About Me

I am an insane human being. I have been a wife for 15 plus years, and a mom for almost as long. I had 3 children early on...then struggled with life and IF and loss for 8 years. Thought our family was complete, so I compensated by adopting all the shelter pets. Then we were surprised that our luck changed. Our running total is Parents: 2, Kids: 5, Pets:4. My life is far from perfect, and much of our happiness was hard fought and won, from the death of a parent, job loss and marriage troubles, miscarriage and IF, we have been through it all, and dare I say we made it, with a lot of love and laughter, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween-A Love-Hate Relationship

Growing up I loved Halloween. Everything about it, from deciding on a costume, to getting dressed and the anticipation of waiting until it was just dark enough to leave the house, to the frantic running from house to house yelling "trick or treat" and breathless "thank yous" to sitting and sorting and trading all the candy with other neighborhood kids or my siblings. My parents walked with us every year until about middle school, when we were allowed to go out into the neighborhood by ourselves. Sometimes it was my siblings and I, sometimes there were a few friends. I remember going to a couple parties over the years, but they were never actually on Halloween, and they were always completely kid parties and they were always pretty low key, nothing outrageous. As I got older we still went out just for the heck of it to be silly and see if we could get away with getting candy. I usually could due to my super short stature I sort of blended right in with the kids. It was always a night to be running about in costume being goofy kids. One year my older brother filled a backpack with eggs, toilet paper, and shaving cream for me but I think we ended up using it to have a battle with each other rather than cause any destruction. There were always tons of kids all running around, and parents with the younger kids, but I remember it more as a kids holiday, as in everything was for and about the kids.

The first few years with my own kids, Halloween followed pretty much the same as it had when I was a kid. My husband loves Halloween also, so we would sometimes dress up with the kids and trick or treat together, and we always had our house done up with tons of cool decorations and jack o lanterns we carved. When we moved into one really busy neighborhood, we took turns taking the kids and handing out candy, and it was a busy neighborhood but the kids were also mostly polite and everyone was nice and festive. There were several houses that went all out with decorating and people would congregate along the sidewalk oohing and aaahing over the display. My kids were still pretty young then.

Over the last few years, though, there has been some shift in the whole idea of Halloween it seems. I don't know if this is typical of everywhere, if anyone else is noticing this, or if maybe it is just the area or people I know. But it has become a day where the parents are using it as an excuse to have a party and the kids sort of become secondary.

Where we had previously lived the past few Halloweens was on a dead-end street with very little foot traffic, so we would go around the corner to a big town-house neighborhood that is just huge, it is like its own little community. It is a highly sought after place to live in that city, and while there are tons of families and kids, it is also one where everyone knows your name and what you are up to, and it's also very social, with mini block parties gathering on any random day, because there is no escaping when you just want to sit alone outside. Many people live there for that social aspect, to me it's a turn-off. I need my space and privacy. Anyway. The past few years trick or treating there nearly every adult you pass is carrying a red solo cup of some type of alcohol and the atmosphere is one of a giant outdoor party. There are literally thousands of kids running around in costume and parents just hanging out partying.

Last year I ran into parents from my kids school who were absolutely trashed drunk, some by the time it was just getting dark were already slurring words and smelling of alcohol. I love a cocktail as much as the next person, but there is a time and a place for it and I just don't agree with trick or treating with your kids being one of them. It was like an excuse for the parents to just party because it was a Friday night. Here we are trick or treating with our brood of kids, one who was a baby, and people are inviting us in to party after party, right in front of my kids who don't really understand that it's not a party for them. More than a couple people told us when we made it to their street to just go in and help ourselves, door was open. It was all just very crazy and completely ridiculous to me.

This year we had already decided to stay in our new neighborhood this year. We want to see how it is trick or treating up here, we have family plans in the morning, we have a toddler who may or may not cooperate with the entire evening, my teen and her friends want to use our house to hang out and be in and out all evening, and I will be having a baby 2 days later. I just want to be able to relax. So of course the invites to these "all-invited, family parties" start coming, and the classmates are all talking about the parties and trick or treating together. The first one was from a former classmate of my son. We still see them, but the mom is homeschooling this year. She texted me and I was able to keep it under wraps and not say anything to my kid, I explained to her everything from above and it was all good. Until my son heard about it this week and first got upset when he thought he wasn't invited, and then when I said no we weren't going to be able to do that this year.

Then my middle girl brings home an invitation to a party. That is for the entire family, but starts at 1pm. First of all, if parents are starting to party that early, who the hell is going to be sober enough to take the kids out to trick or treat?? Because these people party hard. There are far too many people out in this neighborhood to keep track of your kids, and I wouldn't send my 9 and 11 years olds out alone, not there. It's so busy you can't even use the sidewalk. Plus, over that many hours, what am I doing with my toddler with no home base of my own when he has had enough? I am certainly not driving 30 minutes back and forth just to appease my older kids. The whole thing is just a mess. And neither of these parties are in the same neighborhood, either. There's also that. And the fact that when you are not drinking and everyone else is, everyone else is really not tolerable or funny or anything else.

My 2 middle kids got together and tried to plot together that they could both get to do these parties, and everyone (read THEY) would be happy. I have been hearing about this for days now. Last night I was just done with it so I sat them down and explained that it wasn't a kids party really. That is was an adult party with kids there, and that it was an excuse for parents to get together and act stupid. I explained about how we were going to have our own plans in the morning as a family with going back to the farm to do our hayride and actually pick apples this time after we have our big family breakfast. That we will be living here for a long long time and we should try and see what things were like on Halloween in our new neighborhood. That we decorated and so kids would be expecting us to be here handing out candy. I was still getting a lot of mean faces and pouting, so I got mean. I told them if what we had planned wasn't going to be good enough then they could make the choice to bring me their costumes and they could skip trick or treating this year completely. And how they were being selfish and ungrateful, and how lucky they were to actually even know what Halloween is. They are probably still a little mad at me, but I won't hear about it again I guarantee that.

