Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nickname Dilemma

I have 4 children; all of whom have been given long, somewhat complicated names. My first 3 were born with simplified, 3-letter nicknames. I was hoping to keep up the trend with child number 4, but for some reason it just hasn't happened. No one can seem to agree on one that fits.

I must have created an imaginary scenario in my head because I could have sworn that we had decided on Mal, before he was even born. Well, I'm the only one who remembers that agreement and therefore in the meantime we call him by his full name, Malachi.

I often shorten it-or elongate it-with silly little rhyming names. My favorite so far is Moe-Moe, or Moe for short. I'm also still keen on Mal. I don't want to confuse the poor boy, but we may just have to call him every random name we think up until one sticks; or maybe just keep it long?

What do you think? I know the ultimate decision is up to us, as the parents, but it's always fun to hear what others think.

I added a poll to the side bar--polls are great! Cast your vote, if you dare...

To add more info to your decision, my 3 oldest are named:

Thaddeus, or Tad
Athalia, or Ati
Elias, or Eli


Malachi, or...?

Thanks for your input!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Check out Johns Blog

John, my husband, is working on becoming a Motivational Speaker and a Writer. He has written a book, and is in the process of revising and editing it.

His blog is a little bit of both. For some Good Reads, check out his Blog here, or follow the link in my side bar.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, August 7, 2009

We have A Walker!

It's been a few days now, but Malachi has FI-nally gotten the hang of this walking thing...and he thinks he's a monster, too!

Here's a little video of him Walking, and Growling...this is how he growls:

..And here's more Monster video:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Aaah! Facebook!

What was I thinking?!

I finally got around to signing up for Facebook; something I've put off for, oh, years now. Not that I didn't want to sign up, I just haven't had (made) the time to do it. I have so many incomplete projects, I just didn't want to add another one.

Well, I did it...I gave in...and now I can't stop!

I just signed up yesterday afternoon and I've spent (almost) all day on it, and when I'm not on in it's in my head...

I did manage to take the kids to the library, feed them 2 meals, bathe them, point out a gigantic preying mantis on the screen door, and administer nap time.

Hmm, I also baked some bread (oh no, that reminds me, I didn't put it in the oven yet!), unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, swept the kitchen floor, and watered all the plants in the backyard. So, now that I put it that way, I guess I'm not so horrible after all.

I still feel like I'm being sucked into the computer, though. Even worse, now that I've managed to peel myself away from Facebook I'm on Blogger!...and I'm even blogging about Facebook!

What a crazy time we live in. So many things to suck the time out of our lives.
Luckily, my personal tendencies are to be horribly obsessive when I have a new "toy", but after I overload and purge my system I tend to lose interest.

At least I'm still within ear range of my lil'ns, and when they scream I come running (which I've had to do twice now, since sitting down to write this post).

We'll just call this a "phase", and in the meantime I'll have to figure out how to divide myself between Facebook, Blogger, and obsessively cleaning the many choices, what's a girl to do?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Resolve. Maybe?

I *resolve that as soon as the kids are back in school I will dedicate more time to the deciphering of this crazy world we call blogging. I think I’ve got the basic idea, but I feel like such a beginner.
It all seems so overwhelming, and there’s so much to learn.

Proper etiquette, especially, is something that eludes me. I can write an article and post it, but then what do I do with comments? How do I respond to them? How do I use this thing as a way to communicate, other than my one sided babbling?

Following, and followers. Such an interesting idea. To know that other people even want to read my ramblings is kinda cool. I'm just learning what that really means.

Then, there’s layout and design; picture placement, background adjustments, and so on. I’ve played around with it, but still feel very boggled.

So, maybe, when the kids are back in school, I’ll have more time to research, and “get with the program”. But, that is a pretty tall order, expecting to have more time. There’s never more time, just different uses for the time I already have. And, one thing that I’m quite good at is the finding and executing of multiple uses for my already over-abused time.

Oh well, it’s a nice thought at least.

In the meantime: any advice, suggestions, or just plain sympathy would be much appreciated. And, if I happen to have offended anyone with my "unknowing-ness", I apologize! Be patient with me...I will be learn-ed, some day! maybe...

Thanks for playin’!

*I originally posted with the word Resolute instead of Resolve. But, I think Resolve is really the word I was meaning. I was thinking Resolute because of Resolution. Maybe Resolute is better? Would that even make sense?
To make a Resolution, would that be to Resolute? Anyway, I think you get the idea...

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Neighborhood Supplier

I hate bees! and wasps, and hornets, and all manner of flying, stinging, buzzing things that bear a common resemblance.

I’ve been very diligent in making sure to kill all possible forms of wasp/hornet nests anywhere in my reach. I regularly check along the fence and all around the outside of the house, in all their usual places of living.

