May 24, 2013
School is out for the summer! I'm am SO excited to have these little monkeys home with me!
And yes, I really am.
Of course, it will be interesting and perhaps difficult since I'll be pregnant and all.
But you know what?
Since today was the last (half) day, the school held an awards ceremony in which they passed out trophies and prizes to students who: achieved the highest scores in different subjects, were voted "nicest, kindest" by their classmates, kids who showed the most improvement, a teacher's choice award, etc.
My children got to stand up for the "faithful attendance" recognition for not missing more than two days of school, but that was it.
When it was over, I made a quick break of the door since Claira suddenly turned into a screaming banshee.
As I was heading for the door, I passed Savannah as her class was heading back to their room. She looked like she was on the verge of tears.
I knew exactly why she was upset.
Like anyone would be (but especially for her), she was bummed that she didn't receive an award.
I wish I had had a moment to talk to her, but since she was headed back to class and I had a screaming toddler literally flung over my shoulder, there was no time. I quickly told her everything would be okay and that I was proud of her.
I wanted to explain to her that she should not only be proud of her achievements (like getting straight A's and always scoring far above average on her tests) but also learn to be happy for those who did receive an award. And believe me, I know that's not always easy.
I couldn't help but think of this:
And I loved this on helping children overcome disappointment and setbacks that are a natural part of life:
..."As children become resilient, they understand and accept these two facts. They see life as challenging and ever changing, but they believe they can cope with those challenges and changes. They view mistakes and weaknesses as opportunities to learn, and they accept that losing may precede winning.
As children develop resilience, they believe they can influence and even control outcomes in their lives through effort, imagination, knowledge, and skill. With this attitude, they focus on what they do rather than on what is outside their control."
-LYLE J. BURRUP
(Read the whole article HERE)
By the time Savannah and Joseph came home, she was happy as can be, having already moved past her initial disappointment.
And I'm also proud of her for that.
She is by nature, competitive and doesn't like to lose or be last. But these small experiences will help her learn to accept, to try harder, and most of all, to be happy for other's achievements.
We won't always be first, or the best, or the smartest. But we can control our attitude and acceptance of these things and decide how we will respond.
That is character.
May 20, 2013
I honestly can't remember the last time I went a whole week without blogging.
And I've just spent the last five minutes trying to think of something terribly clever and funny to say about that. But I couldn't even manage to pull a smile from myself, so clearly nothing was working.
Can I just blame that on pregnancy brain? Am I allowed to do that yet?
(Please say yes. I have lots of things I need to start blaming on that.)
Last week started out with me being so dang sick I hardly did anything at all, mostly because I really just couldn't work up the motivation while feeling to lousy. Then by the time I was starting to feel a bit better on Thursday, I was so dad-gum far behind on everything it was time to play catch-up.
I do believe I managed to cross one whole item off my to-do list.
I'm on a roll!
I think I deserve a cupcake for that. Hang on a sec while I go grab one....
*slurp* Ahh, much better. (yes, really did eat one)
Anyhow, now it's time to play catch-up on the ole' blog so, let's start with Mother's Day.
The older kids were super excited to show me all the fun Mother's Day things they created. And boy oh boy, was I in for a treat!
I was laughing so hard by the time I was done reading through everything.
I do believe I'm going to REALLY miss when my kids start making sense and become all logical. This stage is much for fun.
From Savannah: The Girl With A Dramatic Flair
I especially love that I have "shining eyes". LOL!
Does that make me part feline? Or part Disney princess?
The whole "one of five" thing is a riddle her daddy taught her, and she LOVES a good riddle. Can you figure it out?
I was especially stumped on the part where she says, "Thanks for nursing me when I was a baby."
I mean, what the... haha! I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she just means, "taking care of".
Oh, and she thought she was particularly clever with, "You're lion in my heart and I'm not kitten."
And I can honestly say I've never been accused of being "delicate" before.
That girl, what can ya do.
From Joseph: The Boy Who Stumps Me With His Many Personalities
This was on the back of his card.