I am just so annoyed that the past few years this is what Halloween has turned into. Drunk parents and parties and kids mad because I won't let them go to these things. Why can't it just be trick or treating and be about the kids for 2 hours and everyone go home and gorge on candy? That's the very best part. People I am friendly with I couldn't even look at because they were so obviously inebriated. It's just ridiculous and uncalled for.

Ok, this turned out way more ranty than I started it out to be. Has anyone else noticed this or experienced this? I am really curious!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

That Life Changing Moment

Life is made up of a series of life-changing moments, really. Everything that happens in our lives has the ability to alter us in some way. There are a million things I could say that changed my life. Meeting my husband changed the course of my life, for sure. Each child I had changed my life. Every job I have had and friend I have made has changed my life in some way. Most of these things are all more of a look-back realization. As in, I knew when I was holding my first baby that my life would change, but the impacts of that change I probably didn't acknowledge until much later.

There is one particular moment in my life that changed my life in a profound way. It was such a huge moment that while it was happening I physically felt the change happen, and I mentally acknowledged it at the same time. It wasn't the birth of any of my children, or the day I got married, or even the day my father died.

It was when I held my father in my arms.

My Dad had been sick with cancer that had spread to his brain and bones. Toward the end my mom and I were his hospice care at home. We watched him get sicker and weaker before our eyes. I am not trying to gloss over the details, but they would be horrible to read, and even more horrific for me to try and write and relive. But suffice it to say it was awful and worse than you could dare to imagine. He gradually went from being in bed most of the time to being in bed all of the time, his body crippling up and wasting away. Because he had cancer in his bones, he was particularly sore in his left hip and leg. One day at work my mom called and asked if I could come over to help clean him up and change him when I got off, because she knew he was in so much pain she didn't want to try and do it herself and jostle him and hurt him.

When I got there and went into their bedroom she was just pulling the sheets back and I stopped in the doorway and was struck by the site. My first thought was that my dad laying there crippled up and wasted away from the disease and not eating looked like Jesus on the cross, all skin and bones. I went right over and knelt on the bed, one arm under his neck and shoulders, the other arm at his side to support the sore hip and turned him towards me all the while apologizing to my dad because I knew it hurt. With that movement my big strong father was cradled in my arms like a child. My world literally stopped in that moment, as the weight of the situation washed over me. It was like lightning struck and the clarity about what was happening just hit me. I actually felt my world change in that moment. A seismic shift occurred and I knew that my view of the world was always going to be darker, that I was always going to be darker, for the rest of my life. My father, the first person on earth who held me in his arms when I was born, my first human protector in my life who had held me this way so many times, was now cradled in my arms and I was protecting him. I remember looking down at my arms and then looking up at my mom and she asked "what?" Because of the look on my face and I couldn't even speak. I was completely overwhelmed by the realization of what was happening.

From that day forward, my life has not ever been the same. My view of the world is a little darker than before. I am more cynical than before, and I don't have as much hope as I once had. Where I might have seen situations with rose-colored glasses and been slightly more positive...I am definitely jaded and it is harder for me to see the light in things. When I hear about cancer diagnosis, my mind immediately goes to the worst case scenario, knowing cancer and the havoc it causes and the inevitable outcome.

I don't remember the timeline of that day, but I know it wasn't too far away when he actually died. I just know that even more so than the day he died, that day changed my life forever.

Monday, October 26, 2015

MicroBlog Mondays-We Have Shark Teeth

I can't remember how old I was exactly, but somewhere between the ages of 5-10, I noticed a weird bump on the roof of my mouth. It was sore, like I scraped it on some food, so I didn't say anything. But one day I felt a pointy object protruding from the roof of my mouth with my tongue and told my mom. A trip to the dentist and subsequent x-rays revealed I had a tooth growing straight down from the roof of my mouth that they wanted to take out. There was also one growing in the same spot but straight upward that they were going to leave in. They put me to sleep and had to cut the tooth from my palate. I remember having stitches but little else. (I had tons of teeth pulled when I was little, and put to sleep quite a few times for the procedures, so it was no big deal to me.)

When my oldest child was in first grade her teeth started growing in crooked. Unlike when I was little, they don't pull teeth to make room anymore, rather they start orthodontia treatment. On our first consult (with the same guy who out braces on my teeth way back when) he pointed out an extra tooth on her x-ray. Hers is located above all the other teeth and isn't in the way at all, and won't ever break through, so it's just a quirky finding on her, although he was fascinated that I also had this strange extra tooth thing, too.

We just all went to the dentist a couple weeks ago, and my 9 year-old son has been discovered to also have one extra tooth above his front adult teeth. We have to go for a consult to be sure, but it is likely another benign finding that makes us all a little quirky. The technical term is supernumerary teeth or hyperdontia. Otherwise known in my family as shark teeth.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Closing a Chapter You Didn't Realize Was Ending

I have to write about this. I need a place to put all these conflicted feelings. This will be the last time I write about this topic, so please bear with me. I welcome any insight or shared experiences in the comments.

My best friend has ended our friendship completely. It feels like one of those things where you have an argument with someone that escalates so quickly and turns into a huge blow up, where everyone is left at the end totally hurt and you have no idea how you even got to this point or what even started the fight to begin with. Only in this situation, there was no argument and no big blow up. Someone just decided to walk away. And it wasn't me.

I wrote earlier today a small blurb about how my friend completely lashed out at me when she asked the night before about doing something and I stated I already had plans. I did not want to say the wrong thing and make things worse, although I kept having this nagging feeling that no matter what I said it was going to be the wrong thing or it wouldn't even matter. And I was right. I actually consulted with an older (in age) friend of mine who tends to have much better perspective on these types of situations. She has a way of looking at things from both sides and generally gives pretty good advice on how to handle things and not make a situation worse.