Somehow, I just can’t seem to get rid of them, even though I’ve eliminated all their nests.

It’s extremely frustrating.

I had come to the conclusion that the neighbors were the ones harboring these horribly annoying creatures; and I was somewhat in a state of annoyed acceptance.

Well, today, Tad happened to be standing in a place where he was able to see up on top of the roof.


Under the eaves of the roof we could see 3 GI-Gantic wasp nests!

And that was just on one side of the house. We went to check out the other side, and sure enough there was at least one more gigantic nest,

and one mini one that seems to be a work in progress.

I knew there was an old nest up there, and had suspicions that it may have been housing a few new wasps, but didn’t realize how enormous this colony had grown.

Anyway, I was happily prepared with 4 cans of wasp spray; ready to begin the Death of Many.

I’m not really a violent person, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.

With the fine-tuned navigation skills of a 9 year old boy, I managed to successfully empty all four cans onto the roof, while barely missing all of them!

We don’t have a tall enough latter to climb onto the roof, so I used a mini step latter and reached my arm as high as I could in that general direction. Tad stood on a chair a few yards back, with a perfect view of the nests. I relied on him to help guide the spray into the right place.

Well…enough said, I guess I’ll be on my way to buy some more wasp spray.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Keep on, Keepin’ on

That’s what this life is all about, isn’t it? I seem to learn that lesson, over and over again. I guess I only internalize it in small amounts; but I’m surely building a stock pile of Lessons Learned.
Yesterday was a really hard day for me. I was incredibly discouraged, about many things, but most specifically about gardening. At one point during the day I started to write a new post about all my afflictions, and I titled it “Growing Pains”. It ended up being a really long and depressing list. I put it aside to finish editing later, and as I walked away from the computer I started to feel a release, just from “venting” and getting it all out. It’s amazing how just “getting it off your chest” can help you sort out your feelings, whether it’s writing it down or talking with friends. It may seem to others like you’re “whining”, or looking for a solution to all the world’s problems, but I would highly recommend that if you have something bothering you, to just get it out. Be careful about how you do it, though, you may need to warn others of your intentions; otherwise, you could end up with a whole bunch of unwanted advise, or even starting a fight.
Although venting did help, a little, I was still consumed by a cloud of discouragement and self pity. At the end of my “draft” post I did type: I’m just going to “keep on, keepin’ on”, and for some reason that phrase has stuck in my thoughts.
Well, this morning, nothing drastic has really changed but I did wake up slightly less glum. Throughout my morning I’ve been slowly noticing small things that have also helped to improve my attitude. A few disappointments that, yesterday, I had included in my list of failures have, today, started to show some hope. There have just been small things that may seem miniscule or unimportant, but sometimes all it takes are a few small bits of encouragement to change your whole outlook. A simple change of attitude can be a powerful thing. Viewing the world through a different perspective can reroute the course of your entire day, and potentially even your life.
I think a lot about perspective and attitude, and I realize how important and powerful it can be. It’s still really hard to take control, and to be in charge of how I look at life. I think the hardest part is being unwilling to give up my negative thoughts and bad feelings. I don’t know why it’s so much easier to wallow in self pity; whether we do it aloud, or secretly, in our heads. If we can remember to consciously choose to look at things optimistically and to literally “count our blessings”, life takes on new meaning. Things look good, the future is brighter.
Anyway, I’m starting a new list. It’s not nearly as long and overwhelming as my “afflictions” list, but it’s a start. Another good lesson I’ve learned is that Bigger doesn’t always mean Better. Little can still have a lot of impact.

My Happy List, of Good things so far Today:

The dead flowering plum tree has new buds!
The rose bush has new blossoms
The apple tree seems to have fewer bugs
My dead pumpkin has new growth
My banana squash is recovering from a hard start, and has two good fruits

Malachi slept all night
Eli woke up dry, and peed in the toilet
I had a shower before the day was already over
Tad has new books to read, and is enjoying reading
Ati hasn’t had a “melt-down” in a few days

It seems to me, when things are the absolute hardest that they can possibly be, when I’m ready to just give up, if I can keep going just a little longer, just put one foot in front of the other, then the dark tunnel does start to get brighter.

