading stories, or playing a quiet game of hockey (the net is the empty fireplace, the sticks are car tracks, and the puck is a felted ball). He always gives me a hug, and I give him a kiss on the head when he goes upstairs. It's becoming such a special time for the two of us, but I know he goes to bed knowing I love him.

K goes to bed when all the other kids do. I always tuck her in with her new to her fuzzy blanket, tuck her baby in with a smaller blanket, and turn on her star turtle (it shines constellations on the ceiling). The colour is always blue. Then I give her a hug and a kiss and tell her I love her. After putting LittleR to bed I always go back into K's room and give her another hug and kiss. I know she goes to bed knowing I love her.

M is always difficult to put to bed. He is always so full of energy, and has tons of games he just has to play right this instance. Craftymama puts M to bed, but after I am done with the girls, I always go into M's room and give him a giant squeeze hug and spin. I lift him right off the bed, that giant 50lb boy, and squeeze him tightly while he smiles the biggest smile. Then I kiss him on the head and tuck him in with his beloved blankie. I know he goes to sleep knowing I love him.

LittleR is also a challenge to put to bed sometimes. When I am home she is always hyperactive. I take her upstairs, and she jumps off her bed frame onto her bed, and I ask her how many times she wants to spin. Inevitably, she gives me a huge number but we generally compromise on around 6 or 7. She jumps off her bed into my waiting arms and we spin around. Then I tuck her in, give her a hug and kiss and say "I love you, I'll see you in the morning" and she always replies the same. On those good nights I know she goes to sleep knowing I love her. On bad night however, she is screaming, and won't stay in her bed. Typical for her age I guess. I always leave telling her I love her, and when she is asleep, finally, I go back in, tuck her in, and whisper again that I love her in her ear. I hope she can hear me and it creates a restful sleep.

I love these little traditions with my kids, I hope they love and remember them too.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Something smelled fishy

I really should have taken pictures of this. But it's a memory I think will stay with the kids forever, and one that will stay with me.

I took all the kids, solo, to the lake this weekend to play. There is a big grassy hill, playground, sand, and the lake - the kids couldn't go swimming but they did dip their feet in. Sand was dug in, a soccer ball was chased, and we watched several boats depart to go fishing. We even talked to a fisherman who showed the kids all the different parts of a fishing rod, and the tools he uses for the fish. The kids were enthralled.

So while I was sitting on the grass they went over to the dock where some more people were actually catching fish, and with childhood interest asked to see a fish. Two minutes later they were running over to me, bag in hand. What was in the bag? A fish. Not one to show me, or to look at -but one to keep!

Que my shock - what was I to do with a dead fish? They were very excited by said fish and immediately started asking questions. Dead or alive? How did it die? What is that red stuff? Can we touch the eyes? Can I hold it? What will we do with it? Can we eat it?

So after discussing this fish with several people as to what I should do with it I was told the easiest way to prepare it was to gut it and then pan fry it. All right then - fish for snack.

So I wrap the thing up in a bag and bring it home (with a stop for ice cream on the way - it was a good day for the kids). I first tried a butchers knife, but quickly realized in order to split a fish and cut off its head/tail you need a serated knife - or at least I did. So I did that, gutted it, pulled out as many bones as I could, and threw it in the hot pan.

Let's just say fish cooks fast, and it was falling apart, I ended up making not fillets like I intended to, but more scrambled fish. I set little bowls of fish in front of the kids expecting them to be disgusted by this thing they just saw as an animal now presented towards them as a meal. But nope, they devoured it, and want more!

Perhaps I should take them fishing one day.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Typical

This post is a hard one to write.

Its about baby5, who we have nicknamed Ziggy.

Ziggy has caused a lot of drama in my family. To say virtually no one is happy about it is pretty accurate. People are shocked, sad, offended, angry and a whole host of other things that surprise me.

I had told sisterN about our pregnancy first. Mainly because I knew she would be supportive, and I knew that she wouldn't tell other family members until I was ready to talk about it. I was timid to tell them, and I, especially, wanted to tell my mother in person. It just seemed more respectful and all around better to tell her in person. I knew she wouldn't be over the moon excited for us, but she still deserved hearing it from me, and from my face.

Well, what happened was SisterE confronted sisterN with her belief that Craftymama was pregnant. No idea how SisterE found out mind you. SisterN came to me and asked if I had told, and what she should say. I immediately texted SisterE. I couldn't believe she would go to my other sister rather than coming to me directly. So they then began fighting and have no talked since.

Fearing SisterE would tell my mom, I called her from work to tell her the news. We talked like she had never heard the news, and she presented her discontent and sadness at the whole situation; along with some other important issues between us. Turns out, SisterE had told my mother, and my mother had lied to me. She later told me she lief because "it's not like you have never lied to me." SisterE, meanwhile, told me she wasn't in a position to talk to me for the time being; so we aren't speaking anymore. However, my mom and I are still talking and are working on our relationship going forward.

The drama here seems so timid, but it is quite large and quite typical for my family. It seems one or more of us are always at odds with each other. It is getting quite tiring.

It also seems silly that my sisters aren't talking, and SisterE is not speaking to me over a new addition to the family. I get that they are shocked, and they may not agree with our decision to have another baby - but that doesn't mean that people need to stop speaking to each other. I am hoping that, when the baby is born, they will see this as an addition to our family, and consider it one of their own - even though they disagree with the choice and I won't be giving birth to it.