Without rehashing every single thing that was said, there were a few key things that sort of came up/ came to light:

My friend is going through some issues of her own in regards to her situation in life right now. Single with no kids, and over the past few months her last 2 other single friends have settled down and gotten married. The last girl in our "group" from high school is having her first baby. She mentioned being the only one who has none of those things. This is all her issue though because neither I nor none of our other friends would ever make her feel less or not include her or anything like that simply because she isn't a parent. No one has ever even made an issue out of this, so I don't know where this is coming from.

She is unhappy about her own life and instead of trying to make changes to make herself happy, she is choosing to make it everyone else's fault and responsibility to make her happy and give her life fulfillment. Which no one can do for you.

She thinks that I talk to and see everyone else I know but her. This couldn't be further from the truth. The last time I went out in the evening anywhere it was with her and another high school friend of ours. I simply don't have the time or the bank account to be a social butterfly.

Every single thing that she is upset about is completely my fault. She has not done anything at all to contribute to the state of things. I did not play the tit for tat game and took the high road and never said any of the things I could have about her behaviors or anything else. I did not want to make things worse. It wouldn't have mattered if I had.

That I am a terrible friend for not responding to texts in a timely enough manner, especially when I am at work. Well. Besides the fact that I am, ya know, at WORK, I don't actually have a desk job where my phone sits right next to me. I don't carry my phone with me, and I run all over the hospital. In my main area, we have spotty to no cell reception and texts lag behind or get lost a lot of the time. My own husband has to email me because I have a better shot at seeing that at some point than a text. The exception is iPhone to iPhone since they can use the wifi. Which is also super spotty in my main area.

That I hurt her by mentioning texting any of our other friends because I don't talk to her enough, so naturally I shouldn't talk to anyone else, either. I don't even know what to say about that. Other than I barely text with anyone else to begin with, and in the specific situation she was referring to, it was in regards to a shower evite where hers and my email addresses used were our old ones, I figured all this out, corrected the sender, and let her know what happened to keep her in the loop so she didn't get left out.

I tried being sympathetic and empathize with her and acknowledge that I knew our relationship was different now, but by nature it had to be. I tried to let her in to where I was coming from, that my "time" isn't really my time and that it takes a lot to balance the family I have. I apologized for the way she felt and said that I was doing the best I could. I tried explaining that of course at some point the paths we chose for our lives were not always going to be able to match up. I tried being reasonable and respond to each thing she told me that I "did" that hurt her and give the side that she missed or didn't see. I apologized over again and said it was never my intention to make her feel less than when she said she felt that I didn't want to be bothered with her because she doesn't have kids. I tried being rational when she said it hurt her I had plans with another friend today...plans in the middle of a weekday when she would normally be working, when I didn't even know she would be off of work on a random Thursday.

She told me to "not break her heart anymore" and keep my teen, her god daughter away from her. I gently reminded her that I was not the one who promised a birthday dinner and cancelled at the last minute, and never tried to reschedule with her. She claims to be in an understanding with my teen, but my teen still feels slighted and confused about things. And I would not ever put my child in the middle, to insinuate that is just beyond hurtful and ridiculous, but again I didn't say anything.

I did not fight with her. I did not say anything mean or nasty or hurtful. I left any old or extraneous things out of it. And she ended the friendship anyway, saying "good luck with the new baby" and that she was honest and doesn't feel bad for anything, and that I spoke my piece too and we could just move on.

I never truly thought ending the friendship was an option or possibility. I only ever said I knew right now I couldn't be the same kind of friend. I guess what I can offer right now isn't good enough and she would rather just end the friendship than settle for less. It is interesting to me that she has taken this stance with me but yet lets guys walk all over her and use her and still keeps them around, but yet I am expendable.

I have never ended a friendship or had one ended intentionally. What I have experienced is a natural progression of friendships that evolve and change over time. There are people who I used to know well at some point in my life, but as we move through life they fall away or we lose touch and it's no one's fault really it is just life. I have never gotten so upset about my place in someone's life where I was so inclined to just say screw it and actually end a friendship. I generally understand that this is how life goes, and I am busy enough in my own life to not have any one friendship define me or be the be all end all. I have never felt the need to be so extreme. I guess I just don't see the point or the sense in just cutting off a friendship completely because it can't be exactly the same as it once was, or it can't be exactly what you want it to be. There is a difference between accepting that that's life and that these things happen and it's not anyone's fault. I guess for me the people in my life I would rather have in my life the way they can give me versus an ultimatum that it has to be a certain way or else. I would rather have my friends knowing I can send a quick text and get some support anytime I need it versus not having them in my life at all because they can't be available every Wednesday and Saturday night to hang out with me, you know?

I didn't make the choice to end this friendship. It isn't a choice I would have ever made. I feel very sad that this was the choice she felt she had to make, that if I couldn't offer her a full committed best friend relationship then she didn't want any relationship at all. I feel upset that I wasn't good enough, or enough. I don't really understand why she felt she needed to end our friendship. I also am confused as to why it is okay for our other friends to get a pass because they have crazy lives, but I don't. That I am held to some other unattainable standard but no one else is, and it's okay for everyone else but I just cause her hurt and heartbreak so I can't be her friend. I truly think at the end of the day it has more to do with her than it has to do with me or anything I may have done or not done. I just wish it didn't play out this way.

A Whole lot of Rambling Going On

Please excuse the rambling nature of the post. I have had very little sleep the past couple of days. Everything is fine...but yeah.