So, just remember to “Keep on, Keepin’ on”. When things look bad, there are ALWAYS good things right around the next corner.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Over-rising may cause Shrinkage

So, I've been trying really hard to be good at making bread. Today I learned an interesting lesson, maybe.
I'm not quite sure of the actual reason behind my discovery, but I've been speculating.
I made some bread today, and as usual, I prepared enough dough to make two loaves. I separated the dough into two equal pieces and shaped them into to similar looking loaves.
Then, as usual, I got distracted and lost track of what I was doing. I just happened to walk by my rising loaves in time to notice they were way too big. One wasn't quite as big as the other, so I decided to just bake it anyway.
The bigger loaf, I decided to re-knead and reshape it. Then, I had to run an errand so I put it in the fridge to rise slower.
When I got back it had risen to just the perfect height, so I set it on the counter to warm up a little while the oven preheated. Then, I baked it like normal.

Here are the results:

What do you think?
The one on the left (the pretty one) is the one I reshaped and allowed to rise to the proper height. The one on the right is the one that rose too high.

So, my theory: Over-rising may cause Shrinkage...good to know!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It’s ABOUT TiMe!

On Sunday, June 28th:
In the midst of my construction project (rebuilding Ati’s room), Malachi finally decided to try out his legs.
He was so funny! He’s been taking his sweet time learning to walk. He does really well when he’s holding on to furniture, so there isn’t any concern about whether or not he will be able to. He just hasn’t wanted to let go and do it on his own.
Randomly, he decided to climb up on a stool and stand straight up. He's made us wait so long that he just had to do it with a bang; can’t start out the easy way, he had to get up high and make it dangerous.
He was so proud of himself; smiling and squealing. I got a few pictures, in between him falling off the stool, and also being pushed over by the other kids.
It sure is about time, though, he’s now 16 months old, and by far my slowest to get with the program. We're still waiting for the actual walking, but at least this is a good start.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Parade was…Wet.

Our city has a 4th of July celebration every year, the weekend before the 4th. It's a multiple day event, and there are several different activities to participate in. There is a cute little parade on Friday evening, and anyone in town is welcome to be in it. I think all you have to do is register ahead of time. People can walk, ride a bike, 4-wheeler, golf cart, ride a horse, drive a car, make a float…anything you can think of. It seems like it would be fun to try, I just haven’t yet convinced myself to do it. Maybe someday? For now, I’ll stick with just WaTCHing it.
This crazy weather, though, made it a little interesting. It was gloomy all day, and rained on and off. Of course, when the parade was to begin it was really cold and a bit rainy. I planned to just sit in the car, but threw some lawn chairs in the back, just in case, and the kids brought their umbrellas as well.
There were actually a lot of people just sitting in lawn chairs, getting wet! So, we ended up doing the same, and the kids got to use their umbrellas.
After a little while, though, I developed a plan. I opened the trunk, and we used it as a rain cover! I felt smart. But, then I did see other people doing the same thing. I guess, as they say, great minds think alike.

Anyway, it was fun. And then it ended. And then we went home, and went to bed…and then the sun came out! …And dried up all the rain.

The next morning, Saturday, was the annual firefighter breakfast. John is the Assistant Fire Chief so he gets to help out, and had to be to the station at way early o’clock.
The kids and I were able to sleep in, relax a little, and then headed to breakfast around 830am-ish. It’s a nice little breakfast, and fun to have the fire fighters and EMT's cooking for everyone.
After the breakfast there is a carnival, that apparantly starts at 930am. For some reason I thought it was starting at 9am, and so when we finished eating (at 9am) we walked over to the park. I was boggled by how little people were there, and the games and stuff weren’t really doing anything. I just assumed they were running late, but later found out I was just EARly.
I only bought 6 dollars worth of tickets, because I wanted to get Malachi home for a nap. Our first stop was, of course, the BOUncE House. Anything big, colorful, and full of air is definately a must. Ati was super excited about it, and Eli wasn’t sure what to think. He wanted to go to the balls, wherever that was?
Ati gave her 3 tickets and went inside. She had a blast, just couldn’t get enough of it. Eli then decided he wanted to try it, but he was so hesitant. AFTER he paid his 3 tickets, I spent 10 minutes trying to convince him to actually go in. He finally put his head in, and looked around,

and then came back out. After some more in and out, he did manage to go in all the way,

and had a fun time; it just took a LOT of convincing.

After Eli was in, Malachi decided he wanted to try it. I hadn't planned on having him go in, but I put him up to the door to look inside. He was so excited that he started to crawl in, and the lady tending told me I could go in with him. I considered it, then Tad finally decided he wanted to go in and said he’d watch Malachi. So I let Tad be in charge. They all had a lot of fun.

After the bouncing we moved on to the “super-tall-blow-up-slide”. Strangely, Ati, who’s normally afraid to try anything scary, was gung-ho ready to go on it. She paid her tickets and went right up.