My biggest fear is that my SisterE will not see this baby as a niece or nephew, and my mom won't see it as a grandchild. My even bigger fear is that neither will see me as a true parent to this child - which I 100% am. Biology does not create families, Love creates families.

I love my family, I truly do, but I cannot be a party to their negativity any more. I have to cut strings and ties where they are needed in order to protect the integrity of my family unit, and out of respect for Craftymama. Yes, that does mean I will probably burn a few bridges, but I am hoping with time that they can be rebuilt. Nothing is broken forever - especially families.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Meet Steve


This is Steve. He is R's best friend, or in my opinion is R's best friend. I believe R found him randomly outside in the garden one day and they have been inseparable ever since. Steve plays all R's games with him, watches him eat, wears Pj's at bedtime, and yes - he is missing a hand. Usually, R puts a hook on him, like Captain Hook, made of beeswax. It's very endearing.

I never thought I'd have a child who had an imaginary best friend. I realize Steve isn't imaginary, but it's the same sort of thing. R has personified Steve, and Steve is very real to him - much like an imaginary friend would be. I never had one when I was growing up, that I can remember, and I don't remember any of my friends every having one either - though I am not sure they would have talked about it if they did.

It's very interesting to watch R play with Steve and see the games that are created. R is aware that Steve is much smaller than him, often making jokes about how short he is. R is aware of Steve's physical attributes and limitations but he is still very real.

I love watching his imagination expand and continue to grow like this as he gets older.

I realize this was an odd post, but Steve is such a vital person in our house that I wanted a place to remember him forever, and somewhere to show R when he gets older.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Baby5

We're having a baby! Craftymama is pregnant and we are due in November - we are absolutely stoked and so are the kids.

Families are divided on how they feel about the whole situation - which was expected. 

The drama from my earlier post was about this news, and one sister finding out without me telling her, and the other sister not knowing what to do about it. So much drama over a little tiny human. Babies are always wonderful :) Ah well. 

Needless to say - we are having a baby! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Knee

So back in 2003 I tore my ACL in my knee. It required surgeries and staples, and a not so caring doctor.

Lately, my knee has been flaring up again, it is swollen, my range of motion is limited, and it hurts. It happens for about two weeks and then goes away for about 2 weeks - give or take. I went to the walk - in clinic and he sent me for an X-ray. The X-ray came back and all the bones look good but I have extreme fluid around me knee which accounts for the swelling and limited range of motion.

I was then referred to my orthopedic surgeon from my first surgeries - I can't get into see him until July 29th. That's over two months away! For two months I am limited to walking and swimming - and since I don`t own a swimsuit I am relegated to walking. Walking will not help me lose weight. I need to lose weight. I know this. My meds, my previous psychotic break, and my poor eating habits/exercise during that time caused me to gain much weight. I've been trying to lose it for 1.5yrs now.

I actually have a gift certificate, from the trainer I worked with for a while, for an intense bootcamp - but I guess I can't go to that until this business with my knee is straightened out. I think an intense bootcamp would be great for me. I love to sweat and work hard, I love to push my body to the extremes and that's what a bootcamp does.

I am hoping my knee doesn't require surgery, but the doctor I saw today who referred me said to probably expect at least a scope done. Orthopedics like to cut people open evidently - ha ha ha. A scope wouldn't be too bad, I wouldn't have to be without my knee for long - maybe a day. I am hoping I won't need any more surgery than that though. I don't want to be without my leg again, I don't want to be on crutches, I don't want to be unable to drive and thus not go to work - and I certainly don't want the blood clot I got from my last surgery.

Ugh! Stupid knee!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Laundry Room and Meds

So, our washer crapped out. We used the tax refund to buy a washer (and fridge - cause that went too, and fix the van - cause that went on the same weekend ugh!). Washer delivered! Yay! Washer does not fit. We tried stacking it but that didn't work in the space either. So, what do we do? We widen the wall. Well, Craftymama and Glassman widen the wall - I went to pick up firewood and mowed the grass.

You can see the machines stacked here. This is the wall we are widening. 

It's lathe and plaster....

Which means a lot of mess

Add caption

Lathe and plaster removed
When they were taking off this top section, T saw it and thought  it was a treasure map - and was all excited, unfortunately it was not a map
The drywall went up as well, and after I crawled underneath the house to pull the dryer hose over to the vent (as that's what has to be done) we had working machines again. I can't tell you what it's like to not have working machines with 6 people in the house! Especially since Sunday is typically laundry day wherein I wash all the clothes ha ha ha. Now it needs to be taped, mudded, primed and painted. Then this wall is done - again.

I also wanted to touch on my comments from yesterday regarding the kids' school. I think a lot of my discontent with the school comes from my overall negative attitude as of late, which stems from me forgetting to take my medication. I hate being one of those people that needs it to stay stable, but evidently I am, and I need to accept that.

I don't hate the kids' school. I do prefer it, definitely, over public school. Maybe this is what all private schools are like - they require a lot of effort and time on the parts of the parents. Maybe it's hard for me to see all the good because by the time I get home the kids don't really want to talk about school any more. I don't know. I don't regret sending them to this school, I know in the long run it will be great, just sometimes my views get a little cloudy and that isn't helped by not taking my medication.