Tuesday I had my OB appointment. All was good, it was the Norma 36 week check-up. Sometime later that evening, the baby shifted to my right side and I had the worst Sciatic pain radiating down my leg. I didn't sleep much that night at all. As usual, when I don't sleep hardly at all, the baby was very sluggish most of yesterday but still moving so I wasn't worried. But definitely a decrease from the day before. By the time I went to try and sleep, the baby wouldn't move. And the baby ALWAYS moves when I lay down for bed. So I spent 2 hours doing everything under the sun to convince baby to move, to no avail. I guzzled tons of water. I finally headed to L&D at midnight. To be put on the monitor and the baby immediately started rolling around and kicking me like crazy. Little brat. So cue another night of not much sleep. This morning the baby is making up for it and going crazy in there. A sign of things to come from this one, perhaps?

Last time I wrote, I talked about how sick I had been with a stomach flu. Well, turns out it actually is my gallbladder, which is full of stones. So much makes sense now. When I went to work Sunday I asked got the ultrasound tech to scan me really quickly to check my gallbladder, and boom there they were. I haven't been sick since, so for now I am just getting the name of a good doctor to have handy and pray that it doesn't become an issue until I can at least recover from the C-section. There is a small chance it will resolve on its own after pregnancy, and I am hoping that is the case. Or at least that I can be someone who can live with the stones with little problems, which is possible when the stones are small, which they are. Thinking back, I think I have likey had issues since my last pregnancy, because I had several similar episodes where I have been the only one in the house that got sick. So maybe I will get lucky.

Baby boy is officially in the toddler tantrum phase. It is really interesting to see the other kids reactions to it. I am teaching them how to ignore it and how to keep him safe when he starts flailing about. The biggest trigger for him is the word "no". When he hears it he gets so angry. So we are working on diversion tactics when he wants to get into things that could get him hurt or aren't for him. I forgot just how frustrating this time could be!

I feel like I have wrote about this ad naseum but that friendship of mine that was struggling...well, I pulled back a bit in order to let things sort of cool down while emotions are high. And I thought it was actually helping. Although for all of the things that I apparently "do wrong" such as not responding to text messages as in depth as I could and my lack of availability (things she has said to me) she is quite guilty of them as well. At any rate, I was making more of an effort to text and talk and ask how things are and we have talked as recently as Sunday. But then last night I get an out of the blue text asking if I am free today, which I am not. I told her about plans I previously had, and put the phone down to handle a kid issue. I was about to text back that I only had one weekend left of work and that after that we could plan to do something, but before I had a chance a nasty text pops up and it is her lashing out and saying "I deserve better after all these years". So yeah. I was at a loss. Because I didn't expect her to get mad I had plans the night before she apparently had a vacation day I didn't even know about. There were a million things I wanted to say back, but I didn't. I just said "I am sorry you fee that way." I guess what I am able to offer right now isn't enough for her. It makes me sad, but what can I really do??

I have been working on mending my relationship with my mom, as much as I can. Having some breathing space between the incident and concentrating on my family has helped. It doesn't mean I have forgotten what happened, but I have let it go some, enough to allow us to have an unspoken truce. I still feel incredibly guarded, because I am sure the same issues will come up again. It is almost inevitable that will happen. But I can't focus on that because it just drags me into a big dark hole I don't have time to be in. She is the only mom I have got, so I have to find a way to have a relationship with her we can both live with.

So glad to have my last 2 shifts at work coming up. I feel like once I am done with those, I can breathe a bit easier and really try and relax and finish up the last couple lingering things I have around the house. Today I am feeling very anxious. Probably from the lack of sleep.

Last weekend we did our local farm trips. The pumpkin patch was on Saturday and it was FREEZING!! Seriously the elevation at that farm combined with the cloudy sky and wind, it was crazy cold. No one who came out expected it to feel like that, you could tell because no one was dressed for the cold. It was a little comical actually. We decided to go back in 2 weeks to do our hayride and get our annual family picture when hopefully it is sunny and a tad bit warmer!


Monday, October 12, 2015

The Best Laid Plans...

I had the worst night's sleep ever Friday night, as in I didn't really ever fall asleep all night. I finally got up when my alarm went off at 5am to get ready for work. Despite having no sleep, I managed to have a pretty productive day at work and didn't really feel as bad as I thought I should have. The drive home made me a little sleepy and I knew if I wanted to participate in the homecoming-dance prep later than evening I would need to rest. So I came home and laid down for a little bit. When my husband woke me up, I felt worse than when I laid down; I was headachey and had a sour stomach. I had my husband get run out and grab me a soda to sip over ice, and I went on with the evening. Less than 2 hours later I realized I was going to be sick, and by 1am I realized I was going to need to call out of work. I had another stomach bug, but I was in so much pain I almost thought it might be my gallbladder. It was pretty bad. I spent most of Sunday in bed. I was worried about the baby, as I was way sicker than I had been earlier in the week, but baby was moving plenty. I was getting dehydrated but thanks to all the excess swelling I had been having, my body had plenty of fluid to draw from. My ankles haven't been so small this entire pregnancy. I am on the upswing today thank goodness. No idea how I got this twice in a week unless I re-infected myself. Knock wood, so far no one else has gotten it. I pray it is contained to just me.