She had so much fun that she went way more than the allotted 3 times (shh, don’t tell). Tad also went on it a bunch.
Eli at first wanted to, he actually ran over to it? but just after he paid his tickets he had a change of plans. So, here we went again, more convincing and pleading. He finally got up on it and walked as far as the stairs, but turned right back around.
After more annoyed pleading I decided to just carry him up and slide down with him. I made the decision and followed through with it so quickly that I don’t think he had time to realize what was happening.
Boy, he is HEAVY! Especially climbing up a steep flight of blow-up stairs! I was going fast enough that my adrenaline helped me up, but I nearly didn’t make it. Once at the top I heard a slight protest but didn’t give him time to think; I flung us over to the slide (where some other kid was hesitating; he had to quickly get out of the way before we plowed him over), and down we went. I might have been holding my breath, I don’t know, but it was actually kinda scary! I tend to not do well with heights, and it’s been a while since I’ve been up high. I really didn’t have time to think about either, but I can see why he wouldn’t want to do it.
I didn’t dare try it again; my extra adrenaline strength wouldn’t last to get us back up those stairs. Luckily, in the meantime, my other 2 kids were just happily sliding along, many, many times…so, I didn’t feel cheated by paying for Eli, who wouldn’t even go on it.
By that time, we were almost out of tickets (they each had one left) and Malachi was ready for a nap-he made sure EVERYone knew it, too. We quickly found one more game to play, and then headed for home. The kids were sad to be leaving so quickly, but I felt good about not staying too long and “invoking the wrath of the over-tired little…people”.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

JOY to the pool

We went to the pool last Monday, June 22nd. It was the second time we’ve gone this summer. It’s actually been a fun thing to do. I’ve never been a regular pool attendee (usually just at hotels) and I was very nervous about taking all 4 kids by myself. But it seemed to work out alright. I wasn’t exactly alone, either, I did go with a friend, who also has a bunch of kids-although most of her kids are a little older than mine, and not so dependant and drownable.
The first time we went I didn’t bring any floatation items. I, for some reason, thought they weren’t allowed. Come to find out that they ARE allowed, so I made a mental note to come better prepared (you can also bring your own snacks!).
Trip #1:
The first time we went (the first hour) was a lot of fun. I did have to keep a close eye on Eli and Malachi, because they were both candidates for drowning, and at one point Eli nearly did. He decided to take off his arm floaties and follow Ati into the deeper water. It wasn’t too deep, but just barely deep enough that Ati could reach and Eli couldn’t. I was only a few feet away, but I was holding Malachi, who also didn’t have floaties. As soon as I saw Eli’s little head bobbing up and down, barely staying above the water, I rushed over to him -baby in arms- and snatched him up. That was a little unnerving, but we all survived it.
Just about the time we were getting ready to leave, Ati started having a melt-down, from being too hot for too long, and tired, and whatever; she’s fragile, to say it nicely (when she’s “melting”, anything that can go wrong, does go wrong-in her world-and you’d think the end is upon us; drama, drama, drama). So, I had to get them dry and changed, all the while trying to keep Ati calm-which wasn’t working too well. She even ended up slipping in the bathroom, because the floors are so wet and slick, and she hit her head on the floor. I couldn’t blame her, at that point, for being upset (but it didn’t make it any easier to deal with). Eli, somehow, also slipped in the wet bathroom, after Ati did, and he too joined the choir. Malachi was way past his nap time, and Tad was also hot and tired-everyone singing in unison. It was a crazy hour of whiny, screaming, little…people. “Wee wee wee, all the way home”, they screamed. It was great fun; fun indeed.
Trip #2
Needless to say, I wasn’t too excited about how the second trip would go. But, I kept an open mind, and hoped for the best.
Having the floating stuff helped tremendously. I didn’t have to be paranoid about anyone drowning, and could actually relax and enjoy myself. I had Malachi in one of those yellow baby boat thingies, and I had another baby boat that was really tiny, that I ripped the bottom out of while we were there at the pool-with my teeth none the less-and let Eli use as a “ring”. It worked really well that way. They were all joyous. I also brought “boogie boards” for Tad and Ati, and they had a lot of fun with those.
The pool is really neat, it’s set up with a little kid area that starts out very shallow like a beach, and gradually gets deeper. Even Malachi can crawl around in it without floaties. That’s what he did most of the time on our first trip. He thought it was great fun! The deep part isn’t even too deep for Ati, and she can barely touch throughout the whole thing. She’s pretty much fine on her own; plus I can see her just about anywhere if there was a problem.
I even remembered to wear sunscreen. Last time I got pretty burnt on my shoulders and back, and was sore for a week. The kids were fine because I remembered to goop it on them, but I have a hard time putting it on myself. I since bought some of the spray on kind, and was able to spray it on myself. It was actually kind of funny, because I didn’t get my whole back, so you could see the parts I missed as I did get a little burnt around the edges. The kids were all thoroughly protected. I coated it on them really well, except for Tad, who happens to be allergic to sunscreen, and so he got a little burnt. Turns out he’s even allergic to the aloe vera spray I put on him after he got burned. I’m thinking it’s an isolated ingredient (possibly phenoxyethanol-who?), but haven’t figured out what to do about it.
Well, this second jaunt to the pool turned out to be a LOT of fun; All around. They blow the whistle at 3pm, and make everyone take a 10 minute break, so that’s usually when we leave. We took that time to relax, and eat some snacks, and dry off a little.
Then, we calmly got changed, and were very careful around the slippery bathroom floor. Even the ride home was calm, and relaxing. It was WEIRD! I was waiting for the melt-down, for the crying, for the screaming…it didn’t come! We got home, and were able to have quiet time with NO resistance; soo unusual.
All was well! Happy day! JOY, to the POOL!
Of course, it didn’t last. A raging storm was brewing, and it did unleash its fury. But...we won’t talk about it right now; we’ll just savor the “happy times”.
Yay for happy times!