Wow, I never knew he thinks I'm "cute, good looking, and caring." I guess I should take comfort in the fact that another guy besides my husband thinks I'm cute. LOL!
And to be honest I'm surprised the whole school part was on there. Getting that boy ready for school is like pulling teeth from a crocodile.
From Jacob: The Kid Who Cracks Me Up
So, this is me.. apparently.
No wonder Joseph thinks I'm cute!
Okay, allow me to translate. *clearing throat*
I love it when my mom cooks rolls with butter. This is how she makes it. With dough and bread in the oven, 1 hour.
My mom's favorite t.v. show is exercising. (not really)
My mom's favorite song is random songs. She sings like a cole flower. (I have no idea what that means)
It bugs my mom when I do not brush my teeth.
To relax my mom likes to sit on the couch. (in my defense, it's called morning sickness, not relaxation)
I wish I could buy my mom a flower.
My mom is special because she cooks for me.
I love it when my mom bakes cupcakes. (for the record, I love that too)
When my mom is driving she texts my dad.
What the... this last one really threw me for a loop! LOL! I will only text at a stop light or if I'm in a line. But I guess I better break that habit. The last thing I want is for my kids to think it's okay to text and drive.
*sigh* The things you learn about yourself.
So there you have it.
Now we both know what my children think of me.
Should I be worried?
May 10, 2013
Sometimes I think to myself, "Sheesh! We go through cereal so fast it's down-right ridiculous! How does this happen?"
I don't even know why I bother wondering.
When I told the kids to clean it up, they just ate it all off the bed instead of putting it back.
The box gone in thirty minutes.
That's a new record.
May 8, 2013
I had my follow-up ultrasound yesterday to check on the hemorrhage.
I was feeling pretty good about how it would turn out since I have had no bleeding for a couple weeks now.
But it was still nice to be shown and told that the hemorrhage is completely gone. Prayers have been answered and all the blood has been re-absorbed, everything is looking wonderfully great!
Well, except for maybe the weight scale.
Perhaps I shouldn't mention this, but I took up Zumba a couple weeks before I was pregnant, when a friend who use to be an instructor decided to do a free class in the morning for anyone who wanted to come. I was excited because mornings work better for me than evenings and I can bring the kids with me and they just play, or dance. Whichever they decide.
Anyway, I actually use to go to her house and we'd do Zumba together. So when she failed to find a back-up teacher for days she couldn't be there, she asked if I'd be willing to learn a routine and be her back-up instructor.
I wasn't sure how well I'd do but I was excited to at least try. So she made me a dvd and I took to trying to memorize the routines.
At this point I now knew I was expecting, and also that I might have a complication.
But practicing Zumba was a good distraction, especially since when I'm concentrating and my heart rate is up, my nausea tends to ebb away.
Then when the doctor told me about the hemorrhage, I asked him if I could keep exercising. At first he said yes, then he stopped and said, "Well, maybe not. I don't think you should be running or lifting weights. In fact, don't lift anything heavy."
I decided it was pointless to mention I have a toddler.
Still, I wanted so badly to keep exercising through this pregnancy and be all healthy and stuff, (without having to actually give up chocolate) I decided I would practice a few songs at home, taking it very light and easy and see how my body would react.
Especially since I wasn't running or lifting weights. *wink wink*
No cramping, no bleeding, in fact it felt good! So I kept going to the classes, just taking it easy to gauge how my body would respond. Nothing. I felt no bad after-effects at all.
I even had a chance to play instructor once when my friend was out of town. It was so fun and the ladies were so good to work with me and my goof-ups.
Because I didn't have a severe hemorrhage, there's a chance that the exercise actually may have helped my body re-absorb the blood.
So now I am back to learning a few new songs and exercising (not rigorously, so don't worry) five days a week.
Since this is the first time I've ever exercised during a pregnancy, it has been... interesting, but good.
So yes, I'll be that weird lady with a ginormous belly shaking her chocolate-filled booty like nobody's business.
I'm so, so sorry for anyone who stands behind me.