I seriously never call out. My phone was blowing up with texts asking if I was okay because I never miss work. My last call out was years ago, I can't even remember when or why. I think everyone thought I must have had the baby. Anyway...I am only part time, so I earn PTO but not that much, and I have only been a benefited employee for a short time, so it's not like I have even ever had the chance to rack up any major accrued bank or anything. I work 12 hour shifts so missing 12 hours is a big chunk of time for me to use to cover my day off; we don't have separate sick time. Leading up to my Maternity leave, I had calculated my PTO hours right down to it, so I would know when I could start my paid leave, and cover the exempt period before benefits kick in. Needless to say, having to use 12 hours 3 weeks before my leave starts leaves me short. Not by much, but I had figured everything including my budget, based on still getting 2 full checks before my 66.67% leave pay kicks in. Even if I back my leave up and work right up until I deliver, I won't have earned enough PTO in that short amount of time to make up for it, because I still have a waiting period until benefits kick in. I would still end up short eventually. Le Sigh. I thought maybe I would be saved in that the holiday hours I would earn for Thanksgiving would show up, but it's 30 days before the holiday when you can use them...and I will already be on leave which makes me not eligible to even accrue them in the first place. So crap. I have never actually had a paid maternity leave, so it's doable, but so frustrating when I actually have the paid time this time and I planned so hard. Blah!!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

All Kids Really Are Different-An Unofficial Case Study

We all know every baby is different, every kid is different and not one approach works for every kid, even in the same family. I am here to provide proof, as it took me having my fourth kid who through me for a loop to figure all this out, once and for all.

My Firstborn:

She was impatient from the get go. Refused to settle down and nurse right away, would turn it into a screaming match until you have her a few sips of a fast-flowing bottle, and only then would decide to latch on and nurse. This went on for the first month of her life. Refused to be put down to sleep in any position besides her tummy...so she was a tummy sleeper from the start. Bad mom, I know. As soon as she could pull herself up the first thing she learned to do at 9 months-ish was climb onto a tiered corner table and throw pictures off and break them. I knew I was in trouble then. Around this time she started fighting sleep in a major way. No rocking, swinging, cuddling, or reading could settle her down. She would thrash around and scream. So she cried it out for about 40 minutes every night before she finally gave up and would go to sleep. At just over a year she figured out how to push a chair against anything high up she wanted to reach, including the front door chain. By 18 months, she refused to nap. Period. I could spend the entire day trying to get her to sleep and she wouldn't ever. She also hated if you changed her room around or added anything extra into it. I will never forget the terrified screams when I thought she might like some quiet music to sleep to. The evil CD player on her dresser just had to go. She was a terror from ages 2-4. Her sleep was atrocious...she went through a 2 year plus period thinking 4-5am was time to wake up no matter what. I would spend half the early morning hours trying to convince her she needed to be asleep. I thought I was losing my mind, until my sweet understanding pediatrician assured me it was only a phase she would eventually grow out of and told me of his own parenting sleep issues and how he made them tolerable. About a year later she did eventually get better and sleep all night long. But she is still at 15 on a totally different schedule them the rest of the house. She was also the kid, and still sort of is, that you can't show anything to. She refused to learn to write her name with me so she learned at school. She will only want you to show her after she has butchered whatever it was she was working on.

My second child...she took to nursing like a champ and stayed that way for about 10 months. Her infant sleep quirk was that she would get so over-stimulated that she would scream until you put her down...then scream hard for 30 seconds before falling to sleep. She has been the most easygoing of all my kids, even now. As a toddler she wasn't too terrible, could easily be talked out of a tantrum, and loved her naps. As a baby you could put her down and she would sleep on her own. Once in a regular bed, if you laid with her for 1.5 minutes and cuddled she would be sound asleep. She never had any issues waking at night or up at the crack of dawn. She is also pretty easy to figure out. When she was 3 or 4 we started noticing she was stealing cans of soda and drinking them and was getting into trouble but wouldn't stop the behavior. Finally I asked her why and she honestly told me could I just move the sodas where she couldn't find them because she tried but couldn't resist them, that she didn't know how to not drink them. It was the funniest thing, but at least we understood and could help her!

My third child, my first boy. From birth, literally in the hospital this started, he would only nurse every 5 hours and sleep the rest of the time. I never thought it would last but it did. If I tried to nurse him sonnet than 5 hours, like if we were going out somewhere, he would eat them throw up everything all over the place. When I pumped at 6 weeks for the first time I got 8 ounces from each side, he was eating that much. By 6 months he gave up nursing completely in favor of real food, anything and everything that we ate just squished up. He also continued sleeping like a champ. He had no desire to try and stay up late, and needs his 12 hours of sleep, even now. He isn't a party animal who can hang and stay up. If we are watching a family movie and it's 8:30, he will ask to go to bed. He was an easy toddler to handle for the most part, and is still a pretty easy kid despite being hardheaded at times and doing dumb thing, like stealing my stash of candy and thinking I won't notice.

All of these guys started sleeping through the night by 8-9 weeks old. I did nothing at all to help with this. I would just feed them and put the to bed at a normal, reasonable hour.

Baby Number Four has taken everything I knew as a parent about baby sleep habits and thrown it all out the window. From the start, he has wanted to sleep no where else except in my arms. He has never gone to sleep easily for any stretch of time. If you got 2 good/easy days of naps and nighttime sleep with little hassle, the third night would change that. There has never been a consistent way he has ever gone to sleep and stayed that way. Nursing to sleep was the most consistent, but he would likely wake up within the hour and not be able to settle down. Drowsy but awake? Forget it. That might have worked 2 nights out of 200. My pediatrician would ask at every appointment "sleeping through the night?" "NO." And I would get the same lecture about how he could do it and I knew how to get him to do it. Yeah, no I didn't. I did nothing different with him than I did with my other children. But he would never make the leap. He finally slept though the night at 14 months. Right after I totally weaned him. And only in a room by himself. (He slept in our room still at that point because we had not yet moved and were not going to put a baby who was up all through the night in with other kids who had to go to school). Could this have been the problem, that he was still in our room? I doubt it. because we wouldn't even go upstairs to bed until he woke up the first time, even if it meant sleeping on the couches until them, ever hopefull each night would be THE night he slept. Also, my third child slept in our room until he was 8 months old and I was sure he wouldn't be waking up other kids. I never had to worry there, though. We moved, and he started sleeping well in his new space. We could start putting him down drowsy and he would fall asleep in his own. Until he decided he had enough of that and needed someone to stay until he was almost asleep. And then until he was completely out cold asleep. And now lately he has decided he wants to protest even that. So lots of nighttime sleep fighting. It doesn't matter if he is just tired enough or overtired. I have tried adjusting so many things I just give up. Last night in a tired exhausted state, I decided since he wanted to fight so much that he could cry it out. I did the whole comfort after X amount of time, go back reassure, space time out, go back reassure...for 2 hours. And he wasn't giving up. He would settle just enough to seem almost asleep, and then the utter screaming and wailing would come envy and be louder and last longer than the time before. I finally called it and resigned myself to the fact that bedtime is going to be a nightmare with him...until he changes things up yet again. How this is going to work with a new baby, God only knows. Other than the sleep thing, he is an awesomely sweet little baby who loves to cuddle and give kisses more than any of my other kids. He also is so smart but refuses to truly talk, but he has so many people doing things for him he doesn't have to. I bet when Bonus Baby comes around he finds his voice.