Here's Eli and Malachi enjoying cake before going inside:
(it was also a birthday celebration for a friend)

I ended up only getting pictures out of the water, AFTER swimming; didn't want to get my camera wet, I guess

Malachi enjoying a chunk of concrete:

Malachi enjoying Eli's "ring".

FLOatiEs are even fun OUT of the water! Eli had to follow Malachi's lead..

Saturday, June 27, 2009

.the soothing sound of the swing.

We went to the park recently, just down the road a bit. It was a nice little "get out of the house" moment. Malachi LOVEd the swing. He was so cute and content. I tried to capture the moment. Of course, while this was occurring, there were 3 other monkeys on the loose. Oh well, I did find them eventually.

Gotta love the squealing sound in the background.

Ati had to try it out, too

Why wear shoes? I just can't seem to keep them on this kid..

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The rains came down, and the floods came up…

…and the house, and the sand, washed away. Yep, true story, it actually does happen, in real life.
Who would’ve thought that living on a mountain would put you in danger of flooding- from sudden and unexpected tidal waves of pouring rain? I know that I sure didn’t think so. Logically-my logic at least-the rain would run along and flow happily by, and down the mountain; just like that OTHER primary song “give said the little stream, as it HurrIED, DOWN the HiLL”.
Apparently, in real life, if you aren’t at the very tip top of the mountain-and especially if you have uphill facing window wells-you are still in the at risk category of possible flooding-due to sudden and unexpected tidal waves of pouring rain.
The story goes like this:
The unusually rainy weather we’ve been having has oversaturated the ground with water; naturally.
Saturday afternoon we had a very sudden down pour of rain. It was CRAZY rain! Out of nowhere! I don’t know about the valley, but at least up here on the mountain we got it good.
Not being at the TOP of the mountain proved to be a disadvantage, and apparently all the water that fell on our uphill neighbors had to HURRY DOWN the HILL-taking with it everything in its path.
Of course, it didn’t just TAKE everything, some things it did leave. Like the sudden and unexpected-but yet temporary- aquariums in our uphill facing basement windows. That was a pleasant surprise. And, unlike those fancy store-bought aquariums that everyone wants in their offices, these ones were undesirable, far from water tight, and definitely not filled with pretty fishes. Our new-and temporary-aquariums were filled with mud and bugs. We then experienced further enjoyment as the water seeped through the very non-energy-efficient windows, down the walls, and across the carpet.
Fortunately, we are no strangers to flooded basements. So, although it was very unpleasant, irritating, and discouraging, the actual flooding was definitely not a new experience. The new experience, however, was that of OCEANs pouring down the mountain. Previous flooding has always been related to other various, and unnecessary, situation: like not having rain gutters, overwatering plants against the house, busted water heaters, broken hoses on the washing machine, cracked drain pipe from the dishwasher, eroded tile in the upstairs shower, broken toilet seals in the upstairs toilet, etc, and so on. Yes, this was a new one to add to the list of “how to flood your house” (maybe I’ll write a book: “house flooding for dummies).
It’s been a while since we’ve had a good flood, so it was sadly discouraging; something, also, to add to the list of “why NOT to buy THIS house”.
So, it rained really hard, there was a lot of water, and a raging river developed. It came down the mountain, through the neighbor’s garage, and straight down our drive way. I guess it’s pretty silly to have a house built on a down slope from the street. Somehow water filled up the window wells, miraculously didn’t even go under the garage, and then rushed around to the backyard.
It took with it layers of mulch from along the fence, and continued right across our once lovely sand box; leaving ribbons of mulch throughout the sand. The raging river proceeded to wash large amounts of sand into our downhill neighbors’ yard. All my garden boxes flooded, the grape vines were peeled off the fence that was supporting most of their weight, and the new tree rings that I had just tilled and fertilized were filled and spilled.
Luckily there were only two rooms in the house that flooded. One of which is an unfinished food storage room, so there was minimal damage there, and most of the water drained into the concrete floor. But the water that came in through that room initially spread to the next room over and seeped through the wall. The next room over happens to be Ati’s room; the second room that flooded through the window.
So, unfortunately Ati’s room got it the worst; and Ati is not one capable of handling her emotions in any type of stressful situation. The water came in so fast that it poured over the window ledge and down the wall. It also flowed straight down, behind the sheetrock, soaking the insulation and spreading further sideways along the wall. It soaked her curtain, her pictures on the wall, and about two feet out onto the carpet. She had a dresser and bookshelf against the wall that have water damage on the bottom. Also, the closet is full of water where the storage room leaked through.
Because water damage is not a new thing to this house, we decided to just dry it out and move on (In any other house we would replace the dry wall and insulation, and replace the carpet-but who’s to say it won’t just happen again? and there’s so many other repairs to spend the money on). We moved Ati out of her room, cleaned the window sill and wall, and ripped up the carpet. There is a fan blowing on it around the clock. It’s starting to stink like mildew, and it’s really bothersome to live with. We keep spraying it with Lysol and leave the windows cracked to ventilate better.