I hope my awkwardness won't disturb them... permanently.
May 5, 2013
The children in my church primary class are really excited that I'm having a baby, especially the girls.
But I was rendered speechless when one of them came up to me, laid her hand on my shoulder and said softly, "But... Serene, I thought you were fixed!"
Once I had a chance to recover and not feel like a puppy, I burst out laughing. "Fixed? Why would you think that?"
Her response was given in genuine concern. "Because you have like, fifteen kids already! At least that what it seems like anyway because they are all so little and crazy!"
Well, it's good to know our kids have a such a splendid reputation.
This next one has a lot to live up to.
May 1, 2013
It had only been a few days since the pregnancy test came back positive.
I figured I was about 5 weeks along when the cramping started.
They were different from "labor" pains, more like a cramp you get when you exercise, only the pain was everywhere, through my whole mid-section. At first I thought I was miscarrying, but there was no blood. Still, it felt like all my insides were getting ripped apart.
A couple hours later, I was fine. It gave us a scare but I let it pass as one of those weird things that happen and you'll never really know why.
The next day I was fine but the day after, the cramping started again. They were pretty bad so I started debating with myself on whether or not to go see a doctor.
Since I was only 5 weeks I felt kind of stupid for going in so early, yet something clearly wasn't right. I finally compromised with myself and called up my O.B's office and talked to a nurse.
She convinced me to come in after she pointed out that if it was something like a tubal pregnancy, it was better to know sooner than later.
So I set up an appointment to go in just a couple hours later.
Calling up my neighbor, she graciously came over to keep an eye on my kiddos.
Upon doing an ultrasound, this is what was found.
Sorry, I took a photo of the ultrasound picture with my phone so it's not very good.
Anyway, the little black circle is the normal baby sac. That second weird blob thingy? Ya, they were stumped. The doctor said he had never seen this before and ran through a couple scenarios of what it "might" be. As I kept asking questions, the doctor finally admitted that there was a small chance it could be what is called a "Molar Pregnancy"
I won't go through all the details of what it is as you can read up on it, but he did point out that if it was a Molar Pregnancy, they would need to do a d&c right away and remove it before it became attached and possibly cancerous.
Yes, I knew what a d&c was, but I asked anyway; would they be able to remove it without harming the good baby sac?
The answer was no, they would have to remove the good baby too.
I was horrified and sick to my stomach over the thought. But the doctor assured me that most likely that wasn't what it was, but they couldn't rule out the possibility.
We scheduled an appointment to do another ultrasound in 2 weeks and by then they would be able to tell what was going on.
I called Hubby to fill him in, and that's when he reminded me that the week the second ultrasound was scheduled for, he was going to be in Guatemala for work. So I was doing this solo.
I had to go in for blood work a couple of times and since everything was coming back normal, the doctors were speculating that perhaps it was a "disappearing twin". But again, it was just a guess.
It was a strange two weeks. We decided to let our parents in on what was going on so they could pray for us, but decided to keep it as quiet as possible from everyone else until we knew what was going to happen.
Whenever I would pray about the situation, I always felt at peace afterwards, like everything was going to be okay. So in truth, I wasn't overwhelmed with worry. But at the same time, I kept reminding myself to be prepared for worst case scenario.
Our Salt Lake trip was actually right smack dab in the middle of this two-week waiting period and seemed like it would provide a good distraction. But as we left and had been on the free way about ten minutes, I turned to Hubby and went... "uh oh".
Not that any of you want to know this, but it didn't take long to realize I was bleeding. I am proud of myself for not punching Hubby when his first reaction was, "Did it get on the seat?" LOL!
Anyway, we found the closest Walmart and I discreetly tied a jacket around my waist all punk old school like. Not that anyone would think anything of it since it was Walmart after all. Then I went about buying a whole new set of clothes since our bag was buried deep in the back of the car underneath the mountain of kid necessities.
The rest of the weekend went fine other than some more minimal cramping, but when we spent Sunday morning at my brother's place, he guessed we were expecting. So we gave him the low-down on what was going on.