So yes, despite being the same people we have always been, and parenting all of our kids in pretty similar ways...it is obvious that not all things work for all kids. I truly wasn't so aware of this until my fourth baby came along and I was first hand seeing just how different one baby could be in ways I had not seen previously.

Pet Owners-Advice Needed

So. I need some advice here. I am going to try and document everything as objectively as I can in hopes someone might be able to see what I can't seem to figure out.

Since we have moved here, we have gotten two complaints annomyously through the county regarding barking dogs. The first time I will totally admit was probably our fault. We were new here, the dogs were adjusting and in overdrive with all the new stimuli, and we didn't have a fence that could keep them in, so they were tethered and they hate that. They would get tangled and stuck and bark out of frustration. Within a few weeks of being here, though, we had invisible fence put in and combined with them getting settled in to the new environment, things have settled down considerably.

My husband got a call yesterday informing us of a second recent complaint. The biggest issue I have with an anonymous complaint is that there is no frame of reference as to when the barking issue is happening, or if there is anything that might cause it happening in the area. So I have no idea how to begin to address it. Also, I am not sure how someone can determine it is one of my dogs, when surrounding neighbors all have larger dogs that bark. If someone is coming close to my fence to look into my yard, my dogs will bark to alert to intruders. Especially the German Shepard, that's what she was bred to do. Because it isn't a formal complaint which requires leaving a name and contact info, all the county can do is give us a verbal warning. I don't know what exactly happens if they do get a formal complaint. Investigate us I guess? Park outside the house for a day and listen for barking?? I just don't know.

For the purpose of trying to figure this out, I can tell you that the dogs are never left outside if we are not at home. They go outside a million times a day at 10-20 minute intervals, hardly ever longer than that unless someone is outside with them. If the kids are playing outside, then the dogs are with them. My two beagles do not like to be out for any extended period of time, so they park/whine/howl when they are done. I don't ever let them just bark outside because it drives me crazy to hear them. Sure there have been times when I haven't been able to go open the door right away, but it is never for longer than maybe 10 minutes if I am in another part of the house. My German Shepard is usually happy to be outside longer and is pretty quiet outside unless she is barking at someone. We also share a fence with a neighbor who has large dogs and the dogs will bark at each other and run up and down the length of the fence. Again, when I hear it getting too noisy I bring her in.

Inside the house the dogs are quiet. The only time they bark indoors is if someone is at the door, or they can see someone through the window near our house, or if they are wrestling around playing. Otherwise they are pretty quiet and lazy.

Here is what I know triggers their barking:

-when they are at the door to go outside and when they first go down the porch steps. They are like kids who are racing and have to be first in the yard. Once they are in the yard they run around and don't right away.

-when they are playing/fighting over something in the yard...a smelly spot to dig, something they caught in the yard, a bone, or a stick. They will bark at each other and try and steal it.

-other dogs/people. They are getting better with the dogs next to us, I think a lot of the barking they do now is more friendly dog playing/taunting than vicious and territorial. They also will bark at people walking by our house, but again they are getting better at ignoring things.

-the change of seasons makes them a little extra vocal and wound up but after the first week or so they tarted to settle down.

-wanting to come back inside. Especially if it is raining.

Seriously, these dogs do not ever get left alone. The kids even know to let them in as soon as they start to bark. I could see if I left them out for hours at a time or if they were outside when we were not at home, but we don't do either of those things. If they are outside for 30 minutes at a time alone that is a long time.

So I don't know what to do. Do I just shrug it off and not stress and worry about it? Am I maybe missing something here? Do I just wait it out until there is a formal complaint? I don't want to get in trouble with the county or have issues with any neighbors, since we plan to be here for a long time. Getting rid of my dogs isn't even an option. I don't know many neighbors here yet. The ones directly next door with 2 big dogs seem to be fine. In fact, before we ever moved in we met them and I said how we had dogs too and we're going to be sharing a fence so it was probably going to be loud while they adjusted and they shrugged it off and were totally cool and said "it's ok they will get used to each other".

Should we talk to them and see if they notice any issues/triggers? I would hate to put them on the spot like that, we don't know them that well. I looked up anti-barking collars but I don't know how helpful they are when you have multiple dogs. I can't very well add a shock collar since they wear one for the fence they wouldn't understand. It doesn't really help when I don't know when this is happening. Or if maybe whomever complained just caught them on a rare noisy day before I could bring them in.

Uggghh. If anyone has anything to contribute here, I am totally open to anything. Unless you tell me to get rid of my dogs or clip their vocal cords. I am not okay with either of those options!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Another Week Down, More Friendship Woes, and Gratitude

I wish I could say that my lack of blogging and being productive was due to so many exciting things going on. But sadly, nope. I somehow managed to simultaneously come down with a cold and stomach flu at the same damn time. Better now than in a couple weeks, I suppose. But still. It has really been no fun. My tummy is still kind of wonky, and I feel just generally icky. And I have z.e.r.o. energy. Meanwhile time is just trucking along and I am falling behind and running out of time to do all the things I would like to have finished and in order. Oh well??