It may or may not be getting better, but we’re expecting it to take a while to completely dry out. We may end up replacing the damaged drywall and insulation anyway, because we happen to have some material left from previous projects. It wouldn't be too difficult, it’ll just be a matter of getting around to it.
In the meantime, Ati is sleeping in Tad’s bed and Tad is sleeping in the family room. It took a bit of adjusting at first, but now it seems to work out alright. Ati was very emotional and displaced when the flooding first happened. Until she was told she could sleep in Tads bed (which was very exciting for her) she was an emotional train wreck: freaking out, screaming and crying about everything. Giving her something new and fun to focus on seemed to calm her down, at least initially. We’ve talked about just moving her into Tads room permanently, after everything’s put back together. She likes the idea, but she’ll be sharing the room with Eli and we haven’t quite decided if it will work or not. This is our test run. It would probably be good for her to learn to share a room; she’s always had sleeping problems and had to have her own room. She seems to be sleeping better most of the time, so it might be ok to at least try it out. The other possible problem with putting her back in her old room is the fear of being flooded again. She’d have a hard time getting over it, and it may cause further trauma for her.
It turns out we weren’t the only ones to be affected by the storm. Quite a lot of the town had flooding of some kind or other, but I’ve been surprised to hear about all the homes that actually had indoor flooding. At first I just assumed that it was just our house because there is EVERYthing wrong with our house, and it is ALways flooding and damaged in some way. I slowly learned of damage to our friends and neighbors, but then I heard that there was a lot of complaining at the city council meeting last night about homes being damaged. People want the city to install drainage systems. That would be great, but who knows if it will actually happen.
It's funny how something so unexpected can sneak up on you and then permanently change life; not only the way you live, but also the way you think. We went from having a slightly rainy, yet pleasant, afternoon, to experiencing a natural disaster (even though it was only a small scale disaster). It causes one to reevaluate planning and preparedness, to feel sadness and frustration, and to appreciate that: “it could've been worse".

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Scrapbooking...hmm...Let's go Digital!

I've thought about-and on occassion attempted-traditional scrapbooking. But, I really just can't be bothered with it. It seems to take so much time, space, and money!

Just been playing around, but here's an attempt at the digital version...who knows, maybe it'll be a new time gobbling obsession...

...yay for time gobbling obsessions!

Edited to Include:
One more, for good measure...or because I just can't stop!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weaners BEWARE.