Fast forward to the day I went in for the second ultra-sound. Hubby was in Guatemala for the whole week so my neighbor offered to come with me to the appointment. She was super sweet to offer, but I decided I would rather go by myself.
The ultrasound showed a little white blob with a perfect little heartbeat, inside of the regular black blob, which was half surrounded by another irregular black blob.
The ultrasound tech wouldn't tell me anything, so when I met with the doctor he informed that I have what is called a "Subchorionic Hemorrhage"
In layman's terms, I have blood between the wall of the placenta and the baby sac.
You can't really see it because the picture they gave me to take home is zoomed in so I wouldn't be able to see most of where the pool of blood is, but you can make out the very bottom of it right above the baby's sac.
The doctor said that there are some increased risks, such as miscarriage or placenta abruption. However, in most cases the hemorrhage heals itself and everything is fine. And since I don't have a history of miscarriage or high risk pregnancies, my doctor wasn't feeling concerned.
I was told to take it easy and try to relax.
I tried not to laugh out loud at that and point out that my Hubby travels fairly often for work and I have five other kids at home.
Still, I was beyond relieved to know that it wasn't "worst case scenario" and more than likely everything would be okay.
I actually have another ultrasound scheduled for next week to make sure the hemorrhage isn't getting worse. But my bleeding has slowed to the point of having stopped almost two weeks ago so I think everything will be okay.
Part of the reason we made a public announcement, is because of this.
At only 10.5 weeks I look ridiculously pregnant and it was getting ridiculously hard to hide.
Anyway, to answer a few questions, yes, I have been sick.
As far as my morning sickness history goes, I was sick all nine months with my first, seven months with my second, and after a couple diet changes, I finally got to experience second trimester relief. Though I do tend to get sick in the morning or when I get really hungry for my whole pregnancy.
While I don't throw up very often, I tend to live in a never-ending state where it feels like everything is sitting at the base of my throat or half-way up it.
I also experience insomnia and since my back is a bit messed up, lots of back discomfort.
This pregnancy has been a bit different in that my morning sickness seems to have a mind of it's own. Some days I'm okay, other days I'm knocked flat on my back. Some days start off okay then end very badly, and some days are just the opposite.
Still we are surviving and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that in a couple weeks, the worst will be over.
There is more to tell, more I'd like to record just for my own sake more than anything else, but I'll save them for other posts since this one has gone on long enough.
Thank you for all the supportive comments!
Someone asked me the other day if anyone had given me a hard time about having another baby. I said, surprisingly no! Everyone has been very nice about it... well, to my face anyway.
I'm sure there's been a few whispers and comments going on behind my back.
But whatever and who cares.
We are all very excited and happy around here with this soon-to-be addition to our family.
April 29, 2013
The kids keep asking me if it's time for the baby to come out yet, or if I'm ever going to stop being sick.
The boys are hoping for a boy while the girls are hoping for a girl.
Either way, Alayna is dead set on naming it "Sparkles".
Anyway, there is a lot that has happened with this pregnancy in it's short ten weeks that my family doesn't know. I will write a full report next post.
April 26, 2013
We got a call from my children's principle last week to tell us that one of our children had punched another kid in the face and knocked out their tooth. Though the teachers suspected the kid's tooth was already loose.
I was stunned.
Yes this child has acted out before and has had some trouble with tantrums at school, but it had been a long time since we've had an incident, and they had certainly never hurt someone before! I could not really fathom that they would just... punch someone!
I thought for sure they would get sent home from school at the very least, or even suspended or something. But the principle assured my husband that they had everything under control at the school and that they had just wanted to let us know about the incident.
I confess I thought it odd that they weren't taking some sort of serious action against our child. And what about the other kid? How would their parents react?
Hubby and I talked on the phone and worked out how we would handle it and what the consequences would be. We were both feeling incredibly worried at this point.
For the rest of day I felt like the world's worst mom.
Where did we go wrong? What have I done to my child that would create this kind of lack of control or caring for another person? Thoughts and questions swirled through my brain for the whole afternoon as I struggled with my epic parenting failure.