On the home front, everyone is doing really well. I managed to pull myself together enough on Tuesday to take Baby Boy to his dental check-up and have a meeting with the other room moms and the kids teachers to go over things for the year. I am helping with 4th and 5th grades so I can be involved with both my kids classes. Plus, those grades pair up for field trips and parties because one of the classes is super small, like 10 kids I think. We only have to send in a snack for Halloween, and then there is nothing until Christmas, which is a big party. They have a set place for the spring field trip but we are going to try and change it up to something more hands on and fun. I am hoping I can get a little bit of time at work this weekend to do some research for that, as I am still without a laptop at home.

I know this next part isn't super popular to write about, but it has been on my mind a lot lately and I need a place to put my thoughts on this so bear with me for a minute here. Things with the best friend have gotten worse. I am not sure what to think anymore, only that she is stuck where she is in her life and everyone else keeps moving forward. She can project her feeling onto me and blame me and be mad at me, fine I can handle it. But when you use my kid to "get back" at me or get to me, that is where I totally draw the line. Here's what happened:

Over a month ago when she ran into my husband and was complaining about me to him, she had also been talking to my teen, who is her Goddaughter. She had mentioned that on my teens actual birthday how she had longstanding plans and wanted to take her out to dinner the following weekend. She texted me about it, and I said that was fine, whatever she wanted to do. She initially wanted to go on a Friday, but my daughter asked if they could do a Saturday as Friday is football at her highschool and it's a huge deal to go to all the home games. I guess they agreed on a date, but I wasn't entirely sure when it was going to happen. Last week my friend texts me staying the day and time to pick her up (in a group text that included my husband, which annoyed me as he was at work and he doesn't have a desk job, but that is a whole other grievance.) Anyway, it was an early time for dinner, but she doesn't like to wait to eat so I was like whatever. But then I remembered to check our server schedule for Church and realized my daughter had a commitment to be at the 5pm service. That is another long story, but I couldn't get her out of it without causing trouble because they had recently adjusted the schedules for us in a huge way and we agreed to be available for this particular time slot. I texted my friend to tell her about this, just thinking they could go a little later but not specifically stating that. I got back a pretty crappy text that she "hope teen would have considered this before making plans"....Ummmm What?! First of all, my teen doesn't get or make the scheduled. She isn't driving and doesn't know what are plans might be, so I handle this and plan around anything else that might be going on. I actually haven't been on top of keeping track and had not written anything on the calendar so my teen wouldn't have known regardless. I took a beat and then communicated all of this through text, and also said that she could just meet us and get her after church at 6 if she wanted. She sent back a snarky response of "well if she can wait that long to eat" which meant that she was annoyed to have to wait, because with our 30 minute drive back home and getting food on the table, we wouldn't eat until later anyway. My friend is really not flexible...whenever we meet with a group of people, she won't wait until everyone is there she will just sit and order her food, while the rest of us snack on chips and salsa waiting on everyone else. That is just how she is. Anyway, later in the week she sent some confusing text about where she was picking up my teen and where she was going to take her to eat. I asked my daughter to clarify with her what the plans were.

On Saturday when I had a second at work I checked in with my daughter to see if everything was straight. She said yes, but she was a little bummed because she was told they weren't going to the place she picked because it was too far from where church was and didn't make sense to go to. (She had been asked to pick the place as it was for her birthday.) I reminded her that there was a location in between church and home and that she could tell her godmother that if she wanted. At 4pm she talked to her and that was all agreed on and everyone was happy. She would see her in 2 hours. After Church I hit the restroom and headed out to the car, where I found my husband standing looking angry and waving his phone. Apparently she waiting until we were in church, and 30 minutes before she was supposed to pick up my daughter, to completely back out saying her back hurt. I had come fraught to church from work and was too tired to say much, but my husband was really upset.

In the end, at least so far, she has not explained or offered a make-up date. She did call my daughter but it was to ask her when she leaves for homecoming so she can "see her off" and is totally skipping over everything else. I feel so bad for my daughter because she is 15 and isn't jaded and still sees the best in everyone. I know she is hurt and disappointed but she would never say anything. My husband seems to think she just didn't want to eat later and have to pay for a more expensive place than a local diner, and that is was too suspicious that she waited until we were in church and couldn't respond back to back out. I guess my daughter is handling it in her own way because she told her she was meeting friends and didn't want a whole big to-do over everything. I wish I could feel differently, but the truth is that I have seen her do this before to her other godchildren when she is upset with their parents. I don't know what to do about any of it. I also know that the end of a pregnancy is a really bad time for me to handle anything emotional and upsetting like this. I don't tend to make the wisest choicest with my words.

If you are still reading thanks for letting me vent that out!

Tomorrow is the homecoming parade and football game. The parade goes right in front of our house so we have a prime seat. A bunch of the highschool kids are going to hang out and watch the parade, I have an easy one dish oven dinner planned, then they are going to walk to the football game. Smaller-town living is really, really awesome! This totally wouldn't be possible where we used to live. Saturday when I get home from work, we are going to try and new Chinese place I have heard great reviews about, and just have a quiet family dinner before the dance. We haven't had Chinese since we moved because I am wary of trying new places I don't know about. I have asked several people who all point me in the same direction so here is hoping it's as good as it's supposed to be.