This last year has been a really good one for me, physically and emotionally. I’ve been more happy and more healthy, more often.
Strangely, over the last month and a half to two months I’ve been way “off”. Things just haven’t been right, and they’ve been slowly and progressively getting worse.
At first I blamed it on all the projects we’ve been working on and just being exhausted from that. Then, I thought maybe it had to do with school being out and having all the kids home all the time; added to the already exhaustness of too many projects. When preschool ended, a week or two before elementary school got out, I also stopped exercising as often because I couldn’t go walking while Ati was in school; just had too many babies at home. So, being overworked, over kidded, and under exercised made a good excuse for a recipe of depression; sort of.
Then, the last two weeks have been extremely hard, to the point of me wondering “what’s the point?” of anything. I‘ve been so tired, so down, and soo unmotivated.
I started a new form of birth control about 2 weeks ago; Nuvaring. It’s hormonal, which I hate, but my doctor recommended it because it’s a lower dose of hormones and supposedly women who have trouble finding the right kind of pill do really well with the ring. So, I was excited to try it out. Well, almost immediately after starting it was when things got really low for me. I could hardly get out of bed, really moody all day: angry, sad, frustrated, anxious.
Of course, after several days of things not “letting up” I began to question and research and then blame the ring for my “depression”. Except, it didn’t make complete sense because this had already begun building (although I was unaware at the time), even before starting the new hormones. I only last night realized that it had been building, and until that sudden realization was completely blaming the birth control for my “issues”. I was still being optimistic, however, and decided I would give it a month or two to let my body adjust to the change. I realized it would probably, hopefully, only be temporary and that I would be ok after a while. Unfortunately I have read many horror stories of women who put up with depression for years, being on hormonal birth control, and finally had to quit the hormones to regain any amount of mental stability. So, with that in the back of my mind, ive been optimistic but also skeptical and doubting. I’ve had a terrible time going back and forth, trying to figure out what I want to do for birth control. If my body can’t handle the hormones there are very few other options. SUCH a difficult decision to make.
Well, with all that said, interestingly enough, I had a realization last night. When john and I were talking about it, he mentioned that he can tell when I’m not doing well because of “what we have for dinner”. That’s when I thought back and realized we’ve eaten a whole lot of macaroni lately! Ramen, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and take out. Those have all been the main focus of our menu for quite some time now. Over the last month and a half, or so, I’ve put effort (and only minimal at that) into dinner maybe 2-3 times. That’s how I know it’s not (just) the birth control.
So, my little, slightly defective brain started dusting off some cobwebs and put a few things together. One major factor that I forgot to factor because I didn’t realize it was so MAJOR: I’ve been gradually weaning Malachi (from breastfeeding, of course)! The last month and a half has been the most dramatic. I went from 4-5 feedings a day to just 2, to just one, and then finally, the day before I started the new birth control was my very last time. So! There it is! Weaning can cause similar effects to PPD (post partum depression). I did a lot of reading about it since that realization, and have found that it is actually quite common, and totally makes sense! When you’re breastfeeding your body produces large amounts of oxytocin, a chemical/hormone that causes your body to relax and feel calm (among other things). Even a gradual weaning will cause lower levels of oxytocin, and various hormonal changes in the body. A breastfeeding body is still a breastfeeding body, no matter how often or little you are nursing.
Coincidentally, I: 1. Completely weaned, 2. Started a brand new form of hormone, and 3. Started my period (for the first time in over 2 years)… all on the Exact Same Day. Talk about hormone overload!
Happily, now that I’ve sufficiently self diagnosed my condition I can now go on my way to recovery from my hormone addiction/imbalance. It’s funny how just realizing what the problem is can make a huge world of difference. Today, I already feel so much better. More energy, optimism, and motivation (still irritable and emotional, but we can’t ask for everything, can we?). Of course, it’ll probably take a while to get back to feeling “right”, but I’m at least on the way. And then there are still those “other” issues, like kids being home from school; just the thought of that is exhausting.
In conclusion, as I say “Weaners BEWARE”. You may experience an unusual and unexplained amount of tiredness, sad feelings, unmotivation, pointlessness, and just all around “not rightness” (not to mention increased amounts of time on the internet, doing pointless, obsessive, and never ending research). But, it’s ok, and it’s (probably) normal, and it will (probably) go away.

*It all adds up:

With this being my 4th baby, I was wondering why I’ve never realized this in the past. Well, I believe I have. After Tad was born, I only nursed him for around 10 days, so any depression was blamed on normal PPD. Ati nursed for 1 year, but just after she turned a year we moved. During the weaning process I blamed it on being exhausted from moving, and other life things. But, at that exact time I was really depressed, unmotivated, and so so tired, all the time. I remember once I finally started to exercise and actually feel better was when I got pregnant with Eli. Then, Eli nursed for a year, but I was actually pregnant with Malachi when I decided to wean him. So, I of course blamed any and all issues at that time on the new pregnancy.
There you have it, case solved! Yay, now let’s all eat cake!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We ALL need Olive Fingers...

...don't ya think!