But I had been taught more by example than by words from my own parents, that every child has a right to explain their side of the story. My parents always listened to us.
So when my children came home, I called in this child and asked them to explain what had happened.
This was their version.
A kid behind them was trying to pull on my child's hat (a winter beanie) while they were standing in line. Because of this my child turned around and pretty soon they were goofing off and pretend karate chopping each other. As my child went to swipe the other kid with their hat, a miscalculation in the heat and fun of the moment caused my child to accidentally hit the other child in the mouth with his hand instead of the hat.
The story was told without hesitation or embellishment. I knew they were telling the truth. My children are still young enough that it's obvious when they lie. They hesitate because they know lying is wrong, they won't look at me, and they take time to think about what they are going to say.
Thankfully we have taught our children to be honest so lying is not a big issue.
It had started to be at one point with one child, until it occurred to me that this child was afraid of getting in trouble. They were extra sensitive to that and so would come up with stories to get out of trouble.
We worked out ways of clearing that up so now we don't have a problem with it.
Anyway, as I listened to my child's story, I realized that it had merely been an accident caused by two children who were goofing off together.
When I asked if the other child was upset that their tooth was knocked out, my child said no, they were actually happy because the tooth was loose and they really wanted it out so they could put it under their pillow for the tooth fairy.
That was sure a whole different take on my child "punching someone in the mouth and knocking their tooth out" and explained why the other child wasn't upset or that my child wasn't in trouble at school.
My relief was palpable.
I called Hubby right away and explained what really happened, his relief was obvious as well. We still talked to our child about how they shouldn't have tried to hit the other kid with their hat, but the consequences we had planned on earlier were no longer necessary.
I can't help but think how important it is that our children can trust us.
And especially that they can trust that we will trust them.
Each child is different and there is certainly not a "one plan fits all" for building that trust or even in some cases, honesty. But I truly believe that if we will take the time to listen and try to understand, children will want to tell you the truth, even if it isn't always good.
Giving your child a chance to explain their point of view is key. Because so often, their understanding is limited and their viewpoint is vastly different from ours.
I'm so glad I listened.
April 22, 2013
I sort of have this love/hate relationship with chalk.
I love it because it can keep the kids busy for hours! It's doesn't stain and it doesn't stink, and it's relatively easy to clean up.
It helps them use their imaginations and I love seeing all their creativity.
I can only assume it was my children who started this particular creative project in which the neighbor kids happily joined.
But it can also be annoying when the kids throw the little pieces all over the yard.
Or bring them inside to color with as though they were crayons and chalk dust covers everything.
Or when you catch the baby eating them.
Or when the kids go all crazy and color everything, then crawl through their chalk designs and coat their clothes, then come in the house dancing and prancing as though they had just won the "World's Cleanest Kids" award, and pretty soon you're wiping down couches and cabinet doors.
Hubby on the other hand has a straight up hate relationship with it and tends to scowl a bit whenever someone busts out the chalk.
He can't seem to let go of the past.
Not since last year when Alaya decided to color the brick on the front the house solid chalk colors.
Which was surprisingly hard to get off.
I'm helping him work though his chalk issues, trying to get him to move on.
Maybe seeing the trampoline with help!
April 19, 2013
I made homemade pizza for dinner last night.
For whatever reason this became the main idea for my children's after-dinner trampoline game. They put a new twist on the traditional dog-pile.
Savannah was the "crust", Joseph was the "sauce", Jacob was the "cheese", and Alayna and Claira were the "toppings".
Until Claira decided it was easier to just jump around the pizza pile rather than be a topping. So Savannah dubbed her the "drink that comes with the pizza".
I gotta say, my kids are so dang awesome.
Especially when they aren't fighting.
Or coloring on the walls.
But seriously, my kids are so dang awesome.
April 17, 2013
Whew! So much going on! So much to tell! Yes, there is a good reason why my blog is struggling to stay alive.
But patience, all secrets will be revealed soon enough... perhaps sometime within the next week or two.
And now with that suspense hanging in the air, (mwah ha ha ha ha!) here is a post about well, nothing in particular.
Because that's just how we roll around here.
Claira did my hair this morning. Not bad eh? What do you think? Could I pull off the hippie mom look... er, with pink satin and lace headbands?
I understand this look is coming back. Claira is ahead of her time.
It even goes well with my pre-shower, slept in make-up look, don't-cha'think?
Love this thoroughly frustrating almost two-year old who still doesn't talk, who refuses to drink out of a sippy cup, and won't eat more than three bites of food a day.
I've never had a child not eat before. It's... strange.
If the word stubborn had a face, her's would be it.
Did I mention she comes equipped with some powerful vocal cords? Oh ya, this whole not talking thing doesn't go well with those. I'm wearing my orange ear-muffs a lot lately.
I also did something I probably shouldn't have.
But I couldn't help myself! *blissful sigh* It was love at first sight.
I know! I know! But... but... aren't they just, beautiful?
And I got them on sale too. Twenty bucks shipped!
That sealed the deal for me. So yes, I caved.
And I love 'em.
April 15, 2013
I try not to re-post old blog posts very often. But I was thinking of this one today and it made me laugh. So if you haven't read this one before, enjoy!
This story came up came up last weekend while talking to my younger brother. I was surprised he had never heard it before, as it was one of the finer moments for my younger self and proves that I have always been a cooking goddess.
And so, I have come forth to record it for all to see, and bow before my cooking prowess... or not.
I can't recall exactly how old we were, perhaps 10 and 11 or so? But it was Christmas time when my older sister Jenny, and I decided to take matters into our own hands.
(This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this story. We were merely trying to save all the "wild flowers" (aka weeds) from death by lawn mower. Cause we had big hearts like that. I'm sure my mom appreciated the giant bouquet we made.)
We really, really wanted eggnog. When you grow up in a house where sweet things were rare, you learned to improvise... a lot.
I would spend an hour tackling the lid on the five gallon bucket of raw honey, as it was quite often the onlysweet thing in the house, just to be able to slip my spoon in under the corner I barely managed to pry up.
But that was before I learned where my dad hid his candy stash... errr, not that I ever swiped anything dad... honest! Mostly... *cough* anyway.
As there was no eggnog to be found in the house, we decided to make some, because we were cooking geniuses.
We dug up a recipe for eggnog and immediately headed for the kitchen.
"6 eggs" were the very first items on the ingredient list.
Jenny and I looked at each other. Having always been warned of the evils of raw eggs and knowing full well that one never just ate them let alone drank them, we set about hard boiling six eggs.
While that was cooking, we mixed all the other ingredients together and had some nice, sweet, cinnamony flavored milk. All we needed was the eggs.
After all, it is called "egg"nog, right?
Once the eggs had finished cooking, we peeled off the shells. That's when we suddenly realized that there was something odd about this recipe.
"Umm, how do you think they mash up the eggs so well there aren't any chunks?"
"I don't know! But let's try."
Getting out the eggs masher and taking turns, we mashed, and mashed, and mashed, and mashed, and mashed some more, trying to make them all "creamy". But all we got was a bowl full of dry, crumbly eggs.
Finally frustrated, we decided that we should just add the eggs to the wet ingredients and blend them. Perhaps then they would creamify! (cause creamify is a cool word)
But alas, to our great disappointment, all we got was chunky milk.
Finally deciding that whoever wrote the recipe was a total idiot, or had some fancy mashing machine, we strained out the eggs and drank the milk.
Yes, you read that right.
And so, my sister and I continued to make egg less eggnog for many a special occasion, and sometimes even went to far as to share with our siblings.
(picture taken before my youngest brother was born)
We always wondered how the store bought eggnog makers managed to mash their eggs up enough so they were creamy enough to drink.
To this day, it remains a unsolved mystery.
P.S. My sister added: By the way if you recall I think this recipe called for egg "whites" and we couldn't figure out how to get the white of the egg unless it WAS boiled. That was an awesome time!