In Church on Saturday the hymns really got to me. Music has a way of moving me and gives me goosebumps and can bring me to tears. It always has. Especially after losing my father, Church music is general I sometimes have a hard time sitting through. Anyway, when I knelt down to pray I realized how so many times I knelt in those same pews over the past 8 years and have prayed and begged God for things...help when my marriage was in trouble and I was lost, a baby after I had miscarried...strength when I felt weak...approvals when we were trying to move...to name a few of the bigger things. When I knelt down on Saturday for the first time in a very long time the only thing I felt was absolute pure gratitude for the life I am living and for everything in it. Despite some difficult relationships in my life, the only thing I felt was blessed and thankful and wanting for nothing. So I gave thanks and let my soul be at peace. I am choosing to stay focused on that feeling that washed over me in Church and let it carry me through.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Counting Down, Sickness, and Other Happenings

Man, where does the time go?? I keep meaning to sit down and finish one of my many posts in draft, and have ideas for a few more but I just can't seem to get it together. Part of the problem is that my laptop decided to stop working a couple weeks ago, so that really leaves just my phone, which sucks to do any major typing on, so apologizes in advance for the multiple typos that will probably occur. At work, I can't seem to get any down time to myself with which to blog. The rest is just pure laziness!

I lost all of last week due to Baby Boy being sick. He was running a pretty high fever most of the week and just miserable. I am pretty sure he had hand, foot, mouth based on his symptoms. All he wanted me to do was hold him or sit with him. If I left his side to even go to the bathroom he had a meltdown of epic proportions. I also couldn't get him to take a longer nap, and he was up a lot at night with a fever, which made for an even harder week to say the least. That is probably the sickest he has been to date.

We made it through the family cookout and get together a couple weeks ago. I know I wasn't super social and not much fun, and a lot of crap pissed me off about the entire ordeal. I had gotten stuck a little later at work and hit traffic coming home, had enough time to change and start grilling. It was hot that day, and I was already miserable, and like half the prep and set up that was supposed to happen before I got home didn't, so I was stuck looking like a harping cranky bitch. Oh well. I have since said that no more of these get together are going to happen unless someone else is doing all the work for it. My usually on the ball and helpful husband was mostly to blame for all the nonsense. The entire evening for me pretty much sucked. I could write an entire post on just how pissed off I was.

I have 4 and a half weeks to go until Bonus Baby arrives. People keep asking me if I am excited, and I am, but it still seems so far away, even though it's really not. But I guess that is because I have so much keeping me busy, so I am not just sitting around waiting. I think once I work my last shift before my leave starts it may really start to hit me. We still have no set names picked out. We are sort of in the ballpark for a girls name, but no where close to having a boys name. Besides feeling tired and huge, I am doing pretty good. I do have some sciatica and my right thigh gets numb sometimes, but last time I had a ton of pubic pain and pressure that I am not getting this time, so I will take it. I set my Amazon prime up for the diaper subscription, and got the budget all in order. I really don't think there is much more for me to do on that front to be ready.

I took my teen shopping for a homecoming dress. She is just going with a group of girls, which will be a fun first dance experience for her. It was a good opportunity to talk about style and being individual and not having to wear or do what everyone else does. She is trying to figure out her own style and what she is most comfortable in. She is definitely more cool and rocker vs. all pink and girlie but I can see her sort of question it when she hears other girls taking and seeing how they dress. Some of the girls where heels every day to school, which is ridiculous to me. Anyway, the outfit she choose looks really awesome on her and I think she will be comfortable in it and also look really cool. I should also note here that her school has really struck dress codes and rules to begin with, and the principal just sent out a personal email yesterday explaining that no suggestive dancing is going to be allowed and chaperones would enforce the rules. I don't even know what all the terms are or even mean exactly, but basically no dancing that looks like dry humping is my understanding of it. Which is nice for a parent to hear.

My cat has been acting like a jerk lately and not peeing in her litter box. I am not a cat person, I think they are a little too pissy for my taste. And she is a Tortie Shell and from what I understand they are really obnoxious and more pains than most other cats. She isn't sick and her box is where it has always been and it is clean, so I am pretty sure it's just her being a jerk. She gets like this every so often. I might go out and buy her a few new toys and see if that helps. She is definitely not ignored, that's for sure.

I don't know if I wrote about this before but the one major thing we wanted to be able to do for this winter was convert our fireplace back to its original state. The people we bought from had placed a wood stove insert into the fireplace, likely for added warmth. Which is odd because the HVAC system is new and the house is super well insulated with new windows as well. Anyway, with kids it just isn't the safest because it isn't flush with the wall by design, so there is a huge portion that would be accessible and get hot. Even a large gate around it would still leave room to reach over and touch the top and get burned. Plus, the chimney isn't rated for that kind of heat and if we damage the lining, that is a several thousand dollar repair. The whole insert easily slides out, it is just super heavy. But we needed the fireplace doors and screen, wood grate, tools, and mantle. Easily a $500 project, as the cheapest new doors and screen set is $250. I tried craigslist but people wanted $250 for their beat up looking, used doors. Finally I found a salvage shop nearby, and it turns out my husband has a relative who works there. So he went down yesterday and found the doors, grate, and tool set and only paid $50 for all of it, which was 1/3 of what they were marked as. The most expensive piece we need to get is the mantle, but a $500 project just turned into something that will cost under $200! Probably less if he keeps checking and can find the mantle piece we need second hand. I was worried we wouldn't be able to do it at all with my leave coming up and the reduced pay that comes with it. So glad we researched this.

I am really excited it is October. Fall is a lead in to my favorite time of year. We have a couple of trips to local farms planned. One is a petting zoo with pony rides, a cow train, and other neat fall things. The other is the bigger farm where we pick apples and pumpkins and go on a hayride. They also have a hay maze and hot apple cider and apple fritters. It has been our tradition for 15 years now, and it never gets old. The cool fall weather is always a lead in to the winter season, and Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I look forward to it all year long. We even start decorating in November! This year we have the added bonus of welcoming a new baby in between the seasons so it is going to be extra special. And also fly by pretty fast, I am sure.

Hopefully I can get my laptop working again. Typing on my phone is a real pain!