Malachi's first experience with olives. I thought I should educate him on proper olive etiquette. He sat in amazement and marveled over his new discovery.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Partial" Family Pictures

It's so hard to get everyone together in one picture. Here are some "partial" family pictures from April (2009), when we took a trip up to Salt Lake to visit Temple Square. It was a really nice, fun day-and the best part was it cost almost nothing (except food of course-and ice cream!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sweat and Sand

Where have I been? Gosh, I don’t even know. I guess I turned 30 and entered a whole new chapter of life; or something like that. A lot has happened in the last 6 months, but I don’t even know where to begin. So I’ll start with the most recent.
We are just about finished with a project we started many years ago: the yard! Of course, it’ll always be a work in progress, but now we at least have something to work on. Several years ago we ripped out a whole bunch of dead trees and hauled off tons of garbage. Two years ago we installed a sprinkler system and completed the front yard. It’s been really nice to at least have a small piece of yard for the kids, but it’s hard to keep a constant eye on them in the front yard, with no fences. Any time they wanted to play outside I had to be right there with them. Finally, over the last few weeks we’ve completed the back yard, and even finished fencing it in!

The fence, I think, is my absolute favorite part.

But, the rest is pretty great too. We’ve got a pretty large lawn surrounded by nice curbing. There is a border around the yard of crushed rock, and dark mulch. We have the garden boxes along the back fence,

really old grape vines that we were able to save,

and the best part-aside from the fence-is a HUGE sand box. It’s really, really cool.

We’ve got our bbq in the back now-instead of the garage- up against the house, and a small deck that we actually want to use now.

I’ve made a personal mission of eliminating all wasps, and seem to be controlling it pretty good. I can’t get rid of them all, but at least they don’t attack anymore and we can eat outside, mostly in peace. We planted a couple little trees that aren’t doing anything yet, but were excited about them. I even got me a little peach tree. We were able to save some iris’s that had previously been in the yard and I planted them along one of the side fences. I have a strawberry patch along the other fence; I think it’ll be lots of fun, as long as the birds don’t eat them all. The last 3 years I’ve had to anguish over deer eating everything, but now with my fence up I can no longer blame the deer. I might actually be able to find out if I can really grow anything or not; but, with the birds, I’ll still have something to blame if it doesn’t work out, hehe.

Well, we’re super excited about our new yard. It makes it so much nicer here. I think having a yard also gives me a few extra minutes to myself; but of course I spend my extra time outside with the kids anyway.
Just before the yard project we had been working on an interior remodeling project. We added an extra bedroom in the basement. That was really cool and exciting too. But, it was a huge project and left everything displaced for a few months while we had construction garbage and tools everywhere. Quit a pain trying to keep the kids out of it. It’s so nice to be done and to look back at all we’ve done. We started with a somewhat oddly sized bedroom that had a very large storage closet attached. The storage room was almost big enough to use as a small nursery, but the only entrance was through the other bedroom. Because of wiring and framing there wasn’t a place to put a door to the room from the hall, so we decided to move the wall between the two rooms and make room for a separate entrance. It was a lot more work then I had expected! We had to tear down the wall, rip up carpet,

rewire, rebuild the wall, move one door way and add another; then, finish the new room because it had been left unfinished when it was a storage room. So, we installed insulation, put up drywall, mud and tape, wall texture, and then paint.

We didn’t install carpet, but we had a large area rug and some scraps from the other room that we pieced together to complete the floor covering. Someday we’ll add carpet? Who knows, there’s so much to do here. We could spend $100k on this house, just to fix it up. But, at least it’s a good place to live, we have what we need, we do what we can.
We really don’t even know what the future will bring. We’d like to stay here long term, but that’s going to completely depend on Johns work. He has about a year left until he gets his degree, then we hope he’ll get a better paying job. The sky’s the limit with that though; it could be anything, anywhere. Even with his current job he has a potential advancement opportunity, that may be soon, but will almost definitely require us to relocate to somewhere else in the county-could be anywhere. We wouldn’t know where until he was offered the job.
Ironically, I’d be sad to move. Our original plan-3 years ago-was to only be here long enough to fix up the house just enough to sell it. Then, time went by, and it was looking like we’d be here a lot longer. I was really depressed for a while when I felt that things weren’t going to change. I’ve been more optimistic about things now, and have actually decided that we could be happy here. We would buy the house ourselves and it would be ours, and we would make it nice. I think I’ve been fighting the fact that I live here. Until recently I’ve been living in “someone else’s” house, just until something else came along. But, now I realize this is my house too, and it’s ok to make it nice, even if I won’t be the one to stay here. It’s ok to make it nice for the “next person”, and to enjoy it while I’m here. Strangely, just changing my perspective and attitude has made a huge difference in the way I live my life.
We’re all pretty exhausted now. It’s been a long haul, and we’re ready for a break. We still have a few little things to tie up on our recent projects that sadly may never get done. The other side of the new wall we built still needs mud, tape, texture and paint,

and a few other misc things in the yard. But, we’re ready for a break, and to enjoy our work, and to enjoy the summer.

Here's our most recent family picture, we went to the Aquarium:

And, some random pictures of the kids: